The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

SCHMITT: "New Year Treats”


12-7-2009 Column

After some quick backwards math, I have figured out that I will be hosting this year’s annual New Year’s Eve party.

For the past 30 years, 4 couples have gotten together to eat, drink, laugh, play games and of course welcome in the New Year.

We have continued this tradition through new babies, snow storms and Y2K. There was only 1 year we postponed it a week due to a flu bug traveling around the country. Our game of choice in the early years was the “Farming Game”. It’s a great Monopoly-style board game about dairy farming, picking rocks, cattle breaking down the neighbor’s fence and picking up a milk check as you make another round. It takes a couple of hours to play. Our only problem was that we wouldn’t start it until after midnight because we were so busy talking and catching up with one another. Which seems strange considering 2 couples are dairy farmers, one is a DHIA tester and the other is a beef farmer when not working for the power company. Two of us would be heading back out to our barns in a few hours!

Regardless of the lack of sleep, there is never a lack of food on the counter. Over the years, we have all settled into the dishes we bring to the party. Rita brings the Taco Salad dip. Ann always brings enough plates of homemade candies for everyone to take home. (By this time of the holiday season, she is full of candy!) That leaves the 2 dairy farmer’s wives to bring whatever we have time to whip up before the party! Here are some of our favorite New Year’s Party treats. Enjoy a safe and happy New Year!

Ann’s Pepperoni Bread

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1 TBSP olive oil
Jar spaghetti sauce (won’t use the whole jar)
½ TBSP dried basil leaves
½ TBSP dried minced onion
½ TBSP dried oregano
1 (8oz) pkg sliced pepperoni
1 (6oz) pkg shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten

Allow thawed bread to rise once according to package directions. On a lightly greased baking sheet, roll dough into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle. Brush dough lightly with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of sauce over the dough to within half inch of edges. Sprinkle seasoning over sauce. Layer pepperoni. Top with mozzarella cheese. Beginning with longest edge, roll dough into a cylinder and seal seam. Glaze with egg.

Bake in preheated oven 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Rita’s Taco Salad Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
16 oz sour cream
Taco seasoning mix
Lettuce, shredded
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
Black olives, drained
Cheddar cheese, shredded

In a bowl mix together cream cheese, sour cream and seasoning mix. Spread over a large pan (we use a large pizza pan) Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, pepper, olives and cheese. Serve with taco chips.

Chocolate Pizza

8 oz white chocolate, divided
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
½ c each..salted peanuts, mini marshmallows, crispy rice cereal, coconut, red and greed candied cherries

In a heavy sauce pan or in the microwave, melt 6 oz of white chocolate and all the chocolate chips. Stir in peanuts, marshmallows, and cereal. Pour onto a greased 10 inch pizza pan or on a 10 inch circle of cardboard covered with foil. Spread to even out top. Sprinkle with coconut. Top with cherries. Melt remaining white chocolate; drizzle over pizza. Chill.

Fruit Pizza


½ c. melted butter
1 c. flour
¼ c. powdered sugar.

Mix together. Pat into a pizza pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool.

Second layer:

1 – 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c. sugar

Beat together.

Spread over cool crust

Third layer:

Fresh fruit of any kind, sliced bananas, peaches (dipped in lemon juice) strawberries, blueberries, etc.. (or 1 can fruit cocktail, drained. Save the juice)

Layer fruit over cream cheese layer.


2 TBSP corn starch
½ tsp lemon juice
½ c. sugar

Whisk corn starch in water/juice. Cook until thickened and pour over fruit. Chill

Pizza Crust

1 pkg yeast 5 c. flour
2 c. warm water
1 c. corn meal
2 TBSP brown sugar 2 tsp salt
¼ c. oil

Dissolve yeast in ¼ c. warm water and sugar. Set aside. In mixing bowl add rest of water, salt, extra brown sugar to taste, oil, corn meal and 2 c. flour. Mix in yeast mixture. Beat well. Add enough flour to make soft dough. Knead 5 – 6 minutes. Cover. Rise 30 minutes. Punch down and divide in half. Bake 400 degrees 15 – 20 minutes. Yields 2 pizzas.


As their four children pursue dairy careers off the farm, Natalie and Mark are starting a new adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota. (Natalie grew up in Stronghurst, the daughter of Becky and the late Larry Dowell.)