Champagne Salad, Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole and The Best Cocoa Cookie

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By Andy Bedwell

“The great thing about entertaining is being with the people you have invited. It is a bit discomfiting for your guests if you are slaving over the stove, and emerge, hot and rather martyred, just in time to sit down at the table with your guests!”

– Claire MacDonald, The Harrods Book of Entertaining, 1986

Champagne Salad

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (softened)

¾ cup sugar

1 (10-ounce) package

frozen sliced strawberries

1 (16-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

2 large bananas, diced

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 (8-ounce) carton

Cool Whip

Mix cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Gradually fold in fruits, nuts and topping, one at a time. Freeze.

Andy’s Note: This pretty, strawberry colored salad is particularly beautiful when served on a ruffled, red-tipped lettuce leaf. Garnish it with a slice of fresh strawberry, if available, or a few chopped nuts. I love it because it can be served as a salad or a dessert. Sometimes for a little added color, I add a drop of red coloring.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

3 cups cooked chicken

1 package Uncle Ben’s

wild rice

1 can cream of celery soup

1 medium jar

chopped pimento

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1 (16-ounce) can French style green beans, drained

1 can water

chestnuts, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

Boil chicken in seasoned water and chop when done. Cook wild rice in chicken broth with a little less liquid than the package says. Mix with other ingredients. Sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley. Place in a large casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Andy’s Note: This is a very good and colorful casserole. Cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes are wonderful sides with this casserole. I hope all of you are enjoying these good ole Southern recipes of the 1980’s and 90’s. In my opinion, they are the best!

The Best Cocoa Cookie

¾ cup oil

¾ cup cocoa

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons

vanilla flavoring

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar

Stir oil and cocoa together until blended. Stir in sugar and then eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Stir flour, baking powder and salt into the oil mixture. Chill several hours or overnight. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough into powdered sugar and then shape into balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE!

Andy’s Note:  I had forgotten how wonderful these cookies taste. In fact, I am going to refresh my memory and bake some today! I love a good cookie!

All of these recipes can be made ahead and you can bake your casserole when ready to serve. My sister has most of her dinner in the refrigerator by at least 10 a.m. every morning. This makes preparing dinner so much easier!

Happy Cooking, Andy

.“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at The Messenger newspaper located at 1957 Rainbow Drive in Gadsden.

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