Veggie Dish Scores Hit In Denver

Last week, sister Margaret e-mailed from Colorado, looking for a vegetable dish recipe. The occasion was an engagement party for the daughter of friends, and Margaret had been assigned the task of bringing a hot vegetable dish.

Paging through the pages of DotMom’s “Mixing & Musing Cookbook” didn’t yield much except zucchini recipes, and I was pretty sure those wouldn’t have the mass appeal Margaret was looking for.

The other tome on my desk was “Joyce Lamont’s Favorite Minnesota Recipes & Radio Memories,” a compilation of the recipes that the Minnesota radio host shared for many years on WCCO. Paging through, a recipe labeled Company Vegetable Casserole caught my attention, probably because it was a twist on the ubiquitous green bean casserole, which everyone seems to like. So I typed it off and e-mailed it to Margaret.

Well, the casserole was a hit. In fact, Margaret said it was the rave of the party, and she had to forward the recipe to five of the other guests the following day.

Since I have used this product with success in making chicken Alfredo, I suggested that instead of using the refrigerated pasta sauce, Margaret use Ragu Light Parmesan sauce, found in the spaghetti sauce aisle of the grocery store. She added her own seasoning twist with some fresh basil from her garden and cayenne pepper, probably about ½ teaspoon, and the same amount of seasoned salt.

Since then, Margaret has reported that she and hubby Don had some of the leftover dish and “it was 10 times better heated over.” In the cookbook, Lamont advises that this casserole can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until you’re ready to bake it.

Special Occasion Vegetable Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 red bell pepper, chopped, and 1 onion, minced; cook and stir until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

In a two-quart casserole, combine onion/pepper mixture; two 10-ounce packages frozen cut green beans, thawed; one four-ounce can water chestnuts, drained; one four-ounce can or jar mushroom pieces, drained; and one 10-ounce container refrigerated four-cheese Alfredo sauce. (Add the fresh (or dried) basil, seasoned salt and cayenne pepper at this point.

Bake for 25 minutes, then top with one 3-ounce can fried onion rings and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until casserole is hot and bubbly. Serves 6.

A Lagniappe reader who identifies herself as Lucille Ripley responded online to Mabel Westphal’s request for biscotti recipes.
“I have this biscotti recipe that I copied out of a magazine while waiting in a doctor’s office,” Lucille explains. “I have the usual ones with the nuts, etc. But perhaps she would like to try this.”

Double Chocolate Biscotti

Combine ½ cup butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/3 cup honey and 2 teaspoons baking powder. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Add 2½ cups flour, a bit at a time, and beat with mixer until stiff then mix by hand. Add ½ cup finely chopped almonds or roasted pecans and ½ cup chocolate chips.

Shape dough into two 9-inch rolls, place 3 inches apart and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean.

Cool for one hour.

Cut into ½-inch slices. Place slices, cut side down, on two ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 8 minuntes and then turn slices over and bake 7 to 9 more until dry and crisp. Do not overbake.

Melt 1 cup white chocolate chips and 2 teaspoons shortening. Dip end of biscotti into this mixture and dry on wax paper.