Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies


Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Bakery, Cookies, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 5 dozen
 
Just about everybody loves sugar cookies and these buttery cookies with the melt-in-your-mouth addition of cream cheese are especially lovable. They are flavored with the warm spices of the holiday season. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can use cinnamon and a little nutmeg, grated with a microplane instead. They are not like the heavier shortbread cookies, nor as “tough” as a rolled or pressed cookie. The flavor is more complex than a Snickerdoodle and I don’t find these cookies to be as doughy. They are fairly delicate and crispy and it is very hard to eat just one…or two…or three. While I call them Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies, I am thankful that they are delicious any time of year. I was trying to count how many I made in this last batch so I could write the number down for you with some authority, but I started eating them as I put them on the cooling rack. I’m pretty sure it made around 5 dozen cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter – 2 sticks or 1/2 pound (leave at room temperature for about an hour)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (leave at room temperature for about an hour)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar + more for dipping a glass to press the cookies
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (only if using unsalted butter)
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Beat in the sugar (and salt, if using) until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix the flour, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice together until the color is uniform. (Be sure to get any lumps out of the baking powder before pouring it in the flour.) Stir the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together just until combined. Chill an hour or more to firm up the dough to make it more manageable.
  2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll tablespoons of the dough into balls quickly with the palms of your hands. Place them on ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. A one-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop makes this very easy. Fill a shallow bowl with granulated sugar. Rub a very small amount of cookie dough (to make the sugar adhere) on the flat bottom of a glass or a small metal measuring cup that fits in the shallow bowl. Dip the glass in the sugar and flatten each ball of dough into a thin circle, dipping the glass back into the sugar for each cookie.
  3. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.

Strata Lorraine


Strata Lorraine
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 10 main dish servings
 
Strata is a fancy name for a casserole of bread, milk, eggs, cheese, and ingredients that flavor the custardy result, allowing you to make it in a different version every time. This is an excellent breakfast buffet item during the holidays because it can be assembled the night before, refrigerated and put in the oven about an hour before you intend to serve it. It is reminiscent of quiche, but without the high-calorie, time-intensive crust. It can easily be made in a quantity suitable for a large group. In this case, the well-known Quiche Lorraine was the inspiration for the dish. Reduced-fat Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, sautéed onions, and bacon are the basis for preparing this flavorful casserole. Some recipes call for layering the ingredients, which is why it got the name “strata”, but layering is not necessary. Once again, this is a base recipe that you can alter to your taste and the occasion. You can switch out the type of cheese you use, the type of bread you use, the meat you choose (or no meat), the vegetables you add, the seasoning, etc. You can make the dish richer by using full-fat cheese or half and half to replace the milk. I especially enjoy a vegetarian version made with sautéed mushrooms and blanched broccoli. A Mexican-inspired version that reminds me of chiles rellenos can be made with green chiles and a mixture of Jack and Cheddar cheeses, served topped with a spicy tomato sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound loaf of bread (Butter-top wheat works well)
  • 1 pound Jarlesberg reduced-fat cheese
  • 1 cup bacon bits
  • 9 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish, such as a Pyrex 9x13 pan. Cut the onion into 1/4 inch dice. Sauté in the butter over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the onion caramelizes and becomes golden and sweet. While the onion is cooking, dice the cheese into small pieces (or grate it if it is a single piece) and place in a large bowl. Cut the bread into 1/2 inch dice and add to the bowl. Add the bacon bits and black pepper. Add the sautéed onions. Mix to distribute the ingredients. Pour into the baking dish.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Mix in the salt and the milk. Pour the liquid gently over the bread mixture and press the bread lightly into the dish to distribute the moisture evenly. At this point, you can cover the dish with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until the next day. Remove from the refrigerator and bake in a 350 degree F. oven until puffed and golden, about 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes.

 

Cranberry Citrus Relish


Cranberry Citrus Relish
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
 
This is a very easy and common recipe, but it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving at our house without it. While this cranberry citrus relish is a tradition, it is a little different each year depending on the whims of our “relish chef” and which citrus fruit is available in the market or on our trees. My son has been responsible for making the relish each Thanksgiving since his early teens, so clearly anybody can do a great job of preparing this recipe. The texture of the minced cranberries and citrus and the interplay of sour and sweet is the perfect contrast to the other components on the Thanksgiving plates…not that Thanksgiving is the only time we eat this. We often double the recipe to ensure that we have leftovers for turkey-cranberry relish sandwiches, and if you do that, make it in two batches so the food processor can handle it well. There is usually somebody who depends on our also opening a can of jellied cranberry sauce to satisfy a childhood view of Thanksgiving tradition, but it is easy enough to accommodate. The sugar in this recipe can be replaced with an equivalent amount of your favorite non-caloric sweetener, but the result will not have the pleasant, syrupy quality that using real sugar gives it. It will still be very tasty.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 medium orange or 2 tangerines or 2/3 cup kumquats
  • 2/3 cup sugar (or more to taste)
Instructions
  1. Wash the cranberries in a bowl of water and discard any berries that sink. Drain the berries and put in your food processor with the steel knife in place. Cut the citrus into chunks and discard any seeds. Do not discard any of the citrus peel. Add the citrus to the food processor along with 2/3 cup sugar. Pulse until the mixture is fairly uniform. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Turkey Italian Sausage Lasagna


 

 

Turkey Italian Sausage Lasagna
Author: 
Recipe type: Entrée, Main, Pasta, Poultry
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 8 servings
 
This lasagna comes together quickly using commercial pasta sauce. You could take the time to make your own sauce, but the results are very good using a bottled sauce that you like. We find that Prego sauce with mushrooms works for us. I like to use freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano because a small amount adds big taste. A microplane grater gives very even results easily. Once you have cooked the pasta and the sausage and grated the Parmesan cheese, it is just a matter of assembly, heating the casserole and browning the top. Serve this with a green vegetable and you can have dinner on the table in a little over an hour including baking and setting time.
Ingredients
  • 15 lasagna noodles (from a 1 pound box…there will be some leftover)
  • 1 20 ounce package of turkey sweet Italian sausages
  • 2 cups or 1 15 ounce container of part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning
  • Approximately 6 1/2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (We like Prego mushroom sauce)
  • 1/2 cup of lightly packed, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Instructions
  1. Boil the lasagna noodles in salted water for about 2 minutes less than the package directs to achieve a firm al dente texture. Rinse with cold water and drain.
  2. While the water is heating and the pasta is cooking, remove the sausage meat from the casings and break it into small pieces. Sauté the sausage in a skillet on medium heat for a few minutes until it is cooked through. Do not discard any liquid that may accumulate.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put a thin layer of pasta sauce in a 9x13 non-reactive baking dish. Make a layer of pasta using 4 noodles the long way in the dish and one in the other direction to fill the surface of the pan. Distribute half of the cooked turkey sausage over the pasta. Evenly dot the surface with rounded teaspoonfuls of one cup of the ricotta cheese. Distribute 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese evenly over the layer. Sprinkle the cheeses with 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning. If there is liquid left in the sauté pan from the sausage, pour it over the first layer of ingredients. Pour about 2 1/2 cups of the sauce over the meat and cheeses and spread it evenly to cover. Repeat the layers as described above. Top with a third layer of pasta noodles. Use the last cup to cup and a half of sauce to cover the surface of the pasta. Bake until the casserole is heated through and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle the top with the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and return to the over to brown the cheese. You can use the broiler to speed up the browning, but watch it carefully to avoid burning it. When the top is golden, remove from the oven and allow the dish to sit for 15 minutes before cutting to help the layers retain their shape.

 

English Toffee

Toffee topped with chocolate or chocolate and almonds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

English Toffee
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy, Snacks, Gifts, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2+ pounds
 
This recipe makes a crunchy, nutty, chocolate-covered toffee that is perfect for holiday gifts and parties. You will probably have to make more than one batch as it is pretty irresistible. Candy gets very hot when it is cooking, so this is not a good recipe to make with children. Store the candy in an airtight container or it will tend to get sticky. If you use salted butter, omit the salt in the recipe. This is the kind of recipe where having the right tools can make a big difference in how easily the job is accomplished, but you can make this uncomplicated candy even if you have none of these tools. A candy thermometer, offset spatula, non-stick silicone spatula and non-stick silicone pan liner make this so simple any cook can be successful with little effort. I prefer to prepare the candy with small nut pieces/nut dust on top of the chocolate layer, as it is neater to break and eat. You can put chocolate on both sides of the candy by leaving about 1/3 of the chocolate aside and melting it for application once the first side has set, but I find that unnecessary.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (bar broken into small pieces or 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they are slightly darker throughout. Do not over-toast or the nuts will taste bitter. Using a silicone pan liner such as Silpat reduces the chances of burning the bottoms of the nuts and allows you to toast the nuts without any stirring. Let the nuts cool. Using a rocking motion, chop them into small pieces with a chef’s knife, holding the point of the knife against the cutting board and lifting the handle slightly and rotating the knife to a new position for the next cut. Set aside about 1/4 cup of the smaller pieces and 'dust' to use for topping the candy.
  2. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil or use a silicone pan liner such as Silpat.
  3. Place the butter, sugar, salt and water in a heavy pan on medium heat. The mixture will foam up as it cooks, so the pan should be at least twice as deep as the ingredients. Place a candy thermometer in the mixture. Cook, swirling the mixture occasionally until the foaming subsides. At this point, the candy will cook rapidly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula or wooden spoon until the candy reaches the hard-crack stage at 300 degrees (see Note). The candy will be a golden brown caramel color. Remove the pan from the heat immediately. The temperature will continue to rise. Working quickly, stir in the vanilla and the larger quantity of nuts. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread and smooth the surface with your spatula or spoon to about 1/4 inch. Distribute the chocolate pieces over the candy and allow them to melt for two minutes. Spread the chocolate over the surface. An offset spatula will help spread it evenly. Sprinkle the almond dust/nuts that you put aside onto the chocolate, pressing them in lightly to help them adhere. Cool the candy until the chocolate is set, break it into pieces and store in an airtight container with waxed or parchment paper between the layers. You can also put the candy in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.
  4. Note: If you are not using a candy thermometer, you can test for the hard crack stage by dropping a little of the molten syrup into very cold water that you have standing by next to the stove. At hard crack it will form brittle threads that break when bent. Be careful not to touch thick pieces of candy in the water as they are likely to be hot. You cannot leave the candy on the heat while you are testing or it will burn the sugar and cause the caramel to be bitter.

 

Caramel Popcorn


Caramel Popcorn
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks, Gifts, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 8 quarts
 
Whether you think of caramel corn as a Halloween treat, an inexpensive holiday gift or a delicious snack, this recipe is easier to prepare than recipes that have you cook the syrup to a higher temperature before covering the popped corn. The oven heat finishes cooking the candy, while stirring the warm corn helps distribute the syrup evenly. Fill decorated holiday cellophane bags with cooled caramel corn and tie with ribbons or raffia to make great trick or treat favors or stocking stuffers for family, friends and coworkers. Fill a large tin with caramel popcorn to make a substantial holiday present that is fresher and more personal than mail order popcorn.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 1/2 pound (1 cup) butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (Karo)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 7 to 8 quarts popcorn (see Note)
  • 1 cup of salted peanuts (optional)
Instructions
Note:
  1. One (1) ounce or 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn will make approximately a quart of popped corn; therefore you will need to pop about 1 cup popcorn kernels. I prefer the electric poppers that have a stirrer in the bottom which make up to 6 quarts at a time because I find that air-popped corn sometimes has a scorched taste. Depending on your popper, you might need to pop the corn in two batches. Of course if you don’t have a special appliance, you can pop corn in a large pot. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil per half cup of kernels and shake the pot as you hear the kernels popping to avoid burning the corn. When the popping slows down, remove the pot from the heat and transfer the popped corn to your baking pan.
PREPARATION:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Use a large, non-stick roasting pan or lightly oil a large baking pan or roasting pan. If you have a silicone liner such as Silpat, you can also line your pan with that. Check the capacity of your pan before you find yourself with a lot of popcorn and a pot of hot syrup. If one pan is not large enough, plan to split the ingredients between two pans. Pop enough corn kernels to get 7 to 8 quarts of popped corn (about one cup). Place the popped corn (and the peanuts if you are using them) into your baking pan. You can leave the popped corn in the oven in your baking pan while you make the second batch and prepare the syrup. Boil sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt to the soft ball stage, 234° to 238° on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Add the baking soda (and vanilla if you are using it) and stir well. Be careful, as the hot sugar syrup will foam up when you add the soda. Pour the syrup over the popcorn and stir. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes. If your oven doesn’t go that low, check the popcorn and stir more frequently. The caramel corn should be golden in color and feel less sticky when it is done. Slightly underdone is better than overdone. Remove from the oven and cool. When it is cool, break into pieces if necessary and store in airtight containers.

Clouds with Custard and Fruit



Clouds with Custard and Fruit
Author: 
Recipe type: Desserts, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 12
 
This is a variation of the classic Pavlova dessert. It is a simple meringue, baked into crisp little nests for custard filling and ripe berries. I developed this recipe to enter a contest held by the local hospital for heart healthy recipes. This was a winner in the dessert category. The hospital’s chef prepared a wonderful dinner for us, serving our winning entries. It was a little early for strawberry season and that was the only berry he used as cost was probably a consideration, but he enhanced the flavor of the strawberries with a little lemon juice and thinly sliced mint leaves. You might choose to do the same. I find they make an elegant presentation when each person has an individual serving, but you must assemble the dessert just prior to serving or the custard and berries will start to melt your crisp meringue shell. If fat and calories are not an issue for you, you can use whole milk for the pudding and perhaps even serve the clouds with a pouf of whipped, sweetened heavy cream with a touch of vanilla extract. It would not even be outrageous if you decided to make only 8 servings with this quantity of ingredients. When making the meringue, separate the yolks from the whites while the eggs are cold so that the yolks won't break as easily. It is helpful to use a small bowl to put each egg white into while separating so that if you accidentally break a yolk, you will only lose the single egg white. Use a very clean bowl and beaters and ensure that not a bit of yolk has gotten into the egg whites. Any fat in the whites will stop them from beating up into a stiff meringue.
Ingredients
  • 4 egg whites (room temperature for greatest volume)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 small package Vanilla Instant Pudding (can use sugar-free)
  • 1 1/2 cups cold low-fat or skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups fresh berries (any combination of, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or sliced strawberries)
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 225ºF.
  2. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Add granulated sugar gradually, beating until stiff, shiny peaks form.
  3. Spread the meringue into 12 small circles or one big circle on parchment-covered baking sheets, indenting center slightly. Bake 1-1/2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in until cool. You can leave them overnight. If you make them ahead, store in an airtight container or they will absorb moisture and get sticky.
  4. Whisk the pudding mix, milk and flavoring in a medium bowl for 2 minutes until thickened. Refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, stir the pudding to make it creamier, place the meringues on plates and fill the centers with the pudding. Top with berries and dust with powdered sugar. (If you have a tea strainer or mesh ball, that is an easy way to sprinkle the sugar without much mess.)

Mean Woman Pasta

Mean Woman Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Salads, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 12-16 sides
 
Here is another very versatile salad that is great for potlucks. It is best after it has marinated for a minimum of several hours, so it is a good salad to prepare the day before you plan to serve it, with no last minute effort other than a quick re-stir. If you are going to a party with a loved one, make sure you both eat some, as garlic has a strong role in this. As with other pasta salads, it can go a long way and is inexpensive, especially in the late summer when tomatoes are abundant. You can still make it at other times of the year using good quality canned, diced tomatoes, but there is nothing quite like the sweetness of a home-grown, ripe tomato. If you are planning to do some of the preparation with a food processor, I suggest dropping the garlic cloves into the running processor and when they are chopped, stop to add the tomatoes and pulse them to get small chunks of tomato. Resist the urge to set the processor to “on”, as that will give you tomato sauce. If you haven’t tasted a Kalamata olive, you should. Kalamata olives are the ones you also will find in a tasty Greek salad. I don’t recommend trying to substitute with other sliced black olives as they will not have the distinctive taste of the Kalamata which makes this salad so good.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound small pasta such as shells, elbows, bowties, etc.
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 pepperoncini (pickled peppers)
  • 1/4 pound of feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain, but do not rinse. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, olives, basil, olive oil, and pepperoncini. Toss the pasta with the sauce and marinate for several hours or overnight. You could eat it immediately after preparation, but it will improve from letting the flavors meld and the garlic mellow a bit over time.

Cabbage Ramen Salad

Cabbage Ramen Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken, Salads, Tofu, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 18
 
My family loves this salad. It is a great dish for taking to potlucks as you can feed a lot of people without spending a lot of money. I have doubled and even tripled the recipe for parties and it always seems to disappear. Cabbage is one of the superfoods that should have a bigger role in our diets. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and a good source of vitamins and minerals. It is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family which is associated with a reduced incidence of a number of cancers. You can buy coleslaw mix, but cutting your own cabbage will give you a fresher salad and save you money. If you are concerned about nut allergies, toasted sunflower seeds make a substitute for the almonds. If you are serving vegetarians, you can use Top Ramen brand Oriental flavor, which contains no animal products. To turn this into a full meal, add shredded roasted chicken or sautéed tofu cubes (dredge in corn starch to get them to brown well) to the salad. This makes 4 generous servings as an entrée.
Ingredients
  • 1 head of cabbage, grated or sliced thinly* You can use a mixture of green and red cabbage for variety. (2 - 2 1/2 lb. cabbage = ~9 cups)
  • 4 whole green onions (scallions), sliced into thin rings
  • 1 3-ounce package ramen noodles with chicken flavor seasoning packet
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup of slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I use cider vinegar, but white vinegar is fine too.)
  • Black pepper
  • Cilantro leaves (optional)
Instructions
  1. I love almonds, so I use the larger quantity. Toast the almonds in the oven, microwave, or while stirring in a small heavy pan on the stovetop, but watch them carefully as they can burn easily. If you are using a 350 degree oven, it will take about 8 minutes and you can reduce the chance of the nuts burning by placing them on a silicone sheet such as Silpat. Set aside to cool.
  2. Crush the ramen noodles while they are in their original bag. A small mallet, hammer, or meat pounder used gently does a good job. It helps to put the ramen noodle bag in a larger plastic bag to avoid getting noodles all over the place if the bag breaks.
  3. For the dressing, dissolve the sugar and the chicken seasoning packet from the ramen noodles in the vinegar in a small jar. Add the salad oil and black pepper to taste and shake to mix.
  4. The cabbage and onions can be prepared the day before, mixed together and refrigerated in the serving bowl or a plastic bag. The almonds and noodles can be prepared the day before and mixed together and stored in a plastic bag at room temperature. The dressing can be made the day before and refrigerated in a small jar.
  5. Mix all the ingredients together shortly before serving. If you like cilantro, don’t forget to add it now. This salad will still taste good on the second day, but the cabbage and noodles will soften after storage with the dressing on them.
  6. *To slice cabbage, cut it in half through its core. Put the flat side down and cut in half once again through the core. Holding one of the quarters vertically, slice the tough core part out down the length of each quarter. Put one of the flat sides of the cabbage quarter on your cutting board, and make very thin slices across the wedge. Start making slices at the pointy end and continue making slices until you finish at the core end. Now you can use your knife to slice the pile three or four times across all the slices to make smaller pieces.

Chicken with Honey and Bread Crumbs

Chicken with Honey and Bread Crumbs
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 6
 
This baked chicken resembles pan-fried chicken and gets its crunch from Japanese panko bread crumbs or fresh crumbs made by pulsing bread in a food processor. It has a hint of sweetness from the honey and balsamic vinegar. When pounding chicken breasts to an even thickness, I prefer using a Ziploc bag rather than plastic wrap. The heavier plastic of the bag protects the chicken better, doesn’t move around or stick to the meat pounder like plastic wrap sometimes does, and you always know which is the clean side and which is the chicken side of the bag.
Ingredients
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 5 to 6 oz each)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (or fresh bread crumbs)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9×13 baking dish with aluminum foil. Spread the oil over the bottom and sides of the aluminum foil-lined pan.
  2. In a shallow bowl that will fit a chicken breast, mix the honey and vinegar together with a fork, scraping the bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the honey is dissolved. Put the panko or bread crumbs in a second bowl or flat plate.
  3. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. If the chicken breasts are of different thicknesses, put each breast in a Ziploc bag and pound with the flat side of a meat pounder to even the thickness. For children, you can cut the breasts across into strips to make nugget sized pieces. Working one at a time and using tongs, dip each chicken piece in the honey mixture to cover both sides and allow any excess to drip off. Place it in the crumbs and cover the whole surface with bread crumbs, pressing them lightly in place. Put the chicken in the oiled, foil-lined pan and continue until all pieces are coated.
  4. Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 35-40 minutes turning halfway through to brown both sides, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer or until the chicken is no longer pink inside. The surface of the chicken should be golden brown. If some of the crumbs aren’t brown enough, you can put the dish under the broiler briefly to finish browning them.

Pralined Almonds

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pralined Almonds
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Gift, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
 
Pralined almonds, also known as candied almonds, are a sweet treat that can be eaten whole as a snack, crushed for decorating frosted cakes or adding to ice cream sundaes, or chopped coarsely to add to salads. They make a great hostess or holiday gift in a pretty jar with a ribbon or in a decorative can. The recipe itself is very easy, but I do not recommend trying to cook more than one batch at a time as stirring the sandy, sugar-coated nuts can take a bit of effort until the sugar re-liquefies.
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups whole almonds (untoasted)
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner such as Silpat or aluminum foil to use later for cooling the nuts. In a medium saucepan with a handle you will be able to hold onto securely, heat the water and the sugar over medium heat without stirring until the temperature reaches approximately 248F degrees on a candy thermometer. If the thermometer is not completely submerged in the syrup, tilt the pan a bit to get an accurate reading. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the almonds with a wooden spoon or other strong, heat-proof utensil. Continue to stir until the sugar crystallizes and appears sandy. Return the pan to the stove top and cook the almonds over medium heat, stirring constantly until the crystallized sugar liquefies and coats the nuts. This will take about 10 minutes. Be careful to not overcook at this point or you’ll risk burning the nuts and the caramel, which can taste bitter if it burns. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Spread the nuts on the lined baking sheet and working quickly with two forks, separate the nuts from each other. Allow to cool. If you find that you have too much butter coating the cool nuts, blot with paper towels. Store the almonds in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

 

Toasted Walnuts with Rosemary


Hard to photograph...Delicious to eat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toasted Walnuts with Rosemary
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Gifts, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 cups
 
Whether you are serving these as a snack, with drinks or using them to dress up a salad or sautéed vegetables, you will enjoy the earthy, resinous flavor of the rosemary and the salty-sweet-spicy combination of salt, sugar, and black pepper. They are delicious warm, but if you are packaging them, make sure they are completely cool. They also make a nice hostess or holiday gift. Do not substitute table salt for the kosher salt. The larger crystals of the kosher salt not only add a nice texture and crunch of salt in some bites, but the same volume of table salt has twice the saltiness of kosher salt. You can use any of the larger-grained sea salts. You can make the dried ground rosemary by stripping fresh rosemary needles from their stems and leaving them to dry on a sheet of parchment paper for a day or two. Grind them in a blender or electric coffee grinder. If you do not have ground rosemary, you can substitute 3 tablespoons of chopped, fresh rosemary needles.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups (1 pound) walnut halves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary needles
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the rosemary, salt, sugar, and pepper. Add the nuts, drizzle in the oil and gently mix all of the ingredients until the nuts are evenly coated with the oil and the seasonings. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a non-stick silicone liner such as Silpat or aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven, stirring occasionally until the nuts are golden and toasted, about 15 minutes. Cool the nuts in the pan on a cooling rack. When the nuts are cool, transfer to a serving bowl or an airtight container. These will keep for 2 weeks at room temperature.