Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cheddar Olives

Green olives wrapped in a cheesy dough and baked until golden brown.  The result is a delicious appetizer for your upcoming holidays.  A huge plus for this recipe- other than the taste - is they can be made ahead of time.  Yes, you can freeze these delicious nibbles.

The dough for this recipe is made in a food processor which makes it come together quickly.  Once the dough is made you take 2 teaspoons and pat it into a 2-inch circle.  An olive is placed in the center and the dough is them formed around the olive.   Put in the fridge for 1 hour up to 24 hours.  If you plan to use them at a later date, pop them into the freezer.

When you are ready to bake your Cheddar Olives, place them in a 350 degree F oven for 16-18 minutes.  When baked, remove from oven and let them cool before serving.

Your family and friends will enjoy these tasty bites:)

Cheddar Olives
From Cook's Country Magazine 

Use regular-size, not colossal or queen, cocktail olives. The cheddar olives must chill for at least 1 hour before baking.


40 pimento-stuffed green olives, rinsed
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 7 pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


1. Spread olives on dish towel and roll around to dry. Pulse flour, paprika, pepper, and cayenne in food ­processor until combined, about 3 pulses. Add cheddar and butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 12 pulses. Add egg, water, and Worcestershire and process until dough ball forms, about 20 seconds.

2. Working with 2 teaspoons dough and 1 olive at a time, pat dough into 2-inch circle; place olive in center of dough; form dough around olive; and roll cheddar olive between your hands to make uniform ball. Place cheddar olives on large platter, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours (or freeze to bake later).

3. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Space cheddar olives evenly on prepared sheets. Bake until bottoms are well browned and tops are golden, 16 to 18 minutes (if baking from frozen, increase cooking time to about 25 minutes), switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Transfer cheddar olives to wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes before serving.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Eggnog Snickerdoodles #cookies

I have started my holiday  baking/cooking.  Cookies, cakes, candies, nuts, etc.   Today's recipe is for Eggnog Snickerdoodles.  The family loves Snickerdoodles.  This recipe adds the holiday flavor of eggnog with the warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Snickerdoodles are easy to make.  The batter comes together quickly. Shape the cookies  into balls and roll in the sugar and spice mixture.    Bake in a 350 degree oven.  The cookies are done when the edges a firm and the middle is slightly soft.   Cool and serve.

The edges of these cookies have a little crackle to them with the middle slightly chewy.  A very  delicious cookie for your family, friends, and of course Santa.

Eggnog Snickerdoodles
From The Seattle Times

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter

2 cups sugar, divided

¼ cup plain eggnog

1 tablespoon dark rum or brandy

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on high to beat the butter and 1½ cups of the sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly drizzle in the eggnog, rum and vanilla, mixing until completely incorporated. Add the eggs, then beat until well mixed.

Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ½ cup of sugar, the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Working with a tablespoon of dough at a time, roll the dough between your hands to form balls. Roll each ball in the sugar mixture to coat evenly, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet, leaving two inches between the cookies on all sides. Bake for eight to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden, but still soft at the center. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Makes 36 cookies

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gingerbread Scones

Scones go perfect with a nice cup of tea or coffee.  These scones are no exception.  They have the flavors of the holidays and are tender and flavorful.  They are like eating a delicious ginger snap cookie in scone form.

I made three changes to the recipe.  First the instructions state to cut in the butter.  I like to grate my butter and work it in with my hands.  I like to feel the mixture.  Also, the  aroma of the spices is delicious as you are working in the butter.  Second, I added 2 tablespoons more milk.  My dough wasn't coming together as it should- it was dry.  Just that little bit of milk cured the problem.   I liked the texture of this dough. It wasn't too sticky and this made it easy to work with.  Finally, instead of cutting the dough into 12 wedges, I only cut it in 8 wedges.

Once the dough was patted into a circle, you cut it into 8 wedges, brush with some egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar, and bake.  These scones smelled wonderful as they were baking.    Remove from oven, cool and eat.

I enjoyed mine with a cup of Starbucks Blonde Roast Holiday blend I made in my Keurig.  A great way to start any day or just for some "me" time.

Gingerbread Scones
From "Taste of Home" Magazine

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, separated
Coarse sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In another bowl, whisk molasses, milk and egg yolk until blended; stir into crumb mixture just until moistened.
2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 6-8 times. Pat into an 8-in. circle. Cut into 12 (I did 8) wedges. Place wedges 1 in. apart on a greased baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl, beat egg white until frothy; brush over scones. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 scones

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mini Eggnog Loaves #Christmas Baking

Let the Christmas baking begin.  To start off the baking season, I chose a simple yet delicious quick bread recipe.  Eggnog, this rich and creamy beverage served during the holidays baked into tender, flavorful loaves.  Who could ask for more?

Not only is eggnog used in this recipe, you also have the seasonal spices of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add a touch of rum (I used brandy) extract and vanilla extract to your batter and your have a holiday bread worthy of gift giving, holiday parties, or for family and friends.   I  hid a loaf just for me to enjoy with my tea:)  Shh, don't tell.

Mini Eggnog Loaves
From "Taste of Home" magazine

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup eggnog
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum extract

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another bowl, beat the eggs, eggnog, sugar, butter and extracts; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
2. Pour into three greased 5-3/4-in. x 3-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Yield: 3 loaves.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Potato-Broccoli Soup #Slow Cooker

Potato Soup is a great comfort food.  Rich, creamy, hearty and filling.   Perfect to have for lunch or dinner.    In this recipe,  basic potato soup is dressed up with some broccoli, sharp cheddar cheese, and sour cream.   This means extra flavor and goodness blended into a rich and creamy  soup.

The ingredients in this recipe are cooked in a slow cooker for about 7 hours.  Once the potatoes are tender, the ingredients are pureed with an immersion blender.  Add a few more ingredients and your soup is ready to serve.

Perfect as a warm up for a chilly day:)

Potato-Broccoli Soup Slow Cooker
From "Family Circle" magazine


3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 cans (14.5 ounce each) vegetable broth
1 can (12-ounce) evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (white or orange)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Snipped fresh chives or crumbled bacon


1. Combine potatoes, onion and garlic in slow cooker.  Add 1 can of the broth, the evaporated milk, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the nutmeg.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 7 hours.
2. Place broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl and add 1/2 cup water.  Cover with plastic and microwave 3 to 4 minutes, until tender.  Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the broccoli, add remaining broccoli to slow cooker along with remaining can of vegetable broth and 1 cup of the cheddar.  Puree with an immersion blender until completely smooth.
3. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup cheddar, reserved broccoli, the sour cream and pepper.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chives or bacon just before serving.

Makes 8 servings

Friday, December 5, 2014

Slow-Cooker Green Chile-Chicken Enchiladas

I have been trying out recipes lately for Christmas Eve.  Usually, we go out to eat with the family and then have a big Christmas dinner at my house.  This year, we decided to shake things up a bit.  I will be having both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner at my house.

So being that Christmas Eve is hectic -  church, dinner, out looking at lights, etc.  I was looking for recipes I can make and leave.   Also, Christmas Eve is usually a New Mexican themed dinner.

I attained success when I found this recipe from Betty Crocker.   I just made a couple of changes and I had my one recipe down.  This dish is more of a casserole than your traditional rolled or flat enchiladas.  They are loaded with chicken, beans, cheese and a slightly spicy sauce.  You can control the "heat" of the sauce by buying either mild, medium, or hot green chiles and Enchilada Sauce.  In this recipe I used medium.   The ingredients are layered in a slow-cooker.  Once the layers are made, cover, set on low, and you are done.

I served these enchiladas garnished with a dollop of sour cream, some shredded iceberg lettuce and diced tomatoes.  They were delicious and very easy to make.  Plus, the tomatoes and lettuce make them look festive to me.

Slow-Cooker Green Chile-Chicken Enchiladas
From Betty Crocker adapted by "From My Southwest Kitchen"


2 cans (4.5 oz each)  chopped green chiles
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (10 oz)  green enchilada sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
12 corn tortillas (6 inch), cut into 3/4-inch strips
3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained, rinsed
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (8 oz)
Garnishes: Sour Cream, diced tomatoes, shredded iceberg lettuce

1. Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, spread 1 can of the green chiles. In medium bowl, mix remaining can of green chiles, the soup, enchilada sauce and mayonnaise.
2. Arrange 1/3 of the tortilla strips over chiles in cooker. Top with 1 cup of the chicken, 1/2 cup of the beans, 1/2 cup of the cheese and 1 cup of the enchilada sauce mixture, spreading to edges of cooker to completely cover tortilla strips. Repeat layers twice, reserving last 1/2 cup of cheese.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 to 7 hours.
3. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover; cook about 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Garnish with tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream.

Servings 6

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mulligan Stew

Rich, hearty, and delicious are just three adjectives used to described this stew.  A perfect meal for those chilly nights or when you need a one-pot meal after a busy day.  Another great plus for this stew is that it is easy on the budget.  In fact, this stew was born from thriftiness.  This recipe is a list of inexpensive and easily procured ingredients; beef chuck roast, cheap veggies, and water for the stewing liquid.

This stew comes together easily.  First, the meat is browned and the carrots, onion and allspice are cooked in the pot.   After the veggies have cooked about 2 minutes, the tomatoes, water, ham hock, barley, thyme, beef, and salt are cooked in an oven for 1 3/4 hours.  The Dutch oven is removed from the oven and potatoes, turnip, and green beans are added to the pot.  The stew is returned to the oven and cooked another 45 minutes.   Finally, the cabbage is added and the stew is cooked another 15 minutes before serving.

A delicious and inexpensive meal awaits your family.

Mulligan Stew
 From "Cook's Country" Magazine


1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled apart at seams, trimmed
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths (2 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
5 1/2 cups water
1 (12-ounce) smoked ham hock
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (8-ounce) turnip, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage


1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.  Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add half of beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes, reducing heat if pot bottom becomes too dark.  Transfer beef to plate,  Repeat with 1 tablespoon oil and remaining beef.
2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, carrots, onion, and allspice to now-empty pot.  Cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits, until onion is just softened, about 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and their juice and cook until nearly dry, about 8 minutes.  Add water, ham hock, barley, thyme, beef and any accumulated juices, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Increase heat to high and bring to simmer.  Cover, transfer to oven, and cook for 1 3/4 hours.
3. Remove pot from oven; stir in potatoes, turnip, and green beans.  Cover, return to oven, and cook until potatoes and turnips are nearly tender, about 45 minutes.  Remove pot from oven, then remove ham hock from stew and let cool for 5 minutes.  Using 2 forks, shred meat from ham hock, discarding skin and bones.
4. Stir cabbage and ham hock meat into stew.  Cover, return to oven, and cook until all vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes longer.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

Serves 8