I hope with the Christmas season upon us, you will be able to enjoy family during the holiday season. This year is very different, and many traditions will not be happening or may be modified a bit to accommodate family and friends.
I started this column looking for alternate entree choices in place of turkey, and as is my normal case, I came across other recipes that called me to share them with you. A couple of dips for appetizers, a few wonderful sounding entree choices and ended with a few dessert items. The pork loin and roast recipes would be nice to make for family who will be staying a few days and have a change from the main entree from Christmas day.
I will not have a recipe column next week, so this is my chance to wish you a very merry Christmas. I hope your Christmas is filled with abundant blessings that will overflow into the new year. Stay safe and healthy during this special Christmas season as we stop, pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Rejoice!
Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
Tart cranberries and sweet jam make this cranberry cream cheese dip a holiday favorite appetizer that serves up a crowd. Everyone will be asking for this recipe.
* 1 package, 12 ounce, frozen whole cranberries (no sugar added), thawed
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 cup apricot preserves or jam
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 2 bricks, 8 ounce, cream cheese, softened
* Buttery crackers or pretzel chips for serving
* Fresh mint to garnish, optional
Add cranberries, sugar, preserves and water to a large saucepan. Heat saucepan over medium high heat until boiling. Mixture will begin to bubble and get frothy as it heats and you may hear the cranberries sizzling and pop. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until berries are popped open and mixture begins to darken. Remove from heat and stir in pecans.
Let set to cool, away from stove burner, and then refrigerate until complete cooled.
Gently press a spoon in the center of the cream cheese to create a divot. Spoon mixture on top of cream cheese and serve with crackers or pretzel chips.
Makes two appetizer bricks.
Sweet Vidalia Onion Dip
This is an easy hot appetizer that will have everybody begging for the recipe. It’s perfect for holiday gatherings served with slice of your favorite toast.
* 1 Vidalia onion, 10-12 ounces (any sweet variety will do)
* 1 scant cup mayonnaise
* 1 scant cup sour cream
* 1/2 cup shredded Grana Padano cheese or substitute good quality Parmesan or Romano
* 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
* 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* Lots of fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
* 4 dashes hot sauce
* 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Set the oven to 375 degrees.
Peel and slice the onion in half. Then slice it in half again, and cut three of the sections into very fine slices. Take the last piece and mince it. Put the onion in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well until everything is thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
Spoon the mixture into an ovenproof casserole and bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.
While the dip is baking, slice a baguette and place the slices on a hot grill pan to toast them on both sides. Serve with the hot dip.
Slow Cooker Parmesan Honey Pork Roast
This slow cooker honey parmesan pork loin roast is amazing and will quickly become a family favorite. If you will be having family in for several days, this is a nice way to prepare the main course without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
* 1 (3-4 pound) boneless pork loin roast
* 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/2 cup honey
* 3 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 tablespoons dried basil
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1/4 cup chicken broth
* 1 teaspoon sugar, optional
Place roast in slow cooker.
In a bowl combine cheese, honey, soy sauce, basil, oregano, garlic, oil, and salt. Pour mixture over the top of roast. Cover and cook on low for five to six hours or until thermometer reads 145 degrees. Remove meat and place on platter.
Strain juices in slow cooker and put into a small sauce pan. Mix cornstarch and chicken broth together. Add into strained juices and stir until thickened over medium heat.
Add in a teaspoon of sugar if sauce needs to be a bit sweeter, optional.
Slice roast and serve with glaze.
Perfect Prime Rib
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I have been making prime rib like this for years and it does come out perfect every time. I sometimes add lemon pepper to the seasonings.
* 1 prime rib roast with or without bone (any size)
* Garlic powder
Preheat oven to 550 degrees.
Make a rub of salt, pepper and garlic powder and apply generously to meat. Place meat in a shallow roasting pan fat side up.
Roast at 550 at 5 minutes per pound for rare, or 6 minutes per pound for medium and 7 minutes per pound for well done.
Turn off oven at the end of cooking time and do not open oven door for two hours. You may be tempted to open the door, but don’t peak!
At the end of the 2 hours, remove meat from oven to slice; it comes out perfect every time.
Works the same with roast beef. Try it you won’t be disappointed.
Slow-Cooker Cranberry-Orange Pork Roast
Come home to this Slow-Cooker Orange-Cranberry Pork Roast. Cranberry sauce and orange work their magic in this Slow-Cooker Orange-Cranberry Pork Roast. It will be a worry free entree that your family will enjoy while having a break from the holiday turkey.
* 2 tablespoons oil
* 1 flat boneless pork loin roast (4 pounds)
* 1 can (14 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
* 1/2 cup Kraft Classic Catalina Dressing
* 1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon zest and 1/4 cup juice from 1 orange
Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add meat; cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until evenly browned on both sides. Transfer meat to slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray.
Mix cranberry sauce, dressing and soy sauce until blended; pour over meat. Cover with lid.
Cook on Low 4 to 5 hours. Meat thermometer should read about 145 degrees. Remove meat from slow cooker, reserving liquid in slow cooker. Cover meat to keep warm. Whisk remaining ingredients in small bowl until blended; stir into liquid in slow cooker. Cook, covered, on High 10 minutes or until thickened.
Slice meat; place on platter. Drizzle lightly with sauce. Serve with remaining sauce.
Note: When cooking a pork roast in a slow cooker, it is best to use a wide flat roast since it both fits better in most slow cookers and is less likely to overcook. For best results, do not cook the meat on the High heat setting for this recipe. Prepare using Kraft Tangy Bacon Catalina Dressing and Marinade. The sweet cranberry-orange sauce is the perfect complement to the lean pork in this smart slow-cooked entree that’s sure to become a new family favorite. For easy cleanup, line slow cooker with plastic liner bag before filling with ingredients and cooking as directed.
Bundt Pan Roasted Chicken
This is an all in one healthy style roasted chicken made in a Bundt pan, it’s so delicious you can hardly wait for dinner while it’s baking. Lemon and garlic and Parmesan cheese with a sprinkle of bread crumbs on top makes this chicken a tasty delight.
* 1 (4-pound) pound chicken
* Dried or fresh herbs, basil oregano, parsley, rosemary or use Italian blended seasonings
* Fresh lemon
* Vegetables for roasting: small potatoes, carrots, parsnips, celery, etc
* Parmesan cheese
* Italian flavored bread crumbs
* Beer, white wine, or lemon juice and water
Prepare the Bundt pan with heavy duty foil and then parchment paper over the top hole of the Bundt pan oil sprayed.
Clean the chicken by removing all the insides and cutting off the tail.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Rub fresh cloves of garlic all over the skin of the chicken or if you want you can just sprinkle it with granulated garlic, but use 3 whole cloves inside the bird and also under the skin.
Salt, pepper, to taste. If you like hot and spicy sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Evenly sprinkle oregano, fresh chopped basil, fresh chopped parsley, fresh sprigs of rosemary over chicken. Use dried if you don’t have fresh herbs.
Cut 2 fresh lemons into quarters, then squeeze over the bird ( I leave them inside the bird while baking).
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top and Italian flavored bread crumbs over the top of the chicken.
Place a whole chicken over the hole that was prepared with foil to cover leakage.
Add any vegetables you like to roast along the bottom coated with oil.
Toss the vegetables in a bowl with around 2 tablespoons of oil first and sprinkle with Italian seasoning before adding to the Bundt pan.
Roast the chicken on 400 degrees until crispy around 1 hour or until juices run clear.
If your bird isn’t crispy enough but cooked, put under a broiler for a few minutes on high.
Note: always use fresh herbs when you can. Add beer or white wine on the bottom and keep the bird moist or inject the bird. You can also add lemon juice and water if you prefer and it tenderizes it even more if you inject the bird.
Brown Sugar Mustard Baked Ham
Baked ham cooked low and slow is loaded with flavor from brown sugar, mustard and cola.
* 1 (10 pound) spiral cut ham
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1 can Coca Cola
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Place ham, cut side down in a roasting pan. Trim any excess fat.
Mix in a small bowl, brown sugar and mustards. Gently pat mixture over ham. Pour cola in bottom of pan. Cover ham with tin foil sealing around edges of roasting pan. Place in oven and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Remove tin foil from ham. Baste ham with juices and place back in oven for 15 minutes. Baste ham a second time and continue to cook for 15 more minutes. Remove ham from oven and let rest for 15 minutes.
Slice ham from bone and place on serving platter. Spoon over additional dripping is desired. Store remaining slices of ham in airtight container in refrigerator.
Chocolate Dessert Salami
I have wanted to make Chocolate Salami for several years and never seem to get around to it. This year I am making it and will serve on a charcuterie board during the Christmas season. There are many different recipes, so search and find one that you would enjoy.
* 1/2 cup slivered almonds, 2 1/2 ounces
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 2 1/2 ounces
* Two (5-inch long) plain biscotti, coarsely chopped
* 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
* 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips, such as Ghirardelli
* 1/4 cup brewed coffee
* 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, about 1/2 medium orange
* 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the almonds, walnuts and crushed biscotti in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are lightly toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely.
Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof medium bowl and place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, about 6 minutes. Stir in the coffee until smooth. Add the almonds, walnuts, biscotti pieces and orange zest, and stir until combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until firm but moldable, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Divide the chocolate mixture in half. Place half of the mixture in the center of an 18-inch-long piece of plastic wrap. Using a spatula, form the mixture into a log, about 7- inches long and 2- inches in diameter. Roll up the log in the plastic and twist the ends to seal. Roll back and forth on a work surface a few times to make the log evenly round. Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture. Refrigerate the logs until firm, about 1 hour.
Spread the confectioners’ sugar on a dinner plate. Remove the plastic wrap from the logs, then roll them in the sugar until coated. Using a pastry brush, brush away the excess sugar. Let the logs sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve.
Cook’s Note: The dessert can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature for 25 minutes before slicing.
Dark Chocolate Cranberry Magic Bars
* 1 cup cold, cubed, unsalted butter
* 1/3 cup powdered sugar
* 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
* 12 ounces dark chocolate chips
* 2/3 cups dried cranberries
* 1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans
* 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Crust: Add butter, sugar, and flour to a large bowl and use a fork or party cutter to bring ingredients together into pea sized crumbs. Press evenly into foil lined and greased 9- x 13-inch pan. Bake 12 minutes. Remove from oven.
Filling: Sprinkle chocolate, cranberries, coconut, and pecans evenly over crust.
Pour condensed milk over toppings and bake another 18 minutes.
Let cool before cutting into bars. Best if stored covered in the refrigerator.
Whipped Brown Sugar Pecan Pie
When you need a creamy, tasty dessert, and are craving the goodness of pecan pie, this whipped brown sugar pecan pie comes together in less than 15 minutes.
* 1 (9-inch) blind baked pie shell
* 1 cup heavy whipping cream
* 1/4 cup powdered sugar
* 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/4 cup real maple syrup
* 1 cup finely chopped pecans
* 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans for garnish
In a large bowl, whip cream with powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Mix cream cheese with vanilla, brown sugar and maple syrup until smooth, creamed and fluffy. Fold in whipped cream and finely chopped pecans and pour into baked pie shell. Top with roughly chopped pecans and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.