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Welcome to My Kitchen

Quick, easy and last-minute fare


December 21, 2017

There are just a few days left before Christmas. Hopefully most of your baking is done, and make ahead recipes prepared. Some of this columns offering may help if you are a bit behind.

Several requests have come in for reprinting Luscious Lemon Bars. This is my go to recipe for just about any occasion. Only basic ingredients, but it is preparation process that makes them turn out with a light crust, yummy filling and a slightly crispy surface.

Luscious Lemon Bars


1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

Dash of salt

1 cup softened butter


1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

6 Tbsp lemon juice

Note: it is important to follow all the steps and times to get the desired results. DO NOT make any substitutions in the ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have an un-greased, GLASS 9 x13 inch baking dish at the ready.

In a large mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar, flour and salt. With a pastry blender, gently cut in butter just until a crumb mixture forms. Don’t overwork the mixture. Place mixture in baking pan and gently press even with the back of a spoon. Don’t press too hard, it will meld together during baking. Do not wash the bowl yet.

Place crust in pre-heated oven and bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the filling sugar and flour in the same mixing bowl and set aside. Do nothing further with ingredients until the crust comes from the oven.

When baking time is complete, remove pan from the oven and set to cool while you finish preparing the filling.

Add eggs to sugar mixture, and mix with a spoon until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and continue mixing about 30 seconds. Add lemon juice and mix well until the sugar begins to lose its grainy feel. Pour immediately into slightly cooled crust and return pan to oven. Bake and additional 23-25 minutes until set and edges begin to brown.

Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into bars. Yield: 3 dozen bars.

Note: DO NOT use an electric or hand mixer with this recipe, it adds to much air to the mixture.

Requested also, was the Oriental Seafood Salad I took to a recent Christmas luncheon. My own recipe, it contains a medley of various textures and flavors.

Oriental Seafood Salad

1 can (15 ounces) bean sprouts, well drained

1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, well drained

1 can (28-30 ounces) chow mien vegetables, well drained

2 stalks celery, sliced thin

1 package imitation crab meat, cut in smaller pieces

1 can (4 ounces drained) small shrimp, well drained

1 package (12-16 ounces) frozen peas, thawed and well drained


1/2 cup mayonnaise

2-3 Tbsp soy sauce


1 cup Chinese noodles

Combine all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl.

In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients until well blended. Add to salad ingredients and toss well to coat. Refrigerate up to 2 hours before serving.

Just before serving, top with Chinese noodles. Yield: 12-15 side servings.

Note: 2 cups chopped fresh crab meat is heavenly in this salad. Also, the salad ingredients may be combine the day before, adding the dressing two hours before serving.

Another note: 3 cups diced cooked turkey may be substituted in this salad, thereby using up some of your left over turkey.

Russian Tea, a favorite from the 1970’s is returning to the beverage scene. The old recipe was a little hard to re-create with today’s container sizes, but here is an updated version.

Russian Tea Mix

1 container (20 ounces) instant powdered orange drink mix (Tang)

1 package instant sweetened powdered lemonade mix for 2 quarts

1 1/4 cups instant unflavored tea

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large, clean coffee can or other large lidded container, and place lid on tightly. Shake can vigorously to mix. Let stand for a few minutes, then divide mixture into smaller jars to store or give as gifts. Use 2 rounded teaspoons of mix per 8 ounce cup of boiling water.

Tacos are a favorite quick to fix meal in most families. Hamburger is easy to thaw in the microwave and other ingredients are usually on hand in the pantry. Taco seasoning is easy to make yourself and have on hand, or to give as gifts. Minus the anti caking ingredients found in store bought, this seasoning has a more robust flavor and no salt.

Taco Seasoning Mix

1 cup dried minced onion

1/3 cup chili powder

2 Tbsp ground cumin

4 tsp crushed red pepper or 3 tsp ground

1 Tbsp crushed oregano

4 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

Combine all ingredients and store in air tight containers. Use 1 tablespoon mix per half pound of ground beef. Season with salt to taste.

Combine a small jar of the taco seasoning, a package of taco shells, a can of sliced olives and a jar of salsa in a gift basket for an alternative to sweets as last minute Christmas or hostess gifts.

Our next column will be after the new year is rung in. What new recipe do you plan to try in the coming year. Share them, and any cleaning out the pantry recipes and using up the holiday left over recipes with your fellow readers.

Do you have a favorite use of leftover ham or turkey? Soups, stews and casseroles are a great way to make use of leftover food items. Share your recipes by sending them to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa, WA 99159, email or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office. FFA instructions for Poinsettia care say water Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and it seems to be working well.


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