I love the old fashioned ways of Christmas celebrating most of all. There is something special about homemade Christmas gifts. Sometimes you have to bring something to gathering at a friends home or maybe contribute to your office holiday party. This is a favorite recipe I have been making for the past several years. It’s has that sweetness that nearly everyone craves and it’s hard to turn down taking a second piece. Enjoy!
Christmas Toffee Crack
This is an easy recipe to make but wonderfully delicious. I pack them in holiday containers to give as gifts.
4 ounces saltine crackers with salted tops (about 40 crackers)
1 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or crushed pretzels. Colorful sprinkles add a fun touch too
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer.
In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltines and spread t cover crackers completely.
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces.
I love this season, from the crispness of the Fall air to the Halloween decorating that brings us joy when we get to entertain the neighborhood children. The fun we have getting together with our family for Thanksgiving dinner and just sharing conversation and catching up over a wonderful meal. Autumn reminds me to remember to be thankful for our backyard garden and how we enjoyed the vegetables Mother Nature’s earth allowed us to grow through the Summer, no matter how large or small the garden was that year. For those who take the time to read my musings let us remember to be thankful for our kitchens where we get to make our favorite baked goods and meals for ourselves and our loved ones every season of the year.
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.
I love all the many dishes that are prepared for the Thanksgiving family dinner but the one thing my family loves is the sausage stuffing I have been making for years. My mother made a similar stuffing (or dressing as some prefer to call it) but when I had my own kitchen I changed it up a bit and this is the recipe I have stuck to. Whether it’s used in the bird or not it tastes great either way.
Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing
2 lb of Day Old Bread, cubed (weight is approximate) Several days before I try and bake a large size loaf of Brioche bread and use that but you can use your favorite store bought bread cubes which is about 1 large bag of bread cubes.
2 Medium size Onions, diced
4 Stalks of Celery, chopped I like to include the
tops of the celery too)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1/2 cup of Butter plus a bit more is needed for
greasing the pan
1 lb of Italian Sausage, casings removed, crumbled
4 Eggs, whisked
About 1 Quart of Chicken Stock
1 tsp of Poultry Seasoning
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup of chopped Parsley
1) Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Slice your
bread into large cubes, toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and
pop it in the oven for about an hour making sure to give it a toss every 20
minutes. Once the bread is toasted, increase the temperature to 375 degrees.
2) Start with a large pot as everything will get tossed in. First start to cook the crumbled sausage in a touch of olive oil until it begins to change color then add the diced onions, chopped celery and sliced mushrooms.
Add a pinch of salt and allow to cook on medium
heat for about 7 to 10 minutes the vegetables are soft and the sausage is
golden and a bit crispy.
3) Stir in the poultry seasoning, cook it for about 30 seconds, then add the toasted bread cubes, then slowly start adding the chicken stock. Toss to mix and make sure you add more stock as needed, as it gets absorbed in the bread.
4) Stir in the whisked eggs and add the parsley, to the bread mixture in the pot. Put the entire mixture in a buttered casserole dish. (I like to use a 9″x13″). Cover with aluminum foil and bake covered for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top.
Thank you again for visiting! Please share this site with your family and friends and ask them to join Sundays in a Small Kitchen to see what my next cooking adventure will be. I hope my recipes will inspire you to get take some time to cook in your kitchen no matter what size your kitchen is. Please Like and leave a comment, I would love to hear from you and what see what you are making.
I haven’t done a whole lot of cooking lately as I get caught up in a few things one is my crafts, whether I am crocheting or doing a variety of arts and crafts and the other is computer gaming. Even at my age I love computer gaming and my current obsession is Farm Together. If you are a computer game lover you understand how it is easy to get sucked down into the proverbial “Rabbit Hole” where hours can just whiz by. So I haven’t made much time for cooking other than fast easy meals. So last week we purchased a rotisserie chicken and from it I made a basic pot of soup with chicken and tortellini and with the remaining chicken I made a chicken noodle casserole my mom used to make. It’s nothing special other than 1960’s comfort food recipe so here it is, it does use what some people refer to as the “dreaded canned soup” but it wouldn’t be mom’s casserole without it. It’s an easy meal for when you want something other than burgers and gets you back to what else you would rather be doing.
Mom’s Chicken Noodle Casserole Recipe
This is the basic recipe I always use. All my measurements are approximate I adjust as I go along, never seem to make it the same way twice.
2 (10 3/4 ounce) can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken and Herb soup (I some times mix and match the cream of chicken soup with cream of celery soup or cream of mushroom – use what ever you either have on hand or you can choose what you like)
1 soup can of milk
10 oz pkg frozen peas and and or carrots or mixed vegetables
1 1/2 to 2 Cups leftover cooked chicken
1 pkg (16 oz) medium or wide egg noodles – cooked
Few dashes of Worcestershire sauce to taste (optional)
1 small can of sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Stir soup, milk, peas & carrots, chicken, Worcestershire sauce and noodles together. Put in a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish. (You can use Pam spray for this). Mix bread crumbs with melted butter in a cup and sprinkle over chicken mixture
Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, until hot and bread crumbs
are golden brown.
Even though our children are grown and no longer living at home we enjoy Halloween. We decorate our front yard and look forward to the trick-or-treaters and seeing their costumes. This year however it may end up being a wash out as it has been raining all week and more predicted for today. So we will just roll with it and hope we can hand out most of the treats we have.
So tonight I’ll be making Bubble Pizza. It’s a quick easy version of pizza and can be lots of fun when you add your favorite toppings. Not sure who actually created the recipe but this is the version I adapted for our family. I make it all different ways and you can too. It can be made easily at home, great for a Friday night or family night not just for a holiday, Make several different versions if you have a small gathering or kids sleep-over.
1 pound ground beef
1 (14-16 ounce) jar pizza sauce or favorite tomato sauce
Add about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of dry Oregano to the sauce if not using pizza sauce
1 or 2 packages Grands refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough (depending how large you like your crust. (1 for a thinner crust, 2 for a thicker crust)
* Note – Toppings below are up to you and only suggested in
the recipe – the possibilities are endless. You can also use your favorite
cheese or cheese mixture.
1/4 pound sliced pepperoni sausage (optional)
1/2 onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 (10 ounce) can sliced black olives
1 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms
1 thinly sliced green pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish or slightly larger. Place ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Stir in pepperoni (optional), and cook until browned. Drain excess fat. Stir in the pizza sauce. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Cut biscuits into quarters, and place in the bottom of baking dish. Spread the meat/sauce mixture evenly over the biscuits. Sprinkle top with onion, olives and mushrooms, peppers, what ever you like.
Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
I remember those Autumn weeknights where there was a crisp chill in the air and we would look forward to a warm hearty dinner after a long day at work or school. I would get dinner going as the kids would be doing homework at the dining room table. Later we would gather around the same table, enjoy a delicious meal and catch up on everyone’s day.
Those days haven’t changed too much, parents are are still working, kids are still doing home work and after school activities. Life is busier than ever before. I hope this recipe will give you some help on those busy days at dinnertime.
One-Pot Sausage, Peppers and Pasta
1 lb. your favorite short pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
6-8 sweet Italian sausages or a combination of sweet and hot
1 red bell pepper, large, diced
1 green bell pepper, large, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, large, diced
1 small to medium onion, sliced (yellow or white)
3 cloves garlic, sliced
28 oz. can of diced tomato
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black ground pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add a
generous amount of salt, cook until not quite al dente. (You want the pasta a
bit underdone as it will finish cooking when the dish is put together)
2. Strain pasta and set aside. Toss it with a small amount
of olive oil to prevent sticking
3. In the same pot or large skillet if your prefer, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil and fry the sausages, working batches as needed, until well browned on all sides.
4. Remove sausages, slice into pieces (about 5 pieces per link), and set aside.
5. Sauté all of the bell peppers, onion, and garlic for
about 2 minutes.
6. Add the canned tomatoes, all the spices, and the sausage
slices to the pot.
7. Simmer about 10 minutes.
8. Add the pasta back to the pot and stir gently until all
the ingredients are coated in the sauce. Continue to simmer until pasta is al
I just love Autumn, it’s my favorite time of year. You still can get a mix of warm summer days and the nights are becoming much cooler. Then the closer we get to Halloween and then Thanksgiving the sweatshirts and hooded jackets start to come out of the closet here in the Northeast and the aroma of soups, stews and spices fill the kitchen once more. Pumpkin waffles and pumpkin pancakes are a favorite in our house for a relaxing Fall breakfast. The waffles are a little bit of work but the payoff is big in flavor and brings lots of smiles around the breakfast table. Don’t forget the whipped cream!
Makes 4 large round “Belgian” style waffles
• 1/4 cup light brown sugar
• 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
• 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
• 2 tsp. ginger
• 1/4 tsp. cloves
• 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg*
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
• 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and warm
*Grated and lightly packed into the spoon, use 1/2 tsp. If you use pre-grated, dried nutmeg, use 1/4 tsp.
1. Lightly oil the waffle iron with vegetable oil, and set it to the desired temperature.
2. Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Whisk together to break apart the cornstarch. Add the remaining dry ingredients, and whisk to blend.
3. Separate eggs: yolks go in a medium-sized bowl and whites get set aside in a smaller bowl.
4. Add pumpkin and milk to the egg yolks. Whisk to blend and set aside.
5. Whip egg whites with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form – about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Set aside.
6. Pour melted butter into the yolk/milk/pumpkin mixture. As you pour, whisk to combine.
7. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix them together until just combined. A little lumpiness is fine. That will smooth out when the egg whites are added.
8. Slide the whipped egg whites out of the bowl and onto the mixture you just prepared. Gently fold them in until no white bits are obvious.
9. Once the waffle iron is heated, you’re ready to pour the batter! cook time is about 2-3 minutes for Belgian size waffles. Less if you are using a smaller waffle iron.
Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe
These little beauties are a beautiful color and will keep you full for hours after eating just one serving.
1.Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl whisk together milk, pumpkin, melted butter, and egg.
3. Fold mixture into dry ingredients.
4. Spray or grease a skillet and heat over medium heat: pour in 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.
5.Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side. Serve with butter and syrup.
6.Makes about six 6-inch pancakes.
I thought this week I would share one of my Instant Pot recipes. This is an easy dish to make, doesn’t take much time at all and tastes as good as if it were from your local Chinese take-out. I usually have my rice cooker set up and going as I prepare this dish so both are finished in about the same time but you can make the rice ahead of time.
Instant Pot Spicy Eggplant & Chicken or Pork in Garlic Sauce
A mildly spiced chicken or pork and eggplant in a savory garlic sauce
3-4 Chinese eggplant (depending on size) cut down the middle and quartered then into 2 inch long pieces
1 pound ground chicken or ground pork
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger peeled and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more if you prefer a spicier dish)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce (you can also use oyster sauce if you prefer)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
Cooked white or brown rice for serving
Mix in a bowl the sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, and corn starch well and keep aside.
Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and heat oil. Add garlic. ginger, green onion, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 secs.
Add chicken or pork, cook for 4 minutes breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.
Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth then stirring to making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and add the cut-up eggplant. Close the Instant Pot lid with pressure valve to sealing.
Set on Pressure Cook High for 2 min then do a Quick Release.
Open the Instant Pot and set to Sauté mode. Add the sauce and stir everything together. Adjust salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
Bring to a gentle boil as you allow it to thicken and then turn off the Instant Pot.
Well, the temperatures have been a bit cooler here in the northeast so I’m looking forward to digging out some recipes and doing some cooking. As you know I’m not one to make many long involved complicated meals, I’ll leave those dishes to the experts. I like to think if you have a good recipe with a handful of ingredients, cooking can be a breeze. My version of unstuffed cabbage rolls made in a skillet is one of those types of dishes. You have all the flavor of the traditional recipe but takes considerably less time to prepare. I hope you will give it a try.
Heat a large, deep skillet or sauté pan (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil then add the ground beef. Break up the beef with a spoon and cook, stirring, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the diced onion, green pepper, parsley, and garlic and continue cooking, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink and the onion is translucent and the green pepper has just begun to soften.
Add the chopped cabbage to the ground beef mixture along with the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
Reduce the heat to low, simmer about 15-20 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Adjust any salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed.
Serve over cooked white or brown rice
Thank you again for visiting.
Share this site with family and friends and ask them to join Sundays in a Small Kitchen to see what my next cooking adventure will be. I hope my recipes will inspire you to get take some time to cook in your kitchen no matter how small it may be.
Please Like and leave a comment, I would love to hear from you and what you are making.
As Labor Day approaches there is still time left to enjoy the fruits of the sea here on the East Coast. By this time I had my fill of BBQ meals so I thought I would share one of our favorites when getting together with friends and family, Linguine & Clams. No matter what the season is this meal is good anytime.
It’s simple to make and feeds a crowd. A fresh loaf of Italian bread, a delicious green salad, some white wine, and Parmesan cheese and you have a Summer feast.
Linguine with Clams
1 pound dried linguine
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
5 to 7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed clean and sand purged
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup dry white wine (I prefer using Pinot Grigio when making seafood)
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zested, for garnish
In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water.
Add linguine, stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking together.
Cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. When almost smoking, add shallots and garlic and saute until soft and translucent,
about 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the clams and wine. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until the clams have opened.
Add 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Whisk in butter to thicken sauce slightly.
Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rinse pasta with water – this will remove the pasta’s natural starches.
Pour linguine into a large serving bowl or large platter – arrange clams over linguine and pour the sauce overall.
Garnish with remaining parsley and lemon zest. Serve immediately.
I prefer to cook at home as often as I can. We usually only eat out in restaurants or have Take-Out when we really need a night off or a date night. There are many easy to make recipes that only take about 30-45 mins from start to finish and when you think about it that much time will usually pass while driving to the place, waiting for a table or your order, then the drive back home.
One easy comfort food dinner we like is simple Skillet Potatoes and Smoked Sausage. This was a recipe that I grew up on. My mother would often use Italian sausage which I sometimes do as well. This recipe can be easily doubled.
If you give this a try I hope you enjoy it!
Skillet Potatoes and Smoked Sausage
Serves 2-4 depending on portion size
2 large russet potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes…
14 oz. smoked sausage, thinly sliced (You can use Kielbasa, or links of Italian Sausage cooked whole then sliced.)
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c. chopped bell pepper (red or green)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
2 tbsps. veg. Oil
In a large skillet heat oil…add in the smoked sausage and cook, turning often till browned on edges. Remove meat from skillet and add in the potatoes and cook over med. high heat till they begin to brown and become tender. Add in the Onions, Bell Pepper and Garlic cooking for about 5 minutes then add in the chicken stock and cover. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cover and check potatoes for doneness. Add the spices, stir and add in the smoked sausage.
Thank you for visiting my blog I hope you will enjoy this dish.
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