Betty Crocker helps hosts take it 'Easy'

February 17, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

Want to relax at your own party? The new "Betty Crocker's Easy Entertaining" (Prentice Hall, $22) has tips, recipes and a complete organization plan that help take the stress out of entertaining.

This book, like others in the Betty Crocker series, blends simplicity with dependability. Dishes are created with a minimum of ingredients and recipe instructions are straightforward and easy to follow.

One of the reasons for Betty Crocker's success is that this mythical lady of the American stove has test kitchens and scores of General Mills food people behind her.

For the record, Betty Crocker was created by General Mills back in 1921 and has even won prestigious cookbook awards.

Recipes in this new entertaining book were developed by nutritionist Julie Turnbull, a contributing editor for several Betty Crocker cookbooks.

The dishes represent a variety of cultures and range from Norwegian meatballs to wild mushroom risotto.

The heart of the book is its presentation on party planning and making dishes ahead of time. There are 32 complete menus that include casual dinners as well as holiday meals.

Each chapter addresses one of the four seasons and features meals and celebrations for that particular time of year.

There are also suggestions for home decoration that include dressing up the table and general food presentation. These are complemented by handsome color photographs.

Here are some recipes from the book:

Choucroute is a dish from the Alsace-Lorraine area of France. It typically is made with pork, sausages and sauerkraut, reflecting the German influence in the region. This satisfying dish can be prepared in advance and refrigerated. About an hour before dinner, put it into the oven to bake.

Choucroute

Serves 8.

4 Polish sausages, about 3/4 pound

4 bratwurst sausages, about 3/4 pound

4 boneless pork loin chops, cut in half, about 1 1/2 pounds

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup dry white wine or apple juice

2 tart red apples, cored and sliced

1 jar (32 ounces) sauerkraut, drained

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Saute sausages in large skillet, pricking to release fat; drain. Add pork and saute until brown. Stir in onion and saute. Mix all ingredients in Dutch oven; cover. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pork reaches 160 degrees on meat thermometer.

Norwegian meatballs

Serves 8.

1 1/4 pounds lean finely ground beef

3/4 pound finely ground pork

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 small onion, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup

1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Shape into 1-inch meatballs. Place on ungreased jellyroll pan, 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 by 1 inch. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until done.

Ricotta-stuffed potatoes

Serves 6.

6 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake potatoes about one hour, until tender. Cut a thin, lengthwise slice from each potato; scoop out inside, leaving a thin shell. Mash potatoes in large bowl until no lumps remain. Mix in remaining ingredients; blend well.

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Place shells on ungreased cookie sheet; fill shells with potato mixture. Bake uncovered 20 minutes until filling is hot.

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