Merry Christmas to all of you out there in Blogville! What a busy time of year for everyone and I truly cannot believe that Christmas was yesterday. As we woke up this morning, it saddened me that each day now will become a little less bright, as far as Christmas lights go. Each day, more folks will begin taking down the tree and the outside lights. January arrives and along with it, more cold weather. BUT….that thought excites me because it means the possibility of some snow or icy days when the roads are closed and we have a reason to stay home and watch movies, without guilt. It is on those days that things like gingerbread just sound so good. If you are like me, you have probably began to collect some of the Santas or Snowmen that adorn your home to put away until next Christmas. Honestly it felt good to get in the kitchen this morning and begin to bring down the Christmas dishes to pack away and clean up before putting out the dishes that we use for Jan and February. (Yes I do have dishes that are simply for Jan and February) What can I say except that I love kitchen dishes). Getting back to my subject of Giving Gingerbread, as I was baking this morning between ridding the kitchen of Santas, I started to think about something. Why do we feel that just because Christmas is over, we don’t need to bake goodies to give away? Wouldn’t it be so wonderful to hear the doorbell ring as I am packing away Christmas; and there at the door is a friend handing me some gingerbread biscotti to enjoy as I sit and rest after a day of packing away all the Christmas decor? So I began to bake this amazing new recipe that I found last night. It is scrumptious and makes enough to give to someone that might come to your mind. It was so simple to make and the flavor is just so wonderful. AND…since Starbucks did away with their gingerbread flavored drinks this year, I have been missing gingerbread everything. So this is my answer to my gingerbread craving. Seriously, it is some of the best biscotti I have had. You are probably going too remind me that I say that about every biscotti I make, but this one is really my favorite (at least until I am craving chocolate and cherry flavored biscotti which will probably happen around Valentines Day).
*Taken from She Wears Many Hats
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teas baking soda
1 teas salt
1 1/2 teas cinnamon (I used 2 teas)
1 1/2 teas ginger
1 heaping teas of pumpkin pie spice (I use this in place of the following:
3/4 teas ground allspice, 1/2 teas cloves, 1/4 teas black pepper)
6 tables softened butter, unsalted
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar,
2 large eggs, room temp
2 teas vanilla
2 tables unsulfured molasses
1 cup finely choppe peans or walnuts
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries, or her recipe called for dried apricots, which I would have used had they been in my pantry, but I had cranberries today, so I used them.
1/2 table powdered sugar (I omitted this and used granulated sugar)
Mix flour, baking soda, salt and spices together in a bowl. In another mixing bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until well combined. Add the eggs, vanilla, molasses and beat until mixture is mixed completely. Add butter mixture with flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in nuts, cranberries and vanilla chips if desired.
Shape into two football shaped logs on parchment paper on baking sheet. Sprinkle either the powdered sugar or granulated sugar over the top of each log. Bake in preheated 350 oven for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temp to 300 degrees. Cool biscotti for 5 minutes before Slicing diagonally and then place each piece back on a baking sheet and bake biscotti for about 9 minutes in 300 oven. Turn the oven off.
***(The following instructions are my own, as I have now been successful doing all the biscotti this way instead of baking according to all other instructions.)
Remove from oven and turn each piece over and then place biscotti back in oven which has been turned off. As the oven cools, the biscotti will “dry” and become crispy. After about 30 min, remove from the oven and cool completely. Keep in airtight container and think about who you can share some. IT might be the beginning of a brand new friendship or bless someone who was just needing a little extra kindness.
Am including a picture of what the biscotti log should look like before baking.
Yesterday I was blessed to have so sweet long time friends for lunch. “They” say to never make a new recipe when you are having company BUT….it seems like it is those times when I want to try something new and different. When looking for a recipe to make i came across this one and it sounded delicious plus it could be made the￼ day before, so it sounded like we had a winner! The only change that I made was this! I bought a jar of Alfredo sauce to pour over the bottom of the casserole (my favorite Paula Deen dish) dish, as I wanted to be sure that I would have plenty of the homemade Béchamel sauce to pour over the top! It was a winner indeed. Loved the flavor and the beauty of the dish! Served it with a spinach salad filled with mandarin oranges, almonds, strawberries and raspberry dressing and Sister Schubert garlic butter rolls (I just melted a stick of butter and garlic and poured over the top before baking the rolls! INGREDIENTS
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 small onion, diced
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups cooked and shredded chicken (equivalent of 1 rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups warmed milk, preferably whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon dry sherry or marsala (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
16 lasagna noodles (from a 1 pound box)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a large, rectangular casserole dish or lasagna pan. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they start sweating liquid, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil; continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated out. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a separate bowl along with the shredded chicken.
To make the bechamel (white sauce), add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the pot and melt over medium heat. Stir in the flour until thick paste forms; continue cooking to remove the “raw” taste, about 1 minute. Pour in the milk and chicken stock and cook, whisking often until the mixture is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Whisk in the salt, mustard powder, sherry, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, followed by 1/4 cup grated Parmesan.
While the bechamel is thickening, prepare the noodles. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and arrange on a lightly greased sheet pan to prevent sticking.
Fold the chicken and mushroom mixture into the bechamel. Taste and adjust seasoning. (Be liberal with salt and pepper.) In a separate bowl, combine mozzarella, Gruyere, remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Spread 1 cup of the chicken mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles on top of the chicken, overlapping if necessary. Spread about 1 cup of chicken mixture over the noodles followed by 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the remaining cheese on top.
Bake, uncovered, until the lasagna is hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
- 6 tablespoons
unsalted butter, divided
- 1 pound
baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
small onion, diced
- 2 to 3
large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup
dry white wine
- 3 cups
cooked and shredded chicken (equivalent of 1 rotisserie chicken)
- 1/2 cup
plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups
warmed milk, preferably whole milk
- 1 cup
- 2 teaspoons
kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon
dry mustard powder, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon
dry sherry or marsala (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup
grated Parmesan, divided
lasagna noodles (from a 1 pound box)
- 2 cups
shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups
grated Gruyere cheese
Today I had volunteered to bring an apple cake for a dear friends birthday celebration. This is one of her favorite cakes, especially the praline frosting. If she was at the house when I might be making the frosting, she would stand there with a spoon, eating the frosting right out of the bowl. So, as per her request, I made an apple cake with her favorite frosting. There is an apple cake that is already on the blog, but for some reason, this new recipe caught my eye, as it had a 1/2 cup of orange juice in the batter. Because it is so much fun to try new flavor combinations, this one intrigued me. All I can tell you is the women at the party all commented, saying they wanted the recipe. It really was, we thought a great flavored apple cake. Very moist, yet not mushy or soggy, as some apple cakes tend to get. Because it had a little less than the 3 cups of chopped apples that a lot of recipes call for, it had a little more cake texture to it. This will now be my “go to” recipe for apple cakes.
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teas vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teas baking soda
1 teas cinnamon
1 heaping teas pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teas salt
2 1/2 cup chopped apples, finely diced (Gala apples worked well in this recipe)
* If you add 1 cup of chopped pecans, add them when you add the apples
Combine melted butter, oil, sugar, eggs. Mix until well combined. Add orange juice and vanilla. Stir until completely mixed.
In another bowl, combine flour, spices, baking soda, and spices.
Stir flour mixture and then add to sugar/oil mixture. Mix until no lumps remain. Then add the apples and nuts (if desired). Stir until well combined. Pour into a greased and floured large bundt pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until cake test done.
When cool, turn out onto a cake plate. Pour praline frosting over entire cooled cake.
Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a small saucepan with 1 cup of light brown sugar. Stir consistently until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
Pour over 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add chopped nuts if desired. If needed, add about 2-4 tables whipping cream to get frosting to spreading consistency. Add 1 teas vanilla and continue beating. When cake is cooled, pour over entire cake.
How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? Hope that all of you had the blessing of gathering around the table with family and friends to make some wonderful new memories. We were blessed to have two of our kids and their families here. Isn’t it just so wonderful to be able to enjoy your adult children? I heard about a family gathering that escalated into yelling and screaming because some of the relatives began to argue about something. That is something I just cannot even begin to understand. Years ago, my oldest sone, Jason, was in college and some of his friends came over when Jason came home for the holidays. They began to tell me how Jason would just walk into a room that was full of college boys, arguing over sports, or girls or something and Jason would yell “why can’t we all just get along?” and everyone would then start laughing. It is with a heart full of thanksgiving that we do enjoy our kids and so appreciate the time which we spend with them. Well, all that said, last night, after a full 5 days of cornbread dressing, potatoes, turkey, ham, pies and cakes and wonderful rolls, we realized yesterday that even our very unhealthy bodies were tired of all the greasy, rich meats and dishes. So we put on a pot of beans, cut up a head of cabbage, onion, cut up a couple of potatoes and got the small iron skillet out for cornbread. As I was looking in the fridge to get more butter out, (do not even think about asking me how many pounds of butter I have used the last 2 weeks, because I am too embarrassed to ell you.Lets just say that there is now an empty corner in the fridge where all the butter was stored) there was the Mexican squash I had bought, thinking that I might use it in a dish for Thanksgiving. But, there it was just sitting there waiting to be cooked. So out it came and it was such a great addition to our veggie meal. So, (after all the above 1000 words that was probably more than you ever wanted to know about our Thanksgiving) here is the recipe I used and it was so good.
2 cups cut up Calabacita Squash (Mexican squash)
2 tables olive oil
1 tables unsalted butter
1 teas fresh oregano
1/2 teas garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil and butter in a small skillet. Add the cut up squash and seasonings to skillet. Stir until squash begins to brown a little on the edges. It was at this point that I added about 1/4 cup water to the pan and put a lid on so the squash would get tender. As it cooks, stir every few min so squash does not burn. If you like the flavor of the oregano, and garlic, you might like to add a little more per your preference. This squash is also great in vegetable soups.
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