Explore ‘Cooking Possibilities’ this fall

Port parks department selling its stock of cookbooks filled with favorite recipes created to support playground

    If you’re looking for some new recipes to try this fall but want something that’s been time tested, the Port Washington Parks and Recreation Department has the answer for you.
    The department is selling its remaining copies of the “Cooking Possibilities” 10th anniversary edition cookbook.
    The cookbook, which sold out after its first printing in 2008, was so beloved that people asked for additional copies, so it was reissued in 2018 to celebrate the first decade of Possibility Playground.
    The playground in Upper Lake Park is accessible to children of all ages and abilities and has become one of the most used play areas in the City of Port.
    Like the playground, the cookbook has its roots in the community.
    Artwork in the book was created by children in the Port Washington-Saukville School District in June 2007, when playground planners held their Design Day to get ideas for the play area.
    After that, the Possibility Playground Committee spent six months gathering favorite recipes from community members, then typing them and creating the original cookbook.
    Committee members noted that the collection of recipes had something for everyone, just like the playground.
    It has 146 pages of recipes divided into categories that include children’s favorites, appetizers and beverages, soups and salad, vegetables and side dishes, main dishes, breads and rolls, desserts, cookies and candy and this and that, a catch-all category that has formulas for bubbles, baby wipes, dog treats, cornstarch clay and more.
    Copies of the hardcover cookbook are available at the Parks and Recreation office, 201 N. Webster St., while supplies last. The cost is $5.
    Proceeds will go to the city’s parks.
    Following are a few recipes from the cookbook.

cooking possibilities cookbook

Tuscan Peasant Soup
Karen Oleski

4 mild Italian sausages, preferably turkey
1 stalk celery, diced
3 medium zucchini or yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce or 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

    Slice sausages into 1/2-inch-thick slices. In large skillet, brown sausages, coating skillet with nonstick spray if using turkey sausage. Drain any fat, then add celery, zucchini and onion. Saute two minutes, stirring.
    Place broth, tomato sauce and basil into crock pot and mix.  Heat on high for 30 minutes. Add sausage-vegetable mix, reduce to low heat and cook two to three hours. Season with salt and pepper.
    Ladle into bowls and garnish with grated cheese.


Autumn Butternut Casserole
Mary Donna Froh

3 cups cooked, mashed butternut squash
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoon butter
1 apples, pared and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups corn flakes, crushed
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter

    Season squash with 1/4 cut butter and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Set aside.
    Heat remaining butter in skillet. Add apples and sprinkle with sugar. Cover and simmer on low five minutes. Spread mixture in three-quart casserole dish. Spoon squash over apples.
    Combine corn flakes, nuts, brown sugar and melted butter. Sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.


Buttermilk Chicken With Rhubarb-Strawberry Chutney
Michelle Norman

1-1/2 cups chicken breast
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

    For chutney, combine rhubarb, sugar, cranberries, vinegar, ginger and strawberries in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes, until rhubarb is tender. Remove from heat.
    Put chicken in a large bowl, pour buttermilk over chicken and let stand for 15 minutes.
    Place wheat germ, breadcrumbs, flour, pepper and salt in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk and coat both sides of chicken in wheat germ mixture. Place in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
    Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve with chutney drizzled over chicken.
    Makes four to six servings.


French Meat Pie
J.C. Kutska

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 cup mashed potatoes
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pastry for double crust pie
1 egg, beaten

    Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until tender. Remove and set aside.
    Brown pork and beef, then drain. Combine meat, potatoes and seasonings,
    Line pie plate with pastry. Fill with meat mixture, then top with second crust. Brush with egg.
    Bake in 375-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.


Enchilada Fantasticas
Lisa Neu

12 7-inch flour tortillas, warmed
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups picante sauce
1 10-ounce package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
14-1/2 ounces diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Lettuce, black olives, sour cream, for topping

    Cook turkey in skillet until it is no longer pink, breaking meat into small pieces. Drain. Add 1 cup picante sauce, 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin and salt and cook, stirring, for five minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
    Spoon about 1/3 cup filling down center of each tortilla. Roll and place seam-side down in a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch pan.
    Combine tomatoes, remaining picante sauce and cumin. Spoon over enchiladas. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, until hot. Sprinkle with cheese, then return to oven for two minutes to melt cheese.
    Top with favorite toppings and serve.
    Makes six servings.


Seafood Alfredo
Kim Howard

12 ounces bow tie pasta
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces imitation crab, flaked
5 ounces cooked salad shrimp, thawed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pepper
16 ounces Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

    Cook pasta according to directions.
    In a large skillet, saute garlic in olive oil until tender. Stir in crab, shrimp, lemon juice and pepper and cook one minute. Add Alfredo sauce and pea pods and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through.
    Drain pasta, top with seafood mixture and Parmesan cheese.
    Makes four to six servings.


Tenderloin With Chive Butter
Bill Schanen

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Zest of 1 lemon
4 tenderloin filets
Olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder
1 round loaf crusty French sourdough bread

    Rub fillets with olive oil and season with garlic powder, cayenne and black pepper to taste. Let sit for 1/2 hour to two hours.
    Mix butter, lemon zest and chives until combined. Shape into a two-inch wide log, wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
    Slice bread into four 1-1/2-inch wide slices, reserving the rest of the loaf for another purpose. Brush slices with olive oil and grill, turning once. Set aside.
    Slice herb butter into four portions. Grill steak until medium-rare. Place one slice herb butter on each filet and let sit on grill for one minute. Remove and let rest for five minutes.
    Serve filets on bread.



Mini-Morsel Shortbread Squares
Lauren Bendt

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cup flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate mini-morsels

    Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour, then stir in 1 cup mini-morsels.
    Press mixture into bottom of an ungreased 13-by-9-inch pan. Bake in 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until top is light brown. Sprinkle with remaining mini-morsels. Let stand five minutes or until morsels are shiny, then spread chocolate evenly.
    Cool completely in pan on wire race, then cut into squares.


Buttery Oatmeal Turtle Bars
Barbara Shultis

For bars:
1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cups pecans
2 4-ounce sweet baking chocolate bars
For topping:
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    To make bars, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and butter. Pat firmly into 9-by-13-inch pan. Sprinkle with pecans.
    To make topping, place butter and brown sugar into a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until entire surface is boiling. Boil one minute, then remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour mixture over pecans.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes. Break chocolate into pieces and sprinkle over hot bars. Cut into bars with still warm


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Stacy Peters

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces chocolate chips

    Mix butter, peanut butter, sugar and eggs.
    In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Blend with butter-sugar mixture. Shape into one-inch balls, then flatten with a fork dipped in flour.
    Bake in 375-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until set but not hard.
    Dough can be made ahead of time and chilled.



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