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For Bunco games or any gathering

Wikimedia Commons/For The Madera Tribune Use cashews or a mixture of any of your favorite nuts, such as pecans, almonds, walnuts, macadamia or peanuts, to make a delectable snack mix.


For some reason, I am hearing a lot of talk lately about the popular dice game called Bunco. For a while I wasn’t hearing about it. I got to thinking that there must be a renewed interest in the game. I used to be in a group and I enjoyed the game very much, as well as the laughter and chit-chat of the fellow players.

I must admit, though, that winter weather could sometimes make participation difficult, especially in the foothill areas.

One of the highlights of a Bunco game was the food. The group I was in would have the hostess provide a meal and dessert, plus beverages.

Here are some of the recipes I kept in my collection of good Bunco night recipes, and I hope you enjoy them, even if you do not play the game.

Take care and stay warm, as winter still has a hold on us for the time being, despite all the orchards in bloom. Fruity Jell-O cake

For ease, the canned and packaged ingredients make this a good choice and the flavor is refreshing. Recipe from Jell-O, of course. 2 cups chopped strawberries (can use frozen, if drained)

1 can (20-oz.) crushed pineapple, drained

1 package (8-serving size) or 2 packages (4-serving size each) Jell-O Brand Strawberry Flavor Gelatin

3 cups miniature marshmallows

1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix

2 eggs 1. Heat oven to 350. Arrange fruit on bottom of a 13-by-9-inch pan. Sprinkle with gelatin. Cover with marshmallows.

2. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, omitting oil and using 2 eggs and water as specified. Spread batter over mixture in pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes. Remove to rack; cool 15 minutes. Serve warm with thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping, if desired. Makes 24 servings. Note: For ease in serving, line pan with foil and grease lightly. Proceed as directed. After baking and cooling 15 minutes, invert pan onto serving tray, remove pan. Carefully remove foil from cake. Overnight layered salad

There are probably 100 versions of this, but this is the best one I have come across so far. It was supplied by Angela Croce, a home economics teacher (at the time) from Mira Mesa High School in San Diego. 1 head Romaine lettuce, shredded

1 red pepper, cut into strips

1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced

1 package (10-oz.) frozen peas

1 can (8-oz.) water chestnuts, sliced

4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pound Swiss cheese, shredded 1. Begin 24 hours before you plan to serve this salad by layering in a large bowl: Romaine lettuce, red pepper, green onion, frozen peas, water chestnuts, sliced eggs and crumbled bacon.

2. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic salt, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper; blend well. Spread dressing over the top to cover completely. Sprinkle cheese on top.

3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. Toss before serving. Serves 12. Apple brickle dip

From Taste of Home Magazine, December/January 2001. 1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 package almond brickle chips (7 1/2-oz.) or English toffee bits (10-oz.)

3 to 5 medium tart apples, cut into chunks or wedges 1. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugars and vanilla. Fold in brickle chips. Serve with apples. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes 2 cups. Sweet and salty party nuts

From one of my favorite resources, The Essential Appetizers Cookbook. 8 ounces whole blanched almonds

8 ounces pecan halves

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1. If nuts are raw, preheat oven to 350. Spread the almonds and pecans on a large baking sheet and bake 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are crisp and lightly browned; remove and allow to cool.

2. Combine sugar, salt and spices in a small bowl and mix well. Heat a large nonstick frying pan and add the almonds and pecans. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the nuts and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the nuts turn golden. The sugar will melt and coat the nuts.

3. Gently shake the frying pan often to ensure even cooking. If the nuts stick together, separate them with a wooden spoon. When the nuts are cooked, remove from the heat and spread them on a lightly oiled baking sheet to cool. Transfer the cooled nuts to tightly sealed jars or containers. They will keep about 2 weeks. Note: Any type of nuts can be used, including cashews, macadamias or peanuts.

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