Thursday, December 22, 2011

Biscuits for (Wo)Man's Best Friend

The shopping is done.  The presents are wrapped and placed under the tree.  But perhaps there is one member of your family you may have forgotten.  Have you forgotten your best friend?  She is always there for you, through thick and through thin, unconditional love, whether you want it or not.  Why not do something special for your four legged friend this year?  Why give just another stuffed toy that will be ripped apart and gutted in a matter of minutes?  What does your pup love more than discovering that squeaker?  People food, plain and make some doggie treats and show your pup how much you love him or her.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shortbread, Any Way You Like It

You may find yourself wanting to bake some cookies for Christmas.  Maybe you're not quite up to the big Christmas cookie bake-a-thon.  Maybe you want to bake just one cookie that you can either eat plain or douse in chocolate.  Maybe you want nuts, and maybe you are not feeling too nutty. This is a very adaptable recipe.  I wouldn't call this a kid kind of cookie recipe.  It's more sophisticated.  It's not a dunk in your milk cookie, its more like a nice cookie to have with a cup of tea or a cappuccino.

My mother used to bake shortbread stars for Christmas.  It was her cookie.  As children, my brother and I had no interest.   I guess that's why her shortbread stars were always the last remaining Christmas cookie in the tin.  Oh, did I mention that shortbread cookies keep well, sealed tight in a tin?  Now I get the appeal.  I've made several shortbread cookies over the years and find Ina Garten, a woman with no fear of butter, has a great shortbread recipe.  My mother always made her shortbread using powdered sugar rather than granulated sugar.  Combining my mom's recipe with Ina's produced a crisp, buttery, delicious cookie.  Dipped in bittersweet chocolate, they become something special.  To dip or not to dip....I split the batch and make them both ways.  Whip up a batch and see what a great, versatile cookie this can be .  By the way, it's OK if you want to add this recipe to your bake-a-thon as well.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Creamy Broccoli Soup, Without the Cream

So if you are like most people, you are in the midst of holiday mode.  Almost everyone deviates from their usual eating habits this time of year.  Shopping and eating on the run, the inevitable treats that invade the office, parties and social gatherings can wreak havoc on the diets of the most disciplined eater.  It's always good to have a few light dinner ideas to counteract the evils of holiday indulgences.

This broccoli soup is a perfect antidote for a day of bad eating.  I find myself making a soup like this for a light dinner after Paul spends a Sunday afternoon with the boys watching football.  Watching football really means eating wings, nachos, pigs in a blanket and drinking beer.  He's not usually hungry for dinner on those days, but at 7:30 or 8:00pm he's looking for something to fill "his empty spot".  A bowl of soup served with a crusty bread does the trick.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gingerbread Heaven, Spice Up Your Life!

This is not a gingerbread for anyone who may be afraid of a little spice. It has beaucoup spice.  It has a deep, dark, rich flavor. It is ooey, gooey, and yes, a little bit chewy and did I mention it is delicious?  Well, it is.  I discovered this recipe a few years ago and have loved it ever since.  It was developed by a chef at the Gramercy Tavern.  I don't believe it is offered on their menu any longer, but the recipe is alive and well thanks to the internet.  This recipe has been written about so much, I hesitated to blog about it for fear of sounding redundant.  But if even one gingerbread lover reads it here and decides to give it a try, my efforts will not have been in vain.  I have no personal story about this cake, but I do have some strong words of advice.  Heed my warning and you will be rewarded.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Easy Enchiladas with 20 Minute Enchilada Sauce

We returned from Orlando last week and eased back into the work week.   I needed to do some food shopping before heading back to work.  I picked up a few items to get us started, but soon realized that a run to Costco was in order.  I made a short list of Costco worthy items and convinced Paul to do the Costco run.  I don't know why I did that.  I should know that he will come with everything on the list as well as everything else that tickles his fancy and his fancy is easily tickled.   One of the things that Paul can't seem to pass up is the rotisserie chicken.

Now, if you've been reading my blog you know that I think Costco rotisserie chickens are a shortcut made in heaven.  My Green and White Chicken Chili and Polenta Crusted Chicken Pot Pies are two favorite recipes that use rotisserie chicken.  It's just that we've been eating so much Turkey since Thanksgiving.   Lauren and Matt made a fantastic Thanksgiving turkey, but I had to make another turkey breast for Paul when we got home so he could have the turkey sandwiches and leftovers he so loves.  I was a little roast poultried-out ( yes, I know it's not a word).  The last thing I wanted to see was a Costco rotisserie chicken.  I think I snarled when I saw it sitting on the kitchen counter and said something like, "I hope you can eat a whole chicken"  Well, he couldn't.  So for his penance, he stripped it off the bones, cut it all into bite sized pieces, in hopes that I would transform it into something that doesn't scream chicken.