Thursday, December 24, 2009

12th Recipe of Christmas - Stuffed Bread

This recipe is a my take of an appetizer that a favorite local restaurant serves. It's really filling so we'll often order this and just a salad. I've taken to making this at home quite often when I need some sort of a sandwich to go with soup, salad, etc. and have made it for our Christmas Eve celebration for the last few years.

Stuffed Bread
1 loaf of Italian Bread (if you can't make a crusty outside, fluffy inside loaf of Italian at home then please use store bought as a heavy bread will not work well for this.)
6 slices of hot ham/capicola
8 slices of salami
5 slices of provolone
3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup pasta/pizza sauce
1 clove crushed garlic
banana pepper rings
olive oil
dried oregano and basil
grated Parmesan
Slice the loaf of bread in half horizontally as if to make one big sandwich. Place halves on cookie sheet open face up. Brush the open faces with olive oil and crushed garlic. Put in the oven on 375* for 5-7 minutes or until the top starts to get a little firm as if you're making garlic bread. Remove from oven.
Carefully layer the cheese, meat and peppers on the bottom half. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and dried seasonings and drizzle with olive oil. Take the top half and spread it with the pizza sauce. Place the top half on the bottom half and smush it down some so it flattens. Wrap the whole thing carefully but tightly in foil so it stays slightly flattened. Put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Carefully unwrap it and slice it like a loaf of bread, about 1 1/2- 2 inches thick slices. Each slice should look like a mini sandwich with a top and bottom piece and fillings.
When we eat this at the restaurant I like to dip it in my leftover ranch dressing but of course I wouldn't advice doing that at home because.. well because I'm a much healthier eater than that. Seriously. Hey what are you laughing at?
This recipe can also be made with black olives, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, etc. I've tried it in various ways but this seems to be everyone's favorite.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

11th Recipe of Christmas - Peppermint Patties

Peppermint Patties

1 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 bag of confectionary sugar
1 tspn peppermint oil (NOT extract)
Dark Chocolate chips or discs

Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and peppermint oil until well blended, it will look a little crumbly like a pie crust dough. Roll into small balls and flatten out. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

In a double boiler or the microwave melt the chocolate. Dip each patty in chocolate and then transfer to wax paper. Let cool and then refrigerate.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

10th recipe of Christmas - Mice

Every year I make a selection of candy to give away as gifts and the last few years I've included Christmas Mice. here is the recipe for them, I hope you try them because they turn out simply adorable.

Christmas Mice

Maraschino Cherries w/stems (each mouse requires one cherry)
Hershey Kisses (each mouse requires one kiss)
Almond slices (not slivers, each mouse requires 2 slices)
Semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate discs
Tube of decorating gel in desired eye color

Drain the marashino cherries and discard any without stems. Dry on paper towel. Remove the foil from as many Hershey Kisses as you have cherries. Sort through a bag of sliced almonds and select two well formed slices for each cherry. Melt chocolate chips/discs in double boiler. Cover cookie sheets with waxed paper or parchment paper. Dip cherry in melted chocolate, covering it fully including the stem. As you pull the cherry out of the chocolate place a hershey's kiss on the bottom and place cherry and kiss together on their side on the waxed paper. Before the chocolate on the cherry cools, stick two almond slices between kiss and cherry for ears. When cooled dot eyes on the kiss with the decorating gel.

Aren't they cute? I love my little mice. In fact they're the only kind of mice I like, lol! And they're fun to bite the heads off of. They look cute scattered around a plate of goodies or a cheese platter.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

12 recipes of Christmas, Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Poppers

2 cans of pillsbury crescent rolls
1 8oz package of softened cream cheese
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup of real bacon bits
1 8oz package of shredded cheese (I prefer Monty Jack or a Monty Jack mix but Mozzarella works too)
3-6 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and chopped

Preheat oven to 375*

Mix the softened cream cheese with the garlic, bacon, and shredded cheese. Take one of the crescent roll triangles and put a dollop of filling in the middle of it. Put a few chunks of jalapeno on top of the filling. Wrap the edges of the triangle up around the filling, bundling it together and pinching the dough so that it seals. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with all the rest of the triangles until you have 16 wrapped poppers.

Bake at 375* for 8-12 minutes or until golden.

If you like hot peppers you may want to put more chunks of jalapeno... it all depends upon your preference.

These make a great appetizer for a smaller get-together. For a bigger crowd you can spread the filling out on top of the crust like a pizza, which is THIS version here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bread Pudding With Cranberries

Well.... It's not Figgy pudding like the Christmas Song says ...( Okay.. I must admit I have never had or know anyone who has ever had Figgy pudding either.) but I bet it's just as good. I decided to throw some dried craisins (cranberries) in my bread pudding one day awhile back and I simply loved it that way. The sweet and tangy flavors blend ever so nicely. I am not a huge fan of regular raisins but my family is so I sometimes double the recipe in an oblong baking dish and make it half cranberries on one side and half raisins on the other just to humor everyone. This is great for a brunch on Christmas Day.

Prepare 3 cups(4 slices) dried bread cubes by baking them in a 300 degree oven about 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Put the next ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat well;

4 beaten eggs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla

Place bread cubes in an 8 X 1 + 1/2 in. casserole .
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins).
Pour the egg mixture over bread and fruit.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool slightly before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

While visions of Cinnamon Hard Candy danced in our heads....

This is the very recipe I used to make candy with in my high school homemaking class many years ago. (Thank you Mrs. Arnault for inspiring me to cook !:) It became a tradition when Traci was old enough to take it to her school class room holiday party all wrapped up in tiny little cellophane bundles and tied up with ribbon! I'm so glad she got to grow up in a safer time when home made snacks were still allowed on party days. This is like eating a cinnamon apple at the fair without the apple.

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp oil of cinnamon
1/4 tsp red food coloring
Combine the first four ingredients in a large pan and cook stirring
constantly until it reaches a boil on medium heat.

Reduce heat and cook till it reaches the hard crack stage or
310 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Stir in the oil of cinnamon and the red food coloring and
pour immediately into an oiled 8in. square pan.

Cool just until it will hold an imprint
from a knife when you cut into small little squares.

Cut cross ways 8 rows one way and then cross ways 8 rows the other.

Keep going over the imprints this way till they are set.

Remove the candy from the pan and lightly tap the back

with a butter knife to seperate each candy piece.

Makes about 64 pieces.

Package up with cellophane wrap and tie with a bow. Candy must be kept away from moisture, but can be successfully stored in an air tight container for weeks.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And on the 6 recipe day it's.... Caramels

These make the best gifts because they are so darn yummy !! I love to have one with a cup of coffee. They are like the soft rolled caramels you can get at that famous restaurant/store with the rocking chairs on the porch :) Yep that's the one !


1 vanilla bean
2 cups heavy cream( 1 pint)
1 cup light Karo syrup
2 cups sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter cut up
1/2 tsp salt

Line a 9 inch pan with parchment paper.

Split the vanilla bean down the middle
length wise and remove the seeds with a sharp knife.

Add the seeds and cream in a 1+ 1/2 qt. pan.

Heat to scald cream . Turn off the heat but
leave it set on the burner to stay warm.

In a heavy 4 to 5 qt. pan
stir corn syrup and sugar thoroughly
over low heat until dissolved .

Turn heat to medium and gently boil until it
reaches 305 degrees(hard cracked stage) on a candy
thermometer about 9 to 11 mins.

Add the butter and salt stirring constantly.

Pour the warm vanilla cream in slowly in a stream while
still keeping candy at a boil

Mixture will become very bubbly and foam up so be careful.

Lower heat to medium and gently boil again until the
thermometer registers about 245 degrees stirring
occasionally to prevent it from scorching. I do
a soft ball in cold water too till it's a solid soft ball
 stage because I like them soft.

Takes about 15 minutes.

Turn off heat and set it aside for a couple minutes.

Pour ,( scraping the pan) into the parchment lined pan.

Cool 6 hours.

Invert onto a clean cutting board and either wrap
entire chunk up tightly in foil and cut some off as
needed or cut in short strips and place on small
cut rectangle pieces of parchment paper twisted
at the ends and rolled on the counter to make them rounded
like tootsie rolls. It's less sticky wrapped.

I like to do them about 4 inches long. But they can be cubed too.

They will stick together if you don't wrap each single one.

This makes a large 2 lb. batch of caramels .

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sour Cream Pumpkin Coffee Cake

And recipe number 5 is........... a yummy coffee cake my dear Sister-In-Law gave me the recipe for years ago when she found it on the label of "Libby's can pumpkin . This is done in layers but it's a fabulous dessert for you pumpkin fans !

Butter a 9 by 13 pan.

For batter, cream in mixing bowl:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Add and beat well;
3 eggs

Combine well in another bowl:
2 cups flour
1 tsp .baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture

alternating with;

1 cup sour cream

Set this batter aside.

Combine filling seperately;

1 + 3/4 solid pack pumpkin (16 0z can)
1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Prepare and crumble well the streusel topping;

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter,chopped
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

To assemble the coffee cake spoon half of the batter

in the bottom of the pan evenly.

Sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter.

Next spread the pumpkin mixture over the streusel topping.

Carefully spread the remaining half of

the batter over the pumpkin mixture.

Sprinkle with remaining half of streusel topping.

Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.

Test with tooth pick to see if it comes out clean.

Makes 12 servings

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And now onto number four of our Christmas recipes...

So now I ask you my friends , what holiday would be complete without a fruity punch ? I used to get a drink like this at a popular seafood place and decided to recreate it at home one day . It's so simple and light and also can be doubled for a large party. Cheers !!!

1 large bottle cranberry juice
1 2 liter bottle sprite
a large carton orange juice
1 small container orange sherbet
Ice cubes

Pour equal amounts of cranberry juice and orange juice into
a punch bowl or 2 glass pitchers.

Add half the sprite for carbonation and fizz and
a large scoop of the sherbet
just before you're ready to serve .

Pour drink over ice in glasses.

Friday, December 4, 2009

And the celebration continues.....

Banana Split Cake

This is our family's favorite version of yummy banana split cake. Again there are different recipes floating around but we love this one. I think you will too. Enjoy !!

Mix well;

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick melted butter
4 Tbls. sugar

Press in the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan.

Beat together filling with a mixer;

1 8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 stick melted butter
2 cups confectionery sugar

Spread this filling over the crumb crust.

Slice 4 banana's and place evenly over filling.

Drain and pour 1 large can of crushed pineapple in its own juice

evenly over the banana's.

Cover with cool whip.

Decorate with split maraschino

cherries that are dried on paper towel.

Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Chill for at least 5 hours

Drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired when you serve it.