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C & G Newspapers’ 2012 Holiday Recipe Contest brought in a variety of local recipes that readers attested were sure to please everyone at the dinner table this holiday season.

Basing their votes on which recipes they’d most like to sample this year, C & G’s panel of judges gave top honors to Mari Pioro of Shelby Township in the Appetizer category with her Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips. Piorio could not be reached for comment at press time.

The panel voted Harper Woods resident Lori Brodeur’s Herb Roasted Potatoes with Feta Cheese as No. 1 in the Side Dish category. Brodeur said she learned everything she knows about cooking from her late mother and her husband, who she has been cooking with throughout their 36 years of marriage.

“I have passion in my kitchen. I love to be in the kitchen, and it was something that was passed down from my mother to my sister and I both,” she said.

Brodeur’s recipe goes back to the holidays a few years ago, when she had to bring a side dish to a family gathering.

“Roasted potatoes are delicious anyway, but I love feta, and it’s such a nice twist to have it on the potatoes,” she said.

Judges named Carol Giardini of St. Clair Shores, with her Bumpy Cake Cupcakes, the winner in the Dessert category. This is the second year Giardini took home top honors in the Dessert category. Last year, she won for her Mounds Bar Cake. Giardini, 66, said she has been cooking as a hobby since she was 10 years old.

“I’ve cooked for years. I’m always baking and trying new things,” she said. “I’m surrounded by cookbooks and recipes all the time. I have so many.”

Giardini decided to create her recipe after not being satisfied with the taste of the bumpy cakes she found at the store.

“They just don’t taste like they did in the ’50s and ’60s,” she said. “But everyone who tries mine say it’s the best they’ve ever had.”

In the Appetizer category, Shelby Township resident Cora Corry’s Chicken Taco Cups and Shelby Township resident Kathleen Delia’s Mushroom Crisp were the first and second runners-up, respectively.

Grosse Pointe resident Carol Lee Reno’s Incredibly Delicious Praline Yams (My Yum Yum Yams) and Rochester Hills resident Deborah Piazza’s Apple Lasagna round out the Side Dish category winners.

In the Dessert category, Richard Rizzio of Troy was the first runner-up with his Chocolate Chip Kahlua Cookies, and Chesterfield resident Marjorie Cross’s Frosted Pumpkin Snicker Doodles was chosen as the second runner-up.

We’ve compiled the family favorite recipes C & G readers submitted, with winners topping each category, followed by the first and second runners-up.

Following are the recipes that took first place:

APPETIZER

Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips
Mari Pioro, Shelby Township

2 large, uniformly-shaped russet potato, scrubbed well and sliced into 1/8" rounds*
cooking spray
1 1/2 C. shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste
4 T. crumbled bacon (about 4 slices )
Chives, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring sliced potatoes to a boil in cold, salted water to cover for 5 minutes. Carefully drain, and transfer slices to a paper-towel lined countertop or cutting board. Pat to dry.

Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray, and lay out potato slices so they are overlapping on it. You may need 2 baking sheets. Spray lightly with additional cooking spray, then sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle evenly with shredded cheese & bacon. Bake 12-14 minutes in preheated oven until cheese is melted & bubbly. Serve with chipotle ranch sauce (recipe below). Serves 4-6 people.

*You can use 4 medium-sized potatoes rather than 2 large. Also, I like to leave the skin on but you can peel the potatoes if you prefer.

Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce

1 T. ranch dressing
3 T. sour cream
1/4 t. chipotle chili powder
1/8 t. cayenne (adjust more or less depending on how spicy you want).
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a small bowl, and stir to combine. Refrigerate any leftovers.

I double this recipe for parties

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SIDE DISH

Herb Greek Roasted Potatoes with Feta Cheese
Lori Brodeur, Harper Woods

Serves 10

5 lbs. potatoes wedged
6 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup olive oil
1 cup water
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Sea salt to taste & ground pepper
TOSS TO COAT AND ROAST 40 MINUTES IN 425 OVEN

Mix:
1 ½ TBS diced oregano
1 tsp. fresh mint
8 oz. feta cheese
TOSS TO COAT AND ROAST 30 MORE MINUTES

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DESSERT

Bumpy cake cupcakes
Carol Giardini, St. Clair Shores

1 box devil food chocolate cake mix. Make cupcakes in paper liners in a muffin pan. Set aside to cool.

Filling:
24 large marshmallows
½ cup milk
4 sticks butter
1 ½ cups powder sugar
1 can chocolate frosting

Melt marshmallow and milk in a small pot over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Pour this into a medium size bowl to cool. Add one stick of butter at a time, beating well on high speed until all four sticks are in. Add the powder sugar and beat on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes.

Take cupcakes and cut a 1-inch or little larger in diameter circle in the center of each cupcake. Use a small knife, going almost to bottom but not going through bottom of cupcake. Scoop out center with a very small spoon—you will have an empty center.

Fill each cupcake with filling with a spoon or cake decorating tube. Spread the filling over each top of cupcake evenly.
Microwave chocolate frosting to a creamy texture and, with a butter knife, spread the chocolate frosting over the white frosted cupcakes. Serve room temperature. Does not need refrigeration. You can chill the cupcakes after you frosted with filling to spread chocolate frosting on.

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