Dessert or salad?

Ann Swanson

When I put together my cookbooks it was hard to decide on the classification for some of my recipes.

One recipe that comes to mind is bread pudding. Bread pudding is often served as a dessert. It can also be served as part of the main course. When I serve it as part of the main course, I usually serve sausage with it, then add a dish of fruit. I add raisins (high in iron) to the pudding but do not add the hard sauce that it often calls for.

Another recipe that fits into this category is strawberry pretzel salad. It does not seem like much of a salad to me but that was the way I received the recipe. This “salad” is a favorite with my family. It makes a delicious thing to take to a tureen dinner.

Now, before you get all bent out of shape, I will include both of these recipes before I am done. I know that my readers like it when I include recipes.

I really like to cook. I also like to experiment with my cooking. I am not afraid to season with herbs and spices. I have found that things taste so much better when I add them.

I taught myself to cook. My grandmother was sort of a plain cook. Meals were mostly meat and potatoes along with a vegetable and some fruit for dessert. I think maybe grandpa liked it that way. I remember cutting a couple of bananas into dishes and adding milk and sugar. That was a way to make the bananas go further, I think.

My mother did not cook much either. When we lived with my grandparents, grandma did the cooking. When we lived in our own apartment I came home from school before my mother did from work so I cooked. When she married my step-father he was home from work first so he cooked. She really did not need to cook very much. I do not think she missed doing it either.

Grandma seldom made casseroles or soup. I love to make both of these dishes. My grandson always told me my soups were the best. I make soup almost every week all winter long. As most of you realize it is impossible to make a small batch of soup. By the time you add all of the ingredients, you have a fairly large pot of soup.

Our sister church is having a soup tasting this weekend. Everyone submits two quarts of soup for tasting. When you attend you may taste as many of the submissions as you like, then, you vote for your favorite one. This is the second annual event so it went over well last year. The public is welcome to come for the tasting.

It is always a fun evening. Our church is going together to create an entry. I have not yet decided if I want to do a batch on my own. If I do, I have to turn in my entry form – soon.

Bread Pudding

2 c. dried bread, cut into one-inch pieces

2 large eggs – slightly beaten

2 c. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ c. brown sugar

¼ c. white sugar

½ c. raisins

Combine eggs, milk, vanilla, sugars, and raisins. Place bread pieces into 2 qt. dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Pour liquid mixture over cubes. Place dish in a pan of warm water. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 min. It is done when a knife inserted halfway between center and outside comes out clean. Serve warm or cold.

Note: brioche bread works well so does regular white bread, I have even used stale cookies for part of the bread. Fig newtons work quite well. My aunt used them because her husband always bought them when he went to the store. If your eggs are very large you may need to add another ¼ c. milk.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 (3 oz.) pkg. strawberry gelatin – you may use the no sugar kind or regular

2 c. boiling water

1 lg. pkg. frozen strawberries with sugar

2 c. chunked pretzels

¾ c. butter, melted

3 T. sugar

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese softened

½ c. sugar

1 (6 oz.) ctn. Whipped topping

There will be three layers: pretzel crust, cream cheese, and gelatin. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add strawberries, frozen. Allow to soft-set. Mix pretzel pieces with melted butter and sugar. Press crust into 9×13-inch cake pan. Bake for 5 min. at 400 degrees. Cool this. Mix cream cheese, softened, sugar and whipped topping. Put on top of pretzel crust. Spoon on gelatin layer. Refrigerate until time to serve. Cut into squares to serve.

If I decide to enter some soup, I will print that recipe another time.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.