Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas - Part 3.

If you follow us on Facebook you were looking for a special announcement yesterday...it's a day late, but here it is:

This holiday season we bring you The Twelve Guest Bloggers of Christmas - Part 3!!

In the coming weeks, twelve fans/friends/family will take over the blog to share a recipe with us.  I'm super excited to see and try the recipes they share!  Join us in welcoming them and be sure to leave them a comment when they post!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Asparagus Gratin.

Today I wish it was spring.  Reason being?  I would have fresh asparagus and could make this side dish over and over again.  But, since we're heading into winter I'll just have to wait for asparagus to go on sale at the grocery store.

This was my contribution to Thanksgiving.  It went over well.  I suspect I will make it for many upcoming holiday gatherings.  

Asparagus Gratin.
(Recipe Adapted from Apron Appeal)
2 bunches of asparagus (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups parmesan (shredded)
1 cup monetary jack (shredded)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add asparagus (with ends snipped) to the boiling water.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Remove asparagus and place in a broiler-safe baking dish.  Discard all but 1 cup of the water.  Set water aside.  Melt butter in the pot.  Add flour and stir until the mixture turns light brown (about 1 minute).  Add reserved water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and continue cooking until mixture has thickened.  Remove from heat, add half of the parmesan cheese and all of the monetary jack cheese, and stir until cheese is melted into mixture.  Pour mixture over the center of asparagus, sprinkle with remaining parmesan and broil in the oven for about 10 minutes.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crab Rangoon Dip.

Happy Thanksgiving...and happy snacking!!
Hopefully on this Crab Rangoon Dip.  Because, who doesn't love Crab Rangoons?  And with many more holiday celebrations to come this is the perfect time for a quick dip recipe that is made easy with a slowcooker!!  The most time consuming part of this recipe is chopping the green onions (easy, right?)

Crab Rangoon Dip.
(Recipe Adapted from Reckless Abandon)
2 cans crab meat (drained)
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 bunch green onions (chopped)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place all ingredients in an small slow cooker and cook on low heat for about 3 hours.  Serve warm with fried wonton or other chips or crackers.
This stuff is good.  And can be made with less fat and fewer calories by using non-fat or reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream!! 

Enjoy and know I am thankful for all my readers.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nutella Ice Cream.

I've found my favorite homemade ice cream base.  This stuff is sooooo good.  This past summer my mom asked my husband if he would make her some ice cream she saw on Sugar Plum's Blog...of course he agreed and since then we've made this a few more times and enjoy it more and more each time!  Sugar Plum called it gelato, but we aren't that fancy here, so we'll stick to ice cream!

Nutella Ice Cream.
(Recipe Adapted from Sugar Plum)
4 cups half & half
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
dash of salt
1/2 cup rice krispies
1/2 cup nutella
dash of salt

Place half & half and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Whisk until dissolved.  Add corn starch, vanilla, and a dash of salt.  Bring to a boil - while whisking frequently.  Remove from heat, allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight or for several hours.  Place cold mixture into your ice cream maker and follow machine's direction.  While ice cream is processing, mix together rice krispies, nutella, and a dash of salt.  Fold nutella mixture into ice cream.  Freeze until desired consistency and enjoy!!

As I said, this is easily our favorite base.  I foresee adding chunks of Twix candy bar and swirling caramel into the base in the very near future!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pizza Casserole.

I have casually mentioned this recipe to my husband several times over the past month, but never had the right opportunity to make it.  I finally got around to making it recently.  His response: "I don't know why you waited so long."  And he's right!  You'll want to get this on your menu for the coming week.  In fact, you may even want to put it together today so that tomorrow when you get home from work or school you can toss it in the oven and have a hearty and delicious meal ready in less than an hour.

Really, what's not to love about italian sausage, canadian bacon, pepperoni, lots of cheese, tomato sauce and pasta?  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Pizza Casserole.
(Recipe Adapted from Cully's Kitchen)
1 pound italian sausage
1 pound canadian bacon
1/2 package turkey pepperoni
1 medium onion (diced)
1 small can mushrooms
2 teaspoons dried garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 26-ounce cans of spaghetti sauce
2 15-ounce cans of pizza sauce
6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (equally divided)
3 cups shredded parmesan cheese (equally divided)
1 pound medium sized pasta of your choice

Cook sausage, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and oregano until onions turn soft and sausage is cooked through.  Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Mix spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce together - placing a thin layer on the bottom of a deep 9x13 baking dish.  Add ingredients in the following order: 1/3 pasta, 1/3 sauce, sausage/onion/mushroom mixture, 1/3 cheeses, 1/3 pasta, 1/3 sauce, canadian bacon, 1/3 cheeses, remaining pasta, remaining sauce, remaining cheeses, pepperoni.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Allow to set for 10-15 minutes before serving.

I'm fairly certain that this recipe will replace traditional pizza in our house many times in the future.  Not completely, but it is a great substitute for those days we want pizza, but don't want to wait an hour and a half to make dough for the crust!!  And as with "real pizza" you can use your favorite pizza toppings within the casserole.  Green peppers - add 'em!  All pepperoni - it'll work!  Vegetarian - no problem!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Peanut Butter & Nutella Cookies.

I'm beginning to test new cookies recipes that I'm interested in added to my Christmas baking list....a list I have a strong urge to actually get started on right now.  I usually wait until after Thanksgiving.  But I do have some cookies that freeze really well and would allow me to get a head start without losing quality.  And I'll start gifting them in only 5-6 weeks.  And I'll easily make at least 15 different cookies/candies.  I'm starting to feel  pressure!!  Maybe I can wait at least another week!

 So back to the most recent test addition to my baking list.
Peanut butter + Nutella = DELICIOUSNESS.  Seriously.

Peanut Butter & Nutella Cookies
(Recipe Adapted from Deligtful Bitefuls)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 up nutella

Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars.  Add egg and vanilla, mixing until combined.  Mix in flour and baking soda.  Swirl nutella thru dough using a butter knife.  Chill dough for 10-5 minutes.  Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet.  Use a fork and press down the balls in both directions to lightly flatten.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until edges are just starting to brown (about 8 minutes).  Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Although the Nutella flavor is not overwhelming, it's there and it makes these cookies.  Go ahead.  Make them.  Try to eat just one.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Two Cheese & Butternut Squash Pasta.

There are few foods as comforting as macaroni and cheese. There's just something about cheese and pasta baked together that warms the heart. 

And for those of us me who have has an abundance of winter squash this classic dish offers the opportunity to mix the two creating a dish that tastes like fall and comfort in one.  I originally planned on serving this dish sans meat, buuut the hubby won and I added some ground pork sausage.  Next time I make this I'll add some grilled chicken breast instead.

Two Cheese & Butternut Squash Pasta.
Recipe by Me.
1 regular sized box of pasta
2 cups roasted butternut squash (peeled and seeded)
1 pint half & half
1 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/2 lb ground pork sausage (prepared) or grilled chicken breast (cut into bite-sized pieces) or no meat
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Place squash in a food processor or blender and slowly add half & half until squash is smooth and blended with half & half.  In a large bowl, mix together prepared pasta, squash mixture, cheeses, meat, basil, garlic, pepper, and salt.  Place in a baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Enjoy.  Especially on a cold fall or winter day.