Gifts From the Kitchen | TheFencePost.com

Gifts From the Kitchen

Anna Aughenbaugh
Fort Collins, Colo.

It is that time of year again when the cooler temperatures and the calendar tell you to start thinking of making gifts in your kitchen. Baking recipes that freeze well lets you stock the freezer well before it is time to prepare meals for holiday guests. Enlisting the help of the youngsters will make preparing gifts for friends, teachers, and co-workers a family affair.

Unless you truly love to make complicated recipes and fancy cookies, keep your stress level down by using simple ones. Wrapping can be as common as cellophane or foil. Children can decorate paper bags with markers or rubber stamps. Cookie tins are air tight and can be found at thrift stores.

Your favorite casserole recipes can be doubled; bake one for your family and freeze the other one in a foil container to take to a friend along with directions. To make the gift extra special, include a side dish and dessert. The following recipe is a favorite with our kids and it freezes well.

Hamburger Rice Pie

1/2 lb. lean hamburger

1/4 c. fine dry bread crumbs

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2 Tbsp. chopped onion

2 Tbsp. chopped green pepper

1/8 t. pepper

1 can tomato soup

1 c. cooked rice

1/4 c. grated American cheese

In a medium skillet, brown hamburger until no longer pink; drain. Mix in crumbs, onion, green pepper, pepper and 1/2 can of soup. Spread in bottom and up sides of greased 1 qt. baking dish. Mix rice, cheese, and remaining soup; spoon into meat crust. Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes. Serves 2 to 4.

Coconut Pecan Candy

Topping:

1 c. coarsely chopped pecans

1 c. shredded coconut

1 c. semi-sweet dark chocolate chips.

Candy:

12 graham crackers

12 Tbsp. butter

1/2 c. brown sugar

Spread pecans and coconut on a 9-by-13-inch pan; bake 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool; stir in chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan with foil. Put graham crackers on the foil. Put butter and brown sugar in a saucepan; stir over medium heat until smooth; spread over crackers. Bake about 10 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle with topping; press lightly onto butter mixture. Cool, then cut or break into 30 pieces.

Oatmeal Quick Bread in a Jar

Jar Ingredients:

1 quart jar; sterilized (be sure it is dry)

Layer in order given:

2 c. flour

1 c. rolled oats

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. white sugar

1 t. baking soda

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/2 c. miniature chocolate chips

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Cover the lid with a circle of pretty fabric

and tie the directions onto jar with raffia.

Ingredients to add:

1 1/2 c. buttermilk

2 eggs

1/4 c. melted butter

In a mixer bowl, beat buttermilk, eggs and butter. Stir in dry ingredients from jar, just until evenly moistened; batter will be lumpy. Spoon batter into a greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Christmas No Bake Bars

2 c. Rice Crispies

4 c. Cheerios

2 c. dry roasted peanuts

2 c. red & green M&Ms

1 c. light corn syrup

1 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. peanut butter

1 t. vanilla

In a large bowl, mix cereals, peanuts and M&Ms. In a large saucepan, bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil; cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla; pour over cereal mixture. Stir to evenly coat, then spread in a greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Cut into 24 squares.

Frosted Cheerios Bars

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. sugar

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

1 c. flour

1/2 t.. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

2 1/2 c. Cheerios cereal, crushed to 1 c.

1 c. raisins or chocolate chips

Topping:

2/3 c. powdered sugar

4 t. milk or enough to make a thin icing to

drizzle over bars

In mixer bowl, beat margarine and sugars; beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients and raisins or chips. Spread in greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool; drizzle icing over top and cut into 24 bars.