Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sweet Spiced Nuts


Need something quick as an appetizer for your Holiday Parties/Dinners?  Nuts are great.  They are quick, easy, and you can make them sweet, spicy, or both.

Today's recipe is for Sweet Spiced Nuts.  Three cups of assorted mixed nuts are first coated with a beaten eggs white, then tossed with sugar and spices.  Add a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce and they are ready to be spooned onto a prepared baking sheet.  They are baked in a 275 degree F oven for about 35 minutes.  Let them cool and then break them into pieces and serve.

These nuts have a wonderful sweet cinnamon taste with just a hint of spice.  A great addition to any Holiday event or just for yourself:)


Sweet Spiced Nuts
From Food Network


Ingredients:

1 large egg white
2/3 cup sugar
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie or chai spice blend
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups assorted mixed nuts
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 275. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl until frothy. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the spice blend and cayenne pepper. Toss the nuts in the egg white mixture, then stir in the sugar-spice mixture and Worcestershire sauce.

Spoon the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet in small clusters and bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely, then break into pieces.

Servings 8




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Do-Ahead Turkey Gravy


For this Thanksgiving, I decided I was going to make a few things ahead of time.  One was the gravy.  I do not like feeling rushed as  I make the gravy on Thanksgiving.  Everything is ready to go, but the gravy never seems to get cooked fast enough.  So I started looking for a recipe that would eliminate the Thanksgiving Day gravy stress.

I found a wonderful recipe on the "Good Housekeeping" blog.  It is full of flavor and comes out silky smooth.  You can make this up to three days ahead of time.  Just warm and serve when you need it.  If you wish, you can add some pan drippings from your Thanksgiving turkey.



Do-Ahead Turkey Gravy
From Good Housekeeping

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
2 (about 1 1/2 pounds) turkey wings, separated at joints
1 large onion, quartered
2 carrots, each cut into 4 pieces
2 stalk(s)  celery, each cut into 4 pieces
1 clove(s)  garlic
1/2 cup(s)  dry white wine
2 can(s) (14 to 14 1/2 ounces)  chicken broth
1/4  teaspoon(s) dried thyme
1/2  cup(s) all-purpose flour

Directions:
1. In deep 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add turkey wings and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until golden on all sides. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until turkey wings and vegetables are browned, stirring frequently.
Transfer turkey and vegetables to large bowl.
2. Add wine to skillet and stir until browned bits are loosened. Return turkey and vegetables to skillet. Stir in broth, thyme, and 3 cups water; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes. Strain into an 8-cup measure or large bowl; discard solids.
3. Let broth stand a few seconds until fat separates from meat juice. Spoon 1/4 cup fat from broth into 2-quart saucepan; skim and discard any remaining fat.
4. Add flour to fat in saucepan; cook, stirring over medium heat until flour turns golden brown. Gradually whisk in reserved broth and cook until gravy boils and thickens slightly, stirring constantly. Pour gravy into 2-quart container or medium bowl; cover and refrigerate.
5. At serving time, reheat gravy and add pan drippings from roast turkey if you like.

Yields 6 cups






Saturday, November 22, 2014

Slow-Cooker Indian Pudding


It has been in forever since I have eaten Indian Pudding.  I forgot how delicious it was.  Cornmeal, milk,  butter, molasses, spices, and some eggs mixed together and cooked to create an easy and delicious dessert.

Today's recipe was found in "Yankee" magazine.  I love this recipe because the pudding is cooked in a slow cooker and is easy to assemble.   Great for Thanksgiving when ovens are full.   The pudding mixture  is first cooked over the stove.  You then pour a little of the mixture into the egg and butter mixture whisking all the time.  This is know as tempering the eggs.   You then transfer the egg mixture into the rest of the pudding mixture.  Stir in some dried cranberries, if you wish, pour into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  When the pudding is done serve it warm with some ice cream or whipped cream.  I served mine with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and it was wonderful.


Slow-Cooker Indian Pudding
From "Yankee" Magazine


Ingredients:
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing cooker
2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Garnish: ice cream, whipped cream, or light cream

Instructions:

Grease the inside of your slow cooker with butter and preheat on high 15 minutes.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together milk, cornmeal, and salt, and bring to a boil. Continue whisking another 5 minutes; then cover and simmer on low 10 minutes. Remove from the burner and add butter.


In a medium-size bowl, combine eggs, molasses, and spices. Add some of the hot cornmeal mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs; then transfer egg mixture into the pot. Stir in cranberries, if you like.

Scrape batter into the slow cooker and cook on high 2 to 3 hours or on low 6 to 8 hours. The center will be not quite set.

Serve warm topped with ice cream, whipped cream, or light cream.

Serves   6



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cuban Sliders


There is nothing quite so tasty as a Cuban sandwich.  These sliders are no exception.  They are small bites packed with flavor.    Ham, roasted pork, Swiss Cheese, chopped pickles, all sandwiched between a Hawaiian sweet roll (I used The Original King's Hawaiian Rolls) that has been spread with mustard.

Sounds delicious and they are so easy to make.  Once the sliders have been constructed,  place them  in a preheated 400 degree F oven with a cast iron skillet on top of the sandwiches.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, cut and serve.



Great for parties, snacking, light meals, Tree trimming days, just good anytime:)


Cuban Sliders
From "Southern Living Magazine"
Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 (12-oz.) package Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls
4 ounces thinly sliced deli ham
4 ounces thinly sliced deli-roasted pork
6 (1-oz.) Swiss cheese slices
1/2 cup chopped dill pickle chips
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spread olive oil in a jelly-roll pan; place pan in oven to heat.
2. Remove rolls from package. (Do not separate rolls.) Cut rolls in half horizontally, creating 1 top and 1 bottom. Layer ham, pork, and Swiss cheese on bottom half. Spread chopped pickles over cheese. Spread mustard on cut side of top half of rolls, and place, cut side down, on bottom half to make a large sandwich.
3. Remove jelly-roll pan from oven, and carefully transfer sandwich to hot pan. Place a cast-iron skillet or griddle directly on rolls.
4. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts and bread is crisp. Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes. Cut into 12 sliders, and serve immediately.




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fresh Cranberry Salsa With Cream Cheese Dip


Need something quick, inexpensive, and delicious to serve at your Holiday Parties or Holiday Meals?  Give this dip recipe a try.  Not only is it very flavorful, it is very festive looking.  The colors of the ingredients just pop.

I found this recipe on the "Our Best Bites" website.    I modified the recipe slightly.  I did not use all the onions they suggested.  I used 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup.  I am not a big fan of lots of onions in dip.  Just enough for flavor.  I also upped the salt by 1/4 teaspoon.  The recipe says to chill for at least two hours.  I found the longer the salsa chilled the flavors blended together nicely.

Finally just spread some cream cheese on a plate, top with your chilled salsa and your dip is ready. Serve with crackers and  Enjoy:)

Yes, there is cream cheese under the salsa

Fresh Cranberry Salsa With Cream Cheese Dip
From Our Best Bites, adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen



Ingredients:
12 oz bag fresh cranberries, washed
2 jalapenos, minced (adjust according to taste)
1/4 cup sliced green onions, roughly chopped
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
1/2 tablespoon lime  juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

Instructions:

Place  cranberries, jalapenos, green onions and cilantro in a food processor and process until fine.  Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in lime juice, salt, and sugar.  Chill in fridge for about 2 hours or more.  To serve, spread cream cheese evenly in a pie plate or other shallow serving dish.  Spread salsa on top and serve with crackers.












Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pumpkin Scones With Cinnamon Butter


Pumpkin, fresh cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.  These wonderful flavors of fall are baked into these delectable scones.  Scones are great for breakfast, brunch, or just "me time" accompanied by a cup of tea or coffee.  I usually have a variety of scones during the holidays so guests and family can enjoy:)

Scones are relatively simple to make.  You start by whisking together the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, ginger, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, kosher salt, cloves, and baking soda.   Incorporate some butter into the mixture.  Be careful not to overwork or the scones will be tough.  Next,  any additions- cranberries in this recipe are tossed gently in the flour butter mixture.  Finally the wet ingredients, eggs, pumpkin, milk are mixed into the dry ingredients just until the dough comes together.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and pat into a disk that is 1 1/2-inches thick.  Cut into wedges.  For this recipe the dough was soft so the scone wedges were frozen for about 25-30 minutes.

Places the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven  and cool.

I served these scones with Cinnamon butter.  The Cinnamon butter added and extra boost to an already delicious scone.


Pumpkin Scones With Cinnamon Butter
From Bon Appetit


INGREDIENTS:

CINNAMON BUTTER
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
SCONES
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter
½ cup chopped fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
1 large egg
½ cup canned pure pumpkin
¼ cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
2 tablespoons raw sugar

PREPARATION

CINNAMON BUTTER
Mix butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
DO AHEAD: Cinnamon butter can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.

SCONES

Whisk granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, cloves, baking soda, and 2 cups flour in a large bowl. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate in butter, tossing to coat in dry ingredients as you go; toss in cranberries. Mix in egg, pumpkin, and ¼ cup buttermilk.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into a 1½”-thick disk. Cut into 8 wedges; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, 25–30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°. Brush scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Serve with cinnamon butter.

Makes 8 scones


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Salted Caramel Corn With Pecans


The holidays are fast approaching.  Time to start making all kinds of sweet  goodies for family, friends, and neighbors.  I love the holidays.  It gives me an excuse, (not that I need one) to experiment, try new recipes, modify existing recipes, make our favorite recipes, for everything sweet and delicious:)

Today's recipe is a tasty Caramel Corn that is sprinkled with  pecans.  I love this recipe because the syrup you coat the popcorn and nuts with is practically fool proof.  No worrying about reaching the exact temperature on a Candy thermometer and taking the syrup off the heat at the right  time so it won't burn. I usually don't get that part right.    Also, this recipe is easy to make your own.  Use the nuts that you have on hand or substitute dried cranberries for the nuts.   Just a few ideas.   Whatever you choose it will be delicious I promise you.

Basically, you start off with some popped popcorn, unpopped kernels removed.  Place the popcorn in a very large bowl along with the pecans.  Pour your syrup over the popcorn mixture being sure to coat well.  Place the coated popcorn on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Sprinkle with some salt and bake at a 300 degree F oven for about 12 minutes.  Remove from oven, let the Caramel Corn cool and break into pieces.

It is that simple and ever soo good.  Make yourself some the next time you need a sweet treat.


Salted Caramel Popcorn
Recipe adapted by "From My Southwest Kitchen"

Ingredients:

2 bags (3.3 ounce) microwave popcorn - yields about 8 cups of popcorn

3/4 cup pecan pieces
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dark Karo syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
Directions:

1. Cook the microwave popcorn according to package directions.  Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl.  Remove as many unpopped kernels as possible.  Add the nuts to the popcorn.    Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, add the butter, packed brown sugar, and Karo syrup.  Stir to combine.  Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil stirring frequently.  Once the mixture comes to a boil stop stirring and let the mixture boil for about 2 minutes.  Remove syrup from the heat.
4. Stir in vanilla extract, baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt.
5. Carefully pour the the hot caramel over the popcorn mixture.  Stir quickly coating the popcorn and nuts.  Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.
6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the caramel cool completely.  Once cooled break into pieces.