12/19/21

Grinch Fruit Kabobs

This fun holiday treat is fun for all ages! Perfect healthier treat options for the holidays, that any age will enjoy. fruit kabobs to look like the grinch will be instantly recognized and enjoyed at any gathering.

Grinch Treats

I did not create this idea, I found it on a facebook group I follow about living a cozy , "hygge" life. (don't you love when you fall into a place where everyone is nice and supportive?)


I made these little fruit kabobs for my grandchildren whille they were down here for a day during the holidays. We put on the "original" The Grinch Stole Christmas movie, piled blankets and every pillow in the house on the flour for a snuggly good time. 

I made grnich cocoa bombs that my niece made for me , into fun cups of Grinchy cocoa, in grinch cups I found at a craft store. 

and I made them these fruit kabobs for snacks. Let's just say.. these snacks stole the show ! They couldn't get enough of them!  

Grinch treats


They would be perfect to take to holiday party or work gathering, or as a "work gift" for the crew placed into the break room.

Jan's Tips: 

the skewers i used where a bit to wide, and it would split the banana slices. (the kids didnt' mind , but I did)  and regular toothpicks use the entire picks, without being able to use a bit of it as a "handle" . you do want to find, toothpick's that are longer.. so like a small hors d'oeuvre picks. 

Smaller to medium strawberries are best. the larger ones are harder to eat off the skewers, adn don't look right with the scale of  the other fruits.

If not eating right away, I would spritz some lemon juice on the banana slices to decrease browning. 



Lets get cooking!

PRINTABLE LINK 


Grinch Fruit Kabobs

Ingredients; 

1 pack of long hors d'oeuvres skewers.

1 bag small mini marshmallows

1 bag green seedless grapes

1 package of fresh ripe, small - medium sized strawberries

1-2 ripe or slightly under ripe marshmallows.

Optional 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

Slice the top plus about ¼ inch of strawberry off the top of the berry.

Rinse and destem grapes.

Slice a banana into ¼ inch slices. Dunk in lemon juice if not serving right away.

To assemble: 

Feed a skewer through the end of a grape, ,sliding grape down skewer about half way.

Feed skewer through a slice of banana till it rest on top  of the grape.

Feed skewer through cut side of strawberry till the cut end of strawberry rests on banana (pointy end up!)

Feed mini marshmallow onto skewer till it rests on top of the pointy end of strawberry.

Con’t with add’ls skewers till desired amount of kabobs are done.

Serve immediately or store in covered container in fridge till serving.






12/12/21

Versatile Vanilla Almond Cookie

Having one  tasty , yet versatile  cookie recipe  for cut out  sugar cookies cookies , slice and back butter cookies, Thumbprint cookies  and more makes holiday baking so easy. This lovely cookie with a hint of almond, is th perfect blend of soft sugar cookie & a tradiontial butter cookies. The flavor is perfect for young and young at heart. 




This cookie recipe really is that one Vanilla cookie recipe to keep on hand for all your cookie baking needs!  The key is the almond extract  to help it have a bit more depth of flavor. Also  to follow a few tips to make it successful.

Master Vanilla Cookie Recipe


Jan's Tip's:

  • Use cold butter, straight from the refrigerator.
  • Chill your dough as soon as it's mixed for 30 minutes.
  • Use as little flour as necessary for any rolling & cutting.
  •  Your goal in baking time  is NO light browning, pull out cookie after approximatelyl 7-9 minutes, look for a slightly underdone cookie. It will finish baking while it cools on the warm pan. 

 This cookie dough can be rolled out and cut with cookie cutters for decorating.

as we do with our grandchildren every year.



They may be rolled into 1 1/2 inch wide long logs and chilled before slicing into small rounnds and baking for a lovely butter cookie, my favorite it to drizzle with chocolate adn sprinkle with almond slices, or dip half the cookie in chocalate. hmmm.. I wonder if I cut them thinner and made jam sandwich cookies out of them?? 





Roll  into 1 inch balls and press center with thumb for thumbprint cookies. Fill with raspberry, Strawberry, apricot, or my favorite: Cranberry -Orange Marmalade. 



Next try?  I am going ot see about making them snickerdoodled.. I believe they will be really yummy!

What else can we make with this dough?

Let's get baking!



Printable copy

Versatile Vanilla Almond  Cookie


Ingredients: 

3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 sticks (1 cup salted , cold butter , cut into chunks.

1 egg

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

1 tsp Almond extract

No salt needed since using salted butter.


Instructions:

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. 

Line cookie sheet with silicone backing mat (or parchment paper)

In mixing bowl mix sugar and butter 1 -2 minutes  till it is fluffy. (you want it light in texture don’t skimp on your mixing time here.)

Add in egg and both extracts, mix to blend.

On low speed of your mixer add in flour, baking powder, just until blended, do NOT over mix here.

On lightly floured surface, work dough into a smooth ball. You want dough to feel like playdough, not sticky and not crumbly after you smooth it into a nice ball. 

Roll out dough for cut out cookies on lightly floured surface, or roll dough into balls for thumbprint cookies (then press center and fill with ¼ tsp. Jam, . For slice and bake cookies roll into  two  1 ½” wide logs approximately 6 inches long each. Slice ¼ “ wide .


Place cookies on prepared baking sheet , and place sheet in freezer for 10 minutes.

Place slightly frozen cookies into middle rack of oven. Bake 7- 9 minutes approximately.

They should seem slightly underdone when removed, to rest. They will finish baking and set

While cooling. (no browned bottoms or edges!)

Remove to cooling rack after 5 minutes or so.  Complete any decorating.





               

9/5/21

Chicken Tortellini Soup with Kale and Parmesan

 Chicken Tortellini Soup with Kale and Paremsan  (and bacon!)  is so creamy and full of flavor it will quickly be in regular rotation on your menu!

Chicken tortellini Soup with Kale & Parmesan


It's September, and that means the start of Soup Weather! Nothing beats a warm bowl of soup on a chili day to warm you up! The base of this soup is so good, you can play with the ingredients!  Instead of toretillini, try gnocchi or ravioli.  Instead of chicken, use Italian sausage. Instead of Kale use Spinach.

My husband fell in love with this soup the first time he tasted it. I made a batch , to send up to my daughter-in-law while recovering from some surgery. There was just enough left over for us to have a light supper. One bite, and he was in love!  He is now having me make again this week, but with italian sausage. 

This soup just screams comfort, and is perfect for taking a batch to a neighbor or someone in need, I promise, they will love it.



Jan's Tips: 

 I started with a store bought rotisserie chicken that I deboned and shredded, (i keep bags in the freezer) , but feel free to cook this in the slowcooker, with some chicken breasts. Just lightly shred the chicken into pieces, when cooked through, and make the soup from there, till it's all cooked through, warm and ready to eat.

Mirepoix is the french flavor base mix of carrots, celery, & onion. I don't use a lot of celery, and hate buying an entire stock just for dicing up one rib. In the produce section you can usually find a container of premade mix ready to go, as well as in the freezer section. You can also premake a bunch yourself and store in the freezer, so you can just pull out what you need when you are ready to make soups, to save time and energy at dinner time.



Let's get cooking:

Printable Copy

Chicken Tortellini Soup with Kale and Parmesan

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups shredded/ diced rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup Mirepoix mix (diced carrots, celery & onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasononing
  • 2 Tsp. olive or avacado Oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 2 cups cream (or half and half) 
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
  • 1 lb. package of tortellini (any flavor)
  • 6 oz. frozen chopped kale (I buy a 12 oz bag and use about half) (Or can use 4 fresh leaves chopped) 
  • 1/ 2 cup grated parmesan

Directions:

  1. In large Cooking pot over medium heat, add  in oil, garlic, cooking till tender, add in the Mirapoix, stirring 1-2 minutes . 
  2. Add in Chicken Broth, stirring to blend, then add in corn starch, blending well.
  3. Add in diced chicken, and italian seasoning. 
  4. in microwave safe bowl, heat the cream for 1 minute (it will curdle if it is cold when poured into soup)
  5. stir in warmed cream,  add in the bacon, tortellini, Parmesan and kale. Let it cook for 10 minutes, till tortellini is cooked through and soup is warm.


7/29/21

Instant pot Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

 Making Homemade Spaghetti Sause in your Instant pot from fresh garden tomatoes is as easy as plop, set, cook, and blend!


How to make Tomato sauce in instant pot


I literally have tomatoes coming out of my ears! My sweet neighbor planted our garden for us, from leftover plants he had, and has been tending it for us , while we work like crazy this summer! I tease him he is sharing cropping! Our coworkers can't take any more, neighbors are full to the brim,  and this weekend I have someone from our free fridge community coming to harvest peppers, and tomatoes for loading our multiple free refrigerators around town. I love them,, it's a donate what you can, take what you need based system, all set up during covid-19, and all sorts of wonderful foods are available in areas of town that are "food deserts" with not as much fresh produce or grocers available.  


And. I still have enough to make several batches of homemade pasta sauce!  I have a batch started now, while I type this! 


I do it the easy way. .no peeling or deseeding the tomatoes. I blend the peels right up after they cook, and no one even knows they are in the sauce. You can run the sauce through a fine mesh strainer if you like to pull out the seeds, but at this point, I don't even bother. 

I keep my ingredients simple. My husband is diabetic, so no sugar added, just a bit of olive oil, pinch of salt, italian seasoning, and minced garlic, and if I have onions and peppers ready in the garden, or carrots, or other veggies, I'll toss those in too!

You can preserve your finished sauce by canning it, but I put it in bags or canning jars and freeze it most of the time. I like to keep a few small jars for "pizza " making, so I don't thaw a whole big container, to make pizza or for dipping sauce.

Here's how to make it in the instant pot.



Printable Copy

Instant Pot Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients: 

  • 4-5 lbs. fresh Roma tomatoes (about 20-25  for me) 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium onion diced. 
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp  Italian Seasoning or handful of fresh herbs chopped: (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme,)
  • Optional: diced or shredded carrots, zucchini , green peppers



Instructions: 

  1. Press  the saute button on your instant pot and and preheat. Make sure to press "adjust" button and set saute to highest setting. 

  2. When hot, ,add olive oil, onions, and garlic, saute till softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add in any optional vegetables such as diced peppers, carrots, zucchini , saute 5 minutes.

  4. Add in whole tomatoes and water. Cut into small pieces as needed to fit your instant pot. Mix as you can with other ingredients.

  5. Replace lid, press "Manuel or Pressure cook"  and  set to high pressure. 
  6. Set timer for 20 minutes.

  7. If you have trouble with pot pressurizing, you can add another 1/4 or 1/2 cup of water.
  8. When finished do either a quick release or slow, natural release. 
  9. Add in salt , and Italian seasoning. 

  10. Use an immersion blender to blend into a sauce. (as smooth or chunky as you like) .
  11. You can transfer to a regular blender if needed, but be careful due to how hot the sauce is.

  12. Once cool, pack into quart sized storage containers for your freezer, leaving 1 inch of space at top for expansion when it freezes.




7/19/21

How to Air Fry Pot Stickers

 Air frying Pot Stickers or Asian Dumplings,  are quick to make and are a wonderful snack or light meal. 

Air Fryer Dumplings






My husband and I  are always looking for healthier yet fun snacks to eat while watching movies together. We finally decided to try air frying some pot stickers we had in the freezer. I think we loved them better than are favorite egg rolls!

We used Trader Joe's Chicken Gyoza Pot Stickers. They are frozen, fully cooked, ready to heat and eat! Besides being delicious this  means we aren't worried about cooking raw chicken all the way through. We just need to get them hot and crispy!

Air Fryer Dumplings


We use a Ninja Foodie XL.. We  are not a paid sponsor and are not receiving anything for this post, I am just sharing the name of the air fryer with you, if it helps you in working with your own air fryer at home. 

It only takes a few minutes and 2 ingredients to make them! Let's get started. 

Air Fryer Pot Stickers


Ingredients:

  • 1  16 oz. bag Pot Stickers 
  • Olive Oil cooking oil in spray spritzer (or non stick cooking spray) 
  • Sprinkle of salt.
  • Dipping sauces as desired


Directions: 

  • Preheat Air fryer on Air Crisp setting to 390° . 
  • Lightly spray all sides of pot stickers with Olive Oil.
  • Place in air fryer, and set timer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove from air fryer, Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  • Serve with dipping sauces.



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