Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Eggnog Bread Pudding with Cranberry Sauce

Christmas Day was the first time I have ever tried bread pudding. Can you believe that? It never sounded good to me. My two brothers love it. One of them blogs about it frequently here. Only one of them could attend my Christmas dinner and it is because of his love for bread pudding that I thought I would give this a go. I am now converted to bread pudding as well. THIS WAS TASTY! I love eggnog. The sweetness of the pudding combined with the sweet tart of the sauce was sort of a genius combination. I am sort of patting myself on the back for this one. Let me know if you try it!

1 loaf stale French bread
1 quart eggnog (I used vanilla flavored eggnog)
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. Vanilla
1 C. raisins ( I omitted the raisins, but thought about using craisens)
1/2 C. sugar
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. In a large mixing bowl, crumble the bread and pour the eggnog over it, letting it sit until bread is soft, at least 2 hours. In a smaller bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla and stir into the bread and eggnog mixture. Add the raisins and mix well.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. Let cool before cutting.

Cranberry Butterscotch Sauce

1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 Jar of butterscotch sauce (found in the ice cream toppings section)

Cook sugar in a dry 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork or flat whisk, until sugar is melted and turns a deep golden caramel. Tilt pan and carefully add cranberries and water (caramel will harden and vigorously steam). Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is completely dissolved, then pour syrup through a very fine sieve into a heatproof bowl, pressing hard on solids. Let cool. Add 1/2 Jar or more to taste of butterscotch sauce. Top bread pudding with whip cream and then sauce.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Story About a Ham

This is a story about a ham. I bought this ham at Costco as I had been eyeing it for several weeks after a tasty sample. Tis the season for sales on spiral sliced ham. I am trying to be a bit more economical about my meal selections as I realize that come March food prices are going to go up due to inflation. This ham made my week! Let me explain how.

First, it made a lovely Sunday meal with the delicious glaze provided, along with funeral potatoes and green beans as sides.

The next night it became a delicious Hawaiian pizza with fresh pineapple (also from Costco) and sliced up ham. I used the ready-made Boboli pizza crust. I highly recommend this brand for homemade pizza.

However, this was my favorite. Maybe it was because I had a cold, or because it was extra cold in Arizona this week, but this soup not only hit the spot, but became my new favorite.

White Bean Soup
(adapted from epicurious)


2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 (14- to 15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes (with Italian seasonings)
2 cups cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 (19-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained (3 cups)
1 (1/2-pound) piece baked ham (1/2 to 3/4 inch thick), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 baby arugula I used a small 5 oz container, but wish I had more. You can also use baby romaine if you prefer that taste.

Cook garlic in 1/4 cup oil in a 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Coarsely cut up tomatoes in can with kitchen shears, then add (with juice) to garlic in oil. Stir in broth, beans, ham, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in greens and cook until wilted, 3 minutes for romaine or 1 minute for arugula.

So easy! So delicious! Let me know if this becomes your ham story! I know it will repeat itself for me next year! Serve and Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

I keep saying I will eat lighter. If you saw me you would know why. I look like I am due tomorrow, but I am actually due in 4 months. I don't feel that sorry for myself. Getting fat is part of pregnancy and quite fun for a food lover like me. This recipe has been adapted to fit my craving. It was slightly healthier, but I increased the milk and the butter for just a bit more flavor. It is still healthier than most Alfredo recipes and really really tasty. Enjoy!

1 lb uncooked fettuccine (whole wheat if you can find it)
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
Dash ground red pepper (cayenne)
3 Tbsp butter
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
3 oz 1/3/less fat cream cheese
2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 chicken breasts

Cook fettuccine as directed on package, omitting
salt. Drain; return to saucepan. Cover to keep
warm; set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir milk, flour, salt,
black pepper and red pepper with wire whisk until
smooth. In a 2 quart saucepan, melt butter over
medium-low heat. Add garlic, cook 1 minute,
stirring constantly (do not burn). With wire whisk,
stir milk mixture into butter mixture in saucepan.
Cook over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until mixture
thickens and boils.

Stir in cream cheese until melted. Stir in Parmesan
cheese until melted. Pour over fettuccine; toss to
coat. Sprinkle with parsley.

Pound chicken until pretty flat. Drizzle with olive oil and rub into chicken. Sprinkle with garlic salt and grill until cooked.

Slice chicken into thin strips and top each serving of fettuccine with chicken.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Wreath 2010

Maybe it should be my tradition to make a new wreath every year. I find it to be a super fun craft and very rewarding thus far. Here's how:

I found a Styrofoam wreath at Michael's craft store and covered it in ribbon just to hide the ugly white.

This is my favorite. I gathered pecans from a local pecan tree grove that I take my daily walks to. It was great to get some exercise, find some free treasures, and save money on expensive pecans. I then painted them using acrylic paint and then coated them with glossy Mod Podge to give them a shine. Finally I glued them on with a hot--glue gun ,which seemed like an eternity, and then....

Add a ribbon and then hang. This old house has a little sass this year and I love it.
Grand total: $ 10 dollars (using 40% off coupon at craft store)

Happy Crafting!

Raw Spice Bar

Raise your hand if you love to cook, but find yourself just finishing up your 8,987th meal and you are fresh out of ideas. Just me?  I h...