Archive for December, 2009

Cranberry Sauce

December 26, 2009

I made cranberry sauce for the fist time, and it was awesome.  I usually don’t eat it from the can, so this was a real treat!


  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup 100 percent cranberry juice, not cocktail (I bought the wrong kind – cocktail – and it was fine)
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, approximately 4 cups
  • Instructions:

    Wash the cranberries and discard any soft or wrinkled ones.

    Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice and honey in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

    Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3 cup mold. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

    Remove from the refrigerator, overturn the mold and slide out the sauce. Slice and serve.



    Homemade Eggnog

    December 24, 2009

    Found this recipe on the internet and modified a little to what I had on hand. Will update tomorrow when I know how good (or not) it is!

    UPDATE: this is amazing. It’s perfect how I made it because with regular eggnog I feel like it’s so thick you can’t even swallow it, but with this balance of milk and cream it was just right!


  • 4 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 5 whole cloves (I used 2 or so teaspoons of allspice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups light rum (I used only 1 and 2/3 cups dark rum)
  • 4 cups light cream (I used 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 2 cups 1% milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Instructions:

    Combine milk, cloves/allspice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil. I had a hard time doing this, so I brought it to almost boiling and combined it earlier because I was afraid of curdling!

    In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. So here’s where I made sure the eggs were cooked and no one would get salmonella. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil and make sure that it gets to 165 degrees. My mixture got a little foamy on the top (shown in the last picture) but it went down in the fridge so I wasn’t too worried.

    Strain to remove cloves if you used them, and let cool for about an hour.

    Stir in rum, cream (and milk if using the combo), 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.


    Banana Pancakes with Syrup

    December 24, 2009

    Tried this for Christmas Eve brunch.  Ah, who doesn’t love brunch? 

    The pancakes I made were a little doughy, so if you have any suggestions on how to lighten them up I’ll definitely make this again!


    • 3 large bananas, peeled, divided
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, divided
    • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    • 2 cups self-rising flour (I used all-purpose)
    • 2 cups buttermilk (I used 1% milk)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 t vanilla (I added this)
    • 1/2 t all spice (I added this)
    • Additional melted butter


    Cut 2 bananas into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Combine 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in heavy large skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract and sliced bananas. Remove syrup from heat.

    Whisk flour and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl. Mash remaining banana in medium bowl, then whisk in buttermilk and eggs. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients (some lumps will remain). Mix in remaining 1/4 cup melted butter.

    Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat griddle over medium heat; brush with additional melted butter. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle. Cook pancakes until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm.

    Serve pancakes with caramel-banana syrup.


    Goat Cheese, Chicken and Rosemary Ravioli

    December 20, 2009

    O-M-G. This is good stuff. I looked around for what I had on hand to make ‘something’ ravioli with my freshly bought semolina flour, and this turned out to be great! Now I just have to make a sauce to accompany it….it’s waiting in the freezer now.


    Leftover chicken (breast, thighs, whatever you have on hand would work). I used the meat from 3 chicken legs

    Goat cheese (I had about 3 oz left from a dinner party)

    1 sprig rosemary, chopped

    2 cloves garlic, grated

    1 lemon, zested



    Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until blended. refrigerate until you’re pasta is ready to go.

    Once you’ve rolled out your pasta, place the 1/2″ balls onto the pasta sheet, and brush a little water (little!) where the pasta will fold over on the sides of each ball. Cover with the other pasta and try and squeeze all the air out of there without killing your pasta. Let them sit for about an hour.

    If you’re going to freeze it for later, stick it in there for a few minutes on a plate or paper towel or baking sheet, whatever to let it get a little hard. After a few minutes, transfer to a ziplock, remove all the air you can, and put it back in the freezer.

    If you’re ready to eat now, cook in lightly salted boiling water for about 5 minutes fresh, or 7-8 minutes when frozen. Don’t defrost them, just put those babies right into the hot tub.

    UPDATE: THIS IS AMAZING. Sauce chosen: Butter, grated garlic, S+P, flour, milk, lemon zest and lemon juice. Perfect compliment.

    2011 update: roast the chicken if you’re making it specifically for this with Rosemary. Also, I tried these ingredients.

    3 chicken breasts, 1 lemon zested, S+P, 2 sprigs Rosemary, 15 oz fresh ricotta, 4 garlic cloves minced.

    Mango Salsa

    December 20, 2009

    My coworker Amy is an amazing cook. I stole this recipe from her one day after she won a salsa cook off at work. A great idea by me.


    2 ripe mangoes

    A small white onion

    1 or 2 jalapenos

    A bunch of cilantro

    1/2 lime

    some salt


    Mince the onion and the jalapeno. Keep them each on a plate or something until you see what happens to the mangoes – who knows how much you’re going to get out of them.

    1. Chop the cilantro and leave that on a different plate.
    2. Get the fruit out of the mangoes and chop it small enough to fit on a chip. Put that in a bowl.
    3. Sprinkle on a little salt. Not too much. Maybe a dash or a quarter teaspoon tops.
    4. Juice the lime and put that in too.
    5. Mix in onion, jalapeno, and cilantro until the salsa looks like my bowl did. Eh, or maybe put it all in. It’s up to you.
    6. The End!

    Amy’s Blog:


    Spaghetti Pie

    December 20, 2009

    Always a favorite for the kids!  (I remember this from when I was the kid.)


    6 oz spaghetti, cooked and drained

    2 T evoo

    2 large eggs, well beaten

    3/4 c parm, divided

    1 c ricotta cheese

    1/2 c mozzarella cheese

    1 c spaghetti sauce


    Grease 10″ pie pan and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350.

    Toss hot spaghetti w/ olive oil and combine with eggs and 1/2 cup parm.  Stir in spaghetti and pour on pie plate.  Form into a ‘crust’. 

    Spread ricotta over the bottom on the spaghetti crust.  Top with spaghetti sauce and bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

    Top with shredded mozzarella.  Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  Sprinkle with the rest of the parm and let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

    Better Than Sex Cake

    December 20, 2009

    It’s a close call.  I’ll just say that.


    1 pkg german chocolate cake mix

    1 can sweetened condensed milk

    1 jar Mrs. Richardson’s butterscotch or caramel topping

    cool whip

    3 heath bars (or skor bars)


    Make cake according to directions on package. While still warm, poke holes in the top of the cake (do NOT touch the bottom) with a wooden spoon.  Let it cool a bit.

    Pour sweetened condensed milk into holes.  Pour butterscotch topping on top (save a little for topping).  Let stand a few minutes.  Spread top with cool whip.  Crush candy bars and sprinkle over top of cake and drizzle the rest of the butterscotch topping.

    Lemon Bars

    December 20, 2009

    Another recipe from my ma.  What a great lady!


    1 c flour

    1/2 c butter

    1/4 c powdered sugar

    2 eggs

    1 c sugar

    1/2 t baking powder

    2.5 T lemon juice

    dash of salt

    Instructions: Sift the flour and powdered sugar.  Blend in butter with fingers until well mixed and pat it into the bottom of an 8×8″ baking pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

    Pour the other mixture over the baked crust and return to oven for 20-25 minutes. 

    Cool on rack and cut into squares, and sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar.

    Cheese Ball

    December 20, 2009

    My mom’s recipe.


    8 oz cream cheese

    2 cups shredded cheddar

    1/8 cup onion

    1/4 t garlic powder

    1/4 t worstechire

     1/4 t season all

    3/4 c walnuts, chopped

    Instructions: mix all ingredients together except for the walnuts.  Roll the ball in the walnuts and serve with crackers.

    Mom’s Split Pea Soup

    December 20, 2009

    If you think you don’t like split pea soup, you need to try this. Leftover Christmas ham bones welcome!


    1 package of dry split peas

    1 c celery (I leave this out because I don’t like the taste of celery)

    1 c carrots

    1.5 c onions

    1 t salt

    1/2 t pepper

    1/4 t marjoram crushed

    ham bone

    Instructions: rinse peas, combine with 2 quarts of water, and put in ham bone and everything except for the carrots and celery.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.  Remove bone and cut off meat and dice and add it back to the soup.  Add the celery and carrots and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes.