Ideas for starting new traditions

Anaheim Hills resident Le Swanson doesn’t feel like it’s Christmas until she smells the spiral-cut chili cheese dogs cooking.

And good friends of Swanson’s family feel the same way about their shrimp cocktail aspic – an appetizer made with Jell-O, shrimp and veggies. The best part about the aspic is the pronunciation of its name, said Swanson. Saying it elicits giggles every time.

“It sounds like an expletive!” she said.

If starting a new tradition sounds like a good idea this holiday season, why not try a couple of Swanson’s recipes?

Spiral-cut chili cheese dogs

A Swanson family favorite


1 package hot dogs

1 package hot dog buns

1 can Hormel chili (Swanson prefers chili without beans)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


1. Cut a spiral down each hot dog, being careful not to cut too deep.
2. Grill hot dogs.
3. Place each hot dog in a bun, then cover with chili and shredded cheese.
4. Place hot dogs in oven or toaster oven to melt cheese and crisp the hot dog buns.

Shrimp Cocktail Aspic

Good for giggles


4 cups V8 juice

1 8-ounce jar tomato sauce

1/2 cup onion choped

1/2 cup celery leaves, chopped

3 bay leaves

6 whole cloves

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin

4 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 to 3/4 pounds shrimp

3-4 stalks celery

20 large stuffed green olives


1. Mix 3 cups of V8 with the chopped onion, celery leaves, and cloves.
2. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
3. Strain and cool.
4. Dice the celery into fine bits and slice the green olives.
5. Soften the gelatin in remaining V8 juice, adding to hot V8 juice to dissolve. Add tomato sauce, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
6. Chill until thickened, able to fold the shrimp, diced celery and green olives into the mixture without falling to the bottom or sit on the top. Chill until molded, then serve.

Ingredients for the sauce:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon horseradish

Lemon to taste

Swanson’s notes:

The amount of shrimp to your taste, I like a lot. No tails, please. I also like a lot of mustard and horseradish in the sauce. Tasting is good, so suit it to your taste.

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