Cracker Candy

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This stuff is so good.  It’s addictive.  I got this recipe from my friend Tris, who brought it to a Christmas party at work.  It’s salty and sweet.  Put it in Christmas tins and it would make wonderful neighbor gifts.

Cracker Candy

1 tube of saltines (~ 40 crackers +)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (either salted or unsalted; do not use margarine)
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar (I prefer light)
1 bag chocolate chips (I like semi-sweet)
1/2 to 3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans (or toasted chopped almonds)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Line cookie sheet with foil & spray with non-stick cooking spray. Line crackers end to end on sheet, breaking crackers to fit the end if necessary. In a saucepan, melt butter on low heat. Once melted, add brown sugar and turn heat to medium. Continue stirring until boiling – then boil for 3 minutes (set timer). Pour over crackers, spread evenly working quickly. Put sheet into oven – bake for 5 minutes. Remove – pour chocolate chips over top – place a sheet of foil over and let melt for ~3 minutes. Spread melted chocolate over the top evenly. Add nuts to top – replace foil and refrigerate until set.
(can be frozen)

Avalanche Popcorn

christmas

This is SUCH a delicious Christmastime treat.  I got this recipe from my friend Tris, who brought it to our office Christmas party.

Avalanche Popcorn

  • 8 c. popcorn
  • 1 c. white chocolate for melting
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 c. mini marshmallows
  • 1 c. Rice Krispies
  • ½ c. semi-sweet chocolate

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, place the popped popcorn, removing any unpopped kernels
  2. Set aside.
  3. In a medium, microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate and peanut butter in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment until chocolate is smooth and melted.
  4. Pour the white chocolate-peanut butter mixture over the top of popcorn, but do not stir yet. Add Rice Krispy cereal and mini marshmallows and gently toss or stir to coat.
  5. Pour the popcorn mixture on a large piece of parchment paper and gently spread to a single layer.
  6. Place the milk chocolate melting candy ion the microwave and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment until smooth and melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the top of popcorn.
  7. Allow to cool until chocolate has hardened. Break into pieces before packaging or transferring to a bowl to serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

 

The Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

 

These are hands down the BEST gingerbread cookies I have ever had.

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They were thick and soft and they were delicious. Emilie made them last night and we decorated them with homemade icing and red hots and jelly beans.  Recipe source: http://theparsimoniousprincess.blogspot.com/search?q=gingerbread+cookies

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ground ginger
5 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated.

Add molasses.  Mix.

In a separate bowl, combine the soda, salt, spices, and flour.  Add to the wet mixture. Mix until smooth.

Before you roll out the dough, you need to let the dough chill for a couple hours.  Flatten the dough on a piece of plastic wrap, then wrap it up, and put it the fridge. This makes rolling out the chilled dough a little easier because it’s ready to go.

Once your dough has chilled, roll it out onto a floured countertop until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into desired shapes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

On a lined or greased baking sheet, bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until just golden brown.  Let the cookies cool on wire racks before you decorate.

We used homemade icing that we put in a large plastic bag with a hole cut at the edge to squeeze the icing from before adding the candy.

BLACKENED FISH TACOS WITH AVOCADO-CILANTRO SAUCE

We all loved these fish tacos that Emilie made the other night.  Here is the recipe she used:

BLACKENED FISH TACOS WITH AVOCADO-CILANTRO SAUCE
Serves: 6
INGREDIENTS
For the Blackened Fish:
  • 1.5 lbs tilapia fillets
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
For the Slaw:
  • ½ red cabbage, sliced thin
  • ¼ green cabbage, sliced thin
  • ½ medium-sized onion, diced
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
For the Avocado-Cilantro Sauce:
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and skinned
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped and seeded
  • Salt, to taste
DIRECTIONS
  1. In a small bowl, combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, onion powder, cumin, salt, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the mixture over both sides of your Tilapia fillets, and then rub the seasonings in.
  2. Combine all of the Avocado-Cilantro Sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse until well-combined.
  3. Combine all of the Slaw ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the Tilapia (a few at a time if you can’t fit them all at once). Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the outside is blackened and the fish flakes apart easily.
  5. Remove the fish from the heat, and if desired, warm the corn tortillas in the same skillet over medium heat, cooking for about 30 seconds on each side.
  6. Break up the tilapia into 2-3″ pieces. Stack the tortillas in twos. Distribute the fish evenly between the 6 sets of tortillas, and top with Slaw and Avocado-Cilantro Sauce. Serve.
NOTES
Blackening spices are very fragrant, so turn on your overhead fan while you cook the fish.

 

Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

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Recipe and photo source: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/chicken/balsamic-chicken-and-vegetables/

Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together salad dressing, balsamic vinegar, honey, and crushed red pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink, turning once. Add half of the dressing mixture to skillet; turn chicken to coat. Transfer chicken to a serving platter; cover and keep warm.
  3. Add asparagus and carrot to skillet. Cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender; transfer to serving platter.
  4. Stir remaining dressing mixture; add to skillet. Cook and stir for 1 minute, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Drizzle the dressing mixture over chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle with tomato. Makes 4 servings.

Simple Ham and Cheese Quiche

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Simple Ham and Cheese Quiche

Ingredients:

1 pre-made pie shell
6 eggs
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 cup diced ham
¼ cup diced onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Directions:

Spray saucepan with cooking spray and then sauté onions and ham together for about five minutes.

Pour sauted ham and onions and shredded cheese into pre-made pie shell.

Beat the eggs with heavy cream.  When blended, pour it over the ham and onions and cheese mixture.

Bake 35-45 mins until set.  Let stand for ten minutes before cutting/serving in wedges.  Serve with a tossed green salad and crusty French bread.

Bacon Pea Salad

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound of bacon, cooked according to package instructions, drained and crumbled or finely chopped
  • 2 pounds frozen peas, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled, and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Instructions

  1. Stir together all of the ingredients then place in tightly covered container in the refrigerator for an hour to combine flavors.  Gently stir from top to bottom before serving.  Stays good in fridge for up to 3 days.

Make-Ahead Gravy

This make-ahead gravy recipe might take some of the stress out of getting everything hot and ready to serve at the same time; or it can supplement your gravy if your turkey didn’t have much in the way of drippings.

From Women’s Day Magazine 11/1999.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 turkey wings
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 c. water
  • 8 c. chicken broth
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ½ tsp. Freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Put wings in a single layer in roasting pan; scatter onions on top. Roast 1 1/4 hours or until wings are browned.
  2. Put wings and onions in 3-qt saucepan. Add water to roasting pan; stir to scrape up any brown bits on bottom. Add to saucepan. Add 6 cups broth (refrigerate remaining 2 cups), the carrot and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove wings. When cool, pull off skin and meat. Discard skin; save meat for another use. Strain broth into saucepan; skim fat off broth.
  4. Whisk flour into remaining 2 cups broth until mixture is well blended and smooth.
  5. Bring broth in saucepan to a gentle boil. Whisk in flour mixture; boil 5 minutes to thicken gravy. Stir in butter and pepper.
  6. Freeze gravy up to 1 month. Reheat. You can add fat-skimmed drippings from a freshly roasted turkey.

 

Six-Layer-Slow-Cooker Dinner

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Recipe source: http://slowcooker.cooktopcove.com/

Here’s a simple recipe to put together for a delicious dinner.  You probably have all the ingredients on hand as well.

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
1 cup sliced white onion
1 cup sliced celery
2 cups peeled and sliced carrots
2 cups sliced russet potatoes
1 (10.75-oz.) can cream of celery soup (do not add water)

 

Directions
1. In a skillet, cook the ground beef until brown.
2. Mix in salt, pepper, and onion into the meat.
3. Layer the ingredients one by one into your slow cooker –start with the ground beef and end with the cream of celery on top of the potatoes.
4. Let the slow cooker do the rest of the work — Put it on LOW for 5 hours while fully covered.