CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Are you one of the roughly 4 million people who rushed to the grocery store ahead of last Thursday's snowy forecast? Because of the unpredictable weather in the Four States, I am changing gears from gifts in a jar to tips on preparing for snow days, courtesy of ehow.com and wisebread.com.
Non-food items to have at the ready include a propane grill or camping stove and propane, a generator, sleeping bags, blankets, battery-operated lights, batteries, baby wipes, a cellphone charger, a manually operated can opener, pet food, a first-aid kit and a weather radio. If you can't do without your morning cup of coffee, a camping coffee pot and coffee can be on the list, too, or make do with instant coffee or tea. And if you or members of your family take medication, be sure to have enough on hand to last several days.
Keep bread in the freezer and powdered milk on the shelf. Stash away bottled water as well as larger containers of water. Stock up on soups (low-sodium varieties are best). Also consider that the electricity may go out. Canned meat, such as tuna and chicken, is a great choice, as are canned fruits and vegetables. Crackers, granola bars, baby food, nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter and jelly are items that will last for some time, so they are great for emergencies.
It's nice to have a couple of treats handy, just to boost spirits. My choices would be soft drinks and chocolate-covered peanuts. Think about what your family will eat and be prepared, because a doozy of a winter has been predicted for us.
Sue August, of Joplin, called with a cracker jack idea for making broth from a leftover turkey carcass. She boils the bird in a spaghetti cooker, then all she has to do is lift the inner workings and drain -- the broth is perfectly strained without having to fish out turkey parts or pour hot liquid into a strainer. This would work for chicken and beef stock, too. I really love this idea, and I thank Sue for sharing it with me.
Linda Lindquist Baldwin always puts on a great party, and she didn't let bad weather stop her again this year. My grandson, Atlas, has become quite the collector of her Belsnickles. This year's addition, a tall Santa dressed in white, will be a keepsake for years to come. We still have to take the annual photo of Atlas and his Belsnickle, and I'm so glad he enjoys these Santas as much as I do. My daughter, Sarah, and I enjoyed seeing lots of friends at Linda's gathering, and I especially enjoyed reconnecting with Lisa Qualls, who I hadn't seen since my old Bank of America days more than 30 years ago.
Today's first two recipes are from "Lawry's Weekday Gourmet Meals in Minutes." Souffle might sound difficult to make, but it is actually a quick and easy side dish. Carrots or peas can be substituted for the broccoli. The lemon catfish bake adds some variety to the holiday menu. Its coating has the perfect amount of crunch.
For the best cookies ever, layer the ingredients to the cowboy cookies in a jar and include the directions. It's important that these cookies are made big -- they just don't taste the same when they are small. This recipe is from allrecipes.com. Stay warm and happy eating!
Easy broccoli souffle
1 1/2 cups cooked broccoli, thoroughly drained
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
In a food processor or blender, puree broccoli. Add remaining ingredients; blend well. Pour into medium-size casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until puffy and top is browned. Serve immediately. Yields 6 servings.
Lemon catfish bake
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
4 catfish or other white fish fillets, washed and patted dry with paper towel
In a pie plate, combine butter and lemon juice; set aside. In another pie plate, combine bread crumbs, lemon pepper, seasoned salt and dill weed. Dip each fillet in butter mixture then in crumb mixture. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Pour remaining butter mixture over fillets; sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork. Yields 4 servings.
Cowboy cookies in a jar
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Layer ingredients into jar in the order given. Attach a card with directions.
Directions: In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in jar contents. Shape into walnut-size balls and place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes at 350 degrees. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Yields 3 dozen cookies.
Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.