Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sweet' n Spicy Dr Pepper Glazed Prezels

I made these to take on our trip back to Wisconsin.  They are good and have a little kick!
Sweet 'n Spicy Dr Pepper Glazed Pretzels
http://www.girlichef.com

2 cups Dr Pepper Beth used diet Dr Pepper
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika Beth used plain paprika
1/4 teaspooon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups pretzel twists
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat oven to 300° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

Pour the Dr Pepper into a small pot set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to cook at a steady simmer until reduced to about 1 cup. At this point, stir in the brown sugar and allow to simmer again until it is thick and syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup. The entire process should take about 15-20 minutes total. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and all of the spices except the salt.


Place the pretzels in a bowl, then pour the mixture over them; toss to coat. The syrup may seize up a little during this step - that's okay. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet and scatter the salt over them. Slide into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through (the heat will melt the syrup again and you'll be able to stir and distribute it here).

Allow to cool before serving. Store cooled pretzels in an airtight container at room temperature.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cranberry Bars with Almond Frosting

I made these to take for an early birthday lunch for my friend Janet.  We all liked these bars.
Cranberry Bars with Almond Frosting
Paulette on Taste of Home BB


2 Eggs beaten well
1-1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Butter softened
1-1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla  Beth used 1 tsp
2 cups Whole Cranberries*
1 cup Chopped Walnuts

 *can use FROZEN cranberries but do NOT thaw before adding to the batter.

Beat eggs well and then mix thoroughly with sugar. Add butter, flour, baking powder, salt & vanilla and mix well.

Add cranberries and walnuts & mix.

Grease & flour a 9" x 13" pan. Spread batter in pan and bake at 350 for approximately 35 - 45 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Almond Frosting


4 oz Cream Cheese softened
1/2 cup Butter softened
3 cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Almond Extract
Sliced Almonds (optional)
Chopped Walnuts (optional)

Beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and almond extract until thoroughly mixed. Spread over cooled bars. Top with sliced almonds & chopped walnuts, if desired. Beth did not use


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Candy Bar Pretzel Bites

These were fun to make. I used both dark and white chocolate to dip and then fully dipped the Milky Ways so as to distinguish non nut from the nuts, for people with nut allergies.




Candy Bar Pretzel Bites
adapted from http://www.thegunnysack.com


Mini candy bars Beth used Fun Size snickers and Milky Ways, cut in half.  Also, peanut butter cups
Pretzels (rectangle or mini)Beth used Snaps
Vanilla Candy Coating
Chocolate Candy Coating
Sprinkles


1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Top with as many rectangular pretzels as you have mini candy bars.

2. Unwrap the mini candy bars and place them on the pretzels.

3. Warm in the oven at 300 degrees for about 3 minutes.

4. Top with more pretzels and press down gently.

5. Allow the chocolate to harden.

6. Dip one side of the candy bar pretzel sandwich into melted candy coating.

7. Return to the covered baking sheet and add sprinkles.







Monday, December 28, 2015

Chipotle Aioli


We made this Aioli recipe to put on our White Castle sliders.  Very good.
Chipotle Aioli
from a recipe on http://withsaltandwit.com

1 cup greek yogurt
½ a lime, juiced
½ large chipotle in adobo pepper
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Mix all together and blend with a hand blender.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Chocolate Chili

I made this for Don and me for dinner a few weeks ago.  Very tasty--a bit like Mexican Mole.


Chocolate Chili
http://meljoulwan.com


2 tablespoons coconut oil Beth used olive oil
2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes Beth used plain diced
2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 cup water


Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they’re translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and as soon as it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds, crumble the ground meat into the pan with your hands, mixing with the wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook the meat, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink.

In a small bowl, crush the oregano between your palms to release its flavor, then add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, allspice, and salt. Combine with a fork, then add to the pot, stirring like you mean it. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juice, beef broth, and water to the pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the chili enjoys a gentle simmer. Simmer uncovered for at least two hours. Do not skimp on the simmer! Serve in deep bowls with big spoons.

NOTES and Variations



Make a double batch and freeze half so you have chili-on-demand.

Top with sliced olives, diced onions, and/or avocado slices.

In a Slow Cooker
Sauté onions in fat in a cast iron or nonstick skillet, followed by the garlic; place in the crockpot insert.

Put 2 pounds ground beef in the skillet (without cleaning it out) and sauté until just no longer pink. Place that (and the juices) in the crockpot.

Add all the spices briefly to the hot skillet to bloom the flavors, then add the tomato paste; stir to combine and cook about 1 minute. Add the beef broth and stir to combine. Transfer to the crockpot.


Add the chopped tomatoes to the crockpot; do not add the water listed in the recipe. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I also heard from another reader who said she just “plopped” everything into the slow cooker and let it do its thing. My recommendation is use the step-by-step method, but if you’re not fussy about texture or you’re in a hurry, I suppose you could try the “plop” technique.




Saturday, December 26, 2015

Creamy Rueben Soup

A Rueben sandwich is my very favorite thing to eat. In fact, when I was pregnant with my oldest, I craved them at least 3 times a week! I saw this recipe and had to try it. We LOVED it!


CREAMY RUEBEN SOUP
http://mariamindbodyhealth.com



1 Medium Onion – Diced
2 Ribs Celery – Diced
2 Large Cloves Garlic – Minced
3 Tbs. Butter
1 lb. Corned Beef – Chopped
32 oz. Beef Stock
1 Cup Sauerkraut Beth used one 14 oz can
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Caraway Seeds
¾ tsp. Black Pepper
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 ½ Cup Swiss Cheese - Shredded


1. Heat slow cooker on high setting.

2. To a large sauté pan, over low-medium heat, add onion, celery, garlic and butter. Sauté until soft and translucent. Transfer to slow cooker.

3. To the slow cooker, add corned beef, beef stock, sauerkraut, sea salt, caraway seed and black pepper. Cover and cook on high for 4.5 hours.

4. Add heavy cream and Swiss cheese and cook 1 additional hour

Friday, December 25, 2015

Gingersnaps

 




Merry Christmas!  I pray you are celebrating the birth of Jesus with family and friends!
These really were the BEST gingersnaps I have made or tasted.  They were very easy to make, too. 
Gingersnaps
http://www.throughherlookingglass.com


2⅛ cups flour
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup molasses
extra white sugar (for rolling dough balls before baking)

Beat butter with mixer 'til creamy. Mix in sugar gradually. Add in egg and molasses.

Separately, sift together (or mix well with a fork): flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients.

Form into 1½ inch round balls. Roll in extra granulated sugar.

Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet or parchment paper.

Bake 8 minutes @ 350 degrees or 'til tops are round and cracked. They might still be slightly puffy.

Remove from the oven and whack the pan hard on the counter or stovetop. (Yup.) The middle will fall and they'll be flat and crackly. Just like a good gingersnap ought to be.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Garlic Parmesan Zucchini and Tomato Bake


This was excellent and very easy to put together.
Garlic Parmesan Zucchini and Tomato Bake

2 large or 2.5 lbs zucchini, cut into quarters
10 oz grape tomatoes, cut in halves or 2 large tomatoes, diced
7 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
1 tsp basil/thyme/oregano, dried
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup parsley or basil, finely chopped
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 8 x 8 or 9 x 11 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients, except parsley/basil, and stir to combine. Transfer to a prepared baking dish and bake uncovered for 25 minutes for crunchy zucchini or 35 minutes if you like well cooked vegetables. I recommend checking for doneness with a fork or knife after 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with basil or parsley and serve hot/warm.


Storage Instructions: Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies

These were quick and easy since it used a cake mix.  They tasted great, too.  I did bake some of  them longer since Don likes crispy cookies.
Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies
http://insidebrucrewlife.com
Yield: 36 cookies-45 cookies


1 box white cake mix
1 stick butter, melted (8 Tbsp.)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Oreo cookie chunks
1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch pieces
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips Beth used semi sweet

Combine the cake mix, melted butter, egg, and extracts. Beat until a soft dough forms. Add the cream cheese and beat in gently until combined. Stir in the peppermint crunch pieces and chocolate chips first. Then gently stir in the cookie pieces by hand being careful not to break up the cookie more. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 36 balls. Beth got more. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 9 minutes.Beth had to leave these in longer since I had 2 pans in the same oven. (and Don likes crispy cookies) Do not over bake. The cookies will be very soft and look undone. Let them sit on the hot cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then gently remove them with a spatula to a piece of wax paper on the counter.

Very gently tap the tops of the cookies with the bottom of the spatula to even out the tops. Let them sit until completely cool. Store in a sealed container. Makes 36 cookies.

Notes
I like to use a Silpat to bake these cookies. It helps to keep them from spreading too much, but it isn't necessary.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Crockpot Chocolate Nut Clusters


I decided to try this recipe since it used more than one type of nut.  I liked the flavor, but felt like this needed more chocolate.  The flavor was great.
Crockpot Chocolate Nut Clusters
http://www.popsugar.com

If you double the recipe, you will need to increase the cook time to 2 hours.


1 (12-ounce) package shelled pecans, toasted (3 1/2 cups)
1 (12-ounce package shelled walnuts, toasted (3 1/2 cups)
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted, salted peanuts (3 1/2 cups)
1 (12-ounce) package milk chocolate]
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup (2 ounces) bittersweet chocolate Beth used semisweet


Layer ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for 1 hour, or until chocolate melts. Do not open lid. Watch time carefully — do not overcook (or else chocolate will burn and stick). After 1 hour, stir mixture.

Cook 2 minutes and then stir again.

Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let harden completely before transferring to an airtight container.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Creamy Corn and Turkey Soup


I made this with the left over turkey from Thanksgiving.  I doubled this recipe and got quite a bit of soup to share with my inlaws, their neighbor and my friend!
Creamy Corn and Turkey Soup
Kraftrecipes.com

1/2 cup chopped onions
1 red pepper, chopped, divided Beth used a green pepper
2 Tbsp. butter
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
2 cups shredded cooked turkey
1 can (14.75 oz.) cream-style corn
2 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth  Beth used homemade
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
Garlic minced
2-3 T flour to thicken(add to milk)
1 c corn  Beth's addition after reading reviews

Cook onions, garlic and half the red peppers in butter in large saucepan on medium heat 5 to 6 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.

Add cream cheese; cook on low heat 3 to 4 min. or until melted, stirring constantly. Stir in turkey, corn, broth and milk.

Cook 5 min. or until soup is heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with remaining red peppers and black pepper.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake

I doubled this and sent one loaf to work with Jenna and took the other to Bible Study.  Another great recipe!
Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake
http://thefirstyearblog.com/
Yield: one loaf


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
3 egg whites
1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1. Preheat oven to 350º F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, and nutmeg.

3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk, and egg whites with a spatula or whisk. Add in the canned pumpkin, and mix together well.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until everything is combined.

5. Thoroughly spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

7. Allow the bread to cool in the pan before removing.

8. Store in an air tight container.



Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mrs. Myers’ Banana Bread



I made a double batch of this and sent one loaf to work with Jenna and took one to a ladies' Bible study.  Everyone liked this. 
Mrs. Myers’ Banana Bread
http://www.alexandracooks.com
Yield=2 large loaves


2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups sifted flour (I never sift)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. table salt
5 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup nuts, optional
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 quart mashed bananas, about 8 (ripe to overripe)


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter two loaf pans.

2. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

4. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla, buttermilk and bananas.

5. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Divide batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for approximately 1 hour.

6. Remove from oven and turn loaves out onto cooling rack immediately. Let cool.





Friday, December 18, 2015

How to Pan Sear a Sirloin

A few weeks ago, I was home alone and had 2 sirloins in the freezer.  I decided to try this and was SO glad I did.  Apart from a smoky kitchen, this was one of the best steaks I have every made!  Try it--with a working exhaust fan(something I do NOT have at the moment! )
How to Pan Sear a Sirloin
http://www.livestrong.com/article/514202-how-to-pan-sear-and-oven-bake-a-sirloin/

Remove the sirloin from the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature.

Preheat  oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a cast-iron skillet on the stove top and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Pat the sirloin with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Season the meat with salt and pepper, to taste, and any other spices or rubs of your choosing.

Place the sirloin in the skillet and sear one side for three to four minutes. Flip the sirloin with tongs and sear the other side for another three minutes.

Remove the cast-iron skillet with the sirloin from the stove top and place it on the middle rack in the oven. Bake the sirloin for five to 10 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven when the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Loosely wrap the sirloin in tin foil and let it rest for five minutes. The meat will continue to cook and the internal temperature will rise another five degrees.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Quick and Easy Garlic Parmesan Knots


Kathleen made these to go with the Chili Relleno soup.  They were EXCELLENT!
Quick and Easy Garlic Parmesan Knots

http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com
Yield: Makes 10 knots


1 can (7.5 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (fresh or canned)
1/2 teaspoon each: garlic powder, dried oregano, dried parsley flakes
Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll each biscuit into a 12-inch rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under. Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, Parmesan, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried parsley and salt. Brush knots with half of butter mixture.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush warm knots with remaining butter mixture.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Chile Relleno Soup


Kathleen and Jenna put this together on a Saturday a few weeks ago.  It was very good.  It has a bit of a kick to it.  They did not make the topping, but just used pepper jack cheese.
Chile Relleno Soup

5 poblano chiles We used 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
¼ cup of cilantro chopped
½ cup of flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt

Chile Relleno Topping
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup cooking oil
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded jack cheese

Clean and dry the poblano chiles. Places them on a cookie sheet covered in foil. Place under the broiler for 5 minutes. Turn the chiles over and broil for another 5 minutes. Chiles should be roasted with black skin. Remove from the oven and place the chiles in a sealable plastic bag. Set aside

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 2 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cilantro. Cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the ½ cup of flour to the saucepan and stir to coat the veggies. Cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the chicken broth, cream, milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a low simmer.

Once the chiles have cooled to the touch, remove from the plastic bag. Cut off the top, remove the seeds, and then remove the skin. (I found it easiest to use a paring knife to remove the skin)

Set one of the chiles aside for the chile relleno topping. Chop up the other 4 chiles and add to the soup. Allow the soup to continue simmering approximately 15-20 minutes.

While the soup simmers make the chile relleno topping. Slice the remaining chile in half (should already have the seeds and skin removed). This will give you two large pieces of chile.

Set up two small bowls. Using the two eggs separate so that whites are in one bowl and yolks are in the second bowl. Beat the egg whites for about a minute and add the 2 tablespoons of flour. In the other bowl beat the egg yolks. Set up a small frying pan and heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Dip one of the chile slices into the egg yolk, then into the egg white/flour mixture. Add to the cooking oil and fry on each side about 1-2 minutes until golden. Repeat with the other chile slice.

Just before serving the soup, add ½ cup of shredded Jack cheese and stir until completely melted. Serve the soup into bowls, top with the chile relleno and extra shredded jack cheese. You can place the bowls under the broiler if desired to melt the cheese on top, however, this step is not required.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

I made this for Thanksgiving since my Mother in Law said she had never had it!  I used Paula Deen's recipe since I wanted to make a 9 x 13 pan.  Cheesecake and Banana Pudding were our Southern Desserts!
Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding
http://www.pauladeen.com


1 (12 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
1 (5 oz) box instant French vanilla pudding mix Beth use regular vanilla
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 bags chessmen cookies Beth used Nilla Wafers

Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Rolls Royce Roll Recipe

This was a new recipe I tried.  I froze them after the first rise.  Very good.
Rolls Royce Roll Recipe
http://www.ohsweetbasil.com
Serves: 24

¼ cup warm water
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
¼ cup whole milk, low fat is fine but not skim
4½ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
5 to 5½ cups of flour (all purpose)
1½ teaspoons real sea salt (not kosher)
Canola Oil
Extra butter for after baking

1. In a bowl, add the ¼ cup warm water 2 teaspoons of sugar and yeast. Set aside in a warm place to foam for 5-10 minutes. In a saucepan add the heavy cream and milk with the butter and sugar. Stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until foam is around the edges. Do not let boil! Remove from the burner and cool to luke warm. (I place mine on a hot pad in the fridge and watch it carefully to bring it down to warm.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs.

3. Add one cup of flour and the salt to the eggs, mix.

4. Add the scalded milk and yeast mixture to the flour and egg mixture, mix.

5. Continue to add an additional cup of flour and mix until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Add more flour in ¼ cup increments until the dough does not stick to your fingers but still indents when lightly pressed.

6. Spread a little canola oil in a small grocery or plastic bag, scrape dough out of bowl and into the bag. Twist loosely and tuck under the bag.

7. Allow the dough to rise for 45-60 minutes. Punch down and allow to rise an additional 45-60 minutes.

8. Divide the dough in half and roll into a circle. Cut into 12 pieces. Roll the dough triangle from the wide end into a crescent roll. Place the rolls onto a greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and cover lightly with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

9. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and bake 15-18 minutes.

10. Brush the hot rolls with a stick of butter and enjoy!

Notes
The instructions may seem a little odd, but for best results follow them exactly. adapted from Ann Romney's The Romney Family Table Cookbook.

Rolls can be shaped and then frozen after the first rise. Freeze them on a cookie sheet then store in ziploc bags in the freezer. When you're ready to use them, allow them to rise in a warm place with a towel over them then bake as directed.****  This is what Beth did.  I took them out 5 hours before I planned on baking them.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

Ya'll know how much I love my crockpots.  We had 3 going on Thanksgiving and made this one in my 9 x 13 crockpot.  We only put the pecans on half since Kathleen is allergic to them.  This was EXCELLENT.
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole
http://www.chelseasmessyapron.com

2 (29 ounces each) canned sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons white sugar Beth used Splenda
Pinch of salt
2 and 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar Beth used Splenda brown sugar blend
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 large eggs
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk, I used whole  Beth used whipping cream
Topping
3/4 cup pecan chips
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed Beth used Splenda brown sugar blend
1/4 cup white flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, melted

Either line your slow cooker with a disposable liner or spray generously with nonstick spray.
 
Drain the sweet potatoes. Add the sweet potatoes, butter, white sugar, pinch of salt, brown sugar, and orange juice in the slow cooker.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Pour in the lightly beaten eggs, vanilla extract, and milk into the slow cooker.

Beat until completely smooth. (Alternatively, you can beat all of these ingredients in a different bowl).

Smooth the mixture with a spatula.

In a small bowl, stir together all of the topping ingredients. Spread the topping mixture evenly on top of the sweet potatoes.Beth mixed all except the pecans and sprinkled pecans only on half, for those with allergies.

Cover the crockpot and cook on high for 2 and 1/2 to 4 hours depending on how hot your slow cooks.
 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin

Happy College Graduation Day for our Kathleen!  Can't believe she is 21 and graduating!  Woo Hoo!  Mom and dad get a raise! :-)

These were a BIG hit for Thanksgiving. Everyone loved them. We will be making them again soon.


Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin

http://www.thestayathomechef.com

2 TB butter
2 TB flour
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk Beth used 3/4 c milk and 3/4 c whipping cream
3 TB cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 to 1 1/2 lbs fresh brussel sprouts, trimmed


 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart (8x8) casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour to form a roux. Whisk in mustard, onion powder, and salt.

3. When the paste is warm and bubbly, pour in milk. Heat until mixture thickens.

4. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese and parmesan cheese until melted and smooth.

5. Place the trimmed brussel sprouts in the prepared pan (Note: if your brussel sprouts are large you may need to cut them in half so they are bite-sized). Pour cheese mixture over brussel sprouts.

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until brussel sprouts are soft.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cranberry Honey Butter



We made this butter to go on the rolls for Thanksgiving.  Very easy and yummy!  I had some cute little 4 oz canning jars to put this in.
Cranberry Honey Butter
Taste of Home October/November 2012

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, beat all ingredients until blended. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 3 months. Yield: 24 servings.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake Dip

This was one of our appetizers on Thanksgiving day. It was served with chocolate graham crackers and teddy grahams. A nice sweet treat.


Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake Diphttp://www.crazyforcrust.com

Yield: About 1 1/2 cups


1/2 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons Liquid Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened (regular or low-fat okay, do not use fat free)
1 cup Cool Whip (regular, light, or sugar-free)


1. Place chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of creamer in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup. Heat on high power for 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth, reheating if needed for 15 seconds. Chill until cream cheese mixture is ready.

2. Beat cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth, about 30 seconds. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the creamer and beat until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip carefully.

3. Place half the cream cheese mixture in a serving bowl. Top with half the chocolate, then repeat. Swirl the top with a knife. Top with crushed candy canes, if desired. Serve with small cookies. Refrigerate any leftovers.
 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Olive Garden Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

I first made this recipe in 1996, I think.  It is very rich, but ooooohhhh so good.  This was one of our desserts for Thanksgiving. 



Olive Garden Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Source: Kitchen Link (Copycat Collection) at kitchenlink.com

Cheesecake
2 tablespoons margarine
2 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 pound refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
2 ounces chocolate chips Beth used mini

Toppings
1 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped
Chocolate chips
Chopped walnuts
Chocolate sauce

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.

Combine the margarine with the chocolate cookie crumbs. Press onto the bottom and sides of the pan.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, combine cream cheese, sugar, eggs and flour and mix until smooth. Add vanilla extract and sour cream and mix just until blended. Pour 1/2 of the batter into prepared crust.

Cut cookie dough into golf ball-size chunks Beth made smaller balls and drop into batter. Sprinkle in chocolate chips. Pour over remaining batter. Bake for 60 minutes.

Turn off the oven and open the door to the broil position. Allow cake to remain in the oven 30 more minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, remove the sides of the pan and top with fresh whipped cream. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips, Chocolate sauce and chopped walnuts.





Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Easy Mediterranean Chicken Bake

 
This was quick and easy to put together.  It tasted great and warmed up nicely.

Easy Mediterranean Chicken Bake
http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com


2 tbsp olive oil
10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs Beth used thighs and breasts
Salt and pepper
1 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 2.5-ounce can sliced black olives, drained
1 15-ounce can low sugar tomato sauce
2 cups shredded Italian cheese


Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering and hot. Sprinkle chicken all over with salt and pepper. Add chicken thighs to pan and brown both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer thighs to a large 9x13 casserole dish and arrange in a single layer.

Sprinkle with artichoke hearts and black olives.

Pour tomato sauce over top and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Turn oven to broil and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, to lightly brown cheese on top.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh basil.

Monday, December 7, 2015

White Castle Sliders


We made these but just used a little over 1 pound of meat, so our sliders were thin(and delicious!)  We also used caramelized onions on the bottom.
White Castle Sliders
http://www.mommyskitchen.net

1/2 - cup dried onion flakes We caramelized about 3/4 c onions in butter
2 - pounds ground chuck- 80/20 ground beef we used 1.25 #
1/2 - teaspoon seasoned salt
6 - slices cheddar cheese or American cheese slices
12 - small party rolls
dill pickle slices

Evenly spread the onions on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Gently press the ground beef on top of the onion flakes. Press evenly making one giant patty.

Sprinkle with seasoned salt. At this point you can use a drinking straw and poke holes throughout the meat. That is what they do with the original white castle sliders.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Using a paper towel, pat the excess grease from the top of the patty. Using 80/20 ground beef the meat does shrink down some.

Top with cheddar cheese, return to oven for 2 more minutes. Remove from oven, let set 5 minutes then cut into patties.

Slice open and separate each party roll. Place bottom of rolls on a large platter. Using a spatula lift patty with onion layer onto each bun bottom.

Top each slider with a pickle slice then the bun lid. Serve immediately. Makes 12- 15 sliders depending on how big you cut them.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Butter Ranch Chicken


This made a quick and easy lunch on a Sunday.  The chicken was tender and flavorful.
Butter Ranch Chicken
https://glutenfreemakeover.wordpress.com

4 Chicken Breasts
1 pkg Hidden Valley ranch mix
1/2 stick of butter

Place the chicken into the crockpot and sprinkle with the ranch mix. Cut butter into 8 pieces and place on top of the ranch mix. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Cinnamon French Toast Muffins

Jenna and I made these on the Sunday that we had to replace our water heater.  We had leftover dinner rolls from Sams club, so used those.  Next time I will over spray the pans since they tended to stick.  Very good.
Cinnamon French Toast Muffins
http://www.justataste.com

6 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
14 cups cubed bread We used leftover bakery rolls


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin tin liberally with butter or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla extract. Add the cubed bread to the bowl and fold until combined and the bread has absorbed all of the liquid.

Divide the bread mixture among the muffin tin cups, pressing it lightly into each cup to compact it.Beth got 15 muffins

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes(we had to add 10 minutes) until they’re slightly crisped on top and cooked throughout. Allow the cups to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin then scoop each one out. Serve with syrup.
 
 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Blue Cheese Ranch Dressing

 
I saw this a few months ago on the food network and decided to make it last week.  I really liked it.  The fresh herbs made it feel like summer time!
Blue Cheese Ranch Dressing
adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/damaris-phillips

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons sliced fresh chives
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese Beth used gorgonzola
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Combine the sour cream, buttermilk, basil, parsley, chives, thyme, garlic, lemon juice and onion powder with a whisk in a medium bowl. Fold in the blue cheese, season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Crazy Bark

We saw this on an episode of Pioneer Woman on the Food Network.  Jenna needed to take something to a potluck where kids would be.  This was perfect and it was all gone at the end of the evening!  We used what we had in the pantry for this.  The possibilities are endless!


Crazy Bark
adapted greatly from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-Drummond


One 20-ounce package white almond bark
16 whole chocolate graham crackers
1 cup pretzel sticks
1 cup broken chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos
1 cup gummy bears
1 cup gummy worms
1 cup sour gummy worms
1 cup roasted salted peanuts
1 cup chocolate candies, such as M and Ms
2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

Melt the almond bark in a double boiler Beth did this in the microwave. Stir until smooth, then allow to cool slightly.

Arrange the whole graham crackers together on a rimmed baking sheet so that they're butted up against one another. Pour the melted almond bark over the top and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly over the surface.

Sprinkle on the pretzels, cookies, gummy bears, gummy worms, sour gummy worms, peanuts, chocolate candies and rainbow sprinkles. Lightly press the ingredients with the palm of your hand to make sure they're all anchored on. Refrigerate until set completely.  This is where we did our own thing, and you can too.  Use whatever you have on hand.  We went with a peppermint theme--used crushed peppermints, andes thin mints, red and green sprinkles and peppermint kisses.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pecan Pie Bark

I made this for Jenna to take to a Thanksgiving meal at work.  Everyone liked it.  I did make changed to the original recipe after reading reviews.




Pecan Pie Bark


Adapted from http://wishesndishes.com

2 sticks butter
1 cup white sugar Beth used brown sugar instead1 and ¼ cups pecan halves
1 tsp vanilla
About 2 pkgs (approx. 12 sheets) honey graham crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place graham crackers tightly across jelly roll sheet that is lined with foil.

In a large saucepan, bring the butter and sugar to a boil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the pecans and vanilla and boil 2 more minutes

Carefully (and evenly) pour boiled mixture over the entire plane of graham crackers, spreading pecans around evenly.

Immediately pop graham crackers into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Allow graham cracker bark to cool completely before breaking into pieces and storing in an airtight container.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich


This is a twist on a BLT.  I made this for lunch for Don one day and he liked it!
Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich
 

2 slices bread
2 - 3 tablespoons butter
4 slices Kraft American Cheese Singles
4 slices bacon, cooked
2 pieces of lettuce
4-5 thinly sliced pieces of tomato

Cook bacon in oven. Soften butter in microwave about 10 seconds. Brush butter on 2 sides of bread
Add 2 slices of cheese. Add filling ingredients - bacon, lettuce and tomato.

Top with 2 more slices of cheese. Top with bread, buttered side up.

Heat skillet or griddle, place sandwich buttered side down. Butter top piece of bread.Place saucepan on top of sandwich to add a little weight so the sandwiches ingredients combine and the cheese melts,  Beth just used a spatula and pushed lightly on the sandwich.

Cook until brown, flip and cook until brown
Serve immediately