Readers share their go-to recipes when it has to be a winner
Nothing brings family together like food. So we asked our readers to tell us what recipes bring their families together. We asked for “everybody’s favorite” recipes, which could be featured in our Everybody’s Favorite Cookbook.
The response was outstanding. We received submissions from members of nearly every electric utility we serve—and even from some that we don’t.
It was not easy to choose the winners of the recipe contest but after great debate, we chose our nine favorites. The winners are featured here and will appear in our next cookbook along with other recipes submitted for the contest.
White Chocolate Bread Pudding
Source: Frances Hodge, Milton, Florida–Escambia River Electric Cooperative
- 1 loaf deli French bread
- 1 quart half and half
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 stick butter
- 1 box Baker’s white chocolate
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Up to 6 teaspoons water
- Pecans, chopped
- Cut bread into ½-inch squares in large bowl. Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla and half and half. Pour over bread. Let set until moist. Pour mixture into a greased 9-by-12-inch casserole dish. Top with butter cut into squares.
- Set dish on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
- Melt chocolate and butter in microwave. Be careful not to burn. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Pour over baked pudding. Top with chopped pecans.
Baked French Toast
Source: Marcia Swain, Key Largo Florida–Florida Keys Electric Cooperative
- 1 day-old loaf French bread
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups milk
- ½ cup flour
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Diagonally cut bread into 1-inch slices and place in a baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir in milk until well blended. Pour mixture over bread in baking dish, turning slices to coat well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Turn bread slices over in the baking dish. Scatter blueberries over the bread and sprinkle evenly with crumb mixture. Bake about 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Before serving, top with strawberries.
Spicy Peanut Chicken
Source: Kay Hollo, Union, Oregon–Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative
- 1 pound fresh chicken, boneless and skinless, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (fresh or bottled)
- 3/4 cup mango/peach salsa
- 1 heaping tablespoon chunky peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup water
- Spray a large skillet with vegetable oil cooking spray and warm over medium-high heat. Brown chicken in skillet until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic; saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add salsa, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, cumin and water. Stir together and cook over medium heat for approximately 4 minutes. Serve over rice.
Macadamia-Crusted Pear Torte
Source: Joyce Miller, Coolin, Idaho–Northern Lights
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1½ cups macadamia nuts, chopped
- 8 ounces soft cream cheese
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ripe pear, peeled and sliced
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup sugar
- To make crust, combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Press onto bottom and sides of an 8-inch tart pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, or until crust begins to brown. Set aside to cool.
- Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
- To make filling, combine cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla in a bowl and mix well. Pour into the prepared tart pan over crust. Combine pears, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and ¼ cup sugar in a bowl. Toss to coat the pears. Arrange the pears in a circle over the cream cheese filling, including all liquid.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until set.
Source: Claudia Milazzo, Brookings, Oregon–Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative
- 1 bag fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1 handful cilantro, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 to 3 jalapeno peppers, minced (use as many or few peppers as you like until you get it to the heat you want)
- Coarsely chop cranberries in a food processor. Do not chop too fine or puree.
- Add cilantro and peppers. Process for a few seconds, long enough to blend.
- Pour into bowl and add green onions and sugar. Mix well, then cover and refrigerate.
- Let sit for at least an hour or so, long enough for the sugar to dissolve and meld into the cranberries.
- Serve with a block of cream cheese and your favorite crackers.
Source: Briselda Molina, Veneta, Oregon–Lane Electric
- 2 gallons water
- 4 apples, cut into four pieces
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 piloncillo or 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ pound tejocotes
- 3 to 4 tamarindos
- 1 pound guavas (fresh or canned)
- About a foot-long piece of fresh-peeled sugar cane (from a jar is fine)
- All of the ingredients are available at your local Mexican store.
- Wash all of the fruit and slice into pieces. In a large pot, bring all of the ingredients to boil until the fruit is soft. This takes about 15 minutes. Serve warm. You can add tequila or rum at serving time.
Cottage Cheese Dip
Source: Terry Lee Conlan, Bend, Oregon–Central Oregon Electric Co-op
- 1 container cottage cheese
- 2 avocados, diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve with chips and veggies.
- Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Source: Aurora Leveroni, Graeagle, California–Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative
- Portobello mushrooms, one per person
- Eggs, beaten (usually one per large portobello)
- Bread crumbs combined with grated Parmesan cheese,
- Soft Monterey Jack cheese or mozzarella (your choice)
- Red sauce
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the stem of the mushroom and set aside. With a sharp knife, gently peel the skin off the top of the portobello. Discard skin.
- Dip mushroom in beaten egg until well covered. Place bread-crumb mixture in a plastic bag and gently roll the mushroom until it is totally covered.
- Place in a heated frying pan with oil on low. Fry until lightly browned on both sides.
- In a baking dish, place the mushroom underneath side up. Take a tablespoon of red sauce and spread in portobello center. Place several pieces of cheese, covering the entire mushroom. Then pour red sauce, engulfing over all.
- Cover with foil and bake approximately 25 minutes. When cooked, remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.
- Stems can be sliced or chopped, fried in butter and frozen. They can be thawed, warmed and used later to spread over a steak, or saved to use when making your own red sauce.
Source: Brenda Burdick, Spring Creek, Nevada–Wells Rural Electric
- 12 ounces Italian sausage or hamburger
- 1 cup cream-style cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- ½ teaspoon dried basil, crushed
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 15½-ounce jar spaghetti sauce (if you use zesty spaghetti sauce, omit oregano, basil and garlic)
- 8 flour tortillas
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- In a skillet, cook the sausage until browned; drain off fat. Stir in cottage cheese and flour. Add oregano, basil and garlic powder to the spaghetti sauce. Stir ½ cup spaghetti sauce into the sausage mixture. Cook and stir until mixture bubbles.
- Spoon about 1/3 cup meat mixture onto each tortilla; roll up jelly-roll style. Place filled tortillas, seam side down, in a 12-by-17-inch baking pan. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over tortillas. Bake, covered, in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Uncover and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Bake 3 more minutes, or until cheese melts.