Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cranberry Stroganoff

Do you have any leftover cranberries? If you do, or before they leave the store for the season, you must try this recipe. It's melt-in-your-mouth amazing. It's this perfect combination of sweet and sour. You may think that beef with cranberries sounds strange...but then you need to change your thinking. It'll become a tradition every year. Cutting the cranberries is slightly labor intensive but a  necessary step so give the right flavor. I served this over mashed potatoes because it sounded really good. But you could also use noodles and do more of a traditional stroganoff.I adapted this recipe from Cooking During Stolen Moments.

1/2 bag of cranberries
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon butter
1 1/2 - 2 pounds of bottom round steaks or cubed beef for stew (I used beef that was cubed at the store)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 container of mushrooms
1 cup beef broth
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
mashed potatoes or noodles

Cut the cranberries in half. Toss with the brown sugar and flour. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat the butter in a stock pot. Add the beef and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in the beef broth and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours (to make the beef melt in your mouth tender). 

Stir in the cranberry mixture. Cook for 10 minutes longer. Serve over mashed potatoes or noodles.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Grandpa Wahlen's Breakfast

This breakfast is amazing! It'll be a family tradition for sure. My Grandpa use to make this for us, hence the name. I personally, like to use maple flavored sausage, but you could use any type you like. Maple is my favorite because I love the flavor it adds. It tastes delicious with any other flavors too, just not as yummy. It comes together really quickly too. While the sausage cooks, I put all the rest together and then add the sausage at the end. So it's perfect for a busy morning when you want something quick.

1 pound sausage
1 - 8oz cream cheese
1 regular size ricotta cheese
9 eggs, well beaten
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 container of fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 to 1 cup of shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook the sausage. While it's cooking, combine the cheeses and mix well. Stir in the eggs and baking powder. Add the mushrooms and cooked sausage, stir gently. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese (as much as you like) as soon as you remove it from the oven. Give the cheese a few minutes to melt and then enjoy! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Candy Cane Shortbreads

Ohhhh, these cookies are amazing! They are the most favorite of all the cookies I made for this year's Goodie Plates. Maybe because I'm slightly bias towards peppermint and mint, but really, they are melt in your mouth yummy. I got this recipe from the Cooking During Stolen Moments blog and I'm one happy girl for finding it. Although, I think she called them snowballs - but mine didn't turn out like balls at all. So I figured they needed a new name. I was worried they would be too pepperminty, but they aren't at all. It's a perfect mixture. You know you want some. So go ahead and make some!

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 egg
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box of peppermint candy canes, crushed - set 1/2 cup aside for the top
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 - 3 Tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the powdered sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla, peppermint extract and egg. Mix until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix well. Stir in the remaining crushed candy canes, just until mixed.

Place by the teaspoon on cookie sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are brown. Cool completely before frosting.

Once the cookies are cooled, mix the powdered sugar with enough milk to make a thick glaze. Drizzle over the top of each cookie. Then sprinkle the cookie with crushed candy canes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Eggnog Cookies with Eggnog Frosting

I searched everywhere for a good Eggnog cookie recipe. When I made this one (I found it on goodcooks.com), and tried it, the dough had the most amazing flavor. The first batch I made was delicious! Then I doubled them to use for my Christmas Goodie plates, and they lost some of their flavor. So, when you make these, don't double them. The flavor is soooo much better in a single batch.

1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks, mix until combined. Add the nutmeg, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix until just combined - do not overmix.

Drop by the teaspoonful on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown. Cool completely before frosting.

EGGNOG FROSTING

1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup eggnog
4+ cups of powdered sugar

Cream the butter. Add vanilla, eggnog and enough powdered sugar to form a thick frosting. Once cookies are completely cooled, frost.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cuckoo Cookies

 These are a favorite cookie from my childhood. We had these every Christmas growing up. I have no idea why they are called Cuckoo Cookies, I've seen them named many other things, but I'm keeping the name. For these cookies, you will bake them almost all the way, add a marshmallow and then continue baking. So I have a couple of tips. First, don't let the marshmallow get too brown, or it will melt and loose the yummy marshmellowness. Second, if the cookies are overcooked, shorten the time before adding the marshmallow. Other than that, they come together quickly and disappear quickly around my house.

1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1 bag of large marshmallows, cut in half

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with non stick cooking spray. Cream together the shortening and sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Add the milk alternately with the flour, soda, salt and cocoa. Mix well.

Drop on the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 6 minutes. Top each cookie with 1/2 a large marshmallow, pressing gently. Return to the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the marshmallows are slightly brown. Cool completely, then top with glaze.

GLAZE
1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
6 cups powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons hot water

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring until completely combined. Glaze the top of each cookie. Then don't eat too many!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Easy-Chaquesy Turtles

My sister discovered these last year and she loved them. So, of course, I had to try them out this year. Funny thing is, I do NOT like pecans (or walnuts for that matter) but I actually liked this little babies. I grew up with an amazing Mom who made her own turtles, including making caramel from scratch, hand dipping each one - let's just say delicious beyond words. I dream of one day making my own but that will have to happen once I don't work all day long. Until then, these little guys are easy, quick and quite yummy.

2 bags of rolos
1 bag of pretzels (I used square pretzels, you could also use the traditional shape)
1 bag of pecans

Bake the pecans in a 350 degree oven until you can smell them cooking. That takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. While they are cooling, fill a cookie sheet with pretzels, in a single layer. Place an unwrapped rolo on each pretzel. Put in the oven for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the chocolate starts to shine. Immediately place a walnut on top of each rolo, pressing lightly. Let them cool completely before removing them from the pan. Enjoy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chocolate Blossoms with Candy Cane and Mint Kisses

This year for Christmas cookies I decided to make all new cookies. Well, new meaning they would work great for Goodie Plates and the recipe wasn't on my blog yet. Every year, for Christmas, I make peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses but this year I put a little twist on it. Chocolate cookies with candy cane kisses and mint kisses. Yummy! This recipe does require the dough to refrigerate, so plan some extra time.

2/3 cup brown sugar
6 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
mint and candy cane kisses

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and water. Stir over low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Add the egg. Stir in the flour and baking soda until combined. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours or until the dough is ready to handle.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drop the dough by Tablespoons on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes. The cookies will come out puffy and as they cool, they will settle down. Wait to put the kisses on until the puffy has gone down but the cookies are still warm. If you put the kisses on too soon, they melt to small puddles on the cookies.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

My hubbie LOVES cheesecake. And we had a little cousin get-together, which in my mind is a great excuse to bring something yummy to eat. And there is no way I'm going to make an entire cheesecake for just me and my hubbie to eat, so time to pass the calories onto to the rest of the family! Although this cheesecake is easy and quick to prepare, the cooking time, cooling time and refrigeration time makes this process a long one. Make this baby at least a day ahead of when you need it or start first thing in the morning.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/3 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 - 8oz packages cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 oz sour cream
3 eggs, slightly beaten
11 oz package Reese's peanut butter chip and milk chocolate chips, divided
1 teaspoon shortening (not butter)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 inch springform pan.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa and melted butter. Press the crumb mixture into the prepared pan, going 1 1/2 inches up the side. Bake for 8 minute. Cool slightly.

Increase the oven temperature to 340 degrees. Beat the cream cheese, the remaining 1 cup of sugar and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Add the sour cream and beat on low until blended. Add the eggs and blend just until combined. Do not overbeat. Pour two cups of the filling into the prepared crust.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the chips for the drizzle. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cup of chips evenly over the filling in the pan. Carefully spoon the remaining filling over the chips.

Bake about 1 hour or until center is almost set. Remove from the oven. Using a knife, loosen the cheesecake from the side of the pan. Cool on a wire rack for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the side of the pan and cool for 1 hour.

Combine the shortening and reserved 1/4 cup chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Continue to heat in 15 second increments, stirring each time, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Drizzle over the top of the cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shrimp and Pea Risotto

We love shrimp at our house and I'm a fan of risotto so why not combine the two? And the flavor is amazing because you make your own shrimp broth that adds the greatest taste to the dish. Stir in some peas, one of my favorite veggies, and you've got an amazing meal. You have definitely got to try this if you like shrimp.

1 pound of medium shrimp (peeled and deveined, but with the tail on)
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup arborio rice
3/4 cup cooking sherry
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Put the shrimp, water, chicken broth, parsley and oregano in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the shrimp and pull their tails off.

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Stir in the rice and saute for 2 minutes. Do not allow the rice to brown. Deglaze the pan with the cooking sherry, stirring until the liquid evaporates. Add 1/2 cup of the warm shrimp stock and stir until absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time until all the stock is used and rice is tender. This takes about 20 - 25 minutes.

Stir in the peas and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes more, or until hot. Stir in the salt, cayenne, and cheese. And then enjoy the mouthwatering yumminess!