Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Marinated Mozzarella Cheese and Olives-last minute appetizer

Just find out guests are stopping by? Or need one more appy for the party? Mozzarella Cheese and Olives marinated in Italian dressing and orange zest would be a nice easy treat! It offers tons of options too, mix and match anything you like, assorted green and black olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh crunchy celery, want to add some pepperoncini? Go ahead, you know your crowd:@) This appy gets livened up with fresh orange zest, chopped parsley and crushed red pepper flakes. Just be sure to use your favorite Italian dressing and enjoy!

I really do love all of the pretty colors:@)

Marinated Mozzarella Cheese and Olives
Mozzarella-either a big ball cut into cubes or fancy Bocconcini
Italian Dressing-I like Good Seasons
Drizzle of flavorful olive oil, approx 1 tsp for each cup of veggies
Olives of your choice
Anything else that sounds good
zest of an orange, approx 1/4 tsp for each cup of veggies
Sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley, enough to add pretty color when mixed
a few shakes of crushed red pepper
  • No real recipe here folks, add cheese and olives, etc. to a big bowl. Pour enough dressing over everything to coat it, add a small splash of olive oil. Sprinkle with zest, parsley and crushed pepper flakes. Mix well, cover and let marinate in the fridge one hour. Serve with fun picks and enjoy.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone-enjoy the holiday weekend!
Eat well, stay safe and play nice:@)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Pizza Stuffed Jalapenos with Sausage, Peppers and Onion

Some of the 'penos in my planter got nice and chubby by the end of season... Perfect for stuffing:@) These Pizza Stuffed Jalapenos with Sausage, Peppers and Onions were a fantastic game day treat! What's really great about this recipe ideas is, you can make just a few with leftover (or saved) cooked sausage or plan for a crowd and make a big batch. I had some Italian sausage in the freezer that needed to be used up, so I browned it for stuffed shells but scooped out a couple tablespoons for these stuffed jalapenos. Use your favorite purchased or homemade pizza sauce and add anything you like on pizza. Easy and very good!
I'm guessing this is a pretty good low carb munchie option too. 

Pizza Stuffed Jalapenos with Sausage, Peppers and Onion-and anything else you'd like:@)
Chubby jalapenos, cut in half lengthwise and cleaned of seeds and membranes
Crumbled Italian sausage, cooked with peppers and onions
Any other pizza topping additions you'd like, small diced
Mozzarella cheese, about 1/4 as much as the topping mixture, save extra for topping
Pizza sauce, your favorite, just enough to lightly wet the above ingredients
Oregano for topping
  1. Mix everything and spoon into jalapenos. Place 'penos on foil lined baking sheet for easy clean-up. 
  2. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-13 minutes. Remove from oven and turn on broiler.
  3. Top peppers with extra mozzarella and sprinkle with oregano, place under broiler until cheese is golden brown.
  4. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes or so before serving.
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday Snippets-Scottie Cookie Jar, Junkin' Turkey Candle Holder and Cranberry Tangerine Chutney

"Calling all Scottie lovers"... I just had to share this, Walmart has the cutest Scottie cookie jar for Christmas this year, it's a great size and believe me, the pic doesn't do it justice! In store purchase only.

I had so much fun at the thrift store a couple weeks ago, I found this little Yankee Candle turkey tea light holder the same day I found the vintage cookie press. I was silly and carried around so many things I had to talk myself into putting some back. Can you relate? Ugh...

Tom has been roosting in my tiered tray the whole month of November.

If you want to make something really special, it's not too late to whip up this amazing Cranberry Tangerine Chutney HERE. It will last until Thursday (and way beyond) in the fridge or you could water bath can it to have some for Christmas too (or gifts). There are many ways to enjoy this cranberry sauce folks, it's great for everything from appy to turkey side dish. The recipe is easily cut in half if desired.

It's time to get our gobble on... Ferrero Rocher Turkeys HERE.

Don't forget to start thawing your turkey!
Happy Thanksgiving Week everyone:@)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

90 Minute Pumpkin Dinner Rolls using Quick Rise Yeast

These Quick Pumpkin Yeast Rolls whip up in no time, about 90 minutes from start to out of the oven, and would be a beautiful addition to any Thanksgiving menu. We loved the pretty color and even the boys mentioned they thought the pumpkin made the rolls moister... But I do have to say, unlike the big flavors in my Savory Pumpkin Pecan Bread, we couldn't taste the pumpkin in this recipe. So basically, these rolls are fluffy soft dinner rolls dressed to impress in a festive orange/gold color:@)

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls Using Rapid Rise Yeast
2 to 2 1/4 C A/P flour
2 Tblsp sugar
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) rapid rise yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C pumpkin
1/4 C milk
1/8 C water
2 Tblsp butter
Egg wash or cornstarch wash-optional
poppy/sesame/caraway seeds-optional
  1. Combine 3/4 C flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in large bowl.
  2. Heat pumpkin, milk, water and butter until warm (120 degrees), add to flour mixture and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
  3. Add 1/4 C flour, beat 2 minutes at high speed.
  4. Stir in enough remaining flour 1/4 C at a time to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  5. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, shape into balls and place in a greased 9" cake pan. If desired, lightly coat the top with one of the washes and sprinkle with seeds (either an egg wash-one egg mixed with 1-2 Tblsp water or milk, or a cornstarch wash-blend 1/2 tsp cornstarch with 4 Tblsp water. Put it in the microwave until it appears glassy, about 30-60 seconds on high. Note: this can bubble up in the microwave, use a big enough bowl/cup)
  6. Cover rolls and let rise in warm place until double, about 30 minutes (this may take a little longer because of the pumpkin).
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and done. 
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fruitcake White Chocolate Fudge-Easy Microwave Recipe

I like to share a fudge recipe at Thanksgiving for a couple reasons, 1. it kinda kicks off the holiday season for me and 2. for folks that don't bake, quick microwave fudge is a nice easy sweet treat to bring to gatherings. ~You are welcome~ she says with a mouthful of fudge:@) I've had visions of this Fruitcake White Chocolate Fudge dancing around in my head since last year... And I'm pleased with the way it turned out. Don't hesitate to give this one a try folks, it might even convert a fruitcake hater or two:@)

Important Notes:
  • White chocolate chips do NOT like to melt... It's best to find a nice melting white chocolate, if you only have chips (as I did), chop them up with a knife before microwaving (as I did not...).
  • I like the colorful red cherries, so I leave them bigger and only cut them in half. Adding green cherries would be very Christmasy!
  • Use at least 1/4 C and closer to 1/2 cup of raisins, they are what soaks up the liquor.
  • The nuts are very nice in this, use at least 1/4 C and I suggest more.
  • I put all of the add-ins into a measuring cup/bowl and pour the soaked raisins and vanilla on top of that bowl as well. That way everything is ready to be added to the melted chocolate all at once.
  • I used 2 cups of fruit/nut add-ins, I would probably use 2 1/2 C next time.
  • Stir fast! This fudge will set-up quickly.
I found the red candied cherries and all other dried fruit at Dollar Tree this year.

Fruitcake White Chocolate Microwave Fudge
14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
12 oz white chocolate chips-I used Ghirardelli
2 - 2 1/2 C chopped mix/match traditional fruitcake add ins:
-dried apricots
-dried cranberries-I, um, forgot I had these-bummer
-dried pineapple
-candied cherries
-raisins
-nuts of choice-I used toasted walnuts
2 Tblsp liquor of choice: dark rum, brandy, bourbon or orange liquor
1 tsp vanilla
  1. Microwave raisins in liquor of choice for 20 seconds. I had dark rum. Stir and set aside as you chop the rest of the fruit and nuts.
  2. Heat milk and white chocolate in microwave safe bowl for about 30 seconds. Stir, zap in little spurts until the chocolate has melted and is smooth.
  3. Quickly stir in everything else.  
  4. Pour into an 8x8 pan that has been lined with non-stick foil. Press down a bit and spread evenly.
  5. Chill at least one hour (longer is better), cut into squares and enjoy.
Several other varieties and flavor combinations can be found under my fudge label HERE.

Have a sticky sweet happy day:@)

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Holiday BBQ Sauce-great with turkey, chicken, beef or pork (Doctored Sweet Baby Rays)

Whether you choose to slather this on grilled meat, broiled wings or use it as a dipping sauce... It's good stuff folks! For a Thanksgiving and Christmas flare I've added cinnamon, cloves and orange to Sweet Baby Rays for this Holiday BBQ Sauce and we all thought this was a great flavor combination. I served it with Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets (my new favorite HERE)... Very ~very~ nice:@)

You know you want some:@)

How about heating up some meatballs as an appy for your next football or holiday party...

Holiday BBQ Sauce
1 C Sweet Baby Rays original
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp frozen orange juice concentrate
A few grinds of black pepper
~Mix everything, let mingle for at least an hour, and enjoy!

Eat well and have a happy day:@)

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Maple Walnut Spritz Cookies

These Maple Walnut Spritz Cookies sounded like a perfect flavor combination for Thanksgiving and made the house smell great while baking! They seem fancy and elegant but are simply decorated with some chopped nuts, these cookies are a very nice treat with afternoon tea too. This is the second spritz I've tried with ground nuts, the other was with almonds HERE, both were very good!

If you're looking for a different spritz cookie this holiday season, I think you'll like this one folks:@)

Tips:
  • Be sure to pack the ground nuts into the measuring cup, it's important for the consistency of the dough. 
  • This will be a softer dough but should still have body. It sticks to the sheets very easily. 
  • I found maple extract at HomeGoods, so I did add some to amp up the flavor.
  • My walnuts went for a whirl in the food chopper until they were finely ground for the dough and left a little chunkier for the topping.
  • These cookies are very tasty but aren't overly sweet, you may want to either add a little more sugar to the dough or give them a nice sprinkling of sanding or colored sugar before baking.
  • As a test, I chilled the second baking sheet for 15 minutes and it did not make any difference in the shape of the cookie. So, no chilling necessary.
The original recipe calls for a piece of walnut to be added as a decoration. I think the chopped nuts are prettier, but they are a little messier... 
I'll let you decide since you'll be the one cleaning up after everyone leaves:@)

Maple Walnut Spritz-from Taste of Home
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract-use half vanilla, half maple extract if you have it
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup finely ground walnuts
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Coarse sugar
2/3 cup walnut pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, maple syrup and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, ground walnuts, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture (dough will be soft).
  2. Using a cookie press fitted with desired disc, press dough 1 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Top with walnuts.
  3. Bake 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. 

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