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A potpourri of recipes

I experimented with a potpourri of new recipes (at least new to me) over the weekend that were outstanding, so they will be the foundation for my column this week.

Now that my kids are grown and gone I don't make cookies very often, but was in the mood and thought I would treat my little grandkids. I didn't get my traditional peanut blossoms made over the holidays, and since I had the chocolate kisses on hand, I decided to choose a new recipe and bake and freeze some.

The recipe I finally decided upon was perfect and yielded a huge batch. I ended up with seven dozen cookies and could have easily had more, because some of them were quite large.

After a brief visit by my little Edward and Lily, that count was quickly down considerably, but then isn't that what it's all about - enjoying fresh warm cookies straight from the oven while the chocolate is still warm and soft in the center?

Still in the baking mood, I pulled out another new recipe - one for plain old, coconut cookies, which I took a step further by placing a half dozen semi-sweet chocolate chips on the top straight out of the oven, waited for them to melt, then spread like frosting and dipped in fresh, sweetened coconut. The outcome was absolutely chewy and delicious.

I also chose three new recipes to prepare for Sunday evening dinner - all also wonderful hits and ones that I will definitely keep in my 'make again' file.

The Chicken Parmesan, which took only ten minutes to prep, was absolutely delicious, as was the homemade Caesar Salad dressing and the warm garlic bread accenting the entrée.

Oddly, the recipe didn't' call for Parmesan cheese, but I did sprinkle about a ¼ cup over the top of the spaghetti sauce before I put it in the oven to bake. I added the mozzarella at the end of baking (about the last ten minutes) so the cheese didn't bake too long.

I also baked the chicken longer than the 20 minutes in the first step (about 30 minutes) because the chicken I used was a little bit thicker than normal and I wanted to make sure it was done in the middle.

Because of the ease in preparation and its delicate gourmet quality without all the fuss, this would be a fantastic meal to serve when entertaining company, whether it's a small or large group. It simply doesn't get any better.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours happy cooking.

Oven-Baked Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 ¼ pounds)

1 egg, slightly beaten

¾ cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

1 jar (26 to 28 ounce) Spaghetti sauce of your choosing (I used Prego and Hunt's combined as I made a double batch)

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dip chicken in egg, then bread crumbs, coating well. Place chicken in greased 9x13 glass baking dish. Bake uncovered 20 minutes. Pour pasta sauce over chicken, then top with cheese. Bake an additional ten minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve with hot cooked pasta. (I used thin spaghetti, but it would be great with penne, rigatoni or any other kind.) Serves four.

Caesar Salad Dressing

½ cup real mayonnaise

¼ cup milk

¼ cup plus 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine all in small container and blend well. Drizzle right before serving over a bowl full of fresh, crisp greens, topped with ½ cup of slivered almonds, ½ cup of craisins and several thin slices of Bermuda onions. Delicious.

Silage Bread

2 sticks butter

¾ cup minced chives

¾ cup chopped parsley

2 tbsp. basil

½ tsp. garlic salt

Spread on each side of extra long loaf of French bread cut in half. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until mixture melts in. Slice in pieces and serve warm.

Yummy Peanut Butter Blossoms

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 eggs

¼ cup milk

2 tsp. vanilla

3 ½ cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 package chocolate kisses

Cream sugar, brown sugar, butter and peanut butter. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into egg mixture. Shape into balls and roll in additional granulated sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately press kisses into cookies.

Coconut Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

3 ¼ cups flour

2 tsp. cream of tartar

2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Sift flour, cream of tarter, and baking soda. Add to cream mixture and blend well. Add coconut. The mixture will be sort of thick. Form into balls the size of a walnut. Place on a greased cookie sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake for nine to ten minutes.