Fare exchange: Sweet, slow suggestions for the holidays

Fare exchange: Sweet, slow suggestions for the holidays

December 5th, 2012 by Jane Henegar in Life Entertainment

To Reach Us

Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.

Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750.

E-mail: janehenegar@gmail.com.

Fax: 423-668-5092.

Good morning, December readers. This is the week to rush answers to requests, to give those who read a little time to gather ingredients and produce delicious holiday things. So here goes.

You have asked for Sugar Plums, sugar-free coffee mousse, freeze-ahead vegetable (especially spinach soufflé) and starchy casseroles, feather-light Parker House rolls, lace cookies like the "Laceys" sold at Greenlife, and a soup made with leeks and a hambone.

I note the request for yeast rolls, thinking that I would love to master that art. It seems we have so many Christmas sweet breads. And I say that with gratitude, having just heated and enjoyed the cranberry nut bread our daughter baked. I remember a fine cheesy bread made years ago by a cousin; it contained Bisquick and no yeast, and was a savory variation on the loaf theme.

• An anonymous reader lost her clipping of a sugar plums recipe printed several years ago, and that reader hopes you haven't lost yours.

• The other recipes came from one pre-holiday confab. The gathered cooks want to prepare something for everyone who visits: A truly delicious diabetic dessert that has a coffee flavor, sumptuous casseroles (think spinach soufflé) that could be taken from the freezer to the Christmas dinner table, yeast rolls to make a cook famous and the delicate lace cookies that sandwich a thin chocolate layer between.

• R.D. of North Chattanooga got stuck with a Thanksgiving hambone and decided she would freeze it until she could get a recipe for making soup with it using leeks. Can you provide such a soup?

Martha Cole has shared her version of Heath bar dessert; it deserves a reprinting as one more Heath bar option, this one favored by her family in Ringgold.

Heath Bar Dessert

First layer

1 stick butter

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup crushed Heath Bar candy or Heath Bar Toffee Bits

Mix together butter and flour, put in 9- by 13-inch dish and pat down until bottom is covered. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 20 minutes. Take from oven and sprinkle 1 cup of toffee bits or crushed candy on top of crust, while crust is still hot. Cool.

Second layer

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup Cool Whip, thawed

Mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar and Cool Whip. Pour over cooled crust.

Third layer

2 small packages vanilla or chocolate instant pudding

3 cups milk

Mix together pudding and milk, beating until thick. Spread over second layer.

Fourth layer

1 cup Cool Whip

2 or 3 Heath Bars coarsely, crushed

Top third layer with Cool Whip and sprinkle crushed Heath Bars on top. Refrigerate.

Variation: You can use fat-free Cool Whip and cream cheese to help reduce the calories.

Yeast of the Ridge has just discovered this slow-cooker recipe that she plans to use at Christmas. She found it in a long-ago Southern Living magazine.

Slow Cooker Turkey and Dressing

Turkey and dressing has never been so simple as it is when you use your slow cooker. You may never go back to roasting the bird after you try this easy slow cooker version featuring a turkey breast and a package of stuffing mix.

1 (8-ounce) package herb-seasoned stuffing mix

1 onion, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 cup dried cranberries

3/4 cup chicken broth

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 (3-pound) frozen boneless turkey breast, thawed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 (1-ounce) package turkey gravy mix

Coat inside of a 4-quart electric slow cooker with cooking spray. Add stuffing mix, onion, celery and cranberries. Combine broth and melted butter. Pour over stuffing and stir gently.

Remove string from turkey breast. Rinse turkey breast. Place turkey in slow cooker on top of stuffing. Combine salt, pepper and thyme; sprinkle over turkey. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce to low and cook 5 to 6 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in turkey registers 170 degrees.

Remove turkey to a serving platter. Stir stuffing gently in slow cooker; cover and let stand 3 to 4 minutes. Prepare gravy. Spoon stuffing around turkey on platter.

Note: Some turkey breasts come with a gravy packet; some don't. We liked the flavor and color of gravy using a package of turkey gravy mix.