Sherry's family favorite recipes

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I know that every family has favorite dishes they serve on special occasions and we are no exception! These recipes are ones I make every time and are huge hits. They can be made ahead or you can grab the ingredients out of the refrigerator or cupboard and have them ready in no time for those last-minute guests!

This first recipe came from my husband's mom, Katie. The one thing we could always count on during the holidays was Katie making some obscure recipe that included ingredients that just didn't sound like they would work. And there were more times than we admitted to when it DIDN'T work. This particular recipe was a big hit and, well, frankly, a very pleasant surprise. We loved it. Who can imagine cranberries and chiles tasting good TOGETHER? Well, once you try this you will become a believer! It is not only delicious, it makes a great conversation piece when someone is trying it for the first time. Double dares all around!

Cranberry Salsa Ingredients:
Recipe By: Katie Kline

12 oz. cranberries, fresh
4 scallions , sliced thinly
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup sugar, or less, if desired
2 limes, juiced
1 green chiles, canned
2-3 garlic, minced

Process dry, fresh cranberries in food processor, pulsing just until cranberries are cut up a bit. Put cranberries in bowl with remaining ingredients, stirring lightly until blended together. Can be served with tortilla chips or poured over softened cream cheese and served with crackers.

This next recipe happens to be my husband's favorite dessert. It can be made ahead very easily, which is handy if you're having that big dinner party or having a bunch of relatives over. I make up all the pouches and then store them on a baking sheet in the refrigerator. Then all I do is pull it out during the main course and pop it in the oven to bake while we are eating. The smells that come out of the kitchen make people pretty anxious for dessert before they even get done with their mashed potatoes!


Baked Pears Ingredients:
Recipe By: Sherry
Serves: 2

1 pear, halved; see notes
6 Tbsp. butter, unsalted, softened
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 dash cinnamon, ground
1 dash nutmeg, ground
1 orange , halved
pecan pieces
cranberries, dried or fresh

Oven: 350 degrees
With each pear half, take a melon baller and scoop out seeds creating a little well. Strip off core that goes down the middle of the pear.
In small bowl, mix softened butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Put half of mixture in each pear's well.
Take two 12" strips of aluminum foil and create a "T" shape. Make a "T" for each pear half. Place one pear half in middle of the "T". Sprinkle each pear half with the pecan pieces and cranberries (to taste). Take one orange half and squeeze juice over pear. Bring up aluminum sides and create a tight pouch for each pear.
Place pouches on a baking sheet and cook in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until pear is soft.

To serve:

Family style: Place each pouch on its own salad-sized plate. Open pouches and place one scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the pear and serve hot.
Fancy-Shmancy: Place baked pear on dessert plate retaining juices in the pouch. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on or on the side of the pear. Scoop out pecans and cranberries and put over pear and ice cream. Pour juices over pear and ice cream and serve.
Notes:  I get the pears that are thin-skinned. It doesn't matter if they are ripe or not since the baking process makes them very tender and juicy. The thicker skinned pears are not as easy to cut into when eating them.

This recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking. I usually put them in the oven while eating the main course. That way the smell is there enticing guests and helping them look forward to dessert!

This hot apple cider recipe also comes from Katie and is great throughout the Winter. She made this every holiday (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and since she is no longer with us, it gives us a chance to remember the times we would go down to Wellton and be welcomed with the warm scent of cider and spices. Very nice memories.

Hot Apple Cider Ingredients:
Recipe By: Katie Kline
Yield: 30 cups

2 2-quart apple cider , NOT apple juice
3 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp. whole cloves
2 Tbsp. whole allspice
1 Tbsp. crystallized ginger
2 slices orange
3 slices lemon

The best way to prepare this cider is in a 30-cup coffee maker. These can be purchased for around $30 at Walmart or Kmart. They are not usually very expensive and I would get the cheapest one you can find. I wish I could say this could be prepared differently, but it really tastes the best if put thru an appliance that 'perks' it as opposed to simmering or boiling on the stove.Put the cider in the coffeemaker. Place the rest of the ingredients in the basket of the coffeemaker and start it according to manufacturers instructions.

I save the bottles the cider comes in to store any leftovers. This cider is great for days after being prepared. I store it in the refrigerator and reheat it in a pan on the stove or in a cup in the microwave. Yummy!