Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's

Most people eat something special on New Year's Day for luck or prosperity.  Last year, I made Hoppin' John.  It is a southern dish of cooked black-eyed peas served over rice.  I will be making it again for New Year's Day dinner tomorrow.  What are you having to celebrate the coming year?  Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crockpot Chicken

This is a recipe I have been making for years.  It has that warm comforting feel of chicken noodle soup without the noodle soup.  Actually, after making it this time, I am wondering if you could make it into chicken noodle soup.  I think all you would have to do is add more broth.  Then when it is finished cooking shred up the chicken, removing skin and bones.  Add chicken back to veggies and broth and serve with egg-free noodles.  What do you think?  Let me know if you try it before I do!

I know my husband will prefer the recipe here, since he is not a soup lover.  I usually serve the chicken and veggies with a quick and easy rice pilaf.  I hope you and your family enjoys this healthy, comforting meal!

If you like this recipe, you may also like Thyme Roasted Chicken with Onions and Potatoes (EF, GF).

Crockpot Chicken

1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
4 celery ribs, washed and chopped
1 large onion, diced
4 split chicken breasts (with bones and skin – about 4 pounds)
1 c chicken broth*
2 t dried basil
2 t salt
1 t black pepper

Place celery, onion and carrots in the bottom of slow cooker.  Top with chicken.  Pour broth over chicken.   Sprinkle chicken with basil, salt and pepper.  Cook on low for 7-9 hours.  Remove skin from chicken prior to serving.  Serve with cooked vegetables. 
*If you have a gluten allergy, make sure the chicken broth you use is gluten free.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Chocolate Thumbprints {Egg-free}

Have you made some delicious Christmas cookies yet?  If not, try these!  I found this recipe on Pinterest.  I thought the cookies flattened out a little bit more than I would have liked.  Next time, I plan to omit the extra two tablespoons of butter, using just the two sticks.  Haha. . . just two sticks!  I also ended up doubling the frosting.  Maybe I used too much.  My husband assured me that there isn't any such thing as too much frosting!

We will also be making this Cut Out Cookie (EF) recipe this week.  I will try to post a picture after the fact.  Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Chocolate Thumbprints - Click here to link to recipe.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Reindeer Cupcakes {Egg-free}

Here is another fun Pinterest find.  We made these fun cupcakes for school.  My kids really enjoyed helping me make these cute little chocolate reindeer.

I used candy eyes in place of the white M&Ms for the eyes.  I also used red and brown M&Ms for the nose, attached with a dab of frosting.  Note:  I think the original post used regular wafer cookies.  I used the mini ones.  I think I like the bigger ones better but I couldn't remember which one I needed when I was at the store.  Also, make sure your wafer cookies meet your dietary needs.  Nilla Wafers do contain egg.  I used Keebler Vanilla Wafers, which do not contain eggs.

Pillsbury Chocolate Cupcakes (EF) - Click the link for the recipe.

Reindeer Cupcakes - Click the link to see instructions for assembling the reindeer.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cinnamon Jello Salad

I think every family has a favorite holiday jello salad that goes a few generations back!  My husband's family has such a jello salad.  They had this jello for every major holiday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and sometimes New Years! 

He grew up calling it Red Hot Salad.  And that is what we call it at our house, too.  But for this post, I am renaming it Cinnamon Jello Salad because it seems to better describe it for my recipe index.  This recipe uses cherry jello but you can't taste cherry.  All you taste is the cinnamon.  You could probably use another red jello, if cherry is not available.


Cinnamon Jello Salad

1 lg cherry jello (6oz)
½ c cinnamon imperials (aka red hot candies)
3 c water, separated
1 c unsweetened applesauce

Put one cup of water in refrigerator to chill.  Meanwhile, put remaining two cups of water in a small sauce pan on high heat.  Once water has reached boiling, add cinnamon imperials and stir frequently until all candies have dissolved in water.  Remove from heat, stir in jello until dissolved.  Pour jello mixture into glass serving bowl.  Add cool water, stirring until combined.  Refrigerate just until mixture is cool and just starting to thicken.  Stir in applesauce until distributed throughout jello.  Refrigerate until jello is set, at least 4 hours. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cranberry Christmas Punch

We had a Christmas party this past week!  So much fun.  I made this quick, easy punch for the party.  I really liked it because it isn't super sweet which went nicely with all the sweet treats we had at the party!  I found the idea on Pinterest but the link was flagged as an link with inappropriate content so I will not link to it.  :)

Cranberry Christmas Punch

Cranberry Juice
Apple Juice
Ginger Ale

Chill all three drinks at least over night.  Just before serving, mix equal parts of cranberry juice, apple juice and ginger ale. 

I did about 3 cups of each liquid for a total of 9 cups for a party of about 30 people.  We also had other drink options.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cranberry Nut Bread {Egg-free, Dairy-free}

This is an adaptation of a recipe my mother-in-law has made for years.  It is a Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition to enjoy some of this yummy bread during the holidays in our family.  I have already made and eaten too much of this bread three times this month!   Coincidentally, the bag of cranberries I bought had enough to make three recipes.  

Note, you can freeze the fresh cranberries.  I would cut them in half prior to freezing then thaw just before using them in your recipe.  They do soften as they thaw and they are much easier to cut in half when they are still firm. 

We have always made this bread in a loaf form.  This year, I also tried making it in a square cake pan and topped it with a glaze.  I thought that would be a more fun way to serve it for a breakfast bread and took it to a ladies Christmas brunch this morning.  We love it both ways!!

One bag of fresh cranberries, typically has three cups of cranberries in it, enough for three loaves of bread.  If you are looking for another way to use up the cranberries try these Cranberry Orange Muffins (EF, DF).  They freeze really well.  If you like this recipe, you may also like  Banana Nut Bread (EF, DF).

Cranberry Nut Bread Loaf

 Cranberry Nut Breakfast Bread with Glaze

 A cut piece of cranberry nut breakfast bread with glaze.

Cranberry Nut Bread

2 c flour
1 c sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t soda
½ t salt
Juice from one orange (about 1/3 c)
Freshly grated rind from one orange (about 1-2 t)
¼ c shortening in measuring cup add ¾ c boiling water until get 1 c
1 c chopped nuts
1 c cranberries, cut in half

Preheat oven to 350o.  Grease 9 inch loaf pan with vegetable shortening.  Mix liquid with dry ingredients.  Stir in nuts and cranberries.  Spread in prepared 9 inch glass loaf pan.  Bake about 60 minutes.  Cool in pan before removing. 

To make as square breakfast bread:
Preheat oven to 350o.  Grease 8 inch square pan with vegetable shortening.  Reserve 2 T of the orange juice.  Mix liquid with dry ingredients.  Stir in nuts and cranberries.  Spread in prepared 8 inch square pan.  Bake about 40 minutes.  For glaze, combine 1 c powdered sugar and 2 T orange juice. Spread glaze over bread while still warm in pan. Cool.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Chicken Sausage Pasta

We tried this recipe for lunch today.  It is pretty quick to make and it was really good.  The kids even enjoyed it!  I tossed my veggies in with the cooking pasta a little sooner than the recipe recommended.  This was also our first experience cooking with orecchiette pasta.  It is a little denser than some of the smaller pastas and the bowl shape does a good job of holding in some of the flavors you mix in! 

This recipe could easily be made gluten-free by substituting your favorite gluten-free pasta.  If you like this recipe, try Chicken Pesto Pasta (EF, GF) or Turkey Sausage and Spinach Pasta (EF, GF).

Chicken Sausage Pasta - Click to link to recipe.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pizza Roll Ups

Are you already feeling the crazy hustle and bustle of the Christmas season?  With Thanksgiving being later this year, I feel like I am starting the season already behind!  Our calendar is also filling up with fun holiday parties and events.

Do you need a quick meal on your busy days or something fun to take to one of your parties?  Try these quick Pizza Roll Ups, served with pizza sauce for dipping.  Easy and a crowd pleasing!

I have also made ham and cheese roll ups.  For each roll, I just used one slice of cheddar cheese and one thin slice of ham.  I didn't even brush with the butter mixture and they were still good.  I think this is also a great way to use leftover meat, like maybe holiday ham!

Pizza Roll Ups - click to link to recipe.