Easter has come and gone and you are left with a pound (or three…) of ham. It was just two of us this Easter dinner, since our toddler is still an extremely picky eater and our infant is just now managing pureed vegetables. I bought the smallest ham I could find, but it was still 4 pounds of meat. Sunday’s Easter dinner was delicious, with honey baked ham, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and spiced peaches. The next day’s lunch and dinner of ham and mashed potatoes, and then ham, smothered in honey dijon to camouflage the taste, and cheesy potatoes were equally filling, though not as satisfying. And now it’s Tuesday, and I still have at least four days of ham left in my fridge and a spouse traveling for work. I despise throwing away food so it is up to me to polish off this ham. And, I am already sick of it. In comes my delicious, palate saving, Leftover Easter Ham and Egg Casserole Recipe. Continue reading
I love any excuse to be extra-festive, merry, and eat desserts. Birthdays, major holidays, new hires, retirement, kids’ fifth grade graduation… you get the point. It’s relatively easy to bring a little festive cheer into the work place with a pleasant attitude and maybe a desk decoration or two, however, as I mentioned, I like desserts. Desserts for major Holidays like Christmas and Halloween are pretty straight forward (red and green or orange and black decorations, pies…), but, it can be difficult to come up with work appropriate desserts for holidays like Valentine’s Day. Sure when you’re a kid at school you can bring candy-grams and lollipops or conversation hearts and pink heart cookies in to your classmates, but XOXO and hearts may not be the most professional approach in the job place. You do not have to skip holiday fun because it trends towards mushiness and expressions of love; you can wish your colleagues well and be thankful for their friendships and show it through some work appropriate Valentine’s Day desserts like Oreo Cookie Balls and Iced Cake Donuts.
For my recipes and decorating tips go to:
Iced Cake Donuts – coming soon!
I received a batch of Oreo Cookie Balls from a dear friend for Christmas a couple years ago and that same day I asked for the recipe! I’ve changed it up a bit, added a few more steps and punched up the decor for an extra-chocolatey kick. You can eat these at home (they will not last long), share with friends and neighbors, or take to a work party. Everyone loves this dessert. If giving as a gift, dress it up on a festive plate or in a paper dessert box. These do get a little ‘melty’, so keep them refrigerated until ready to be devoured! I think the best way to serve these is to have a combination of flavors in a batch (mint, chocolate, strawberry) and different finishing decorations (crumbs, sugar, chocolate, sprinkles, etc.) so that everyone can enjoy the many flavors that are packed into one dessert. Continue reading
Halloween movies and costumes should be the stuff of nightmares, not your candy shopping bill. This year I decided to skip the bags of chocolate (half of which seems to be consumed before the actual main event…) and opt instead for making homemade Halloween Candy Corn Rice Krispies Treats. This is a viable option for me this year because we are known to our neighbors, as we live on post and literally have our name on the door; if anyone has health or safety concerns, they can ask us and be rest assured that the goodies were baked in a clean kitchen with the best of intentions. Continue reading
Homemade Rice Krispies Treats are easy and quick to make, and they are a fun and affordable alternative to go-to desserts like brownies and cookies. You may be tempted to just dive right in and make the recipe per the instructions on the back of the Rice Krispies cereal box; they are the experts right? That’s fine, but there are a few crucial steps that you really need to be aware of before you get started. Take my advice and first read about these common mistakes to avoid when making rice krispies treats and tips to cooking gooey, scrumptious desserts. Continue reading
Happy Cinco de Mayo! I like to celebrate this holiday with family and friends, and that means potluck! This weekend I prepared a delicious Chorizo Queso Dip for our neighborhood block party; it had just the right amount of spicy kick and the oozy, cheesy goodness was a hit!
Tonight, just for my family, I am preparing this delicious whole wheat chicken enchilada recipe. You can go all out with traditional ingredients, or opt for a slightly healthier route by substituting fat-free whole wheat tortillas and reduced sodium and low-fat sauce. These are super easy to make and delicious served with black beans and rice or guacamole. Yum! Continue reading
Happy Cinco de Mayo! I live on a military post in a fabulous, tight-knit community. Every month or so, we come together in a neighborhood block party. There are usually anywhere from 30-50 people there, and everyone signs up in advance for a potluck item. This past weekend, our theme was Cinco de Mayo in honor of today. I made this Chorizo Queso Dip recipe in my slow cooker which nicely complimented my neighbors’ dishes of enchiladas, tacos, and bean salad.
The slow cooker sure makes things simpler and less stressful in the time leading up to a party; just plug it in and let it do its thing while you run errands and get ready! This recipe requires a little cooking, since you have to pre-cook the chorizo in a skillet first. But that can be done well in advance of your party time and added to the slow cooker later. Continue reading
Here in the USA, many celebrate the Fourth of July with friends and families, picnicking, playing sports, listening to patriotic music, and all together enjoying a festive atmosphere.
Some red, white and blue-themed foods are a great way to add to the fun. This delicious, simple Fourth of July Fruit Tart Recipe has a summer freshness and a Patriotic-bent, perfect for any sized gathering.
- 18 ounces sugar cookie dough, refrigerated
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¼ c. sugar (granulated or baker's)
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- 1 c. each of fresh (organic optional) strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, pre-washed and drip dried
- 1 tbs. pineapple marmalade (or flavor of choice)
- 1 tbs. water
- 1 tbs. grated lemon zest (optional)
- Medium-sized mixing bowl
- Hand-held electric mixer
- 12 inch tart pan or similar
- Wire Rack
- Small, microwave-safe bowl
- Basting brush
- First, prepare your sugar cookie dough. TIP: You can purchase packaged sugar cookie dough, or you can prepare homemade sugar cookie dough. I prefer to use a tried and true scratch recipe (so you control the sugar content and there are no preservatives!). The dough needs to be refrigerated, for at least an hour, before spreading in the tart pan.
- Bake the tart crust on the middle oven rack at 350F for about 12 minutes (until golden brown). Let cool (in the pan) on a wire rack. TIP: You can use a regular pie pan for this recipe but the baked cookie dough will rise to fill most of the pan, so just carefully scoop out the excess cookie, while it's still fresh from the oven, leaving a nice even layer of baked cookie all around the bottom and edges of the pan. (And nibble on the cookie leavings) Or, if using a pie pan, only use about 15 ounces of cookie dough for the crust.
- To prepare the filling, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and almond extract until well-combined and all the lumps are smoothed out. TIP: To cut back on calories where it will not be noticed, use a low-fat cream cheese option. Also, use baker's sugar instead of regular granulated sugar for a smoother finish. Add in about 1 Tbs. grated lemon zest for a POP of summer freshness (optional).
- Spread the filling over the tart crust. TIP: The filling should cover the top of the crust edge to help hold the fruit toppings in place.
- While the filling is still pliable, place your fruit in your desired pattern (think star, stripes, color-blocks).
- Stir the marmalade and water together in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 10 second bursts until the jelly is melted (do NOT let it boil); allow to cool for about 2 minutes then spread over the fruit and exposed pie filling with the basting brush. This gives the tart a nice "glossy" finish. TIP: Orange marmalade is another great option.
Start that stove top and get to brewing some good luck for the New Year! Eating blackeye peas on New Year’s Day is a long-standing southern tradition, with recipes passed from parents to children in the hopes of bringing on a bit of luck for the upcoming year. My mother has made this recipe for as long as I can remember, and now it is my turn to bring this tradition to my new family and our friends this season. Though this year is the first time I have prepared this dish by myself, I know I will get the recipe perfect because my taste-buds have an excellent memory! Continue reading
After eating all those rich holiday foods, my body craves salad. Now, there is no reason to jump feet first into the deep end of health-nut eating straight away. You can still enjoy a small splurge now and then to help wean yourself off of the fattening and sugary meals your body has grown accustomed to over the last few weeks! My go-to post-Christmas meal is a fresh, green caesar salad with croutons. This salad goes great with many holiday leftovers like turkey and ham. Make the salad extra delicious with this simple, homemade garlic crouton recipe.