Cranberry Gems

My grandmother loved to bake and always used “real butter”.  Knowing that I loved the taste of “real butter” and it was something we only had on holidays at our house, at her house she would sneak me a small pat near the fridge and we giggled as we let it melt in our mouth.  One of the things she was famous for was her Gems, in this recipe I put my twist on it using a cranberry filling and a streusel topping.  If you find yourself with leftover cranberry relish around the holidays, you can use it up here.  I hope you give them a try!

 

Crust

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups flour

Place all crust ingredients into a bowl and combine using a pastry blender, or a fork.  Press the ingredients together until combined and you can form a ball.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until chilled.

Filling

12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp. orange zest

1 cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients into a sauté pan and cook until thickened.  Use the back of a spoon to smash the cranberries.  Cook for about 25-30 minutes.  Remove cinnamon stick and set aside until ready.

Streusel Topping

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup quick rolled oats

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients and press together using a pastry blender or fork.  Do not over mix, it should be crumbly.

Vanilla Glaze

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 Tbsp. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix the glaze ingredients in a mug until smooth, you can adjust the thickness by adding more milk to thin it or more sugar to thicken it to your liking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them in the cups of a mini muffin tin.  Press the dough out in the tin to create a pie crust in each tin.  Fill the crusts with the filling and top with the streusel.  Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is golden.  Cool and then drizzle with the glaze.  Yield – 48 gems.

Mexican Gumbo

Our youngest son loves the Mexican Gumbo at Qdoba.  He asked if I could try and recreate the recipe.  I used a rotisserie chicken and it comes together quickly.  Our boys are not a fan of beans…yet, but if I were making this for adults, I would add a can of black beans.  I hope you like it as much as we do.

Mexican Gumbo

mexican gumbo

Ingredients

1 large onion, chopped

2 cups carrots, quartered and sliced

15 oz. can of tomato sauce

10 oz. can of diced tomatoes and green chilies (such as Rotel)

3 cups Spicy V-8 (or store brand)

1 quart chicken stock

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. oregano

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1# smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut in half and sliced

8 oz. frozen corn kernels (1/2 bag)

1 can black beans, drained (optional)

1 cooked rotisserie chicken, skinned, removed from the bone and chopped or shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Steamed white rice

Method

Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a stock pot (about 8 qts.) and saute onion and carrots until onion is soft.  Add chicken stock, V-8, tomato sauce, tomatoes and chilies, Worcestershire sauce and spices.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until carrots are almost tender.

Add sliced kielbasa and frozen corn (add beans if using) and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the chicken and stir to heat.  Adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in a bowl over hot white rice.  Enjoy!

Whenever I am making anything with chicken, Yoshi is ready to help! #chickenlove

Begging Yoshi

Baked Corn Pudding

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This is a favorite at our house at Thanksgiving, but don’t forget about it at anytime of the year.

Ingredients

1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix

2 eggs

1/2 stick of butter, softened

8 oz. sour cream

1 – 15 oz. can cream style corn

1 – 15 oz. can whole kernel corn, do not drain

Method

Blend the butter and sour cream together, add in the eggs and then muffin mix.  Stir in the 2 cans of corn.  Turn into a greased 2 qt. casserole dish and bake at 350º for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and set.

You can substitute the whole kernel corn for Mexican style corn, or add a can of diced green chiles with the regular corn.

Saucy Chicken Thighs and Orzo

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Ingredients

3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs

3 Tbsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 shallot, chopped fine

1 cup red wine

1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)

5 sprigs of thyme

1 qt. chicken stock

1 Tbsp. fresh oregano

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo

salt and pepper

Method

Heat a large stock pot (8 qt) on medium-high and add the olive oil.  Salt and pepper the chicken thighs and place them in the pan to brown without crowding.  You may have to do this in two steps.  Once browned on both sides remove them from the pan and set aside.   Add the shallot and garlic to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until they begin to soften.  Turn the heat up to high and add the wine.  Stir to remove the brown bits from the pan.  Cook until the wine is reduced by half.  Return the chicken to the pan, add the tomatoes, thyme sprigs, chicken stock, oregano, tomato paste and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes add the orzo to the pan and stir frequently for about 10 minutes until the orzo is done.  Remove the thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

 

7-UP Pound Cake

Some of the best recipes come from those old church cookbooks.  You know the ones, where the ladies at church submit their best and most coveted recipes and they sell the books as a fundraiser.  I’ve purchased a few at church sales, have even been asked to submit recipes, but many of the church cookbooks I have came from garage sales.   Many of my go-to recipes come from the pages of these books.  The grease and splatter stains can act as proof.  I started highlighting the recipe name after I make it and then mark notes if we liked it or not.  Here’s one that is old-school.  You’ve probably had it at least once in your life.  I just LOVE pound cake and a while back I was remembering the old favorite 7-up pound cake.  I had never made one so went on a search to find a recipe.  As luck would have it, I didn’t have to look far it was on page 204 of the Taste & See that the Lord is good – St. Paul’s Family Ministry Cookbook.  Submitted by Delores DeGroodt.  Here is how it’s written:

1 1/2 cups oleo (for you youngin’s that means butter or margarine, I used unsalted butter)

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 cups flour

2 tsp. lemon extract

3/4 cup 7-Up soda

 

Cream oleo and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well.  Add flour, extract and 7-Up.  Bake in well-greased and floured bundt pant at 325° for 1 1/4 hours.  Cool.  Dust with powdered sugar.

As you can see, I didn’t dust mine with powdered sugar.  I made a simple glaze of powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Measure 2 cups confectioners sugar in a bowl, add 3-4 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice.  Stir.  Add more of either ingredient to change the consistency to your liking.

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Enjoy!

Vietnamese Style Black Pepper and Garlic Beef over Egg Noodles

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This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking Issue 111.

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. light brown sugar

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

5 cloves of garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Kosher salt and freshly group black pepper

1 1/2 lbs. flank steak or sirloin steak sliced thin against that grain (1/8″ thick)

1 medium yellow onion cut in half, then cut in 1/4″ thick wedges

4 scallions (green and white parts), sliced 1/2″ thick

1 lb. of egg noodle pasta, (longer noodles like tagliatelle, I use Cetina brand)

Fill large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, salt the water and add the pasta.  Cook until al dente.  Drain the pasta and set aside until the last step in the recipe. While waiting for the water to boil:

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and fish sauce, stir until the sugar dissolves.  In another small bowl stir the garlic, 1 1/2 tsp. of the oil and 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

Season the beef with salt and pepper.  In a large non-stick skillet or wok, heat 1 1/2 tsp. of the oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Swirl to coat the skillet.  Add half the beef in a single layer and cook until well browned, 1 to 2 minutes.  Using tongs, turn the pieces over and brown the other side.  Transfer to a bowl.  Add the 1 1/2 tsp. oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining beef, adding it to the bowl with the first batch when done.

Put the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. oil in the skillet and heat until hot.  Add the yellow onion and cook, stirring frequently until it begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and pepper mixture and cook stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pan and stir to combine.  Add the soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring constantly until the beef and onions are coated.  Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.  Stir in the chopped scallions.  Serve and enjoy!

Vanilla Spritz Sandwiches

Vanilla Spritz Sandwiches

Vanilla Spritz Sandwiches

My friend Jen gave me an AWESOME cookbook for my birthday last year.  It’s called The Art of the Cookie by Shelly Kaldunski.

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I thought it only fitting that on her birthday I would try out one of the recipes in the book and surprise her with the results.  So I set out to make the Vanilla Spritz Sandwiches on page 96.  They were so pretty that you would think they were hard to make, but they aren’t.  In fact I inspired Jen to make them too!  I’m looking forward to trying a few of the others too, like the Neopolitans, Lemon Window Panes and the Dried Cherry Shortbread.  Check out this book, it’s a good one to have on the shelf!

These make a great gift!

Surprise someone with a delicious gift!