Monthly Archives: December 2013

Turkey Burgers with Cranberry-Apple Relish

Here we are…2013 is almost over and the holidays will all soon be behind us.  There are certain foods that I only like to eat around the holidays and cranberries are one of them.  I know they are mostly used at Thanksgiving but some people make a whole Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas too so I tend to think of them as a holiday food, not just a Thanksgiving food.  These Turkey Burgers with Cranberry-Apple Relish are slightly festive and a good meal for these days between holidays when we are waiting for the New Year to come.

Fresh cranberries, orange, and apple are whirled together to come up with a unique relish that tops a homemade juicy turkey burger flavored with onion, parsley and sage.  Maybe you wouldn’t normally think to top a burger with a fruity relish but this adds a tangy yet slightly sweet contrast to the herby burger and really works.  I used provolone cheese and baby spinach to complement this burger but any cheese (especially a spicy cheese like cheddar jack) will do.  If you want some holiday flavors at some point but don’t really feel like making a whole big meal, why not try this burger?  It’ll take you back to the holidays any day of the year.

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The ingredients:

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Place cranberries, orange zest, orange, sugar and apple in a mini food processor. Pulse 10 times or until coarsely chopped. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt; set aside.

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Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly.

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Combine onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, sage, pepper, turkey, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stirring just until combined.  Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 4-inch patty.  Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; grill 5 minutes. Turn patties; grill 3 minutes. Top each with 1 cheese slice; grill 2 minutes or until cheese melts and turkey is done.

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Divide arugula evenly among bottom halves of buns. Top each serving with 1 patty. Divide relish evenly among servings; top with top halves of buns.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Baby spinach
  • Provolone cheese

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

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Mulled Cider

Are you someone like me who reaches for something warm as soon as you get home from work because you are so cold?  I admit I usually reach for some red wine (warm in it’s own way) but sometimes I’ll have some hot tea which just gets boring after a while. Warm apple cider is just a perfect drink around the holidays.  This non-alcoholic Mulled Cider is a perfect way to warm up on a cold day.

Fresh apple cider is simmered with orange slices, brown sugar, cloves, star anise pods and cinnamon sticks and allowed to steep to get a festive, deep flavored, and slightly spicy mulled cider.  Good for both adults and children alike, this cider will warm you to your core and prepare you for a cold night (or morning) by warming up your insides.  Make this ahead of time to sip on Christmas morning and simply warm up (and add a splash of bourbon if you feel so inclined).

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The ingredients:

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                        In a large saucepan, combine apple cider, orange slices, brown sugar, cloves, star anise pods and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep at least 2 hours.

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Strain out spices before serving.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Family Circle magazine

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomato

Ahh, eggs.  I swear I could eat them everyday.  And I almost do.  Until recently, I wouldn’t eat any egg that had even a hint of a runny yolk.  As in no over-easy eggs, no “dippy” eggs (aka sunny side up), no eggs Benedict.  Then all of a sudden, I became obsessed with vegetarian eggs Benedicts.  So now, I’m no longer grossed out.  Well, I am a little.  But I’m getting over it quickly.  Because of this new revelation, I am now suddenly even more drawn to eggs than ever because now I have so many more options (how many times can you eat fried, scrambled, or deviled eggs?)!  These Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomato are slightly dippy in the middle but filled with tons of other flavors making this a not-so-standard breakfast.

Onions, spinach and tomatoes are mixed together with spices before being spooned into ramekins, topped with a fresh egg and feta cheese and baked.  This dish is filled with flavor and puts plain old scrambled eggs to shame.  Serve this with a side salad and you could have this for lunch or dinner.  I left mine in the oven a little longer than the recipe said but not because of the runny yolk, but because I wasn’t sure if the whites were cooked fully.  I haven’t quite mastered the “baking” of eggs yet so I never quite do it right.  But this is a really fantastic alternative to eggs which would be festive for a holiday breakfast one day this week.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat  oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add  spinach and sauté until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from  heat.

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In a medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, cumin, salt, pepper,  paprika, and, if desired, hot sauce. Add onion-spinach mixture  and stir to  combine. Divide among 4 oiled 10-ounce ramekins.

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Crack an egg into the center of each ramekin, then sprinkle on feta.

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Bake until whites are set but yolks remain soft, 12 to 15 minutes.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Reduced-fat feta cheese

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Country Living magazine

Double Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Bourbon Ganache

This is a cookie that will whip all your other cookies’ asses.  There are cookies…and there are COOKIES.  This, my friends, is a bad-ass COOKIE.  As in it’s almost a meal and if you can eat more than one, then you are my hero.  I took these Double Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Bourbon Ganache to work and got a lot of rave reviews.  One co-worker even commented that he wanted to make a grown-up cookie for a party and could I send him the recipe?  That is a successful cookie in my book.

Semi-sweet chocolate and heavy cream are mixed together and chilled before being knocked out by a hit of some good old bourbon and chilled again until thickened.  The creamy mixture is then spread between two basic chocolate-chip cookies (i.e. if you really wanted to use store-bought cookie dough here, you could) where you now have the chocolateyest (not a word) and most decadent sandwich cookie.  Because of it’s richness, I would consider either using milk chocolate in the ganache (since semi-sweet chips are in the cookie dough) or making the cookies smaller.  I used a small ice cream scoop for my cookies and think they could have been half the size.  These cookies aren’t joking around, I’m just going to tell you.  They have an attitude and aren’t afraid to show you.  I nearly didn’t finish one and I swear I heard it laughing at me.  I dare you to take them on.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until blended.

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Combine flour and next 2 ingredients in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in morsels just until combined. Drop dough by level spoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, using a small cookie scoop (about 1 1/8 inches).

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Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).  To make ganache, microwave semisweet chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a 2-qt. microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 2 1/2 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt, stirring at 30-second intervals.

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Whisk in bourbon, softened butter, and vanilla. Cover and chill, stirring occasionally, 1 hour and 30 minutes or until thickened to a spreadable consistency.

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Spread Bourbon Ganache on flat side of half of cookies (about 1 Tbsp. per cookie); top with remaining cookies.

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Cover and chill cookies 2 hours or until ganache is firm.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Southern Living magazine

Almond-Lime Zesties

When I told my friend I was making these Almond-Lime Zesties, she cringed.  “I don’t like almonds and I don’t like lime,” she said.  Whaaaaaat?  I almost considered not making these because the last thing I want to make is a cookie someone doesn’t like.  But these looked easy to make and I already had the ingredients to make them so I gave it a try.  I have to say, I’m pretty happy with these.

With only five ingredients, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make these and they come together rather quickly.  They are simple butter cookies jazzed up with ground almonds and a little lime zest.  The almonds really give these cookies a bold nutty flavor and the lime is just subtle enough to give them a citrus kick.  I added a little extra powdered sugar after they had cooled completely because when added to them warm, the cookies kind of soaked it up.  The extra powdered sugar makes these look like little snowballs which is perfect at Christmastime.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Beat butter and 1 cup powdered sugar at low speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in lime zest. Add flour and ground almonds gradually, beating until well blended. Chill 15 minutes.

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Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until light golden brown on bottom. Let stand on baking sheet 2 minutes.

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Roll warm cookies in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar, coating well. Let cool completely.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Coastal Living magazine

Oregon Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

I try to change up the cookies I make every year because the only cookies I’m willing to repeat are my peanut butter cookies (thanks to my family and friends who always say “But you are making your peanut butter cookies, right?”).  If you aren’t careful, you can either end up with a bunch of beige/white cookies (i.e. peanut butter, sugar, chocolate chip, butter) or nothing but chocolate cookies.  I like to have a little bit of both.  These Oregon Chocolate-Cherry Cookies may not sound like holiday cookies but really, who’s to judge?  Any cookie is a holiday cookie in my opinion.  And what holiday isn’t made better by lots of chocolate?

These cookies have both cocoa and chocolate chips and are topped with a drizzle of even more melted chocolate.  Dried cherries added another layer of flavor which I have to say is what drew me to these cookies (which is I guess why they are called Oregon cookies).  Dried cherries are like candy to me and I will eat them in just about anything.  These cookies are chewy and very chocolatey – perfect for the chocolate lover in your family.  Leave a plate of these for Santa and he’ll be happy.  Just don’t forget the milk!

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The ingredients:

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Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg, beating until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.  Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

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Stir in 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels and dried sweetened cherries.

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Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on lightly greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake, in batches, at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks. Drizzle cookies with 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels, melted, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Coastal Living magazine

Maple-Walnut Spice Cookies

How does December get so busy?  Here it is already the 16th and I haven’t had one post since before Thanksgiving.  Where does the time go?  Well, Christmas is already next week (can you believe it?) so in my world that means one thing – Christmas cookies!  This week, that’s all I’ll have for you.  Because I’ve decided that what I love making most of all is cookies.  It’s time I sit down and figure out how in the world I could have my own cookie shop because it would make me so happy.  Anyway, the first cookie I have for you this week is Maple-Walnut Spice Cookies.

Cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and cloves are added to a maple-laced dough making for a spicy little holiday cookie (well, holiday in my book!).  Topped with a simple frosting, also laced with maple syrup, and chopped walnuts, this cookie’s bold, unique flavor may not suit everyone’s palette but for someone looking for a cookie other than simple butter or chocolate chip, this might be for you.  The dough is thick making it easy to roll into small balls of dough for easy baking.  I made mine pretty small, trying to make them close to bite size since you probably wouldn’t want to eat too many of these spicy snacks in one sitting.  If you are looking for a grown-up substitute for gingerbread cookies, try these instead!

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 350°F.  To prepare cookies, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through cloves) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

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Place brown sugar and 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add 2 tablespoons syrup and egg; beat until well blended. Beating at low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until combined.

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Spoon batter evenly into 30 mounds (about 1 tablespoon) 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

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To prepare frosting, combine powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons syrup, milk, and 2 teaspoons butter, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

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Spread frosting evenly over cooled cookies. Working quickly, sprinkle cookies with nuts.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

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