Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How Sweet...

is this picture?  This is from the latest wedding that I assisted Monica with (see "links" sidebar for her website).   Also, I've been MIA on Photo Fridays, so I owe ya'll one!  Or two.  Or possibly three by now.

This one was taken during the vows at the ceremony...a bit artsy fartsy, but more than a bit cute.

PS - I just posted a picture of Rose from our photo shoot on the Pioneer Woman's latest Holiday Bokeh assignment - hope it makes it on her website!  Ah!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

First, can I say that I can't believe I've missed two Photo Fridays in a row?  How terrible!  I'm going to attempt to make it up to you with this recipe and a promise that I will knock your socks off with Photo Friday this week. 

This recipe is my Grandma Jones's.  I think everyone probably has some version of this recipe in their back pocket, but I promise you that this is the best of them all.  I'm sure everyone probably always says that too, but can everyone else make an onion-hater into an onion-eater?  No.  I hate onions.  And my grandma made this...and I ate it.  I did not ask questions, I did not complain, I did not pick through the pile of deliciousness on my plate in search of rogue onions.  So there.

2 pounds hashbrown potatoes, defrosted

1/2 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion (chop this finely...mince it, even!)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup milk

1 cup sour cream

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

topping:  2 cups crushed corn flakes and 1/2 cup melted butter, combined

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9x13 inch baking pan.  Spread mixture out evenly.   Sprinkle the corn flake topping over the top of the potatoes, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Hello, is any people pleasing recipe easier than this one?  No!  This is a super simple side dish to serve along with your Christmas dinner.  Or any dinner.  Or you can make it on its own and eat it out of the pan with a fork and...oops.  That was just between me and the potatoes.  Not anymore!   Enjoy, everyone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

When I was at home, I filched a bunch of my favorite recipes that my mom has in her cookbooks.  When my sister and I were kids, she used to make this kick-butt casserole that EVERYONE loved.  It was special food and comfort food at the same time.  Also, whenever we had this, we also had crescent rolls.  And who doesn't love those? 

Try this.  Classic flavors, pure deliciousness, and it makes me think of my mom. 

1 head broccoli, cut into pieces (i usually just use the florets but you can probably use all of it)

6 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup mayo

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3/4 cup soft bread crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter

Spread the broccoli pieces on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Layer the chicken on top of the broccoli.  Mix the soup, mayo, and lemon juice together and pour over the top of the chicken, making sure that most of it is covered.  Sprinkle the cheese, then the breadcrumbs over the top, and drizzle the melted butter over all so that the breadcrumbs will get nice and toasty.  Bake covered at 350 degrees for about an hour, until bubbly and very hot.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pecan Tassies

I think these little suckers are an aquired taste. They are like mini pecan pies. I never used to like them, but now I think they are delicious. This recipe is a little shoutout to Grandma, because these are one of her favorite cookies to make (and eat)...I give you the pecan tassie.

3 ounces softened cream cheese

 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon softened butter

1 cup flour

 1 egg

 3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar

 1 teaspoon vanilla

 dash of salt

 2/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter & flour. Mix thoroughly and chill for at least an hour (I usually let them sit in the fridge overnight). Cut dough into 24 equal parts, roll into little balls, and press into sides and bottom of 2 ungreased miniature muffin tins. Combine egg, brown sugar, vanilla, salt & remaining 1 tablespoon butter and beat until smooth. Sprinkle 1/3 cup pecans equally into the little tarts you just pressed. Divide egg mixture equally among the 24 cookies, pouring on top of the pecans you put in the bottom. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup pecans on top of the egg mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ginger Cookies - Amish Style

Oh, Christmas, I love how your warm inviting flavors let me forget about the chill of winter outside; the smell of delicious spices wafting throughout the house and the laughter of family and friends. These cookies have Christmas written all over them.

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

2 ½ cups flour

1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and molasses; beat until combined. Add flour, baking soda and spices, then mix until well combined. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar (please be festive and use red and green sugar). Place balls on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 7 - 9 minutes until very lightly golden. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet and then remove to wire racks to cool completely. This recipe makes around four dozen.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chocolate Mint Snowtops

Dear Chocolate & Mint,  Thank you so much for getting together and creating the most delicious flavor combination ever.  I have loved you two ever since I was little and I had my first after dinner mint at the Olive Garden.   Then my Gram made a cookie featuring both of you, and my Christmas became even better.  You are a delight.  Love, Jenny.

Okay, but in all seriousness...these cookies are amazing.

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 ounces Nestle mint/semi-sweet chocolate chips

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in another bowl.  Melt 1 cup of the chips.  Add the melted chips and vanilla to the butter and sugar, and then beat in the eggs and the flour mixture.  Stir in the remaining unmelted chips.  Once mixed, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze until firm.  Then, roll the dough into 1 inch balls, then roll each ball in powdered sugar.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until the tops of the cookies begin to look cracked.

So yummy!