Monday, January 31, 2011

Huevos Rancheros

Although this recipe is usually categorized as a breakfast dish, we enjoyed it for supper. The homemade salsa comes together quickly and tastes deliciously refreshing. Bart made this meal for us—and he seemed to think it was easy to put together.

Huevos Rancheros

1 can (16 oz) whole peeled tomatoes, with juice
½ small onion, copped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped chipotle pepper (comes canned in adobo sauce)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 can (16 oz) black beans
Pinch of ground cumin
8 eggs
8 corn tortillas

Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle, cilantro, and half of the lime juice in a food processor and pulse until well blended but still slightly chunky. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the black beans, cumin, and remaining lime juice in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Use the back of a fork to lightly mash up the beans, adding a splash of warm water if necessary. (We heated up the beans in the microwave.)

Coat a large nonstick skillet or sauté pan with nonstick cooking spray (we used butter instead) and heat over medium heat. Break the eggs into the skillet; cook until the whites have set but the yolks are still loose and runny.

On a separate burner, heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add the tortillas, 2 at a time (we spritzed the tortillas with olive oil); cook for about 1 minute on each side, until lightly toasted.

To assemble the dish, spread the tortillas with the beans, top with the eggs, and top the eggs with the salsa. Garnish with more cilantro, if you like, and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe source: Cook This Not That Kitchen Survival Guide

Oreo Cheesecake

In case you haven't noticed, we LOVE cheesecake. This version is fun because you bake it in a 13x9-inch pan--which makes it easy to serve a large group. Bart made this for us as a special dessert for Sunday dinner--to celebrate my release from the primary presidency!

By the way--don't even think about trying this (or any) cheesecake the day you bake it! Cheesecake must be allowed to "ripen" at least for one full day in the fridge before serving. That's what makes cheesecake such a great dessert for a special dinner--you make it ahead so you don't have any last minute concerns with dessert!

Oreo Cheesecake

1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) Oreo Cookies, divided
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream (at room temperature)
4 eggs (at room temperature)

Ganache Topping:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
6 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

HEAT oven to 325ºF.

LINE 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Process 30 cookies in food processor until finely ground. Add butter; mix well. Press onto bottom of pan.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. Chop remaining cookies; stir 1-1/2 cups into batter. Pour over crust; top with remaining chopped cookies. (Note: if you're planning on adding a ganache topping, don't add chopped cookies to the top--just stir them all into the batter.)

BAKE 45 min. or until center is almost set (begin checking at about 35 minutes to make sure cheesecake does not overbake). [Note: I recommend baking the cheesecake in a waterbath. Place 13x9-inch pan in a larger pan (if using a springform pan wrap the outside in 2 layers of aluminum foil to prevent water from getting into pan). While pans are on the oven rack, carefully pour hot water into outside pan until it comes up at least 1 inch--I try to get the water at least as high as the cheesecake level if possible.]

Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Topping: Combine chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until chocolate has softened (about 1-2 minutes on medium power). Stir. Stir in vanilla. Pour over cooled cheesecake. Return cheesecake to fridge to allow topping to set.

Use foil handles to lift cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve.

How to Bake in Springform Pan

Substitute 9-inch springform pan for the 13x9-inch pan. Do not line pan with foil. Prepare cheesecake as directed, increasing the baking time to 1 hour or until center is almost set (baking in a waterbath--remembering to wrap outside of pan with a double layer of aluminum foil to prevent water from getting into pan). Run small knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool completely. Refrigerate as directed. (Note: If using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan, reduce oven temperature to 300°F.)

Cornbread Salad

Bart found this recipe in an advertisement for a Gooseberry Patch cookbook. It is a very refreshing salad--perfect for lunch!

Cornbread Salad

1-2 cups cornbread, cubed
8 ¾ ounce can corn, drained
½ cup green onion, chopped
½ cup cucumber, chopped
½ cup broccoli, chopped
½ cup red pepper, chopped
½ cup tomato, chopped
½ cup canned pinto or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
½ cup buttermilk ranch salad dressing
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix and cover. Best when refrigerated for at least 4 hours before serving.

Cream Cheese Potato Soup

I adapted this recipe from one posted by LollyChops who adapted it from one posted on Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Here's how I made it. We all absolutely loved this soup--it was creamy without being too thick and it was deliciously flavored. It is now Alyssa's favorite potato soup (and probably her favorite cream soup as well). I used frozen diced roasted turkey and added it frozen. It thawed quickly in the hot broth. I noticed that on Mel's Kitchen Cafe the soup is called "Cream Cheese Chicken and Vegetable Soup." She uses less butter in her version--you can check out her blog for her version.

Cream Cheese Potato Soup (with Ham, Turkey, or Chicken)

2-3 Tbsp oil or butter
1 onion, diced
3 good size potatoes, peeled and chopped bite-size
1 cup carrots, diced
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
1-2 cups chopped roasted turkey, chicken or ham

4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

Add onions and oil to your soup pot over medium high heat, cooking onions until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add potatoes and carrots to your pot. Cook together for a few minutes just to blend all the flavors. Pour in your chicken broth and salt and pepper. If veggies aren't completely covered by the broth, add more until covered. Bring to a boil, then turn on low and let it softly boil for about 10 minutes. Add in your chopped meat and cook a few minutes longer.

After you add the meat, in a separate small pot, over medium heat, melt your butter and flour together, stirring, until it turns a nice amber shade of color. Add in your milk and stir together. Add in your cream cheese. Stir until thoroughly combined and mixture is thick. Once your potatoes are nicely cooked through, add the cream cheese mixture directly to your soup mixture. Stir to combine. Soup will become deliciously thick and creamy. Now, taste. It should be pretty much perfect. Add additional salt and pepper if desired.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Navajo Tacos

One of my favorite ways to eat chili is with scones and taco toppings, such as lettuce, onions, olives, cheese, tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream.  Kaysen prefers Nalley's chili, but if I'm going to make it from scratch, here's the recipe I always use.  I've tweaked the original recipe a little by decreasing the amount of salt called for, blending the tomatoes, and adding a little extra meat, as described below:

Sister Blakely's Chili (from Kendra)

4 cups dry pinto beans
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef, browned and drained
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped, optional (I never put this in)
1 quart (about 32 oz.) tomatoes
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
3 T. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried crushed basil

Place beans in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes.  Turn off heat, but leave pot sitting on heat.  Place cover on pot.  Let beans sit for 1 hour.  After 1 hour, drain water off of beans and place beans in crock pot.  Cover with water and cook on high for about 4 hours or on low for about 8-10 hours or overnight.  When beans are tender, drain and reserve liquid and place beans back in crock pot.  Brown ground beef with onion and pepper.  Drain.  Add to beans.  Place remaining ingredients (tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spices) in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Pour over beans and beef.  Stir to combine.  Place lid on crock pot and let simmer 4-8 hours.  May use reserved bean liquid to achieve desired consistency if chili gets too thick.

If you want to make scones without much work, thaw Rhodes Texas rolls, stretch them out, and fry them in hot oil.  But I always use Mom's white bread recipe.  One recipe (about 7 cups flour) makes 20 scones for us. I keep the leftover scones in the fridge, and they're usually eaten as snacks or for breakfast (with butter and cinnamon/sugar).

This recipe makes A LOT!  But, have no fear, it also freezes well!  I usually freeze the leftovers in a couple of quart-size Ziploc freezer bags.  The leftovers are great on potatoes or chili dogs!

Cinnamon Breakfast Bites

Last time I made these everyone asked me to be sure to make a double batch next time. It's a quick breakfast treat that we all really enjoy!

Cinnamon Breakfast Bites


1-1/3 cups (6 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (1 ounce) crisp rice cereal, coarsely crushed
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounce)butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted


•In a large bowl, combine the flour, cereal, 2 tablespoons sugar,
baking powder and salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles
coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Shape into 1-in.

•In a shallow bowl, combine cinnamon and remaining sugar. Dip balls in
butter, then roll in cinnamon-sugar.

•Arrange in a single layer in an 8-in. round baking pan. Bake at
425° for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (check early).
Yield: 6 servings (2-1/2 dozen).

Ham and Mushroom Skillet Linguine

This is a Weight Watchers recipe that I tweaked.  I really like how my version turned out!  It was tasty, filling, and fast to fix!  I served it with rolls, steamed broccoli, and milk.

Ham and Mushroom Skillet Linguine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups 1% milk
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
1 T. butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
2 cups cubed lean ham (I used Cure 81)
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (not grated)
12 oz. pkg. linguine noodles, cooked as directed on package

Place flour in a bowl.  Gradually add broth, milk, salt, and pepper; stir with a whisk until blended.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and bell pepper; saute 3 minutes.  Add flour mixture and ham; cook until thick and bubbly and ham is heated through, stirring constantly.  Stir in cheese.  If you have enough room in your skillet, add linguine noodles and stir or toss to coat. If not enough room in skillet, place noodles in serving dish and pour sauce over noodles and stir or toss lightly to coat noodles. Makes 8 servings (about 1 cup each) 8 WW PointsPlus each serving

Paper Mache

Perhaps "yummy" isn't the right word for this "recipe." However, even though this is a craft rather than a food, I wanted to post it so I will be able to find these directions in the future. This is the best paper mache I have used. It was smooth, smelled good, and dried very hard. I used it to make paper mache maracas by putting a light bulb inside a toilet paper tube (lightly taping it so it stays in place), stuffing the tube with newspaper, then covering the entire thing with paper mache. Once you have a few coats of paper mache (letting it dry thoroughly between coats), then carefully break the light bulb by tapping that end of the maraca against a hard surface--being careful not to break the paper mache open. It worked great! I still need to paint mine--but this is how they look after the paper mache has dried.

Cooked Paper Mache Paste Recipe


(I used 1 cup flour mixed with 1 cup water which I added to 4 cups boiling water along with about 2 tablespoons salt and about 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon.)


To make this paper mache paste, you need 1 part flour to 5 parts water. Start out by putting 4 parts water into a pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. While you are waiting for it to boil, mix 1 part flour to 1 part warm water. Beat this mixture briskly to remove lumps.

Once your pot of water is boiling, slowly stir in the water and flour mixture. Mix well and let it boil for 2 - 3 minutes. It should be smooth and have the constancy of thick glue. If necessary, you can add more water or glue in small amounts until you get the desired consistency.

A few helpful tips I have read in regards to using this paste are:

• If you live in an area with high humidity, add a few tablespoons of salt to help prevent mold.

• If you don't like the smell of the glue mixture you can add a few sprinkles of cinnamon to sweeten it up!

You should be able to store this glue in a covered bowl or jar, in the refrigerator, for a few days.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Caesar Spaghetti

This pasta plays off the flavors in Caesar salad. We all loved it--although I had to make it because Bart refuses to cook with anchovies. He loves the dishes I make with anchovies--he just prefers to imagine that the anchovies aren't there--which isn't too hard to do since you can't see the anchovies at all when the dish is completed.

Caesar Spaghetti


1 pound spaghetti or whole wheat/grain spaghetti
1/4 cup EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus some for drizzling
6-8 anchovy filets, drained
4 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, eyeball the amount
2 medium heads of escarole, washed and dried (I used fresh baby spinach instead)
1 lemon
Lots of coarse black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon, or to your taste
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil for pasta. Once boiling, salt water and cook pasta to just shy of al dente, according to package directions or about 6-7 minutes. Heads up: you need to reserve some starchy cooking water just before draining, about 1 cup. Pasta will continue to cook as you toss it with the greens.

While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Add anchovies to the pan and cook until they've melted into the oil, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and add garlic, stir 1 minute then add in Worcestershire. Shred the escarole and add several handfuls at a time, wilting greens into garlic oil. Dress greens with lots of pepper and a little nutmeg then squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the pan. Add starchy cooking water to eggs and beat together to temper them. Turn off pan heat and toss drained pasta with greens and eggs and half of the cheese to coat evenly; toss vigorously 1 minute. Dress pasta with an extra drizzle of EVOO (if desired) and serve; pass remaining cheese at table.

Recipe source: Rachael Ray

Monday, January 17, 2011

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

I found this recipe when looking for a special dessert to make to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. This rich and decadent dessert is definitely worthy of a special occasion!

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Brownie Shortbread Cookie Crust

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 extra-large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously butter (or spray with Baker’s Joy) the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way of up the sides. Mix the flour and salt together.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high until creamy. Blend in the egg yolk and vanilla, then the melted chocolate. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour just until it disappears and a dough forms.

Push the dough over the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula. Flour your hands; then smooth out the dough evenly to the edge of the pan with your fingertips, working in a circular motion. Don’t press up the sides. (Note: this is a sticky dough—so I used an offset spatula to spread the dough into the pan rather than my fingers.)

Bake the crust just until it’s set and forms a light brown crust on top (don’t overbake), about 15 minutes. Leave the crust in the pan and transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.


10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
Four (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (use only full-fat), at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar (divided)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs (room temperature)
¾ cup heavy or whipping cream (room temperature)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating will after adding each one. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the cream, just until completely blended. Don’t overmix. Gently spoon the batter on top of the crust.

Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges look baked and top of the cake just appears set, about 1 ¼ hours (mine was done in a little under an hour—so check it early). Remove the cake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away—don’t move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours.

Make chocolate ganache (recipe below) and let cool. Pour over cheesecake, spreading to edges. Return to fridge until ganache has set up.

Release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. Slice with a sharp straight-edge knife (I recommend heating it first by running the blade under hot water then wiping it dry).

Chocolate Ganache

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the chocolate and cream in a medium saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until the chocolate melts and mixture begins to bubble a little around the sides. (This can be done in the microwave.) Quickly whisk the mixture until it comes together in a smooth chocolate sauce.

Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Let cool until desired consistency (ganache will thicken upon standing.)

Recipe source: adapted from Junior's Cheesecakes

(Note: the original recipe calls for a "fudge mirror" rather than ganache. The fudge mirror is made by stirring together 1/2 cup fudge ice cream topping (not chocolate syrup) and 1 teaspoon light corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat just until warm and spreadable--without letting it boil. This is spread over the top of the cake and then the cake is refrigerated (or frozen) until the mirror has set & is no longer sticky. Then a chocolate web is piped over this layer with 4 ounces melted bittersweet or semisweet chocolate.)

Chicken Pot Pie

I was excited to try out my new mini pie pans with this recipe. It was really fun to make, and it turned out great! We all loved it! The pie crust recipe below is VERY easy to make--and it had a perfect texture and flavor. The cream of chicken soup is also very easy to make--which is good because that is something that I don't usually have on hand.

Chicken Pot Pie

Pie crust (for a double-crust pie)
1 lb. leftover roasted chicken or turkey, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 12-16 oz. bag of peas and carrots or mixed vegetables, thawed
1 onion, minced
5 medium-small red potatoes, diced (I used frozen cubed hashbrowns, thawed)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (or one recipe of homemade cream of chicken soup)
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt (more or less, to taste)
Ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water (salt optional) to a boil. When ready, add potatoes and boil until tender. Meanwhile, heat about 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet. When the butter is bubbly, sauté the onion until it's translucent and fragrant. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, chicken, vegetables, onion, and potatoes. Season to taste. (I actually ended up adding some more liquid because the mixture was a tad too thick for my liking.)

Now...the pie can be done a couple of ways: either one big 9-inch pie or individual pies either in small pie tins or mugs/ramekins. If using mugs or ramekins, put the crust only on top. If you're making one whole pie, place one pie crust on the bottom of a pie plate, transfer the filling to the pie plate, and then top with the other pie crust. Crimp the edges and then cut a few vent holes on top.

If you're making individual pies in oven-safe jars, mugs, or ramekins, fill the dishes with the chicken mixture and then top with a piece of pie crust slightly larger than the opening of the dish. Crimp the edges and cut some vent holes.

Place pie plate/individual pies on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.

9-Inch Double Pie Crust
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 c.+ 2 Tbsp. shortening (I prefer butter flavored but either works)
Ice water (probably about 1/2 c.)

Making the Dough

Combine flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add shortening in small cubes.

Cut in shortening (room temperature) until you get pieces that are about pea-sized.

Start sprinkling the ice water by about a tablespoon at a time over the flour/shortening mixture.

Very, very gently, turn the dough with your fingers so it gets exposed to the water. You're NOT mixing, just trying to moisten all of the flour/shortening mixture. Gradually, all of the flour mixture will be moistened. Gently pat the dough into a ball (it should come together easily but not be sticky).

Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until you're ready to use.

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less; taste to test)
1/4 teaspoon parsley
dash of paprika
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
3/4 cup flour

In medium-sized saucepan, bring chicken broth, seasonings, and 1/2 c. of the milk to a boil. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and flour.

Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens. Cook until desired consistency is reached, keeping in mind that it will continue to thicken as it stands.

Makes the equivalent of 2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup.

Source for recipes: Our Best Bites

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chocolate Pots de Crème

This is basically just chocolate pudding—but it is a heavenly, silky-smooth pudding. It’s a great make-ahead dessert and is special enough to serve for company. It’s also easy enough to make for any day. I like to serve it topped with a dollop of whipped cream. You can add some maple syrup or coffee-flavoring syrups (such as peppermint or caramel) to the cream before whipping for a fun flavor addition. Garnish with chocolate curls for an impressive presentation. (I was too interested in eating the pudding to get fancy with the garnish this time.)

Chocolate Pots de Crème

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
7 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the chocolate in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in a bowl until smooth.

Bring the cream and milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk about 1 cup of the cream mixture into the yolks. Slowly whisk the yolks back into the cream mixture. Return the pan to low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly, coats the back of a spoon with a thin film, and registers 175 to 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 7 to 9 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl with the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk the mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the vanilla, and then divide evenly among six 6-ounce ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.

Recipe Source: The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Potatoes

We eat a lot of pasta--but when I think about it I can't believe that we don't eat more potatoes. We all really like them--I guess they're just not quite as quick to make as pasta generally is. This dish was really fun for us to have because it is so unlike our usual meals. We all loved it--it was fun to see Alyssa and Joshua eating as enthusiastically as Bart and me. Other than planning ahead for baking the potatoes, the meal went together easily and it was so satisfying to enjoy. Plus--the recipe uses one of our favorite cheeses: smoked Gouda.

Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Potatoes


4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
3 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped, divided
Black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 cup smoked shredded Gouda cheese
1 pound ground sirloin
1/2 pound button or crimini mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons spicy brown or Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


Preheat oven to 400ºF.

On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with a hearty drizzle of EVOO and some salt. Bake in oven until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Turn off oven and switch on the broiler.

While the potatoes are cooling, place a medium skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Add the bell pepper and half of the onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the veggies are tender, 5 minutes. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut a thin slice lengthwise off of the top to expose the inside. Scoop out the potato flesh, taking care not to pierce the wall of the potato, and transfer to the bowl with the veggies (reserve the potato shells). Add the sour cream and paprika, and mash. Stir in half of the smoked Gouda cheese. Set aside.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the ground sirloin to the pan and cook until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to turn golden brown, 4-5 minutes.

Add the remaining onion and garlic to the pan and cook until all the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes more. Push all of the ingredients to the edge of the pan and add the butter to the skillet. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock, mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire, some salt and pepper to the skillet and stir to combine. Bring up to a bubble and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes.

Fill the potato shells with the beef-mushroom mixture then top each of them with the reserved mashed potatoes. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with additional cheese. Pop the potatoes under the broiler until the cheese is melted and tops are golden brown.

Recipe Source: Rachael Ray Look and Cook (also available on the Rachael Ray Show website)

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bread Bowls

I saw this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe and I just had to try it. It was definitely "good chicken!" I really liked the sauce served with it--I kept adding additional sauce as I was eating mine. So next time I will probably increase the amount of sauce I make and not use a slotted spoon when filling the bread bowl so I get sauce down in the bread bowl as well. Don't skip the step of toasting the bread bowls before filling them--the toasted bread was really good with the filling!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bread Bowls


For the Chicken and Sauce:

4 tablespoons butter
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed (about 2-3 chicken breasts)
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons flour (I recommend 4 tablespoons flour--I would have preferred a slightly thicker sauce)
½ cup apple juice (or use chicken broth or some lemon juice as part of the liquid)
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard (I used coarse ground mustard instead--but Dijon mustard would be good, too)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (I used fresh thyme because I had it on hand)
2-3 cups broccoli florets
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

To Assemble:

4-6 medium round regular or sourdough bread bowls
8-10 thin slices smoked ham (I chopped up the ham to make it easier to eat)
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat the foil with cooking spray.

Place the broccoli florets in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tight fitting microwave-safe lid. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until tender but still bright green. Remove the plastic wrap and set aside.

In a 10- or 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chicken and saute until the chicken begins to brown but isn't cooked all the way through, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened (when chicken is still slightly pink), about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken/onion mixture and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring, constantly for one minute.

Gradually add the chicken broth and apple juice, stirring constantly to avoid any clumps from forming. Stir in the cream, Parmesan cheese, mustard and thyme. Simmer for about 5-6 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in the broccoli; season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Hollow out the inside of the bread bowls by cutting off the tops and tearing out the insides. I like to leave about a 1/4-inch edge along all sides of the bread bowl. Compress the remaining bread together to firm up the sides and make room for the filling. Place the bread bowls on the prepared baking sheet and toast them for about 5 minutes in the preheated oven.

Remove the toasted loaves from the oven and arrange the ham slices in the bottom of each loaf. Using a slotted spoon, divide chicken mixture evenly between loaves, reserving about 1-2 cups sauce in the pan for serving. Top the chicken mixture in each loaf with shredded Swiss and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Bake the bread bowls until the cheese melts, about 10-15 minutes. Serve each bread bowl with reserved cream sauce.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Bart and I absolutely love this pizza. How much Alyssa and Joshua like it depends on how they are tolerating spice that day. Overall, they really enjoy this, too. We like to serve it with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. Alyssa likes to drizzle the blue cheese dressing over each slice to help cool down the spice. The recipe comes from Quick Cooking--but I've changed how I prepare it to match my favorite way to make pizza. I'm including both versions below so you can decide how you want to make it.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza (original version)


1 tube (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
1 cup buffalo wing sauce, divided
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 teaspoon each garlic salt, pepper and chili powder
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Celery sticks and blue cheese salad dressing


•Unroll pizza crust into a lightly greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan; flatten dough and build up edges slightly. Bake at 400° for 7 minutes. Brush dough with 3 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce. Combine cheddar and mozzarella cheeses; sprinkle a third over the crust. Set aside.

•In a large skillet, cook the chicken, garlic salt, pepper and chili powder in butter until chicken is no longer pink. Add the remaining wing sauce; cook and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. Spoon over cheese. Sprinkle with oregano and remaining cheese.

•Bake for 18-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing. Yield: 8 slices, 4 servings.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza (Valerie's version)

1 recipe pizza dough (see my favorite recipe posted on this site--I make it in my food processor)
1 cup buffalo wing sauce, divided
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese (I don't really measure the cheese--I just add however much looks good)
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 teaspoon each garlic salt, pepper and chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (for each pizza)
Celery sticks and blue cheese salad dressing


Place a large pizza stone in the oven and preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Make pizza dough according to recipe and let rise.

In a large skillet, cook the chicken, garlic salt, pepper and chili powder in butter until chicken is no longer pink. Add the wing sauce, reserving 6 tablespoons; cook and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside.

Divide dough in half and stretch out each half into a circle as large as you can get it, leaving edges slightly thicker (I like a crisp crust). Let rest for about 15 minutes. Brush one circle of dough with 3 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce. Using a peel, slide dough into oven on top of stone (make sure the peel is floured well so the dough doesn't stick--then use a quick jerk motion to move the crust from the peel to the stone). Bake for 4 to 5 minutes. Use peel to remove from oven.

Combine cheddar and mozzarella cheeses; sprinkle a thin layer over the partially baked crust. Spoon half of chicken mixture over cheese. Sprinkle with oregano and some more cheese (however much you like).

Return to oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing. Repeat with remaining dough.

Yield: 2 pizzas (8 slices each)

Steak Nachos

Recently we made the French Dip sandwiches from Our Best Bites (using Mom's homemade French roll recipe). (Here's the link: We used the leftover roast beef to make these yummy and filling nachos. I love it when we can turn leftovers into a completely different but equally delicious meal!

Dumpling Soup

We love the potstickers we buy at Costco. This is a fun way to turn them into soup for a change of pace from the usual way we serve them.

Dumpling Soup

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine


4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 pound thick-sliced ham, diced
2 tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (I grated it with my microplane to help make sure the flavor infused evenly & without "strings")
4 3-inch strips orange zest (instead of using strips of zest I just used some finely grated zest)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 to 3 napa cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
24 frozen chicken or vegetable dumplings or pot stickers
Soy sauce, for drizzling (optional)


Combine 2 cups water, the broth, ham, sherry, sugar, ginger, orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the scallion whites, mushrooms and carrots. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the carrots are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Add the cabbage, dumplings and scallion greens. Cover and cook until the dumplings are soft and heated through, 4 to 5 minutes. Divide the dumplings and soup among bowls. Drizzle with soy sauce, if desired.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Caesar Chicken-Pasta Salad

There are a lot of flavors going on in this salad, and they all meld together so well! The fresh herbs are key in this recipe, so don't skimp on those! I love eating salads in the winter.  It makes me feel like I'm doing something good for myself!  I served this with a fruit and yogurt parfait (finely chopped frozen peaches layered with vanilla yogurt) or a fruit and yogurt smoothie for those in my family who don't like fruit chunks in their yogurt.

Caesar Chicken-Pasta Salad (8 PointsPlus per serving)
3 cups (about 12 oz.) skinned, shredded roasted chicken breast (from a rotisserie chicken)
3 cups cooked penne (about 6 oz. uncooked tubular-shaped pasta), cooked without salt or fat
2 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce (I actually used 2 small heads of romaine, which is probably double this amount)
1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes (I didn't use as much called for, because Jesse doesn't like tomatoes)
½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
½ cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup fat-free Caesar dressing (Cardini is GREAT; they have fat-free, low-fat, and regular; I purchased low-fat)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 (4 oz.) package crumbled feta cheese (I used fat-free)
1 garlic clove, minced, optional

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss well.  Yield:  4 servings (serving size: 2 cups).

Reindeer Snack Mix

Bart makes this snack mix for us every Christmas season. The buttery, crunchy, spicy and sweet mix is so addicting that you can enjoy it any time of the year.

Reindeer Snack Mix


2 cups Bugles
2 cups cheese-flavored snack crackers
2 cups pretzel sticks
1 cup Corn Chex
1 cup bite-size Shredded Wheat
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine the butter, syrup, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning and cayenne; pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat.
Transfer to an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Yield: about 9 cups.

Creamy Potato Bake

I was excited when I found this recipe because I still had a bunch of frozen hash-brown potatoes from the last swim team fundraiser. I indicated the changes I made to use what I had in the freezer. This side dish goes together quickly and tastes delicious.

Creamy Potato Bake

Original recipe:

2 cups half-and-half
¼ cup butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 (12-oz) pkg. frozen shredded hash-brown potatoes, thawed (I used cubed hash browns)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

How I did it:

2 ¾ cups half-and-half
1/3 cup butter
¾ teaspoon salt
32 oz pkg frozen cubed hash-brown potatoes, thawed
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 13x9-inch (3 quart) baking dish--or use a smaller dish if using smaller amount of hashbrowns. In small saucepan, heat half-and-half, butter and salt until hot. DO NOT BOIL. Arrange potatoes evenly in greased pan; pour hot mixture over potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 350°F. for 45 to 50 minutes (check them at 30-35 minutes) or until light golden brown.

Recipe Source: Pillsbury Holiday

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Salisbury Steak

I simplified the following recipe by using 2 gravy packets and water.  In addition, after cooking the patties on the stove and browning them, I moved them to the crockpot, topped them with fresh, sliced mushrooms, and then poured the gravy over the top and cooked it on low while we were at church.  The meat was tender and full of flavor.  The only complaint was there wasn't enough gravy.

Salisbury Steak
1 lb. ground round
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup uncooked instant rice
¼ tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1 large egg white
Cooking spray
1 ¼ cups presliced fresh mushrooms
2 (10 ½-oz.) cans beef consommé
1 ½ T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. water
1 ½ T. cornstarch

1.  Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl; stir well.  Divide into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a ½” thick patty.
2.  Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat untnil hot.  Add patties, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove from skillet; set aside, and keep warm.
3.  Recoat skillet with cooking spray.  Add mushrooms; sauté over medium-high heat 3 minutes.  Add consommé and Worcestershire sauce; cook 10 minutes.  Return patties to skillet.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.  Remove patties from skillet; set aside, and keep warm.
4.  Combine water and cornstarch; stir well.  Stir cornstarch mixture into broth mixture in skillet; bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly.  Spoon gravy over patties.  Yield:  4 servings (serving size:  1 patty and about 6 tablespoons gravy).  Note:  I may simplify this recipe by using a beef, onion, or mushroom gravy packet. 9 WW PointsPlus per serving.

Quarter-Pound Cake

Pound cake is named after the pound of butter used in the recipe.  So I renamed this recipe to indicate the use of only 1/4 lb of butter!  I don't think you'll miss the other 3/4 lb of butter.  The cake is moist and light and delicious.  I served it with tropical fruit (frozen and then defrosted on the counter for 2 hours) and fat free whipped topping.

Quarter-Pound Cake
Cooking spray
1 tsp. cake flour
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup stick margarine, softened
3 large egg whites or ½ cup egg substitute
1 T. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 ½ cup sifted cake flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 (8 oz.) carton vanilla low-fat yogurt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Coat an 8 ½ x 4 ½” loaf pan with cooking spray; dust with 1 tsp. cake flour, and set aside.
3.  Beat sugar and margarine at medium speed of a mixer until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).  Add egg whites; beat 4 minutes or until well blended.  Add extracts, and beat at low speed until well blended.
4.  Combine 2 ½ cups flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; stir well.  Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
5.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Serve plain or topped with fruit.  Yield:  16 servings (serving size: 1 slice); 4 WW PointsPlus.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Household Tip: Multi-Purpose Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets can be used for more than laundry!

  1. Do you have a baked-on mess on a pot, pan, or crockpot?  Fill the pot, pan or crockpot with hot water, add a dryer sheet, and leave overnight.  The mess should come off in the morning.
  2. Is your iron dirty or sticky?  Heat up your iron, then turn it off.  When it cools down a bit, iron the dryer sheet (with steam).  The dirty, sticky mess should come right off.  Use the dryer sheet to carefully wipe the indented surfaces of the iron if they didn't come clean; just be careful not to burn yourself.

There are probably more uses, but these are the two uses I can personally endorse.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Philly Cheese Sandwiches

One of our favorite restaurants is DP Cheesesteaks (DP stands for Downtown Philly).  We discovered it a year ago because it's located by the closest Don Aslet Cleaning Center.  And we've been back multiple times in the last year.  Here's a version of a cheesesteak sandwich that is quick, easy, and delicious.

Philly Cheese Sandwiches

1 tsp. olive oil
1 ½ cups slivered onion
1 ½ cups green bell pepper strips
½ tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
4 French rolls
Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
8 oz. thinly sliced deli roast beef
4 (1 oz.) slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese

1.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; sauté 10 minutes.  Add bell pepper and seasoning; sauté 3 minutes or until bell pepper is crisp-tender.
2.  Coat top sides of bread slices with cooking spray; top each coated side with 2 oz. beef, ¼ cup onion mixture, and 1 cheese slice.
3.  Place sandwiches on a baking sheet; broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts.  Yield: 4 servings.  

Note:  I added mushrooms to the sauteed vegetables, used mozzarella cheese that I had on hand rather than Swiss, and lightly buttered and toasted the French rolls.  Finally, I used the grill rather than the oven to heat up the meat.  We like our Philly Cheesesteaks served with a mild horseradish sauce.  I really need to figure out how to duplicate the DP Cheesesteaks Cherry Horseradish Sauce.  It is SO addicting and delicious. We're thinking they might add finely chopped Cherry Peppers to a mild horseradish sauce.

Lemon Butter Spritz

I know I keep posting Christmas cookie recipes in January--but these recipes are so good that I don't want to forget them. You can always shape the cookies heart-shaped for Valentine's day or into ribbons, flowers, etc. for any day. Joshua made these festive-shaped cookies on Christmas Eve. He loves to make spritz cookies because he gets to use a "gun" to shape the cookies! We all love the lemony flavor of these buttery cookies.

Lemon Butter Spritz

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 400°F. In large bowl, beat 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar and the butter with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add lemon peel, lemon juice and egg; blend well. Stir in flour and salt until well-mixed. Fill cookie press with dough. Using the cookie press, press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet. (Hint: Don’t use a Silpat or parchment paper—the cookies release from the press best straight onto the cookie sheet.)

Bake 5 to 8 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheets to a wire rack and cool completely.

Recipe Source: Pillsbury Holiday Cookies

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fudge Nut Bars

I know you all already have this recipe--but because it has been such a favorite for years I decided to go ahead and post it here for easy reference. This is the cookie recipe I chose to make on Christmas Eve. Alyssa and Joshua haven't had these for a long time--they both absolutely loved them!

Fudge Nut Bars

Cookie Layer:

1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats

Fudge Layer:
1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened-condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


1 Whisk together flour, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt; set aside. In mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla, flour mixture and oats. Mix well. Press two-thirds of this mixture in a greased 15x10x1-inch pan.
2 In saucepan, combine chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and salt. Heat over low heat (or in top of double boiler over simmering water) just until chocolate chips have melted. Stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla and nuts (if desired).
3 Pour fudge mixture over oat mixture in pan.
4 Sprinkle/dot remaining dough on top of fudge mixture.
5 Bake at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until bars appear done.
6 Cool before serving. Cut into 1-inch squares (or larger bars as desired--we like them bigger).

Recipe Tips
*Press small spoonfuls of remaining dough with your hands to flatten it, then place these flattened pieces on top of chocolate layer.
*This recipe can be baked in other sizes of pans--adjust cooking time accordingly (longer for 13 x 9-inch pan, slightly less for 13 x 18-inch half-sheet pan). I prefer the bars made in a 15x10-inch pan, though.
*It is important to let bars cool before cutting and serving.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fiesta Ravioli

This is an extremely quick meal to make--just serve it with a tossed salad. We thought it was fun to serve ravioli this way because it made them taste like enchiladas!

Fiesta Ravioli


1 package (25 ounces) frozen beef ravioli
1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce
1 cup salsa
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained


Cook ravioli according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, combine enchilada sauce and salsa. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Drain ravioli; add to sauce and gently toss to coat. Top with cheese and olives. Cover and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Recipe Source: The Best of Quick Cooking

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jolly Santa (or Snowman) Cookies

On Christmas Eve, Alyssa, Joshua, and I each chose a cookie recipe to make. This is the recipe Alyssa chose. She had so much fun decorating these--I loved seeing how imaginative she was. She turned some into elves (with dried banana slices for ears!), some into snowmen (with candy corn noses and marshmallow ear muffs), and some into Santas. As far as cookie flavor goes, these cookies are incredible! It's nice to make a sugar cookie that doesn't involve rolling out dough and cookie cutters--it makes for quicker baking so you can get to the decorating part faster. This cookie would be fabulous to make any time of the year--you can just frost them and leave them plain or sprinkle with some coconut if you want.

Jolly Santa Cookies

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Frosting of your choice (I used glace icing flavored with coconut extract)
Decorations of your choice: sprinkles, colored sugar, miniature marshmallows, red cinnamon candies, coconut, M&M’s, chocolate chips, currants, coconut, etc.

Heat oven to 400°F. Beat butter, granulated sugar and lemon peel in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in egg and milk. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Press bottom of drinking glass on each until about ¼ inch and 3 inches in diameter. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Spread frosting on cookie (frost and decorate each cookie before starting another.) Sprinkle red sugar over top third of cookie for hat. Press on miniature marshmallow for tassel. Press 2 currants for eyes and 1 cinnamon candy for nose into center third of cookie. Sprinkle coconut over bottom third for beard.

Recipe Source: Gold Medal Holiday Cookies & Candy