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January is on the wane, but to use an ancient term, your bright ideas only wax (that is, increase).

It's always good to get a review from other Exchangers about what you have sent in. And so it was with A.N., who commended "a great dinner suggestion: Everyone bring takeout and the host (me) provides drinks and desserts. Thanks for this idea. I'm going to share with my children. That's pretty much what we do at least one night when they are here visiting." So here's a first request: What is your easy way with dinner guests, so that you can actually enjoy your guests?

Ms. N. continued with this query. "I'm looking for some recipe ideas for 'dinner for one.' I know how to cook one pork chop or one chicken breast (or more to freeze), but I'd like some new interesting recipes to try."

Finally, Hungry Husband needs your help in making a cauliflower pizza crust. "I tasted my first one tonight, and it was just right, thin and crispy: a frozen pizza from Aldi. I may be the last person to know how good a cauliflower pizza crust can be, but I sure would like to learn to make one."

 

MIGHTY MUSHROOMS

The search goes on, for Best Foods You Tasted or Cooked in 2019. So would you send yours? As promised, today's recipe calls for mushrooms. (Next week you might discover one couple's favorite recipe for chicken thighs or a college student's go-to rice pudding.)

Betty Domal's chosen dish was stuffed mushrooms. " I don't know if this is the best thing I served in 2019, but stuffed mushrooms were often requested by my family, and for our Christmas meal. It's from a Huntsville, Alabama, program called 'Dream Home Cooking.' "

For Ms. Domal, it's just not right to have a meal without placemats, even when eating a meal for one. "One of my main hobbies is sewing, and I have made a lot of placemats, for myself and for gifts." So there's a gift idea to store along with this dish.

 

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

8 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature (takes about 2 hours)

1 pound pork sausage (with sage or Italian sausage, or whatever you like)

3 (8-ounce) packages whole mushrooms like Baby Bella, stems removed and cleaned out

Paprika

Chopped chives

The filling can be made the day before, refrigerated and then the next day stuff and bake the mushrooms in a 350-degree oven. I think they could also be stuffed, refrigerated and baked the next day. They are also good reheated after baking. I have kept them a couple of days after baking.

Place cream cheese in a medium-size bowl, and set aside. Cook sausage on medium heat (I use a cast-iron skillet) about 10 minutes or until no longer pink.

Remove the sausage from the skillet with a slotted spoon, and place on paper towels to soak up some of the grease before mixing in with the cream cheese. Place the sausage in the bowl with the cream cheese. Stir vigorously until cream cheese is melted and mixed well with the sausage. Using a teaspoon, baby spoon or melon baller, stuff each mushroom. Place in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. If you want to broil them at the end, be sure to use a broiler-safe pan. They are delicate, so handle carefully. Sprinkle each with a little paprika. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. If broiling, watch them carefully and broil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle chives over the tops, and serve.

 

ILLUSTRIOUS BROCCOLI

This morning we share a well-documented version of a Mount Vernon treasure. Norma Gannaway found the very recipe for Mount Vernon Restaurant's Broccoli Soufflé. "I have it typed on their letterhead paper. The only difference between this one and the one that was published on Jan. 15 is that there is more mushroom soup and grated cheese. I got this during the 20 years I worked for Chattanooga Glass Co. before they closed in 1987. I have used it many times, and it is perfect."

So here is her authoritative recipe.

 

Broccoli Casserole

1 (10-ounce) package frozen broccoli (don't add salt)

1 1/2 cans mushroom soup

1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmann's)

1 tablespoon grated onion

2 beaten eggs

1/2 cup cheese cracker crumbs

Cook broccoli according to directions on package. Drain well. Combine all ingredients except cracker crumbs. Blend well with broccoli. Pour into buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle cracker crumbs on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Can be made day before, but do not add cracker crumbs until time to bake.

 

BISCUIT BONUS

We are grateful to Jan Antman for one Fare Exchange recipe commendation, for her favorite biscuit recipe and some general advice for biscuit ingredients.

"I have read other responses to the quest for tender biscuits, but I didn't see any mention of making sure that you have a light, or Southern, flour. Flours such as King Arthur are great flours, but not so great at making biscuits. I only use White Lily or Martha White self-rising and full-fat buttermilk. Also, I have found that coconut oil makes a very tender biscuit (and cornbread, too).

"My go-to biscuit recipe is one I got from Fare Exchange last year. It is for No-Knead Biscuits that taste like Hardee's biscuits, but better.

"The other family favorite easy biscuit is for Sour Cream Biscuits. I cut this recipe from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2002."

 

Sour Cream Biscuits

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups self-rising Southern flour

1 cup sour cream (may be low-fat)

1 cup grated cheese (optional)

1 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or other herbs (optional)

Spray mini muffin tins with Pam spray or oil. Combine butter and flour with a pastry blender or food processor until crumbly.

Thoroughly stir in the sour cream. It will be a very stiff batter.

Use a cookie scoop or small spoonfuls to put into the muffin tins.

Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 18 minutes or until golden.

This makes about 24 mini biscuits.

And with that we close out January, grateful for your company.

 

REQUESTS

* Hosting hacks

* Dinner-for-one ideas

* Cauliflower pizza crust

* Best foods you tasted or cooked in 2019

 

TO REACH US

some text
Jane Henegar

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

Email: chattfare@gmail.com

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