Raspberry Preserves Thumbprint Cookies

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I love, love, love, love these cookies! I only make them at Christmas time and I don’t know why, because they are so stinkin’ delicious! I made a batch of these over the weekend and my Star said, “you sure you want to make them now? You still have two weeks till Christmas.” “Yes, I said, I don’t want to bake all the cookies in one weekend.” “Oh, well they might not last” he said. I really didn’t believe that he would eat them all. Well, I was wrong as they are almost completely gone. He is actually sitting here now with the cookie tin next to him chowing down! I guess I will be making another batch of these. :)

Ingredients:

3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 oz. sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry preserves (or your favorite jam, jelly)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla.

Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured surface and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into balls. Dip each ball into the egg wash and roll it in coconut. I like to add a few to the egg wash instead of doing one at a time, much easier.

Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Press a light indentation into the top of each with your finer.

Drop 1/4 teaspoon of preserves into each indentation.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and have at it! :)

Chinese Pizza with Ginger Dipping Sauce

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This recipe we found at The Food Network and I am so glad that we did! I haven’t had these in years! This was a favorite snack of mine at my hometown local Chinese Restaurant, The Full Ho and I have yet to find them again. Some people call them Chinese Pancakes or Scallion Pancakes, but I know them by Chinese Pizza. When I came across this recipe, I knew immediately that we had to make them. They came out tasting exactly like the ones from Full Ho. Yay!!! Doing the happy dance! :)

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup ginger dipping sauce, recipe to follow
Directions
In a bowl, sift flour. Slowly add water in a steady stream while mixing with a wooden spoon. Keep adding water until a ball is formed. Let ball of dough relax for about 30 minutes and cover with damp cloth.

On a floured surface, roll out dough into a thin rectangle.

Brush on oil mixture, cover with scallion and season with salt and pepper.

Carefully roll dough. This part is a little tricky and sticky. Make sure you have enough flour on your surface.

Cut into 4 pieces. Take one piece and twist 3 times.

Make a spiral out of this and roll again and flatten to achieve a 5 to 6 inch pancake.

In a hot non-stick pan, coat with some of the leftover sesame and canola oil and pan sear both sides until golden brown.

Place on plate covered with a paper towel. Place a paper towel over each pizza to absorb the oil.

Cut into pizza slices and serve immediately with dipping sauce.

GINGER DIPPING SAUCE:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
Combine all ingredients.

Simply delicious!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

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Tonight was our first attempt at making Chinese food. This recipe was amazing, better than take out! It does take some time, but it is definitely worth the work. The flavor of the sauce is incredible and the texture of the chicken is wonderful. We were all just smacking our lips with this one. Nom nom nom!

For the Chicken:
3-4 boneless,skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil

For the Sauce:
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar (preferably rice or white)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Working in two batches, toss the chicken pieces in cornstarch and then coat with the egg.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat and again in two batches, brown the chicken, turning it so that all sides are browned.

Place the chicken in a single layer in a 9×13 baking dish. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly over the chicken. Turn the chicken to ensure each piece is coated.

Bake for 1 hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from http://www.browneyedbaker.com/

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

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Yes, another Buffalo Chicken recipe and it is a casserole dish! I love making casseroles. They are so simple and provide you with plenty of leftovers. It was a hit with my Star and said “you must make this again.”

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts (seasoned with salt, pepper & any other seasonings you may like)
1/2 box of penne or any type of pasta
1 cup + 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
4 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese (or you could use blue cheese)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 stick melted butter
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Begin by cooking pasta according to the directions on the package.

Bake chicken in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the juices run clear. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

Shred chicken with fork.

Preheat a large skillet. Add the chicken, 1 cup of buffalo sauce and let it simmer.

Put milk in a sauce pan and warm at a low temperature until little bubbles form around the edges (make sure not to boil the milk).

Once milk is warm, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Add the cream cheese and the other 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce to the milk and whisk until smooth.

Spray 9 x 13 casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Pour 1/2 of the cooked pasta into the dish

Add the chicken

Top with remaining pasta and pour milk mixture over chicken and noodles, then top with shredded cheese

In a small bowl mix parsley, bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over top and bake for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Turkey Stromboli

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This recipe we created last year with our leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner.  Truly one of my favorite recipes!

We made this recipe with Pillsbury Pie Crust, which makes for a nice flaky breading and we also made it with pizza dough, which gave it more of a true stromboli flavor (if you know what I mean, just more doughier). We loved them both! Another great idea would be to add some leftover vegetables, like corn, peas, or even some mashed potatoes. We actually made a few of these last year and put them in the freezer.

Ingredients:

1 Pillsbury Pie crust or pizza dough

Leftover turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degree

Roll out pie crust (or pizza dough)

Layer turkey

Spoon stuffing and cranberry sauce over turkey

Roll dough over mixture and tuck/pinch in ends and make a few slits on top with a knife

Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes til golden brown.

We like to heat up some leftover gravy and add it on top. YUMMY!

Egg Nog Bundt Cake

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I was looking for a new bundt cake recipe and I came across this one from http://www.foodlibrarian.blogspot.com  She did a great series of recipes for “I like big bundts.”

I love this recipe as the main ingredient is Egg Nog! Yummy! Such a perfect recipe for this time of year, as we always have egg nog in the house. It came out very moist with just a hint of egg nog. The family really enjoyed this one. :)

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup store-bought refrigerated (rather than canned) eggnog
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with Pam or butter and flour generously.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.

Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter with sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl. Slowly stream in the eggs, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Scrape sides of bowl.

On low speed, alternately add dry ingredients in three additions and eggnog in two additions. Don’t over mix. Add the vanilla beat until just blended together.

Spoon into bundt pan and smooth the top with a spoon or spatula.

Place pan in the oven. Bake until a skewer inserted comes out clean or with just a few crumbs, about 55-65 minutes.

Place bundt on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.

Cranberry Brie Appetizers

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I saw this recipe on one of my favorite sites yummymummykitchen.com. I decided to make my own cranberry relish , as I could not find any anywhere! This was such a great light snack before our dinner.

Ingredients:

Cranberry relish
1 block of Brie
Carr’s Water Crackers

Place brie on cracker, top with relish. So simple, yet so yummy!

Candied Sweet Potatoes

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My Star created this recipe “on the spot” for Thanksgiving. He loves candied yams and last year we made them from the can (yes the can), but this year we bought the box of sweet potatoes that were on sale for I think $2.99 and Joe just created this awesome side dish. I think this was the winner for the night! Everyone was raving about this dish, so sweet and delicious.

Ingredients:

1 box of sweet potatoes (about eight)
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 stick of cinnamon (broken in half)
Mini marshmallows (about half the bag)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Pierce sweet potatoes with fork and wrap in foil. Bake for approximately 35-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to handle. Peel potatoes by inserting knife and making a shallow slice.

Cut potatoes in chunks and place in 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Melt one stick of butter in saucepan add sugars, molasses, vanilla, all spice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Heat until almost boiling. Lower to med/low and simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour over sweet potatoes, add the remaining stick of butter (yes, more butter..but it’s soo good) cut into 8 slices and place on top.

Bake covered with foil for 30 – 35 minutes, basting as needed. If you want to add marshmallows, remove half of the syrup and top with mini marshmallows and bake for the remaining 10 minutes.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

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I bought asparagus for our Thanksgiving dinner and was thinking and googling what do with it and really didn’t find anything that spoke to me. :) I love making roasted asparagus and grilled asparagus during the summer when it is fresh and thought why not take bacon (which I had in the fridge) and wrap some asparagus and roast it? Hello awesomeness!

Ingredients:

Fresh Asparagus (I used two bundles)
Bacon (any flavor)
EVOO
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse asparagus and cut. The easiest way to do this is take one stalk and snap it in half. Use that stalk as a guide and line up with the remaining asparagus and chop. You can save the ends for soup, just freeze them for later.

Place the asparagus in large bowl or pan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. I decided to make bundles of 8 spears of asparagus, as we had 6 people for dinner. If I had more people over, I probably would have made bundles of 4. Take one strip of bacon and starting from the end wrap around til you get to the top.

Place on foil lined cookie pan with rack on top. I use one of our cookie cooling racks, which works out just perfect. Make sure you spray the rack with Pam so they don’t stick.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes until bacon is crispy or to your liking.

Cranberry Relish

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I needed Cranberry Relish to make these amazing brie appetizers. I searched and searched and could not find it anywhere. So I found this recipe and I tweaked it for my liking.

Ingredients:

1 bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries
2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar (start out slow and taste it, mine was tart so I needed to add this amount)
Zest of one orange

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and stir to mix. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until berries are tender and syrup has formed.