We all know the vegetables that have become a part of the traditional dinner: squash, turnip, white and sweet potatoes, onions, and other personal favorites. You may have your own way of preparing them. But the holidays are the perfect time to try some special party recipes with enough variety to satisfy individual tastes - yet large enough to feed a family that may have swelled to include several guests.
One solution is the vegetable casserole.
Casseroles are attractive on the table, and can be assembled in advance and cooked in the oven along with the holiday bird or roast. Once baked, they hold their heat longer than vegetables cooked on top of the stove and then transferred to open serving dishes. Yam-Apricot Casserole 1 8-ounce package dried apricots 2 16-ounce cans whole yams or sweet potatoes, drained 1 cup pecan halves 1 cup light brown sugar, packed to measure 1/4 cup butter or margarine 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water 2 teaspoons fresh-grated lemon peel 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In 11/2-quart saucepan, simmer apricots in 2 cups water for 10 minutes or until soft. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooling liquid.
Arrange yams in single layer in shallow baking dish. Top with apricots and pecans.
Put reserved cooking liquid and remaining ingredients in 11/2-quart saucepan and stir over moderately high heat until boiling. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened. Pour over yams.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake 25 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and pecans are browned. Serves 10. Winter Squash Ring 2 12-ounce packages frozen winter squash, thawed 4 eggs 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/3 cup chopped green onion 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter 9-inch ring mold. Set aside.
In medium mixing bowl, mix all ingredients. Spread evenly in prepared ring mold. Bake 1 to 11/4 hours or until set. Loosen edges at once. Invert onto serving plate. Serves 8. Potato Fluff Casserole 4 cups hot mashed potatoes 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1 egg, beaten 1/3 cup minced onion 1 2-ounce jar pimentos, chopped 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Blend softened cream cheese into hot mashed potatoes. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Bake in 1-quart casserole at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes. Serves 6. Colorful Corn Casserole 1/4 cup butter or margarine 3 cups whole kernel corn, frozen or canned 1 small onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup chopped pimento 1 to 2 small jalapeno chilies, minced 1/4 cup flour 2 cups milk 3 eggs, well beaten 4 slices crisp bacon, crumbled Salt and pepper 1 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Melt butter in large saucepan. Saut'e corn and onion over low heat 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in pimento and chilies. Sprinkle with flour. Gradually stir in milk and keep stirring over medium heat until mixture thickens. Gradually stir this mixture into eggs, adding bacon, then salt and pepper to taste.
Pour into 8-inch-square baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Place dish in larger pan and fill pan with water halfway up the sides. Bake in a preheated 325-degree F. oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until set. Serves 8. Turnip Puff 1 medium turnip (21/2 pounds), cooked and mashed 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 2 teaspoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon flour Dash rosemary 2 egg whites 2 egg yolks
Blend well first 7 ingredients. Beat egg whites until stiff; set aside. Beat egg yolks until light and gradually stir into seasoned turnip. Fold egg whites into turnip mixture. Pour into greased 1-quart casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Serves 8. Spicy Beets With Apples 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and sliced (1 1/4 cups) 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 16-ounce can diced beets, drained 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (opt.)
In saucepan, cook onion, covered, in butter until nearly tender, about 4 minutes. Add apple. Cook, covered, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from heat. Stir brown sugar, allspice, and salt into apple mixture. Fold in beets. Turn into 1-quart casserole. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F. until hot, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir before serving. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired. Serves 6. Creamed Broccoli Casserole With Croutons 1/2 cup butter or margarine 1/4 cup flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 cups milk 2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed 1/4 cup grated onion Dash of thyme Dash of nutmeg 2 cups seasoned croutons
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Melt 1/4 cup butter. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Slowly add milk, stirring until thickened. Add broccoli, onion, thyme, and nutmeg. Pour into greased 2-quart casserole. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Melt remaining butter. Stir in croutons, saving some to sprinkle on top of casserole. Continue baking 15 minutes. Serves 8. Orange Sweet Potatoes 4 pounds sweet potatoes 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 1 tablespoon honey Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste Juice and grated rind of 2 oranges
Boil sweet potatoes in water to cover until tender. Drain. Drop into cold water. Slip off skins. Mash sweet potatoes and blend in remaining ingredients. Spoon into buttered casserole and bake at 325 degrees F. for about 40 minutes, or until golden. Serves 12 to 16.