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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Spicy Turkey Buns

In anticipation of New Year's, here's a warm snack that's a handful of spicy goodness.  Easy and filling, great for a night of celebration.

Spicy Turkey Buns

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp five spice powder*
1 tbsp water
1 egg
1/2 lb ground turkey
2 tsp minced garlic
1/8 cup minced green onion (optional)
1 (8 ct) pkg refrigerated biscuits

In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in the curry powder, red pepper flakes and five spice powder, mixing well.  Set aside.

Whisk together the water and egg until well-blended.  Set aside.

Brown the ground turkey with the minced garlic over medium high heat until it is cooked through, then drop the heat to low.

Add the spice mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring, for an additional minute until the turkey is evenly coated.  Stir in green onions.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Open the biscuits and place them, individually, between two sheets of wax paper. Gently roll them out until they half their original size.

Spoon a small heap of the spiced turkey into the center of each biscuit.  Fold over one end to form a half circle and pinch the edges closed.

Place the half-buns on a lightly greased (or parchment-covered) cookie sheet. Brush the tops of each with the egg wash.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-11 minutes or until lightly browned.

Can be served warm or at room temperature.


*Five spice powder is a Chinese spice blend that you can find in most grocery stores in the specialty spice area.

You can substitute your ground meat or use the Morning Star Grillers (vegetarian) instead of turkey.

If you want a less bready bun, split the biscuit in half (separate the layers) before you roll them out. Additionally it will double your bun production. :)

I made a Asian Mayo to dip mine in -- a mixture of soy sauce, mayo and lemon juice to taste.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Very Merry Holly Day

Since today I am cooking up holiday time with the family I'm not doing much cooking in the kitchen.  I'll be back again on Sunday with some new stuff to try and then we'll start off the new year right with some healthy, low-cal, good-for-you recipes!

For those who celebrate Christmas, hope you are having a very merry one.  And to everyone, best wishes for this holiday season!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Nogs

What is more Christmassy than enjoying a delicious cup of eggnog?  Nothing I can think of.  So for my fellow nog afficianados out there, here are a couple of new variations to sip on.  I found these in my Favorite Brand Names Appetizers cookbook and thought I would give them a try.  Not disappointed.

Raspberry Eggnog
Favorite Brand Names Appetizers, page 340, recipe paraphrased 

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
4 cups skim milk, divided
2 egg, beaten
1 (12 oz) pkg frozen raspberries, thawed
1 tsp vanilla
6-9 drops red food coloring (optional)
ground nutmeg for garnish

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan.  Stir in 2 cups of milk and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly.

Continue boiling 1 minute or until thickened, again stirring constantly.

Whisk small amount of hot milk mixture into eggs in a small bowl. 

Whisk egg mixture in saucepan and cook over low heat for 1 minute.  Strain and cool.

Place raspberries in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Strain and discard seeds.

Stir raspberry puree into the cooled milk mixture and add in remaining 2 cups of milk and vanilla.

Add food coloring (if wanted) one drop at a time until eggnog is the desired shade of pink.

Cover and refrigerate until cold or ready to serve.  Sprinkle with nutmeg.  Garnish with mint sprigs and raspberries, if desired.

Makes 12 (1/2 oz) cups.

Mocha Eggnog
Favorite Brand Names Appetizers, page 346, recipe paraphrased

1 qt eggnog
1 tbsp instant coffee
1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur
cinnamon for garnish

Heat eggnog and coffee granules in a large saucepanover medium heat until mixture is hot and coffee is dissolved. Do NOT boil.

Remove from heat and stir in coffee liqueur.


I ended up not adding any red food coloring to the raspberry nog because I liked the light pink color it was without.

When it comes to straining the raspberry puree, after several messy attempts, I found the best thing to do was line a strainer with cheesecloth and squeeze it through.


I used the instant expresso that I used for the cappuchino pie and Kahlua, because you can never go wrong with Kahlua.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lil Brie Roll-Ups

We all know that baked brie is a holiday get-together staple.  I mean, who doesn't love cheese baked in dough?  Well here is my take on that party classic.

Sticking with the quick-n-easy theme, it's a tasty assembly you can throw together in just a short amount of time.  Delicious hot, but also quite tasty at room temp.

Lil Brie Roll-Ups

1 (5 oz) container spreadable brie
1 (10 oz) jar cranberry chutney
1/4 tsp ground clove
1 (4 oz) bag chopped walnuts
2 rolls (8 ct) refrigerated crescent rolls
cinnamon sugar (2-3 tsp approx)

Open one roll of crescents.  Layout and press the crossway seams together creating 4 large rectangles.  Cut each rectangle (short-wise) into 4 pieces.

Slather each piece with a nice helping of the spreadable brie.  Over the brie, spread a generous dose of cranberry chutney.

Sprinkle 1/8 tsp ground clove evenly over all 16 of the pieces.  NOTE: best way to avoid big clumps of the spice landing on one piece is to put the ground clove in your palm and use your fingers to lightly sprinkle it around.

Top each piece with chopped walnuts.

Roll each strip lightly and place them, seam side down, on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes or until toasty brown.  Remove and allow to cool for 5-8 minutes.  Otherwise you'll burn your tongue on the hot chutney.

Repeat whole process with the second roll of crescents. Will make 32 altogether.


You can use your favorite jam or non-cranberry chutney with this recipe.

Pecans or even almonds would work just as well too.

If you like your baked treats super sweet, just omit the ground clove.  I added it to cut back on the overall sweetness of the roll-up.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Want to switch gears and bring you some savory treats to serve up at your holiday shindigs.  This one started out as a marriage of convenience, but quickly turned into a love affair.

I had waffle pretzels left over from the Itty Bitty Minty Bites and some chicken in the fridge so figured I'd introduce the two.  And these are baked, not fried, so don't make a huge mess in the kitchen.

Best part, they are good served hot, at room temp, and not that bad served cold either which is what you want in a party food.  Set them out and people can enjoy them whenever.

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

8-9 doz (2 cups) waffle pretzels, crushed
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey mustard (about 1/2 of a 10.5 oz bottle)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Crush the pretzels into small pieces.  For the best results, I put them in a gallon-sized bag and crush them with a rolling pin.  I did the pretzels in two batches.  Put the crushed pretzels in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Trim and cut the chicken breasts into double-bite sizes (or can make them smaller if you prefer).

Pour your honey mustard into a small bowl.

Dip the chicken chunks in the honey mustard then roll them in the crushed pretzels until well coated.

Place the crusted chicken on a lightly greased cookie sheet (or you can use parchment paper).

Bake for 9 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.  Remove from oven and let sit for 3-5 minutes before removing from pan.

Ready to eat.  Can serve it up with some additional honey mustard on the side for dipping, but they are pretty good on their own.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Itty Bitty Minty Bites

Looking for something quick(ish) and easy(ish) to throw together for a holiday party?  Here's something fun and cute and yummy.  Be warned though -- HIGHLY addictive!

Itty Bitty Minty Bites

Hershey's Mint Truffle Kisses
Synder's Butter Snaps pretzels
Colored nonpareil sprinkles

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Lay pretzels out on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Or wax paper in a pinch.

Unwrap kisses and place one on each pretzel.

Put cookie sheet in the oven for 1 minute.  No more, no less.

Remove immediately and gently press another pretzel onto of each of the mooshy kisses.

Sprinkle spinkles on each.  Make sure to get it in all the little pretzel holes.

Put cookie sheet in the fridge for 20-25 minutes until the chocolate is firmed up.

Then start popping them in your face...or share them with others if you really feel you need to.


I used Mint Truffles Kisses, but you could do this with any of the flavor-filled kisses that Hershey's makes.

One bag of kisses makes about 5 dozen Itty Bitty Minty Bites.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cappuchino Pie with Gingerbread Crust

Since I had bought two rolls of the gingerbread dough last week, I thought I would bake off one and use the cookies to make a gingerbread pie crust.  Since coffee and cookies make a great combo, decided to do some experimenting with pie filling and what I came up with is a combo pre-made/made-up/made-from-scratch concoction that I think you will enjoy.

Cappuchino Pie with Gingerbread Crust

1-1/2 cups crushed gingerbread cookies (or gingersnaps)
1 tbsp sugar
7 tbsp butter, melted

Mix the ingredients and press into a 9" pie pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.  Crust might be bubbling a little bit when you pull it out of the oven but that's okay.

custard filling
1 box Jell-O Flan with caramel sauce
1-2 tsp instant expresso

Set the caramel sauce pack aside.  Follow box directions to make flan, adding the instant expresso to the milk with the flan mixture.

Once done, pour the flan mixture into the gingerbread pie crust.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

whipped topping
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1-2 tsp instant expresso
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted

Blend instant expresso with heavy cream.  Mix until dissolved.

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip expresso cream until it forms soft peaks.

Add in powdered sugar and continue whipping until cream forms hard peaks.

Spread whipped topping over top of pie and drizzle with caramel pack from the flan mixture.

Ready to serve.


If you really like coffee, go with 2 tsp instant expresso.  If you kind of like coffee, go with 1 tsp instant expresso.  If you don't want to be up all night, use decaf instant expresso instead.

If you make a custard from scratch or don't use the Jell-O mix that has the caramel sauce, you can use caramel ice cream topping.  Or drizzle with chocolate syrup (making it a mocha).

My pie looks a little more "rustic" because I kind of threw it together, but you can make it look pretty by taking more time than I did.

If you want to make individual desserts, use tart pans to make smaller "pies." 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Check It Out: Pillsbury Gingerbread Dough

Okay, you know I'm a cookies-from-scratch kind of gal, but at our Annual GNO Holiday Bake, my little friend Emerson rolled out and baked up some super yummy gingerbread cookies.  Super yummy because they tasted just like Brown Sugar Cinnamon PopTarts!  So if you are as big a fan of BSCPTs as I am you are going to love this.

When I asked her mom if I could have the recipe to share with you guys, I was floored to find out that it was a pre-made refrigerated dough.  Well done Pillsbury!  So I thought if you are feeling pressed this holiday season, but still want to get your bake on, save yourself some time and effort and pick up a roll of Pillsbury's Gingerbread Dough, grab your favorite holiday cookie cutters and go to town.  You can decorate them or eat them plain, either way, scrumptious.

Just a heads up, though, it's not easy to find.  I went to three grocery stores before I found rolls at my local Harris Teeter.  You might want to call ahead before questing for this time-saver.

FYI -- one roll makes 3-1/2 dozen ninjabread men. :)  HIIII-YUM! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Whiskey Maple Bacon Mini Cupcakes

As promised, some yummy little treats, perfect for any holiday party...or just noshing in front of the fire.

Whiskey Maple Bacon Mini Cupcakes
Petite Treats, p. 53-54.

4 strips bacon
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy milk
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tbsp whiskey
2 tsp pure maple syrup
bacon bits (cooked during cupcake making)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 24 mini muffin wells with paper liners.

2. Cook the bacon in a frying pan until crispy curls form, making sure not to burn it.  Save 1/3 cup of the drippings.  Cook and drain the bacon on paper towel.  Crumble and reserve it for topping the cupcakes.  My bacon strips didn't produce 1/3 cup drippings so I supplemented with vegetable oil to get the full 1/3 cup.

3. Combine the apple cider vinegar with the soy milk in a small bowl and set aside.  Do not be surprised, the mixture will curdle a bit.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.

5. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the soy milk mixture, maple syrup, bacon drippings, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium speed.

6. Reduce the speed to medium-low and, with the mixer running, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until no lumps remain.

7. Using a mini ice cream scoop (or two small spoons for the scoop-and-scrape method), scoop the batter into the liners, filling each to just below the brin.

Bake until the tops area light golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.

8. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.


1. In a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and shortening on medium speed until fluffy.  If your butter is not at room temperature yet, cut it into small cubes and then blend with the shortening, will make them cream together better.

2. Add the powdered sugar and whip on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Add the soy milk, whiskey, and maple syrup and whip until creamy, 5 to 7 minutes, adding more soy milk if needed.

3. Using a pastry bag or cupcake froster, frost the cooled cupcakes.  Top with the bacon bits.

4. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


If you don't have pure maple syrup, you can substitute whatever maple syrup you have on hand without losing flavor.

You could probably substitute the bacon with turkey bacon or fake-on as long as you use veggie oil in lieu of the drippings.

If you want to tee-total the recipe, just leave out the whiskey.  In lieu, add another 1 tsp of vanilla and 2 tsp of water.