COOK OF THE WEEK: Hope Jones Recipes

Christmas Cake
1 box red velvet cake mix
1 box white cake mix
1 (16-ounce) container Cool Whip
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1 cup powdered sugar
3 large packs frozen coconut, thawed

Bake cakes in 2 layers each as directed on boxes. Let cake layers cool completely (you’ll have 4 layers, total).
Combine Cool Whip, sour cream, powdered sugar and 2 packs of coconut. Spread icing between alternating layers of cake (white, red, white, red). Frost top and sides of cake. When ready to serve, sprinkle cake with remaining coconut, pressing into the top and sides.

Spicy Sausage Dip
1 pound ground sausage
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small can diced black olives, drained
3 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 (8-ounce) bottle ranch dressing

Brown sausage and drain. Combine pepper, olives, cheese and ranch dressing. Pour cooled sausage in and stir. Place in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. Serve as a dip with crackers or Fritos Scoops or on Melba toast.

Hot Bacon and Swiss Dip
4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
12 cup mayonnaise
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
15 to 16 strips bacon, cooked and crumbed
12 cup crushed Ritz crackers
Combine onions, mayonnaise, cream cheese and Swiss cheese and spread in casserole dish. Stir together bacon bits and crushed crackers and sprinkle on top of cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
13 cup heavy cream
12 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon plus
12 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon butter, divided
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
14 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon peanut or canola oil
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided, plus more as needed
12 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh tarragon or dill, plus sprigs for garnish

Combine lemon juice and cream in a small bowl. Season with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Mash 1 teaspoon flour and 1 teaspoon butter in another small bowl until a paste forms. Set both bowls aside.
Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Season with the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and white pepper. Dredge lightly in the remaining 1⁄2 cup flour, shaking off any excess.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; do not crowd the pan. Cook, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Add 1⁄2 cup broth, reduce the heat and cover. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Check to make sure the pan juices don’t run dry. If necessary, add more broth, a tablespoonful at a time, to prevent scorching. Transfer chicken to a clean cutting board and tent with foil.
Add the remaining 1⁄2 cup broth to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced to about 1⁄4 cup, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add the reserved lemon cream and bring to a simmer. Gradually whisk in the reserved butter-flour paste, a few bits at a time, until the sauce coats the spoon, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in peas.
Reduce heat to low and return the chicken to the pan along with tarragon or dill. Turn to coat with the sauce and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Slice the chicken and serve with the sauce, garnished with sprigs of tarragon or dill, if desired.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
1 cup ranch dressing
34 cup hot sauce
1 (10-ounce) can chicken, drained or 10 ounces cooked, shredded chicken
Shredded Cheddar cheese

Beat cream cheese, ranch dressing and hot sauce together. Fold in chicken. Spread mixture in a pie plate sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and bake another 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with Fritos Scoops.

NEMS Daily Journal