Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas baking

I’ve done a lot of baking this month with plans for Santa cookies this weekend.

Snickerdoodles  are my favorite Christmas cookie.  We made them for Santa last year and plan to do so again this year.


Monkey was a much bigger help with them this year.  She rolled them around in the cinnamon sugar mix and put them on the cookie sheet (even if I did have to space them out better before popping them in the oven. HA).  

We also made Snow Drops with Chocolate Kisses.  I’ve always associated these with Christmas too, as we’ve been having them at Christmastime since I was a kid.  This is yet another one of those recipes I don’t know where it originated but we’ve been using it for a really long time.


Snow Drops with Chocolate Kisses

    • 1 cup soft butter
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
    • 1 package chocolate kisses
    • powdered sugar
  • Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add flour and nuts.
  • Chill dough.
  • Shape 1 tbs dough around each kiss and roll into a ball. 
  • Bake at 375 for 12 minutes or until set (not brown). 
  • Roll in powdered sugar while warm.

We also tried a new treat yesterday for T to bring to his department Christmas party today (he ran off with them before I could get a picture).  I’m not sure where I found this recipe, but I’ve had it in my stack to try for quite a few years.

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

    • 1/2 cup margarine
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 cup “quick” oats
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Beat margarine and peanut butter for 30 seconds.
  • Add sugars and beat until fluffy.
  • Beat in egg and vanilla.
  • Stir together flour, soda and salt.
  • Add to beaten mixture and beat until blended.
  • Stir in oats.
  • Spread mixture in 13x9.2 pan. 
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
  • Remove to rack and sprinkle with chocolate pieces.
  • Let stand 5 minutes and spread to cool.
  • If desired, make an icing of 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup peanut butter and 2-3 tbs milk to drizzle over the bars.

Enjoy your kitchens!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Testing testing, 124

Monkey skips 3 when she’s counting fast.  I’m starting to skip it, too.  ha

I’m trying out Windows Live Writer.  It took me too much time to post all of those recipes this morning because the drag and drop technique for photos is ridiculous.  It doesn’t cooperate very well with me. 

I hope this is showing up for those of you using the reader.

Did I find an easier way?

I hope so!

Recipes of the week

After submitting my large recipe dump, I found two more I missed.

Both are from Martha Stewart Living (image from MSL).
Poached Chicken with Bok Choy in Ginger Broth tastes very similar to the Samurai Soup I tried last winter. The chicken could use a little seasoning (though it could be because I skipped the chile's because of Monkey's distate for much spice), but it was a healthier alternative to the Samurai Soup. Next time, I will use some seasoning on the chicken. I'll also put it back into the pot after cutting it up.

And true to form with most MSL recipes, I can't find the recipe online for Mustard-Rosemary Chicken with Carrots and Potatoes. It was absolutely delicious, so I'm sharing. It calls for chicken thighs and drumsticks but I used breasts. And as I'm typing this out, I realize I forgot the lemon.

12 thin carrots, greens trimmed but left intact
1 tbs plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, plus 3 sprigs
4 skinless chicken thighs
4 skinless chicken drumsticks
8 baby Yukon Gold or Red Bliss potatoes, halved
1 lemon, halved
Freshly ground pepper

1) Preheat oven to 425. Toss together carrots, 1 tsp oil and 1/8 tsp salt in a bowl. Spread out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until carrots begin to soften and caramelize, 10 to 15 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, combine mustard, garlic and chopped rosemary and 2 tsp oil in another bowl. Rub mixture over chicken pieces to coat. Toss together remaining tsp oil and the potatoes in another bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 tsp salt.
3) Remove baking sheet from oven and add chicken, potatoes and rosemary sprigs to carrots. Bake until chicken is slightly golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165, about 45 minutes. Squeeze lemon on top and season with pepper.
Now feel free to enjoy your kitchens!

Recipes of the week

I've fallen behind on sharing new recipes. I'm going to keep this as short and sweet as possible so I can include a bunch (all?) today.

(All images are from the website I've found the recipes on)

I found Creamy Shrimp with Corn and Bacon in Real Simple. T made it a while back. We used canned corn instead of frozen because we had it on hand. It was easy to make and really good.

The next three are from Bon Appetit:

Steak-and-Mushroom Reubens were fairly easy to make, but they also made a huge mess. They were good, but there were so many dishes involved I don't think it's something I'll make often. I hate extra dishes.

Panko-Crusted Chicken with Mustard Maple Pan Sauce was easy to make and it was mighty tasty. It is most definitely a keeper.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Breasts was a very bad for us treat. It looks fancy and complicated, but it isn't (they have a how-to here). I used smoked mozzarella to stuff it because it's what I had on hand. This is a keeper.

In my quest for healthy food, I found this Broccoli Florets with Almonds recipe in Fresh Magazine. Monkey loved the little trees. It was ridiculously easy to put together, too.

The rest I have for today are from Everyday:

Lasagna Burgers were a great big greasy mess, but very good. It was the first time I'd bought and used ciabatta rolls. I won't be doing that again. There are just too many in a package for the three of us to use before they get hard (the chickens had a treat). Along with the greasy aspect of the burger itself, it also required lots of dishes. I'm hanging on to it, but it won't be made often.
Smoked Mozzarella and Chicken Sandwiches with Italian Barbecue Sauce was another messy meal. Aside from the sauce, I enjoyed it. This is an easy remedy - just skip making the sauce and use your favorite sauce from a bottle. While T liked the sauce, he's not opposed to using the stuff in a bottle.

Another veggie side dish is Brown-Buttered Sugar Snap Peas with Pecans. Even my Mr. Non-Pea Eater (that would be T - Little Man only recently started cereal) enjoyed it. I enjoy having different side dishes other than plain old green beans from the freezer.

And finally, I tried making my own chicken stock. I used Easy Turkey Stock as my guide but used chicken pieces I had been holding on to in a freezer bag in the freezer. It was very easy, as the name suggests, but I can't help but think there has to be a quicker way. Rest assured, I will be looking into it when I have more chicken parts because I had used all three quarts within a week.

Enjoy your kitchens!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Recipes of the week

We had our annual Christmas party this past weekend. I tried a few new appetizer recipes.

First was a Baked Clam Dip. I'm not sure where I got it - and I just put it in a baking dish instead of a sourdough loaf.

2 cans chopped clams, undrained
1 large round loaf sourdough
2 cups cream cheese, softened
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs finely chopped onion
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Drain the clams and reserve 2 tbs of liquid.
Cut the top from the bread loaf and set aside.
Hollow out the bread, leaving a 1" thick shell. Set aside.
Coat a baking sheet with non stick spray.
Cut removed bread into cubes and bake at 350 for 10 minutes on sprayed sheet.
Place cheese, lemon juice, onion, Worcestershire and clam juice in blender. Process until smooth.
Stir in clams and pour mixture into hollowed bread, cover with top and wrap in foil.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Place on serving plate. Serve with crackers and toasted bread crumbs.

It got good reviews, though T told me later he prefers the way I usually make clam dip. I'm not saving it.

Next were Marsala Mushroom Pinwheels. This is one I followed a recipe loosely but made my own. What I did:

1 lb sliced mushrooms
2 medium onions, chopped
1 stick butter (too much - halve)
Sprinkle of dried sage
Sprinkle of Herbes de Provence
Salt & Pepper
1 1/2 cups Marsala wine

Thawed puff pastry sheets (I used Pepperidge Farms but have seen recipes for making your own)

Saute mushrooms and onions in butter until soft. Add herbs and simmer about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced. Chop mixture with blender (I used my small handy chopper).
Spread mixture onto puff pastry. Roll into log and cut into 1/2" slices.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

These also got good reviews. T said he thought they were ok but was not thrilled with them. I liked them so I'm keeping this one.

Last but not least are Pizzettes with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto. They were really easy to make, even though they look like they could be complicated. The onions were time consuming but very worth it. I substituted smoked mozzarella for the goat cheese because I had some on hand.

It got rave reviews and is most definitely a keeper.

That's all for today.

Enjoy your kitchens!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter Wonderland

It has a habit of snowing when we host our annual Christmas party.

This is what we woke to today - at 8 AM for me, thank you. I got to sleep in a little.

I do believe a snow man is in order for today.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's a crazy house!

I feel like I haven't stopped moving in two weeks. Christmas decorating, a tree that refuses to stay standing, mobile children (yes - Little Man is getting around quite well for someone who can't crawl)...

I just finished up working for the day and now I'm off to do some crazy cooking for our annual Christmas party this evening. I'm trying a few new appetizer recipes, so watch for them next week.

Have a fantastic weekend!

And get some rest. Personally, I hope to sleep in tomorrow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Recipe of the week

I only got to try one new recipe with the leftover turkey. We ended up having some old stand-by's (hot turkey sandwiches and ground some up for turkey salad sandwiches).

From Everyday, Bayou Turkey-Barley Chowder was a crowd pleaser. I can see trying it with leftover chicken too (since you find leftover chicken here much more often than leftover turkey!). I did use the milder "green" bottle instead of hot sauce because Monkey doesn't like spicy.

Monkey was fascinated with the bread bowls (as you can see in the picture!). I'm going to try to get into the habit of taking my own pictures in the future. When I go back to older posts of mine, there are pictures missing now from linking up to other sites. (I need to learn how to photograph food better).

Enjoy your kitchens!

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