Give a homemade dish to let someone know you care

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Photo by Ann Cipperly

By Ann Cipperly

With so much devastation and tragedy in our community, we all want to find ways to help others in caring and loving ways. When you don’t know what else to do, sometimes a hot meal or homemade dessert can let someone know you are thinking about them. Here are some ideas for taking food to hurting families and those helping.

First, find a suitable throw away container. Look for aluminum containers that will fit the dish you are taking. When baking sheet cake recipes in containers smaller than 9 by 13 inches, you may need to bake a few minutes longer. Check with a toothpick near the center of the cake until it comes out clean. Don’t forget to coat aluminum pans with nonstick spray.

Sometimes pick up desserts, such as brownies and cookies, are better than cakes. For these treats, you can fill disposable plastic containers with lids or line a sturdy paper plate with foil and then cover the cookies or brownies with foil, sealing it well. You can tape a note to the top of the foil with a Bible verse and your name.

I think pound cakes are good comfort food and easy to wrap. You can also slice them and wrap in individual servings.

Since pound cakes are easy to prepare, I will sometimes get a batter going while cooking dinner. I generally use unsalted butter in baking pound cakes. If the recipe calls for milk or cream to add alternately with flour, begin and end with flour.

Instead of baking the cake in a Bundt pan, I often bake the batter in two loaf pans. This way, I will have two cakes to give.

Sometimes I line the loaf pans with foil and coat with spray. After baking, I can pull the foil up to remove cakes from the pans and know they will look attractive.

While pound cakes can be prepared days ahead, they also freeze well. You can bake several ahead and freeze. When you hear of a need, you can quickly thaw and deliver the cake.

Quick breads, such as banana or pumpkin, are easy to mix and bake. They are also easy to wrap for giving and will last several days.

For an entrée, chicken casseroles and pasta dishes are hearty for families. You can also make these ahead and freeze until needed.

Whatever you are able to prepare and give will be appreciated. When people are going through difficult times, they forget to eat and don’t feel like going to the grocery store and cooking. Anything you can give will be heartwarming to somebody.

I have been so proud of how my hometown has come together to help others. The outpouring of items, food, gift cards and other helping ways have been beyond amazing.

I remember years ago when Don and I lived in the northeast how much I missed the caring people in my hometown. We lived in a few different places, but there was no place like my home. I prayed every day for years asking God to find a way for us to return. There is just something special about the people here that you don’t find any place else. I will forever be grateful that we are here.

My Favorite Pound Cake for Giving
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whipping cream
2 or 3 tsp. vanilla
Cream butter and sugar well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and cream alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in vanilla.
Pour into a Bundt pan, tube pan or two loaf pans. That have been coated with nonstick spread. Sometimes on the loaf pans, I line them with foil and coat with spray. This way I can pull the cakes from the pans and know they will look attractive.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the stove. Start checking with a toothpick at 1 hour and 20 minutes by placing the toothpick near the center to see if it comes out clean.
Cool a few minutes before removing from pan.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
Judy Sellers
4 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken breasts (can use rotisserie chicken)2 cups cooked Minute Rice
Three 10 ¾ oz. cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz. carton sour cream
2 cups chicken broth
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers mixed with ¼ cup melted margarine
Place cream of chicken soup, sour cream and chicken broth in a boiler and heat until hot and smooth.
Remove from heat and add chopped or shredded cooked chicken breasts, cooked Minute Rice and pinch of salt and pepper. Place in 9×13 casserole dish and sprinkle Ritz Cracker and margarine mixture to cover the top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
An oldie that is always popular.3 whole chicken breasts, cooked and chopped or rotisserie chicken10 ½ oz. can cream of chicken soup, undiluted8 oz. (1 cup) sour cream4 tsp. poppy seeds, divided1 stack Ritz crackers, about 30, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine soup, sour cream and 2 tsp. poppy seeds; mix well. In a greased 13 by 9 inch pan layer half soup mixture; cover with chicken and then top with remaining soup mixture. Combine crushed crackers, other 2 tsp. poppy seeds and butter; mix well. Spread crumbs over top of chicken dish. Bake 30 minutes.

Easy Chicken Casserole
Connie King
3 lb. flash frozen chicken tenderloins (or can use rotisserie chicken)1 tsp. salt
32 oz. sour cream
2 small cans cream of chicken soup
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Topping*
2 sticks butter
2 stacks saltine crackers (unsalted tops)
Boil chicken tenders with 1 tsp. salt until cooked. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
Spray 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with Pam and cover bottom of dish with chicken. Mix sour cream, cream of chicken soup, paprika and cayenne pepper in mixing bowl: mix well. Spread over chicken.
Crush saltine crackers. Melt butter and pour over cracker crumbs. Mix well. Pour butter/crumb mixture on top of cream sauce.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 1 hour or until sides are bubbling. Can freeze unbaked.
*Note: Can cut topping in half.

Spaghetti Casserole
Annette Lovett
1 lb. ground beef (chuck, round, sirloin, your choice)
1/2 lb. pasta noodles of choice (1/2 of a 16-oz. pkg)
8 oz. sour cream
1 jar (1 lb. 10 oz.) spaghetti sauce of choice
8 oz. small curd cottage cheese
8 oz. bag of mozzarella cheese, divided
1 lb. ground beef (chuck, round, sirloin, your choice)
Spray a 9×13 glass casserole dish with Pam.
Brown and drain the meat.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
While pasta cooks, add spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese and all but 1/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese to the meat. Mix well.
Drain noodles and mix in the sour cream. Spread the noodle mixture in the bottom of casserole dish. Spread the meat mixture on top of the noodle layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 30-40 minutes, making sure cheese does not get too dark on top. Cover with foil if it starts to brown too much. (I baked an 8×8 dish for 30 minutes – that seemed long enough.)
Can double ingredients for two 9×13 dishes.

Easy Mac and Cheese
Leigh Whatley
8 oz. grated Monterey jack cheese
8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz. Parmesan
1 quart cream
1 box rigatoni pasta, cooked
Mix all together. Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Caramel Brownies
2 sticks butter
1 box light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat the butter until fluffy. Add brown sugar and vanilla; cream together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Mix nuts with flour until coated. Add flour and nuts to batter; blend well. Pour into a greased 11 by 7 inch pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Cool in pan. Cut into squares and serve. Freezes well.

Double Deluxe Brownies
2 cups sugar
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Line 13x9x2 inch baking pan with aluminum foil and grease lightly. Stir sugar, flour, cocoa, soda and salt; set aside. Mix melted butter or margarine, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add to flour mixture and stir until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted one inch from center comes out barely moist. Do not over bake. Cool on wire race.
When completely cool remove from pan, peel off foil and cut into squares. Makes about 2 dozen.

Easy Peanut Butter Bars
½ cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
½ cup butter or margarine
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-rising flour
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Melt peanut butter and butter over low heat. Add remaining ingredients and stir until smooth.
Pour into greased baking dish; bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. Makes 2 dozen squares.

Best Ever Banana Bread
Margaret Whittelsey
This is my aunt’s recipe.
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 ripe medium bananas, mashed (1 cup)
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup nuts, chopped
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl mix bananas, oil, butter, egg and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in nuts.
Pour into greased 9 x 5 x 3-inch baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until bread tests done.

Toffee Crunch Cookies
Barbara Arrington
1 cup sugar or ½ cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking
¾ cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ cup English toffee bits or chips
Sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine sugar, butter, egg and vanilla. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes). By hand, stir in toffee bits.
Shape dough into 1½ -inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly with bottom of glass. (If glass sticks, dip glass in sugar)
Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until edges just begin to turn light golden brown. (Do not over bake.) Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet. Sprinkle with additional sugar if desired. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Mom’s Chocolate Pound Cake
2 sticks butter or margarine
½ cup shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups plain flour
½ tsp. baking powder
4 Tbsp. cocoa
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and shortening; add sugar and eggs. Sift dry ingredients; add alternately with milk to creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla. Bake in a greased tube pan or two loaf pans for about 80 minutes or until tests done. Cool and frost.
Frosting
¾ stick butter or margarine, softened
5 Tbsp. cocoa
6 Tbsp. milk
1 box confectioners’ sugar
Cream butter and cocoa; add sugar alternately with milk. Mix until blended and smooth.

Sour Cream Pound Cake
2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sour cream (8 oz.)
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. In a separate bowl, place 3 cups flour and baking soda. Sift twice. Add sour cream to batter; add half of flour and mix well. Add remaining flour; add vanilla. Bake in greased pan for 1 hour or until tests done.

Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake with Almond Icing
Prepare Sour Cream Pound Cake as directed, except omit vanilla and add 1 tsp. almond extract. When cool, pour Almond Glaze over cake.
Almond Icing
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 to 3 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. hot water
Combine all ingredients; blend until smooth.

Chocolate Sour Cream Sheet Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. soda
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks butter or margarine
¼ cup cocoa
1 cup water
2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 by 13 inch pan with nonstick spray; set aside. Combine sugar, flour, soda and salt a large bowl and set aside. Combine butter, cocoa and water. Bring to a boil.
Gradually stir hot mixture into sugar/flour mixture and mix well. Stir in eggs, sour cream and vanilla.
Pour into the greased 9 by 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Frosting
1 stick butter or margarine
4 heaping Tbsp. cocoa
6 Tbsp. milk
1 box powdered sugar
1 or 2 tsp. vanilla
Combine butter, cocoa and milk. Bring to a boil. Slowly blend in powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Spread over warm cake.

Mom C’s Old Fashioned Pound Cake
1 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 cups cake flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. mace, optional
Cream butter, beat in sugar and eggs one at a time until light. Combine flour, salt and mace, if using. Fold in flour gradually. Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until tests done.

Buttermilk Pound Cake
3 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract, optional
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; mix well. Beat shortening and sugar in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time.
Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts.
Beat eggs whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Spoon into greased Bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1½ hours or until tests done.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake
3 sticks butter, softened
16 oz. pkg. plus 1 cup light brown sugar
5 eggs
3 cups sifted cake flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
Cream butter; gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Stir in vanilla. Add pecans.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until tests done.

Best Pumpkin Bread
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup oil
1 cup water
16 oz. or 15 oz. can solid pack pure pumpkin (2 cups)
4 eggs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all ingredients; beat for 3 minutes. Pour into two greased loaf pans.
Bake for one hour or until test done. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Freezes well.

Banana Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
½ cup shortening
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup milk
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
1 tsp. vanilla
Caramel Glaze
Beat butter and shortening until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Add alternately to mixture with milk. Stir in banana, pecans and vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes until tests done. When cool, drizzle with Caramel Glaze.
Caramel Glaze
¼ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring often and boil one minute without stirring. Add vanilla. Will thicken as it cools.

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