Monday, November 23, 2015

Sparkling Cranberry Dessert

Lots of layers to this cranberry dessert and they all combine to make a delicious bite. It's not overly sweet...just right for the holiday season.  I saw this recipe on the Taste of Home website and tweaked it by using my own graham crust recipe and the addition of sparkling water to the Jello layer.

Sparkling Cranberry Dessert

Bottom layer ~

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Mix together and press in the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Second layer ~

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz Cool Whip

Mix together and spread evenly over the bottom layer.  Return to the refrigerator.

Mix together ~

1 1/2 cups hot water
2 - 3 oz packages of cranberry Jello

Stir until completely dissolved.  Add in 1 - 14 oz can of whole cranberries and 1 1/2 cups of sparkling water.  Put in refrigerator for one hour and then pour over the second layer.  Return to the refrigerator for 4 hours before cutting into squares.  Top with the remaining whipped cream.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pumpkin Biscotti

I woke up feeling ambitious this morning.  After reading the news, I had a choice - craft, read or cook.  I had some pumpkin that I had baked this fall and froze in small packets so I grabbed one of those and thawed it in warm water.  Plus it was chilly outside (18) so warming up the kitchen was a nice start to whatever happens next.

Pumpkin Biscotti

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl ~

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt

Add in ~

1/2 cup pumpkin
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

This mixture will seem really dry at first.  Walk away, start the oven, grease the pan...the pumpkin will gradually work it's way and moisten the flour mixture.  When the flour is all incorporated, shape into a log shape - about 12" long and 3-4" wide, 1" high.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.  Cut at a diagonal in 1/2" slices.  Place back on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 300°.  Turn biscotti over and bake another 10 minutes.  Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Potato Chip Chicken

This is an fast meal to put together on a busy work/school night and a good way to use up an open bag of potato chips.  I had gotten a free bag from the grocery store and it wasn't my usual brand.  I found these to be way too salty so I wanted to find a way to use them up.  Of course, Sunday rolled around and I had chicken to make for dinner so I combined the two.  The chicken stays very moist thanks to the sour cream and chip coating.

Potato Chip Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp parsley
3 cups ripple potato chips, crushed

Combine all of the spices together in a small bowl.  Rub each chicken breast with sour cream on both sides.  Sprinkle the spice mixture, also on both sides and then roll in the crushed potato chips.  Place in a non-stick foil lined pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350°.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cinnamon Cranberry Butter

Give me a bag of cranberries and I'm going to make sure I find a way to use it all.  This recipe is easy to make and a nice added touch to serve on your holiday table.  It also is great on a turkey sandwich for the leftovers you'll have to contend with.  And you can whip this up in your food processor so very little handwork.

Cinnamon Cranberry Butter

1/4 cup frozen cranberries, chopped
1 stick butter, softened
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Chop the cranberries in your food processor.  Add in the remaining ingredients and combine until completely mixed.  Refrigerate in an airtight container.  Take out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cranberry Lemon Bread

Cranberry and lemon flavors mingle together in this easy to make quick bread.  Normally I use orange and cranberry together, but I wanted to try using lemon this time and I was really pleased on how well they blend together.  Chopping the frozen cranberries was quick and mess-free using a food processor. 

Cranberry Lemon Bread

1 cup frozen cranberries, chopped
3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp lemon extract
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour

In a large bowl, mix together cranberries, sugar, oil, eggs, milk, lemon extract and zest.  Add in dry ingredients and pour into a greased loaf pan or 3 small pans.  Bake for 50-60 minutes for a large bread or 40-45 minutes for 3 smaller ones at 350°.  Let cool for 10 minutes before turning out and placing on a cooling rack.  Icing is optional ~

Icing ~

3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
Drizzle over the top of the cooled bread and let sit until it hardens.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sour Cream & Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes are one of those easy sides that everyone loves.  I was making baked chicken breasts that weren’t going to have gravy so I decided to make a potato that would stand on its own.  It’s an easy variation to the mashed potatoes you normally make.  Just reduce the amount of milk and add in the sour cream and cheeses.  I opted for  cheddar to create a nice color.  

Sour Cream & Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

2 ½# red potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½” thick slices
2 tbsp butter
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp chives

Boil the potatoes in a salted water.  When fork tender, drain and mashed together with the butter.  Add in the sour cream and milk.  Fold in the cheese and stir until melted.  Season to taste.  Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle chives on top.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Caramel Apple Dip and Cinnamon Dippers

This is a versatile dip that can be served warm or cold.  I do recommend making the dippers fresh to go with them.   I originally intended on making these for Halloween and using cutters of cats and ghosts for the dipper but I’m running a little behind so I went with fall leaves.  You can make these for any season or event since apples are always in the market. 

Caramel Apple Dip

3 lbs apples, peeled, cored and diced

2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup honey
11 oz caramels

Put chopped apples into a crockpot with the lemon juice.  Cook until apples are tender. Puree apples in a food mill or just simply mash with a spoon.  Add in caramels and stir well.

Cinnamon Tortilla Dippers

8 small Flour tortillas
3 tbsp butter melted
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cut flour tortillas into desired shapes.  Brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Bake for 5 minutes at 325°.