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Holiday Treats

easter-supperMost cooks have staple foods they serve on certain holidays.  Maybe they prepare ham for Easter or beef brisket at Passover.  Many times these dishes are so entrenched in family tradition that merely the thought of an alternate meal is culinary heresy.

But what about accompaniments?  Sometimes side dishes are an egalitarian topic.  And desserts?  Typically, they tend to be democratic, as well.  So,here are some thoughts.

Carrot Casserole

24 to 36 ounces of baby carrots (e.g., two bags), ¼ cup flour, a couple of shakes of black pepper, ½ cup of butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons of dried onion, 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese (not sharp).

Steam the carrots until they are cooked but firm.  In a separate saucepan, melt the butter and mix the flour until it is completely dissolved.  Add remaining ingredients to the saucepan except cheddar cheese and blend for two to three minutes.  In a decorative casserole dish, place the carrots at the bottom, the shredded cheese over the carrots, and the sauce on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Carrots Tossed in Butter

A simpler carrot recipe?  Steam two pounds of baby carrots until cooked but firm.  In a frying pan, melt one stick of butter or margarine on medium heat.  Add two teaspoons of brown sugar to the butter and blend.  (Optional—add ¼ cup of sliced almonds and slightly brown in the butter mixture).  Add carrots to the pan and toss until heated throughout.  Transfer to a pretty serving bowl.  Sprinkle fresh or dried Italian parsley to garnish.  NOTE: Green beans can be substituted for the carrots.  If doing so, use cracked black pepper instead of parsley to garnish.

Did we save the best for last?  Well, that depends upon taste.

Death by Chocolate, Heath Bar Trifle, etc. (This dessert goes by different names and has a few variations).

Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie mix cooked according to directions, 3 chocolate mousse packages cooked according to directions, 6 frozen chocolate toffee bars thawed and crushed or 1 package of Heath Bar bits, 12-ounce thawed frozen whipped topping or your own homemade whipped cream.

Crush brownies into small pieces and place half on the bottom of a trifle bowl.  Pour half of the mousse on top of the brownies, half of the toffee bits on top of the mousse, and half of the whipped topping on top of the bits.  Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients (whipped topping should be on top).  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chocolate-covered Strawberries.

30 strawberries with stems on.  One 12-ounce package of semisweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are wonderful!).  1/3 cup of half and half.  Optional—½ half teaspoon of liqueur (any kind you like).

Wash the strawberries and thoroughly dry.  Let sit at room temperature for a bit.  Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler (do not burn).  Add half and half and blend thoroughly.  Add liqueur (if using).  Remove melted chocolate from heat.  Holding by the stem, dip each strawberry into the chocolate mixture so that ¾ of the strawberry is coated with chocolate.  Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Repeat the process until all strawberries are coated.  NOTE:  If chocolate begins to thicken as you go along, you may have to reheat for a bit.  Refrigerate until hardened and indulge!

The above recipes are suitable for any time.  However, they are especially yummy on special occasions.

A very Holy week is approaching for many people.  Peace and God bless.

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