Recently, the Life Department asked Mirror readers to send us their favorite holiday recipes.
Following are some of the submissions we received. Additional recipes have been posted online at www.altoonamirror.com, in the Life section, under the tab "recipes."
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Tami Smith, 37, of Williamsburg wrote in her email submission that her recipe for what she titles "Favorite Coffee Cake" was passed down from her mother.
"It is definitely a family favorite that is great for those busy mornings that you still want something special, like Christmas morning," Smith said. "I plan on making it for Christmas. We're going to have a Christmas brunch and have people over and have it for everyone."
It's a meal that brings people together, she explained.
"It's very homey. It's something that I grew up with and it's a quick and easy breakfast," she said. "I always have images of sitting around the table with the family and having coffee cake and coffee and talking and just spending family time together."
It isn't only a holiday recipe, however.
"I make it more for special occasions, like Christmas or birthdays or if there's a special request," Smith said. "The last time I made it was for my father's birthday this summer. He always requests it as his birthday cake."
Favorite Coffee Cake
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
Combine all batter ingredients, beating until mixed. In a separate bowl mix together topping ingredients until crumbly and blended thoroughly.
Pour half of the batter in a prepared angle food or bundt pan. Sprinkle half of the topping on the batter then pour in remaining batter and top with remainder of topping mixture. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50-60 minutes.
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Diana Longenecker of Williamsburg submitted a healthy casserole recipe that she says she makes about once a month. This Ham and Potato Casserole is one she found online several years ago at www.cooks. com.
"It is quick and easy to make, and it includes dairy, which my family loves," she said.
Longenecker, a Blair County Dairy Promotion Committee Member, said, "It is a great way to entertain with dairy and it has the nine essential nutrients found in milk that our bodies need."
Ham and Potato Casserole
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
5 cups thinly sliced, peeled potatoes, parboiled
1 pound leftover ham, cubed
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
Blend soup, milk and pepper. Combine with rest of ingredients, except butter. Turn into a greased casserole dish.
Dot with butter and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.
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Jean Sollenberger, another member of the Blair County Dairy Promotion Committee, found her favorite holiday recipe in a farm magazine. The Ranch Potato Casserole is a great dish for the ever-popular holiday banquet, she said.
"If you're going to a potluck dinner, it'll go with almost every recipe there," Sollenberger said. "My husband is a meat and potatoes guy, and if he has his meat and potatoes, he's a happy guy."
Plus, she said, the ingredients are crowd pleasers.
"As Princess Coordinator for the Blair County Dairy Princess, I'm always looking for recipes that have a lot of dairy," Sollenberger said.
"And, I'm sorry, but if you put together sour cream and ranch dressing and bacon - that's just good eating," she added with a laugh.
Ranch Potato Casserole
6 to 8 medium red potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup ranch dressing
2 cups slightly crushed corn flakes
1/4 cup crumbled bacon
1/2 pound butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Boil quartered potatoes until tender and place in a greased 13 -by-9 inch baking dish.
Combine sour cream, dressing, bacon, parsley and 1 cup cheese. Pour over potatoes and toss lightly. Top with 1/2 cup cheese.
Combine corn flakes and melted butter and sprinkle mixture over casserole.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 50 minutes.
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Sollenberger's daughter, Angela Sollenberger Counterman, also submitted a recipe to the Mirror. Her Party Punch Cooler comes together quickly and gets everyone involved.
"It's a great holiday recipe, because even the little kids can help make it with you and it doesn't take long to make," she said. "So it's fast, easy and yummy."
It's also a Christmas specialty, said the 29-year-old Juniata resident.
"I enjoy this recipe because it mixes two of my favorite things: milk and sherbet," Sollenberger Counterman said. "We normally make it for Christmas festivities - I have a large family so the punch goes a long way."
Party Punch Cooler
1 quart whole or 2 percent milk
1 quart sherbet, any flavor
1 quart vanilla ice cream
48 ounces of orange, pineapple or apple juice
Soften the ice cream and sherbet.
Do not add the milk and juice until you are ready to serve it.
Combine all the ingredients in your punch bowl. Mix together.
The flavor of sherbet determines the color of your punch. If you want you can freeze a ring of the juice to put in your punch bowl.
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Kathy McNelis, 52, of Tyrone has a number of recipes that she saves for the Christmas season. Among the ones she submitted to the Mirror was this recipe for Sensational Double Layer Pumpkin Pie. (Her other recipes can be found at www.altoonamirror.com.)
"This recipe is exactly how its named - 'sensational,'" McNelis wrote in her submission. "I found [the recipe] online one day, while searching the Internet and thought I'd give it a try."
She's happy that the recipe caught her eye.
"Now it's become one of my favorites," she said.
Sensational Double Layer Pumpkin Pie
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, cold half and half or milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups thawed whipped topping
1 graham cracker pie crust
2 packages (4 serving size) vanilla instant pudding
1 16-ounce can of pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of half and half or milk and sugar with wire wisk until smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spread on bottom of pie crust.
Pour remaining half and half or milk into mixing bowl and add pudding mix. Beat with wire wisk until well-blended (approximately 1 to 2 minutes). Let stand for 3 minutes.
Stir in pumpkin and spices and mix well. Spread in pie crust over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate pie for at least two hours.
Top with whipped cream and crushed pecans or walnuts (optional).
Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick is at 946-7466.