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Newspaper staff share holiday recipes

The holiday season is fast approaching, and soon ovens will be firing up for Thanksgiving dinner. Usually, that means turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and corn on the cob, but this year, the News-Times sought out recipes from local staff in El Dorado, Camden and Magnolia, and along with the usual holiday favorites, some of our co-workers shared some non-traditional recipes they always turn to this time of the year.

First up is Camden News News Editor Bradly Gill’s crockpot beer chili recipe.

The cooking instructions are pretty simple, but the list of ingredients, which includes an optional quarter-teaspoon of cayenne pepper for those who like a little kick, is long. Bradly said he actually adapted the recipe to include meat and beer.

“This beer chilli is great for cold weather and is one of the easiest slow cooker meals I’ve ever made. Sometimes I add pickled jalapenos to up the heat factor,” Bradly said.


1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 pound beef stew meat

2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon of minced garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper* -optional

1 12 oz can of beer

1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes

1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 teaspoon of tomato paste


Pour all ingredients into crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.

Pro tips

Bradly said he’s used Red Stripe and Shiner Bock to make this chili, and he doesn’t like to go any darker with his beer choice than those. Sweeter beer works better, he said.

Joanna Hill in our production department shared three recipes — one appetizer, one entree and a desert.

We’ll start with the appetizer — her pâté recipe. This recipe yields one quart. It will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator and for up to three months in the freezer.


1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)

1 lb. fresh chicken livers, trimmed of all fat

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 large bunch green onions (use 1/2 of green tops and all of white root sections), thinly sliced

4-6 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon dill weed (or more)

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2/3 cup Chardonnay


1. Melt one stick of butter in large skillet over low heat.

2. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Push vegetables to side of skillet. Add chicken livers and cook only until edges turn white. Turn at once.

4. Add salt, rosemary, dill and mustard. Stir thoroughly.

5. Add Chardonnay, stirring again, and cook until liquid is reduced by half.

6. Cut second stick of butter into eighths. Place butter in a blender or food processor with the chopping blade and add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. (Note: If you’re using a blender, alternate small amounts of cooked ingredients with a small amount of butter and blend.) Continue until all ingredients are blended smoothly.

7. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Up next is Joanna’s cold shrimp curry recipe. This recipe makes six servings, and you’ll want to prepare it the day before you plan to serve it.


1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 cup onion, minced

1/4 cup apple, minced

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup canned tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

curry powder to taste

2 cups mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 lbs. cooked, cleaned shrimp, cooled


1. Saute garlic, onion and apple in the butter.

2. When the onion has wilted, add the flour, tomatoes, salt, pepper and curry powder to the pan. The curry powder may be added rather lavishly, as it is to be diluted later.

3. Cook sauce about 10 minutes, then cool.

4. Measure the sauce. You should have about 2 cups worth. Add the same amount of mayonnaise and the lemon juice.

5. Fold in the cooled shrimp, then chill.

Last is Joanna’s chocolate sheet cake recipe, complete with instructions to make your own icing, as well.



2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

2 sticks butter

3 tablespoons cocoa

2 eggs, well beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Mix sugar, flour and salt in large mixing bowl.

2. In large boiler, mix water, butter and cocoa. Bring to a boil, then mix with the dry ingredients.

3. In small bowl, mix buttermilk, baking soda, eggs and vanilla. Add to mix.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool.



3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (or 1 16 ounce box)

1 stick butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons cocoa

1/2 cup nuts

6 tablespoons buttermilk


1. Combine butter, cocoa and buttermilk in boiler. Melt but do not boil.

2. Remove from stove and add powdered sugar, vanilla and nuts.

Managing Editor Caitlan Butler reached out to her grandmother for help finding a holiday recipe and she deliveedr. Below is Caitlan’s great-great-grandmother Golda Merrell’s pound cake recipe, concocted in 1954.


2 sticks butter

2 cups sugar

2 cups sifted flour

5 whole eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR 1 teaspoon almond extract


1. Cream butter and sugar.

2. Add eggs one at a time.

3. Add flour and flavoring. Mix well.

4. Starting in a cold oven, bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Do not open oven door for 40 minutes after putting cake in oven.

A recipe card copied in 1954 shows Golda Merrell’s pound cake recipe. (Contributed)