Every year I give out Christmas cookies and candies to my family and friends. And every year I try swap around the cookies and candies I make. I came across these Italian Christmas cookies. I noticed they traditionally use anise extract, but I’m not an anise (or black licorice taste) fan. So I substituted almond extract. You can choose to use either.
- 3/4 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon anise or almond extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Nonpareil sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time. Then add the vanilla and anise flavoring.
Slowly mix in the flour mixture. Do not overbeat.
Refrigerate dough for one hour.
When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Dip the bottom of a small glass into some powdered sugar and press each ball down slightly.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove and cool completely.
- Sift two cups of powdered sugar in a bowl. Whisk in milk and vanilla.
- Dip top of each cookie in the glaze. Garnish with some nonpareil sprinkles.
- Allow glaze to dry before freezing.
Here’s a fun baking activity for your kids or for you kids at heart to make during the holidays. All you need are a few items you may already have in your pantry. I did make my own cupcakes from scratch, only because I was already making my Christmas cookies and had most the ingredients out anyway. But I did use store bought frosting. Either way is fine. The snowmen won’t complain.
- 1 box chocolate or Devil’s food cake mix
- 1 container vanilla frosting (buttercream or whipped style)
- white sparkling decorating sugar sprinkles (I used Wilton brand)
- butterscotch baking chips (or use orange M&Ms)
- mini chocolate chips
- Prepare cupcakes as per cake mix directions and let cool completely.
- Spread a generous amount of frosting on top of the cupcake.
- Fill a small bowl with white, sparkling decorating sugar.
- Holding the bottom of the cupcake, gently press it down into the coarse sugar and rock it back and forth in all directions until the icing is completely covered.
- Take a regular sized butterscotch chip and gently press it into the center of the cupcake.
- Then use mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth.
- Aren’t they so cute?! How easy was that?
The hardest part of this recipe for me was finding somewhere that sold Jerk seasoning. I looked up and down the spice aisle. Then I tried the international aisle of my local grocery store. Still couldn’t find it. I tried the store across the way from my favorite grocery store. Still couldn’t find it. I found every other type of seasoning spices. Finally I did an internet search. I found it on Amazon of all places. Finally! This recipes is actually very tasty and not as spicy as I like since my son can’t handle spicy foods. So feel free to adjust the amount of seasoning you use according to your tastes.
- 1 pound Gemelli pasta (or Penne pasta will work too)
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4 tablespoons Jamaican Jerk seasoning (divided)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
- 1/3 cup sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente. Drain and set aside.
- . Season chicken breasts all over using 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning per chicken breast.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook chicken until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside to rest.
- Add remaining oil and cook peppers until mostly tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add green onions and garlic until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with remaining tablespoon jerk seasoning.
- Add chicken stock and heavy cream and let simmer until thickened, 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice prepared chicken.
- Add Parmesan and stir until melted and creamy, then add pasta and chicken and toss until completely combined.
- Garnish with green onions and more Parmesan and serve.
It’s finally getting chilly around here. Soup is my favorite “go to” meal when the weather gets colder. This soup is really decadent since it’s creamy and full of vegetables. Don’t be deceived by my picture, there is wild rice in this soup. For my strictly vegetarian friends, substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock. And for my friends who want an even heartier soup, feel free to add diced, cooked chicken.
- 1/2 cup wild rice
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 4 cups water
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked, diced chicken (OPTIONAL)
- In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, oil and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook the carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes in butter until vegetables are almost tender. Stir in flour until blended; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in broth and undrained rice.
- Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Reduce heat; stir in the cream, rosemary and poultry seasoning. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Salt and pepper to taste. If adding in chicken, do so the last 5 minutes to warm through.
It’s almost Halloween. I thought I’d share an easy and fun recipe to make with the kids or to make for the kids at heart. The unbaked peppers look so cute, but the baked ones look perfectly scary for Halloween with their shrinking skins and their (unintentional) burnt tops. Feel free to stuff your peppers with rice, quinoa and other vegetables if you want to go vegetarian. I just thought the macaroni and cheese resembled the pumpkin innards which made this more fun.
- 3/4 pounds of lean ground beef (or turkey or chicken)
- 1/2 of a red onion. diced
- 1/2 a cup of spaghetti or tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 box (7.25 ounces) Kraft macaroni and cheese (or any other brand)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 6 orange bell peppers
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
- Foil line a small baking sheet.
- In a large skillet, brown the ground meat over medium high heat. Drain excess fat.
- Add onions and cook until almost translucent.
- Add spaghetti/tomato sauce, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Stir until well mixed and turn off heat.
- Prepare macaroni and cheese according to package using the butter and milk.
- Meanwhile, cut the bell peppers into jack-o-lanterns. Discard the seeds and white membranes. Be sure to leave enough of the top to use as a lid. I like to make sure there is enough opening in the mouths I carve so you can see the noodle mixture coming out like pumpkin guts.
- Once your macaroni and cheese is ready, combine in your large skillet with your meat mixture. Mix well.
- Stuff your peppers with the noodle and meat mixture. Put them on your prepared foil lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until bell peppers are tender.
Ever find yourself making the same foods over and over? I do that all the time. Rotating the same recipes every week. So for a little change of pace I tried making these meatballs in enchilada sauce. Yes, I needed something different to try, plus I didn’t have any tortillas on hand to make enchiladas. You can serve these meatballs as appetizers. Or make these into a meal and serve with rice and beans or inside a tortilla if you have them on hand.
- 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumim
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 small jalapeno, minced
- 1 28 ounce can red enchilada sauce
- 1/2 cup Mexican shredded cheese
- 1 avocado, sliced for garnish
- sour cream for garnish(optional)
- corn tortillas for serving (optional)
- In a small bowl add crushed tortilla chips and milk. Set aside and let soak for a few minutes, while you are preparing meatball mix.
- In a large bowl combine: ground beef, egg, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, onion, and jalapeno.
- Next mix in the crushed tortilla chips soaked in milk. Combine until thoroughly mixed.
- Form 1 1/2 -2 inch meatballs by hand or use cookie scoop. I was able to make 21 meatballs with my mix.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. When olive oil begins to ripple, add meatballs carefully into skillet.
- Cook meatballs until seared on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Drain excess fat when meatballs are browned.
- Add enchilada sauce to skillet with meatballs. Toss the meatballs with the sauce to make sure each meatball gets covered. (I added leftover corn kernels to my sauce)
- Add shredded cheese to the tops of each meatball. Cover skillet. Lower heat to medium. Let cheese melt and meatballs cook through for 10 minutes.
- Garnish skillet with more cilantro and avocado slices.
- Serve as appetizers with avocado slices or sour cream or put into mini corn tortillas.