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Oh, to have a meal all prepared and then pull out a dessert ... well, that really sets off the whole dinner. The other day my daughter made a strawberry trifle that was just beautiful and really made the meal; it was the highlight of the meal.

Caramel Pecan Tart

9-inch pie crust

1 14-ounce package caramels, unwrapped

1/2 cup whipping cream

3 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Bake crust in a 10-inch tart pan according to package directions. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels and cream, microwave on high at 2-minute intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted. Stir in pecans, pour into crust. Place chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl, heat on high setting for about 1 minute or until melted. Drizzle over caramel. Refrigerate until set, cut into thin wedges. Serves 16.

Creamy Lemonade Pie

1 5-ounce can evaporated milk

1 3.4-ounce package instant lemon pudding mix

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate

1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust

In a bowl, combine milk and dry pudding mix. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minutes, until thickened. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add lemonade concentrate. Stir cream cheese mixture into pudding mixture, mixing well. Pour into crust. Cover, refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serves 6 to 8.

Ruby Slipper Cake

1 18 1/2-ounce yellow cake mix with pudding

1 8-ounce container sour cream

1/4 cup water

2 eggs, beaten

1 3-ounce package raspberry gelatin mix, divided

3/4 to 1 cup seedless raspberry jam

2 tablespoons orange juice

In a bowl, combine dry cake mix, sour cream, water and eggs. Beat for 2 minutes with and electric mixer on medium speed. Spoon one-third of batter into a greased tube pan. Sprinkle with half of dry gelatin mix. Repeat layers, ending with batter. Bake at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into cake’s center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert onto a cake plate and let cool completely. In a bowl combine desired amount of jam with orange juice, spread thinly over cake. Serves 8 to 10.

Strawberry Dip

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Ground ginger to taste

Whole strawberries, hulled

Combine all ingredients, except strawberries in a bowl, whip until smooth. Serve with strawberries. Serves 6.

Butter Pecan Peach Dessert

1 15-ounce can sliced peaches

1 18 1/4-ounce package butter pecan cake mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Pour peaches with juice into a buttered 11-by-8-inch baking pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over peaches. Break apart any large lumps with a fork. Gently drizzle butter over cake mix, sprinkle with coconut and pecans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden on top. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serves. 9.

Juicy Orange Juice Cake

1 18 1/2-ounce package yellow cake mix

1 3.4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix

1/2 cup oil

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup orange juice

1 to 2 cup pecan halves

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except pecans, beat until smooth. Place pecans in the bottom of a lightly greased bundt pan. If using, pour batter over top. Bake at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cakes center comes out clean. While cake is cooling in pan, but still warm, poke holes in cake and pour about half of orange glaze over top. Let cool completely. Invert cake onto a cake plate. Top with remaining orange glaze Serves 12.

Orange Glaze

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter

1/2 cup orange juice

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes, use immediately.

Sunshine State Citrus Cupcakes

1 18 1/2-ounce package yellow cake mix

2 3/4-ounce packages instant lemon pudding mix

3/4 cup oil

1 cup orange juice

4 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer for one minute on low speed and 3 minutes on high speed. Fill paper-lined muffin cups about 1/2 full. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly golden. While cupcakes are still warm, pierce cakes with a fork, spoon glaze evenly over tops, using all of mixture. Makes 2 dozen.

Glaze

1/3 cup orange juice

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Use immediately.

Strawberry Fields Cake

1 6-ounce package strawberry gelatin mix

1 baked angel food cake, cubed

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare gelatin according to package directions, refrigerate until it starts to set, about 30 minutes. Pour into a 13-by-9-inch glass baking pan. Gently stir in cake. Fold in strawberries. Top with whipped topping. Keep refrigerated. Serves 8 to 10.

Hornet’s Nest Cake

1 4.6-ounce package cook and serve vanilla pudding mix

1 18 1/2-ounce package yellow cake mix

2 cups butterscotch chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

Prepare pudding as directed on package, cool to room temperature. Stir dry cake mix into prepared pudding. Blend well. Pour into a greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with butterscotch chips and walnuts. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Serves 10 to 12.

Apple and Apricot Fold-over

1 9-inch pie crust

1/4 cup butter, softened

5 tart apples, cored, peeled and sliced

1 cup sugar

1 10-ounce jar apricot jam, divided

Lay pie crust flat on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spread butter evenly on crust. In a bowl toss apples in sugar, arrange evenly in the center of pie crust but not all the way to the edge. Spoon half the jam over apples; let it spread out toward the edge. Fold over crust all the way around the circle, leaving a small opening in the center. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until crust is golden. Spoon remaining jam over top while still warm. Serves 6 to 8.

Banana Cream Pie

2 3/4 cups cold milk

1 2 3/4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix

2 tablespoons banana extract

5 drops yellow food coloring

1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

9 inch graham cracker crust

In a bowl, whisk together milk, dry pudding mix, banana extract and food coloring for 5 minutes or until softly set. Fold in whipped topping; spoon into crust. Cover, freeze overnight. Thaw in refrigerator one hour before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

If you have any recipes you would like to share with our other readers, you can send them to my email at judyd2313@frontier.com. Have a wonderful summer!

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