Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas Spritz Cookies

I decided to bake these cookies today and realized the recipe isn't on this blog, it was over on the other one, but now it's here as well! While Wayne chooses Snowball Cookies as his quintessential Christmas cookie, this one is mine. What's yours?

Basic Spritz Cookies

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and shortening together. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until light, about 5 minutes. Mix in the egg and vanilla (and food coloring if desired). Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add to other mixture in three batches. Dough will be stiff. Fill cookie press and form the cookies. Bake for 9 -10 minutes at 375 degrees, being careful not to over bake. Makes about 4 dozen trees.

I'm not sure how old this "super shooter" is, but it still works great and we're glad that it does!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Cranberry-Orange Bread

Cranberry-Orange Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup oats (regular or quick)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup orange juice
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated orange peel (or 1 teaspoon dried orange peel)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour three mini loaf pans. Combine first six ingredients, mixing well; set aside. Beat orange juice, eggs, oil and orange peel until mixed thoroughly. Add to dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely before slicing.

Note #1: This could also make a single 9x5" loaf; bake for 60 minutes.
Note #2: I like sprinkling the top with sparkly sugar when I'm giving the bread away as a gift.
Note #3: I rarely have orange juice in the refrigerator. Instead, I combine 3-4 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate with enough water to equal 3/4 cup.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Light and Airy Chocolate Mousse

Even though we're now in the Christmas season, with the over-eating we did for Thanksgiving, it's time to once again watch our calorie intake. That meant I needed to find a low calorie dessert for Sunday dinner. Don't forget it needed to be dairy-free as well! However, this recipe provided some inspiration, and the result was pronounced very delicious.

Light and Airy Chocolate Mousse

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon meringue powder
3 tablespoons water
1 envelope Dream Whip (made with 1/2 cup almond milk)

Microwave the chocolate chips and almond milk for a minute, then stir until chocolate is melted. Mix in corn syrup and vanilla and let cool. Beat meringue powder with water until soft peaks form. Prepare Dream Whip. Combine all three mixtures and pour into serving dishes. Chill for a couple of hours.

Note: I meant to only use half of the Dream Whip, but I forgot and used all of it. If I remember next time, there will be something left to use as garnish, and I'm sure the mousse will taste just as delicious.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Spicy Chicken

I clipped a recipe from a magazine a while ago and finally tried it. Other than the fact that it was super spicy (and I had even cut the original amount of Tabasco in half!), it was pretty good. Here's how I'll make it next time.

Sweet, Sticky, and Spicy Chicken

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
about 1 pound boneless chicken breast, cubed
about 1 pound broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
chopped, toasted cashews, optional

Combine the first 7 ingredients to make a sauce. Sauté the chicken and broccoli in the oil for a few minutes. When just about done cooking, stir the sauce one more time and add to the pan. Bring to a boil to thicken, then serve with hot cooked rice, with cashews sprinkled on top if desired.

Note: Some reviews suggested dredging the chicken in flour first and doubling the sauce, so that's what I did. Since the sauce was so spicy, having a lot was not a good thing, unless you really like burning your mouth. The recipe above is not doubled.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Salad Without Lettuce

We like to have a salad with our dinner, and usually it's just lettuce and tomatoes as a base, with whatever else we feel like adding, topped with a favorite Ken's Steakhouse salad dressing. However, today we're out of lettuce. A quick Google search found this recipe which will be the perfect accompaniment for our version of Chilighetti.

Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad
(adapted by me)

1 can corn (17 oz), drained
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together. Chill a bit before serving.

This was really quite good. We decided the addition of black olives could make it even better, and also that it would be good as a dip/salsa with tortilla chips.

Note: According to what I read, this would probably taste better with fresh ingredients - parsley and lime juice, cherry tomatoes, and corn - especially if it was grilled or roasted. However, I needed a quick recipe using what was already in the kitchen. There just happened to be a ripe avocado in the fridge; lucky us!

Thursday, November 16, 2017


We had some leftover cooked spaghetti, but no spaghetti sauce, and also some enchilada sauce (from here) and as I pondered what to fix for dinner, I was reminded of Chilighetti. It's been years since we've had that so it sounded like the perfect solution.

Today's version will never be duplicated*, but here's another recipe to try next time I feel like having it. This idea of chili on spaghetti is also known as Cincinnati Chili; see here for a history of that dish. Note that when I described what we were having for dinner, there was some skepticism as to how good it would be, which was afterwards proved to be unfounded. So, don't let the "weirdness" of the dish deter you from trying it yourself!

* It included about 1/2 cup leftover marinara sauce and 1/4 cup crumbled sausage from our Pizza Zucchini Boats and about 1 1/2 cups leftover enchilada sauce and 1/4 cup meat from our Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, along with a can of kidney beans and the pasta leftover from the spaghetti we had last week.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pizza Zucchini Boats

Here's another version of stuffed zucchini. (The one we tried earlier this year can be found here.) The inspiration for this version came from here. I didn't try parboiling the zucchini and it was still nice and tender. It's good to know I can skip that step in the future if I want.

Once again, this recipe is really just a process. Slice the zucchini in half and scoop out the center. Then chop the "insides" and cook in some oil with a bit of onion. Feel free to add mushrooms or peppers or whatever you desire. This was not a vegetarian recipe, so I also added some sausage. Stir in some marinara sauce and spoon the filling onto the zucchini. Top with Mozarella cheese (omit if eating dairy-free) and pepperoni slices. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Focaccia was the perfect accompaniment. And we had Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars for dessert.