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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Holiday Sangria


1 bottle white wine
1 bottle sparkling cider
2 clementines sliced
1 granny smith apple chopped
1 gala apple chopped
1 -2 cups cranberries

Combine wine and cider in a pitcher
Add chopped apples and clementines
Add cranberries
Stir well
Chill until serving

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Holiday Bacon Appetizers

Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Yield: 36 crackers

1 sleeve country club-style crackers
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound thinly sliced bacon

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Lay the crackers face up on a large rack over a baking sheet (or broiler pan). Scoop about 1 teaspoon of the grated Parmesan onto each cracker. Cut the package of bacon in half (or cut pieces individually) and carefully, so the cheese doesn't fall off, wrap each cheese covered cracker with one half piece of bacon, completely covering the cracker. It should fit snugly around the cracker, but not be pulled too taut. Place the bacon-wrapped crackers onto the rack. Place the baking sheet in the oven for about 2 hours. Serve immediately or at room temperature!

Cook's Note: Can also use brown sugar or blue cheese instead of Parmesan!

Homemade Baker’s Square French Silk Pie!

24 hr Prep Time
24 hr Total Time

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 ounce/60g unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
Whipped cream or Cool Whip
Baked pie crust

Bake a pie crust or use a Pillsbury refrigerated crust and make according to package directions for a fully baked crust.
Beat sugar and butter on medium high until light and fluffy, about 6-7 minutes.
Add chocolate and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
Add eggs, two at a time, beating 5 minutes after each addition.
Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow filling to chill for 2-3 hours before adding to cooled pie crust.
Add prepared whipped topping,
You can garnish with shaved bittersweet chocolate as well.

First off, make the filling first. The filling will be pale in color but will darken as it chills. Put it into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. This allows it to set up and thicken a bit before adding it to the pie shell.

Make your pie crust. If making a crust from scratch, follow the instructions for a fully baked pie shell as this pie will not go in the oven. Let it cool completely.

Add the chilled filling to the pie crust. Put it back in the fridge while you make the whipped topping. If you are using Cool Whip, go ahead and top the pie now and refrigerate.

WAIT until tomorrow to eat. You can certainly eat it after it has chilled for several hours, BUT believe me when I tell you that you will be very thankful that you waited overnight. The filling needs time to set up. Any graininess you may have detected when you tasted the filling will be gone after a good night’s rest.

The eggs in this recipe are not cooked. If that concerns you, you can use pasteurized eggs

Herbed Squash

From: Peak of the Market (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 12/6/2016)

1 cup (250 ml) medium spaghetti squash
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh chives, chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh rosemary, chopped
1 minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon (5 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) parmesan cheese, grated

1. Cut the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes.
2. Place the squash, cut side down, on a baking dish. Add a small amount of water. Bake in a preheated 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 40 minutes or until it is fork tender.
3. In a food processor, add the oil, chives, parsley, basil, rosemary, garlic and lemon juice. Blend until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
4. Using a fork, scrape the cooled squash into a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the herb mixture and toss to coat.
5. Place the squash in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and place in the oven to heat it thoroughly and until the cheese melts.

Serves 4


½ cup fine, dried bread crumbs 
½ cup parmesan 
1 tsp. dried basil 
½ tsp. whole thyme 
Dash of onion powder and pepper

Coat pan with vegetable spray. Cut 2 pounds fresh chicken breasts in 1" and 4" pieces. Coat chicken in egg white with ¼ cup skim milk. Dip in crumbs. Bake at 400°. for 18 minutes. 50 cal./piece.

Homemade Bread in a Bag

The quick homemade bread recipe is made with minimal kneading and is a great cooking project to do with children. After baking, the bread will have a light brown crust and soft, doughy inside. Learn how to make homemade bread while leaving your kitchen mess-free.

Makes: 2 Loaves or 24 dinner rolls
Preparation Time: 50 min
Cooking Time: 30 min

5 cups bread flour, plus 2 tablespoons for kneading (see note)
1 tablespoon RapidRise yeast (do not substitute regular yeast)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
3 tablespoons butter

Place 2 cups of the flour into a gallon-size zip top plastic bag and add the yeast, sugar and salt. Shake the bag to mix the ingredients. Heat the water in the microwave for 1 minute, until it is 120 degrees F. Add water and butter to the bag and seal the top. Knead the ingredients with your hands until the butter is well incorporated. Add 2 cups more flour and again knead with your hands. Add the final 1 cup of flour and continue to knead until the dough comes together and no longer sticks to the sides of the bag.
Sprinkle a clean work surface with the cup of flour and turn dough out of the bag onto the surface. Knead 15 -20 times until the dough is smooth. Spray the top of the dough with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap; let rest 10 minutes until it is puffy.
Remove the plastic and punch down the dough.
For bread loaves: Spray two 9 x 4 loaf pans with cooking spray. Divide the dough into two portions. Use your fingers or a rolling pin to roll the dough into a square about 9 x 9 inches. Roll very tightly into a log, pinching ends to seal and place into prepared pans, seam side down. Repeat with the second portion.
For dinner rolls: Spray two 8 x 8 bake pans with cooking spray. Divide the dough into two portions. Loosely roll each portion into a 2-inch wide log and divide that into 12 equal size pieces. Roll each piece in your palms to form a smooth ball, pinching edges underneath. Place in the pan and repeat with the remaining dough.
Cover dough with plastic wrap which has been sprayed with cooking spray and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake loaves for 30-35 minutes, rolls for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and bread tests 200 degrees F with an internal read thermometer. Tip out of the pans and let cool on cooling racks.

Bread flour is formulated to have a higher gluten content and will make better bread;  all purpose flour will work but bread flour is the better choice.
Rapid rise or instant yeast works quicker and is important to use in this method of mixing and rising.   

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ham & Cheese In Puff Pastry

Total Time: 50 minutes
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
3-4 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 lb. black forest ham, sliced
1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese, sliced (or sharp cheddar)
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

Lay 1 sheet puff pastry on a floured board and carefully roll it out to 10 by 112 inches.  Place it on a sheet pan and brush center with mustard, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge.  Place a layer first of ham then cheese, also leaving a 1-inch boarder.  Brush the border with the egg wash.

Place the second sheet of puff pastry on the floured board and roll it out to 10 by 12 inches.   Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges.  Cut the edges straight with a small, sharp knife and press together lightly.  Brush the top with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.  Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve hot or warm.