Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dr. Pepper Bone-In Ham

One 10-pound, bone-in smoked ham, skin removed and fat trimmed to 1/4 inch
3 cups Dr Pepper (not diet)
2 cups water
1/2 cup pitted prunes (I have used a jar of Baby Food Prunes too!)
1/3 cup yellow mustard (I use whole grain)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

Preheat the oven to 325° and position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. 

Set the smoked ham in a large roasting pan.
Score a 1/4-inch-deep crosshatch pattern into the fat at 2-inch intervals. 

Pour 2 cups of the Dr Pepper and the 2 cups of water into the pan and roast the ham for about 2 1/2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the ham registers 120°.
Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, simmer the prunes in the remaining 1 cup of Dr Pepper until they are plump and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. If you are using Baby Food Prunes skip the part about fishing the whole prunes out, and move onto whisking in the mustard....
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the prunes to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Whisk the mustard, brown sugar and vinegar into the liquid in the saucepan and boil until very thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.
Drizzle the syrupy glaze over the ham and roast until glossy, 20 minutes. Carefully transfer the ham to a cutting board.
Pour the pan juices into the saucepan and spoon off the fat.
Boil the sauce until reduced to 2 cups, 10 minutes.
Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and the prunes and bring to a boil.
Simmer the sauce until thickened, 2 minutes.
Slice the ham and serve with the Dr Pepper sauce.

Summer's Spinach Apple Salad

1/2 C veg oil
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C sugar
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1 red apple cored & diced
1/4 C sweet onion minced
1/2  to 1 C craisins

1 pkg spinach
1 pkg romaine or mixed greens

For Dressing add all to Tupperware bowl with a lid. Shake well & sit at room temperature for at least one hr.
Prior to serving add 1 pkg spinach & 1 pkg romaine or mixed greens to a salad bowl.

Optional add-ins: pistachios, asiago cheese or blue cheese.

You can add 1/2 red & 1/2 green apple for Christmas colors.

Feed the remaining apples to the kids.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oven Baked Stew with Chive Drop Biscuits

1 pound beef, cut into chunks
1 TBS vegetable oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
4 medium potatoes (cut into cubes) Leave the peelings on if desired
2 cups carrots cut into coins or use whole baby carrots

½ cup frozen, or fresh or canned (drained) whole kernel corn
½ cup frozen, or fresh green peas
1 cup onions, cut into large pieces
2 TBS tomato paste
1 (14 oz.) can beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 tsp Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Season beef with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a large skillet over medium-high heat oil; then brown meat in skillet. Place meat in a large baking dish; add potatoes, carrots, corn, peas and onions. In a medium size bowl combine tomato paste, beef broth, cream of mushroom soup, onion soup mix and Italian seasoning; combine soup mixture with the beef and vegetables in baking dish. Cover dish and bake for 2 hours. 

Chive Drop Biscuits  
2 cups flour 
4 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 TBS finely minced chives
2 tablespoons vegetable oil OR melted shortening OR melted butter
3/4 to 1 cup milk (start with smaller amount, only add more if needed)
Melted butter

These take less than 5 minutes to throw together. Only make the dough after the stew has been in the oven for at least 2 hours. 

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, chives, oil and milk in a large bowl. Stir to form a light, soft dough, adding more milk if necessary. Drop by tablespoonfuls on top of stew. Brush top of biscuits with melted butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-30 minutes or until the biscuits are done.

I made a batch and a half of the biscuits to cover my 13x9 pan of stew (we like LOTS of biscuits). If you make more dough than you have room for on top of your stew just bake the extras on a greased baking sheet for 20 minutes next to your stew. The biscuits on the stew will probably take 10 minutes more to finish baking. 

Eggnog French Toast

This has been a Christmas traditional breakfast for our family for at least a decade. I am somewhat allergic to eggnog. I love the flavor, but it does NOT love me. I thought that if I cooked it then it would sit better with me, and guess what it does!!

My son is living in Canada as a missionary for the next 2 years. He asked if I would send him this recipe so he could make it on his own this Christmas for him and other missionaries. That is when I realized I have never posted this one before. Shame on me!!

I hope you enjoy it and start the tradition of your own. If you try it out let me know, I'd love to see pictures of you making, eating, and enjoying!

Eggnog French Toast 

1 quart of eggnog (homemade or store bought, I stick with store bought)
2 eggs, beaten
nutmeg (you could use cinnamon in a pinch, but the nutmeg tastes better)
 1 loaf of Texas Toast style bread (again you can use a homemade bread thickly sliced into 16-18 slices)
butter, you need some to fry them in and to serve the French toast with
pancake syrup (also homemade or store bought). Homemade recipe is below.

Pour eggnog into an 8 or 9 inch baking dish. Whisk up the 2 eggs and stir into eggnog.
Heat up a griddle, cast iron or nonstick pan over medium low heat. These have to be done at a lower to temp to prevent burning. They fry up low and slow.
Put about 1 TBS of butter into the pan and coat cooking surface. Do this for each batch. You will also have to scape the sugary coating out of the pan before each batch of toast goes into the pan.
Dip in the eggnog mixture however many pieces of bread will fit into your cooking pan at a time. Mine fits 4 as you can see above. Place in pan and lightly sprinkle each piece with some nutmeg.
Let them cook slowly. DO NOT try to turn them over too soon, you will pull the coating off of the bread and make a mushy mess in the pan. Really trust me on want to learn from me and not be like me!!
Turn over and cook the other side.
Repeat with remaining bread and eggnog mixture. Don't forget to scrape out the sugary coating left in the pan, and re-coat the pan with a TBS of butter.
Keep cooked toast in a warm oven until time to serve with butter and syrup (don't forget the bacon!!)

Homemade Syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBS maple extract (Brand name Mapleine, they carry it at Walmart)

In a saucepan combine all  ingredients and bring to a boil. Watch it!! You do not want this to boil all over your stove! Again learn from me, don't be like me!! You may have to remove the pan from the heat to keep it from boiling all over the place. Turn heat down to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve hot over pancake, waffles, and French toast.
This easily doubles or triples! We store the leftovers in a squeeze bottle in the fridge, once it has cooled enough to transfer it into the plastic bottle.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups (2½ sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ stick (4 TBS) butter softened
4 oz cream cheese softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 TBS cold milk

Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt  together in a bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, roughly 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined, then reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add in the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.
Form the dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Shape the dough into 1¼ inch balls and roll each ball in the sanding sugar. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are set. They will still look a bit gooey when removed from the oven. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove from the cookie sheet and cool completely.

For Frosting:
Whip together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar, vanilla, and only 1 TBS of cold milk at a time until you reach the spreading consistency you desire.

As you can see from the photo above I left some unfrosted, frosted some, and some with the frosting I added about a  ½ tsp of crushed up candy cane. They all got gobbled up at a Christmas party we went to. Enjoy!