Friday, November 29

Perfect Pepper Jack Biscuits

A perfect balance of soft buttery biscuit and savory pepper jack cheese. These will make a great week night addition to any dinner table.

Full time: 25 minutes
Makes 6-8 biscuits

You will need:

2 cups Bisquick
2 cups finely shredded soft pepper jack cheese 
2/3 soured milk*
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic powder

*For milk: put 1/2 tsp white vinegar into measuring cup, pour in milk filling to 2/3 cup line. Let stand 5 minutes

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 400'. If your using a cast iron pan put it in oven while preheating.

In a medium mixing bowl place shredded pepper jack and garlic powder.

Add in Bisquick to create an even crumbly mix.

Add in milk and stir just to combine, do not over mix.

Drop 6-8 evenly divided dough balls onto cast iron or baking sheet.

Bake in oven 8-10 minutes or until they begin to turn golden.

Remove from oven and brush lovingly with the melted butter.

Return to oven 2-3 minutes or until butter  has cooked in.

Serve and enjoy!

Monday, November 25

Polenta Bites with Herbed Cheese Topping

Combining ready made polenta and a homemade cheese spread, these bites are sure to be a star at any holiday gathering or party. 

Full time 1 hour
Makes 32 bites

You will need:

18 oz tube ready made polenta
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried basil

Let us begin:

Preheat oven broiler.

In a small bowl mix cream cheese with all herbs, salt, and pepper.

Sit the aside to let the flavor meld.

Carefully slice the ends off each side of the polenta tube, you can discard these. We want nice, flush flat pieces.

Slice tube into 16 roughly 1/2" thick, rounds.

Slice each round in half.

Lightly brush both sides of polenta pieces with olive oil and set on a baking sheet.

Roast under broiler for 3-5 minutes or until golden color begins to develop.

Carefully turn over pieces. 

Roast under broiler 3-5 minutes or until golden color begins to develop.

Remove from oven and carefully remove to serving platter.

Allow pieces to cool to room temp.

Top with a dollop of herbed cheese.

Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, November 23

Crispy Cheddar Potato Poppers

Here is a great way to add a fun time to any holiday gathering! These bite size poppers pack the smooth potato flavor in a crispy butter shell. You can even make these up to 1 month in advance! A sure fire delight for even the biggest cooking Scrooge. 

Full time 24 hours (prep/cook time 1 hour) set time overnight.
Makes 24 poppers

You will need:

5 cups plain mashed potatoes (not instant, but frozen is okay)
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers (or Tollhouse are fine)
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar
1/4 cup half and half or whole milk
2 tbsp butter 
1/2 tsp salt

Let us begin:

Starting with mash potatoes in a large bowl slowly add in butter, milk, salt, and cheese until fully blended together.

Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours, until they are firm.

Once potatoes are firm, line a small baking sheet with wax paper and set aside for a moment.

Place crushed crackers on a shallow rimmed plate.

Scoop out 1 1/2 tbsp size balls of potatoes and roll gently to create a firm ball.

Roll ball gently in crushed crackers, evenly coating them.

Set on lined baking sheet.

Continue with remaining potatoes.

Move baking tray to freezer and allow poppers to become firm overnight. 

If you wish to store these, place in an airtight container or zip bag, freeze for up to 1 month. Follow below instructions when your ready to cook.

If cooking the next day: preheat oven to 400'.

Remove poppers from wax paper tray onto a non stick baking sheet.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven to serving tray.

Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, November 21

Garlic Parmesan Italian Breadsticks

Looking for a quick way to jazz up pasta night? How about homemade breadsticks? By using Bisquick to get yourself started, these breadsticks can be on your table in the same amount if time it takes to make pasta!

Full time 25 minutes
Makes 12 breadsticks

You will need:

2 cups plus 1 tbsp Busquick 
1/2 cup ice cold water
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp garlic powder

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 450 and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl mix together 2 cups Bisquick, water, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp oregano.

It will take a little work but, you will get a rough dough.

Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Place remaining Bisquick on a flat working surface and pour dough ontop of it.
Knead 45 times, you will notice a small amount of flaking, any dusty or excess bits, push to the side.

Roll dough out to 1/4" thick.

Slice into 12 strips, make sure to even off the rough edges.

Spread over melted butter.

Sprinkle over remaining garlic, oregano, and Parmesan cheese.

Transfer to baking sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden.

Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 19

Mint Chocolate Brownie Cake

Looking for a decadent creamy dessert? Look no farther then here. This smooth and dreamy cake, is part mint pie and part brownie heaven. A real crowd pleaser and a great way to end a meal.

Full time: 6 hours (requires 5 hours in refrigerator or cooling)
Serves 8

You will need:

For Crust:

2 eggs
2 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped (1/4 cup)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
1/3 cup mint and chocolate chip baking chip mix (sold near chocolate chips, comes in the same bag)
1/4 cup butter, diced into cubes
1/8 tsp salt

For filling:

12 oz cream cheese, softened
12 oz white baking chips
1/3 cup mint and chocolate chip baking chip mix
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
6 drops green food coloring

For topping:

4.5 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350'. Grease a 9" springform pan and set aside.

Place chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increment, stirring well after each round until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl mix together sugar, eggs, and salt.

Stir in melted chocolate mixture.

Gradually add in flour, mixing well until smooth.
(Half flour added)

Fold in mint and chocolate chip pieces.

Pour and spread evenly into the bottom of the springform pan.

Bake in oven for 18-25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes before continuing.

After crust cools.

Place white chocolate and shortening into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increment, stirring well after each round until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl mix together cream cheese and butter. Blend until smooth.

Stir in white chocolate mixture.

Stir in peppermint extract and food coloring.

Fold in mint and chocolate chip pieces.

Pour over crust and level out with a spoon. 

Refrigerate 2 hours to set.

Once set.

Place chocolate baking pieces in a heat resistant Pyrex bowl.

Pour heavy cream into a small pot and being to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat.

Pour into bowl with baking chocolate and stir until chocolate fully melts and a smooth uniform texture develops.

Allow to cool 10 minutes.

Pour carefully over filling layer and level out with spoon.

Return to refrigerator and cool a minimum of 2 hours before serving. You need to make sure it has fully set before you pop the pan.

Pop off spring form and serve, enjoy!

Saturday, November 16

Browned Butter Potato Medley

If your looking for something a little different to make you dinner table pop and sing, here is a great dish. Most grocery stores have medley bags of potatoes, grab one of these bags to help get a fast start on this easy dish.

Full time 45 minutes
Serves 4-6

You will need:

2 1/2 pounds small medley potatoes (red, white, purple)
1 stick butter
2 tsp salt, divided 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Let us begin:

Wash and dry potatoes well.

Dice potatoes into quarters and put in pot with warm water and 1 tsp salt.

Bring water to a boil, once boiling reduce heat to medium and cook 20 minutes.

Drain potatoes and set aside for a moment.

In the bottom of your potato pot place butter.

Allow to melt over medium heat. Once melted keep cooking 5-7 minutes or until it turn gliden brown.

The trick behind this is to keep stirring while butter cooks and listen to it, it will make a foaming bubbling sound. The moment the sounds dissipates,  you will notice the butter is golden. 

Once it turns golden, remove instantly from heat and add in salt, pepper, and garlic.

Stir in potatoes and return to heat for 1-2 minutes.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Thursday, November 14

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry Dijon Sauce

Combining two of my favorite dishes roasted sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. This is the perfect side dish for any weeknight meal.

Full time: 45 minutes
Serves 4-6

You will need:

2-3 large sweet potatoes, diced into 1/2" pieces
1 small onion, diced fine
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp butter, diced into 8 pieces(for roasting)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350'.

Place sweet potatoes in a deep baking dish and top with butter.

Roast potatoes for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.

While the potatoes cook. In a small pot melt butter along with salt and pepper, over medium high heat.

Add in onions and cook 4-6 minutes or until they begin to turn translucent.

Add in orange juice and maple syrup, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add in cranberries and bring liquid to a boil.

Once boiling reduce to a simmer and stir in Dijon mustard.

Cover and allow to cook 10-15 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop open.

Once the potatoes are fully cooked, carefully remove them from the oven.

After about 10-15 minutes, the cranberries will have cooked down nicely into a sauce.

Pour sauce over potatoes.

Stir to combine, serve, and enjoy!