©Life of a Foodie and Her Family 2008-2013, Lynn Tabor



Eggnog Gingerbread Trifle

So the other day, I still didn't know what to make for Christmas Dessert since we are not going with our traditional Beef Rib Roast.  I happened to be blog hopping and came across a blog called The Girl Who Ate Everything.  The recipe I spotted was called Eggnog Gingerbread Trifle.  Oh my gosh....that recipe just hit me as something that sounded perfect and I love eggnog and gingerbread.  My sous chef, (aka Master Chef Victoria or Miss V) and I went to the store and picked up our ingredients.  I did modify it a bit from her directions.

1 (14.5 ounce) package gingerbread cake mix (and ingredients to make it)
3 cups eggnog
1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Gingersnap cookie crumbs
Make and bake gingerbread cake mix according to package directions.  Cool completely.

Place the pudding mix in your mixer's bowl. Pour in the eggnog.  Use the whisk attachment and whisk for about 2 minutes until the pudding is thick and creamy.

Refrigerate the eggnog pudding until you ready to put together the trifle.

Place the mixer's bowl and the whisk attachment into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes so that the whipped cream will come together quickly.

Add the cold heavy cream into the mixer's bowl and whisk on high until stiff peaks start to form.  Add sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form again. 
Cut the gingerbread in half.  I like to cube my cake so that it looks prettier in the trifle bowl.

Place half of the gingerbread in the bottom of the trifle bowl.  Spread half of the eggnog pudding over the gingerbread cubes.  Then spread half of the whipped cream.  Repeat layers.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

About 15 minutes before I serve it, I pull it out of the fridge and sprinkle crushed gingersnaps on top.

Oh I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful this tasted!  I think I might just eat some for breakfast.

Stuffed Monkey Bread

I found this recipe in a Taste of Home Breakfast magazine.  I did have to tweak it a little.

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 tubes (12 ounces each) refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits (I used three 7.5 oz tubes)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cut into 20 cubes (I cut them into 30 pieces)
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts (I used pecans)

In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat brown sugar and butter on high for 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved; set aside.

Flatten each biscuit into a 3-in. circle. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon in the center of each biscuit. Top with a cream cheese cube. Fold dough over filling; pinch edges to seal tightly.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup walnuts into a 10-in. fluted tube pan coated with cooking spray. Layer with half of the biscuits, cinnamon-sugar and butter mixture and 1/2 cup walnuts. Repeat layers.

I covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to bake off Christmas morning.
Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately invert onto a serving platter. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 1 loaf (12 servings).

Since it will be coming from the fridge, I am going to have to bake it for about 10 minutes longer.

My thoughts;  it was just ok.  I think it could be better by using room temp cream cheese and mixing in the cinnamon and sugar.  Then put it a teaspoon of that into each biscuit.  It also was a bit to sweet.  I am not sure why most monkey breads are so sickly sweet.  I know it should be gooey and sweet but I think by using less brown sugar/butter syrup would be better or just skipping it all together and just sprinkle with a cinnamon sugar mix.  We shall see come New Years Day. 


January newsletter article

For the past few months I have been "writing" articles for our neighborhood newsletter.  They usually revolve around Fun Food Holidays and then I add a couple of my favorite recipes that go with the theme.  For January, I wrote about that it is National Soup Month and National Bread Machine Baking Month.

Here is what I submitted.

Did you know that January is National Soup Month and National Bread Machine Baking Month?

Have you ever thought “nothing fills you up more than a bowl of hot soup?” or why when you are sick, hot soup just makes you feel better? It could possibly be because protein in hearty soups helps satisfy your hunger, and the nutrient rich stock/broth is digested quickly and signals your brain that you’re full.

Here are some of our favorite soup recipes.

Chicken, Butternut Squash and Pasta Soup

1 tbs olive oil
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion chopped
1 tsp dried sage leaves (or poultry seasoning)
6 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups uncooked tricolor rotini pasta
1 1/2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1/8 tsp pepper
pinch salt

In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add celery, onion and sage. Cook 5 to 6 minutes stirring frequently, until onion is softened.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium. Cover; cook 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta and squash are tender.

Minestrone with Italian Sausage Soup

1 tbs olive oil
1 lb bulk sweet Italian Sausage (or links skinned and broken into bits)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp dried basil leaves
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
5 1/4 cups beef stock
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup uncooked small elbow macaroni
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half then cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 cup frozen green beans.

In 5-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion, carrots, basil and garlic; cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink; drain.

Stir broth, tomatoes and great northern beans into sausage mixture. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in macaroni, zucchini and frozen green beans; heat to boiling. Cook over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are hot and macaroni is tender.

Beef and Barley Stew

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion chopped
2 tbs canola oil
4 cups water
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
5 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 celery rib
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups fresh or frozen green beans, thawed
2 cups fresh or frozen corn thawed
3/4 cup medium pearl barley.

In a large skillet, brown beef and onion in oil until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 5 quart slow cooker. Add water, tomato sauce, carrots, celery, salt, oregano, paprika and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Add the beans, corn and barley; cover and cook on low for 2 hours longer or until barley, beef and vegetables are tender.

Pork Stew with Polenta

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork country style ribs
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup coarsely chopped green, yellow and/or red sweet pepper
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
1/4 cup dry red wine
3 tbs quick cooking tapioca, crushed
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 oz tube refrigerated cooked polenta
2 cups torn fresh baby spinach (optional)
shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Trim fat from meat. Cut meat 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces. In a slow cooker, combine meat, onion, and peppers. Stir in undrained tomatoes, broth, wine, tapioca, Italian seasoning, salt and garlic.

Cover and cook on low-heat for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare refrigerated polenta according to package directions.

Just before serving, if desired stir in spinach. Serve with polenta and if desired sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Steak and Vegetable Soup

1 pound boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cups cubed red potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup frozen peas
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
1 cup water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced chives
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large saucepan, cook beef and onion in oil until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the potatoes, carrots and peas. Add the broth, water, vinegar, parsley, chives, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender.

Chinese Chicken Stew

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces (I used chicken breast)
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1/2 to 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs peanut or vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 pkg (8 oz) fresh mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth, divided (I sub Kitchen Basic Stock)
1 tbs cornstarch
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
2 large green onions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cups hot cooked rice (optional)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (optional)

Toss chicken with five spice powder in a small bowl. Season with the red pepper flakes. Heat peanut/vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add onion and chicken; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until browned. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook and stir until chicken is no longer pink.

Combine 1/4 cup broth and cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside. Place cooked chicken mixture, remaining broth, bell pepper and soy sauce in crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 hours or until bell pepper is tender.

Stir in cornstarch mixture, sesame oil and green onions; cook 30 to 45 minutes or until juices have thickened. Ladle into soup bowls; scoop 1/2 cup rice into each bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.

Here are some of my favorite “go to” recipes for my bread machine.

French Countryside Bread

1 3/8 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups white bread flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place ingredients in order given by manufacturer of your bread machine.

Select French or Basic setting and desired Crust Color setting; press start.

Makes one (2 pound) loaf.

Farmhouse White Bread

1 cup milk (warmed slightly)
1 egg
2 tbs unsalted butter softened
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs sugar
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast.

Add ingredients to your bread machine in order from the manufactures directions.

White bread setting, medium crust and then press start.

Makes one (1 ½ pound loaf)

Double Cheese Wheat Bread

Makes 1-1 / 2-pound loaf

2 / 3 cup water
2 / 3 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 / 2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 / 4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons FLEISCHMANN’S Bread Machine Yeast


Add ingredients to bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer.

Select basic/whole wheat cycle; light/normal color setting.


Classic Spritz Cookies

Break out the sprinkles!  It is time to make Spritz cookies!  I made the classic spritz dough from Pampered Chef.

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) butter (3 sticks), softened
1 cup (250 mL) sugar
1 egg
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups (875 mL) all-purpose flour
Colored sugar or sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). In large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed of electric mixer about 3 minutes or until creamy, scraping down sides as necessary. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Add flour; mix on low speed just until blended, scraping down sides as necessary. (Dough will be soft; do not refrigerate.)

Fit Cookie Press with desired disk (see Cook's Tip); fill with dough. Press dough onto Cookie Sheet 1 in. (2.5 cm) apart. Decorate cookies with colored sugar or sprinkles, if desired. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool cookies 2 minutes on Cookie Sheet; remove to cooling rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

Cinnamon Raisin Strata

This was from one of my Taste of Home magazines.  I made it with homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  After the loaf cooled, I sliced it and let it dry out a bit in the oven.

1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
8 slices day-old raisin bread
4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided (I used dark brown sugar)
6 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Spice Island® Pure Vanilla Extract

Additional maple syrup

In a small bowl, combine butter and cinnamon; spread over one side of each slice of bread. Place four slices, buttered side up, in a greased 8-in. square baking dish (trim to fit if necessary). Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Repeat with remaining bread and brown sugar.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, syrup and vanilla; pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until golden and puffed. Serve with additional syrup.

Yield: 4 servings.

This was very YUMMY!!!  Miss V loved it!!

Raisin Cinnamon Bread

This comes from my Betty Crocker Best Bread Machine Cookbook.  I made this early yesterday morning so that it could be used in another recipe.

I made the 1 1/2 pound recipe and cooked it in the breadmachine since I wasn't going to be home.  I have been just using the dough cycle and baking loaves in the oven.

1 cup plus 2 tbs water
2 tbs unsalted butter, softened
3 cups bread flour
3 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
3/4 cup raisins

Place all the ingredients except raisins in your machine and put on basic/white cycle (mine has fruit/nut cycle).  Use medium or light crust color.  Add raisins at the fruit/nut signal.

Remove baked bread from pan and cool on wire rack.

I cut the top off because I needed to have square slices for my next recipe.


Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti

I found this recipe originally on FoodBuzz, was missing an ingredient and I needed to tweak it a bit.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 eggs, room temp
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Kahlua
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

5 or 6 finely crushed candy canes
8 ounces of white chocolate chips or semi sweet chips

Preheat oven to 325.

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

Add eggs and combine well.

Add Kahlua and pure peppermint extract.

In an another bowl sift the dry ingredients.

Gradually add to the butter and sugar mixture.

Gently stir in the white chips.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or use parchment paper.

Split dough into two and form two logs about 8 X 2.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool the logs on a wire rack until cool.

Place logs one at a time on a cutting board and use a fine serrated knife and slice into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.

Arrange slices back on the sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes then flip each slice over and bake for another 5 or so minutes. 

Remove from sheet pan and cool on a wire rack.
When completely cooled, I like to put the white chocolate chips in a disposable piping bag and close it with a rubber band. Place in large glass measuring cup with hot water to melt the chips. You can squeeze the bag to help mix up the chips while they are melting.

Snip the end of the piping bag off and drizzle the white chocolate back and forth over the cooled biscotti and immediately sprinkle with the crushed candy canes.

Let the chocolate cool and set for about half an hour.

You can store them in a ziplock bag or in a large Gladware container.

I am making these for a cookie swap so I made the recipe twice so far.  I may make a third and fourth batch tomorrow.

Some I dipped and then sprinkled with the crushed candy canes and some I drizzled with the melted white chocolate then sprinkled.

The next day I made two more batches, but instead of of white chocolate chips and crushed candy canes, I bought some Candy Cane Colorburst Candy Melts at walmart.  Oh so much easier!!

Here is a quick picture of my very heavy tray that I brought to the cookie swap.


Mincemeat Cookies

Yikes, twice in one week I have share old family recipes.

Makes about 2 dozen

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup mincemeat (prepared)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy; add egg and beat well. Add mincemeat, mixing well.

Combine flour, soda, and salt; mix well, and stir into creamed mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 10 - 11 minutes.

These are very soft almost cake-like cookie.  Yum Yum!

Easy Quiche Lorraine

Miss V's class Christmas party is themed, Christmas Around The World.  So I thought I would make a "French" Main Dish and an "English" Dessert.

I didn't want anything to frou frou and something that the kids might actually eat.  I found this site months ago while researching different themes for our CP Dinner Group and maybe doing a Ratatouille Dinner and Movie night.  The site is called Easy French Food.

1 roll of puff pastry dough or use a homemade pie crust
8 ounces lean bacon (or use lardons if you can get them)
4 large eggs
1 and 1/2 cups crème fraîche or whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 cup diced Gruyère, Emmental, or Swiss cheese

Begin by blind baking the tart shell. Fit the pastry dough to a 10 inch tart pan, pressing it firmly to the edges and bottom of the pan. Use a rolling pin to roll over the top and pinch off any extra dough. Prick the tart shell in dozens of places with the tines of a fork, then place the tart pan in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Remove the well chilled tart shell from the freezer and immediately place it in the hot oven to bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Slice the bacon in 1/4 by 1 inch strips and fry in a small skillet on low heat for about 5 minutes.
Whisk the eggs with the crème fraîche or whipping cream just until blended. Whisk in the nutmeg and a pinch or two of salt and pepper.
Evenly spread the diced cheese and the cooked bacon on the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Pour the beaten eggs and cream on top of this. Carefully place the tart pan in the oven.

Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.

Quiche is best served warm or at room temperature. It can be rewarmed in a hot oven.

Looks yummy and smells yummy!!!  I am trying really hard not to snitch a slice!!!


Snowman Cupcakes

I made these cuties for our neighborhood Christmas party yesterday.

24 cupcakes baked and cooled
1 can whipped vanilla frosting
Gummy Lifesavers
Orange Tic Tacs
Twizzlers, pull and peel

Frost your cooled cupcakes with the whipped frosting.

Cut a section of the Twizzler long enough that it will go about 1/2 way around one side of the cupcake and a smaller piece for his mouth.  I like to fold the smaller piece in half so that it creates a smile.

Add two Lifesavers for Ear Muffs.

Add two M&M's for his eyes.

Add one orange tic tac for his nose.

How simple is that?


Cranberry Almond Biscotti with a white chocolate drizzle

Here is what I whipped up this morning.

2 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
6 oz (one bag) dried cranberries or you could used dried cherries
3/4 cup slivered almonds lightly toasted
8 ounces white chocolate
Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl whisk together flour with baking powder and salt.
Use an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar and eggs with extract until well fluffy.
Gradually add the flour mixture until well combined.
Add the cranberries and almonds; mix well to combine.
Split dough in half.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Gently work each half of dough into logs about 8 inches by 2 inches.
Bake logs for 35 minutes, they spread a bit so don't worry!
Cool logs on the sheet pan until cool.
When cool, place one log at a time on a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.  I find that using a fine serrated knife works best.
Arrange slices back on the sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes then flip each slice over and bake for another 5 or so minutes.  They should be light golden brown.
Remove from sheet pan and cool on a wire rack.
When completely cooled, I like to put the white chocolate chips in a disposable piping bag and close it with a rubber band.  Place in large glass measuring cup with hot water to melt the chips.  You can squeeze the bag to help mix up the chips while they are melting.
Snip the end of the piping bag off and drizzle the white chocolate back and forth over the cooled biscotti.
Let the chocolate cool and set for about half an hour.
You can store them in a ziplock bag or in a large Gladware container. 



Thankgiving Dinner

Here is what we had for Thanksgiving Dinner, well more like lunch.  We like to eat earlier in the day.

Pomegranate Glazed Turkey with Wild Rice Stuffing (from Food Network Magazine)
Cranberry Apple Stuffing (from Food Network Magazine)
Green Bean Bundles (Miss V makes them every year from her YCA binder)
Mashed Potatoes
Butternut Squash Soup
Dinner Rolls
Chocolate Toffee Pecan Tart (from Food Network Magazine)
Pumpkin Pie

Butternut Squash Soup

Dinner (ok Lunch) plate, it was a little weird not to have brown turkey gravy, but that will be made later. dessert...

Hope all of my friends and family near and far had a yummy Thanksgiving!!

Pomegranate Glazed Turkey

Here is the turkey we made yesterday.  The recipe came from the November issue of Food Network Magazine and it was from Cat Cora.

1 1/2 cups wild rice, rinsed
Kosher salt
1 cup roughly chopped roasted chestnuts (fresh or jarred)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh savory or rosemary
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper
1 12-to-14-pound turkey (thawed if frozen)
4 slices pancetta or bacon
1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
Rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Combine the wild rice, 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring once. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice absorbs all of the liquid, 45 to 55 minutes. (I prepped this part on Wednesday)

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the chestnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven to remove some of their moisture, about 10 minutes.  (I prepped this part on Wednesday)

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, savory and parsley and cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and the toasted chestnuts and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Remove the neck, giblets and any excess fat from the turkey; discard. Rinse the turkey under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season the cavity with salt and loosely fill with the rice stuffing, leaving space for the rice to expand during cooking. Put the pancetta slices over the cavity opening and secure with toothpicks or skewers to enclose the stuffing. Truss the legs and wings with kitchen twine.

Rub the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the breast registers 165 degrees F to 170 degrees F, 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours

Transfer the turkey to a platter and let rest 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a skillet; add the pomegranate juice and honey. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly syrupy and reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the turkey with some of the glaze. Garnish the platter with rosemary, if desired, and serve with more glaze.

This was very yummy!  The only think that felt weird was not having a brown turkey gravy.  I saved off some of the drippings to make that later in the day for all of the leftovers.

Green Bean Bundles

Victoria always makes Green Bean Bundles for Thanksgiving.  She first made the recipe when she attended Young Chefs Academy and was in the Kindercooks Class.  (for her own safety, I will not put pictures up that include her face)

16 slices pre-cooked bacon (she prefers raw bacon)
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400.

Place beans in a colander wash. Snap the ends off the green beans

Simmer beans on stove, just covered with water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain beans in colander and rinse with cold water to hold color and cool.

The bacon should be flexible to work with. If need be, place on a paper plate and microwave just long enough to war

Place 4 to 6 green beans on a slice of bacon. Roll the great beans into a bundle with the bacon. Continue until all the green beans have been used. About 16 bundles.

Place the bundles seam side down side by side on a greased baking dish.

Melt the butter in a small microwave safe bowl. Add brown sugar and mix well. Drizzle over the green beans in the baking dish.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie with picture

I have made this many times in the past, but this time I had about 3/4 cup to much filling that I ended up tossing.

1 Unbaked pie shell
15 ounces Pumpkin Puree
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Set separate racks in the center and lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack until the dough is set, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove from the oven and lift sides of the parchment paper to remove the beans. Continue baking until the pie shell is lightly golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Cool on a rack.

3. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F

4. While the pie shell is cooling make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, half-and-half, spices, and salt until smooth. Return the pie shell to the baking sheet and pour in the filling.

5. Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges of the filling are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 50 to 60 minutes. (If the edges get very dark, cover them with aluminum foil.) Cool on a rack. Serve room temperature or slightly warm.

Cranberry Apple Stuffing

This recipe I found in the Novemember issue of the Food Network Magazine in the little pull out section.  I made this to go along with the turkey.  Yes I know the turkey had its own stuffing, but I MUST have a traditional bread stuffing too.

1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups onion, diced
2 apples, chopped ( I used Granny Smith)
1 cup dried cranberries
2 cups celery, diced
1 tablespoon sage, minced
1 tablespoon thyme, minced
salt and pepper
3 cups chicken stock
2 eggs
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
16 cups bread cubes (I cut up two loaves of sourdough from Publix and dried them in the oven)

Melt 1 stick of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the onion, apples, cranberries, celery, sage, thyme and salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add 3 cups stock and bring to a simmer.

Beat 2 eggs with 1/4 cup chopped parsley in a large bowl; add 16 cups cubed stale bread then pour the vegetables/stock micture and toss.

Transfer to a buttered baking dish and dot with butter.

Cover and bake 30 minutes at 375. Uncover then bake for 30 more minutes until golden brown.

This came out so good!!!!  I did keep the crust on the bread and those pieces got nice and crispy, just the way I like my stuffing.


Chocolate Toffee Pecan Tart

I saw this in the November issue of FoodNetwork Magazine and knew I had to try it.  The only bad part was that I only own an 11 inch tart pan.  Luckily Michaels had a set of three and a few neighbors gave me their coupon.  Woo Hoo!

For the Dough:

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg, beaten

For the Filling:

1 1/2 cups pecan halves
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons bourbon


Make the dough: Pulse the flour, cocoa, confectioners' sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter. Add the egg and pulse once or twice. (Stop before the dough gathers into a ball.) Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Place the dough on a large sheet of lightly floured parchment paper. Roll into a 12-inch round, no more than 1/8 inch thick. Invert the dough over a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and peel off the parchment; press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. (If the dough tears, just pat it back together.) Trim the excess dough. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour. (There was a lot of excess dough, so I am not sure if I did something wrong?)

Position racks in the middle and lower third of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line the crust with foil, then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on the middle rack, 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking until crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Prepare the filling: Coarsely chop 1 cup pecans. Combine the butter, granulated sugar, vanilla and kosher salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture turns dark amber, 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately stir in the chopped pecans and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the corn syrup and brown sugar until dissolved. Cool until lukewarm, then whisk in the eggs and bourbon until combined. (The tart can be made 1 day ahead up to this point; cover and refrigerate the filling and wrap the cooled crust in plastic wrap.)

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and pour in the filling up to the brim. Arrange the remaining 1/2 cup pecan halves on top. Bake on the lower oven rack until the tart is evenly browned and slightly domed in the center, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Garlic and Herb Bubble/Pull Apart Bread

I just came up with this recipe to have with dinner tonight, we are having Pasta & Sausage Sauce.  I didn't want just plain garlic bread. So.....

I made one pound of dough in my bread machine. 

Meanwhile melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter in a small sauce pan.  Add 2 teaspoons of garlic powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian Herbs.  Let it cool.

When the dough is done cut into 36 inch pieces.

Dip each ball in mixture; place in an ungreased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack and serve warm.

Ready to rise...

All done rising...

All done baking...

This was really good, but I think next time I am going to sprinkle in some Parmesan cheese.


Turkey Dinner Calculator

I just was searching for info on how long it will take to thaw our turkey in the fridge and came across a really neat site.  It is called the Turkey Dinner Calculator.

This site creates a guideline as to quantity or amount of turkey, stuffing and gravy needed for a specified special dinner. Enter the number of adults that are having dinner and the number of children that are to be fed. Select the quantity of leftovers you desire and the anticipated appetites of those dining. Then click on Calculate. The approximate amount of turkey is calculated along with the appropriate quantity of stuffing (dressing) and gravy.  

LOL it said we only need a 5 pound turkey...uh...we need lots of left overs so I bought a 15 pound turkey at the store.  I got a Jenny-O brand for $0.58 a pound.  Woo Hoo!!!!

Blog Awards!

I received a blog award from Sandra's Easy Cooking!  I am so honored that she enjoys my blog.

So go on over to Sandra's Easy Cooking blog for more fantastic foodie blogs!!


Chicken Parmesan Calzones

I just made this for dinner

2 Pounds of pizza dough
3 chicken breasts
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 drizzle olive oil
4 tablespoon flour
6 Tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs
3 teaspoon garlic garlic powder
1 egg beaten
½ cup marinara sauce
sprinkle of mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder seasoning in a small bowl. Dip the chicken breasts, in the flour, then into the egg and coat with the cheese/breadcrumb mixture. Fry in a small preheated and oiled pan until chicken has a brown and crispy appearance.

Cook browned chicken in the oven at 350°F for 8-10 minutes or until cooked.

While chicken is cooking, cut dough in 4 balls and roll out four circles. They should be about 8-10 inches in diameter.

Once cooked, cut the chicken in cubes. Coat one side of the circle with marinara sauce. Add the chicken mozzarella to one side of the circle. Fold the dough over the mixture and pinch ends together to seal in the mixture. Brush the tops of the calzones with olive oil and poke a few holes in the calzone to prevent air pockets.

Turn the oven up to 415.

Cook on a preheated pizza stone or baking sheet for 15 minutes  Once your calzone is golden brown, remove it and let it cool for 2-5 minutes.  When cooled off cut into slices and serve with extra warmed marinara sauce.


Thanksgiving Shopping Lists

I have to give another shout out to my favorite software, MasterCooks version 9. Yesterday I made up our Thanksgiving Menu and just printed out the shopping list.

I will go through and check my pantry, freezer and fridge to see what can be checked off the list.

Here is a first draft of my shopping list.

You can click on the picture to see a bigger version.  I love that I can sort the items by item name, location in the store or by recipes.  Right now I have it sorted by location in the store.
A big WOO HOO, for being organized!!!

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