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Don't Be a 'Martha' This Easter

by Kara Kimbrough


Easter is this weekend, and while the thought of finally gathering with family and friends after a year in exile is exciting, cooking for days in preparation for a feast is less joyful. Thankfully, there are several shortcuts to cut cooking time in half. That way, like Mary in the Bible story of the two sisters entertaining Jesus at their home, you can enjoy time with those that matter instead of being a "Martha" in the kitchen.

One dish that consumes more than its fair share of time is potato salad. While I love the old-fashioned version filled with mayonnaise, chopped homemade pickles (and pickle juice) and a boiled egg or two, who has time to peel, boil and chop all those huge potatoes? Instead, I usually turn to a shortcut version that's almost as good and to some, even better. Yes, a little boiling is required, but because you use small red or new potatoes, boiling time is cut in half. And here's the best part: the skin is left on, after a thorough scrubbing, of course.

Last, I tried a recipe for two-step pound cake last week after finding it online. My curiosity got the best of me when I learned there's no combining or creaming of butter and sugar. And, making sure dry and wet ingredients are incorporated separately are not necessary. Basically, everything comes together in less than 10 minutes, not counting baking time.

As luck would have it, stand mixer died just after ingredients were loaded, requiring me to beat several pounds of heavy ingredients with a hand mixer. However, the cake turned out "almost" perfect. I attribute a couple of soggy places to the fact that my small hand mixer didn't have enough power to adequately mix everything. Covered with whipped cream and the first Louisiana strawberries of the season, it was a more than adequate substitute to my regular and more time-consuming five-flavor pound cake.

Almost as good as the cake is the fact that I was able to justify ordering a new stand mixer, this one with a larger mixing bowl and more bells and whistles than my old one.

Happy Easter, everyone!


Easiest Potato Salad Ever

Ingredients:

- 10 pounds new potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

- 1 cup mayonnaise

- 1 large bottle bacon ranch salad dressing

- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

- Dill weed, to taste

- Celery seed, to taste

- Jar of Bacos

- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

- Black cracked pepper


Leave the peel on the red potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Put the potato cubes in a large pot and cover with about one inch of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and add salt. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and cook uncovered for 8-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Drain the potatoes and run under cold water. Let stand to dry completely before adding dressing.

Dressing: Combine everything except potatoes.

Place the completely cooled potatoes in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over everything and gently toss to combined. Add cracked pepper to taste.

Chill, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (preferably 1 hour) before serving.

Ten Minute Pound Cake (you will need a stand mixer to adequately blend this heavy cake mix)

Ingredients:

- 3 cups granulated sugar

- 2 cups butter, softened

- 6 eggs

- 2 teaspoons vanilla

- 4 cups all-purpose flour

- 3/4 cup whole milk

- Powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Liberally grease bottom, side and tube of 10-inch angel food cake pan with baking spray or shortening; lightly flour.

In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla with electric stand mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed five minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. On low speed, gradually beat in flour alternately with milk. Pour batter into pan.

Bake 90 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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