Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Weekend Brunch

With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, you may have quests for the long weekend.  So why not make something special for a Christmas Eve brunch.  Or any other time it might be helpful.

One of the dishes this week is done in a slow cooker.  The other in a 9x13 casserole dish.  Both dishes are prepped the night before and refrigerated overnight.

They are simple to put together the before and are baking for you while you attend to other elements of the meal.  In fact, they could be both served at the same brunch.

The “Eggnog French Toast Bread Pudding” is Wednesday’s recipe.  It calls for maple syrup but you could use many other sauces over it.

Then on Thursday, give “Eggs Benedict Casserole” a chance.  Remember to use a sharp knife to slice it into your serving portions.  Keep the Hollandaise sauce warm too.

I hope this helps you as we all hurry through December and the holidays.

“Happy Cooking” until next week.  It’s the season of giving, so please give this link to family and friends.  Thanks and “Happy Holidays” to all.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Volcano Meatballs (GF)


Volcano Meatballs (GF)
(12 meatballs)


Ingredients:

1 lb. Ground Chuck
¼ cup GF Parmesan Cheese
¾ cup GF Pasta Sauce (your choice)
12 each Cheese Cubes, half inch square

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Form into 12 equally sized balls and place 2-inches apart on a rimmed baking sheet that has been sprayed.  Take each cheese cube and press into the center of each meatball.  Don’t push all the way through the meatball or cheese will run out of bottom.  Place in a pre-heated 400-degree oven and bake for 14-18 minutes or until done.  See note below for uses.

Note:               Serve meatballs in your favorite GF pasta sauce over GF pasta or make meatball subs adding sauce and cheese to a GF hot dog bun.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Chicken in Cream Sauce (GF)


Chicken in Cream Sauce (GF)
(4 servings)


Ingredients:

4 (4-5 oz.) Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 tbsp. GF Flour
1 tbsp. Oil (your choice)
¾ cup Gf Chicken Broth
4 oz. GF Cream Cheese, cubed
2 tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped
1 cup Cherry/Grape Tomatoes, halved

Directions:

Place the chicken in a large zip-lock bag with the Gf flour and shake to coat.  Set aside.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook 5-6 minutes or each side or until cooked through.  Remove chicken to a platter and cover to keep warm.  Leaving the pan juices in skillet, add the broth and deglaze the pan.  Now add the cream cheese, cooking 2-3 minutes until it has melted and starts to thicken using a whisk constantly.  Add chicken back and coat on both sides and heat through.  Remove chicken to the platter again and sprinkle with the basil and tomatoes.  Top everything with the sauce in the skillet and serve.

Note:               Try a couple of variations by adding 2 tbsp. of either Parmesan cheese or Dijon mustard for the last 2 minutes of simmering.  Or instead of the basil and tomato, try fresh spinach and crumbled cooked bacon.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Easy Gluten-Free Dishes

We have some gluten-free recipes this week that can be changed up to give you a variety of meal options.

They are also easy to make recipes.  So if you have young children, these would be great ones to help get them started helping in the kitchen.

As with all recipes that need to be gluten-free, be sure to double check your ingredients.  Make sure you are using all gluten-free items.  If you use “Kraft” branded products, they are gluten-free unless Kraft says they are not.  So their cream cheeses, cubed cheeses and Parmesan cheeses will work in these recipes.  That’s what they have told me when we inquired in the past.

So Wednesday’s dish of “Chicken in Cream Sauce (GF)” gives you several options in the note below the directions on the recipe.  It didn’t say it but dish works over rice of GF pasta as well.

“Volcano Meatballs (GF)” is Thursday’s recipe.  Again, besides what is mentioned in the note area, they work well on buffets and as appetizers.  It didn’t state it in the recipe, but use any flavor of cheese cubes you can buy that are GF.  Or cut your own with your favorite type of cheese.

Be sure and give these a try as they work for young and old alike.  “Happy Cooking” until next week and please share this with others.  Thanks.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bourbon Pecan Pie


Bourbon Pecan Pie
(8 servings)


Ingredients:

Crust:

½ tbsp. Unsalted Butter
¼ cup Pecans, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. Kosher Salt
1¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tbsp. Sugar
½ tsp. Table Salt
¼ cup Unsalted Butter, cold and cubed
¼ cup Shortening, cold and cubed
3-4 tbsp. Buttermilk

Filling:

1 cup Dark Corn Syrup
½ cup Sugar
½ cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
¼ cup Bourbon
4 large Fresh Eggs
¼ cup Unsalted Butter, melted
2 tsp. Plain White Cornmeal
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
½ tsp. Table Salt
2 ½ cups Pecan Halves, lightly toasted

Directions:

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat pan.  Add the finely chopped pecans and sauté for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted.  Sprinkle pecan mixture with the kosher salt, remove from skillet and cool completely.  Set aside.  In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and table salt until well combined.  Add the cubed butter and shortening, pulsing until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Drizzle 3 tbsp. buttermilk over flour mixture and pulse until moist clumps form.  Add up to another tbsp. one tsp. at a time, if needed.  Shape dough into a flat disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill at least one hour.  While dough is chilling, place corn syrup in a large sauce pan with sugar, brown sugar and bourbon.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Cook, whisking, for 2 minutes and then remove from heat.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, cornmeal, vanilla extract and table salt.  Gradually whisk in a little of the hot syrup mixture to egg mixture.  Once tempered, add remaining egg mixture slowly to the syrup mixture, whisking constantly.  Now stir in pecan halves and let cool at least 30 minutes.  While mixture is cooling, unwarp dough and roll out a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Sprinkle the sautéed pecans evenly over the dough.  Place a piece of plastic wrap over dough and pecans.  Lightly roll pecans into the dough.  Remove plastic wrap and fit dough into a lightly sprayed 9-inch pie pan.  Fold edges under and crimp.  Pour cooled filling into crust and place in a pre-heated 325-degree oven for 50-55 minutes or until set.  Cool pie completely on a wire rack (at least 3 hours) before slicing and serving.

Note:               Top cut slices with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Note:               Water or apple juice can be substituted for the bourbon.       

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cut-Out Christmas Sugar Cookies


Cut-out Christmas Sugar Cookies
(depends on size of cut-outs - servings)


Ingredients:

3 cups All-Purpose Flour
¾ tsp. Baking Powder
¼ tsp. Salt
1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 cup Sugar
1 large Fresh Egg, beaten
1 tbsp. Milk
as needed Powdered Sugar

Directions:

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a stand mixer (or another large bowl), combine butter and sugar until light in color.  Add egg and milk beating to combine.  On low speed, slowly add flour mixture to the butter mixture.  Beat until dough starts to pull away from the side of the bowl.  Divide dough into two equal portions and wrap in waxed paper.  Refrigerate for two hours.  Sprinkle surface with powdered sugar before starting to roll out one of the portions of dough.  Roll out to a ¼-inch thickness, moving the dough to make sure it isn’t sticking to the surface.  Working quickly, cut-out desired shapes and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper about an inch apart.  Combine leftover dough into a ball, wrap and return to refrigerator to cool.  Repeat process with the second portion of dough.  Once leftovers are chilled again, repeat process.  Place filled baking sheets into a pre-heated 375-degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just starting to turn brown on the edges, turning sheet halfway through baking time.  Let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.  Once cooled, decorate as desired.

Note:               If dough gets warm on cookie sheet before going in the oven, place in refrigerator for 10 minutes to chill before baking.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Time to Start Thinking about Christmas

The holiday season is here with Thanksgiving just past and Christmas just under 4 weeks away.  So you need to get going on your holiday planning, shopping, Christmas menu and those holiday treats you need to make.

This week I have a recipe “Cut-out Christmas Sugar Cookies” great for cut-out cookies.  These are great for getting the children involved in making and keeping holiday traditions.  The kids can help cut-out and decorate.

This recipe works for gluten-free needs too.  Just trade out the flour for GF flour.  I like cup-4-cup.

Then you need desserts for the big day.  How about “Bourbon Pecan Pie” for one of them.  This recipe also gives you an interesting crust to use.  However, you can fall back on a store bought one too.

Hope you all have a great holiday season and “Happy Cooking” until next week.  Please help spread this food blog with family and friends.  Thanks in advance for the help.