Thursday, December 1, 2011

December - Recipes

December
 Winter  Recipes

From hearty soups and comforting casseroles to tasty winter treats, these delicious cold-weather recipes will warm up a chilly day.











Today's Cooking Tip





Winter  Appetizers & Snacks

  Warm up the kitchen and enjoy the season's best flavors right away!




Warm Crab Dip

Cheesy dips steal the show at any holiday gathering, and they're well-suited for teaching young cooks the basics of sauce-making and presentation.


Ingredients:


* 2 tablespoons butter                

* 2 cloves garlic, minced    

* 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

* 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

* 2 teaspoons Old Bay or other seafood seasoning

* 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened

* 1/3 cup sour cream

* 1/3 cup mayonnaise

* 2 teaspoons lemon juice

* 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

* 1/4 cup milk

* 8 ounces crabmeat, fresh or canned(drained)

* 1 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar or soft Fontina

* Celery sticks, bell pepper strips,and toasted baguette slices, for serving

Instructions :

Lightly oil or butter a small shallow casserole (about 1 1/2 quarts). Heat the oven to 375°.

Melt the butter in a medium-size skillet. Add the onion and garlic, and saute them over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the Old Bay or other seafood seasoning and cook another 30 seconds, continuing to stir. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Using an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and milk, and blend the mixture again until it's smooth. With a spoon, stir in the crabmeat, half of the cheese, and the sauteed onion and garlic.


Transfer the dip to the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spoon. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the top. Place the dish in the oven and bake until the top of the dip is bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with celery sticks, bell pepper strips, and toasted baguette slices. Serves 12 as an appetizer.




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Asparagus, Prosciutto and Fontina Tart

Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets make the perfect crust for this savory tart.

Ingredients:

* 1/2 (17.3 ounce) package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets

* 1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard

* 1 pound fresh asparagus

* 2 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin strips

* 1 cup shredded fontina cheese

* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves


Directions:

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 10 x 14-inch rectangle. Place the pastry sheet onto the baking sheet. Brush the pastry sheet with the mustard. Fold in the edges of the rectangle about 1/4-inch and crimp with a fork to seal.


Arrange the asparagus on the pastry in a single layer. Sprinkle with the prosciutto, fontina and thyme.


Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the asparagus is tender.










Winter Dinner Recipes

There's nothing like a little comfort food to warm the body and soul-- so take the bite out of the cold weather, and try these hearty winter dinner recipes.





Butternut and Ham Bisque

This soup features one of fall's most distinctive flavors, sweet winter squash. To give the bisque its due, be sure you use sweet onions such as Vidalias.


Ingredients:

*2 tablespoons unsalted butter        

*1 very large sweet onion, chopped
*1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, chopped      

*2 cloves garlic, minced
*5 cups peeled, diced butternut squash     

*1 cup peeled, diced all-purpose potatoes
*5 cups chicken stock         *1 teaspoon salt      

*Black pepper, to taste
*1/2 cup light or heavy cream               

*1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham


Instructions:


Melt the butter in a medium soup pot or a large saucepan. Stir in the onion and rosemary. Partially cover the pan and cook the onion over moderate heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.


 Add the squash, potatoes, chicken stock, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot. Cook the soup at a low boil for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft. Remove the pan from the heat.


 Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the soup solids and a ladleful of broth to a food processor (do this in batches if your processor is small). Puree the vegetables, then stir them back into the broth. Stir in the pepper, the cream, and the ham, heating for several minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.



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Turkey Stromboli
A new idea for how to use your holiday food surplus.
A holiday stromboli that's fun for kids to make. First, prepare our delicious dough. Next, top it with all your extra Thanksgiving fixings. A basic turkey & cranberry filling or you can get creative & improvise.  Finally, roll it up and bake it.   Leftovers never tasted so good.


Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes (includes rising)
Serves: 8


Ingredients:

~ FOR THE DOUGH ~

*1 cup warm water (105° to 115°)       

*1 teaspoon sugar       *3 cups flour

*1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast      *1 teaspoon salt    

*1 tablespoon olive oil

If you don't have time to make dough from scratch, you can use 1 pound of store-bought pizza dough instead.


~ FOR THE FILLING ~

*3/4 cup cranberry sauce      *1 cup stuffing

*1 generous cup thinly sliced or shredded cooked turkey

*egg wash of 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water



Instructions:

First make the dough. Pour the water into a large bowl and stir in the sugar until it's dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture, stir it briefly, then set it aside until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.


Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, as well as the salt and the oil, and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and you can form it into a ball of dough that's firm enough to knead.


Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it until it's smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. If needed, add more flour to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface.


Transfer the dough to a large, oiled bowl and turn it until it's coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.


Heat the oven to 375°. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper and set it aside. Punch down the dough.


On a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a 10- by 14-inch rectangle. Spread the cranberry sauce over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Layer on the turkey and scatter the stuffing on top.

       
Use a pastry brush to paint one long edge of the dough with the egg wash. Starting at the opposite long edge, roll the dough into a cylinder. Pinch together the seam, then pinch and tuck under each end.

Transfer the stromboli, with the seam down, to the prepared baking sheet. Brush it with egg wash, then bake it until golden brown and crusty, about 30 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.



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Paraguay Cheesy Corn Casserole

This casserole is less dense and more soufflé-like than similar versions made in the American South, but still has a flavor that's sure to please a crowd. It can be served as a main or side dish.


Ingredients:

* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

* 3 tablespoons canola oil

* 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced

* 1/2 cup cornmeal
* 3/4 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon sugar

* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 pound corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed
* 1/2 cup milk

* 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated

* 8 ounces Jarlsberg or a similar white melting cheese, shredded

* 2 tablespoons Parmesan


Directions:


Heat the oven to 350º. In a small frying pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and warm the oil. Add the onions and sauté until soft, stirring occasionally so they don't brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool until lukewarm.

In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, salt, sugar, and baking powder, and set the mixture aside.


In a blender or food processor, puree the corn with the milk. Blend in the egg yolks and then combine this mixture, along with the cheese and onions, with the dry ingredients.



In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Carefully fold the egg whites into the corn mixture, and then pour it into a 7- by 11-inch buttered and floured baking dish.


Sprinkle the casserole with the Parmesan and bake it in the middle of the oven until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Allow it to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Serves six as a main dish, 12 as a side.





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Sausage Ratatouille

The classic French ratatouille is made by simmering eggplant with other vegetables and herbs. It's often served as a side or appetizer with bread, but our addition of Italian sausage turns it into a hearty meal for cooler months.



Ingredients:

* 3 to 4 links (about 3/4 pound) Italian sausage

* 4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

* 1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cut into a 3/4-inch dice

* 2 small zucchini, halved and sliced

* 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced


* 1 medium-size green bell pepper, halved, seeded, and sliced

* 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced

* 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tomato paste

* Salt and pepper

* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


Directions:

Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Puncture the sausage links in several places, then cook them at a low boil until they're no longer pink in the center, about 14 minutes. Transfer the links to a plate to cool, then slice them into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.


Over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the eggplant and zucchini and sauté them, stirring often, until they are lightly browned but not soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a plate.


In the same skillet over medium heat, warm the remaining olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté them for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sliced sausage and sauté, stirring often, for 3 minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini.


Partially cover the skillet and gently simmer the ratatouille for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, along with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer 5 minutes more. Stir in the parsley and half of the basil. Serve hot, sprinkled with the remaining basil. Serves 6.










Winter  Desserts

Be sure to leave room for these warm and wonderful winter desserts.



Baked Snowballs
Beyond fun, these meringue-topped ice-cream treats are pure magic - they stay frozen even while baking in a hot oven.

Ingredients:

* 12 vanilla or chocolate wafer cookies or six 1/2-inch-thick slices of your favorite cake

* 6 scoops of your favorite ice cream

* 3 egg whites at room temperature

* 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

* 1/4 cup sugar

* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

* Chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and Maraschino cherries


Instructions:

Break each cookie or slice of cake into several small pieces and divide them evenly among six 3-inch ramekins, pressing them into the bottom of each. Fill each ramekin with ice cream, using the back of a spoon to smooth it level at the top. Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet in the freezer while you prepare the snow (meringue).


Heat the oven to 500º. Place the egg whites in a medium-size bowl and whip them with an electric beater set at medium-high speed until they resemble soap bubbles. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form (now it will look like shaving cream). While you continue beating, add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and then the vanilla extract. Continue beating until shiny, stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Now you have your snow!


Remove the ramekins from the freezer and spread the snow meringue over the top of each with a spatula, taking care to completely cover the ice cream. This "blanket of snow" is what insulates the ice cream, keeping it cold in the hot oven. Bake the snowballs on the cookie sheet until the tops are golden brown, about 1 to 3 minutes. Watch them carefully; they brown quickly. Garnish the snowballs with chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and cherries, and serve. Makes 6.







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White Hot Chocolate

Warm up with a gourmet version of the classic winter drink.


Ingredients:

* 1 3/4 cups milk, divided

* 1/2 cup white-chocolate chips

* Whipped topping

* Blue sugar crystals and sprinkles


Directions:

In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup milk and chocolate chips over medium heat, whisking until chocolate melts.


Stir in remaining milk and heat to warm. Pour into 2 or 3 glasses.


Garnish with whipped topping and blue sugar crystals and sprinkles.




















Gift-Wrapped Brownies
The beautiful packaging is actually made from easy-to-use fondant.

Ingredients:

* 1 pound box brownie mix

* 1 pound box colored fondant, available in baking-supply stores and at Wilton.com

* Cornstarch or confectioner's sugar

* Strawberry and sour-apple fruit chews, like Wonka's Laffy Taffy

* Light corn syrup

* Orange-cream yogurt fruit rolls, such as Kellogg's Yogos


Directions:

Prepare brownie mix in a 9 x 13-inch pan according to the "cake-style" directions on the box. If your mix doesn't have a cake-style recipe, use an additional egg when preparing.


Trim edges off all four sides of the brownie sheet to ensure they are straight, then cut the brownie just a little bit off center vertically. Cut the smaller of the two pieces in half, vertically, to make two strips. Divide each strip into thirds, horizontally, for a total of six big squares. Cut the remaining portion of the brownie in half horizontally. Divide one section in half again, horizontally, to make two strips. Cut each strip into fourths for a total of eight rectangles (you'll only need six). Divide the remaining section in half, vertically, and cut one of the pieces in half, vertically, into two strips. Divide each strip into thirds to create six small squares; save scraps for snacking. Place brownie pieces on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours.


On a sheet of wax paper, roll out three sheets of fondant. Using a pizza cutter, cut in half lengthwise, then make 3 perpendicular cuts to get 6 pieces from each color. Drape rolled fondant over the appropriate-size frozen brownie pieces, fold in 2 opposite sides as if you're wrapping a package, and trim as needed. You shouldn't cover the bottom of the brownies.


Lightly dust the wax paper and your fingers with cornstarch or confectioners' sugar. Roll the fruit chews into a thin, flat ribbon. Crisscross ribbons over packages, adhering them to the fondant with dabs of corn syrup. Unroll a Yogo and trim, if needed, to also use as a ribbon (these will stick to the fondant without corn syrup). Use candy scraps to make a small bow for the top of the pile. Stack the presents as shown or serve them individually.





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Ice Cream Cake Roll

Yule love this chocolate mint log


Ingredients:

* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

* 1/3 cup cocoa powder

* 1 teaspoon baking powder

* pinch of salt

* 4 eggs

* 3/4 cup granulated sugar

* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

* 3 cups mint chip ice cream, softened

* Chocolate syrup, for serving


Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with waxed paper. Spray paper.

Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes, until very light yellow. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in vanilla extract.

Fold flour mixture into egg mixture until no lumps remain. Pour into prepared pan, spreading level. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.

Dust a clean kitchen towel with confectioners sugar. Turn cake out onto towel. Roll up towel and cake from short end; cool completely.

Unroll; spread with softened ice cream to within 1 inch of edges. Reroll cake without towel; wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight. If frozen overnight, let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving. To serve, carefully remove plastic wrap and drizzle cake with chocolate syrup.





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