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Local cookbook worth a read

Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 11:02 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 11:53 a.m. CDT
M&Ms are in the recipe for Tina's Monster Cookies, from the from Creston First Presbyterian Church's cookbook "Building the Vision."

Warm butter, flaky rolls, thick soups and gooey chocolate can send the senses reeling.

For those hungry for a home-cooked meal, First Presbyterian Church in Creston's "Building the Vision," published in 2002, is chock full of recipes from local cooks.

It's broken into eight sections: Appetizers and Beverages; Breads and Rolls; Soups and Sandwiches; Salads and Vegetables; Meats and Main Dishes; Cakes, Pies and Desserts; Cookies, Candies and Bars; and Men's, Children's and Miscellaneous.

"Building the Vision" has a variety of recipes, ranging from fruit punches to rice casseroles to peanut butter balls. It's a good cookbook to have around the house given the ease with which many of the recipes can be made. More complex recipes are included for people wanting a challenge or something fancier.

It's most interesting feature, though, may be the last section: Men's, Children's and Miscellaneous. It has easy recipes for to make on hunting or fishing trips, such as beef jerky, and there are plenty of recipes children can help with, including one to make bubbles. This section also has joke recipes, such as Elephant Stew.

Overall, "Building the Vision" offers a variety of simple recipes. Many add "zing" to an ordinary dish, while others maintain the flavor of a family favorite.

Mix all that together, and you have a worthwhile cookbook.

Here's a sampling:

Ham and Swiss Stromboli

An easy, hearty dinner recipe for any night.

1 (11 oz.) tube refrigerated French bread

6 ounces thinly sliced deli ham

6 green onions, sliced

8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1 1/2 cup (6 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

Unroll dough on a greased baking sheet. Place ham over dough to within 1/2-inch of edges; sprinkle evenly with onions, bacon and cheese. Roll up, jellyroll style, starting with a long side. Pinch seams to seal and tuck ends under. Place, seam-side down, on baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut several 1/4-inch-deep slits on top of loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 26 to 30, or until golden brown. Cool slightly before slicing. Serve warm. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Fill with anything your family likes.

Recipe provided by Pam Wall

Tina's Monster Cookies

Simple ingredients and not a lot of extra work.

3 beaten eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 lb. (1 stick) butter

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

4 1/2 cups oatmeal

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup M&Ms

Mix in order in a large pan. Use an ice cream scoop to drop dough onto cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Do not overbake.

Note: This is actually 1/4 of the original recipe provided by Dixie Thaden


Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Loaf

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 stick butter, room temp.

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin pie filling

1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 cup milk

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 5-by-9-by-2.4-inch loaf pan. Sift the first five ingredients into medium bowl. Using a mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, then eggs, one at a time. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake loaf until knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes. Turn loaf out onto rack to cool completely.

Note: Can be made 2 days ahead. Wrap in plastic and store at room temperature

Recipe provided by Jennifer Frakes


Green Beans with a Twist

1 16 ounce pkg. frozen French-style green beans

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

2 tlbs. margarine

1 envelop ranch salad dressing mix

4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

In a skillet, saute beans and mushrooms in margarine. Sprinkle with dressing mix; toss to coat. Just before serving, sprinkle with bacon

Variation: For added flavor, saute the beans and mushrooms in bacon grease instead of margarine.

Recipe provided by Anne Vicker

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