Happy New Year; may your new year be filled with health, happiness, love, and maybe a little money.

Happy New Year; may your new year be filled with health, happiness, love, and maybe a little money.


Cheese and Bacon Appetizer Pie

1 prepared refrigerated pie crust

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

4 eggs, lightly beaten

cup milk

1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

cup mozzarella cheese

4 scallions, chopped, light parts only

8 smoked bacon strips, crisply cooked and crumbled

Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Roll out pastry into a 13 -inch circle. Fit into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Lightly prick the bottom several times. Use foil to hold pastry in place. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs and milk; beat until smooth. Stir in cheeses, onion, bacon, salt and pepper, mix well. Pour into the baked crust.

Bake at 350 for 40-emove sides of pan. Cut into thin slices; serve warm.


Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Pineapple Rice

1 14-ounce can chicken broth

1 cup long grain white rice

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

12 smoked bacon strips

16 sea scallops, about 2 pounds

1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained

In a saucepan bring chicken broth to a boil. Add rice, salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 13-15 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

In a large skillet cook bacon slices until partially cooked, not crisp. Remove 8-pieces and set aside. Continue cooking remaining four (4) slices until crisp. Pat on paper towels to drain. Finely chop crisp bacon pieces. Cut partially cooked bacon in half crosswise.

Wrap a half piece of bacon around each scallop; secure with a wooden toothpick.

Wipe the skillet clean; heat over medium high heat. Add scallops; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until scallops are firm and opaque.

Remove rice from heat, fluff with a fork. Stir in pineapple and chopped bacon. Serve with scallops.


Spinach and Sweet Italian Sausage Pie

2 Premade refrigerated pie crusts

1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed

1 large sweet onion, finely chopped

6 eggs, room temperature

1 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 16-ounce package mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 garlic clove, finely chopped then smashed

1 tablespoon water

In a large skillet, brown sausage and onion over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, breaking the sausage into crumbles; drain.

Separate one egg, reserve yolk for brushing pastry. In a large bowl whisk remaining eggs and egg white. Stir in sausage mixture, spinach, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and garlic.

Preheat oven to 35 degrees. Place one pie crust in a9-inch deep dish pie plate. Trim pastry even with rim. Add sausage mixture. Place second pie crust over filling. Trim, seal, and flute edge.

In a cup or small bowl whisk water and reserved egg yolk; brush over top of pastry. Cut 4-6 small slits in top.

Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes, then slice and serve.


Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Serves 12

Caramel Topping:

1 stick butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

12 canned pineapple rings in juice (one 20-ounce can plus one 8-ounce can pineapple slices)


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 stick butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

cup brown sugar, packed

3 large eggs, room temperature

cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

teaspoon almond extract

12 maraschino cherries, stemless

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; set aside.

For pineapple topping, melt cup butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1-cup brown sugar. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour into prepared pan.

Drain pineapple rings, reserving cup juice. Fit 12 rings in rows into bottom of pan. Place maraschino cherries in center of rings.

In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl with an electric mixer beat softened butter, granulated sugar, and cup brown sugar on medium speed for 2-minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs; beat until combined. On low speed beat in half the flour mixture. Pour in reserved cup pineapple juice and milk; beat until combined. Beat in remaining flour mixture, vanilla and almond extract.

Spread batter carefully over pineapple slices in pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a knife around edges of cake before turning out. Place a serving tray or baking sheet over cake; carefully invert. If pineapple or cherries stick to pan, gently replace on cake top.

Serve warm. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.