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Sharing Great Food

Want to welcome a new neighbor with something yummy, celebrate a friend’s new home with a housewarming gift, or surprise a new mom with a night off from kitchen duty? These dishes are keepers that you will enjoy cooking up and giving away.

WILD RICE CASSEROLE
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked wild rice
1-1/4 cups uncooked brown rice
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
2 (4-oz.) cans sliced mushrooms, drained
1 (4-oz.) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium pot, bring chicken broth to a boil, and mix in wild rice, brown rice, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 45 minutes, until most of the broth has been absorbed.

In a skillet, melt butter, and sauté onion until tender. Stir in ground beef, and cook until evenly brown. Mix in mushrooms, water chestnuts, soy sauce, and curry powder; continue to cook and stir until heated through.

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix beef mixture into rice mixture, and remove the bay leaves. Transfer to a 9×13-inch baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake 20 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. Serves 6.

FRENCH ONION SOUP
1 lb. onions, sliced
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (14-oz.) cans beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch ground black pepper
6 slices French bread, toasted
2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Cook and stir onions in vegetable oil in a covered large saucepan over medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir in beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper; heat to a boil. Remove from heat.
Place bread on a baking sheet; sprinkle bread with cheese. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for about 1 minute or until cheese is melted and golden. Ladle soup into bowls and top with bread. Serves 6.

QUICK AND EASY BLACKBERRY COBBLER
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup boiling water
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups blackberries, rinsed and drained (can use frozen)

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/4 cup boiling water just until mixture is evenly moist.

In a separate bowl, dissolve cornstarch in cold water. Mix in remaining 1 cup sugar, lemon juice, and blackberries. Transfer to a cast-iron skillet and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Drop dough into skillet by spoonfuls. Place skillet on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes, until dough is golden brown. Deliver to your neighbors warm from the oven. Serves 6.

SPINACH AND CHEESE STUFFED BREAD
1 (1-lb.) loaf frozen bread dough
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar or part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Thaw bread dough according to package directions; let rise until doubled. Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in spinach.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into 14×10-inch rectangle. Mix spinach and cheeses. Save 2 Tablespoons Parmesan to sprinkle on top before baking. Spread spinach mixture to within 1/2 inch of edges; sprinkle with cheese. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the long side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray; tuck ends under.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack; let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

Note: you may want to deliver this bread unbaked, and include a note with instructions on how to bake. Serves 6-8.

Coming Next Month: Perfect Pork

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