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Wichita Eagle Holiday Cookbook 2012 Main Courses in Seven Ingredients or Less

  • Published Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, at 11:52 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, at 5:25 p.m.

First place


1 pineapple, grilled

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 large red pepper, grilled

3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped

4 (6 to 8 oz. each) halibut steaks

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Slice pineapple into ¾-inch slices, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Quarter red pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill pepper about 3 minutes per side or until it begins to blacken but still crunchy. Grill pineapple 4 to 5 minutes per side or until nicely charred but still juicy. Cool and chop pineapple in small chunks and dice red pepper. Add garlic, cilantro, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and combine.

Drizzle steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add cilantro and place on foil tray. Grill until flaky about 12 to 15 minutes. Place halibut on plate and add 3 tablespoons of salsa on top.

I serve this with a side of grilled green beans and warm orzo salad.

Jackie Williams, Wichita

Second place


1 lb. or 2¼ cups rice

4½ cups chicken broth, water or mixture of both

10 to 12 chicken breasts, skinned

1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce

1 cup French dressing

1 pkg. onion soup mix

1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In large pot cook rice with chicken broth, water or mixture of both. Set aside. If preparing as a one-dish meal, spray 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread cooked rice in bottom of dish. Place chicken pieces directly on cooked rice in dish or lay chicken pieces into empty dish, if preparing separately from rice.

In medium bowl, mix cranberry sauce, French dressing, onion soup mix and dried cranberries. Pour over chicken pieces. Loosely lay foil over dish.

Bake for 1½ hours. Remove foil after 1 hour.

This may be served as a one-dish meal with chicken and rice prepared together or with the rice as a side dish and the sauced-chicken served over it.

This dish is tasty prepared with sliced pork tenderloin or pork chops. It can easily be enhanced to serve a large crowd. Plus, it can be prepared and refrigerated the day before cooking and serving. I prefer using wild rice or a mixture of wild rice and brown rice cooked in chicken broth. However, a favorite boxed rice works fine. This dish with a crisp green salad presents a lovely meal for family or entertaining. This has been one of my stand-by menus for serving six or as many as 45. It works.

If I’m preparing this meal for children, I substitute chicken thighs or legs. It’s less expensive, and they seem to like it better and are able to manage it better.

Katherine Hoffman, Wichita

Third place


1 boneless chicken breast per guest

1 can corn, drained

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can Rotel tomato-green chilies

1 pkg. taco seasoning

1 block cream cheese

Place in slow cooker and cook 4 to 5 hours on low. Shred chicken with fork and stir to mix everything well. Serve on flour tortillas, burrito style, or on tortilla chips, nacho style. Easily stretched by adding more corn, beans or chicken. Top with cheddar cheese or sour cream.

Riley Pfeifer, Wichita

Honorable mention


1½ lbs. ground beef

2 cans cream of broccoli soup

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 pkg. (16oz.) frozen broccoli flowerets, thawed and drained

2 pkgs. crescent roll seamless dough sheets

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground beef and drain. Combine beef, soup, cheese, and salt and pepper and gently fold in broccoli. Prepare 11x16-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread one dough sheet on the pan carefully without tearing it. Distribute meat and broccoli mixture evenly over dough sheet. Place other dough sheet over top slowly spreading it as it warms up to the edges of the bottom sheet and pinch and tuck all edges. Beat egg or separate egg white and wash top. Place in oven on middle rack, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe can be varied endless ways by using different meats, vegetables or cheese. You can use breakfast meat with hash browns and scrambled eggs and eliminate the soup for a brunch dish. Use your favorite pizza ingredients and substitute pizza sauce. For a Mexican flair, use seasoned beef or chorizo and pinto beans substituting in picante sauce. Your imagination is your only limit.

Todd Robison, Wichita

Honorable mention


5 to 7 lb. beef brisket

1 bottle (10 oz.) soy sauce

1 can (10 oz.) consomme

1 tablespoon vinegar

3 tablespoons liquid smoke

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon garlic salt or powder

Marinate brisket for 24 hours. Cover in foil and bake at 300 degrees in marinade for 4 to 6 hours.

This is ideal for family gatherings. It can be made in advance, cooled, sliced and stored in juices in which it was cooked until ready to reheat and serve. This makes it easy with very little fuss when serving. It has been a favorite of my family for years for special occasions such as birthdays and holidays.

Audrey Law, Garden City


4 pork chops, bone in about 1-inch thick

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 can cream of mushroom soup

½ to ¾ cup of milk

2 cups apple butter

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Season chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Mix half of soup with half of milk.

Pour in bottom of 9x13-inch casserole dish. Put 2 pork chops on top of soup and 1 cup of apple butter on top of each pork chop. Put remaining 2 pork chops on top of apple butter. Mix remaining soup and milk and pour on top. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 2 to 2½ hours.

You will have the most tender, luscious tasting pork chops. This recipe makes its own gravy, so have mashed potatoes and a side or two of vegetables and enjoy. This recipe came about wondering what to do with leftover apple butter. Everybody knows that apples go great with pork, right? My sister lives with me, and she always wants gravy with her meals. No need to put knives on the table because these pork chops are very fork-tender.

Millie Law, Wichita


4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless

1½ cups chunky picante sauce

Cooking spray

2 cups Frito chips, slightly crushed

1 cup Mexican-blend cheese, shredded

In slow cooker, pour in half of picante sauce, add chicken and cover with remaining picante sauce. Cook on high for 1½ hours. Remove chicken, cool slightly, and shred with two forks. Coat bottom and sides of 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Layer chips and chicken and cover with salsa. Top with cheese. Microwave on high until cheese melts.

My daughter, Holly Fitzgerald, convinced me to cook the chicken in the slow cooker with salsa, and the rest just seemed to fall into place.

Sherry Kincaid, Augusta


3 cans (7oz.) whole green chili peppers, drained

16 oz. Colby jack cheese, shredded

2 eggs, beaten

1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk

2 tablespoons flour

½ cup milk

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Lay half of green chilies evenly in bottom. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Cover with remaining green chilies. Mix eggs, milk, and flour and pour over chilies. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and pour tomato sauce evenly over top and bake for additional15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve.

This recipe is fast, delicious and easily prepared.

Debby Weber, Goddard


4 chicken breasts

2 apples

2 pears

2 oranges

3 tablespoons corn syrup

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 jar plum preserves

Grill chicken breasts. Sear until crisp and bake until done.

Core apples and pears. Peel oranges. Slice all fruit into medium-sized pieces. Put in saucepan. Add corn syrup. Cook down over medium to medium-low heat until soft for 30 to 60 minutes or heavy applesauce consistency.

After fruit has cooked down, add preserves to mixture. Fill preserve jar with water and add to mixture. Thicken with corn starch mixed with small amount of water. Place baked chicken on plate and cover with fruit sauce. Place remaining fruit mixture in dish and serve with chicken.

Best accompanied with rice. Peaches and grapefruit are optional in the making of the fruit sauce.

Sheila Webb, Wichita


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

½ cup flour

1 teaspoon pepper

1 cup ranch dressing

½ cup cheese, shredded

1 pkg. instant potatoes, prepared per pkg. directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cover baking sheet with foil. Trim chicken and pat dry. In small bowl, combine flour and pepper. Lightly coat chicken in flour and lay on baking sheet. Coat top side of chicken with ½ of ranch dressing. Turn chicken over and coat second side with remaining dressing.

Bake for 25 minutes. Top chicken with cheese and bake for additional 5 minutes.

Let chicken rest for 5 minutes or until cool. Serve with prepared potatoes.

I learned the hard way that foil is necessary for easy clean up on the baking sheet. You also can season the flour with granulated garlic, if desired. We usually add a salad or other cooked vegetable to this meal. I made up this recipe when I was trying to come up with something to season chicken breasts and had an empty pantry.

Becky Vander Hoeven, Wichita


Makes 4 servings.

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 can (14.5 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup Colby jack cheese, shredded

4 medium red or green bell peppers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat skillet and coat with cooking spray. Add ground beef and onions and cook 6 to 7 minutes or until browned. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and corn and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 7 minutes. Stir in ½ cup of cheese and remove from heat.

While beef mixture is simmering, core bell peppers by removing tops, seeds and white parts. If peppers will not stand up, slice off small part of bottom to make flat. Do not cut through pepper. Place peppers upside down on plate lined with damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 2½ to 3 minutes or until slightly steamed. Remove peppers from plate and place right side up in 8x8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Fill each pepper with beef and corn mixture. If there’s extra mixture, place in dish around peppers. Top all peppers with remaining cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and brown.

I always have enjoyed traditional stuffed peppers with rice. But this summer, my mother called me to tell me she tried something different and used corn. That got us thinking that we could make stuffed peppers a little differently and in a quicker way. This is the recipe I came up with based on our conversations this summer. They are so colorful and delicious. You would never know they were so simple.

Valerie Ethridge, Wichita


Makes 4 servings.

1 lb. lean ground beef

2 cups water

1 can (14 oz.) tomatoes with green peppers and onions

1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash table blend spice mix

1 cup pasta, uncooked

1 can (8 oz.) mushrooms, sliced and drained

1 cup cheese, shredded

Brown ground beef and drain fat. Stir in water and next 2 ingredients. Add pasta and mix well. Bring mixture to boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. During last 5 minutes, stir in mushrooms. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

This recipe has been a family favorite for years. It is easy and fast. Other meats and vegetables can be substituted with good results. I usually double it for leftovers and freeze in individual portions.

Aliece Lowe, Potwin


Makes 4 servings.

1 box long-grain rice

1 can cream of celery soup

8 oz. sour cream

8 oz. chicken broth

2 cups turkey or chicken, cooked and cubed

¼ stick butter

1 tube Ritz crackers, finely crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make rice according to directions. Mix soup, sour cream, broth and meat.

Melt butter and mix with crackers. Pour rice mixture into 9x9-inch greased baking dish. Top with crackers. Bake for 35 minutes.

This is an easy dish to help use up your leftover holiday turkey. I usually double the recipe when my son, who is in college, comes home as he tends to devour this.

Sherry Moran, Wichita


1 lb. hamburger

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

1 can ranch beans

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 can minestrone soup

Cheddar cheese, grated

Frito chips

Brown hamburger with onion. Drain. Add beans, tomatoes, minestrone soup. Heat thoroughly. Serve topped with cheese and chips.

You can stretch this dish with macaroni and tomato juice. This was a favorite among the Hutchinson High School debaters and swimmers. When I stretch it, I put it in a slow cooker until macaroni is tender.

Sharon Conklin, Hutchinson


8 oz. pasta

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 soup can milk

1½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

8 oz. Tex-Mex sour cream dip

Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Mix soup, milk, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and Tex-Mex dip together and heat on low to melt cheese, stirring frequently. Add cooked pasta and mix. Pour into greased baking dish. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until well heated. Or, cook in microwave for 8 to10 minutes.

This is a versatile recipe. Any kind of pasta, penne, spaghetti or spirals work. You can use cheddar cheese instead of the mozzarella or add diced cooked chicken, tuna or cooked ground beef for a main dish. For a large group, double the recipe and bake in 9x13-inch baking dish.

I usually made this dish with plain sour cream but was short of plain sour cream on one occasion and used the Tex-Mex dip to fill the gap. My granddaughter wanted to know what I had done differently because she thought it tasted so much better. When I told her I had only made the one substitution, she said to always make it that way. And so I have.

Millie Jamis, Wichita


1 cup water

2 lbs. round steak

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 can tomatoes, crushed

Put water and steak in large skillet. Season steak with salt and pepper. Top steak with onion and green pepper. Pour tomatoes over onion and green pepper. Cover and cook 4 hours or until steak is tender.

I love to serve this with mashed potatoes. The Swiss steak makes its own gravy. This is one of our favorite meals. There won’t be a drop left.

Melissa DeWinter, Wichita



1 cup flour, sifted

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup canola or olive oil

¼ cup cold water


5 eggs

¾ cup milk or cream

2 cups of any filling i.e. shredded cheese, ham, bacon, beef, sausage, chicken, spinach, tomato, broccoli, asparagus, etc.

For crust, mix flour and salt together in medium bowl. Whisk together oil and water. You must whisk together or it will not mix evenly into flour. Pour water and oil mixture into flour and mix with fork. Press dough into 9-inch pie pan to form crust. Make sure there are no holes.

For filling, whisk together eggs and milk. Add desired filling ingredients to egg mixture. Fill pie crust with egg mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until egg mixture is fully cooked.

This is perfect for any meal, appetizer, or light snack. Some of my favorite filling combinations: ham and shredded cheddar cheese, spinach and tomatoes with feta cheese and mushroom and onion with Swiss cheese.

Chris Lawson, Wichita

A holiday — even in a hurry — calls for something special and homemade. We asked readers to share their special occasion recipes that boast short ingredient lists. Entrants pared down favorite recipes to essential ingredients and used spices and herbs to bring out the flavor.

Jackie Williams of Wichita won first place in this category with her Halibut with Grilled Pineapple and Red Pepper Salsa.

Please scroll down to see winning recipes and more.

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