Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Whiskey Cola Glazed Ham

This year for Christmas I assigned myself to a baked ham. I have had all sorts of baked hams over the years, and I wanted to put a little twist on mine. I loosely used a recipe from Emeril. This ham turned out great- and made great bean soup for the Packer game the following Monday! Perfect ending note for our Christmas feast! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Enjoy!
10 lb bone-in Ham
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Whiskey
2 cans of Cola
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Remove ham from fridge about 1 hour before you bake. This helps to remove the chill from the meat.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Rub ham with salt and pepper mixture. Score ham with a knife making parallel cuts. Turn ham and score the opposite way so you have almost an X pattern. Place a clove where the cuts cross. Rub ham with brown sugar. Place ham in a roasting pan, and pour 1 can of cola in the pan. Mix 1 can of cola with whiskey. Baste ham every 20-30 minutes. Bake ham for about 2 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Towards the end of the cooking process you may want to cover the top of the ham to prevent burning. Allow ham to rest for about 20 minutes before serving.

Christmas Dinner, Part 3: Burgundy Mushrooms

This might be one of the yummiest things ever. I could eat this bowl and nothing else and be happy. I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman's website. Her picture is better than mine- I had a little trouble getting a good one. I am so happy we tried these wonderful little things. They have to cook for 8-9 hours so if you make them be prepared to start early, and to have your house smell delicious all day. It is a great set it and forget it recipe and a must try! Enjoy!
4 pounds White Button Mushrooms
2 sticks Butter (Just do it)
1-½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 liter Burgundy Wine (I used a Cabernet)
1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
2 cups Boiling Water
4 whole Chicken Bouillon Cubes
4 whole Beef Bouillon Cubes
1 teaspoon Dill Seed
5 cloves Garlic, Peeled (I left this out- my Mom and Sister are allergic)
2 teaspoons Salt (I didn't add salt)

Thoroughly wash the mushrooms and throw them into a large stockpot. Add all the remaining ingredients except the salt. Stir to combine.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for six hours. Remove the lid, then continue cooking, uncovered, for three hours.
Add salt to taste at the end if desired. The mushrooms will be very dark in color. Simmer until needed. Server straight from the pot or in a serving bowl.

Christmas Dinner, Part Two: Gluten Free Cheesy Vegetable Bake

Next on our menu was a cheesy vegetable bake. I wanted to make it gluten free so Mr. Ron could partake. I am slowly getting more comfortable with gluten free cooking. In the beginning, some of the different ingredients were a bit intimidating for me. Plus, it took some digging to find ingredients that had a similar taste. This recipe was based off my Aunt Cherry's cheesy vegetable bake. The finished product tasted very similar to her recipe. This can also be modified to use gluten products. Enjoy!
2 1/2 cups, Baby Carrots
2 1/2 cups, Broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
2 1/2 cups, Cauliflower, cut into bit size pieces
3 slices Bacon, cut into small pieces
1 Onion, Chopped
5 Tablespoons Butter
4 1/2 Tablespoons All purpose Gluten Free Flour (I used Glutino)
2 1/2 cups Whole Milk
2/3 cup Half & half
2 tsp Salt, More To Taste
1 tsp Black Pepper, To Taste
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 jar (4 Ounce) Sliced Pimentos
1 1/2 cup Gluten Free Corn Flakes, crushed (I used Erehwon)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Blanch the carrots for about 5 minutes. Add broccoli and cauliflower and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water and place them in a colander so they can dry.
Add bacon pieces and onion to a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Cook until bacon is done and onions are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place veggies in a greased oven safe casserole dish. Top veggies with bacon and onions.
In the same skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into the pan and whisk immediately to mix it into the butter. Cook for a few minutes, pour in milk and half & half. Continue cooking and whisking constantly. The sauce will begin to thicken after a few minutes. Add salt and pepper. Stir. Add the cheddar cheese. Stir while cheese melts into the roux. Remove from heat and add pimentos. Mix well. Pour sauce over the veggies and stir it around to coat the vegetable with the cheese. Top with corn flakes. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and hot.

Christmas Dinner, Part One: Spaghetti Squash with Maple and Shallot

I wanted to post a few tidbits from our holiday meal this year. My cousin and I whipped up a feast for the family that was truly delicious (I used the term whipped loosely, because this did take careful planning and time). This recipe caught my eye on Pioneer Woman's website. It looked light and delicious and a great compliment to our ham and roast beast. Enjoy!
2 whole Medium Spaghetti Squash
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 whole Shallots, Finely Minced
¼ cups Maple Syrup
Dash Of Salt
Dash Of Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Pierce spaghetti squash a few times with a sharp knife. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour.Cut squash in half. Scoop out and discard seeds and slimy pulp. Scrap out the rest of the squash with a fork. Place in a bowl. Keep warm. In a large skillet, melt butter. Cook shallots over medium heat for 2 minutes or until soft. Reduce heat and add maple syrup. Cook for a minute, then remove from heat. Stir in salt. Pour mixture over squash. Sprinkle on nutmeg and mix together gently. Sever warm.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Treats, Part Five (Last But Not Least): Dulce De Leche

This is one of my favorite things to make to give to friends during the holiday. This is a rich creamy caramel sauce that is positively addictive. My friend texted me to tell me she couldn't stop eating it. I assure you this is not a problem. it is a problem when it is gone- very sad. This is another example of "kitchen deceptions". This is the easiest thing to make- ever. There is one ingredient- well 3 if you count the pot and water... Make this and your friends will love you even more than they already do. I like to add a little spoonful on the of my apple pie- or even better- off a spoon directly out of the jar. Enjoy!
4 cans sweetened condensed milk
Large Pot
Six 8 oz wide mouth jars with lids

Remove labels from cans and place in the large pot. Cover cans with water (about 3 inches over the cans). Simmer for an hour and flip cans. Simmer for an additional forty five minutes. It is important not to let the cans simmer over two hours. They might explode then, and no one wants that. Remove cans from water and allow them to cool. When cans are cool the touch they can be opened. Spoon dulce de leche into jars and cover with lids.

Christmas Treats, Part Four: Sugared Cranberries

These little guys are beautiful. They pop in your mouth and taste like a glass of fresh cranberry juice. I am eating some as I type. Delicious. I found this recipe (it is originally from Cooking Light) and was immediately intrigued because it sounded so easy. I love cranberries, but they are a bit too tart to pop out of the bag and start munching on. This recipe went over very well with my family. In fact, we had a friend stop by on Christmas Eve, and my Dad brought the container to the door when he answered so they could sample a few. Yum! Enjoy!
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup superfine sugar or baker's sugar (or granulated sugar processed for 30 seconds in a food processor)

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, and remove from heat. Stir in the cranberries, then transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight.Drain the syrup from the cranberries (save it to make yummy drinks, or to soak a cake). Place the superfine sugar in a shallow dish, and add the cranberries. Stir lightly to coat completely, then transfer the cranberries to a baking sheet. Allow to dry at least one hour before serving

Christmas Treats, Part Three: Homemade Nut Roll

These are wonderfully delicious. The Nut Roll candy bars are a favorite in our house, and when I came upon this recipe I HAD to try it. They are a bit messy, but taste delicious. The is another recipe courtesy of a Tasty Kitchen member. They are very easy to make and they keep well if you wish to bring them to a holiday party. My gut tells me that I may be making these more than once a years. Enjoy!
1 jar (7 Oz. Jar) Marshmallow Creme
½ teaspoons Almond Extract
3 cups Powdered Sugar
1 bag (14 Oz Bag) Caramels
2 cups Salted Nuts
Waxed Paper

Put marshmallow creme, extract, and powdered sugar in a bowl and combine with your hands. This can take a few minutes! The dough will be very stiff. Divide into 6-10 pieces depending on how big you want your nut roll to be, then roll into a cylindrical shape. Wrap each cylinder in waxed paper and place in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Melt caramels in the microwave for about three minutes, removing to stir at 30-second intervals. Make sure they are completely melted. Place salted peanuts (or whatever variety you would prefer) on a baking sheet. Remove rolls from freezer, then dip into caramel and coat completely. Try not to use your fingers! This gets really messy if you do. You can use two forks to dip and remove. Place the caramel-covered roll onto salted nuts and cover completely. Transfer nut-covered roll onto waxed paper, then store in the refrigerator

Christmas Treats, Part Two: Peanut Butter Cups

Hello friend..... These are so good. If you are like me, you hate the crumble fake texture of the big named peanut butter cups. Ew. These are wonderful. The peanut butter is creamy and delicious. This treat is so easy, but people always think it took a great feat to make them... ahhhh kitchen deception. My favorite. This recipe is courtesy of the Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen member Jessinthekitchen. This is a site really worth checking out is you are looking for an abundance of recipes from a variety of different types of foodies. Enjoy!
6 ounces, weight Chocolate, Milk Or Semisweet
¾ cups Creamy Peanut Butter
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
½ cups Honey

Line a mini muffin tin with muffin papers and lightly spray with oil.
Melt the chocolate, milk or semisweet, over a double boiler. This is done by filling a medium sized pot with 2 inches of water. Allow it to boil over a medium flame. Place a glass bowl on top of the pot with the chocolate in it and slowly melt until it’s glossy and smooth.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate to each muffin liner, swirling it up the sides. It doesn’t have to be perfectly even because you’re going to put more chocolate on top. Place the tin into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to harden slightly.
While those are chilling, mix together the peanut butter, butter, and honey until thoroughly combined. Once the chocolate has set up, add 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture into each chocolate cup. Then cover with another 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate. Chill for about 20 minutes to completely set the chocolate.

Christmas Treats, Part One: Pumpkin Truffles

,This is part one of a few posts dedicated to Christmas treats! These are really good. They remind me of pumpkin pie. They are not gluten free because Ron doesn't like pumpkin, I know what is wrong with him? However, they do make gluten free gingersnaps if you would like to make them gluten free. Ron also helped me with the dipping process this year- my truffles have cute little feet!!! Enjoy!
5 cups gingersnaps
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 lb white chocolate

Grind gingersnaps in a food processor, or place in a plastic bag and crush by hand. Reserve a little extra crumbs for sprinkling at the end. Add all ingredients, besides chocolate to gingersnaps and mix well. Roll mixture into small (about 1 inch). Place pumpkin balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill in the freezer for about 20 minutes. While the pumpkin is chilling melt chocolate according to package instructions. I like the use a double boiler, but if you don't have one you can do this in the microwave. Make sure to stir the chocolate frequently so it doesn't become clumpy. When chocolate is melted, and the pumpkin has chilled you can start dipping. Dip the pumpkin balls into the white chocolate using a spoon. Tap the side of the bowl with the spoon so the chocolate is soon and excess is removed. Place back on cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with remaining crushed gingersnaps. Repeat till all have been covered with chocolate. Place cookie sheet in the fridge so chocolate can set. The truffles can be stored in a Tupperware container in the fridge for about 10 days.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

From Wisconsin!!!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

I will be back after Christmas with more eats and treats!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Piccata

Oh yummy.... I love trying recipes from Pioneer Woman. They are usually delicious and involve butter. This recipe was modified a bit, but you can find the original here. Her pictures are prettier than mine- I want a new camera... sigh... Anyways, this recipe is wonderful, and nice a quick for a weeknight meal. I like the flavor or lemon with meat (especially chicken). It seems so refreshing and flavorful. Brings me back to summer with lemonade and patios. I miss patios. We have 10 inches of snow on the ground.... Enjoy the chicken!!
4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Sea Salt Salt
Black Pepper
4 Tablespoons Flour (Gluten Free)
4 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup Dry White Wine
¾ cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
2 Tablespoons Capers
2 whole Lemons
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 pound thin spaghetti (we use corn pasta)
Parmesan Cheese, for sprinkling

Prepare pasta according to instructions and set aside.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides of chicken breasts and dredge in flour.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry two of the chicken breasts at one time until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side; a little longer if breasts are thicker, a little shorter if breasts are thinner. Remove to a plate, then add the other 2 tablespoons each of butter and remainder of olive oil. Fry the other two breasts until golden, monitoring the oil/butter mixture to make sure it doesn’t burn.

After removing the chicken, have the heat on medium to medium-low. Pour in wine and chicken broth, capers, and squeeze in the juice of two lemons. Whisk the sauce, scraping the bottom of the pan. Allow sauce to cook and bubble and thicken until reduced by about half.

Reduce heat to low and pour in cream. Whisk together and allow to cook for a couple of minute until sauce thickens.

Place chicken over pasta on individual plates. Top with sauce and sprinkle parsley and Parmesan cheese on top.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

I have been wanting to try and make a buffalo chicken casserole so awhile, but for some reason it never ended up on out table. Last week, I decided there had been enough screwing around, and it was time to come up with a yummy recipe. I really liked this recipe casserole. Nice and spicy!! You can scale down the heat depending on the level of heat your mouth can take. This re-heats nicely, but we sprinkled a few extra crumbles of blue cheese! Enjoy!
12 oz chicken breast, cut into small pieces
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
6 oz elbow noodles (we use corn pasta)
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
3 oz light cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/3 cup wing sauce (we use Frank's buffalo wing sauce)
1/8 cup flour (we use gluten free)
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet or pot, saute vegetables in olive oil till the onions and peppers are tender. While veggies and cooking, cook chicken in a small skillet and cook noodles according to package instructions. Set chicken and noodles aside when done. Add flour to veggies and stir to coat. Add broth and stir well. Allow mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat. Add noodles and chicken. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients together. Mix in seasonings, hot sauce, and cream cheese. Pour into a 9X9 baking dish. Top with blue cheese crumbles. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Zuppa Toscana

Mmmmm..... Zuppa Toscana you are delicious. Who can resist spicy sausage, tender potatoes, and earthy kale. I am not a big fan of Olive Garden- when we eat out we tend to avoid chain restaurants. However, when I have eaten there this is one of my favorite things to order (yes even over pasta!). I decided that I wanted to try to make my own rendition of this classic soup. Ron never tried Zuppa Toscana, and was thrilled with the end result. The soup is really easy, and takes very little time to put together- which is awesome on a weeknight! You will not e disappointed with this soup. Enjoy!
1 lb Italian sausage
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
3 strips of bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pint cream
1 bunch kale, ripped into bite size pieces
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil

Saute bacon, onion, and garlic in olive oil and butter. When onions are tender and translucent add broth and water. Bring liquid to a simmer, and add potatoes. While potatoes are cooking, brown sausage in a separate skillet. When potatoes are tender, add sausage, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Reduce heat. Add kale and cream. Stir well, and allow soup to cook for about 5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lentil and Sausage Soup

This soup is so amazing. I wish I was eating it right now... yum. Delicious. Lentil soup takes me back to childhood. We have a great family friend who made a great lentil soup and would bring it to the house for a family meal. I decided that I needed to create my own version of this old favorite. This recipe is so easy and very yummy. Lentils are great to cook with because they don't require the same amount of soaking/cooking time as beans, but they still give a hearty flavor. Enjoy- I am off to do more holiday candy making!
1 lb uncooked lentils
1 lb kielbasa sausage, quartered and diced
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 onion, diced
3 quarts chicken stock
8 stalks celery, sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 T olive oil
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin
3 T red wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute onions, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, tarragon, and cumin until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes). Stir in tomato paste. Add chicken stock, red wine, and bay leaf. Stir well. Add lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow soup to gently simmer for an hour. Add sausage and simmer for an additional half hour. Serve and top with grated parmesan cheese.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

These are a terrific appetizer for the holidays. Super easy and crowd pleasing! They are a little time consuming, but all the more reason to enlist help while putting together your spread. Enjoy!
1 lb pitted dates
4 oz goat cheese
1 lb of center cut bacon, sliced in half lengthwise
Good Maple Syrup

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice dates down one side, and open them up. Stuff with goat cheese. Close the halves of the dates, and wrap a half-slice of bacon around the outside. Secure each one with a toothpick. Bake for 20-25 minutes (until bacon is crispy). Arrange dates on a platter and drizzle a little maple syrup on top.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gluten Free Cranberry Walnut Bread

Back from Washington, D.C.! What great fun! We got to see so many fun sites and catch up with old friends. As most of you know I have been experimenting with gluten free cooking and products after we discovered Ron has a gluten intolerance. Some products are a bit gross, but for the most part we have had good luck. Ron and I were really craving bread and decided it was time to try our (my) hand at making gluten free. I used a recipe from Joy of Baking and it was really easy to make a few modifications. This bread turned out really great. It was a tiny bit dry, but the flavor was just what I was looking for. Ron used the left overs to make french toast. He said it reminded him of fruity pebbles. Enjoy!
3 cups gluten free flour (we use a potato based)
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
5 Tbl melted butter, cooled
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup milk
1 cup cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
zest of 1 orange

1/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp milk
juice of 1/2 an orange

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, butter, vanilla, and milk. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix in cranberries and walnuts. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan. Bake 60-70 minutes. While bread bakes, whisk sugar, milk, and orange juice together. Remove bread from oven and allow it to cool before removing it from the pan. Drizzle glaze on top of bread. Slice and serve.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Skillet

This dish was inspired by a chicken dish I had at a restaurant in Green Bay awhile back. It almost reminded me of a jalapeno popper. I needed to make my own twist. This dish is super easy and tastes great. It is pretty spicy so depending on your tolerance you can ease back on the jalapeno- or add more if you want a bigger bang! I am off to Washington, D.C. for a few days- see you later and enjoy!
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
1 onion, chopped
1 large jalapeno, stemmed and sliced thin (I used a mandolin)
2 oz cream cheese
1/8 cup sour cream
1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
splash of white wine (optional)
1 Tbl olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin

Saute onions and jalapenos in olive oil in a large rimmed skillet. While vegetables and cooking season chicken with salt and pepper. When vegetables are tender add wine, tomatoes, cumin, and broth. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to medium heat and add the chicken. Simmer, covered, for 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese and sour cream. Serve over rice or pasta.