Two weeks to go

Wow, the days and weeks are speeding by. If you are getting the paper on Wednesday, you will realize that there are only two weeks until Christmas. Until Sunday I did not have much done, but after Church this morning, my friend called and asked me to go to Gonzalez with her to Wal-Mart. While there, I was able to find gifts for several of the great-grandchildren on my list!
My week was fairly busy with meetings the first three days, as well as working in the gift shop and having a luncheon to attend. Last year, when our Auxiliary had its annual Christmas and Bake sale; we opened the gift shop early so that the employees who work the night shift would have a chance to shop. It was a big success, but since the lady who did it last year couldn’t be here this year at that time, we did it a week early. My friend was there before 6:00 a.m., and when I got there a few minutes later, she had already had two customers! (They do appreciate it!). By the time she had some coffee and sweets set out, we had several more customers and that is how our morning went. Since the Hospital was also sponsoring a breakfast for employees that morning, we had a little extra traffic. Friday was fairly quiet and on Saturday, I took the time to finally go through a stack of magazines and catalogues, pay bills and send donations to various charitable organizations and good things like that. At least, I now have a partial list of the folks that I’m sending Christmas cards to and the cards to do it. Monday is not too busy with probably only a Rosary scheduled in the evening for the husband of one of our members, but, it’s back to the gift shop Tuesday afternoon as the usual lady is having a medical procedure, and that is usually a good time to pick up a few things for the great-grandchildren, as we have a pretty good selection of toys, unless we sold everything last Thursday! Wednesday one of my daughters is coming to help me decorate for Christmas and will stay over through part of Thursday even though I will be going to Castroville, TX, for the funeral of a relative and won’t be able to help her during the day. Friday, evening will find me helping serve hot cocoa and cookies during a party at our library. And, poof…my week is gone.
It seems to me that everyone I’ve talked to the last few days needs something to take to a brunch or a covered dish party. So, here are a few dishes that are simple to make and taste good. Also, for your holidays, I have a new recipe for soup that I call “Jan’s 5-can Soup”. It is really great for cold weather lunches or for supper, and is very similar to one from Weight Watchers. Last week, when my son called, he was making it to take work with him the next day, as everyone he works with likes it.
Tortilla Soup is another great dish to take to a brunch or luncheon, as it can be kept hot in your crockpot or slow cooker. I haven’t included one because almost everyone has their own favorite.
Hamburger Quiche
1 un-baked, 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
½ to 1 pound ground meat
½ cup mayonnaise (do not substitute)
½ cup milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1½ cups grated cheese (cheddar or Colby-Jack)*
½ cup sliced green onions
Brown meat and cool. Combine remaining ingredients and add to meat. Pour into pie shell and bake at 350ºF for 35 to 40 minutes or until set in center. *My daughter made this and had accidentally purchased pepper Jack cheese. It tasted great!
Jan’s 5-can Soup
1 pound ground meat
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 can ranch style beans
1 can shoe peg corn
1 can Veg-All®
1 can Ro-Tel® tomatoes with green chilies
1 can stewed tomatoes
Brown meat in large pot with taco seasoning mix. Add all cans of vegetables without draining them. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to blend flavors. You can brown your meat and then transfer everything to a crock-pot and keep it hot on low temperature if desired.
Fiesta Chicken and Rice Bake
1 can cream of chicken soup or cream of onion soup
1 cup chunky salsa or picante sauce (mild, medium or hot, your choice)
½ cup water
1 cup whole-kernel corn, drained (buffet size can, or I just used a well drained 15 oz can)
¾ cup regular long-grained white rice, uncooked
4 boneless chicken breast halves*
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Mix soup, salsa, water, corn and rice in 2-quart shallow casserole or baking dish, and then top with the chicken and sprinkle with paprika. Cover with lid or foil. Bake about 45 to 55 minutes, or until the rice has soaked up all the liquid and the chicken is cooked through. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and put back in the oven for a minute or so, until the cheese melts. *I use cut-up chicken or leg/thigh quarters instead of breasts.
This Christmas cookie recipe is a very old one, but still very delicious, and great for dunking in a cup of coffee!
Christmas Rocks
1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
5 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon hot water
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup cut up raisins (dip scissors in water to cut raisins)
Cream together butter, shortening, sugar and eggs. Add remaining ingredients, mix well, and drop off teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400ºF for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pecan Bars
1 package yellow cake mix (reserve 2/3 cup dry mix)
1 egg
1 stick melted margarine.
Mix remainder of cake mix with egg and margarine. Spread in a 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350ºF for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Mix together:
1/3 cup dry cake mix
½ cup brown sugar
1½ cups dark corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
Pour over baked crust, top with:
1 to 1½ cups chopped pecans
Bake at 350ºF for 30 to 40 minutes or until set. Cut into bars or squares to serve.
The following cookie goes by many names, I have a recipe that calls it “Good Cookies”, it is also very similar to what is called “Ranger Cookies”. This is one that was made in the Devine School Cafeteria and is really good.
The “100” Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup softened margarine or butter
1 cup oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup crisp Rice Krispies®
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (any kind)
½ teaspoon salt
3½ cups all-purpose flour (not necessary to sift)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
In large mixing bowl, mix together first six ingredients. Stir in next four ingredients, mixing well. Sift together salt, flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Add to previous mixture and mix well.
Have a great weekend, and don’t worry if you don’t get everything done on time. The world will not stop spinning on its axis if you don’t have everything perfect. Take time to spend with your family, they would rather have your time than have everything picture book perfect, and you completely worn out. Over the years, I’ve learned this, sometimes the hard way. If you expect perfection from yourself and those around you, you are going to be disappointed person many times more than you would like.