Tastes like success

In this season of graduation parties, you want a celebration that stands out but also that won’t makes guests make a beeline for fast food afterward. Read our story in LENS today, then try these recipes.

Molded Macaroni Salad

Make several of these up to two days ahead.


8 ounces dry elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

1 cup chopped celery or cucumber

½ cup chopped green pepper

½ cup chopped radishes

2 tablespoons chopped sweet onion

½ teaspoon salt

1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

¼ cup sweet pickle relish

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Lettuce leaves and additional radishes for garnish


In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients; set aside. In another bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth; add mayonnaise, relish and mustard. Fold into macaroni mixture. Press into a 6-cup ring mold (or Bundt pan) coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, place lettuce leaves on top and invert and unmold salad onto a serving platter. Garnish with radishes.

Adapted from www.tasteofhome.com.

Makes 16 servings.



Spicy Apple Glazed Meatballs


For meatballs:

2 eggs

½ cup milk

4 slices white or whole-wheat bread, torn

2 pounds lean ground beef (or chicken or turkey)

4 large cloves garlic, peeled, minced

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

3 tablespoon vegetable oil

For apple glaze:

2 cups apple juice or pear nectar

6 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

For garnish:

1 cup chopped green onions


For meatballs, in a large bowl whisk together eggs and milk. Add bread pieces and let stand 10 minutes until bread is softened. Add beef or poultry, garlic, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly. Shape mixture into 1-inch meatballs .

In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Working in batches, cook meatballs about 6 minutes per batch, turning occasionally, until brown and crusty on outside and cooked through. Transfer meatballs to covered dish; cover to keep warm. Drain fat from skillet; wipe out skillet.

In the same skillet, combine all the glaze ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir and cook glaze until thickened and bubbly at full boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Pour warm glaze over meatballs and stir to coat with sauce. Top with green onions and serve.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, May 2012 issue.

Makes 96 meatballs.


Pulled Pork Sliders

You can prepare this recipe up to two days before the party. To double recipe, use one 8- 10-pound or two 5-pound pork shoulders. For a larger pork shoulder, allow at least six hours cooking time.


1 bone-in pork shoulder or Boston butt, about 5 pounds

For rub:

4 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon paprika

For roasting:

1 can (14.5 ounces) beef or chicken broth

For serving:

1 bottle (16 ounces) favorite barbecue sauce

32 slider buns



Place the pork shoulder on a sheet of plastic wrap. In a small bowl, mix together all the rub ingredients and rub all over pork. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Remove pork from the refrigerator an hour before baking it, and remove plastic wrap. Set pork in a roasting pan that has a lid. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour beef or chicken broth in bottom of pan. Cover with lid (use foil if you don’t have a lid) and place in the oven.

Bake 3½ to 4½ hours (for 5-pound roast) or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees. The pork is done when the bone slips out easily with no resistance. When the roast is nearly done, you can remove the lid or foil and baste the pork with pan juices so the outside browns and gets crispy. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Remove the bone and break roast apart into chunks. Let the chunks rest in the pan juices. Using forks, pull the roast pieces apart into shreds. Stir in desired amount of barbecue sauce. Serve ¼ cup pulled pork on each bun with coleslaw, if desired.

Makes 32 sliders.


Chocolate Cheesecake Bars


For crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

3 tablespoons baking cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 egg yolk (reserve white for filling)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

For filling:

1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sugar

½ cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons grated orange peel, optional

¼ teaspoon salt

1 whole egg, lightly beaten

1 egg white, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate shavings or sprinkles, optional


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 11-by-7-inch pan with foil, allowing foil to overhang on short sides of dish; grease the foil.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking cocoa, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in egg yolk, vanilla and walnuts. Press onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in sour cream, flour, orange peel and salt. Beat in egg, egg white and vanilla on low speed just until combined. Pour filling over warm crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

Garnish with chocolate shavings or sprinkles if desired. Refrigerate overnight. To serve, lift out of pan and remove foil. Cut into 1-inch squares.

Adapted from www.tasteofhome.com.

Makes 25.

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