CORN FLAKE HOLLY WREATHS

Christmas is right around the corner so I thought I’d share one of my favorite holiday recipes. My great aunt who I only got to see a couple times a year used to make these every year special for me and I would wait out on the front steps for her arrive just to see them and know they were there. She always made them soooooooooo pretty and perfect!  They are delicious and they are a quick, easy, no bake treat and they’re so pretty to add to the cookie & candy tray selections.

CORN FLAKE HOLLY WREATHS
(these are better when they are made a few days ahead)

30 large marshmallows (or 3 cups mini marshmallows or 1 jar marshmallow cream)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon green food color
3 1/2-4 cups cornflakes
Red Hots or sprinkles for decorating
  • Combine marshmallows, butter, vanilla and food color in top of double boiler.
  • Heat and stir frequently until well blended.
  • Gradually stir in cornflakes until well blended.
  • Drop onto wax paper and arrange into wreath shapes. I plop them onto the wax paper and then push out from the center to form the wreaths.
  • Decorate with red hots.
  • Let cool.
  • If your house is warm – chill in refrigerator until set.

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STUFFED MARSALA CHICKEN

STUFFED MARSALA CHICKEN

4 chicken breasts
6 slices of mozzarella (about 1/4 inch thick)
16 sun-dried tomatoes (I use the ones packed in olive oil and Italian herbs)*
1/2 cup baby spinach (optional)
2 tablespoons avocado oil
8 mushrooms, sliced thin
1 large shallot, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste
2 green onions, sliced thin (optional)

  • Heat oil or butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add mushrooms and shallots, sweating until caramelized.
  • Cut a horizontal pocket into each chicken breast being careful not to go all the way through.
  • Stuff each breast with one slice of mozzarella, 4 sun dried tomatoes and a spoonful of mushrooms and shallots.
  • Secure with baking bands or toothpicks.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of avocado oil in the same large skillet.
  • Brown chicken breasts on both sides.
  • Move to casserole dish and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes depending on size of your chicken breasts.
  • Meanwhile using the same skillet heat remaining tablespoon avocado oil over low heat.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant; less than 1 minute.
  • Add sweet Marsala wine and reduce by half.
  • Add chicken broth and cook on high for 1 minute.
  • Reduce heat to low.
  • Add cream and simmer until slightly thickened approximately 5-7 minutes; whisking frequently.
  • Salt & pepper to taste.
  • Top chicken breast with 1/2 mozzarella slice and allow to melt.
  • Spoon sauce over warm chicken.
  • Top with optional green onions.

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HASH BROWN HAM & CHEESE QUICHE

I found this recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine that I bought at a library book sale – best book sale I’ve been too in a long, long time. I spent $9.80 at the sale and then calculated the retail prices of all the books and magazines plus tax ($309.73) and found I saved $299.93 when all was said and done!

I did make a few changes to the original recipe. I have to tell you this was one of the easiest brunch items I’ve ever made. Crisp and tasty too!




 

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ITALIAN STUFFED CHICKEN

Coating the chicken breast with homemade Italian dressing inside and out helps keep this chicken juicy and adds so much flavor as the dressing combined with the marinade from the sun dried tomatoes constantly bastes the chicken as it bakes.

ITALIAN STUFFED CHICKEN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup sun dried tomato tapenade
2 slices Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 tablespoons Avocado or olive oil

DRESSING
1 tablespoon mayonnaise*
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Basil
1/4 teaspoon Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Marjoram
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Whisk together dressing ingredients until well blended (it will not be pourable, but that’s what you want).
  • Cut a slit in each breast to create a pocket, but not all the way through.
  • Stir together the ricotta cheese and sun-dried tomato tapenade.
  • Coat the inside of the pocket with the dressing.
  • Add ricotta sun-dried tomato mixture, spinach leaves and a slice of cheese.
  • Coat outside of chicken with dressing on both sides.
  • Seal with toothpicks.
  • Heat oil in cast iron pan over high heat.
  • Add chicken and sear both sides quickly until golden.
  • Transfer pan to oven and bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly and chicken is cooked through.
  • Rest for 5 minutes.
  • Drizzle with any juices that leaked out.

NOTE*: Most people would use a Dijon mustard, but I’m allergic to mustard so substitute mayonnaise and make up the flavor in herbs.

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MAGIC DUST SLAM DUNK HOT WINGS

MAGIC DUST SLAM DUNK HOT WINGS from Chris at NibbleMeThis He originally ran this recipe over at OUR Krazy Kitchen when I hosted that food blog.

36 chicken wing pieces (wingettes and drummettes)
CHRIS’ DRY RUB (I use my MAGIC DUST instead of Chris’ rub though – recipe below)
1 1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s Season Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano

TOSS SAUCE
1/2 cup hot sauce (I use Frank’s Original)
1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

DUNK SAUCE
3/4 cup ranch dressing
2 tablespoon diced roasted red pepper
2 tablespoon cilantro, finely minced

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Mix the “dunk sauce” together and refrigerate.
  • Wash and dry the wing pieces REALLY well* and season with the dry rub.
  • Cook the wings for 25 minutes and then flip the wings.  Cook another 25 minutes or until crisp and cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the “toss sauce” over medium heat.
  • Toss the wings in the toss sauce and put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve with the Dunk Sauce and enjoy

NOTE* This helps get a crisp skin.

TAMY’S MAGIC DUST (my go to dry rub that I keep on hand)

1/2 cup sweet paprika
1/4 cup finely ground sea salt
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup chipotle chili powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

  • Mix all ingredients together until well blended.
  • Store in an airtight container.
  • Shake before each use.

MAGIC DUST NOTE: I can’t use it because of allergies, but a great addition to this recipe is 2 tablespoons of Colemna’s dry mustard.

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CARAMEL STUFFED AUTUMN SNICKERDOODLES

Another fun find on facebook that I altered to out taste. I mean who doesn’t like a snickerdoodle? and caramel? and cinnamon sugar? Put them all together and you have something really special for the fall season.

CARAMEL STUFFED AUTUMN SNICKERDOODLES yields 12 cookies adapted from DELISH
3/4 cup spiced apple cider
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
Cinnamon sugar, for rolling
12 unwrapped caramel candies, cut into 4 pieces each

  • Preheat oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the apple cider to a simmer, cooking until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Let cool.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar.
  • Add egg, vanilla, molasses and apple cider mixing until well blended.
  • Add flour and mix JUST until combined.
  • Scoop about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough into a ball then flatten it slightly with your hand.
  • Press 4 caramel pieces into the center of the dough, covering and sealing the caramel entirely with dough.
  • Reshape it into a ball and roll in cinnamon-sugar.
  • Place on cookie sheet and repeat with remaining dough and caramels.
  • Freeze for 20 minutes.
  • Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges and set in the middle, 10-14 minutes.
  • Let cool for on pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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INSIDE OUT CHICKEN POT PIES

Most of you know that I ONLY cook from scratch.  I have to admit though that one of my favorite comfort meals from being a kid was SWANSON’S Chicken Pot Pie.  I have tried for years to duplicate that exact recipe from scratch.  Alas, I concede – scratch will have to wait! Here is the recipe I have come closest with. This particular sauce actually turns out more like a gravy and is perfect for this combo! Now I am trying a beef version tonight that will be scatch!

INSIDE OUT CHICKEN POT PIES
serves 4
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small Vidalia onion, halved and sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
3 tablespoons butter
4-6 ounces cream cheese, softened
salt and pepper to taste
1 box Pepperidge Farm Puffed Pastry defrosted per package directions
1 package KNORR Hollandaise Sauce prepared per package
1 egg white + 1 tablespoon melted butter

  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in large skillet.
  • Add celery and onion, sauteeing until almost carmelized.
  • Add remaining butter to melt.
  • Add chicken pieces, salt and pepper to taste, sauteeing until chicken is cooked through.
  • Add cream cheese and blend well.
  • Add peas and carrots, stirring to coat.
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cut pastry sheets in half.
  • Lay one half of each pastry sheet on cookie sheet.
  • Spoon a generous portion of the chicken mixture into the half of each sheet.
  • Fold the other half up and over, sealing the edges well.
  • Whisk together the egg white and melted butter and then brushing each pie with the mixture.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden and pastry is puffed.
  • Top each pie with a ladle full of sauce.
  • Enjoy.

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BANANAS FOSTER BREAD adapted from DAMARIS PHILLIPS

BANANAS FOSTER BREAD adapted from DAMARIS PHILLIPS

BREAD
Cooking spray, for greasing
1 2/3 cups bananas, mashed (about 4 medium RIPE)
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup toasted coconut
1/3 cup golden raisins (soaked in orange juice and rum and then drained WELL)

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Spray a 9-by-4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Combine the bananas, eggs, sugar, coconut oil, yogurt, rum and vanilla extracts in a bowl.
  • In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir JUST until the flour is incorporated and batter is smooth.
  • Fold in the coconut, raisins and walnuts.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the glaze.

GLAZE
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup spiced rum
1 teaspoon orange zest
Vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the brown sugar and 1/2 cup water and stir, cooking until the sugar dissolves, and then continue cooking another 3 to 5 minutes over low heat until the mixture bubbles around the edges.
  • Turn off the heat and carefully stir in the rum and the orange zest.
  • Slowly pour half of the glaze over the banana bread, allowing it to seep into all the surfaces.
  • Wait until the glaze has been absorbed, about 30 minutes, and then turn the loaf out of the pan.
  • Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream, if using, and the remaining glaze.

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SHEPHERD’S PIE QUESADILLA with RED JALAPENO SOUR CREAM

I originally found this recipe in a tailgating magazine, but unlike most recipe immediately changed it into what I wanted it to be.  Hubby loved it and requested it again for next week.

SHEPHERD’S PIE QUESADILLA with RED JALAPENO SOUR CREAM serves 4
8 small (6 inch) tortillas
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 pound ground beef
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 large carrots, minced (I use the mini food processor)
1 beef bouillon cube
3/4 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 pound snap peas, trimmed and chopped
6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 + 2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

  • Heat avocado oil in a large skillet.
  • Dissolve beef bouillon cube in beef broth and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Add beef, onions and carrots, stirring frequently to saute’, breaking beef down into the smallest of crumble pieces.
  • While beef is cooking prepare potatoes in salted water until mashable.
  • Sprinkle with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Add broth mixture and cook until meat is cooked through and liquid has been completely absorbed.
  • Add peas and cook a few minutes more. Set aside.
  • When potatoes are done drain off water and add 2 tablespoons butter, cream, salt and pepper, mixing well.
  • Assemble quesadillas with a layer of mashed potatoes, meat mixture and cheese.
  • Heat additional 2 tablespoons of butter and cook quesadilla until browned on each side and cheese is melted.
  • Cut with a pizza cutter and serve immediately with Jalapeño sour cream.

NOTE: A quesadilla maker works REALLY well.

RED JALAPENO SOUR CREAM
1 tablespoon Litehouse freeze dried Red Jalapeños
2 tablespoons beef broth
3/4 cup sour cream
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Soak red jalapeños in beef broth for 30 minutes to reconstitute. Drain well.
  • Fold jalapeños into sour cream and season to taste.

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BRUSSELS BISQUE ~ MY WAY

This is a combination of several recipes.  I was never happy with any one of them on a stand alone basis, but loved how combining bits and pieces of each one made the perfect bisque.  So, just in time for cool fall evenings I give you my version of Brussels Bisque.

BRUSSELS BISQUE MY WAY Makes 8 servings.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
1-1/4 pounds (about 3 cups) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved**
1 large onion, chopped
1 bulb garlic, roasted, mashed and rough chopped
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Splash (to taste) Frank’s original hot sauce
6 slices bacon, dice and browned
Parmesan Cheese

  • In a large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, melt butter.
  • Add onions, carrots, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and half of your garlic; saute 3 minutes.
  • Stir in broth, wine and Worcestershire.
  • Add nutmeg, parsley and hot sauce.
  • Bring to boiling; simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat.
  • Pour soup through colander placed over large bowl or pan.
  • Set aside about 3/4 cup Brussels sprouts mixture.
  • Place remaining Brussels sprouts mixture in food processor or immersion blender; puree. ***
  • Return puree and broth mixture to Dutch oven.
  • Place flour in small bowl; gradually add half-and-half, stirring until smooth.
  • Add half-and-half mixture into broth mixture gradually, stirring until well blended.
  • Add mushroom mixture, reserved Brussels sprouts mixture and remaining garlic.
  • Bring to boil, stirring frequently; simmer 10 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour into bowls top with a dab of butter and lots of fresh grated pepper.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley, Parmesan and crisp bacon pieces.

NOTE:** Spinach or Broccoli can be substituted.
NOTE:*** Remember that hot foods will splatter easily, blend with caution!

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FRIED CHICKEN and DUMPLINGS – MY WAY

FRIED CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
3 pounds chicken thighs
2 tablespoons GHEE
2 tablespoons avocado oil
3/4 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

  • Wash and dry chicken pieces.
  • Sift together 3/4 flour, salt and pepper.
  • In a large sauté pan or stock pot heat GHEE and oil.
  • Dredge chicken pies in flour and place skin side down in hot oil. Brown chicken skin side down until chicken starts to bleed before turning, about 15 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken pieces to plate.

STEW
2 shallots, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced thin
2 ribs celery, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup AP flour
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Barefoot white Moscato
3 tablespoons sugar
8 whole peppercorns
1/2 cup heavy cream (added in at the end)
2 teaspoons fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Add carrots to pan and stir for a couple minutes.
  • Add celery and shallots, stirring a couple more minutes.
  • Add garlic and 1/3 cup flour stirring constantly until flour is golden.
  • Gradually add chicken stock, constantly stirring until well blended.
  • Add wine, vinegar, sugar and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, covered and cook for 15 minutes.
  • While the stew is simmering shred chicken from the bone into bite size pieces and begin the dumplings. Be sure to shred crisp chicken skin into bite size pieces also.

DUMPLINGS
1 1/3 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon LITEHOUSE basil
1 teaspoon LITEHOUSE chives
1 teaspoon LITEHOUSE red onions

  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In another bowl whisk together the butter and milk.
  • Add basil, chives and red onion to milk and let sit 5 minutes.
  • Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients JUST until combined.
  • Skim any fat from stew.
  • Gently stir in cream.
  • Add the chicken pieces and crispy skin back into the stew.
  • Drop dumplings on top of stew and simmer covered another 15 minutes or so until dumplings are plump and cooked through.
  • Sprinkle with parsley.
  • Serve immediately.

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APPLE POMEGRANATE SALAD with HONEY GINGER VINAIGRETTE

APPLE POMEGRANATE SALAD
1 bunch romaine lettuce, torn and washed
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
2 Granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup candied walnuts (recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded cheese, Parmesan or cheddar
1/3 bacon, diced
vinaigrette dressing (recipe below)

  • In large skillet cook bacon until browned and crispy. Drain on paper toweling and cool.
  • Toss apple pieces with lemon juice.
  • In a large bowl toss together the lettuce, green onions, apples and pomegranate seeds.
  • Top with bacon pieces, cheese, walnuts and toss again.
  • Drizzle with vinaigrette, toss again and serve immediately.

VINAIGRETTE DRESSING
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup golden balsamic or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Sipping Vinegar – Ginger Honey
1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery flakes
1 tablespoon Ponzu

  • Whisk everything together.
  • Chill for several hours before serving.

CANDIED WALNUTS
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 pound chopped walnuts
1 egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 225°.
  • Place butter on 15×10 jelly roll pan and place in oven to melt.
  • Whisk together the egg white and water.
  • Toss nuts with egg mixture until well coated.
  • Sift together the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  • Toss nuts in dry mixture until well coated.
  • Spread in a single layer on jelly roll pan.
  • Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring to mix EVERY 15 minutes.
  • Cool completely.

NOTE: Nuts will be sticky and gooey if not turned regularly.

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