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Category Archives: Christmas

Slow Cooker (Crockpot) Swedish Meatballs

What to do without Costco? I have had a bag of turkey meatballs in the freezer for awhile. The truth is we didn’t really like them! Not to waste I found this slow cooker recipe for Swedish meatballs and I got the chance to use them all up, never to buy again. If you have been following for sometime you will know that I had previously made meatballs for use with pasta. This recipe called for frozen ones. Et voila! Actually they tasted awesome…great for a buffet table.

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Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup, low sodium*
1 can beef broth, low sodium*
1 packet dry onion soup mix
2 tbsp. A1 steak sauce
1 (2 lb.) bag frozen meatballs
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream (1 cup)
1 (16 oz.) package egg noodles

sliced mushrooms (optional)

Directions:
In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, mix undiluted soup with beef broth, onion soup mix and steak sauce. Stir well.

Then add in frozen meatballs.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-5 hours. (My slow cooker is always faster than the recipe calls for, in this case they were done in about 4 1/2 hours.

After meatball mixture is almost cooked, add in the sliced mushrooms and stir in sour cream.

At this time, put a pot of water on the oven to boil for your egg noodles (make according to package directions.) Drain noodles well when done.

Mix noodles and meatballs together. Or serve meatballs on top of noodles.

Note: Low sodium is my personal preference for this to keep it from being too salty. If I’m serving for a crowd, I will mix together noodles and meatballs and keep my crock pot on the ‘warm’ or ‘buffet’ setting. But when it’s just my family, everyone can serve themselves and grab as many meatballs, noodles and sauce as they like.

http://www.thecountrycook.net

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Its Christmas Cookie Time!

Yeppers, my elf has been baking away for several days, so I am going to share THREE of the recipes we actually liked, which he found on Pinterest.

If you are fond of banana bread, you will like these…

Banana Bread Cookies

Prep Time: 35 minutes Cook Time: 13 minutes Total Time: 48 minutes Yield: 24

Ingredients

Wet Mix:

  • 3/4 Cup softened butter
  • 1 packed cup of brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed

Dry Mix:

  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 1/3 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, dried cranberries etc. (you choose what you prefer)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, add the wet ingredients and combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, add all the dry ingredients and combine
  3. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet mixture and combine. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F, Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease / spray with non stick oil
  5. Use a tablespoon and drop the mixture on the baking sheet in spoonfuls.
  6. Bake for about 13 – 15 minutes. Allow to cool on cooling rack.

NOTE: These are quite a soft cookie, and a little crisp on the outside. If you want a crispier cookie, leave in the oven for a couple of minutes longer. However, they will harden slightly as they cool, so if you are not sure, remove one after the stated time and see if it is to your liking.

And from Martha Stewart…ta dah…my favourite ones …

Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Yield: about 3-dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet or line with a silpat baking liner.

Place butter, powdered sugar, almond extract and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl if using a handheld mixer.

Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Turn mixer speed to low, and gradually add flour and orange zest. Mix until a dough forms.

Stir in almonds and cranberries with a spatula.

Pat dough into a ball, and then form into a log shape, about 2-inches in diameter.

Wrap the log in plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, at least an hour.

Remove the dough from the freezer and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Place on cookie sheet, at least 1-inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden. Check them after 10 minutes as ovens can vary!

Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.

Notes

Adapted from Martha Stewart. Dough can be kept frozen for up to 3 months. If frozen solid, let the dough thaw slightly before slicing.

Last but not least…these yummy raspberry lemon ones…

Raspberry Lemon Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies  15 min    Prep Time -15 min   Cook Time  – 30 min

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 large egg

1/2 lemon, zest and juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup frozen raspberries, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, egg, lemon zest and juice and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour and mix until combined. Add in the raspberries and mix briefly to incorporate them.
  3. Drop the dough by tablespoonful (a cookie scoop works best here, the dough is extremely sticky, but two spoons works too, the cookies will just be less uniform) onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until they are just starting to brown on the edges and are no longer shiny at all. Put the second half of the cookie dough in the fridge while the first sheet is baking, it will get even softer as the raspberries thaw.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

This cookie dough is extremely sticky, and is best if the raspberries stay frozen, so leave them in the freezer until you’re ready to add them to the dough. If you find it is getting too sticky to scoop, chill it for 30 minutes and then bake. Don’t try to form it into balls by hand though, it works best as a drop cookie, scooping it onto the baking sheet by the tablespoonful and baking immediately. When baking, they are done when they are no longer shiny at all on top. If they are still shiny, they will be underbaked around the raspberries.

Source: Adapted from Lauren’s Latest via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe .

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

From the folks at Food Network…a little something different for Christmas dinner or use it as a topping for cream cheese appetizer.

Cranberry Chutney

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 cups frozen cranberries
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar

Directions

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, apples, and thyme; sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the raisins, cranberries, lemon zest and juice, orange juice, and sugar. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Recipe courtesy of The Neelys
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Good Eats Roasted Turkey

Up until last year I always brined my turkey according to a recipe from Emeril Lagasse. (its here on the blog). Last year I wanted a different brine recipe and on Food Network, I found Alton Browns Good Eats Turkey Recipe. Lo and behold I liked it better! Sorry Emeril!

So here it is…you can choose Emerill or Alton…

Good Eats Roast Turkey Alton Brown The Food Network

Ingredients

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

Directions

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Actually you can find special brining bags in most supermarkets these days, made by Reynolds. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting or less…use a timer. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, also featured in Food Network Magazine

French Florentine Cookies

These crunchy chocolate coated cookies are popular in France at Christmas. They were also great when our friend Kathy made them while we were visiting in December.

1 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
3/4 cup candied orange peel* (see note below)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 T butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate chips of your choice

Combine almonds, peel and flour. Set aside.
In heavy saucepan combine butter, cream and sugar. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in floured fruit.
Grease and flour 2 baking sheets. Drop batter by spoonfuls (1 T) at least 3 inches apart,
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool slightly and then remove to cooling rack.

Spread or brush with melted chocolate on the underside of each cookie.
Makes about 24 cookies.

* Since peel isn’t always available, you might want to check the Internet for an easy homemade recipe.

Turkey Divan

With US Thanksgiving fast approaching, as well as Christmas (44 days), thoughts turn to turkey. I have previously posted a great recipe for preparing turkey which originated with Emerill Lagasse — check out Funky Brined Turkey elsewhere on the blog. Its awesome and I have used it for many years. AFTER US Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will undoubtedly be some leftover turkey. You could make pot pies, but who wants to fiddle with a crust? Turkey Divan is the perfect answer for leftovers!! The following recipe was adapted from Anna Olsen, Food Network Canada.

FYI, if you don’t have leftover turkey, just head down to the deli and get a precooked roasted turkey breast and either bring it home to slice or have the butcher cut thick pieces. Don’t use turkey lunch-meat!!! You could also substitute chicken… enuf said…hope you enjoy this one.

Turkey Divan by Anna Olsen Food Network Canada
Ingredients (my changes in red as always)

3 cup fresh broccoli, cut into florets (and peeled stem pieces)
4 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, diced into ½-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, diced into ½-inch pieces
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp chopped fresh savory (I could not find any here)
1 tsp each thyme and oregano
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 cup chicken stock
½ cup half-and-half cream
½ cup dry white wine
2 cup Jarlsberg cheese or Manchego if in Mexico
salt & pepper
1 lb. cooked turkey breast meat (not luncheon meat), sliced
2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Directions
1. Blanch broccoli in boiling salted water (or steam) until just tender, then shock in ice water to halt cooking. Drain broccoli and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
3. In a large sauté pan with sides melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until almost translucent, about 4 minutes.
4. Add diced pepper and sauté 3 minutes more. Sift flour over vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, until a faintly nutty aroma is emitted, but flour does not brown.
5. Stir in mustard, savory and zest. Stir in chicken stock, ½ cup at a time, blending well after each addition (this will prevent lumps). Bring liquid up to a simmer, then stir in cream.
6. Return to a simmer and stir in wine. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 ½ cups Jarlsberg or Manchego cheese until melted. Season to taste.
7. Stir in broccoli and turkey, adjust seasoning if necessary, stir in parsley and pour into an 8-cup casserole dish.

This can be prepared to here and refrigerated until before dinner when you can apply the topping before baking. I usually put the refrigerated dish on the counter to warm it up a little before baking.
8. Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup cheese mixed with breadcrumbs and olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, until sauce is bubbling along the sides.
9. Serve over cooked rice or buttered noodles.
10. Alternatively, the half-and-half cream can be replaced by ½ cup mascarpone cheese, for a more decadent version.

Serve it with a great Jasmine rice!

 

Pork Chops with Cranberry, Port, and Rosemary Sauce

We normally have a bottle of Tawny Port Wine in the house, as it can be used for many things aside from the obvious. I thought you might like to know a little about this wine…

Tawny ports are wines, made from red grapes, that are aged in wooden barrels, exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. As a result, they gradually mellow to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine, which is blended to match the house style.

Tawny ports are sweet or medium dry and typically consumed as a dessert wine.

When a port is described as tawny, without an indication of age, it is a basic blend of wood aged port that has spent at least two years in barrels. Above this are tawny with an indication of age which represent a blend of several vintages, with the nominal years “in wood” stated on the label. The official categories are 10, 20, 30 and over 40 years. The categories indicate a target age profile for the ports, not their actual ages, though many people mistakenly believe that the categories indicate the minimum average ages of the blends. It is also possible to produce an aged white port in the manner of a tawny, with a number of shippers now marketing aged white ports.

Pork Chops with Cranberry, Port, and Rosemary Sauce
There’s always leftover cranberry sauce after the holidays; this easy pork chop recipe makes delicious use of it. However, you can always pick up a can of cranberry sauce at the store to enjoy this year round.
4 servings
Recipe by Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
November 2005

Ingredients
• 4 1-inch-thick pork rib chops
• 2 3/4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided
• 2 tablespoons (1/4) stick butter
• 3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
• 3/4 cup tawny Port
• 1 cup leftover cranberry sauce
Preparation
Sprinkle pork chops with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat until beginning to brown. Add pork chops and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to platter; cover to keep warm. Add broth, Port, and remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons rosemary to same skillet and boil until liquid is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Add cranberry sauce; bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 7 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over pork chops and serve.

 

 

Hasty Christmas Pudding (LCBO Food and Drink)

I know it is too late for Christmas 2013, but while the taste is still fresh in my mind I wanted to share this with you all. I looked up the origin of ‘hasty pudding’ and the original dates back to 1599!  Some may recall The Hasty Pudding Club at Harvard University…

In 1795, a society called the Hasty Pudding club was organized by twenty-one Harvard College students. The club’s purpose was to encourage “friendship and patriotism.” Its constitution stipulated that every Saturday, two “providers” were to carry a pot of hasty pudding to the meeting. For the majority of the 19th century, prospective members were forced to ingest large quantities of hasty pudding. According to Harvard University historians, the club was founded by students who sought relief from the food the college provided by cooking their own hasty puddings in fireplace pots. With this ritual, the Hasty Pudding Club found it namesake. Today it is the nations oldest theater company, which annually puts on a spectacular spring production starring men in drag.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasty_Pudding_Theatricals

Trust me, I was as surprised as you were to learn about the men in drag…lol. Here is the recipe. Happy New Year!

HASTY CHRISTMAS PUDDING LCBO – Serves 8 to 12


1 cup (250 mL) raisins
1 cup (250 mL) sultanas
1/2 cup (125 mL) currants (can be omitted)
1 cup (250 mL) dried cranberries
1 cup (250 mL) candied orange
or mixed peel
1 cup (250 mL) ground hazelnuts
6 tart apples, peeled and chopped
11/4 cups (300 mL) brown sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cloves
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
1 tsp (5 mL) ground nutmeg
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) all purpose flour
3 cups (750 mL) fresh bread crumbs
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
11/2 cups (375 mL) brandy
6 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup (375 mL) butter, softened, cut up into small pieces

1 In a large bowl, combine the raisins, sultanas, currants, cranberries, orange peel, hazelnuts, apples, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and flour. Toss well.

2 Stir in bread crumbs, rind, juice and 1/2 cup (125 mL) brandy. Combine everything well.

3 Cover and leave in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for 4 days, stirring in 1/4 cup (50 mL) brandy each day.

4 On the fifth day, beat the eggs and stir into the fruit. Mix in butter.

5 Line a 10 cup (2.5L) heatproof bowl or individual heatproof moulds with greased foil. Pour in the pudding. Cover with more foil or tie a cloth over the bowl.

6 Place the bowl on a trivet in a large pot. Add water to the pot, but don’t allow the water to touch the bowl. Bring the water to a boil, cover and steam for 3 hours, making sure the water stays boiling. Check the water level occasionally and add more boiling water if necessary.

7 Remove the pudding from the steamer (reheat when needed by re-steaming for 1 hour).

8 Turn out onto a platter, top with Orange Hard Sauce (recipe follows) and garnish with red currants and orange rind, if desired.

Brandy Caramel Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp (18 mL) cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) water
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) brandy or orange juice
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butterTop of FormBottom of Form

Preparation

Brandy Caramel Sauce: In small saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch and salt ; whisk in water. Bring to boil, stirring, over medium heat and boil until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add brandy and butter; reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute. (Make-ahead: Let cool. Store in airtight container for up to 5 days. Rewarm to serve.)

Jill’s Cheese Ball

This recipe was always a staple at Christmas or New Year’s. Unfortunately, the McLaren’s Imperial Cheese is found in Canada, but not in the US or Mexico. You can substitute it with another type of processed cheddar spread, like Alouette in Mexico. You can also use a blue cheese spread if you do not have real blue cheese available.

Jill’s Cheese Ball

8 ounces softened Philadelphia cream cheese

8 ounces McLaren’s Imperial Cheese (or another brand)

4 ounces blue cheese

2 Tablespoons grated onions and juice

chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients together and whip with an electric mixer. Roll into a ball or a log and wrap in waxed paper. Chill for 2 to 4 hours in refrigerator. When chilled, roll in chopped pecans. Refrigerate until ready to be served. Allow to warm up briefly.

Serve with your favourite crackers.

Christmas Morning Wife Saver

When our kids were small, we used to make this recipe from the Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/ cookbook. It was easy to prepare the night before and then just put in the oven while opening presents. Not sure saying wife saver is politically correct these days, but here it is –

Christmas Morning Wife Saver

prep time: 20 minutes Total time: 1 hour and 20 minutes Serves 8

 Ingredients

  • 16 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • slices of Canadian back bacon or ham
  • slices of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2-1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 1-2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups milk
  • dash Tabasco
  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • special “K” or crushed cornflakes

Directions

Put 8 pieces of bread in a 9×13 buttered glass baking dish. Add pieces to cover dish entirely. Cover bread with thinly sliced Canadian style bacon. Top with slices of cheddar cheese. Cover with slices of bread. In a bowl, beat eggs and pepper. Add mustard, onion, green pepper, Worcestershire, milk and Tabasco. Pour over bread, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, melt butter and pour over top. Cover with crushed special “K” or cornflakes. Bake at 350 F uncovered, 1 hour. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.