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Quick and Easy Recipes For Holiday Entertaining




Easy Spiced Nuts 1 large egg white 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 2 1/2 cups pecan halves, or assorted nuts, such as cashews, walnuts, or almonds Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Beat egg white until soft and foamy. Combine all remaining ingredients except nuts. Whisk into egg white. Stir in pecans/nuts until well coated and spread mixture in single layer onto an ungreased baking pan. Bake pecans/nuts for 15 minutes, and remove from oven. Using a metal spatula, toss, stir, and separate nuts. Reduce oven to 250 degrees and return nuts to oven and bake until medium brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; toss, and stir again. Place baking pan on wire rack to cool (they will crisp as they cool). Break up any that stick together; store in an airtight container, at room temperature, up to 2 weeks.


Onion Dip 

1-2 tablespoons of oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup water

1 cup sour cream

8 ounce of cream cheese

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise

½ teaspoon salt ( or more to taste)

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions: Cook onion in oil until very soft and tender and slightly browned. This will take about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add water and cook until the water is mostly evaporated. Do not skip this step, this will help deglaze the pan and loosen up the bits of onion that are full of flavor. In a food processor, mix onion mixture with remaining ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. If you do not have a food processor this can just be mixed together until very smooth. However, it will not be as smooth as it will be made in a food processor.


Spinach Artichoke Dip       

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

   

salt and pepper to taste 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a small baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Add in artichoke hearts, spinach, and mozzarella cheese and mix well. ( I like to mix this whole mixture in the food processer because we like it smooth.) Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.


Candies Š2010

Coconut Chocolate Patties 

1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


3/4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place coconut on a baking sheet and place in oven until golden and toasted, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to color evenly. Remove from oven and let cool completely. In a medium bowl, combine toasted coconut and melted chocolate. Stir gently until combined. Press about 1 tablespoon coconut mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Place in the refrigerator until cookies are set, about 20 minutes. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.


Velvety Pecan Candy 

3 cups of chopped pecans

1 1/2 lbs of white or regular chocolate

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan until toasted. This takes about 8-10 minutes. Stir after about 5 minutes and keep checking and stirring, so that they do not get over done. Line a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan with waxed paper. Lightly grease the wax paper. Place chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a bowl and microwave. It took about 3 minutes and I stirred it every 30 seconds. When melted, mix well to combine. Stir in toasted pecans and vanilla. Spread onto wax paper and chill until set, about 2 hours. Turn candy onto cutting board and cut into squares. Serve.


Rocky Road Candy 

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup peanut butter

4 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions: Grease a 9 x 9 inch pan. Heat chocolate chips and peanut butter until melted. I do this in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until chips are completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows. Pour into prepared pan and cool. You can put this into refrigerator to cool. Cut and Enjoy!


Snow Buddies 

8 cups of chex, I like to use a mix of 2 kinds, usually rice chex and corn chex

2 cups peanuts

2 cups m&m’s

2 packages of white chocolate chips

Directions: Mix together the chex, peanuts, and m&m’s in a large bowl. Melt the white chocolate in a separate bowl in the microwave. Be careful while melting this so it does not get too hot. I stir it every 30 seconds or so until melted. Mix melted white chocolate with the other ingredients. You need to mix this well so that the pieces are coated. Spread out on cookie sheets and refrigerate until firm. This takes about 2 hours or so. After is it set up, break it into chunks and serve.


Easy Truffles 

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped)

1 cup finely chopped pecans or chopped Andes Mints

Directions: In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a boil; remove from heat, and add chocolate. Let stand 3 minutes; whisk until smooth. Transfer chocolate mixture to a medium bowl, and refrigerate, uncovered, until thick and firm enough to spoon out in mounds, about 3 hours. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Drop level tablespoons of chocolate mixture onto baking sheet. Refrigerate chocolate mounds until firm, about 1 hour. Place pecans in a shallow bowl. Using hands, roll each chocolate mound into a ball then roll balls in pecans or mints, pressing lightly to adhere, and place on baking sheet. Refrigerate truffles until set, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.


Homemade Mounds Bars 

2 - 14 ounce bags of coconut

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 lb powdered sugar

3 cups of chocolate chips

2 teaspoons of butter

Directions: In a large bowl mix together the coconut, sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup butter, and powdered sugar. Mix well. Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper ( I used my silicone baking mat on the ones in the picture). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Melt 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of butter in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Spread over chilled coconut mixture and chill until chocolate is set. Flip bars over and carefully peel or parchment paper. Melt remaining chocolate and butter. Spread over the coconut layer. Chill. After firm, bring to room temperature and then cut them. If the chocolate is solid these will be hard to cut. I bring them to room temperature to cut them, and then put them back in the refrigerator to store them.


Easy Peanut Butter Cups 

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use chocolate chips)

Directions: Line two 12-cup mini muffin pans with paper liners; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine white chocolate and peanut butter. Microwave, until almost melted, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, place semisweet chocolate in another microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted, 2 to 3 minutes total. Dividing evenly, use a spoon to layer semisweet chocolate and peanut-butter mixture into liners, beginning and ending with chocolate. Place muffin pans in freezer or refrigerator until peanut butter cups are firm, usually 15- 30 minutes. Store in refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. These are best at room temperature.


Tiger Bark 

1 pound white chocolate, cut into pieces or use white chocolate chips

1/2 cup Peanut Butter

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

4 teaspoons half-and-half or whipping cream

Directions: In a microwave-safe bowl, white chocolate and peanut butter on medium for 2-3 minutes or until melted and mix well. Pour onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray ( I use a silpat mat) spread into a thin layer. In another microwave-safe bowl, heat chips and cream on high for about 30 seconds or more or until chips are soft. Stir until smooth. Pour and swirl over peanut butter layer. Freeze for 5 minutes or until set. Break into small pieces.


Oreo Cookie Bark 

10 oreo cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, crumbled finely

8 ounces milk chocolate

8 ounces white chocolate

Directions: Melt the milk chocolate in a double boiler stirring until smooth. (I melt the chocolate in the microwave) Drop in half the broken cookies, and stir gently to coat the cookies well. Line a cookie sheet with foil (I use my silpat mat). Drop the chocolate in spoonfuls onto foil or mat. Melt the white chocolate and stir in remaining cookies and drop by spoonfuls next to the chocolate mixture, using it to fill in where there may be a thin spot. Then take a knife and spread and swirl the two together. Let cool& harden, then break into pieces. To cool this quickly, you can put the tray in your refrigerator or freezer for a short time.


Homemade Snickers Bars These bars contain quite a few ingredients and have quite a few steps, but they are really easy and really good. I have been making them for years and they are always a hit. First Layer:  2 teaspoons butter  1 cup milk chocolate chips  1/4 cup butterscotch chips  1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter FILLING:  1/4 cup butter  1 cup sugar  1/4 cup evaporated milk  1-1/2 cups marshmallow crème  1/4 cup creamy peanut butter  1 teaspoon vanilla extract  1-1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts CARAMEL LAYER:  1 package (14 ounces) caramels  1/4 cup heavy whipping cream Top Layer:  1 cup (6 ounces) milk chocolate chips  1/4 cup butterscotch chips  1/4 cup creamy peanut butter Directions: Line a 13-in. x 9-in. pan with foil; butter the foil with 2 teaspoons butter and set aside. For the first layer: In a small saucepan, combine the milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Spread into prepared pan. Refrigerate until set.


For filling: In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add sugar and milk and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; boil and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the marshmallow creme, peanut butter and vanilla. Add peanuts. Spread over first layer. Refrigerate until set. Homemade Snickers Bars Continued: For caramel layer: In a small heavy saucepan, combine the caramels and cream; stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Cook and stir 4 minutes longer. Spread over the filling. Refrigerate until set. For icing: In another saucepan, combine chips and peanut butter; stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Pour over the caramel layer. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before cutting. Remove from pan and cut into 1-in. squares. Store in an airtight container.


Desserts Š2010

Eggnog Pie I first came up with this idea because my son loves eggnog. It has now become a holiday favorite. 

1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding

1 1/2 cups eggnog

2 cups heavy cream

1 graham cracker pie crust

Directions: Whip heavy cream until thick and fluffy. In a separate bowl mix pudding mix and eggnog until well blended. This will be very thick. Fold in whipped cream until all folded in. Carefully spoon into graham cracker crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Cut and serve.


Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars For the Crust:  20 chocolate wafer cookies or use chocolate graham crackers  2 tablespoons sugar  4 tablespoons butter, melted For the Filling:  2 packages cream cheese, (8 ounces each)  1 cup sugar  1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree  3 large eggs  3 tablespoons flour  1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice ( I used just cinnamon)  1/2 teaspoon salt  4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside. If you are going to serve these on a platter do this step. It makes them much prettier when you cut them. In a food processor, blend cookies with sugar until finely ground (you should have about 1 cup crumbs) then add butter, and pulse until moistened. Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and press gently into bottom. Bake until slightly firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Place cream cheese in food processor or mixer and blend until smooth. Add sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, flour, pumpkinpie spice, and salt and process until combined. Set aside. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until melted. Add 1 cup pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Set aside. Pour remaining pumpkin mixture into prepared pan. Drop dollops of chocolate mixture onto pumpkin mixture and swirl. Bake until cheesecake is set, but jiggles slightly when gently shaken, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan. Cover and chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days). Using overhang, transfer cake to work surface. With a knife dipped in water, cut into 16 squares. Serve. ©2010

Butter Rum Cake This recipe came from my husband’s grandmother. This was a dessert that she made many times and that everyone enjoyed. Cake  1 butter or yellow cake mix  1 small box instant vanilla pudding  1/2 cup oil  4 eggs  1 cup water  1 teaspoon rum flavoring Mix all ingredients together for about two minutes or until well combined. In a regular bundt pan, bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. You can also make this in the small pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. Leave cake in the pan for the next step. During the last 10 minutes of cooking time make the butter sauce. Sauce  1/2 cup butter  1/3 cup water  1 cup sugar  3/4 teaspoon rum flavoring Directions: In a pan combine butter, water, and sugar, boil then turn to low to simmer. Cook until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add rum flavoring. Slowly pour over hot cake that is still in pan. You do this step as soon as the cake comes out of the oven. Pour slowly or it will not fit in the pan. Pour a little and wait a few minutes for it to absorb into pan, than continuing this until all the sauce is in the pan. Let cool completely before removing cake from pan. This lets the sauce soak into the cake. Remove from pan onto a platter and serve. ©2010

Mom’s Easy Cheesecake My mom made this quick and easy cheesecake almost every year for the holidays. I remember her taking this to many family gatherings. I love this not only because it is easy, but you can vary it by using different fruit toppings. Makes 2 pies 

2 graham cracker pie crust

1 package cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk, chilled (do not skip the chilling part, it is important)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (3 ounce) package lemon jello

1 cup boiling water

Directions: Dissolve jello in boiling water. Let cool to about room temperature. When jello mixture is cooled, place in a blender and add cream cheese, sugar, chilled milk, and vanilla. Blend together well and pour into graham cracker crust. Chill for 4 hours. Slice and serve.


Pumpkin Bundt Cake I first found out about this pumpkin cake from my sisters and it has been a holiday favorite every since. 

1 package yellow cake mix

1 package (3.4 ounces) instant butterscotch pudding mix

4 eggs

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice ( I leave this out and use 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

Whipped cream, optional

Directions: In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds then beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with whipped cream if desired.


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