Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Monday, December 13, 2010

Get It Done Fast Without BeingTalked About Recipes

I've blogged the last two weeks about Christmas. If you remember—and even if you don't—two weeks ago, I was a bit overwhelmed and last week I was still overwhelmed but had decided I was going to settle down and do what was important. I am happy to report that is going well. My house is decorated and clean but I have not forsaken the important things to do it.

Since we last talked here, I've had lunch with friends twice, spent a lovely afternoon with Kathy, been to book club, been to the Heart of Dixie Christmas party, had coffee with Stephanie, Kathy, and Cheryl, had two of my favorite people spend the weekend at my house, and went on the neighborhood Christmas Tour of Homes. It sounds exhausting but it wasn't. I refused to participate in stress. Somewhere along the way I also decided I didn't have to take a gourmet dish to every holiday gathering.

I can cook. I can't sing, dance, or draw but I can cook. People praise me for it. I like to be praised so I tend to want to show off when I have to take food somewhere. I have always leaned toward making things like flour less chocolate cake, homemade cheese straws, brie wrapped in puff pastry, fresh apple cake with that kind of caramel frosting where you have to burn the sugar, and chicken salad made from marinated charcoal grilled chicken breasts.

I have shut that down. I took cornbread dressing to the Heart of Dixie party and three people asked me how I made it. (Since I already had home cornbread and turkey stock in my freezer it took no time.) I made mushroom dip for book club that took four ingredients and ten minutes of my life. It's the way to go. So I am going to share with you a few recipes from my arsenal of GET IT DONE FAST WITHOUT BEING TALKED ABOUT food.

This tastes better than it sounds.

Hot Mushroom Dip

  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped fine (I use baby bellas)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté mushrooms in butter until tender and the liquid evaporates. Add cheese and mayonnaise. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

If you mix it up ahead and bake right from the refrigerator, it will take 5-10 longer.

I've been known to add a little sherry.


This takes no more than five minutes and it tastes like pizza

Sun-Dried Tomato Pate

  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ t. dried oregano
  • ¼ t. dried basil
  • ½ t. dried thyme
  • ½ t. salt

Put everything in the food processor and process until smooth and blended. Chill for at least 4 hours to allow flavors to blend. Let soften before serving with crackers.

Note: If you buy sun-dried tomatoes with herbs, omit the oregano, basil, and thyme. After blending, taste and correct the seasonings. You may need to add none or all of the herbs called for, depending on the brand.


Not as quick or easy as the other two but as cakes go, it's a cinch. No mixer involved and it travels well since it stays in the pan.

Coca-Cola Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows (optional)

  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 6 tablespoons Coca-Cola
  • 1 box confectioner's sugar, (1pound)
  • I cup broken pecans. (I toast them at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.)

Preheat oven to 350.Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk flour and sugar together. In a saucepan, combine the cocoa, Coca-Cola, espresso powder, and butter; bring to a boil. Combine the boiled mixture with the flour and sugar mixture. Dissolve soda in buttermilk. Combine with above ingredients. Add eggs, vanilla, and marshmallows. Pour into pan and bake 45 minutes, until cake tests done.

Frosting: In a saucepan, bring butter, cocoa, espresso powder, and Coca-Cola to a boil. Stir in the sugar and mix well. Add pecans. Pour over the cake while both cake and frosting are still warm.
Serves about 16.

Note: The espresso powder is my own addition. You don't have to use it. The marshmallows are optional but I've never omitted them.

Do you have a recipe or shortcut to help you through the season? Share. We all need all the help we can get!


  1. A bread machine! And keep several bread mixes on hand at all times. I have been to two potlucks recently where I volunteered to take bread because I could make it easily. And everyone raves about the homemade bread.

    That corn casserole I took to the HOD party is easy too. My #1 son shared the recipe with me.

    Mix together
    one can of creamed corn
    one can of drained niblet corn
    8 ounces of sour cream
    2 sticks of melted butter or margarine
    3 beaten eggs
    a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix.
    Pour mixture into a greased 11 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 45 - 60 minutes.

    Voila! Corn Casserole!

  2. PM--Thanks for sharing. It was yummy!

  3. These all sound good. They are making me hungry.

    I often take crock pot meatballs and get rave reveiws and requests for the recipe. They are so easy I am almosted embarrased to tell how to make them.

    Crock Pot Meatballs
    Cooking spray (like Pam)
    2 large bags of completely cooked
    Italian meatballs
    2 bottles of chili sauce
    2 quarts of grape jelly

    1)Spray the sides of a large crock pot with cooking spray.
    2) Pour both bags of meatballs into the crockpot
    3) Pour the grape jelly on top of it all
    4) Pour the chili sauce onto this
    5) Stir a bit to mix it all up.

    Cook on low overnight or on high for several hours.

    These cana also be prepared in the oven in a large roasting pan if you are in a hurry. Bake on 350 degrees for about an hour, stirring often.

  4. Jean, you are a wonderful cook! I love your cheese straws. PLEASE post the recipe again. I want to make some!

    PM - The corn casserole was yummy! I am going to make it this Christmas.

    Hey Stephanie - Where do you get cooked meatballs? I mean, can you buy them already made? I don't like to make meatballs if I can help it.

    Short Cuts I use - I make sausage balls in the food processor. Saves my hands from having to mix it all together and it turns out great.

  5. Sounds like you are having a wonderful holiday season. Will have to try some of your recipes!

  6. Great recipes!! Can I come over and eat? LOL

  7. Oo-la-la! I'm hungry just reading these recipes! Thanks for sharing.

    Cheryl, you can get pre-cooked meatballs at your grocery store in the frozen section. All you have to do is heat them up and throw them into spaghetti or cook them slow in a crockpot. Yummy!

    I'll have to try these recipes soon, ladies! ;)