Bacon Pops

What I thought would be a great addition to brunch turned out to be so successful I would add this to any breakfast, brunch or tailgate.  I always knew cooking bacon in the oven when preparing large quantities was easy.  However,  this time I  wanted bacon to be finger food and decided to thread the bacon on a stick.  I cut each piece of thick cut bacon in half, then threaded each piece on a six inch wooden skewer.  Brushed them all with maple syrup (you will see the syrup on the first piece on the top row), then I sprinkled the bacon with a brown sugar,ground  nuts and cayenne mixture.  In the oven it went …

bacon pops 1

 

and out came the most delicious bacon pops…

Bacon pops 3

Bacon Pops
Yields 22
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Ingredients
  1. 18 oz. package, thick cut bacon
  2. 22 six-inch wooden skewers
  3. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  4. 1/3 walnuts or pecans, ground
  5. 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Soak skewers in water for 15 minutes. Cut bacon in half crosswise. Thread each piece of bacon on one skewer. Place skewers on rack in a foil lined cookie sheet. Combine brown sugar, nuts, and cayenne pepper. Brush each skewer of bacon with maple syrup. Try to avoid getting the end of the skewers coated (the skewers will be easier to serve when not sticky). Sprinkle each slice of bacon with brown sugar combination. Bake in preheated oven until the bacon is golden, approximately 35-45 minutes. Remove from rack when cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. These would also be a wonderful addition to a Bloody Mary bar.
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Last Minute Broiled Shrimp

I am sure my schedule recently mirrors your schedule.  Getting back to a routine after the holidays, packing away all of the holiday decor, and trying to stay on a normal healthy eating schedule all seems to be a worthy goal.  Well, after a long week working and avoiding the grocery store, it was time to open the freezer and see what I could find and what I could make for dinner in under an hour.  First thing I did was find a bag one-half full of shrimp leftover from the holidays.  I tossed the frozen uncooked shrimp in a colander under cold running water while I put a few ingredients together.  I had made a recipe similar to one that required threading the shrimp on skewers, well I decided I did not have the time or the energy to thread shrimp on skewers.  Out came my small cast iron skillet.   In a small bowl I mixed the topping ingredients and mixed in the shrimp.  I let them marinate for approx. 20 minutes, then poured the mixture into the skillet, popped it under the broiler and our came the most delicious shrimp.  A great way to start the new year in my kitchen.

last-minute-broiled-shrimp

Last Minute Broiled Shrimp
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  2. 6 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 2/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, minced
  6. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  7. ground black pepper
  8. lemon wedges
Instructions
  1. Mix together the olive oil, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp. Combine and let the shrimp marinade for 20 minutes at room temperature. Pour into entire contents of bowl into a cast iron skillet. Preheat broiler to high. Cook the shrimp 3 minutes, stir, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through. Serve hot with lemon wedges. Serves 3 - 4.
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A Passion for Entertaining’s Most Viewed Recipe of 2016

I am always interested in the recipe that is viewed the most on my blog.  Peppadew Goat Cheese Appetizer is the most viewed recipe of 2016.  I must admit, it is one of our favorites and evidently it is also a reader favorite.  If you have not tried this appetizer, give it a try, I do not think you will be disappointed, perfect to serve for you New Year’s celebration or while watching your favorite college bowl game.   I wish you all a prosperous New Year, with great friends, great foods, and great finds! 

 

When I was in Atlanta last week, I had an amazing Peppadew appetizer at one of the BBQ restaurants we visited.  It was so good, I came home and  tried my hand at recreating it.  I served my creation this past weekend and all agreed it was delicious. A Peppadew is a sweet piquant pepper grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa.  Interesting how combining a few basic ingredients, you can produce such fantastic results. This appetizer is very unique and if you are not familiar with Peppadews, what a good time to give them a try.  It is very easy to make, you can make this ahead and pop in the oven when your guests arrive.  I served this with water crackers.

peppadew appetizer

 

Ten Minute Appetizer Tray

If you are like me, during this time of the year, it seems like each day brings a new and interesting kitchen challenge.  This time, I needed an appetizer and I needed it fast.  After leafing through my recipes, nothing really inspired me and time was running short.  Well, one quick trip to the store and my appetizer was almost done.  With a shopping list in hand, I dashed to my local store.  My list read like this – 3 dried fruits, 3 cheeses, 2 meats, olives, nuts, crackers, and jam.   Here is how I tackled my list at the market – first I headed to the dried fruits, in my cart went dried pineapple, dates, and cranberries,  Off to the cheese section – cheddar with cranberries, Stilton with ginger and mango, and a nice piece of gouda with the red wax. Stopped by the olive bar and picked up 8 oz. of assorted pitted olives, crackers – I looked for three distinctive shapes, sticks, squares, and rectangles.  Picked up a few roasted cashews, one package each; sliced dried chorizo and sliced prosciutto  and one jar of fig jam.  Quick, easy and out the door.  When I got home, out came my holiday tray and quickly layered the tray full of my finds.  My appetizer was ready – no cooking required and absolutely delicious.  

ten-minute-appetizer

Jelly Roll

This recipe brings back memories when I was growing up.  Having a Jelly Roll was a holiday staple and I remember my mom rolling the thin cake in a sugar covered towel.  I think kitchen memories are some of the best you can have.  No doubt, whatever kitchen memory you have growing up was a labor of love.   I think the popularity of the basic Jelly Roll has diminished over time; I think it is one of the best desserts you can serve.  It is not too sweet,  easy to prepare and always looks beautiful with every slice.  I like to use red currant jelly, my mom always used red raspberry jam, the choice is yours…..the resutls will be delicious!

jelly-roll

Jelly Roll
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 6 eggs, separated
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  6. 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  10. Confectioners sugar
  11. 1 - 12 oz. jar raspberry or red currant jelly
Instructions
  1. Line a greased 15x10x1 in pan with parchment paper, spray parchment with cooking spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Separate eggs, let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and water on high speed until thick and lemon-colored, approx. 5 minutes. Slowly add 1 cup of sugar. Add extracts. Combine flour, baking powder and salt - slowly add to egg yolk mixture.
  4. Add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat until soft peaks form. Slowly add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beat on high speed until soft glossy peaks form.
  5. Fold 1/4 of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture, then fold in remaining egg whites.
  6. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
  7. Bake 18 - 22 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool on rack 5 minutes. Invert cake on a kitchen towel that has been dusted with confectioners sugar. Gently peel of parchment paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style starting with the 10 inch side of the cake. Cool completely on a wire rack. When cool, unroll cake and spread evenly with jelly. Roll up, dust with confectioners sugar.
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Slow Cooker Chili

With all of the holiday activity going on, who has time to make dinner?  My secret weapon this time of year is my slow cooker. Fix it, forget it, and come home to the wonderful aromas of dinner without all of the last minute preparation.  This recipe I have been making for years, when our children were young and it seemed like we were never home, this was a staple.  With both of the kids participating in team sports, it seemed like they were always looking for a healthy delicious meal.  This Slow Cooker Chili is one of my go to recipes; our favorite is to serve it over pasta, topped with grated cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.  This recipe is the perfect base for so many meals, tonight it is chili on a baked potato (it also is a terrific topper for your nachos) – yum!

slow-cooker-chili

Slow Cooker Chili
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 3 pounds lean ground beef
  2. 2 - 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  3. 2 onions, diced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 3 tablespoons chili powder
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 teaspoon paprika
  8. 1 teaspoon oregano
  9. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  10. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  11. 3/4 cup beef broth
  12. 16 oz. can kidney beans (optional)
Instructions
  1. Brown beef with onions and garlic. Combine beef mixture and all remaining ingredients in your slow cooker, stir well. Cook on low 8 - 10 hours.
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Cranberry Nut Bread

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I was thumbing through my recipes and I came across another family favorite.  I remember always having Cranberry Nut Bread during the holidays.  I think my favorite memory of this bread was on skiing trips.  I grew up very close to a ski resort and every Saturday and Sunday would spend the day skiing with my friends.  My mom always packed goodies for me to eat and one of my favorites was cranberry bread slathered with cream cheese and put together as a sandwich.  These were highly sought after as my friends were always hoping she would pack extras (and she typically did).  Always great with coffee, tea or my favorite; sandiwiched with cream cheese.  Perfect to bake one for now and freeze one for later.

cranberry-nut-bread

Cranberry Nut Bread
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups flour
  2. 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 cups sugar
  6. 2 cups chopped pecans
  7. 2 cups chopped fresh cranberries (coarse chop)
  8. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  9. 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  10. 2 oranges, grated then juiced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease 2 - 8 1/2 x 5 inch loaf pans.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add cranberries and pecans, mix. In a 2 cup measure, melt butter, add grated orange peel and juice from both oranges. Add enough water to make 2 cups. Add liquid and eggs to dry ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are incorporated. Divide dough between the two prepared loaf pans. Bake for one hour or until tester comes out clean. Cool slightly and turn out of pans to finish cooling.
  3. Freezes beautifully.
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Frozen Pumpkin Pie

Looking for an easy dessert for Thanksgiving that you can make today and serve on Thanksgiving?  This recipe is a great additional to any Thanksgiving menu.  I have always been one that loves to plan ahead and make ahead when entertaining, so I can relax and enjoy the day.   This Frozen Pumpkin Pie is delicious and so very quick and easy.  You start with a graham cracker crust, pumpkin, spices and ice cream blended together and frozen.  It is in your freezer and ready when you are.

frozen-pumpkin-pie

Frozen Pumpkin Pie
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup canned pumpkin
  2. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
  8. 1 graham cracker crust
  9. Sweetened whipped cream, chopped nuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Blend first five ingredients. In a large bowl, stir ice cream with a wooden spoon until smooth. Quickly stir in pumpkin mixture until blended Immediately pour into prepared crust. Cover and freeze util firm. Garnish with whipped cream and sprinkle with nuts, if desired.
Notes
  1. Sweetened whipped cream
  2. In a mixing bowl combine 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, whip until stiff peaks form.
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Mom’s Green Bean Casserole

I am not sure if I have ever mentioned that everything my mom cooked was from scratch.   Why I mention this is that traditional green bean casserole includes a can of soup.  Well, in my mom’s kitchen, she would never use a can of soup in any recipe.  Too many unnatural ingredients and too much sodium to pass my mom’s cooking standards!  So this recipe, is the perfectly titled; Mom’s Green Bean Casserole.  Made with ingredients that you do not need to Google to find out what they are.  This is absolutely delicious and a perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving table.  

moms-green-bean-casserole

Mom's Green Bean Casserole
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 2 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 cup sour cream
  4. 16 oz. green beans, cooked ( I used frozen french cut)
  5. 6 oz. shredded swiss cheese
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  8. 3 oz. french fried onions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Blend in flour and stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in sour cream. Cook over low heat until combined and slightly thickened.. Add beans, cheese and salt and pepper. Toss gently. Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake for 25 minute or until hot and bubbly. Top with onions, return to oven for 5 minutes.
Notes
  1. This recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated. You will need to increase the baking time if the casserole is cold when you put in the oven.
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Overnight Blueberry Sausage Breakfast Cake

While sorting through my recipe file; I came across this recipe that I received from a dear friend years ago.  I was once a member of a neighborhood quilting group that would get together frequently and work on combined quilting projects.  It was at one of these meetings that one of the members brought this breakfast cake.  One of the reasons we all requested this recipe is that you make it the night before, refrigerate overnight and bake in the morning.  With the holidays approaching, I thought this would be the perfect recipe for all busy cooks.  I have even made this one step easier, I used precooked turkey sausage crumbles that you can buy in the grocery next to the breakfast sausages.  I like using turkey sausage since it is leaner and precooked makes it even easier to use and a time reducer.  Having overnight guests?  This is the perfect make ahead breakfast treat.   

overnight-blueberry-sausage-breakfast-cake

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Overnight Blueberry Sausage Breakfast Cake
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  5. 3/4 cup sugar
  6. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 1 8 oz. container sour cream
  9. 1 # turkey sausage precooked crumbles or pork sausage, cooked and well-drained
  10. 1 cup blueberries
  11. 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  12. Blueberry Sauce
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and baking soda, set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugars on high speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mix well after each addition. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to egg mixture, until all is just combined. Fold in sausage and blueberries. Pour batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Spread batter evenly and sprinkle with nuts. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator while the oven is preheating. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 8 -10 minutes, serve warm. Top with blueberry sauce.
Notes
  1. Blueberry Sauce
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  4. 1/2 cup water
  5. 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  6. 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  7. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water and blueberries. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir constantly. Cook and stir two more minutes. Stir in lemon juice and serve. If mixture seems too thick, add water one tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. This sauce can be made the day before and refrigerated. The sauce can be reheated in the microwave.
  8. Serving a smaller crowd? You can easily make 1/2 of the recipe, bake as above in a 9 inch pie pan.
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