First Tuesday Recipes for December

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am shocked that December is here already. Time goes so fast as the year comes to an end.

Today I’ve got three recipes that I’ve had recently. I went heavy on the savory this month because I figured the last thing you need in December is another dessert recipe. The first recipe is intended as a side dish, but we had larger helpings and made an entire meal out of it. It’s really up to you. The second recipe came from my mother-in-law and is an easy and tasty side dish. And the third recipe, from my dad, is one for the slow cooker, great for busy December days.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Ham and Citrus Aioli

1 ham slice (these are generally larger than ham steaks from the grocery store, but ham steak works, too), cut into bite-sized pieces

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

1 1/2 T. olive oil

salt and pepper

1/4 c. Balsamic vinegar (I use Black Mission fig flavor, but any variety will do)

1 clove garlic, halved

1/4 c. plus 1 T. mayonnaise

1 t. Dijon mustard

1 t. orange zest

1 t. orange juice

1/2 t. lemon zest

1 T. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss ham and Brussels sprouts with olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Spread sprouts and ham on baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Meanwhile, heat Balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 10 minutes. You should have a slightly thickened reduction.

On a cutting board, smash garlic halves with the side of a knife. Sprinkle with a bit of salt (about 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon) and continue smashing garlic to make a paste. Place paste and the remaining ingredients (mayonnaise through lemon juice) in a small bowl. Whisk vigorously and set aside.

When sprouts and ham are done, drizzle with Balsamic reduction and dollop with aioli. Serve immediately.

 

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Corn Pudding

1 can (14 oz.) corn, undrained

1 can (14 oz.) creamed corn

1 stick butter

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 c. sour cream

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in a greased 9×9″ baking dish and put it in the oven until the butter is melted. Remove the dish from the oven and add remaining ingredients. Mix well and bake for one hour.

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 Tomato-Ground Beef Soup

1 lb. ground beef, crumbled

1/4 t. each pepper, oregano, and basil (I usually use at least 1/2 t. of each of these)

1 med. onion, chopped

3 c. beef broth

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

1 T. soy sauce

1 c. each sliced carrots and sliced celery

macaroni, cooked according to package directions

grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, stirring to combine. Cook 8-10 hours on low heat. Season with salt as desired. Serve hot over cooked macaroni and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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Enjoy!

Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? You know what to do–let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Amy

 

First Tuesday Recipes for February

How did it get to be February already? This month a lot of things get squeezed into fewer days than normal, but cooking is always a good way to slow down and take a deep breath. I’ve tried a few recipes lately that I found on the internet, so I thought I would share those with you. Rather than posting full recipes this month, I’m going to post the links to the pages where I found these foods.

Chicken Casserole d’Iberville

This casserole is delicious. You might shrink from the length of the instructions, but it can be made in steps. Honestly, I thought it was far less work than I anticipated. I also cut the recipe in half (give or take) and it still made a ton of food.

https://www.southernliving.com/syndication/chicken-casserole-diberville?6497

 

Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce (pictured above)

Say that ten times fast. This was fabulous. My husband loved it and even my daughter liked it after picking out all the mushrooms. And speaking of mushrooms, the recipe calls for cremini. They’re expensive. I bought a few and used button mushrooms for the rest, but next time I might just use button mushrooms. It would be just as good.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/chicken-with-mustard-mascarpone-marsala-sauce-recipe-1944096

 

And because…dessert.

 

Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake

I actually got this from Taste of Home, who reprinted the famous cake recipe. Valentine’s Day falls on February 14th, as you know, and this would be great for anyone who loves chocolate.

https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/ina-garten-chocolate-cake/?_cmp=recipeofthedayOld&_ebid=recipeofthedayOld1302019&_mid=263699&ehid=d0e74992f1aafbbb0409208a7b47f9718c561fb5

 

If you give any of these a try, let me know what you think. And please send in your own recipes if you’d like!

Until next time,

Amy

Ode to the Cookbook

Before I begin, I’d like to thank everyone who has purchased my book, either in paperback or ebook form. It’s getting some really nice reviews online, and I appreciate each and every one of you. And if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, please consider putting up a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews are greatly appreciated by all authors!

This week I am blogging about a subject near and dear to my heart: cooking. Specifically, cookbooks and how much I love them.

There are certain people in my family (they know who they are) who read cookbooks like novels, and I am proud to count myself among them. (Incidentally, my family is also made up of fabulous cooks, and I get my love of cooking from them. Note that I didn’t say I am a fabulous cook myself, but I do love the process). I like to curl up with a good cookbook just like many other people do with thrillers and romances. I love those books, too, but there’s just something about cookbooks that is different from any other type of reading.

Whenever I eat a meal at home by myself, there is always a cookbook or a cooking magazine next to me. When I need to take a break from writing or editing or research, I reach for a cookbook. Sometimes I’ll read a cookbook before I go to sleep at night.

Just today, my husband was trying to have a conversation with me while I perused the pages of a cookbook devoted entirely to macadamia nuts. I have casserole cookbooks, dessert cookbooks, an ahi tuna cookbook, a Halloween cookbook, a million Christmas cookbooks, and even a butter cookbook. I also have countless regular cookbooks- you know, the ones with thousands of recipes of every variety. Think Better Homes and Gardens with the red-and-white checkered binder. One of the things I love to do is to find new recipes for my weekly menu. If nothing in my millions of recipes sounds good at the moment I make my grocery list, I go with one of the tried-and-true favorites, like tacos or Greek chicken salad, but I do like to try something new as often as I can.

Cooking is how I relax. It’s how I show people I love them. I love to cook for friends and family; I cook as often as I can for people who have been sick and for mission groups that come to my church.

My favorite thing to cook, unfortunately, is dessert. I love making anything sweet. Luckily for me, my husband does not love dessert, so I don’t make it all the time. If I did, we’d all be fifty pounds heavier. The kids love it when I make dessert, though, so I do try to have it once in a while.

If any of you have visited my website, you’ll see that I have a section devoted to wines that I enjoy. The truth is that I also wanted to include a section devoted to the meals that my characters eat. My first book, Secrets of Hallstead House, has lots of meals in it. My hope was to include recipes for all the dishes I named in the book, but in the end I decided that I didn’t have the time to make up and test the recipes for those meals. My second book, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, has food in it, too, but not as much as in the first book. And I can’t wait to start writing my third book. I don’t have a name for it yet, but the main character is a personal chef in Hawaii. That’s right- a book that combines two of my great loves- Hawaii and food!

One of my favorite cookbooks (don’t laugh) is Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs. It’s full of recipes from the various Disney properties. It’s got everything in it from Coconut Curried Chicken Stew from Boma-Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to Fantasia Cheesecake from Plaza Inn on Main Street, USA, to Grapefruit Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from the Hollywood Brown Derby. But my hands-down favorite is Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier Steakhouse at EPCOT. My son, whose normal response to my home-cooked meals is “I hate chicken” or “can I just have cereal?” begs for this cheese soup all year long. Fortunately for our waistlines, I only make it in the fall.

There’s a movie out right now called “The Hundred-Foot Journey.” I can’t wait to see it. I don’t go to the movies often, but this is one I want to see in the theater rather than waiting for its release on DVD. It’s about a family from India that wants to open a restaurant in a small town in France. It’s actually based on a book of the same name by Richard Morais, and I may just have to read the book first.

So what’s on the menu at your house this week? Got any good recipes that you’d like to share?

Until next week,

Amy