Monday, December 17, 2007

A Twist On A Cookie Favorite

I made my favorite chocolate chip cookies last night, but made a few changes. They were festive and yummy! Here's what I did:

Substituted 2 tsp. vanilla for 1 tsp. almond extract
Substitued chocolate chips for white chocolate chips
Added dried cranberries (a handful or so)

The fam dug it. I may be making these for the neighbors.....

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Gourmet Dinner Night "Red and Green" Theme

Last night I hosted Gourmet Dinner Night, so here are the recipes that I made. I had a "Red and Green Theme." I added a few notes that aren't on the printed recipes for those of you who were there...

Cranberry Orange Cream Spread

1 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. finely chopped craisins or dried cranberries
¼ c. finely chopped pecans (optional)

Soften cream cheese gently in the microwave. Mix in all other ingredients, whipping until fluffy. Chill at least 1 hour.

Serve with crackers, winter pears or my favorite, sliced apples.
*Tthis is a great holiday appetizer and a good alternative to the regular dips...
*To make the "gift" save the cream cheese box and line with plastic wrap. Refill box with the spread and stick it back in the refrigerator for a few hours. Make the bow out of green onions and place a craisin in the middle.

Cranberry and Green Christmas Salad

1 head red leaf lettuce. Wash, crisp and refrigerate all lettuce the day before serving
1 head green leaf lettuce
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 package bacon, fried, drained and crumbled
1 package dried cranberries or cherries
8 oz. finely-grated mozzarella cheese
8 oz. finely-grated parmesan cheese
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
½ lb. fresh sliced mushrooms

Combine the following ingredients in a blender

½ c. chopped red Bermuda onion
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. dried mustard
½ tsp. salt
½ c. red wine vinegar
Add approximately 1 c. vegetable oil to mixture above.

Toss salad and serve just before eating

Serves 10-15

*This may have been the favorite menu item. Maybe not, but this salad is definitely yummy!

Teriyaki Shrimp

1 box Kirkland Panko-breaded Shrimp from Costco
Prepare according to directions on box

Teriyaki sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Kikkoman soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

Stir sauce ingredients in sauce pan over medium/high heat until it starts to boil and thicken.

Take off heat and drizzle it over shrimp.

Sprinkle sesame seeds over shrimp. (or finely chopped green onions if you want)
*This recipe is soooo easy, but soooo tasty. My kids and Steven and I all LOVE these! And I'm not a huge seafood fan.

Festive Ice Cubes

1 small envelope raspberry or strawberry Koolaid
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups pineapple juice
2 liters of 7-up

Mix top 3 ingredients and pour into ice cube trays
Add 7-up to ice cubes JUST before serving (they melt fast)

One recipe makes about 2 1/2 trays of ice cubes.

*These also take longer to freeze than regular ice cubes, so plan ahead.

Buttery Breadsticks

1 loaf honey wheat bread (Rhodes frozen bread)
1 stick butter
Dill weed (other topping options: garlic salt, poppy seeds, parmesan cheese)

Take out loaf of bread the night before you need it and put in refrigerator to start thawing. In the morning, take bread out of fridge and thaw several hours.

Cut the bread load roll in half.
Roll out bread to 9”x9”
Cut into 8 breadsticks
Repeat with other half so you have 16 breadsticks.
Put stick of butter in microwave to melt and pour into 9x13 baking pan.
Lay 16 breadsticks in butter and sprinkle with garlic salt, dill, or poppy seed (choose your topping)
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (or a little more)
Breadsticks are done when all the butter is gone.

If you use parmesan cheese, sprinkle it on the last few minutes of baking so it will not burn.
*These taste best right out of the oven, when they're still hot and crispy on the bottom.

Grandma Stobbe’s Creamed Carrots

1 ½ large carrots/person, peeled and cut into coins. (Avoid using baby carrots. They don’t have the flavor that the big carrots have.)

Brown sugar to taste
Whipping cream
Salt and pepper

Cook carrots until tender. Drain. Mash with a potato masher. Add butter, sugar, cream, salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Stuffed Zucchini

6 large zucchini
1 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c. chopped onions
1 medium-large tomato, chopped
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. milk
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lb. cheese

Trim ends of zucchini. Cook covered in boiling water for 5 minutes. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out center of each. Chop center. Combine zucchini cubes, onions, tomato, seasonings and butter. Toss slightly. Fill each shell. Place in shallow baking dish. Generously sprinkle with bread crumbs and top with bacon and cheese. Cook at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
*I thought the zucchini I bought was a little bitter. Sorry about that, usually they don't taste that bitter. Maybe I just had the dud zuc...

Raspberry-Glazed Pork Tenderloins

2 pork tenderloins, about 12 oz. each
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper
12 oz. raspberry jam
¼ c. Dijon mustard

Move rack 4 inches from heat and turn on the broiler. Line baking sheet with foil. Trim off excess fat from tenderloins. Rub pork with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil 10 minutes.

While pork is broiling, whisk together jam and mustard in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until jam melts. Remove from heat. Transfer half to a small bowl for brushing. Cover pan to keep remaining sauce warm.

Remove pork from broiler and brush with reserved sauce. Continue to broil until pork is blackened in spots and registers 150-160 degrees on a meat thermometer. (approximately 10 minutes). If it starts to blacken too much, cover with foil for the remainder of cooking.

Cover pork loosely with foil; let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Drizzle remaining sauce over pork and serve.
*this recipe is also really good with apricot jam!

Cranberry Tart

½ c. coarsely chopped pecans
¾ c. butter, melted
¾ c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. flour
2 c. cranberries
Brown sugar
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

In a large bowl, whisk melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and flour. (batter will be thick) Stir in cranberries. Pour batter into greased 9x9 inch pan and sprinkle with pecans and lots of brown sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until golden and slightly crusty on top (about 35-40 minutes).

*If you really like nuts you can add another ½ cup of pecans to the batter and stir in with the cranberries before cooking.
*And adding a little brown sugar, vanilla or almond flavoring to the whipping cream is a yummy addition too!

*And make sure you wash and pick out any bad cranberries before mixing into batter.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Peppermint Brownies

· Pre-heat oven to 350°
· Butter 9 x 13 pan
· Melt 4 squares unsweetened chocolate with 2 cubes butter
· Cool for 5 minutes
· Beat in
o 2 C. sugar
o 4 eggs
o 1 C. flour
o Pinch of salt
o ½ tsp. peppermint extract
o 1 C. chopped pecans (optional)
· Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test
· Let cool completely before frosting

· Mix together
o 2 C. powdered sugar
o ½ stick butter softened
o 2 T. evaporated milk or heavy cream
o 1 tsp. peppermint extract
o Red food coloring
· Should be fairly thick
· Frost brownies and then sprinkle with crushed candy canes/peppermint sticks

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Peanut Butter Cups

If you like reeses peanut butter cups you will love these.

Peanut Butter Cups

2 cubes butter
1 cup peanut butter
Melt together then add
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ¾ cup gram cracker crushed ( can buy crushed at Target)
Mix all together and put in a 9x13 pan
Melt 1 bag milk chocolate chips and pour over peanut butter mixture.
Put in freezer for 30 min to set. Take out and let them get back to room temp. Enjoy

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Cucumber Dill Toasties.

These are so yummy. I couldn't stop eating them on ThanksgivingIt is a great appetizer for a party.
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened1 .7 oz pkg good season Italian dressing mix1/2 c. mayonnaise1 French baguette, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices1 cucumber sliced (English)2 tsp dried dill weedToast bread slices under the broiler. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, dressing mix and mayonnaise. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture on each slice of toasted bread, and then top with a slice of cucumber. Sprinkle with dill. You can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge, chilled.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Candy Cane Twists

I got this recipe from & tried them today. Yum yum!! Time for holiday cooking....can't wait to see what everyone's making :)

Makes: 32 cookies
Prep: 20 minutes.
Chill: 2 hours.
Bake: at 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes.

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg white
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 drops red liquid food coloring
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg white, lightly beaten

1. In small bowl, whisk 2 cups of the flour, the baking powder and salt. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth, 1 minute. Beat in egg, egg white and peppermint. On low, beat in flour mixture. Remove half of dough to bowl; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon flour and tint dough pink with red food coloring. Knead cocoa into second half of dough. Flatten each piece into 8-inch disk; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate 2 hours.

2. Heat oven to 350 F. On floured surface, roll out chocolate dough to a 10 x 8-inch rectangle. Cut lengthwise into sixteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Cut each strip in half crosswise; you will have 32 strips, each 5 x 1/2 inch. Roll under hands to make 6-inch ropes. Repeat with pink dough.

3. Twist together one chocolate rope and one pink rope. Curl a "hook" in one end of each twist, to form a candy-cane shape. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg white.

4. Bake cookies at 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes, until firm and golden around edges. Remove promptly from baking sheet; transfer carefully to cooling racks with large spatula. Cool completely.

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