Holiday Sweet Treats: Gift Basket Ideas

I’m falling behind this week. I meant to post some holiday treat recipes over the weekend, but didn’t get around to it. Now the house needs to be cleaned, the carpets shampooed and the recipes for Christmas Eve started.

But I did want to post some holiday gift recipe ideas. It’s fun if you add the recipe to the package of sweets (that’s how I got several new recipes, including these peanut butter cookies)

From 2017:

Sunday is my annual cookie baking day with friends. Most of the goodies are going into gift boxes, but I’ll hold enough back for my annual Christmas Eve dinner. This is the usual round-up.

Pictured above:

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe here

Spritz Cookies, recipes and instructions for using a cookie press here.

Pecan Cookies, recipe below.  Much more below the fold.

But wait, there’s more! Click to read

Trixie At 10 Weeks And Holiday Update

She’s 10 weeks old already and making great progress.

She sleeps at my feet while I work and next to Scout other times. The blanket I folded and put down for her to sleep on has become an unexpected indicator of her growth. I’m going to have to unfold it soon.  Here she was last week at 9 weeks.

Today she and Scout went outside where she followed Scout around like a little mini-me and Scout tried not to look annoyed.  They’ve been playing pretty well at night before bed, Scout helping me tire out the puppy so she sleeps through the night.

This weekend I’m putting together recipes for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – I’ll highlight spinach lasagna, herb encrusted rib roast and the no-baste turkey I made for Thanksgiving.

Until then…


 

Holiday Gifts: Instant Pot Dinners for Two

 

Getting my parents Christmas gifts is impossible. They really don’t want more stuff and if I give them cash, they give it back. ❤

This year, since I was traveling home last week, I decided the best thing I could do was cook for them. So that’s what I did. I made twelve meals for two.

This included:

Spinach Tomato Soup (recipe here)

Spinach Lasagna (recipe here)

Chicken Tortilla Soup (recipe here)

Shredded Chicken – I shredded two pounds of chicken that I cooked with garlic, sage, rosemary and basil in the Multi-Pot/Instant Pot. They can then use it for chicken salad or BBQ chicken.

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 lb chicken, diced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 32 ounces of veggie broth ( I use my vitamix to blend carrots, celery, garlic, onion to make a quick, nutritious vegetable broth)
  • 12-ounce sliced carrots (I use frozen)
  • 12-ounce green beans (I use frozen)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/2 onion diced (optional, my parents love onions)
  • 10 oz of small bowtie pasta or egg noodles.

Continue reading

Holiday Fireworks

 
I bought a new Samsung phone and I’m pleased with the camera. The one on my old phone was terrible. Add to that apps were no longer working on it and it was time for something new.

 
Holiday lights, fireworks and free hot chocolate are always a fun party of the seasonal festivities.


 

Christmas Cookie Exchange: A Few Holiday Favorites

Sunday is my annual cookie baking day with friends. Most of goodies are going into gift boxes, but I’ll hold enough back for my annual Christmas Eve dinner. This is the usual round-up.

Pictured above:

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe here

Spritz Cookies, recipes and instructions for using a cookie press here.

Pecan Cookies, recipe below.  Much more below the fold.

But wait, there’s more! Click to read

Christmas Eve Menu: Spinach Lasagna Dinner

Lasagna snap3

I’ll update the photo if I get a good one this Christmas Eve

Tossing around ideas for my Christmas Eve party and settled on lasagna this year. It will once again be gluten-free using specialty noodles. Excited to have our traditional party in the new house.

On the board:

  1. Spinach Lasagna
  2. Tossed Salad
  3. Garlic Bread*

This recipe takes about an hour to prepare and another hour to cook. It easily serves 6 – 8. I will make it a day ahead and refrigerate. It will need additional cooking time to bring center up to temperature.

Spinach Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 3-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & finely grated
  • pinch of sugar (reduces acidity of the tomatoes)
  • Optional: ½ lb ground beef and ½ spicy Italian sausage, browned

Saucepan

Add all ingredients to saucepan on medium-high, stirring constantly until it begins to boil lightly. Turn to low and let simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Lasagna:

  • 1 pkg lasagna noodles (16 oz), cooked and placed in cool water until layering
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz package frozen spinach, thawed or 8 oz fresh, washed and dried
  • 1 egg
  • 12 oz sliced mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

13×9 baking dish (I prefer glass), lightly oiled

To prepare: Mix ricotta, spinach and egg until well blended. Ladle a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Cover in a single layer of noodles. Ladle sauce over noodles. Spoon ½ of the ricotta mixture evenly (if you place large dollops evenly like putting cookie dough on a baking sheet, fairly close together, it will spread as it cooks, no need to smooth it). Layer 1/3 of the mozzarella over the ricotta. Repeat: noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, noodles. On top of the last layer of noodles, add remaining sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered – I like to place the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills as it bubbles. Place knife through the center, if it comes out heated through, remove and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. If it needs more cooking time, you can cover with foil to keep the cheese from burning and cook 10 more minutes. Let stand uncovered before serving.

Garlic Bread

*I’m going to purchase a gluten free loaf  (we have a great local bakery for that) and I’m also going to make this Slow Rise recipe.  Making the garlic bread is easy. I slice the loaves in half lengthwise, melt butter, add a healthy amount of crushed garlic and brush liberally on each loaf half. Then I top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.  Broil until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown. Slice and serve.

Tossed Salad

I try to change it up each year, and I don’t know how I’m going to do this time. Maybe spinach/raspberry or a veggie toss with romaine.

Next up: Dessert Menu