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Cooking with 'Friends': Lauren Green's Chicken Club Casserole


14 oz. pkg Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned cubed stuffing mix*
1¼ c. butter
2 c. hot water
½ c. onion, chopped
1 c. celery, diced
4-5 c. cooked chicken, cubed
1 c. mayonnaise (or more)
1 small can drained sliced water chestnut
1 small can sliced mushrooms
2 eggs
2 c. milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup (Campbell's recommended)
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Combine stuffing mix, butter and hot water. Mix together and put half in a 9x13” baking pan or casserole dish.
Sautee onion, celery, and butter in a medium pan.
In a bowl, mix together the cooked chicken, mayonnaise, water chestnuts, and mushrooms. Add to other half of crouton mixture and put in the casserole dish on top of croutons.
Beat together the eggs and milk. Pour over top of the mixture in the pan. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before baking and preheat oven to 325°F.
Mix together cream of mushroom soup and ½ cup of milk. Pour over top of casserole.
Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes. Then sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and continue to back until the cheese is melted.
*You can use other herb seasoned cubed stuffing mix, but the cubes may not be as dense so use much less water.

NOTE: This recipe was created years ago when Pepperidge Farm's Herbed Seasoned cubed stuffing came in 14 oz. packages. It's now in 12 oz. packages, so I usually get two packages and freeze the remaining mix for future casseroles.

Cooking with 'Friends': Trish Regan's Blueberry Pie

2 frozen pie crusts, thawed
1 c. sugar
4 ½  c. fresh blueberries
1 lemon
5 tbsp. flour

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Unfold first thawed pie crust and place in bottom of pie dish.
To make the filling, pour cleaned blueberries into a large bowl. Add 5 tablespoons of flour and mix lightly. Add sugar, and squeeze of lemon on top to bring out the flavor.  Pour sugared berries into the pie shell.
Place the second thawed crust on top. Seal the edges and bake for 45 - 60 minutes or until bubbly.
Cool and Serve.
NOTE: If the blueberries are naturally sweet, you can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.

Cooking with 'Friends': Sandra Lee's Mother's Day Brunch

Makes 10-12 servings
1 package coffee cake mix
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 c. sour cream, room temperature
1 package dates, coarsely chopped
1 c. walnuts, chopped


1 pouch Pecan Streusel Topping
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pouch Cinnamon Swirl Filling
2 Heath Bars, finely chopped
¼ c. walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 8” square pan or 8” round pan with nonstick cooking spray.
To make the Pecan Streusel Topping: Empty topping and Heath Bars into a small bowl. Melt the unsalted butter and pour over the walnuts.  Use a fork (or a very clean hand) to work the melted butter mixture into the topping until moist clumps form. Set aside.

To make the cake: Chop the dates and walnuts. In a bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Whisk the eight tablespoons melted butter until the mixture starts to thicken slightly.
Sprinkle ⅓ of cake mix over the mixture and whisk until just smooth.  Gently whisk in half the sour cream.  Sprinkle another ⅓ of the cake mix over the batter, followed by the remaining sour cream, followed by the remaining cake mix – whisking gently after each addition.  Gently fold in the dates and walnuts to the mixture. Scrape down to ensure the batter is well combined.
Using an offset spatula, spread two-thirds of the batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the dry cinnamon swirl filling evenly over the batter, then carefully spread the remaining batter over the top, covering all of the filling.  Sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter.
Bake the coffee cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes, rotating the pan 180° halfway through the cooking.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the coffee cake cool for at least 30 minutes before serving
Makes 16-20 cupcakes
1 package Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
2 large eggs, room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. chocolate milk


1 packet Chocolate Frosting Mix
1 package Marshmallow Fluff
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp. chocolate milk, plus more if needed

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F and line the cupcake tin with paper liners.
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Whisk in melted butter until the mixture is slightly thickened. Blend in the sour cream until smooth. Carefully whisk in half of the dry cake mix, then gently stir in chocolate milk until smooth. Stir the rest of the cake mix. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tin
Bake 12-14 minutes.  Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting: Cream butter in mixing bowl until smooth. Add chocolate frosting mix plus 2 tablespoons of chocolate milk.  Beat on low speed until fully creamed. Fold in marshmallow fluff until completely combined and frosting is creamy and smooth

Tip: If frosting is too stiff, add more chocolate milk, 1 teaspoons at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

1 lb. thick cut bacon
12 oz. Guittard Organic Milk Chocolate Baking Wafers
12 oz. Guittard Organic Dark Chocolate Baking Wafers

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place bacon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a half sheet pan fitted with a cooling rack. Bake in the oven until bacon is cooked (15 minutes for soft bacon, 20 minutes for crispy bacon). Let bacon cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
Meanwhile set up a double boiler by heating a large saucepan filled with water over high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer. Set a heatproof bowl over the simmering water. Add milk chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula occasionally until smooth and completely melted. Remove bowl and set aside. Add a second heat-proof bowl over the simmering water. Repeat process with dark chocolate
Cover another baking sheet with parchment paper. Using tongs, carefully dip half the bacon into the melted milk chocolate turning to coat all sides in chocolate. Transfer to the clean sheet of waiting parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining slices of bacon, dipping them in the melted dark chocolate.
Reserve a few slices of bacon, crumble them, and sprinkle them atop the dipped bacon pieces.
Let chocolate set at room temperature or refrigerate until chocolate is hard.
Consume within a few days.

Cooking with 'Friends': Griff Jenkins' Dry Rub Ribs

Growing up in Tennessee, Griff Jenkins is no stranger to perfect ribs. Keeping to his southern roots, he makes Rendezvous' famed dry rub ribs every Christmas Eve!


For the ribs:
4 racks of baby back ribs (8 to 10 pounds)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the finishing rub:
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the mop sauce:
1 cup water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons rub (reserved from above)

Step 1: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium low. Ideally, you’ll be using a charcoal grill stoked with Royal Oak natural charcoal.

Step 2: Place a rack of ribs meat side down on a baking sheet. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of the rack by inserting a slender implement, such as a butter knife or the tip of a meat thermometer, under it. The best place to start is on one of the middle bones. Using a dishcloth, paper towel, or pliers to gain a secure grip, peel off the membrane. Repeat with the remaining rack.

Step 3: Generously season the ribs with salt and pepper. Arrange the ribs on the grill grate, bone side down, and grill until sizzling and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Turn the ribs and grill meat side down until sizzling and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes more. The dripping fat may cause flare-ups — if this happens, move the ribs to another spot on the grate to let them die down.

Step 4: Meanwhile, make the rub. Place the spices and seasonings in a bowl and stir to mix. Note: this may give you more rub than you need — don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of other uses for it.

Step 5: Make the mop sauce. Place the water, vinegar, salt, and rub in a bowl and whisk until the salt crystals are dissolved.

Step 6: When the ribs are cooked, transfer them to a cutting board. Generously brush or mop the ribs on both sides with mop sauce. Thickly sprinkle the meat side with rub to form a 1/8th inch thick crust. Cut each slab in half (or serve whole), with any remaining rub on the side.

Cooking with 'Friends': Carley Shimkus' Apple Cake


3 eggs
1½ c. sugar
2 c. flour
1¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. canola oil
4 c. granny smith apples
1 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Peel and dice apples.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar at high speed for 4-5 minutes or until firm.
Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add to egg and sugar mixture. Add oil and mix at medium speed until smooth. Fold in apples and nuts. Note that the batter will be thick.
Spread batter in ungreased 13”x9” pan.
Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour.

Cooking with 'Friends': Sandra Lee's Spring Baking

Sur La Table’s Lemon Buttermilk Quickbread Mix 3-Ways


1 pkg. lemon quick bread mix (Sur La Table recommended)
Lemon glaze

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare lemon quick bread according to package.
Add blueberry muffins to batter and bake in muffin tins.
Top with lemon glaze that comes with quick bread mix

1 pkg. lemon quick bread mix (Sur La Table recommended)
Pink, green or yellow food coloring
1 jar white frosting
Flavor extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Prepare lemon quick bread according to package. Add food coloring to desired shades of pink, green and yellow. Flavor with extract, if desidered.
Pipe in small disks onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
Pipe white frosting for filling.

Optional: Substitute white cake mix for lemon quick bread mix.

1 pkg. lemon quick bread mix (Sur La Table recommended)
¾ c. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ c. cranberry juice
16 oz. strawberries, fresh or frozen

Prepare and bake lemon quick bread according to package.
For the strawberry sauce: In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, cornstarch and cranberry juice. In a large skillet combine strawberries with cornstarch mixture. Stir together and bring to a simmer over medium heat making sure to stir often. Turn down heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Pour the strawberry sauce over loaf.