Friday, December 4, 2015

My Favorite Recipes

Eating right during December is a real challenge.  I talked about this last month in this post, "Planning for the Holidays." Christmas is only three weeks away, so it's all about decorating, shopping, parties, baking, eating, and drinking.  Throw in my son's birthday, and his girlfriend's too and you have a perfect recipe for eating too much.

I've been doing lots of cardio to help burn the extra calories.  35 minutes on the elliptical this morning...burned 461 calories!

Speaking of recipes, I promised I would share some with you.   I will share one appetizer, one casserole, one dessert and one miscellaneous "other" type of recipe each week leading up to Christmas.  These are my family's most favorite recipes.  No corners cut, so they are full fat and full sugar.  The trick is picking one or two for the big holidays and supplementing the rest of your menu with much healthier choices.  As I make these this season, I will post the pictures.  For now, you'll have to trust my word that these are my absolute favorites!

This is Christmas (circa 1985) at my Grandmother's house.  Pictured here:  My Aunt Debbie, my Dad, and my Grandma Trudy (may she rest in peace).  I did some more decorating tonight and came across some Christmas things she made for me and gave me after I got married. It brought tears to my eyes.  I miss her so much.  She was always so good to me.  She was also an amazing cook.  I fondly remember the feasts she prepared for our huge Pippin family gatherings.
Appetizer
Audrey's Sausage Breads
This was given to me by a waitress I used to work with at Russell's Restaurant when I was in college.  She was a lovely lady who died from lung cancer.  She gave me this recipe at my bridal shower.

Pop these under the broiler until bubbly and they are a delicious hors d'oeuvre.
Ingredients
1 lb. ground beef (or substitute ground turkey)
1 lbs. sausage (porks-in-roll works well)
1 lb. Velveeta cheese
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
1/2 Tbsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 pkgs. party ryes (found near the deli section of the store)

Directions
Cook meets, drain thoroughly.  Pat dry with a paper towel to drain excess fat.  Add chopped cheese and mix until cheese is melted.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until creamy.  Top slices of bread with meat/cheese mixture.  Freeze on a cookie sheet.  Store loose in a plastic bag.  When ready to serve, broil 4-5 minutes or until bubbly.  (Be careful not to burn.)  These are great during holidays for friends dropping in.
Typically, I freeze these for 15-20 minutes. then store them loosely in a Ziploc bag. 
Before serving, I broil them for 5-7 minutes until bubbly.

Amazing!!!

I have a thing for snowmen.
This is one of my cute snowmen ornaments.
I love how it reflects the Christmas lights on the tree.
Casserole
Our all time family favorite:
Spinach & Broccoli Casserole
NEVER tell my mom I posted this here.  This is an absolute favorite.  Everyone loves it.  But I am forbidden to share the recipe, so she can never know.

Ingredients
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1 box frozen chopped broccoli
8 oz. cream cheese
1 stick butter, cut in half
1 C. Pepperidge Farm stuffing crumbs
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions
Thaw spinach and broccoli and mix together in a bowl.  Add salt & pepper.  Open the  package of cream cheese and 1/2 stick of butter and melt in the microwave until completely melted.  Mix together and pour on top of spinach and broccoli.  Mix everything together.  The the other 1/2 stick of butter and melt completely.  Take one cup of stuffing and add to the butter.  Mix the two together until the bread crumbs are moistened.  Pour crumbs on top of the spinach and broccoli.  Bake at 350 for 45 min - 1 hour.

Yields:  18 x 8 casserole, six servings

Go Patriots!
Dessert
Chocolate Mousse Crown Pie   
This is the tastiest chocolate pie you will EVER eat.

Crust:
Cooking spray
12 oz. coconut
1/3 stick margarine

Grease pie plates with cooking spray.
Lightly brown coconut in frying pan with margarine.
Press coconut into pie plates.

Mousse:
2/3 C Kahlua
1/3 C cold water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
16 oz. chocolate chips
3 large eggs (separated)
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 pint whipping cream (whipped until stiff)

Mix Kahlua & water in large saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over the mixture.  Let stand for one minute.  Stir over low heat until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.  Mix egg yolks, one at a time, using wire wisk.  Cool completely to room temperature.  In large bowl, mix egg whites until peaks form.  Add sugar.  Stir in one large tablespoon of egg mixture into chocolate an mix.  Then take all of the chocolate mixture and put into the bowl of egg whites.  Blend well.  Gently fold in whip cream and whip until completely blended and smooth.  Fold into coconut pie shells.  Cover and let chill at least 7-8 hours.  Top with whip cream.

My husband and younger son, Joey are Giants fans, so we have to keep the whole family happy when decorating the tree.
Other 
Cranberry Bread

Ingredients:
2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 C sugar
1/3 C melted butter
1 whole orange
1/3 C orange juice
2 Tbsp. Myer's rum
2 eggs, beaten
2 C cranberries, coarsely chopped
3/4 C walnuts or pecans

Directions:
Spray bread loaf pan with cooking spray, dust lightly with flour.  Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar in a bowl.  Whisk together.
Place your orange into a food processor and puree, with skin.
Stir together the orange, melted butter, orange juice, eggs and rum.  Stir into the flour mixture and until ingredients are well combined.
Wash and drain the cranberries.  Coarsely chop the cranberries and break walnuts or pecans  into pieces.  Add cranberries and nuts to the batter.
Place into loaf pan.  Bake 50-60 minutes, until tests clean when inserting a tooth pick.
Optional:  brush top of the loaf with melted butter and sprinkle granulated sugar over the top of the loaf.

(Modified from Cooks.com.  Depending on the size of your loaf pans, this may make two loaves.  I found their original recipe is too dry, so I added an orange to the recipe (instead of orange zest) and increased the eggs to two.  This yields more batter, which is why I get two loaves out of this recipe.  This is my FAVORITE cranberry bread recipe.)

One of my favorite Christmas Carols...
The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
This is my son, Joey's absolute favorite carol.


Questions for you: (Answer in the comment section below.)
What's your favorite dessert for the holidays?
What's your favorite Christmas carol?

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