Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Glazed Smoked Ham

From foodtv.com

1 large onion, quartered, root end intact
1 (5 to 7-pound) smoked ham (shank end)
3/4 cup apricot jelly
1/4 cup water
8 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepperPreheat oven to 350 degrees F. Score the ham with a cross hatch pattern through the thick layer of skin and fat. Arrange the onions in the center of a foil lined sheet pan large roasting pan and set the ham on top of them. Bake for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, stir together the apricot jelly, water, thyme leaves, mustard, 3 tablespoons of the vinegar, the molasses, worcestershire, allspice, and cloves in a saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until the jelly has dissolved and sauce is smooth, about 4 minutes. After the ham has been baked for 1 hour, brush with the apricot mixture every 15 minutes for another 45 minutes or until nicely glazed. Transfer the ham to a serving platter, tent with foil and set aside while making the sauce.

Discard the onions, remove foil and pour the sauce into a skillet. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, mix the butter and flour together until you form a paste. Whisk into the pan juices and let sauce simmer until thickened like gravy. Finish with the remaining tablespoon of vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thinly slice the ham and serve with the sauce.

I made this yesterday for our family's Christmas Eve dinner. It was really tasty and very juicy. I did not, however, make the sauce described in the last steps... I had too much burn going on in the drippings to even try. I put the ham on the rack area of my roasting pan--perhaps that was the problem.

Our feast was a success. We served the following:

Knorr's Spinach Dip in Bread Bowl
Cheese and crackers
Bruschetta (I love to make this. Here's the link: Ali's Amazing Bruschetta)
Shrimp Dip (My SIL's husband made this...quite tasty)

Main Course:
Ham, described above
Sweet potatoes (made by my mom)
Scalloped potatoes (made by my mom)
Tossed salad (made by my grandmother)
Cranberry relish (made by SIL's husband)
Italian bread with roasted garlic and olive oil
Green bean casserole (It was my first time making this. It was good, but too many cream choices. Next year, I'll have to go with something lighter).

Raspberry Cheesecake Bars (tasty. Made by My Husband)
Mud (Made by my SIL)
Ambrosia (Made by my Grandmother)
Rum Cake (Brought by my Grandmother)

We had way too much food. My grandmother has this problem of bringing way more than she says she will and it ends up being things that the host doesn't want or have room for. I think one person ate rum cake, and even that was only a tiny slice.

I think next year, I will try to make a pie or keep some of the cookies I make in the house to serve on Christmas Eve.

I don't know how next year will go, since I will be working full time again. Hopefully it will be as successful as this one!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Follow up.

so the Raspberry kisses are pretty good. I didn't get too many out of the batch, but the cookie by itself was pretty good and it was tasty as a sandwich too.

The Meg cookies, well... I think I wasn't patient enough for them. I left them on top of the stove after taking them out of the oven. Then after letting them cool for awhile, they were still hot. I stuck them in the fridge, cleaned up the kitchen, and they were still on the warm side. Impatient me went and cut them and they kinda gooed all over. I tried some from my knife and they are quite tasty, but very very messy. They are not going to be pretty when I take them from the pan.....

I am not a baker.

I am queen of the boxed cakes. I love frozen cookie dough fundraisers because it's an easy way for me to have delicious warm cookies. So, WTF am I doing baking cookies this year for Christmas, especially when I have about 10,000 things on my plate?

Here's what I've accomplished tonight:

1. Peppermint bark--made and sampled. Not bad! So easy! SCORE!
2. Peanut Butter Kiss cookies--made and sampled. Not bad!
3. Chocolate peanut butter Meg Cookies--made and cooling. Looks kinda gross but smells AWESOME. Easy too!
4. Rasperry kisses--ummm, made too small and now my oven is smoking. I will try to salvage the bigger ones and see if it's worth a try again (cause they've been pretty easy thus far).

Dear Kitchenaid Mixer,

If you were a person, you would surely be a woman. You are red and while that can be a bold man's color, in this case, it makes you a woman. You even bow out where your hips would be. You're strong, sturdy, and very pretty.

I know I call you a bitch--that's because you can really be a pain. You're heavy and take up a lot of counter space.

One day, I'll have more counter space and I promise I'll design the decor of my kitchen around your beautiful red-ness. Right now, though, away in a cabinet you go until the next big project.

Ps--Thank you for the help creaming the butter and sugar tonight. It would have been much more difficult if you weren't here to help!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Slow Cooker Lasagne

From Bakespace.com

Slow Cooker Lasagna

added 11/06/07
Recipe Directions & History
Home-cooked lasagna on a weeknight? Yes! Thanks to the slow cooker and no precooking of the noodles!

Prep Time:25 min
Start to Finish:6 hr 35 min
Makes:8 servings

1 pound bulk Italian sausage (or seasoned ground beef or turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cans (15 ounces each) Italian-style tomato sauce (or 45 oz. jar spaghetti sauce)
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
15 uncooked lasagna noodles

1. Cook sausage and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, basil and salt.
2. Mix 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. (Refrigerate remaining mozzarella cheese while lasagna cooks.)
3. Spoon one-fourth of the sausage mixture into 6-quart slow cooker; top with 5 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. Spread with half of the cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with 5 noodles, remaining cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with remaining 5 noodles and remaining sausage mixture.
4. Cover and cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until noodles are tender.
5. Sprinkle top of lasagna with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into pieces.

What? Super easy lasagna? Sounds great! So, I tried this one tonight. I used ground turkey instead of sausage, and I used Tuttorusso's Tomato, Garlic, and Onion tomato sauce. I also didn't use any salt. Finally, I forgot to add the cheese in step 5.

This was pretty tasty. My husband commented that the turkey doesn't really add any flavor and that he'd like to try it with sausage (as per the original recipe!!) or beef.

Overall, I enjoyed this one plus it was easy--score!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Little Meatloaves



  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup crushed buttery round crackers
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian-style seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cracker crumbs, milk, cheese, onion, Worcestershire sauce, Italian-style seasoning, garlic salt, ground beef and ground sausage. Mix this together well and form into individual loaves. Place the loaves in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Mix this together well and spoon some of this sauce over each loaf. Garnish each loaf with some Parmesan cheese and seasoning to taste.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 60 minutes.
This is a standard in our house. I make the mixture and freeze it in thirds. I make meatballs and hamburgers with the leftovers. I typically make this with ground turkey instead of beef or with turkey sausage. We weren't nuts about turkey as a substitute for both.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Cookies

We have so many people to give those little gifts this year for the holidays--the ladies at the gym who watch my son while I work out, new friends with whom I'm not exchanging gifts per se, but want to give something... So here's what I plan to make. Reviews to follow at a later time!

Hershey Kiss Cookies

This recipe is from reader Dana Jago of Loudon, Tennessee, who writes: "My mom made these cookies at Christmas when I was a child. They were always my favorite!" Ingredients:

Recommend this recipe to a friend

2 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Additional sugar
5 dozen kisses, unwrapped

Hershey Kiss CookieDirections:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Add butter and peanut butter and mix until smooth. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Make balls out of level tablespoons of dough - add flour if needed. Roll in sugar.

Bake 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and add 1 kiss to the center of each cookie. Return to the oven and bake for 2 more minutes.

Cool and enjoy.

Holiday Peppermint Bark


  • 1 (12 ounce) package NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels
  • 24 hard peppermint candies


  1. LINE baking sheet with waxed paper.
  2. MICROWAVE morsels in medium, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70 percent) power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.
  3. PLACE peppermint candies in heavy-duty plastic bag. Crush candies using rolling pin or other heavy object. While holding strainer over melted morsels, pour crushed candy into strainer. Shake to release all small candy pieces; reserve larger candy pieces. Stir morsel-peppermint mixture.
  4. SPREAD mixture to desired thickness on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved candy pieces; press in lightly. Let stand for about 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

****Member change****

I love this recipe! I actually add a layer of dark chocolate on the bottom. This is my method...melt the semi-sweet or dark chocolate morsels and spread it on the prepared baking sheet and pop it into the freezer. While that is freezing I then melt the white chocolate and the small candy pieces. I then spread it over the dark chocolate and put it back into the freezer. Break into pieces and store in container or serve.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These are really delicious - and I don't even like raisins! Don't overcook them and they will be nice and chewy. If you prefer you can omit the nuts and increase the raisins to 2 cups instead. Ingredients:

Recommend this recipe to a friend

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons liquid honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Oatmeal Raisin CookiesDirections:

Mix flour, baking soda, salt and oatmeal together.

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in honey and vanilla.

Add flour mixture and mix. Stir in raisins and nuts.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to cool.

Raspberry (Peach) Kisses
Cookies 1,001 Mouthwatering Recipes From Around the World

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2-3 tablespoons raspberry preserves I used peach preserves
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, to dust I didn't bother with this

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter two cookie sheets. (I lined them with parchment and sprayed them very lightly with spray oil.) Sift the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy. Add the eggs, beating just until blended. Mix in the dry ingredients. Drop teaspoons of the dough 1 inch apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. (I used my smallest scoop which was too big.) Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown, rotating the sheets halfway through for even baking. Transfer to a rack to cool. Stick the cookies together in pairs with the preserves. Dust with confectioner’s sugar just before serving.

Makes 15 cookies. (I made one dozen 'sandwiches' and there was one orphan.)


1/2 lb. butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vailla
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3 heaping tsp baking powder

Creme together the butter and sugar. Spread mixture all around to edges of bowl, making a hole in the middle of the bowl. Put all 4 eggs into the hole and beat them with a fork. Add the vanilla to eggs and beat together again. Mix the sugar and eggs together.

Mix the flour, salt, and powder together separately, then slowly add to the egg/sugar mixture, while mixing gradually after each addition.

Roll out the dough with flour on the counter. Roll out just a little bit at a time and not too thin or to thick, about 1/8 inch think. Cut with cookie cutters and place the cookies on wax paper until you have cut all the cookies cut out of the dough.
Once all your cookies are cut start to transfer the first cookies you cut to baking sheets so that the ones you cut last cook last and the ones you cut first cook first, etc.

Bake 350 degrees about 8 min or so, depending on how thick they are.
Do not let the cookies brown, as soon as they are just barely golden around the edges they are done.

Let cool on cookie sheets and then frost with various colored frostings, spinkles, and fun things!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Meg Cookies

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (10 oz) pkg. peanut butter chips
1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for glass dish). In 13 x 9 pan, melt butter in the oven. Sprinkle cookie crumbs evenly over butter, pat down to form crust. Pour condensed milk over crust. Top with chips - press chips down into the condensed milk.

Bake 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool, then cut into small bars.

(I used to be able to buy Oreo cookie crumbs in the store, but now I have a hard time finding them. I buy whatever chocolate cookie is on sale, and crush them up myself, either by hand or in the food processor).

Luscious Lemon Squares

Recipe courtesy Sara Brook, Dessert Gallery Bakery & Cafe, Houston


Food Network Specials


Rachael Ray's Ballpark Cafe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into small cubes

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust: In a food processor, blend ingredients until they resemble coarse meal. Press mixture into the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch pan. Bake until set and golden, about 20 minutes. Cool.

For the filling: In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar and lemon juice together. Add flour and baking powder, blending only long enough to incorporate. Pour filling into baked crust and bake until set, about 25 minutes.

Cool. Dust with powdered sugar before cutting. Cut into squares.

Bodacious Broccoli Salad



  • 8 slices bacon
  • 2 heads fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and crumble.
  2. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, cheese, bacon and onion.
  3. Prepare the dressing in a small bowl by whisking together the red wine vinegar, sugar, pepper, salt, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Combine dressing with salad. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

I had something similar to this at a friend's housewarming party. I loved it so very much, I found this recipe for our own housewarming party. I completely loved it and it was so so easy. I used bacon bits and I was out of lemon juice, so I tried lime juice. Both of them worked well as substitutions!

This is such an easy recipe, and it's one of those that lends itself well to not measuring. A little of this, a little of that and it tastes great!

Slow Cooker Chicken Creole


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Creole-style seasoning to taste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped


  1. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. Season with salt, pepper, and Creole-style seasoning to taste. Stir in tomatoes with liquid, celery, bell pepper, garlic, onion, mushrooms, and jalapeno pepper.
  2. Cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 5 to 6 hours.

This seemed easy enough. Some veggies, some chicken, some spice. And it was super easy to make. I didn't even dice--I put it all in my food processor; how I love that thing.

The house smelled fantastic; I was really looking forward to liking this. I also made some McCain's American style potato wedges as a side. We really like those buggers, and I have yet to make roasted potatoes on my own.

So we open up the crock pot. I cooked on high for 5 ish hours--perhaps that was part of the problem. The chicken looked--weird. It was fork tender (Looking at the picture on the website shows that the chicken should be shredded, I suppose before serving), which is wonderful. It was just too dry, we couldn't take it. Into the trash it went.

But boy were those potatoes good. ;)


I'm inspired by so many foodie and cooking blogs that I see. I have one bookmarked in which the author is trying to put her extensive cookbook collection to good use by making and reviewing them. Hey, I can do that! I cook a lot, and I love to try new recipes. I'm not a fantastic cook, but I'm alright.

My husband is sort of on the fussy side. He claims he is not, because he is always willing to try new things. That said, he doesn't like beef (only likes it if it "doesn't taste like beef), macaroni and cheese, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, eggs, or regular pasta with spaghetti sauce. He's not a huge fan of pork chops, but does like some of the pork chop recipes I make.

So, my choices here are limited. One can only eat chicken so many times a week. Vegetarian recipes are tough as well since they typically have beans in the mix.

So, I'll give this thing a whirl and see how it goes.
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