Thursday, June 30, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Keno Part 2 (Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Since I am going to be out of town next week, I made an extra new recipe this week. I had eaten and enjoyed this dessert years ago so when I saw it in one of my cookbooks, I knew I would be making it soon. The second Keno party date was set and I had the dessert responsibility. The party and food was such a success, I added the main coarse pasta recipe too (it was awesome)!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

* 3 cups finely crushed pretzels
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
* 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 8-ounce container frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
* 2 10-ounce packages frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed
* 2 3-ounce packages strawberry-flavor gelatin
* 2 cups boiling water

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust, in a medium bowl combine crushed pretzels and the 1/2 cup sugar. Add melted butter; stir well to combine. Press pretzel mixture into an ungreased 9x13-inch baking pan or baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool in pan or dish on a wire rack.

2) In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and the 1 cup sugar; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Slowly heat in the dessert topping. Spread over cooled crust.

3) In another large bowl combine strawberries and gelatin. Stir in the boiling water. Stir about 2 minutes or until gelatin is dissolved. Carefully pour gelatin mixture over the cream cheese layer. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or until set.

Makes 24 servings. Recipe found in Better Homes and Garden 9 x 13 The Pan That Can cookbook.

From my experience: I had to modify the butter amount, because my supply was low. The recipe calls for 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter melted, but I only had 1 stick and a little leftover butter spread in the tub. Once it was all melted and mixed with the pretzel crumbs and sugar, there seemed more than enough butter. I say realistically you only need one stick. If you mix the crust ingredients in a bowl well, there will be plenty of butter to go around. While the crust was baking, I started the water to boil. Next I mixed the cream cheese and sugar. As the crust was cooling, I continued to work on the strawberry gelatin mix. I probably didn't let the cream cheese cool enough. After all layers were added, I noticed a few small chunks of the middle cream cheese mix start to float to the top. I just spooned it out to keep it neat, but more surfaced as it all cooled in the fridge. It still tasted great! The pretzel bottom adds an unexpected goodness with its salty yet sweet flavor and crunchy textrure. Try this new twist on on a jello recipe!

Baked Ziti and Summer Vegetables

4 ounces uncooked ziti
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow squash
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add squash, zucchini, and onion; saute 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic; saute 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

4. Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and eggs. Stir in pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups).

The Game Plan
While pasta cooks:
* Saute veggies.
While pasta bakes:
* Prepare salad for a side dish.

Recipe found in the July 2011 edition of Cooking Light magazine.

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