2016 Holiday Cookbook: Soups and sides

Cheesy Ranch Potatoes
Cheesy Ranch Potatoes The Wichita Eagle

First Place: Esquites (Creamy Corn Cups)

Makes 4 servings

1 package (12 to 16 ounces) frozen whole kernel corn

4 tablespoons real mayonnaise

4 tablespoons real butter

Ground chili powder for sprinkling

Kosher salt for sprinkling

4 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco, cotija or feta cheese

Lime wedges

Microwave corn about four to six minutes, until hot and tender-crisp. Divide the hot corn among four cups or small glasses. Top each cup with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon butter, a sprinkle of chili powder, a sprinkle of salt and 1 tablespoon crumbled cheese. Serve hot with lime wedges and spoons.

This easy side dish will remind you of Mexican Street Corn. Esquites are a typical street food served in cups and eaten with a spoon and squeeze of lime. The more you stir, the creamier and more delicious this becomes. “Taco Tuesday” just got a lot more fun.

Peg Bowman, Wichita

Second Place: Slow-Cooker Mexican Chowder

2 cups chicken breast, cooked and chopped

1 can Mexicorn, drained

1 can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed

3 cups chicken broth

1 package taco seasoning

1 can cream of chicken soup

4 ounces Velveeta cheese

8 ounces sour cream

Toppings: chopped cilantro, green onion, tortilla chips, avocado

Mix all of the above ingredients except the Velveeta, sour cream and toppings in a Crockpot. Cook on high about four hours or on low about eight hours. About 30 minutes before it’s done, add the Velveeta and sour cream and cook until Velveeta is melted and everything is combined. Serve with toppings.

Steph Hilger, Colwich

Third Place: Cheesy Ranch Potatoes

8-10 potatoes, peeled and cubed (not too small)

1 10 3/4-ounce can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dry seasoning

1 1/4 cups milk

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes for 10-12 minutes. Drain water. Pour potatoes into a sprayed 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients (except bacon) together in a bowl and pour over potatoes. Give them a good stir and sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top of potatoes, along with some extra cheese if you want. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Cover with foil after 30 minutes and bake for the remaining 20 minutes.

This is a favorite side dish for my family. Easy to make, great flavor and delicious!

Shelia Devor, Towanda

Honorable Mention: Five Star No Fail Cheese Souffle

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, mix butter, flour, milk and mustard. Place over medium heat, stirring frequently. When the mixture begins to thicken, add cheese and continue stirring until cheese is melted. Stir egg yolks lightly and add to cheese mixture. Set pan aside off heat. In separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Fold into the cheese mixture. Pour into ungreased, 1 1/2-quart round oven-proof casserole dish. Place dish in a pan. Add approximately 1 to 2 inches water into pan. Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes. Shake, and if wobbly, bake a few minutes longer until set but not rock solid, as you want it to be fluffy.

Such an easy, yet most impressive alternative to the ever-present potato or pasta, with the bonus of simple ingredients. Other firm cheese (Swiss, Monterey jack, etc.) may be substituted or even combined with the cheddar. A perfect opportunity to use up “bits and pieces.”

To truly “gild the lily,” this souffle is beautifully enhanced with some simple toppings to spoon over individual servings. Add 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms to one can cream of mushroom soup diluted with 1/3 cup white wine and heated in pan until warm enough to serve. An even heartier variation is to use cream of chicken soup, white wine, plus a well-drained small can of white-meat chicken.

The beauty of a souffle is that nobody but the cook knows how simple it is to prepare. Dazzlement is in the eye of the beholder!

Katherine Hoffman, Wichita

Honorable Mention: Crispy Eggplant

Serves 4

3/4 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise

2 tablespoons minced onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 eggplant (cut in 1/2-inch pieces)

Mix together first three ingredients. In a shallow dish or on sheet of wax paper, combine panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Brush both sides of eggplant with mayonnaise mixture. Coat with crumb mixture. Place in shallow roasting pan or baking sheet that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes or until brown.

Lois Hofmeier, Harper

Shrimp Salad

2 cups cooked, peeled, de-veined shrimp

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup chopped unpeeled cucumbers

1/4 cup chopped chives

Salad greens


Lemon wedges


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon chili sauce

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar

Toss shrimp, rice, celery, cucumbers and chives in large bowl. Blend dressing ingredients and pour over shrimp mixture. Chill at least four hours.

Serve on salad greens, top with horseradish and garnish with lemon wedges.

This is best when served with champagne.

Deborah Oller, Wichita

Sweet Potatoes Mashed with Coconut Milk and Cilantro

3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 medium) peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 1/2 cups water

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

1 cup coconut milk, warmed, plus extra as needed

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Combine potatoes, water, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt in slow cooker. Cover and cook about four to six hours or until potatoes are tender.

Drain potatoes, discard garlic, then return them to slow cooker and mash thoroughly with potato masher. Fold in warmed coconut milk; can add more as needed to adjust consistency. Fold in cilantro and sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. This dish can be held on warm setting for one to two hours before serving; loosen with additional hot coconut milk as needed before serving.

Or if you’re in a hurry, you can do this: bring potatoes, water, garlic cloves, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan, simmering 20 minutes; test for doneness.

Drain potatoes, discard garlic, return to saucepan and mash thoroughly with potato masher. Fold in warmed coconut milk; can add more if needed to adjust consistency. Fold in cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

I took this dish to a potluck New Year’s Eve dinner as a side to barbecue. It was a big hit and disappeared instantly. I made the recipe on the stove and put it in my Crockpot to keep it warm for transport and buffet serving.

Vicki Mork, Wichita

My #1 Greatest Grandpa James Alvin Thomas’s Jalapeno Coconut Honey Orange Lemon Mustard Slaw

1 teaspoon of sweetened coconut flakes

1 teaspoon of orange zest

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

1 teaspoon of jalapeno, seeded and stemmed

3/4 cup of mayonnaise (real Hellman’s is best or you can use Miracle Whip)

1/4 cup of Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons of Tupelo honey or any kind of honey will work, too

1/4 cup of rice vinegar

1/2 small head of green cabbage, finely shredded

1/2 small head of red cabbage, finely shredded

1/2 cup of julienne carrots

1/2 cup of green onion, finely sliced

1 teaspoon of dill seeds

1 teaspoon of celery seeds

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of hot sauce, like Tabasco

In a blender or processor, combine sweetened coconut flakes, orange and lemon zest, jalapeno, mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, Dijon mustard, honey and rice vinegar. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt and black-cracked pepper; reserve.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the red and green cabbage, carrots, onion, dill and celery seeds, and toss.

Fold dressing mixture into cabbage mixture and season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Chill until needed and enjoy. It’s different and a superduper extra slaw! This recipe is dedicated to my late, greatest grandpa James Alvin Thomas, whom I love very much.

Melissa De Winter, Wichita

Mississippi Comeback Sauce

Makes a pint jar full

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup chili sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Mix all ingredients well and store in refrigerator overnight. It needs to sit to let the flavors get “acquainted.” Use this on everything BUT Cheerios.

Karen K. Lawless, Derby

Quick Chicken and Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 scallions, thinly sliced (green onions optional)

1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares

1/2 pound red potatoes, unpeeled, washed and cut into 1/4-inch dice

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 can (14 3/4 ounces) cream style corn

1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups half and half milk

1 cup water

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add scallions, bell pepper and potatoes. Cook five minutes or until bell pepper is tender. Add flour, stirring to coat all.

Stir in broth, salt, cayenne popper, thyme and water; bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover, cook five minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in creamed corn, chicken and half and half. Bring just to a boil and serve.

I use a deli chicken for this recipe often in the winter. It's one of our favorites!

Betty Parsons, Wichita

Black Bean Soup

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup salsa

1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup chopped cooked boneless pork loin

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

4 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped scallions

Heat oil in large nonstick saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden.

Add enough water to the broth to equal 2 cups. Add the chicken broth, corn, beans, salsa, chipotle chile powder and cumin to the saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about five minutes. Stir in the pork and lime juice; simmer until heated through. Serve with sour cream and chopped scallions.

Paula Richards, Wichita

Maple Baked Butter Beans

Olive oil cooking spray

1/2 large Vidalia sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, finely chopped

2 cans seasoned butter beans (14.5 to 15 ounces), drained

3/4 cup tomato ketchup

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons chipotle roasted garlic seasoning

Nonstick aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Coat 9-inch baking dish with spray.

Slice onion (makes aproximately 1 1/2 cups); chop bacon.

Preheat large, nonstick saute pan on medium-high for two to three minutes. Place bacon in pan; cook three to four minutes, stirring occasionally, or until browned. Add onions; cook three to four minutes, stirring occasionally, or until onions soften and begin to brown.

Stir beans, ketchup, syrup and seasoning into bacon mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Transfer bean mixture to baking dish and cover with foil; bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake five to six more minutes or until top begins to brown. Serve.

This yummy butter bean dish goes very well with salmon, grouper or shrimp served with an orzo, cucumber and tomato salad and topped off by a sliver of Key lime pie. Watch out – you will have a Florida-on-your-mind experience. Enjoy!

Cylesta Peters, Goddard

Chicken and Grape Salad

3 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 cup red seedless grapes, halved

1 large apple, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup honey mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Stir together all ingredients in the order listed in a large bowl.

This is a family favorite.

Nancy Bettis, Wichita

Winter Citrus and Coconut Fruit Salad

1/2 cup coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened)

1/2 cup cashews

1 cup pineapple chunks, drained

3/4 cup mandarin orange slices, drained

2 kiwi fruits sliced in small cubes

Combine all ingredients and chill. Enjoy as a side.

Fresh or canned, this vitamin C-rich salad is the perfect side with its jewel-like appearance.

Paula Luteran, Hutchinson

Grandma Harshbarger’s Pimento Cheese

16-ounce jar sweet pickles (drained)

3 2-ounce jars pimentos (drained)

1 pound bulk cheese (medium or sharp)

2 eggs, beaten

2 or 3 tablespoons prepared mustard

1 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar

Pepper to taste

1 tablespoon butter

Grind pickles, pimentos and cheese together in a large bowl. In a pot, stir eggs, mustard, sugar, salt, flour, white distilled vinegar, pepper and butter together. Cook, stirring until thick.

Add to cheese mixture; mix well and use on crackers or small bread. Can also be used on celery. Can make small sandwiches. Place in refrigerator.

Beverly Harshbarger, Wichita

Funeral Dinner Vegetable Cheese Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

3 cups chicken broth

6 cups vegetables (mixture of bite-size broccoli florets, cauliflower florets and shredded carrots)

2 1/2 cups 2 percent milk

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded

4 ounces reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

Dash of nutmeg

Heat oil on medium-low in Dutch oven. Saute garlic until lightly browned. Add broth and vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are tender. Whisk flour into milk and add to Dutch oven, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened. If desired, vegetables can be broken up with a potato masher. Remove Dutch oven from heat and add cheese. Stir until melted. Add pepper, salt and nutmeg and serve immediately.

This soup came about because I had a lot of leftover vegetables when I was preparing a relish tray for a funeral dinner and didn’t want to waste them. The different vegetables make for a healthy and colorful soup.

Susan Carp, Wichita

Skillet Fried Corn

8 ounces chopped bacon

1 chopped onion

1 medium chopped green bell pepper

1 medium chopped red bell pepper

2 packages (16 ounces) frozen corn

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Sprinkle of celery salt

Cook bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until evenly brown but still soft (about five minutes). Drain, reserve drippings, and return bacon and 1/3 cup drippings back to skillet. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked. Add corn and seasonings and cook until corn is heated through and tender, about 15 minutes.

Clara Barber Hess, Wichita

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