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Tasty treats good for potlucks

Summer is about here and that means lots of family reunions, weddings, graduation parties, picnics and potlucks. The next time you are asked to bring a dish to pass, you might want to try this week’s recipe for Cherry Delight. It only takes minutes to make and the end result is a very tasty dessert I’m sure will please your family and friends. I also have a good bar recipe for you, Chocolate Caramel Squares. These bars freeze well and are easy to tote with you for any potluck fare.

■Cherry Delight

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

1/2 cup white sugar

1 dash vanilla extract

1 dash almond extract

1 cup heavy cream (may use Cool Whip)

1 (12 ounce) can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- by 9-inch baking dish. In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and melted margarine. Stir well and press into baking dish. Bake five minutes. Cool. In large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Mix well. In a medium bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Spread over cooled crust. Dot with cherry pie filling and smooth with knife or spatula to cover. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

(Can easily double and put in a 9- by- 13-inch pan.)

■Chocolate Caramel Squares

14 ounce package caramels (about 48)

1/3 cup water

2 cups flour

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 ounce package chocolate chips

Heat caramels and water over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth. (I place the caramels and water in a 4-cup measure and microwave uncovered on high for two minutes or until caramels can be stirred smooth. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, butter or margarine, baking soda and salt. Reserve one cup mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture in an ungreased 9- by- 13-inch baking pan. Bake 10 minutes. Sprinkle baked layer with chocolate chips, drizzle with caramel mixture. Sprinkle with reserved crumbly mixture. Bake until light brown, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut into bars.

■Gorgonzola Salad

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra light olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 head lettuce

1 ounce Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, vinegar, olive oil and garlic. Set aside.

Chop lettuce and arrange in salad bowls. Sprinkle some Gorgonzola cheese over each salad, spoon on desired amount of dressing, and serve.

Servings: 8

GARY’S TIP: Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut green beans into pieces. It works really slick.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: There are bigger things in life than money. They’re called bills.