Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pear Honey Cranberry Sauce

If you want to try something a little different for your holiday meal, you must try this homemade cranberry sauce!  It doesn't take long to make and it is so much better than the stuff from the can!  You can even make it a day or two in advance! 

In the past I've used raspberries in my fresh cranberry sauce, but decided to try this recipe with the pears this year & was VERY pleased with the out come.  Give it a try, I think you'll agree.  Enjoy!

Pear Honey Cranberry Sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup +/- water
1/2 cup white sugar
2 pears, peeled, cored and diced
1 (12 ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

In a medium saucepan, add together OJ, sugar, pears, cranberries and enough water to just come to the top of the fruit.  Cook over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes, add honey. Continue to cook until cranberries pop and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Cool to room temperature, then store covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My House is Your House... or vice versa!

If you remember THIS post from about six months ago, then you already know all about the House Seasoning.  You may have even whipped up a batch for yourself.  Maybe you've noticed me mention in used in different recipes and wondered what the heck it was.  Maybe you have no clue what I'm talking about!  Whatever the case her is another post dedicated to one of my favorite things to have in the kitchen... the HOUSE SEASONING!  (This time with Holiday flair!)

While trying to figure out what I wanted to do for homemade gifts this year, my bestie shared with me her idea.  Everything I was coming up with would have had me slaving away in the kitchen for hours... days even!  She had a MUCH better idea!  We LOVE the House Seasoning, everyone else probably would too!  Lucky for me, she didn't mind too much that I totally copied her idea!

25 glass shakers, 7 larger canisters of Sea Salt and enough ground pepper & garlic powder to create an atomic bomb later... I had mixed up one deadly vat of house seasoning.  Beware!!!  If you mix a single batch it's no biggie, but when you mix it in large quantities there will be fumes in the air!

Bagged, tagged and bowed, I think they made for pretty cute gifts!  And who can't use a little extra spice in their life?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Candy Cane Cupcakes

Quick, easy (well mostly easy... crushing candy canes is not as easy as crushing Oreos!), and oh so festive!  Did I mention delicious??

Just make your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and add 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract. (I add 1/2 bag of mini chocolate chips to mine!)

For your frosting, add in about 1 cup of finely crushed candy canes and then top them with the larger, more coarsely crushed ones.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pasta 1, 2, 3...

Many times I throw something together and it may be ok, but not really worth mentioning.  Or, it may have just been to random and complicated that I simply can not remember everything that went into creating it and therefore could in noway attempt to blog about it.  This dinner was one of those that at first I would have thought it to fall in the first category.  It is sooo simple, almost too simple.  But as we were eating it, I thought, "I've gotta blog about this... it's just too good."  The greatest part about it, is aside from the pasta ans seasoning it only requires 3 ingredients!  1, 2, 3!  An easy weeknight meal that you can literally have in the table in 15 minutes!  How great is that?? 

This is the basic version.  Serve it with a simple salad, add some chicken if you'd like, but you really don't need to do anything to it.  Enjoy!

2 cups pasta
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 tbls butter
2 oz cream cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
Onion Powder (optional)
Garlic (Optional)

Boil pasta according to directions on box.

While pasta is cooking, pour tomatoes and juice in a bowl.  Pull out tomatoes and chop (reserving liquid) and add back to bowl.

Once pasta is done, drain and add back to pot over med heat.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until butter and cream cheese are melted and heated through, about 3 min. Enjoy!

Cookies & Cream Fudge

It's 8:00pm and you find out that your boyfriend has a holiday potluck at work the next day... what to do, what to do???  I mean you can't just send him with a veggie try or some store bought cookies when half of your blog readers work with him and will be at said pot luck!  You've got a reputation to hold up!

Not to worry... Luckily it's the time of year when all the lovely bloggers out there are sharing their favorite holiday recipes.  This Cookies & Cream Fudge had been popping up all over the place and it just so happened that my bestie sent me a link to this heavenly looking stuff yesterday afternoon so I had it fresh in my mind.

It took no time at all to make.  And let me tell you, it was FANTASTIC!  You must try this before it's time for those New Year's resolutions!  Enjoy!

Cookies and Cream Fudge
adapted from Nestle

2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2/3 cup Evaporated Milk
2 cups White Chocolate Chips
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow cream
1/2 cup finely crushed Oreos
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped Oreos

Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper.

Combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in white chocolate chips, marshmallow cream, finely crushed Oreos and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle crumbled cookies on top. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into pieces. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quite Possibly The Best Ever Stuffed Mushrooms

If you are looking for an appetizer that will have everyone asking for more, this is it!  With the busy holiday season here, my favorite part about these little guys it the filling can be made a day ahead.  Then you just pipe it into the mushroom caps and stick them in the oven and ENJOY!

Quite Possibly The Best Ever Stuffed Mushrooms

2 packages whole fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for topping
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off stems. Chop stems extremely fine (I use the food processor), discarding tough end of stems.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, chopped mushroom stems & green onion to the skillet. Add bread crumbs & fry until any moisture has disappeared, taking care not to burn garlic. Set aside to cool.

Beat together cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper. When mushroom mixture is no longer hot, add to cheese mixture. It should be very thick.

Spoon mixture into a large Ziploc bag. Snip off one corner and use as a pastry bag to fill mushrooms. Fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared cookie sheet and sprinkle tops with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.

**NOTE** I lightly brush tops of caps with melted butter to avoid drying out in the oven.

Sometimes I get distracted...

I can't help it!  Sometimes during the day I get distracted and I just have to figure out something to cook for dinner tonight.  I just want to get in the kitchen and make something.  This is one of those times.  Something yummy, light, new, but at the same time since I have to be at the office until 5:00, it can't take too long to prepare... these are the thoughts that distract me.  I try to avoid the millions of cooking blogs, and recipe sites and cookbooks in order to have a more productive day.

So I ask, what's for dinner tonight?

Sunday, December 5, 2010


So I was given a small challenge for this month... not only to find a yummy holiday recipe or two to share, but maybe even a tasty beverage???  Oh that's a challenge I'm up for!  When I saw this while flipping through my Cooking Light Magazine I just knew I had to share!  You can garnish with fresh mint and cranberries to make it extra beautiful and festive!  Prepare the rosemary-infused juice mixture up to one day ahead, and chill.  Enjoy!

White Cranberry Spritzer
Cooking Light

2 3/4 cups white cranberry juice drink (such as Ocean Spray)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
12 mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups club soda, chilled
1 1/2 cups white rum
Crushed ice

1. Combine cranberry juice, sugar, rosemary, and 12 mint leaves in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Strain juice mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Stir in lime juice; cover and refrigerate.
2. Combine juice mixture, club soda, and rum in a large pitcher; stir well to combine. Serve mixture over crushed ice. Serve immediately.