First Tuesday Recipes for December

The only reason I use the photo above is because it’s one of my favorites–not because it’s snowing here or even acting like winter is on its way. In fact, today I’m sitting at my desk in a short-sleeved shirt and capri pants, wondering when the temperatures are going to dip.

To me, the holidays don’t seem like the holidays without cold and maybe even some snow. But since it’s the first Tuesday in December and I have a job to do, I’m going to share a few recipes with you today that are great for this time of year for a few different reasons. The first one is quick and easy, great for those nights when you might have shopping, wrapping, play practice, crew practice, basketball practice, etc. to check off your list.

The second is good for rainy or snowy days when you just want to stay indoors. It’s time-consuming, yet relaxing and almost meditative. And it makes a wonderful gift!

The third is just plain delicious, and perfect for cookie exchanges or to just sneak for yourself.

And finally, there’s a dog treat recipe for anyone who may have missed it a couple weeks ago, courtesy of Heather Weidner!

Q’s Chicken

6 T. soy sauce

2 t. brown sugar

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

3 T. mustard

1 1/2 t. cornstarch

milk

salt and pepper

Combine soy sauce and brown sugar. Marinate chicken in mixture for 15 minutes.

Cook chicken in a skillet with a little bit of canola or vegetable oil and all the soy sauce mixture. Cover and cook until juices run clear. In a saucepan, mix mustard, cornstarch, enough milk to make it liquidy, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat through.

Pour mustard mixture on plate and place piece of chicken on top.

Serve with rice.

 

German Christmas Stöllen

For this one, I’m sending you to another page. Even if you don’t like Stöllen or don’t know what it is or don’t feel like making it, I suggest you take a look at the link because it tells a great story of the history of this special bread. If you do make the recipe, have fun with it. I even made my own candied citrus as the post suggests because I was having a bad day and candied citrus makes everything better.

https://www.daringgourmet.com/stollen-german-christmas-bread/

 

Christmas Crack

If you’ve never heard of this, try it and you’ll agree that the name fits. I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t love it. The first time I made it the entire tray ended up in the dishwater–it was a Christmas tragedy.

2 sleeves Saltine crackers (I’ve also seen this made with Ritz crackers or graham crackers)

2 sticks butter, melted

1 c. light brown sugar, packed

2 c. (1 package) semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. chopped almonds (or nut of your choice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a jelly roll pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place the crackers in a single layer on the pan. You’ll probably use about 40 crackers and you may have a little bit of pan not covered by crackers–feel free to break the crackers in half to make them fit the entire pan.

Place the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes–no more, no less.

Being VERY CAREFUL, pour the sugar syrup/caramel over the crackers. Using an offset spatula, spread the caramel to cover the crackers.

Place the pan in the oven and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until bubbling.

Remove pan from oven; sprinkle chocolate chips over the caramel, trying to cover as much of the crackers as possible. Place pan in oven for 2-3 more minutes.

Remove pan from oven. Again using an offset spatula, spread melted chocolate over the layer of caramel.

Sprinkle top with chopped nuts and allow to cool. Once it’s completely cool, t’s easier to break the crack into pieces than to cut it, so do whatever works for you!

 

Jocelyn’s Peanut Butter Dog Treats

1/4 c. smooth peanut butter

2/3 c. pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

2 lg. eggs

3 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the peanut butter, pumpkin puree, and eggs with an electric mixer on medium/medium-high speed. Mix ingredients well.

Add flour and mix well.

Knead dough on a lightly-floured surface and pat it to approximately 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Bake until brown (checking often for burning).

 

Enjoy! Share your favorite holiday treats in the comments. You don’t have to provide the recipe–just tell me what you love to eat during the holiday season.

Until  next time,

Amy

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Merry Christmas!

There are two reasons I didn’t write a regular post for this week: first, I had an eye exam today (Monday) and my pupils were dilated. Thus I couldn’t read or write for several hours.

And second, I made cookies–lots of cookies–over the weekend and today when I wasn’t at the eye doctor, so I never really had a chance to sit down and write a post.

I have a bit of good news: 2014 was the year I finally learned how to use the cookie press. I’ve been unsuccessful so many times trying to make Spritz cookies. This Christmas was sort of my last-ditch attempt to get them right. Turns out you’re not supposed to use parchment paper with a cookie press. Who knew? So I got rid of the parchment paper and the press worked like a charm!

So here are the photos:

1. Austrian Chocolate Balls

Austrian Chocolate Balls

2. Cherry Bon-Bons

cherry bon-bons

3. Christmas Cutouts

Christmas Cutouts 1Christmas Cutouts 2Christmas Cutouts 3

4. Linzer Tarts

Linzer Tarts

5. Muddy Buddies

Muddy Buddies

6. Raspberry-Almond Thumbprints

Raspberry Almond Thumbprints

7. Russian Teacakes

Russian Teacakes

8. And last but not least, Spritz cookies!

Spritz 1Spritz 3

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!

Until next week,

Amy