Recipes for the Holidays

Hey there!

Well, here we are at the WEEK OF Christmas. Boy, did that get here fast! Happy eve’s eve of Christmas eve! Wow, that’s a lot of eves. I can see why that hasn’t become a standard holiday greeting. :)

Anyways, I hope all is going well with your holiday plans. If you need some last minute recipe ideas for appetizers, sides, desserts, or even breakfast, I put together a collection of recipes from around my website for a little inspiration. Here you go!

Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

a savory combo of mushroom, spinach, bacon, and thyme topped with cheese

spinachstuffedmushrooms

Fiesta Bites

refried beans & green chiles baked in a wonton wrapper topped with fresh salsa & green onion

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 Cornbread with Rosemary & Caramelized Onions

savory cornbread with the flavorful additions of fresh rosemary & caramelized onions

rosemarycornbread1

Pear Pastries with Honey Whipped Cream

puff pastry baked with slices of pear topped with peach jam and a honey whipped cream

Pearpastryhoneywhip

Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

oatmeal cookies with cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and ginger

Spicedoatmealcookies2

Flat Apple Cranberry Pie

a single crust pie with apples and cranberries mixed with orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg

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Gingerbread Waffles

festive waffles with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and sweetened with molasses

waffles

Chai Spiced Muffins

muffins with all the spices of chai tea drizzled with a vanilla glaze

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Flat Apple Cranberry Pie

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Happy Friday! And helloooo Flat Apple Cranberry Pie. *licks lips*

My friend, ShaRhonda, asked me to come up with a recipe for her blog series, A Very Pinteresting Christmas, which is a series of festive crafts and yummies. I met her through the Oklahoma Women Bloggers network and she writes about her family on her blog The 4 Crows. I wanted to come up with something extra delicious because ShaRhonda is so sweet and kind. I found out we share a love of apple pie so I know we’re meant to be friends.

applecranberry1This pie is really simple, tastes like Christmas, and has become one of my favorite desserts. You can read more about it and get the recipe over at ShaRhonda’s blog – Click here.

And be sure to check out the other goodies & crafts on her A Very Pinteresting Christmas series on her blog and Pinterest!

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The4CrowsBlog

Crock Pot Chicken Red Thai Curry

crockpotredthaicurry

When I made the move up North I knew I had to beef up my collection of slow cooker recipes. There’s just something about Crock Pot dinners that gives the same sense of coziness as curling up with a blanket and sipping on hot chocolate.

Maybe it’s just me (I suspect it’s not) but on a cold day when I know dinner is slowly simmering away and will be ready for me when I get home, the day seems a little less cold and I feel a little more like yeah-I-can-do-this-winter-thing.

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Now that we’ve got the coziness equation down (slow cooker dinner = blanket + hot chocolate), let’s talk about THIS particular dinner.

Red Thai curry became a regular thing at our house after we had it at a restaurant back in Tulsa. I tried to recreate it for this bloggity blog but soon discovered that making red Thai curry meant having to use every pot and pan in my kitchen. What do I do when I don’t want to dirty a million dishes? I think “Mmm… can this be made in a Crock Pot?”

After a few tries I finally got it down. It’s not quite the same as the restaurant, but the hubs and I were really happy with the final result. And seeing how we don’t live in Tulsa anymore… that’s a good thing.

The chicken & veggies get super tender in their nice looong bath in the spicy warmth of the curry sauce. It may seem like there isn’t enough liquid but trust me, one can of coconut milk will be enough. I recommend serving it with white or brown rice to soak up those extra curry juices.

Slow Cooker Red Thai Curry; Recipe or Not

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: Prep: 15 mins, Cooking: 7-8 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 eggplant, peeled & diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets

For the sauce:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 T. red curry paste (I recommend Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste.)
  • 1 T. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 T. honey
  • juice from 1 lime (about 1 T.)
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional for extra spice
  • brown or white rice for serving
  • fresh cilantro for topping

In small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter, honey, lime, garlic powder, salt, and red pepper flakes if using. In a slow cooker, layer the chicken on the bottom, then the eggplant, followed by the green pepper, onion, and broccoli. Pour the sauce over the top. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. After the cooking time is up, use two forks to shred the chicken and give the curry a stir. Serve with white or brown rice and top with fresh cilantro.

Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

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I know Christmas decor has been up in stores for awhile and some radio stations already have 24/7 Christmas music but I just felt the excitement of all of the upcoming holidays this week.

It’s like the excitement you feel when you’re looking forward to that girls’ trip you’ve had planned with your besties or a special anniversary trip with your sweetie. Planning and dreaming about it is just as much part of the experience as taking the trip. The anticipation is half the fun.

For me, that buzzing of holiday excitement doesn’t happen just because I see Christmas decor in the stores. It happens when I realize how close they are — next week! Thanksgiving is kicking off the holiday season and I, for one, am stoked for some family time and PIE. :)

spinachstuffedmushrooms

These mushrooms were a spur of the moment idea and a Saturday night experiment with my hubby. After a little tweaking, I really loved how they turned out! Bits of bacon are stuffed inside (always a nice surprise for your tastebuds ;)) and then topped with a garlicky, spinach filling and covered with allll the cheese. Mmm, I think I need to go make some more…

Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms; Recipe or Not

  • Servings: approx 12 mushrooms
  • Time: Prep: 20 minutes; Cook: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 10 oz. mushrooms with stems (I used baby Portobellas)
  • 1 handful spinach leaves
  • 1-2 slices cooked bacon or turkey bacon*
  • 1 c. shredded fontina cheese (you could also use mozzarella or Parmesan)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 t. dried thyme
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 T. olive oil, divided

Preheat oven to 400º. Clean the mushrooms well, removing any dirt that may be on them. Carefully remove the stems by twisting gently at the base. Set the stems aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the mushroom stems, spinach leaves, garlic cloves, dried thyme, salt, and 1 T. olive oil. Pulse until there are no longer any large pieces of mushroom or garlic and the consistency is fairly smooth. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil, drizzle on 1 T. olive oil and spread around with clean hands. Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet, tops down. Tear or chop the bacon into really small pieces and place in the cavity of the mushroom. Next, cover the bacon with the mushroom/spinach mixture. Gently press & stuff to get as much as you can in the mushrooms. Top with the fontina cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until the mushrooms are tender.

*If you’re going to prepare a whole package of bacon, I recommend baking it. Then you can continue working on the mushrooms and filling while it bakes instead of having to keep an eye on it.

Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potato & Corn

chickenpotpie

One thing I love about food is the emotional connection we have with it.

That may sound hokey but doesn’t it seem like any time you eat chicken pot pie (or chicken noodle soup) you feel just a little more at peace and that all is right with the world? Anything you’ve been worried about fades to the background… at least for a moment. But sometimes a moment is all you need to see things in a new light.

Just some veggies, chicken, broth, flour, and butter… it’s remarkable to me that a simple dish has the power to affect us that way.

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The sweet potato & corn lend a slight sweetness to this savory dish. There’s only one pie crust giving just enough richness to keep that comfort food status but isn’t overly rich. I’ve written chicken in the recipe but you could sub in leftover Thanksgiving turkey if you need to use it up.

chickenpotpie4

Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potato & Corn; Recipe or Not

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 60mins including cooking time
  • Print

  • 1 pie crust (If you want to make your own, I used this recipe.)
  • 1 sweet potato, diced (about 1-1.5 cups)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (small = about the size of a tennis ball)
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 lb. cooked & shredded chicken
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 t. dried parsley
  • 1/4 t. ground sage
  • 1 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 c. milk (can use non-diary milk)
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 2-3 T. olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

If you’re making the pie crust yourself, do that first and store the crust in the fridge for later. Heat the olive oil in a medium-large pot over medium heat. (If you have cookware that is stovetop & oven safe, use that.) Once the oil is heated, throw in the sweet potato, onion, celery, and a pinch of salt & pepper. Let this cook for 4-5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Next, preheat the oven to 375° and add the chicken, corn, parsley, sage, and another pinch of salt & pepper. Cook for a few minutes to let the corn thaw.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of the chicken broth or milk making sure there are no clumps. Add the cornstarch mixture, chicken broth, and milk to the pot; cook for a few minutes. Give the filling a quick taste and add more salt & pepper if needed. If you’re not using oven-proof cookware, carefully transfer the pot pie filling to a 9″ pie pan or baking dish. Get the pie crust out and roll it into a circle that will cover the pan. Carefully cover the baking dish with the crust and trim up the edges. Put the baking dish on a larger sheet pan in case the pot pie bubbles over in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is flaky and brown.

Tip: To make transferring the pie crust easier, fold it in half on a vertical into a half circle. Fold the half circle in half so the dough is folded over on itself and is a triangular shape like a large piece of pie. Put the folded over, pointed edge in the center of the pan then carefully unfold the crust to cover the whole pan.

Autumn Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

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I have lots to share today so be sure to read all the way through!

Sometimes my favorite recipes are born out of necessity.

We indulged in some really good food the first two weeks here in Wisconsin. It was so fun trying new restaurants and there were so many great meals to choose from. I had all this inspiration to create the ultimate mac and cheese because, you know, that’s what you do when you move to America’s Dairyland.

However, I have yet to create the ultimate mac and cheese because after all that great food, I was definitely craving something much much lighter. (I promise to still create the ultimate mac and cheese though. :))

So that’s where this salad came in and I loved it from the first time making it (trust me, that doesn’t always happen). It’s super simple, fresh, and the dressing is my favorite part. It’s a slightly sweet, light vinaigrette that really ties in well with the apples and walnuts.

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Ok, first announcement — printable recipes! I’m very excited about this and hope this is helpful for you to print out recipes.

And second announcement — Join me this Saturday, November 1st at 1pm CDT as I talk Thanksgiving dinner with Offers.com. I’ll be doing a live Google Hangout chat about helpful appliances and tips. I’m really honored to have this opportunity and would love for you to join! Click here to check it out. You can also check back here on Recipe or Not on Nov. 1st at 1pm CDT to watch the live chat. 

Autumn Salad with Maple Vinaigrette; Recipe or Not

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15 mins
  • Print

For the salad:

  • 2 handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1 cup of cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 apple, diced
  • handful of walnuts, chopped
  • pinch of shredded Parmesan

For the dressing:

  • 2 T. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/2 t. dijon mustard
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • pinch of salt

Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a container with a lid and shake for 10-15 seconds until everything is completely blended together. Toss the greens, chicken, apple, walnuts, and Parmesan with the dressing.

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