Ok, since someone asked, I'm sharing the recipes I'll be cooking up in advance (mostly) for use over General Conference weekend.
Sadly, I'm seeing that there's a possibility that Hurricane Joaquin will be sending some nasty weather into central Pennsylvania, and I'm worried that will not be good news for watching Conference via satellite or web...sigh. Let's hope for the best. At least we'll have good food to eat!
Sooo, here we go. Dana asked for recipes, so this is for her!
Pesto Tomato Mozzarella Sammies
This is a hot sandwich, broiled in the oven. I get ciabatta bread rolls from the store, drizzle them lightly with olive oil (while open-faced), then spread both pieces with basil pesto, then add a slice of ripe tomato, and top with fresh sliced Moz cheese. Then I broil in in the oven until all the cheese is nicely melted to your liking (about 4 mins). Take 'em out and plate them with potato chips. My kids adore this sandwich, although I have to cut it up smaller for their little mouths. We had them once or twice before the Saturday AM session and now they demand that we have them as TRADITION. So I always know what I'm serving for this meal, hooray! (Thanks, Amy Jo, for serving me these at your house in NY...I fell in love.)
Mini-Caramel Apples (or apple dippers for snack between sessions)
This is something I saw on Pinterest and will be making with the girls as soon as they get home from school today. We love making caramel apples in the fall, but they rarely eat the whole apple. I've heard from some peeps online that there are a few tricks to this...most importantly that you'll want to let the caramel harden up slightly before dipping...this helps the caramel stick to the apple better. I've also heard that using toothpicks works great. We shall see. Here is a link to the tutorial. You basically melt caramel (which I do in a crockpot). Then using a melon-baller, make cute little, bite-sized pieces of apple, insert tooth pick or candy stick, dip in caramel (after caramel has cooled a bit), then place in mini-muffin liner to cool. I plan on rolling them in toffee bits as well. This will be a treat/snack between sessions to hold us over until dinner. Timing meals is so tricky with conference. I'd rather eat before conference to avoid missing anything, but we do also eat right at the start of a session because it's right in the middle of kids' meal times and I'd rather have them putting food in their mouths than asking me constantly for something to eat!
Holly's Mac n Cheese with Kielbasa
Somewhere along the lines, I fell in love with this cheesy, meaty recipe. We ate it last fall during Conference weekend too and it makes enough to eat this as Sunday dinner leftovers. It might be too heavy paired with all of the other food selections over the entire weekend, but it's so tasty. I'm serving it with a fruit salad. And I will probably assemble it on Friday and keep it in the fridge to cook while we're watching Conference. The boys have to eat right away after the PM session and then they're off to Priesthood...Ice cream social, of course, first!
Here's the recipe:
You will need:
16 oz elbow macaroni
kielbasa, cut into pieces
1 and 1/2 lbs assorted cheeses, cubed (cheddar cheese, colby jack cheese, brick Swiss cheese, mozarella and romano cheese, and American cheese, or whatever cheese combo you want.)
12 oz canned milk
1 cup italian (or seasoned) bread crumbs
3 T butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Mrs. Dash, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper
9x13 baking dish
Cook 16 oz elbow macaroni and strain. Fry up your kielbasa, but do not throw out the grease.
Grease your baking dish.
Place drained macaroni plus kielbasa (with grease) together in the baking dish and stir.
Add cubed cheese and butter. (At this point, I normally only add half of the cheese or even 1/4 of the cheese and I let it cook until melted...stir and add more until all of the cheese is combined.)
Also at this time, add the seasonings mentioned above (Mrs. Dash, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper)
Add about 1/2 cup canned milk. Gently stir.
Place in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes and stir every 10 minutes to make sure the cheeses melt and blend with the pasta.
Melt 1/2 stick of butter and pour your bread crumbs in it until it is thick and goopy. Remove mac and cheese from oven. Stir it. Pour your bread crumb mixture on top of the mac and cheese. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes.
Total time prepping and baking this dish is about 45-60 minutes.
Total time prepping and baking this dish is about 45-60 minutes.
Every Conference as a kid, my Mom made this special recipe. It was special because she ONLY made it twice a year on Conference weekend, so we always looked forward to it. Even now, I wouldn't DARE make it any other time. We prepare it and eat it on Sunday Morning before the AM session with eggs, bacon, and OJ...and yes, we are stuffed by the first session. I've shared the recipe previously right here. Conference cake is really the main event...eating-wise!
I'll share the recipe again here:
1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- 2 Grease a deep pie plate, 8"x8" square pan, or 9"x9" square pan.
- 3 Mix dough ingredients and put in baking dish.
- 4 Mix topping ingredients with a fork or pastry mixer until crumbly.
- 5 Spread topping mix over dough and drag a butter knife across like you were making a tic-tac-toe board several times.
- 6 Bake for 25 minutes.
Note: I always double the above recipe and cook it in a 9x13 pan. You will also need to double the baking time, but it'll feed double the mouths...Or you can eat double the helpings, you choose.
In the East, we've got to get creative with our eating, since Conference generally airs right in the middle of ALL of our mealtimes, which is especially hard on the kids. I don't like them to be eating candy for 48 hours straight or snacking, because they turn into little Wild Things if they do and they can't listen to Conference as well. So, I like to have at least one session where we have a veggie and fruit tray to snack on during that session. Since we've usually eaten a large breakfast on Sunday am...we're not THAT hungry by lunchtime, but the veggie try helps us get through, which very little interruptions...plus it makes us feel a little healthier and refreshed for ONE MORE SESSION! (So, I just play it by ear...either we eat a real lunch and then snack...and wrap up Sunday with left-overs or we snack...then eat a real lunch/dinner later.) Anyway, the veggies/fruit can be prepared in advance, which is great. (Note to self...go back to the grocery store again...you forgot this!)
White Chicken Chili
And finally, one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, white chicken chili (thank you, Dawn Gee, for introducing me to this one years ago!) I make this quite frequently, especially in the fall. And it freezes easily and tastes even better, in my opinion, when made the day before. The tastes as blend really nicely. I have already made mine and will pull it out and put it in the crock pot on Sunday AM. We eat it with just cheese and chips.
Here's the recipe:
1 lb chicken, cooked and cubed 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 medium onion, chopped and sautéed 1 tsp cumin
1 can chicken broth 1 tsp oregano
1 can cream of chicken soup ½ tsp pepper
1 small can chopped green chilies ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 can corn
1 cup water, more or less depending on consistency
2 cans Great Northern beans, drained
Mix all ingredients in stock pot and heat through. Just before serving add ½ cup whipping cream or evaporated milk and 1 cup sour cream. Top with cheese and tortilla chips!
Crock Pot Variation- Place uncooked chicken, drained beans and all other ingredients in crock pot. Cook on high 4-6 hours, low 8-10 hours.
I'm already thinking about the food coma I'm going to experience this weekend...and I don't even care! But seriously, which meals are your favorite to serve either over General Conference weekend or any old time? I shared with you, I'd love for you to share with me! Thanks! (Also, below, I've shared a sketch of my menu/weekend plan. It think I can probably go ahead and scratch off "Hike on Trail" on Saturday and insert "Splash in puddles" or "Huddle inside with emergency candles" in its place!) Have fun!