Festive food for 2011 from SMU faculty and staff

Stock photo of holiday cookiesSMU Forum‘s 7th annual holiday recipe roundup is here! We have festive food ideas from all over campus: Make sure your favorite is among them. We’re looking for side dishes, main courses, desserts, sweets, food gifts, game-day snacks, kosher and ethnic treats, vegetarian recipes…you name it. Add yours to the mix by sending them to Kathleen Tibbetts, fax 214-768-7663.

Denise Gee of News and Media Relations leads a double life as a cookbook author and entertaining guru. Her latest book, Porch Parties: Cocktail Recipes and Easy Ideas for Outdoor Entertaining, was published by Chronicle Books in 2010. “This recipe is a holiday favorite at my house,” she says.

John Folse’s Crawfish Dressing

1 medium onion
1 celery rib
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (16-oz.) packages frozen peeled, cooked crawfish tails, thawed
2 cups cooked long-grain rice
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
2 tbsp. Creole seasoning
1/2 tsp. pepper
Chopped fresh parsley

Chop first 4 ingredients. Cook vegetables, ground beef, and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 10 minutes, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink.

Stir in crawfish and next 6 ingredients; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350° F for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with parsley. Serves 8 to 10.


Cherri Gann of News and Media Relations sent this recipe. “I made these last year for a cookie exchange, and twice this month. They’ve been a hit every time,” she says.

Last-Minute Homemade Snickerdoodles
(Adapted from DuncanHines.com)

1 package yellow cake mix
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. cinnamon
Cinnamon sugar (approx. 1 tsp. cinnamon and 3 tbsp. sugar blended together)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease cookie sheet pan OR line with parchment paper. (Regular sheet pans work best for this recipe. Do not use airbake-style cookie sheets.)

Combine cake mix, eggs, oil and cinnamon. Stir until well blended. Shape dough into 1-1/2-inch balls, and roll each ball in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place balls about one-inch apart on pan. Bake 10-14 minutes. Cool on pan for five minutes; transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen.


Eva Parks, director of integrated video communications, sent these recipes for holiday entertaining. She keeps a record of her favorite food finds at her Facebook blog, “What’s Eva Eating?”

Chicken and Artichoke Farfalle

3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
16 oz. cooked farfalle (bowtie pasta)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz. jar sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
8 oz. jar artichoke hearts, sliced
8 oz. jar pesto (I get the 7 oz. tub in the deli section with the fresh pasta)
4 oz. jar pimentos
8 oz. jar pine nuts
1 bag (2 to 2-1/2 cups) grated mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into a baking dish. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook uncovered for an additional 20-25 minutes.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

6-8 red potatoes (about 2-1/2 lbs.)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Cracked black pepper (optional)

Pierce potatoes with a fork and microwave on high 6-7 minutes until soft. Let them cool and mash them. Set aside.

Measure flour into a large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Garnish each serving with cheese, onions, and bacon. Top off with cracked pepper, if desired.

Spiked Banana Bread
(Inspired by Cooking Light Magazine)

1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
6 tbsp. butter, melted and divided
1/4 cup dark rum, divided
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
Cooking spray
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine banana, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter, and 3 tablespoons cognac in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat; cool.

Place banana mixture in a large bowl. Add yogurt, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and eggs. Beat with a mixer at medium speed.

Combine flour and next 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; place on wire rack.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter, remaining 1 tablespoon cognac, and powdered sugar; stir until well blended. Drizzle over the warm bread.


Kelly Milazzo of Student Financial Services says, “Here is a recipe I love to make for the holidays. It’s kid-friendly and also makes a fun gift.”

Reindeer Poop

1 package chocolate almond bark
1 package mini marshmallows
3/4 package crunchy chow mein noodles
1 cup raisins

Mix all ingredients together EXCEPT almond bark. Make sure the bowl you use is big enough to mix in the melted chocolate.

Melt the almond bark in a microwave-safe bowl. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well.

Spoon out mounds onto wax paper and let harden. You can make them any size you want. I like to spoon out about 1/4 of a cup of the mix for each poop. I give them as gifts by placing them in a bag or gift container and make a label for it that reads:

“You’ve been naughty so here is the scoop,
You get nothing for Christmas except reindeer poop.”

You can customize the recipe by adding in other ingredients such as coconut, your favorite nut, crumbled bacon or roughly chopped graham crackers.


Karen Shoholm of Integrated Marketing sends a recipe for a Nordic holiday favorite. This moist, delicious cake is usually baked in a special pan, available for about $12 at specialty stores. It can also be prepared in an 8-inch square pan – “but this is so much prettier baked in an almond cake pan that you may want to go out and get one,” she says. (Below, Karen shares the recipe that comes free with the almond cake pan available from a Scandinavian specialty store in Plano.)

Scandinavian Almond Cake
(Recipe courtesy of The Wooden Spoon in Plano)

Sliced almonds (for coating the baking pan)
1-1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp. almond extract
2/3 cup milk
1-1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 stick melted butter or margarine
Powdered sugar (for sprinkling)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray an almond cake pan or 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle the pan with sliced almonds.

Combine the sugar, egg, almond extract and milk and beat well. Add the flour, baking powder and melted butter or margarine and mix very well. Pour mixture into the pan and bake at 350° F for 40-50 minutes. Edges must be golden brown.

Cool the cake in the pan before removing. Turn out onto a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

About Kathleen Tibbetts

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