Explore ‘Cooking Possibilities’ this holiday

n Possibility Playground cookbook, filled with favorite recipes, has been reissued just in time for Christmas

Tired of making the same old foods for dinner? Looking for new treats to serve this holiday season? Want to support a good cause?

Possibility Playground in Port Washington has the answer to these questions — the “Cooking Possibilities” 10th anniversary edition cookbook.

The cookbook sold out after it was released in 2008, filled with favorite recipes from the community. And since that time, people have repeatedly asked for copies, said Stacy Peters, a member of the Possibility Playground committee.

The playground is celebrating its first decade, and organizers are fundraising again. They want to install a number of new features, including an accessible merry-go-round, and the City of Port Washington is making plans to install a new surface on the playground.

So it seemed logical to reissue the cookbook, Peters said.

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.

And after that, the committee spent six months gathering favorite recipes from community members, then typing them up and creating the original cookbook.

“The collection of recipes has something for everyone, just like the playground,” Peters said. “Fun kid-friendly recipes, that favorite potluck recipe everyone loves, plus a ‘this and that’ section with baby wipes and play dough recipes.”

Just in time for the holidays, the hardcover cookbook is ready for purchase. It’s priced at $20, or can be shipped throughout the United States for an additional $5.

Copies are available at Port Washington State Bank branches in Port and Saukville or online at possibilityplayground.org/donate.

Following are a few recipes from the cookbook.


Hamburger Cookies
Tyler Shultis

80 vanilla wafers
40 thin mint chocolate cookies
1 tube red frosting
1 tube yellow frosting

    Squeeze red frosting onto the bottom of a vanilla wafer. Place thin mint on top of that. Squeeze yellow frosting on the bottom of another wafer cookie and place on the thin mint.
    Repeat until all wafers are used.



Holiday Snack Mix
Sue Stoecker

1 cup pistachios, shelled
1 cup honey roasted peanuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 3-ounce bar white chocolate, broken into pieces

    Stir all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Store in an airtight container.
    Makes about four cups.




Country Split Pea Soup
Marge Prom

4 cups split peas
1 ham bone with meat
2 dashes Tabasco or cayenne
1 cup chopped celery and leaves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots

    Soak peas overnight in enough water to cover them. Drain, reserving liquid. Add enough water to the reserved soaking liquid to make 14 cups.
    Combine peas, water and ham in a slow cooker and simmer very slowly, covered, for four hours. Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, Tabasco and thyme and simmer another one to two hours.
    Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bones and cut meat into small pieces. Return to soup and test for seasoning. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Chicken and Pea Pod Salad
Mardy McGarry

1/3 cup white wine tarragon vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon crumbled dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crusted red pepper flakes
2/3 cup safflower oil
5 cups wild rice
3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/2 pound pea pods
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

    Combine vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, garlic, tarragon, pepper and red pepper flakes. Whisk oil slowly into vinegar mixture and set aside.
    In a large bowl, combine wild rice, chicken, celery and green onion. Pour dressing over mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours or overnight.
    Remove ends and string from pea pods. Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunge into ice water and drain. Pat dry, then cut diagonally into one-inch pieces. Cover and refrigerate.
    To serve, toss salad with pea pods and almonds.
    Makes 10 one-cup servings.


Buttermilk Chicken With Rhubarb-Strawberry Chutney
Michele Norman

1-1/2 pounds 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 bread crumbs
3 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

    In a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, cranberries, cider vinegar, ginger and strawberries. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes, until rhubarb is tender. Remove from heat.
    Place chicken in a large bowl. Pour buttermilk over chicken and let stand for 15 minutes.
    Place wheat germ, breadcrumbs, flour, black pepper and salt in a shallow dish and  stir to combine. Coat both sides of chicken in mixture, then place in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink.
    Serve with chutney drizzled over the top.
    Makes four to six servings.



Apple Scones
Ali Dose

2-1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

    In a food processor, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. Pulse once to blend. Add butter and pulse about five times more, until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl and add cheese, bacon and apple. Toss to combine, then stir in 1 cup buttermilk until a soft dough forms.
    Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead five times. Divide dough in half and pat each half into a six-inch circle. Cut each circle into six wedges. Place wedges one inch apart on a baking sheet, then brush with remaining buttermilk and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake in a 425-degree oven for 20 minutes.
    Makes 12 scones.



Cranberries Delight
Greta Schanen

1/2 cup light molasses
1/3 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream, warm

    Combine molasses, hot water and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in flour and baking soda. Add cranberries. Pour into a lightly greased 9-inch square pan and bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool slightly.
    Combine butter, cream and sugar in a microwave dish and heat until warm. Add remaining vanilla and stir well.
    Slice Cranberrie Delight into nine pieces and serve with a drizzle of the vanilla sauce.



Double Chocolate Mint Brownies
Sue Penkwitz

For first layer:
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups Hershey’s syrup
For second layer:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
3 drops green food coloring
For third layer:
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    In a large bowl, beat together flour, sugar, butter, eggs and syrup until smooth. Pour into a 13-cy-9-inch pan and bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely.
    Mix powdered sugar, butter, water, mint extract and food coloring in a small bowl. Beat until smooth, then spread on baked brownies.
    Melt butter and chocolate chips in microwave for one to 1-1/2 minutes, until melted. Spread onto mint layer and cool. Chill until serving.



Melt In Your Mouth Fudge
Edie Webb

1 cup margarine (not whipped margarine)
1 cup chunky peanut butter
2 12-ounce bag butterscotch or chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups miniature marshmallows

    Melt margarine and peanut butter in a large bowl for about one minute, until meted. Add chips and mix. Microwave about one  minute, until chips are melted.
    Add vanilla and marshmallows. Mix thoroughly, then spread fudge into a buttered 13-by-9-inch pan. Refrigerate.




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