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Welcome to My Kitchen

Fest is finally over, time to relax with easy recipes


Deutschesfest trappings are packed away for another year, but already plans are being laid for 2017. Though the dirndls and lederhosen won’t likely be seen for another year, Germans from Russia culinary skills need not disappear. Kraut Ranza are great to have on hand for a quick, heat and serve meal. You may not care for sauerkraut, but any thick filling can be sealed in tender yeast dough, baked and served immediately, or cooled and frozen.

Frozen bread dough may be used if you are short on time. Two loaves of frozen dough usually yield 18 ranza. Besides the traditional kraut and ground beef mixture, Sloppy Joe mix, Ham and cheese, pizza ingredients, any mixture that is fairly thick can be used to fill the ranza.

Quick, Easy Ranza

2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed

1 pound lean ground beef

3 cups chopped green cabbage

1 cup chopped onion

2 cups well drained sauerkraut

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp liquid smoke

3 Tbsp melted butter

Crumble ground beef into a large skillet, add onion and cabbage and cook over medium heat until meat is browned and vegetables are translucent. Add sauerkraut and seasonings and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile divide dough into 18 equal parts and roll each to about 1/4 inch thick. Divide filling between dough circles. Pull edges around filling and pinch to seal. Place sealed side down on greased baking sheets. Set aside to let ranza rise about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake ranza, 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on wire racks. Brush with melted butter and serve, or cool completely and freeze up to 3 months. Yield: 18 ranza.

Optional filling: 2 cups diced, sliced ham, 1 cup diced onion, 1 cup grated carrot, salt and pepper, and 1 cup diced cheddar cheese, stirred into filling just before forming ranza. Leftover beef roast, baked ham or roast chicken may be incorporated into savory ranza fillings.

Chicken is often an ingredient in a cooks fallback meal. Necessity is the mother of invention, and that was the beginning of this recipe for Italian Crock-pot Chicken. Barely having time to throw the chicken in the slow-cooker, I quickly poured 1/2 cup bottled Italian dressing over four chicken breasts, sprinkled with salt and pepper and set heat on high for 6 hours. The second time I prepared it, I had more time, so marinated the chicken in the dressing for 2 hours.

Italian Crock-pot Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup bottled Italian dressing

Salt and pepper

Place chicken breasts gallon zip closure bag and add dressing. Marinade 2 hours in refrigerator. Place marinated chicken in slow-cooker and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on high for 6 hours. Yield: 4 servings.

Note, you can easily double this recipe, and sliced or diced, the cold chicken is excellent for sandwiches or salads.

We all like easy recipes from ingredients we can pull from our pantry. Spaghetti is always an easy choice, but Easy Spaghetti Bake is a presentation variation that is easier to serve at potlucks and family style meals. A basic recipe, it is easy to vary the ingredients to suit your families tastes.

Easy Spaghetti Bake

1/2 pound thin spaghetti

1 pound lean ground beef or bulk country style pork sausage

1/2 cup chopped onion

1tsp salt

1 jar (32 ounces) spaghetti sauce

1 can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained

1 tsp crushed basil leaves

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain well.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, brown meat; pour off fat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except spaghetti and cheese. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in cooked spaghetti. Turn mixture into a greased shallow 2 quart baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Top with cheese; bake 5 minutes longer. Yield 4-6 servings.

Note: one pound sliced German sausage is good in this recipe, substitute a jar of alfredo sauce and diced chicken.

The Museum Historical Society Bake Sale, Friday of Deutschesfest sold out in record time. The quality and variety of baked goods was excellent, beautifully presented and shoppers were poised to grab their favorites before selecting new taste treats.

Several requests for the Butterfinger Cookies recipe have come in. They appeared to have crushed Butterfinger candy in them. The other recipe request that has come in so far, is the Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread, no nuts. There was more Pfefferneuse than ever, donated this year and it was gone in a flash. It does take a bit of work, but an organization could do well offering this food item for sale throughout Fest.

A question popped up on Facebook about black garlic, a type of caramelized garlic used in Asian cuisine. Black garlic is made by slowly heating the garlic over a period of 2 weeks. Several sources recommend a temperature of 165 degrees. Amazon and most Asian food stores, and health food stores have it available. Personally I have not done any cooking with it, but literature on the subject indicates Black garlic adds a sweet smoky bite to foods, best used as a garnish.

Health food sites tout Black garlic's curative powers for a vast number of ailments. I’ll let you be the judges in that department.

With fall temperatures registering on area thermometers, it’s about time for soup recipes. Share your favorite soup recipes and other fall favorites by sending them to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa, WA email or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office.

Cut back tomato vines to hasten ripening of set fruit. Use the trimmings to start a base for a garden waste compost pile. Black gold for your garden next spring.


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