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Pumpkin Pie Squares

Pumpkin Pie Squares


1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1-1/2 C. sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 package (18-1/2 ounces) butter recipe golden cake mix

1 C. butter, melted

1 C. chopped pecans

Whipped topping, optional


In a large mixing bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; beat on medium speed until smooth. Pour into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with cake mix, then drizzle butter over top. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 1 hour on a wire rack. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares and garnish each serving with whipped topping. Yield: 12-16.

Butter Pecan Pumpkin Pie

Butter Pecan Pumpkin Pie


1 quart butter pecan ice cream, softened

1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked

1 C. canned pumpkin

1/2 C. sugar

1/4 tsp. each ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

1 C. heavy whipping cream, whipped

1/2 C. caramel ice cream topping

1/2 C. chocolate ice cream topping, optional

Additional whipped cream


Spread ice cream into the crust; freeze for 2 hours or until firm. In a small mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg; fold in whipped cream. Spread over ice cream. Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm. May be frozen for up to 2 months. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before slicing. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping. Drizzle with chocolate ice cream topping if desired. Dollop with whipped cream. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Pumpkin Shortbread Dessert

Pumpkin Shortbread Dessert


1-3/4 C. sugar, divided

1-1/2 C. all-purpose flour

1/2 C. cold butter

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

2 cans (12 ounces each) evaporated milk

Whipped cream and additional ground cinnamon, optional


In a bowl, combine 1/4 C. sugar and flour; cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. In a bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, salt, spices and remaining sugar. Stir in milk. Pour over crust. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake 50-55 minutes longer or until filling is set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Yield: 15-18 minutes.

Savory Orange Dressing

Savory Orange Dressing


1 C. sliced celery

1/2 C. chopped onion

1/3 C. butter

2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules

2-1/2 C. boiling water

1 package (14 ounces) seasoned stuffing cubes

1/2 C. shredded carrot

1/4 C. orange juice

2 tsp. grated orange peel


In a small skillet, sauté celery and onion in butter until tender. In a large bowl, dissolve bouillon in boiling water. Stir in the stuffing cubes, carrot, orange juice, peel and the celery mixture. Spoon into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 10 servings.

Cherry Cranberry Sauce

Cherry Cranberry Sauce


1-1/2 C. sugar

1-1/2 C. water

4 C. fresh or frozen cranberries (1 pound)

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) pitted tart cherries, drained


In a large saucepan, cook sugar and water over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and cherries. Bring to a boil. Cook uncovered, until cranberries begin to pop, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat; cook 20 minutes longer or until thickened. Pour into a serving dish. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Cranberry Sauce


1 package (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries

1-3/4 C. sugar

1/2 C. water

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cloves


In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until the berries pop and mixture is thickened, about 30 minutes. Cool. Transfer to a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled. Yield: 2 cups.

One Cheese Ball — 4 Great Ways

One Cheese Ball — 4 Great Ways



2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1 package (3 1/2 to 4 oz.) soft chèvre (goat) cheese

1 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. salt


Beat all ingredients in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth. Shape mixture as directed in recipes below. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.


Christmas Pears: Double the above recipe. Shape each cheese ball mixture into pear shape on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Place pears in large shallow serving bowl or on platter. Spoon 1/4 C. whole berry cranberry sauce over one pear; spoon 1/4 C. chutney over other pear. (If desired, process chutney in blender or food processor until smooth.) Break 1 cinnamon stick crosswise in half; insert in each pear for stem.


Festive Bird’s Nest: Shape cheese ball mixture into ball. Place cheese ball on plastic wrap. Place cheese ball and plastic wrap in bowl, 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Place plastic wrap on cheese ball, then push second smaller bowl, 4 to 5 inches in diameter, into cheese in larger bowl. Refrigerate. Remove bowls and plastic wrap. Sprinkle 1 C. chopped fresh chives or other fresh herbs over cheese “nest.” Fill nest with cherry tomatoes, olives or assorted breadsticks.


Magical Holiday Tree: Shape cheese ball mixture into pyramid shape on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Smooth sides with knife if necessary. Freeze pyramid about 20 minutes or until firm. Cut pyramid horizontally into thirds. Spread 3 T. roasted red bell peppers (from 7-oz. jar), finely chopped and well drained, on bottom piece. Spread 3 T. basil pesto on middle piece. Assemble tree; top with star cut from starfruit or yellow bell pepper. Serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate.


Holiday Pinecone: Shape cheese ball mixture into oval shape on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Press 1 package (6 oz.) sliced almonds (2 C.) into cheese ball. Sprinkle with 1/4 C. crushed dark rye crackers. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs. 

Holiday Crab Meat Appetizers

Holiday Crab Meat Appetizers


1/2 C. Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

1/3 C. Cream Cheese, softened

1/4 C. Minced Crab Meat

2 tsp. Green Onion

15 individual mini-phyllo shells, thawed


Bake phyllo shells as directed on package.  Place cranberry sauce in a small mixing bowl; beat with a fork or wire whisk until smooth.  Combine cream cheese, crab meat and green onion in a small mixing bowl.  Fill each shell with about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture.  Top with 1/2 tsp. Cranberry sauce

Fall Cheese Platter

Fall Cheese Platter


2 medium apples, chopped (2 cups)

2 cups cranberries

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

1 small onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped gingerroot

1 clove garlic, finely chopped


16 slices (1 oz each) assorted cheeses, such as Cheddar, Colby-Monterey Jack, Monterey Jack with jalapeño peppers and Swiss

1/4 cup hazelnuts, (filberts)



In 2-quart saucepan, mix all chutney ingredients. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered about 1 hour, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and fruit is tender. Spoon into nonaluminum container. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  Cut cheese with 1-, 1 1/2- and 2-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutters. Place cheese on medium platter, overlapping leaves. Sprinkle hazelnuts on platter to look like acorns. Serve with chutney and crackers.


Holiday Italian Herb Crescent Christmas Trees

Holiday Italian Herb Crescent Christmas Trees


2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/2 cup prepared sour cream and chive dip (I use recipe 101256)

10 medium cherry tomatoes, sliced into 30 slices

1 medium yellow bell pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll cans of dough and separate into 4 long rectangles; firmly press perforations together. Sprinkle each rectangle with 1 tablespoon cheese and 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle, forming 4 rolls (like a jelly roll). With serrated knife, cut each roll into 8 slices (now they look like pinwheels). To form 1 tree, on cookie sheet, (I line mine with parchment paper it’s easier to move trees to cool and to final decorating plate), Place 1 slice, cut side down, for top of tree. Arrange 2 slices below, sides touching. Continue arranging rows of 3, 4, and 5 slices. Use remaining slice for trunk. Bake first tree 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on wire rack. Repeat for 2nd tree on another cool cookie sheet. Place trees on serving platter. If you do not have a decorators bag and tip, spoon the dip into a zip lock bag. Cut 1/4 inch hole in bottom corner of bag; and pipe over tree like garland, and a dollop of dip in on each pinwheel except trunk. Place tomato slice on each pinwheel except top and bottom ones. With 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch star shaped cutter, cut 2 stars from yellow bell pepper; place one on top of each tree. Chop remaining bell pepper; sprinkle over trees. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving time.

Cheddar Pinecone

Cheddar Pinecone

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. Cheddar cheese spread
1 T. horseradish
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
Whole almonds
Rosemary sprigs


Blend first 4 ingredients. Shape into an oval. Stud with almonds. Garnish with rosemary.

Red, White and Blue Salad

Red, White and Blue Salad

1 C. pitted and chopped Northwest fresh sweet red cherries

1 C. pitted and chopped Northwest Rainier cherries

1 large Northwest white peach*, pitted and cubed (about a C.)

1 C. fresh blueberries

Minted Honey Lemon Dressing


*Casaba melon, lichee, julienne jicama or cubed jack, swiss, mozzarella or cream cheese can be substituted. Toss together cherries, peach and blueberries. Sprinkle with dressing and toss gently.


Minted Honey Lemon Dressing.


Combine 2 T. fresh lemon juice, 1 T. each honey and olive oil, 2 tsp. chopped fresh mint and 1/4 tsp. salt. Mix well. Makes 1/4 C.

Cheese Ball Santa

Cheese Ball Santa


The highlight of any Christmas party is an appearance by Santa — especially this Santa. Defer to your kids’ imaginations when you assemble this appetizer; try mini rice cakes instead of cream cheese for a beard or broccoli for ears. Before serving, bring it to room temperature for the best flavor and consistency.


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

4 ounces Grated Sharp Cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon softened butter

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 clove minced garlic (optional)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon tomato paste

Black pepper, to taste

Red bell pepper

1 to 2 cups whipped cream cheese

Radish slice, carrot stick, pretzel, black olives, crackers, and a cherry tomato


Make Santa’s face by blending the first eight ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a ball. Tightly wrap the cheese and chill it for 1 hour. Unwrap the cheese ball and place it on a large serving tray. Drape new plastic wrap over the cheese, then flatten and shape it into a face. Remove the wrap and turn the red pepper upside down for Santa’s hat. Spoon the whipped cream cheese into a sealable pint-size plastic bag. Seal the bag and make a small snip in a lower corner to create a pastry bag. Use piped-on whipped cream cheese to stick a radish-slice pom-pom to the hat. Pipe on more cream cheese for a hatband, eyebrows, and a beard. Press on a carrot nose, a pretzel mouth, olive eyes, and cracker ears. Add cherry tomato halves for rosy cheeks. Makes 8 to 10 servings. Kids’ Steps: Shaping Santa’s face and then decorating it with vegetable features are perfect jobs for little helpers.

Appetizer Cheese Gift Box

Appetizer Cheese Gift Box

1/2 T. butter

1/2 C. finely diced leeks (white part; reserve green part for ribbon and bow)

1 T. minced garlic

1-1/2 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 log (4 oz.) goat cheese, softened

Thinly sliced medium radishes, cut in triangles


Line a 5-1/2″x 3″ loaf pan with plastic wrap so that ends extend and can be wrapped over top of pan. In skillet, cook leeks in butter 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute longer. Cool. In bowl, beat cheeses until smooth; blend in leek mixture. Spoon into prepared loaf pan; spread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill 24 hours until very firm. Uncover, invert onto serving plate; remove plastic wrap. To make bow, drop reserved green leaves into boiling water just until color brightens. Immediately remove with slotted spoon and plunge into ice water. Remove when cool and pat dry. Place one long or two medium strips lengthwise on top and down sides. Place another “ribbon” crosswise. Place large loops on loaf lengthwise to make bow loops. Place a short loop in the middle to form the knot. Place 2″ notched pieces as shown for bow ends. Press radishes randomly on package.






Valentine Cookie Pops

Valentine Cookie Pops


1 package (18 oz) Pillsbury® Ready To Bake!™ refrigerated sugar cookies

20 flat wooden sticks with round ends

1 1/4 C. vanilla creamy ready-to-spread frosting (from 1-lb container)

 Assorted small candies, or candy decors or nonpareils, if desired

10 yards red curling ribbon


Heat oven to 350°F. On ungreased cookie sheets, place cookie dough pieces 2 inches apart. Into side of each piece of dough, insert wooden stick 1 inch, overlapping wooden sticks as necessary.  Bake 12 to 16 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.  Spread frosting on one side of each cookie; decorate with candies. Tie 18 inches of red ribbon into bow around each stick next to cookie.


Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws

8oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1/2 C. butter, softened

1 C. Flour

1/4 tsp. Salt


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, combine the cheese and butter. Blend in the flour and salt. Form the mixture into 6 balls. Roll the balls into slender “snakes.” Cut each “snake” into 4 straws. Bake the straws for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown.

Best- Ever Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

Best- Ever Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

1 lb low fat italian chicken sausages (garlic or mild) 

2 tsp. olive oil 

1/4 C. slivered almonds 

6 cardamom pods, cracked 

1/4 tsp. ground cloves 

1/4 tsp. cumin seed 

1/8 tsp. white pepper 

1 1/2 lb brussels sprouts, quartered 

1/2 C. reduced sodium chicken broth 


Remove sausage casings and discard. Crumble sausage meat with a fork. Warm oil in 12″ skillet over high heat. Add sausage, almonds, cardamom, cloves, cumin, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until sausage and almonds become golden in places, about 6 minutes. Add brussels sprouts and broth. Stir to combine. Cover tightly and cook 15 minutes, until sprouts can be easily pierced with fork. Uncover and continue cooking until most of liquid in pan has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Serve.

Horseradish and Scallions Devilled Eggs

Horseradish and Scallions Devilled Eggs

4 large eggs

2 T. mayonnaise

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. prepared horseradish

1 T. finely chopped scallions

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

1/8 tsp. paprika (optional)


Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with cold water by 1″. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water begins to boil, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain, then run cold water over the eggs. Let them sit in the water until completely cooled. To remove the shells, gently tap the eggs all over on a hard surface, roll the eggs between your hands, then peel away the shells. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and place the yolks in a small mixing bowl. Mash, adding the mayonnaise and mustard, until a smooth paste forms. Stir in the horseradish, scallions, salt, and pepper. Using a teaspoon, stuff the egg cavities with the yolk mixture and sprinkle with paprika (if using). Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Apricot-Apple Cider Sipper

Apricot-Apple Cider Sipper

1 gallon apple cider

1 (11.5-ounce) can apricot nectar

2 cups sugar

2 cups orange juice

3/4 cup  lemon juice

4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Bring all ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks. Serve hot.

Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Wild Mushroom Stuffing

2 C. hot water

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

1 3/4 lb. egg bread – crust trimmed, and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

1 C. chopped hazelnuts

6 T. unsalted butter

3 leeks, coarsely chopped

1 C. chopped shallots

1 1/4 lb. crimini mushrooms, sliced

1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 C. chopped celery

1 C. chopped fresh parsley

3 T. chopped fresh thyme

2 T. chopped fresh sage

salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 C. chicken broth


Soak porcini mushrooms in 2 C. hot water until the mushrooms are soft, about 30 minutes. Reserve soaking liquid, and chop mushrooms coarsely. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Arrange bread cubes on baking sheets in a single layer. Bake until beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook leeks, shallots, and crimini and shiitake mushrooms in the butter until tender, about 15 minutes. Mix in celery and porcini mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and mix with toasted bread cubes and nuts. Season with parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Stir in beaten eggs. Combine broth and 3/4 C. reserved porcini soaking liquid; add just enough broth mixture to the stuffing to moisten. Transfer stuffing to a buttered 10×15 inch baking dish. Cover with buttered foil, and bake in preheated oven until heated through, about 1 hour. Uncover, and bake until top is crisp, about 15 minutes.

Acorn Squash with Apricot Glaze

Acorn Squash with Apricot Glaze

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

2 medium acorn squash (1 pound each)

1 medium apple, sliced

1/4 C. apricot nectar

2 medium apricots, sliced or 1 peach, peeled and sliced (2/3 C.)

1 T. margarine or butter

2 T. honey


Halve squash lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Place squash, cut side down, in a 2-quart rectangular microwave-safe baking dish. Microwave, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) for 12 to 16 minutes or until just tender, giving dish a half-turn once. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine apple and apricot slices, nectar, honey, and nutmeg. Turn squash over, cut side up. Spoon fruit mixture into squash cavities. Dot with margarine or butter. Microwave, covered with waxed paper, for 4 to 7 minutes or until fruit is hot. Sprinkle with additional nutmeg, if desired. Makes 4 side-dish servings.


Spiral Stuffed Turkey Breast with Cider Gravy

Spiral Stuffed Turkey Breast with Cider Gravy


2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 C. finely chopped onion

1/2 C. finely chopped celery

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 C. fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs

3 T. chopped fresh parsley

1 T. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried

1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh sage or 1/2 tsp. crumbled dried (not ground)

1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste


Turkey & gravy

1 2-pound boneless turkey breast half

1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 C. apple cider

1/2 C. reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 C. coarsely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

8 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried

4 tsp. cornstarch

2 T. water

1/4 C. reduced-fat sour cream

1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. lemon juice


Preheat oven to 300°F.. To prepare stuffing: Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, sage, 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. To prepare turkey: Remove skin from turkey breast and trim off fat. Butterfly the turkey breast. Flatten the turkey breast. Spread the stuffing over the breast and roll the breast up into a cylinder. Secure with kitchen string. Sprinkle the turkey roulade with 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roulade and cook, turning from time to time, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add cider to the skillet and bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Heat the remaining 2 tsp. oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the browned turkey roulade. Pour in the cider mixture, then add thyme sprigs (or dried thyme). Cover the pan and transfer it to the oven. Bake the roulade until it is no longer pink inside and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 170°, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer to a carving board, tent with foil and keep warm. To prepare gravy: Strain the liquid from the Dutch oven into a medium saucepan, pressing on the solids. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook for 2 to 3 minutes to intensify the flavor. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl; add to the simmering gravy, whisking until lightly thickened. Add sour cream, mustard and lemon juice, whisking until smooth. Season with pepper. Heat through. Remove the string from the roulade. Carve into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with gravy.

Ginger-Orange Cranberry Sauce

Ginger-Orange Cranberry Sauce

1 12 oz. bag cranberries

1 C. water

1 C. sugar

1 orange, cut into small sections, pith and seeds (duh!) removed

Zest from 1 orange

Some fresh ginger, grated (make it TINY!)


In a large (the taller the sides, the better, because you’re exploding cranberries) saucepan, heat water, sugar, and cranberries until boiling. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil and add grated ginger, orange zest, and orange pieces.  Cook until all the cranberries explode and sauce has reached desired consistency, 10-30 minutes, with the sauce thickening as it cooks longer.

Pastry-Wrapped Cranberry Brie

Pastry-Wrapped Cranberry Brie

1 can (8 oz.) crescent dinner rolls

1 round 8 oz. brie cheese (don’t use triple creme brie)

3 TBS whole berry cranberry sauce

1 TBS apricot preserves

1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

2 medium pears, thinly sliced


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll dough and separate crosswise into 2 sections; press dough into 2 (7 inch) squares, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Cut cheese round horizontally to make 2 rounds. Place 1 cheese round, rind side down, on center of 1 dough square. (Do not remove rind from cheese.) In small bowl, mix cranberry sauce and preserves. Spread over top of cheese; sprinkle with rosemary. Top with remaining cheese round, rind side up. With small cookie or canape cutter, or sharp knife, make 1/2 to 1 inch cutouts to resemble poinsettia leaves from each corner of remaining dough square. Roll 3 small pieces of dough into 3 small balls; set cutouts and dough balls aside. Place remaining dough on top of cheese round. Press dough evenly around cheese, folding top edges over bottom edges; press to seal completely. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. On 7 by 7 inc foil squre, arrange dough leaves with balls in center on top of dough. Left foil square with poinsettia petals and place on cookie sheet next to wrapped Brie. Bake poinsettia 8 to 11 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. Lift from cookie sheet with foil; cool. Bake wrapped cheese 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet; place on serving plate. Place poinsettia on top of wrapped cheese. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm with pears. Makes 12 servings. TIP: The edible rind on the Brie keeps the cheese from oozing out during baking.

Crudité Platter with Roasted Garlic Aioli

Crudité Platter with Roasted Garlic Aioli

1 bunch baby carrots, peeled with about 1 inch of green tops left on

1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed

1/2 pound green or wax beans

1/2 pound fingerling (or small red) potatoes

1 Belgian endive, leaves separated

Slices of orange, red, or yellow bell peppers, or 1 C. grape or cherry tomatoes

Sea salt

Roasted Garlic Aioli


Blanch carrots by cooking in boiling salted water 1 minute or until they turn bright orange; remove from water with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer, and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside; repeat process with broccoli and next 4 ingredients. (Broccoli and asparagus need to boil only about 30 seconds; potato takes about 10 minutes.) Arrange blanched vegetables on a platter with endive and bell peppers or tomatoes. Serve with a bowl of sea salt for sprinkling and a bowl of Roasted Garlic Aioli for dipping.



Roasted Garlic Aioli


1 garlic bulb

1 T. olive oil

1/4 C. pasteurized eggs

1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts (about 1/4 C.)

Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 T.)

1 T. Dijon mustard

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 C. canola or safflower oil

1/4 C. olive oil


Preheat oven to 400°. Cut off pointed end of garlic; place garlic on a piece of foil, and drizzle with 1 T. oil. Wrap tightly, and roast at 400° for about 45 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven, and let cool; squeeze pulp from garlic cloves. Place roasted garlic in a blender or food processor with egg and next 5 ingredients, and process, adding canola oil and 1/4 C. olive oil in a slow, steady stream, until mixture thickens. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Festive Cheese Trio

Festive Cheese Trio

1  package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1  package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened

1  package (6 oz) chèvre (goat) cheese

1 1/2  tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2  tablespoons finely chopped yellow bell pepper

2  tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted*

2  tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata or Spanish olives

2  tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1  jar (2 oz) diced pimientos, drained

Crackers or cocktail breads


Line three 6-ounce custard cups or molds with plastic wrap. In medium bowl, beat both packages of cream cheese and chèvre cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. In 3 small bowls, divide mixture into equal portions (about 2/3 cup each). Stir chives into one portion of cheese mixture. Spoon half of mixture evenly into a lined cup. Sprinkle with bell pepper. Top with remaining chives mixture. Stir walnuts into another portion of cheese mixture. Spoon half of mixture evenly into a lined cup. Top with olives. Top with remaining walnut mixture. Stir Parmesan cheese into remaining portion of cheese mixture. Spoon half of mixture evenly into remaining lined cup. Top with pimientos. Top with remaining Parmesan mixture. Cover and refrigerate cheese mixtures in cups at least 24 hours but no longer than 3 days. Turn cups upside down onto serving plate; carefully remove cups and plastic wrap. Serve with crackers.

Three Cheese Party Wheel

Three Cheese Party Wheel

1 container(8-oz.)Swiss almond cold pack cheese food

1 container(8-oz.)Sharp cheddar cold pack cheese food

1 container(8-OZ.)chives and onion cream cheese spread

1/4 C. sliced almonds, toasted if desired.(or nuts of choice)

1/4 C. finely chopped fresh parsley

1 pkg.assorted crackers


On sheet of waxed paper, spread swiss almond cheese into 5-in.round,about 1/2 -in. thick. With small metal spatula, smooth side and top. Evenly spread cheddar cheese over swiss cheese, smooth side and top. Evenly spread cream cheese spread over top, smooth side and top to even layers. Sprinkle almonds over top, press in lightly. Press parsley into side of cheese wheel. Serve immediately, or wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until serving time. To serve, place cheese wheel on serving plate, arrange assorted crackers around cheese wheel.

Gorgonzola, Fig and Walnut Tartlets

Gorgonzola, Fig and Walnut Tartlets

1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box

6 dried figs or pitted dates, coarsely chopped (1/3 C.)

1 T. packed Domino® or C&H® Dark Brown Sugar

1/8 to 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 C. Fisher® Chef’s Naturals® Chopped Walnuts

1/2 C. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (2 oz)

1 T. honey


Heat oven to 425°F. Unroll pie crust on flat surface. Using 2-inch cookie cutter, cut 24 rounds from pie crust, rerolling crust scraps if necessary. Gently press 1 round in bottom and up side of each of 24 ungreased mini muffin C..  In small bowl, mix figs, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Spoon slightly less than 1 tsp. fig mixture into each C.. Break up any larger pieces of cheese. Top each tartlet with slightly less than 1 tsp. cheese.  Bake 7 to 11 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Remove tartlets from pan to serving plate. Drizzle tartlets with honey. Serve warm.

Blue Cheese and Red Onion Jam Crescent Thumbprints

Blue Cheese and Red Onion Jam Crescent Thumbprints

1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/2 C. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (2 oz)*

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations™ refrigerated flaky dough sheet

1/3 C. Fisher® Chef’s Naturals® Chopped Pecans

1 tsp. CRISCO® 100% Extra Virgin or Pure Olive Oil

1/3 C. finely chopped red onion

1 T. balsamic vinegar

1/4 C. SMUCKER’S® Apricot Preserves

1/8 to 1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves


Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix cream cheese and Gorgonzola cheese with fork until blended.  If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate into 2 rectangles, each about 11 inches long. Place 1 rectangle on cutting board; press perforations together to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut lengthwise into 2 rectangles, each about 11 inches long. Place 1 rectangle on cutting board.  Spread half of the cheese mixture over dough to within 1/2 inch of long sides; sprinkle half of the pecans evenly over cheese. Starting at 1 long side, roll up; press seam to seal. Cut roll into 16 (about 3/4-inch) slices with serrated knife; place cut sides down on ungreased large cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, cheese and pecans.  Bake 14 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, in 8-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly brown. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar, preserves (breaking up large pieces of fruit if necessary) and thyme; set aside.  After removing rolls from oven, immediately press back of a tsp. into center of each roll to make small indentation. Spoon slightly less than 1/2 tsp. onion jam into each indentation. Remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

Cheese and Fruit Plate

Cheese and Fruit Plate

9oz. dried Mission Figs, chopped

2 ½ ox. Hazelnuts, chopped

12oz. jar Apricot Preserves

8oz. Gouda

8oz. Blue Cheese

8ox. Brie Round

1lb. Strawberries

7oz. dried Apricots

64 Whole Wheat Crackers

Parsley Springs


In small serving bowl mix figs, nuts and apricot preserves.  To serve place cheeses on decorative platter, surround with strawberries, apricots and crackers.  Garnish with parsley. 

Christmas Tree Vegetable Platter

Christmas Tree Vegetable Platter

4 C. broccoli florets

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, and sliced or Pretzel Sticks

1 C. – red pepper strips

1 container cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

1 C. cauliflower florets

1 C. sliced carrots

1 sliced starfruit


Arrange broccoli on a large flat platter in the shape of a Christmas tree. Add the sliced cucumber at the bottom for a trunk. Arrange the red pepper strips as a garland over the broccoli. Dot the tree with the tomatoes, cauliflower, and carrots for the “ornaments”. Add the sliced starfruit in a single pile at the top of the tree for the star.  Can also use small vegetable/cookie cutters to cut shapes from bell peppers for ornaments

Cranberry Jell-O Mousse

Cranberry Jell-O Mousse

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple

1 (6 oz) pkg. strawberry Jell-O

1 c water

1 can WHOLE cranberry sauce

3 T. lemon juice

¼ tsp. nutmeg

2 C. sour cream

½ C. pecans, chopped


Drain pineapple and save all juice. Add juice to Jell-O and water. Stir until boiling and Jell-O is dissolved. Remove from heat. Blend in cranberries, lemon juice and nutmeg. Chill until slightly set. Blend in sour cream, pineapple and pecans. Pour into dish and chill overnight.

Candied Apples

Candied Apples

1 1/2 C. sugar

2 tsp. vinegar

2/3 C. water

1 package cherry Kool-Aid

10 apples


Mix sugar, vinegar and water. Boil until mixture reaches 300-degrees; cool.  Stir in Kool-Aid. Put apples on sticks and dip into mixture quickly. Yield:  10 Candied Apples.


Cranberry Quatre Quarts Cake

Cranberry Quatre Quarts Cake

3 large eggs, separated

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup salted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch round cake pan and set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, cream together the egg yolks, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Stir in the vanilla, flour, and dried cranberries, and then fold in the egg whites. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until it tests done. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, and then transfer to a wire rack for complete cooling.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, plus 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick)

1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup

1 pound cranberries, rinsed, picked over, and patted dry

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon minced orange rind

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons double acting baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup red currant jelly

Sweetened whipped cream, as accompaniment, if desired


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan with 3 tablespoons butter, sprinkle 1/2 cup of the sugar evenly over the bottom, and arrange the cranberries in the pan. In a bowl with the mixer cream together the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, and orange rind and beat the mixture until well combined. Into another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, alternately with the milk until it is combined. Pour the batter over the cranberries and smooth the top. Bake the cake on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the inside of the pan and invert the cake stand. In a small saucepan melt the currant jelly over low heat, stirring, and brush it over the cake. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with the whipped cream, if desired.








Wild Rice & Cranberry Salad

Wild Rice & Cranberry Salad

1 C. wild rice

1/4 C. chopped parsley

1/2 C. chopped celery

1/2 C. chopped green pepper

1/4 C. chopped green onions

1/2 C. sweetened dried cranberries


Cook wild rice in 4 C. water until almost done, about 45 minutes. Drain well; cool. Add remaining salad ingredients.  Dressing:  1/2 C. cranberry juice, 1 tsp. basil, 1/2 C. white vinegar, 5 T. olive oil, sugar & salt to taste. Combine dressing ingredients, add to salad, mix together.







Red, White and Blue Salad

Red, White and Blue Salad


2 T. butter

1 1/2 C. pecan halves

1 C. sugar


Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and sugar; stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar melts around pecans and is caramel-colored. Remove pecans with a slotted spoon and spread in a single layer on a sheet of lightly greased aluminum foil. Cool completely and break up pieces as needed.



1 1/2 bags “Just Lettuce” Salad Mix

1/2 bag baby spinach

Halved Strawberries

Sliced Bananas



Combine lettuce and spinach in a salad bowl and toss. Add strawberries, bananas, blueberries, Craisins and toss gently. Drizzle lightly with dressing and serve remaining dressing on the side. Sprinkle pecans on top of salad. Serve with mini-muffins.






Cornbread/Sausage Dressing With Dried Cranberries

Cornbread/Sausage Dressing With Dried Cranberries

stuffing12 C. of day-old cornbread (make 3 packages of cornbread mix and allow to cool overnight)

4 T. olive oil

4 T. fresh thyme leaves or 1 T. dried thyme

2 lb. bulk pork sausage

2 T. unsalted butter

3 C. chopped onions

6 stalks celery, chopped

1-2 C. dried cranberries or dried cherries

4 T. chopped fresh sage leaves or 2 tsp. dried sage

1/4 C. chopped parsley

2 C. chicken broth

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350. Cut cornbread into 1-inch cubes and place in large mixing bowl with 2 T. of olive oil. Add 2 T. of fresh thyme (1/2 T. dried) to mixing bowl and toss cornbread to coat. Spread the cornbread out on baking sheets and bake at 350 until slightly toasted (about 15 minutes). Allow toasted cornbread to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then return to bowl. While cornbread is cooling, brown bulk sausage over medium heat until cooked through/lightly browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove sausage from frying pan (or drain grease) and add sausage to mixing bowl. Heat remaining 2 T. of olive oil and butter over medium heat and add onion and celery. Sauté onions and celery for about 10 minutes. 0Add dried cranberries or cherries to onion/celery and sauté for about 5 minutes. Fold the mixture into the bowl with cornbread and sausage. Add the remaining thyme, sage, parsley to the mixing bowl and toss well with spatula. Drizzle the mixture with chicken broth to moisten and add salt and pepper to taste. Place into baking pan (s), cover with foil and cook for 25-30 minutes.







Chestnut Mushroom Stuffing

Chestnut Mushroom Stuffing

1-2600x400_mushroom-stuffing1378827168 lb. chestnuts, the more the better, boiled and peeled
1 lb. white mushrooms (do not used canned) sliced
6 stalks of celery sliced
2-3 onions sliced finely
2 cloves of garlic chopped very fine or preferably run through a press
Bag of bread croutons or make you own
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
Vegetable oil
The method

First wash the chestnuts and add to boiling water. Boil for about 15-20 minutes, take one out to test after 15 minutes. After boiling, allow to cool until you can handle the chestnuts. While their cooling, heat up a heavy pan with about 3 T. oil and place the onions, garlic, mushrooms, celery and spices in the pan. Cook gently while you peel the chestnuts-do not fry, you want soft ingredients. When the vegetable are cooked well, crumble the chestnuts into the pan. Sauté for a few minutes, making sure not to burn the stuffing. Finally, add the croutons and continue sautéing briefly, then add about one cup of boiling water. Mix and check if you need more water then taste and add more spice if necessary. The stuffing will be more dry now so again, be careful not to burn it. Now stuff your turkey with your chestnut mushroom stuffing or serve as is as a delicious side dish with your Thanksgiving dinner. The stuffing refrigerates well so if you actually have some left-which is very unlikely since it’s so good, keep it in the fridge for up to a few days and microwave or heat in the oven as needed.

Sweet and Savory Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Puff Pastry Straws

Sweet and Savory Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Puff Pastry Straws

Sweet-and-Savory-Cheesy-Bacon-Wrapped-Puff-Pastry-Twist-1511 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded (or a mix of your favorite cheeses)
26-30 pieces thin cut bacon (or 18 pieces of thin cut bacon sliced in half lengthwise)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced (may sub sage or thyme)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray. Open one sheet of puff pastry on a cutting board. Brush the surface lightly with some of the beaten egg. Sprinkle with your desired amount of cayenne pepper (I did 1 teaspoon per sheet of puff pastry). Sprinkle surface with 1/2 cup of cheese to evenly cover entire surface. Dust a rolling pin lightly with flour and then roll the rolling pin over the cheese to gently press the cheese into the puff pastry. Cut the puff pastry into long 1/2-inch-wide strips and then take each strip, fold in half and pinch the ends together. Now gently twist each strip several times. Take a piece of bacon and wrap it around the twisted pastry and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and bacon until everything has been used. Add the brown sugar, rosemary, salt and pepper to a shallow bowl or pie plate and toss well. Now carefully take each bacon wrapped pastry one at a time and dip it through the brown sugar mixture, using your hands to coat all over the twist. Place each twist back on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining twists. Bake the twist for 30 to 50 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. My bacon took 50 minutes to cook, but it was on the thicker side. I would start checking them at around 30 minutes and then every 5 to 10 minutes after that to make sure they are not burning. Once the bacon is cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool 5 minutes. Then use a spatula to carefully lift the twists off the baking sheet. Serve!