Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Ham

Pre-cooked ham (size depends on your needs)
1 can pineapple, drained, reserving syrup
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar

Heat pineapple syrup, butter, and brown sugar until syrup consistency. Add the pineapple back and cook for 10 minutes.

Pour syrup over ham, placing pineapples on ham with toothpicks. Bake for 15 minutes per pound at 325.

Hash Brown Casserole

1 1/2 big bags shredded hash browns
1 cup chopped onion
1 stick melted butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
5 cups frosted flakes, crushed
1/2 stick butter

Combine first 7 ingredients. Place in large, buttered baking dish. Comgine frosted flakes and 1/2 stick butter. Use cereal mixture to cover hash browns. Bake for 1 hour at 350.

Baked Beans

1 large can pork and beans
1/2 cup brown sugar
medium onion, chopped
green pepper, chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
ketchup and mustard, to taste

Brown bacon. Add onion and pepper.

Put beans in a large baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Add bacon, onion, and pepper mixture. Add ketchup and mustard to your liking. Stir and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Olive Nut Spread

2 8oz. packages cream cheese
10 oz. jar of olives, sliced
2 small packages walnuts, crushed
2 tbsp olive juice

Combine all ingredients. Chill for 24 hours. Spread on sandwiches or use as a dip with crackers.

Kicked-Up Baked Potato Soup

6 to 8 large baking potatoes
2 cups milk
4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup butter
8-12 strips bacon, cooked
1 cup sour cream
8 oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 ribs celery
3 carrots, grated
½ yellow onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Bake potatoes until soft, do not peel. Cube potatoes into ¾ in squares.

In a large soup pot, combine butter and flour to make a roux. Cook for one minute, then slowly whisk in liquids.

Add salt and pepper, potatoes, cooked bacon, carrots, onion and celery. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add cheese and cook until melted. At the last minute, stir in the sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Soup will be thick. Add milk to reheat.

Thumb Print Cookies

½ Cup Granulated White Sugar
½ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Soft Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Ea Eggs
2 ½ Cup All Purpose Flour

Sugar for rolling
Fruit Preserves

· Cream both sugars and butter. Add Vanilla, Eggs and Flour.
· Shape entire mixture into a ball and chill 20 minutes
· Roll into 1” ball and roll in additional sugar
· Bake 5 min on greased and floured cookie sheet
· Remove from oven and make a thumbprint and add jelly
· Return to oven and bake additional 8 min.

Strawberry Bread

1 (10 oz) frozen strawberries in syrup, undrained
2 eggs
¾ cup oil
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup walnuts

Puree strawberries in blender or processor. Combine eggs and oil in small bowl and whisk thoroughly. Sift remaining ingredients into large bowl. Make well in center. Pour in eggs and puree and blend well using wooden spoon.

Pour into 9x5-inch loaf pan. Bake at 325 deg until tester inserted in center comes out clean. About 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool.

Santa’s Surprise Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup light brown sugar
2 (13 oz) bag Snickers miniatures
1 cup sugar
1 (13 oz) bag Dove milk or dark chocolate
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted

Combine butter, peanut butter, and sugars using mixer on a medium to low speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined, then mix in flour, soda, and salt. Cover and chill dough 2-3 hours.

Unwrap all Snickers miniatures. Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide into tablespoon-size pieces, and flatten. Place a Snickers miniature in the center of each piece of dough. Form dough into a ball around the candy. Flatten slightly. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 deg for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking rack or wax paper. Spruce up Santa’s Surprise Cookies by drizzling melted Dove milk or dark chocolate over the top of each cookie. Makes 4-dozen cookies.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

¼ cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cups sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 lb strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

Combine sugar and strawberries; let stand for a few hours, until juicy. Drain juices off; transfer to saucepan, and bring to a boil. Mix together the water, butter, and cornstarch. Add to the strawberry juice mixture; continue cooking, covered, over low heat for 2 minutes. Cool slightly and stir in strawberries. Pour into baked pie shell; chill thoroughly. Top with whipped cream topping or purchased whipped topping. Keep leftovers covered, in refrigerator.

Cream Wafers


1 Cup Soft Butter
1/3 Cup Whipping Cream
2 Cup All Purpose Flour

Mix thoroughly butter, cream and flour. Cover and chill. (20 min only)

Heat oven 375 deg. Roll about 1/3 of dough out at a time (1/8” thick) on a floured board.
Keep remaining dough refrigerated until ready to roll.
Cut into 1.5” circles.
Transfer out rounds with spatula to piece of waxed paper heavily covered with granulated sugar.
Turn each round so that both sides are sugar coated.
Place on ungreased sheet.
Prick rounds with fork several times.
Bake 7-9 minutes just until set but NOT brown.
Put together with filling.

Cream Filling

¼ Cup Soft Butter
¾ Cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
Few drops Food Coloring

Cream until Smooth and Fluffy

You can place these real close because they shrink some.
If they bake too long they are crumbly and hard to fill.
Whipping cream comes in a ½ pint carton so I usually triple my recipe.
Takes a while to make but they don’t last long.
You can add a few drops of water to filling for easier spreading.

Triple Recipe


3 Cup Soft Butter (1-1/2 lbs)
½ pt Whipping Cream
6 Cup Flour


¾ Cup Soft Butter
2 ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
3 tsp Vanilla
Food Coloring (user discretion)

Chocolate Cupcakes and Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcake Mixture:
2 cups cake flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa
1 ¼ cups milk
¾ cup shortning
3 eggs
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place liners in 2 dozen 3-inch muffin pan cups or grease and flour cups. Into a large bowl, measure all cupcake ingredients except frosting. With mixer at low speed, beat until well mixed, constantly scraping bowl. At high speed, beat 5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Spoon into muffin pan cups, filling each half full. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick in center of one comes out clean and dry. Cool in pans on wire racks, 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on racks. Prepare frosting. Then tip the tops of cupcakes into frosting and turn slightly to coat or put on with a spatula.

Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting:
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
16 oz confectioners’ sugar
4 teaspoons of instant coffee

In small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat together the softened cream cheese and evaporated milk. Beat in vanilla, salt, sugar and instant coffee until well blended.

Brownie Bottom Bourbon Pie

Brownie Mixture:
1 sticks butter, softened
16 oz chocolate syrup
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups flour

Cream butter and sugar. Stir in remaining ingredients with a whisk. Pour into well-oiled 10-inch pie pan to make ¼ -inch piecrust. Bake at 350 deg for 5 minutes.

5 egg yolks
½ cup bourbon, divided
¼ cup sugar
4 cups heavy cream
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
Shaved chocolate
¼ cup cold water

In one bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and stiff, then slowly beat in sugar. In second bowl, soften gelatin in cold water, and add ½ the bourbon. Mix contents of both bowls in a double boiler over low simmering heat. Constantly stir with whisk until eggs thicken, 8-10 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in remaining bourbon. Allow to cool. Whip cream, and fold ½ into the mixture. Pour Filling into crust and chill at least 4 hours.

When read to serve, top pie with remaining whipped cream and sprinkle with shaved chocolate. Serves 6-8.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Roast Pork Loin with Crumb Crust

1 (4 1/2-lb.) boneless pork loin, trimmed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard

Sprinkle pork loin with salt and pepper. Place pork loin on an aluminum foil-lined broiler pan.

Stir together breadcrumbs and next 4 ingredients; press breadcrumb mixture onto top of pork loin.

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes; cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 155°. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Sausage and Apple Stuffing

16-oz bag stuffing cubes
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb. sage breakfast sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 tsp dalt
3 cups chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 325.

Put the stuffing cubes in a large bowl and set aside. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish.

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until it loses most of its pink color, but not so much that it is dry. Add the sausage and the pan drippings to the stuffing cubes.

Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Add the onion, apple, and salt. Cook intil the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil.

Pour the vegetable mixture over the stuffing cubes and toss until evenly moistened. Mix in the eggs. Loosely pack the dressing into prepared pan and cook uncovered until the top forms a crust, about 40 minutes. Drizzle 2 tbsp melted butter over the top. Cook until the top is crisp and golden, about 20 minutes more.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

1 (22-oz.) package frozen mashed potatoes
1 (6.5-oz.) container garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese
1/2 cup milk
4 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
Garnish: chopped fresh chives

Prepare potatoes according to package directions.

Stir in spreadable cheese and next 4 ingredients; stir until blended. Spread mixture on bottom of a lightly-greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish; top with Cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish, if desired.

Honey Glazed Carrots

1 (2-lb.) bag baby carrots
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt object
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring carrots and water to cover to a boil in a 3-qt. saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium, and cook 15 to 20 minutes or just until carrots are tender. Drain.

Melt butter in a large skillet over low heat; stir in sugar, honey, and salt. Add carrots, and cook, stirring constantly, 5 to 8 minutes or until carrots are glazed. Sprinkle with mint and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 servings

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sausage Balls

These inspired a song by my brother Zak, something about "Balls of Meat" to the tune of Jingle Bells. These are my favorite holiday food. I could eat my weight in them.

3 cups Bisquick
1 lb. pork sausage
4 cups shredded cheddar

Combine all ingredients. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll into 1 inch balls. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Remove immediately from pan.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Peppermint Bark

2 pounds white chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
12 large candy canes
1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil

Line an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet with parchment, and set aside.

In the top of a double boiler, melt white chocolate, stirring constantly.

With a chef’s knife or meat tenderizer, cut or pound candy canes into 1/4-inch pieces. Stir pieces of candy canes and peppermint oil into the melted chocolate. Remove from heat, and pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet; spread evenly. Chill until firm, 25 to 30 minutes.

Break into pieces, and serve. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Rocky Road Bark

1 1/2 lbs chopped bittersweet chocolate
6 oz miniature marshmallows
1 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 lb (half package) mini chocolate-covered graham crackers, cut into bite-sized pieces

Line jelly roll pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Melt chocolate and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in marshmallows, peanuts, and graham cracker pieces. Spread evenly in pan. Cool in fridge 1-2 hours. Invert. Remove foil. Cut into 2 inch pieces. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

Poor Man's Turtles

1 package Rollos
1 large package Pecan halves
Mini Pretzels

Preheat oven to 400. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place a single layer of mini-pretzels and cover each with a rollo. Bake for 4 minutes, or until chocolate is shiny. Remove from oven and push one pecan half into each turtle. Refrigerate until firm.

Spicy Truffles

1 cup heavy cream
1 lb. milk chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp butter
¼ cup dark rum
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 lb. milk chocolate, to cover

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it just begins to simmer, about 5 minutes. Add the chocolate. With a wooden spoon, stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir to melt completely. Add the rum and mix well. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Pour the chocolate into the pan, spreading it evenly with a wooden spoon. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until it sets.

Remove the chocolate from the parchment paper, break it into pieces, and put it in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, Beat at low speed for 1 minute, then increase to medium and beat until is it is creamy and smooth. Transfer the mixture to pastry bag without a tip. Pipe out ½ oz truffles, each about the size of a walnut, onto a sheet of parchment paper. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

Use a four-prong fork to dip into melted chocolate, then tip the truffles onto a sheet of parchment paper. Avoid touching while the set. Refrigerate until set. Put in paper cups and store between sheets of parchment paper.

Espresso Truffles

1 cup heavy cream
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Optional flavorings: 2 tablespoons liqueur, 2 tablespoons instant expresso, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or other spice, etc.
1 pound liquid tempered chocolate for dipping
2 cups cocoa powder

Place heavy cream in a large pot and bring slowly to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes then stir well until smooth. Stir in the butter. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer, and let cool until set.

Fit mixer with a paddle and beat the chocolate mixture on medium speed until aerated and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the liqueur and/or other flavorings. Load ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a halfinch plain tube. Line several baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Pipe the truffle mixture out to form 1/2-inch balls. Place pans in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly.

To coat the truffles, set up your counter like this: tray of chilled centers on your left, bowl of melted tempered chocolate in the middle, large pan filled with cocoa powder on your right. (Reverse this if you’re lefthanded) Pick up a truffle with your left hand. Touch the palm of your right hand lightly onto surface of tempered chocolate. Drop the truffle into your chocolaty right hand and roll it around to coat. Move your right hand over the pan of cocoa powder, turn your hand over, and drop the coated truffle into the cocoa. Repeat the process to coat about 5 truffles, then pick up a fork with your clean left hand and use it to roll the truffles round a bit in the cacao. (A second person can help do this continuously.) Repeat until the cocoa pan is filled with a lot of truffles.

Then wash and dry your hands (or enlist your helper to do this); place the truffles in a strainer and shake it over the pan of cocoa powder to dislodge any excess cocoa. Place finished truffles on another paperlined pan to set completely. Truffles do not need to be refrigerated.

Cream Cheese Truffles

3 cups sifted powdered sugar8 ounces cream cheese -- softened
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips -- melted
3 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking squares

Add 3 cups powdered sugar gradually to cream cheese, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Add liqueur and mix well. Refrigerate several hours. Shape mixture into l-inch balls.

Melt baking squares and coat. Chill to set.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints

2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray
7 tablespoons seedless strawberry preserves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Whisk together flour and salt, set aside.

Combine sugars, peanut butter, and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating on low speed just until combined.

Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Shape dough into 36 balls (about 2 1/2 teaspoons each). Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each dough ball, leaving an indentation. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°. Uncover dough. Bake at 350° for 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove cookies from pans, and cool on a wire rack.

Place preserves in a small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at HIGH 20 seconds, stirring once. Add juice, stirring until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon preserves mixture into the center of each cookie.

(Adapted from Cooking Light December 2007)