Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chocolate Crackletops

Source: Grandma's Cookie Jar Cookbook


2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter or margarine

4 sqaures (1 ounce each) unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 3/4 c. M&M chocolate mini baking bits

Additional granulated sugar


Combine flour and baking powder; set aside. In 2-quart saucepan over medium heat combine 2 cups sugar, butter and chocolate, stirring until butter and chocolate are melted; remove from heat. Gradually stir in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. Chill mixture 1 hour. Stir in M&M's; chill mixture an additional 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with foil. With sugar-dusted hands, roll dough until 1-inch balls; roll balls in additional granulated sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool completely on wire racks. Store in tightly covered container.

Reindeer Cookies

Source: Better Homes and Gardens: Ultimate Cookies, 2009


1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. shortening

1 c. sugar

1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/4 c. all purpose flour

Miniature pretzel twists

Red candied cherries

Miniature candy-coated semisweet chocolate pieces


In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350. On a lighly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time into an 8 inch square. Cut each square into sixteen 2-inch squares. Halve each square diagonally to make 64 triangles. Place two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

For each reindeer, place two pretzel twists just under a long edge of a triangle for antlers. Add a halved red candied cherry for nose and miniature chocolate pieces for eyes. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Holiday Sugar Cookies

I haven't posted in awhile because of my hectic year-end work schedule, but I was able to do quite a bit of holiday cookie baking. I had a cookie exchange at work and I brought in several different types of cookies. Therefore, my next three posts for today will be the holiday cookies that I tried. Enjoy!

Source: Grandma's Cookie Jar Cookbook


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 c. sugar

1 egg

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Colored sprinkles or sugars (optional)


Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add egg; beat until fluffy.

Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well blended. Form dough into ball; wrap in plastic wrap and flatter. Refrigerated about 2 hours or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough, small portion at a time, to a 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin. (Keep remaining dough wrapped in refrigerator)

Cut out dough with 3-inch cookie cutters. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles or sugars, if desired. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cookies stand on cookie sheets 1 minute; transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Yes, it's time for another venison recipe! I still haven't made a dent in my freezer with all the meat, but I'm going to keep on trying! This recipe turned out fabulous, but if you're squeemish about venison, this recipe will work perfect with ground beef or turkey. If you're cooking for only 2 or 3 people, I recommend cutting this recipe in half because I think this recipe was for over a gallon's worth of chili. We'll be having leftovers for a few days. This recipe was another great weekend set-it-and-forget-it recipe for the Crock Pot as well. I would definitely make this again.

Source: Laura's Recipe Collection


2 lbs ground beef or venison

2 red peppers, diced into larger chunks

2 yellow peppers, diced into larger chunks

2 1/2 C frozen corn

1 28 oz. can tomato sauce

1 30 oz. can chili beans

1 medium onion, chopped

2 C canned black beans

3 T. chili powder

Tabasco to taste

Sour cream and cheese to top, if desired


In a large skillet, brown and drain the beef. Chop the peppers and onion. Add these into the crockpot. Add in the rest of the ingredients, aside from the sour cream and cheese, and mix well.

Simmer for 8-10 hours on low. Garnish with sour cream and cheese, serve.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

This was a new recipe to try that was requested by my husband. He loves broccoli and after eating a cream of brocolli soup that we had eaten at my work's holiday banquet, he asked if I would make a similar recipe. This soup turned out really well and depending on your mood, you don't even need to add cheese. This soup is definitely perfect for a Sunday dinner during the winter.

Source: Cooking Light


Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (16-ounce) package broccoli florets
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces light processed cheese, cubed (I used Kraft mild cheddar)


Heat a large nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and broccoli. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes.

Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

Place one-third of the soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan.

Lime-Vodka Punch

I love to try different kinds of creamy punches, especially with alcohol. Hehe. I attended a holiday party yesterday with my friends and I wanted to bring a fun, festive punch to share. This recipe was really simple and delicious, and it disappeared quickly. The recipe actually only calls for a few cups of vodka, but as the night went on, we kept adding more and more vodka because we couldn't even taste it. When I made the second batch of punch, I added the whole bottle of vodka right away. I wouldn't recommend adding this much vodka if it's for a family party :-).

Source: All Recipes


2 cups lime vodka
2 (2 liter) bottles chilled lemon-lime soda
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1/2 gallon lime sherbert


Stir together vodka and soda in a large punch bowl. Add ice cream and sherbet; stir and serve immediately.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Crockpot Venison Tenderloin

I still have at least 100 pounds of venison still in my freezer so I am still working on trying to clear it all out. The stew I made last weekend took so much time, so for this recipe, I just wanted something that would only take a few minutes of preparation. I had never cooked venison in the crock pot before, so I decided to do a little experimentation. I found a crockpot pork tenderloin recipe and just substituted the meat and altered the cooking time. This recipe turned out fantastic. I was afraid the meat would taste game-y, but it tasted quite the opposite and the meat came out so tender and flavorful.

Source: Adapted from Love To Eat


1 venison tenderloin about 2 lbs (I used 2 tenderloins - 1 lb. each)
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
1 cup red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 tbsp minced garlic
Pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce - a few dashes


Put tenderloin in crock pot and rub with minced garlic and pepper. Add onion soup mix. Pour wine and water over and add dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Set crock pot on low for 6-8 hours until meat is cooked thoroughly.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Herb-Breaded Tilapia

I love all kinds of shell fish, but I usually don't care for fish fillets. I didn't really like tilapia until I tried the discontinued Tilapia in a Bag dish at Red Lobster. Tilapia doesn't have a fishy taste at all so I really enjoy it. I also enjoy its health benefits! I tried a new recipe last night for dinner because it looked so easy. It really was! All in all, the combined cooking and preparation time was about 15 minutes and the fillets were so flavorful! I also added a side of creamy orzo cooked in chicken broth, then mixed with some parsley and a splash of lemon juice. Yummy!

Source: Elly Says Opa!


2 tilapia fillets
2 Tbsp. flour
1 egg
1 lemon, divided
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsp, fresh chopped parsley (I used dry parsley, worked fine)
2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme (I used dry thyme, worked fine)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder


Season the tilapia with salt and pepper and then dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess.

Lightly beat an egg in a small baking dish or bowl and mix in the juice of half the lemon. In another dish, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.

Dip the floured tilapia first in the egg, and then into the breadcrumb mixture, coating evenly and pressing to adhere if necessary.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once hot (if you flick a little piece of the breadcrumb mixture in there and it bubbles/sizzles, you’re good to go), add the tilapia. Cook for approximately 3 minutes per side, or until fish is cooked through and flakes with a fork.

Cut the remaining half lemon into wedges and serve alongside the tilapia

Monday, December 7, 2009

Italian-Style Venison Stew with Egg Noodles

This is a recipe I don't expect a lot of my readers to actually try. However, my husband loves hunting and was able to kill two large bucks this year. He gave the meat of one of the bucks to Hunters for the Hungry, but the other buck was butchered and all the different cuts of meat are now packed in our freezer. Our freezer is overflowing so I've been looking for recipes to start clearing it all out. So if you like venison, you're in a for a treat because a lot of my upcoming recipes will feature venison. Don't worry, I'll also be cooking other meals!

For our first venison recipe, I tried a pretty intense recipe from Emeril Lagasse. I had to start the recipe 36 hours before I started cooking it to prepare the marinade, which was also pretty intense. Once it was all finished, the finished product looked great, but I wasn't really a fan of the taste. My husband loved it, which was the important thing, considering he is so proud of all the meat that he has. The marinade had too much vinegar in it for my liking. The gamey taste of the deer was definitely eliminated, but the vinegar taste really stood out. That was how the recipe was supposed to taste, so all in all, this recipe was pretty successful.

Source: Emeril Lagasse, 2003


3 pounds venison stew meat, such as round or roast, trimmed and cubed
4 cups dry red wine (I used a Cabernet)
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (divided)
1 cup chopped carrots (divided)
1 cup chopped celery (divided)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves
8 parsley stems
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons juniper berries (I omitted these)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped (I used bacon)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces wild mushrooms, wiped clean and stems trimmed, or quartered button mushrooms
12 ounces wide egg noodles
Chopped parsley, garnish


In a large non-reactive bowl, combine the meat, wine, vinegar, 3/4 cup onions, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 cup celery, garlic, rosemary, thyme, cloves, parsley stems, bay leaves, juniper and peppercorns. Stir to combine, cover, and marinate 24 to 36 hours, refrigerated.

Drain the meat thoroughly, reserving the liquid, and pat dry.

In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until brown and the fat is rendered. Remove and drain on paper towels. In batches, add the drained meat and cook, stirring, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add the remaining onions, carrots, and celery, and the minced garlic. Cook, stirring, until soft. Add 1 cup of the reserved marinade and bring to a boil, stirring to deglaze the pan. Return the meat and bacon to the pan and add enough marinade to come halfway up the sides of the meat. Reduce the heat, cover slightly, and simmer until the venison is tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. (The cooking liquid should reduce and thicken as the meat cooks, yet add additional liquid should be added as needed to keep the meat halfway covered during cooking.)

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender and starting to brown. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the egg noodles and cook until al dente. Drain well and return to the pot. Toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve, place the egg noodles in a large serving bowl. Top with the stew and arrange the cooked mushrooms over the stew. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oreo Truffles

I'm a big fan of looking for recipes on the What's Cooking? board on The Nest.com. Today, everybody was talking about how amazing this oreo truffles recipe is. I wanted to take a fun dessert to work so I thought this would be a good one to try. I definitely understand its popularity! These truffles were perfect and extremely addictive!

Source: Recipezaar


1 lb. Oreo cookies (3 sleeves)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. milk chocolate
1/2 lb. white chocolate


Using a food processor, grind cookies to a fine powder. With a mixer, blend cookie powder, cream cheese and vanilla extract until thoroughly mixed (there should be no white traces of cream cheese).

Roll into small balls and place on wax-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Line two cookie sheets with wax paper. In double-boiler (I put a pyrex dish in a pot filled with water), melt milk chocolate. Dip balls and coat thoroughly. With slotted spoon, lift balls out of chocolate and let excess chocolate drip off. Place on wax-paper-lined cookie sheet.

In separate double boiler, melt white chocolate. Using a fork, drizzle white chocolate over balls. Let cool. Store in airtight container, in refrigerator.


I made this recipe again for a cookie exchange at my work. Instead of dipping the oreo truffles in melted chocolate, I dipped them into crush candy canes, YUM! It was a great time, the peppermint taste blended so well in the oreo.

Macaroni and Cheese

A few days ago at Thanksgiving, I had some really good homemade mac n' cheese. I had really forgotten about how much I enjoyed eating it as a comfort food so I decided to try making it at my own house. I liked the recipe because it allows you to decide what type of cheeses you want to use. If you have extra time, I recommend baking the macaroni in a pyrex dish topped with cheese and some breadcrumbs.

Source: The Pioneer Woman


4 c. dried macaroni
1/4 c. (1/2 stick or 4 tbsp.) butter
1/4 c. All-purpose flour
2 1/2 c. whole milk
2 tsp (heaping) dry mustard
1 egg
1 lb. cheese, grated (I used sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, and Colby Jack)
1/2 tsp. salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper


Cook macaroni until very firm. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat the egg. Set aside. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don't let it burn.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Read heat to low. Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk together until smooth. Pour egg mixture into sauce, which constantly. Stir until smooth. Add in cheese and stir to melt. Add salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed. Do not undersalt!

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately or pour until a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.