A huge Easter parade ‘thank you’

Thanks to all my wonderful Easter parade committee members for all their dedication, hard work and numerous hours of preparation to make this 10th Easter parade another big success.

All the parade committee members had their own individual task and project to be responsible for. Without these hard-working, dedicated individuals, a huge undertaking like this could not be possible. Putting a parade together takes a lot of time, planning and team effort that most people do not realize.

I want to take this time to personally say, “Thank you!” to all that took part and were involved in making this a great parade. Thanks go out to all the sponsors of the parade, police dept, fire department, city of Parkersburg, our mayor and the mayors of the Mid Ohio Valley, the bands, churches, the judges and each and every wonderful group, along with each and every person or group that took part.

This year being the 10th annual Easter parade, my wonderful committee nominated me and they gave me the big honor to be the Easter Parade Marshal, along with Dr. Christopher Gilmer, president of West Virginia University at Parkersburg. I really and truly appreciate all of them very much! They are an awesome committee!

I also want to thank Parkersburg High School, A cappella Choir, PHS Brass Ensemble and other PHS groups that joined in along with Hamilton Select Choir, Vandevender Middle School Choir, Hamilton Middle School Choir, the Chick fil A Cow, Easter Bunny and Dr. Christopher Gilmer of WVU-P, and Michelle Swisher, a PHS faculty member, for taking part in the Spring Easter Celebration on the campus of PHS last Thursday. The Spring Easter Celebration was followed by a huge Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Parkersburg Elks Lodge #198 with winners receiving beautiful Easter baskets and also a new boy’s bike and girl’s bike to the lucky winners.

Below are some main dish recipes for you to try.

Until next week!

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Cherry-Stuffed Pork Chops

1 package couscous with toasted pine nuts

6 boneless pork loin chops

1/2 cup dried cherries

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Prepare couscous according to package directions. Meanwhile, cut a deep slit in each pork chop, forming a pocket. Stir the cherries, brown sugar, butter and ginger into prepared couscous. Stuff 1/3 cup into each chop; secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper. Grill pork chops, covered over medium heat for 10-12 minutes on each side or until thermometer reads 160. Discard toothpicks.

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Individual Beef Wellingtons

6 beef tenderloin steaks

4 tablespoons butter, divided

3 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped shallots

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 can condensed beef consomme, undiluted

3 tablespoons port wine

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

In a large skillet, brown steaks in 2 tablespoons butter for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm. On a lightly floured surface, roll each puff pastry sheet into a 14×9 rectangle Cut each into two 7-inch squares. Place a steak in the center of each square. Lightly brush pastry edges with water. Bring opposite corners of pastry over steak; pinch seams to seal slightly.

Cut four small slits on toop of pastry. Place in a greased 15x10x1 baking pan. Brush with egg. Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and meat reaches desired doneness. Meanwhile, in the same skillet, saute the mushrooms and shallots in remaining butter for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Combine flour and consomme until smooth; stir in mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in wine and thyme. Cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Serve with beef.

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Gorgonzola Chicken Penne

2 cups uncooked penne pasta

2 cups fresh broccoli florets

1 tablespoon water

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

9 tablespoons butter, divided

1 large onion, chopped

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup white wine or additional chicken broth

1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, place broccoli and water in a small microwavable-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 2-2 1/2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Set aside. In a large skillet, saute chicken in 3 tablespoons butter until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute onion in remaining butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add broth and wine. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low; stir in cheese until blended. Drain pasta and broccoli; add to onion mixture. Add chicken; heat through. Season with pepper.

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Champagne Baked Ham

1 boneless fully cooked ham

1 3/4 cups champagne

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

4 1/2 teaspoons honey

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Score the surface of the ham, making diamond shapes 1/2 inch deep. Bake, uncovered, at 325 for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook until glaze is reduced by half. Remove from the heat. Baste ham with glaze; bake 30 minutes longer or until a thermometer reads 140, basting twice with glaze. Serve with the remaining glaze.

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Artichoke Spinach Lasagna

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 14 1/2-ounce can vegetable or chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 14-ounce can water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered

1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 15-ounce jar roasted garlic Alfredo sauce

12 no-cook lasagna noodles

3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1 cup crumbled tomato and basil feta cheese or feta cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon each dried oregano, parsley flakes and basil

In a large saucepan, saute onion in oil for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, rosemary, nutmeg and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the artichokes, spinach and mushrooms. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the Alfredo sauce. Spread 1 cup sauce mixture into a greased 13×9 baking dish. Top with three noodles and 2/3 cup mozzarella mixture and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with feta cheese, garlic powder, oregano, parsley and bail. Cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer or until noodles are tender. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

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Herbed Standing Rib Roast

3 tablespoons grated onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons celery seed

1 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bone-in beef rib roast

2 large onions, cut into wedges

2 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup red wine or beef broth

In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; rub over roast. Place the onions, carrots and celery in a large roasting pan; place roast over vegetables. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 2 1/2-3 hours or until meat reaches desired doneness. Remove roast to a serving platter and keep warm; let stand for 15 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, for au jus, strain and discard vegetables. Pour drippings into a measuring cup, skim fat. Add wine to roasting pan, stirring to remove any browned bits. Stir in drippings; heat through. Serve with roast. Garnish platter with herbs and fruit if desired.

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Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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