It's the Saturday before Christmas and I am standing in my brother's kitchen. We are lining up to tackle takeout pizza, which may seem like a weird choice for a holiday meal, but the bunch of us siblings, spouses and assorted children of many ages are perfectly happy with it, especially me. Anytime I get to eat real Chicago pie I am one happy, and no longer homesick, camper. Plus, there are salad, homemade cookies, presents and lots of talking and laughing. That rounds it out really well, I think.
At some point, I find myself talking food. Nothing unusual. But it's with whom I'm holding a conversation that fascinates me: My 16-year-old great-niece, Erin Boyle, and my 25-year-old niece, Whitney Dixon. They both like to cook and bake, as does another niece, Jessica Dixon, 29. I certainly did neither with any enthusiasm when I was a teen-ager or starting out on a career as a single woman.
I was impressed: Erin had plans to bake lemon bars and brownie Christmas trees, while Whitney wanted to try a "new" recipe and make rolls for the family Christmas Eve dinner at my sister's they would all attend (except me, who had to head back here).
Below is the Bisquick recipe Whitney used. It's been around a long time, but was new for her. She's very handy with her cell phone camera and made this collage for me. Past photos she posted on Facebook of her buffet table at parties she's thrown have been beautiful.
It is so cool to think that a new generation of young women is out there playing with food.
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup 7-up or similar lemon-lime soda
1/2 stick butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut sour cream into the biscuit mix using two forks. Add soda. This makes a very soft dough.
Sprinkle additional Bisquick onto your kitchen counter. Put the dough onto the counter and pat the dough out ever so lightly, using a little more Bisquick over the top of rolls. Cut into 9 rolls.
Melt the butter in a 9-inch baking pan. Place cut biscuits into the pan. Bake 20 minutes until golden.
Winter soup redo
Rummaging around for a soup to serve for dinner, I came across this recipe in a McClatchy food story. It's a slimmed-down version of a copycat version of T.G.I. Friday's broccoli cheese soup found on RecipeZaar.com. The original recipe has 269 calories and 16.7 fat grams in one cup. The new version has 183 calories and 7 fat grams.
KATHY'S BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 cups 2 percent milk
8 ounce light processed cheese, cubed (such as Velveeta made with 2% milk)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups bite-size broccoli florets without stems
Combine chicken broth, milk, cheese cubes, flour, onion powder and pepper in a stockpot on low to medium-low heat. Whisk to break up any lumps of flour, then turn heat up to medium-high. Whisking constantly, bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
Add broccoli to the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until broccoli is tender. Using an immersion blender, puree about one-third of the soup to thicken it. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 cups, each one-cup serving with 183 calories, 13 grams carbohydrates, 691 mg sodium, 7 grams fat, 10 grams protein, 16 mg cholesterol, 1.5 grams fiber grams.
Here's how to reach me: Phone, 239-2664; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org; or write, Suzanne Boyle, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.