Dessert, Entree, How To

How To: Savory Pie Crust

downloadWith Christmas guests coming I took the opportunity to make a few new recipes, including a chicken pot pie.  I figured a pie crust made out of lard would be the perfect complement and sure enough it was delicious. Even better was the fact that it didn’t require a ton of chilling.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup lard
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the lard with a knife or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending gently with a fork or pastry blender until all flour is moistened and dough almost cleans the sides of the bowl. Divide the dough in half and shape flattened rounds. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Appetizer, Entree

Crockpot Lil’ Smokies

little-smokies-4I’m adding this recipe to the site because even though it’s only 3 ingredients and super simple to make, I always forget if it’s barbeque or chili sauce. So it’s here it is. Make them for your next get together and your guests will love you.

  • 2 packages beef smokies, 13 oz each
  • 12 oz bottle chili sauce (found with the ketchup)
  • 12 oz grape jelly

Combine all ingredients in the crockpot and cook for 3 hours on high til warmed through and the sauce comes together, stirring occasionally.

Beverage

Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

crockpot-mulled-wineWhen I was nailing down what I would serve at my Christmas Open House this year, I decided instead of having a bunch of mixers and alcohol I would offer my guests mulled wine. I like sangria a lot and to me this was a natural progression for the holiday season. I will include the individual spices that are included, but if you are like me and can’t find whole star anise or cloves, Spice Islands has a spice kit they sell that works just as well (it’s what I used).

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 orange, halved and juiced
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 1 bottle of red wine, I used cabernet

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot, including the orange halves that were juiced. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6. Strain out all the spices and fruit and discard when you are ready to serve.

Appetizer

Cranberry Brie Bites

downloadMy sister made this recipe for Thanksgiving this year and they are crazy addicting. I made them for my open house and they were a big hit. I like to make my own homemade cranberry sauce but if time is an issue you can definitely used a pre-made whole berry cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/2 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • zest from half an orange

Brie Bites

  • 1 tube of original crescent rolls
  • 1 wheel of Brie cheese
  • cranberry sauce
  • rosemary sprigs, optional

Start by combining all of the cranberry sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium to low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. You want the cranberries to burst and the sauce to reduce down to a pretty thick consistency. From here you can use the sauce immediately or, if you are making this in advance, put it in a container and store in the fridge.

When you are ready to assemble the bites, preheat the oven to 375. Roll out your crescent rolls on a piece of wax paper, pinching all the lines to make one smooth sheet. I like to take a quick rolling pin to the sheet to make it an even thickness. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the sheet into 24 pieces and fill each slot in an ungreased mini muffin pan. Put a piece of brie cheese (without wax) into each slot and top with cranberry sauce. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Bread, Breakfast

Cranberry White Chocolate Scones

75cb10f8b70af955a0360a3ae0ead369I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine and decided to challenge myself. I’ve had scones at Starbucks before but never attempted to make them myself. It turns out that my husband loves scones, which neither of us would’ve guessed before now. This is one of the few things I’ve made that he ate til they were gone, so they are definitely a keeper.

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips/chunks
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries; frozen won’t leak as much into the batter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (you may need 1-2 tablespoons more depending on how the dough comes together)
  • additional white sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones
  • 2-3 oz additional white chocolate melted, optional

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking tray with a baking mat or parchment paper. Place flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cubes of butter into a large bowl and rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until you have a coarse breadcrumb texture. Some pea sized lumps of butter is fine. (I was using frozen butter so I grated mine with a cheese grater.) Add the white chocolate chips and cranberries and stir very briefly to evenly distribute. Place the eggs and 1/2 cup heavy cream into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add the egg mixture into your flour mix and stir gently, until a soft, crumbly dough forms. You want it to hold if you press the dough together, but not be sticky and wet. If the mixture is still too crumble, add in the extra cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. (I live at altitude and added 2 tablespoons and probably could’ve added one more.)  Tip the dough onto your prepared baking tray and press into a large disc, around half an inch thick. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the disc of dough into 6-8 wedges. At this stage you can leave the scones cut but together, or use a spatula to spread the scones around the baking tray with a 2 inch gap in between each one. Sprinkle some white sugar onto the top of each scones and then place in the oven for 13-17 minutes. (I left mine in a round for about 14 minutes because my mixture was pretty crumbly, then I separated them and baked for about 5 more minutes. You’ll know they are done when they are risen, golden around the edges and sound light when you tap on the top.

Side Item

Instant Pot Butter Rice

butterrice-3I love, love, love rice and this recipe was such a good one. Fast, simple, and flavorful without being overly salty. I was curious when I saw the french onion soup ingredient that it would tasty overly salty but that wasn’t the case at all. I’m going to post the recipe with the original quantities, but be advised that it makes a TON so if you are only feeding a few, be sure and cut it in half. Recipe and photo courtesy of cookiesandcups.com

  • 1 1/4 cups beef stock
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 packet onion soup mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 2 cups rice, your choice

Place all ingredients in your Instant Pot. Use the manual setting, on high pressure for 22 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release. Serve warm.

Entree, Uncategorized

Oven Baked Chicken Legs

chickenlegs-3Chicken legs are a really great, affordable way to add protein to a meal that everyone will love. This recipe could not be any simpler and with very little prep time is a great weekday option. Recipe and photo courtesy of cookiesandcups.com.

  • 45 pounds chicken legs (drumsticks)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400°F (I used my convection setting to cook these and it worked so well). Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat with nonstick spray. Place all the drumsticks evenly onto the prepared pan being careful not to overcrowd the pan. If you need to, use multiple pans. Mix the salt, pepper, and garlic powder together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture onto all sides of the legs evenly. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165°F and the tendons have shrunken away from the ankle, indicating doneness. I flipped my chicken halfway through to get both sides browned and this is also a great time to drain the pan if there is too much liquid accumulating.