Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu

Yield: Makes 6 servings.


For the Cordon Bleu:
3 large, thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise (to make two thinner chicken breast cutlets; you will have 6 total thin chicken breasts)
12 slices good quality deli ham
1 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 pound (8 ounces) thinly sliced Swiss cheese

For the Parmesan-Dijon Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (or 1 bouillon cube, crushed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*Note: Mel saves the heels of her bread and stores them in the freezer until she needs them then grinds them up quickly in a blender or food processor.


1. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs and melted butter. Set aside.

2. Lay the cut chicken breasts in a single layer in the 9X13-inch dish. Layer each chicken breast with two slices of ham and top with slices of Swiss cheese, layering across the chicken breast to make sure the entire chicken breast is covered with ham and cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the chicken.

3. Bake the chicken for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through completely, the cheese is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden.

4. When the chicken is almost done, in a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly. Cook the flour/butter mixture for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking quickly. Stir in the chicken bouillon granules and salt. Whisk mixture constantly over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 3-5 minutes.

5. Once the sauce has bubbled and thickened, remove from heat and stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Keep the sauce warm until the chicken is finished baking. If your sauce is too thick, whisk in some more milk. If it’s too thin, simmer longer.

6. Serve each chicken cordon bleu portion with warm sauce.

Chicken and Biscuits Pot Pie


1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups frozen cubed hash browns
1 cup matchstick carrots
1 cup frozen small sweet peas
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups self-rising flour
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped cooked bacon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Prepare Filling: Preheat oven to 425°. Melt 1/3 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add all-purpose flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 6 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat, and stir in Creole seasoning.

2. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion and mushrooms, and sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, next 4 ingredients, and sauce. Spoon filling into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

3. Cut butter cubes into self-rising flour with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Add cheese, bacon, chives, and whipping cream, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 3 or 4 times. Roll or pat dough to 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to form 15 biscuits.

4. Bake Chicken Pie Filling at 425° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and arrange biscuits on top of hot chicken mixture. Bake 25 to 30 more minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and chicken mixture is bubbly. Remove from oven, and brush biscuits with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.

1. Prepare Filling: Preheat oven to 425°. Melt 1/3 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add all-purpose flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 6 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat, and stir in Creole seasoning.

2. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion and mushrooms, and sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, next 4 ingredients, and sauce. Spoon filling into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

3. Cut butter cubes into self-rising flour with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Add cheese, bacon, chives, and whipping cream, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 3 or 4 times. Roll or pat dough to 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to form 15 biscuits.

4. Bake Chicken Pie Filling at 425° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and arrange biscuits on top of hot chicken mixture. Bake 25 to 30 more minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and chicken mixture is bubbly. Remove from oven, and brush biscuits with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.Directions
1. Prepare Filling: Preheat oven to 425°. Melt 1/3 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add all-purpose flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 6 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat, and stir in Creole seasoning.

2. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion and mushrooms, and sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, next 4 ingredients, and sauce. Spoon filling into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

3. Cut butter cubes into self-rising flour with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Add cheese, bacon, chives, and whipping cream, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 3 or 4 times. Roll or pat dough to 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to form 15 biscuits.

4. Bake Chicken Pie Filling at 425° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and arrange biscuits on top of hot chicken mixture. Bake 25 to 30 more minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and chicken mixture is bubbly. Remove from oven, and brush biscuits with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.

Veal Scaloppine with Mushroom Marsala Sauce


1/3 cup flour
About 1 tsp. salt, divided
About 1 tsp. black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound veal cutlets, pounded to about 1/4 in. thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2/3 cup sweet marsala wine
1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup whipping cream


1. In a bowl, combine flour, 1 tsp. each salt and pepper, and the oregano. Lightly dust veal with flour mixture and set on a plate.

2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown veal in oil, turning once, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter.

3. In the same pan, melt butter, then add mushrooms and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add marsala and broth. Cook over high heat until slightly reduced, 5 minutes. Add cream and salt and pepper to taste. Return to a boil. Pour sauce over veal. Serve with sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes.

Symphony Brownies


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate; coarsely chopped
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 (4.5 ounce) Symphony Chocolate bars; broken into squares


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Microwave chocolate and butter or margarine in large bowl at medium (50% power) for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted.

3. Whisk until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar and add in eggs, extracts and salt. Gradually add in flour and stir until just combined.

4. Spread 1/2 the batter into prepared pan. Add an even layer of Symphony Chocolate squares and cover with remaining 1/2 of brownie batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes; do not over bake.

5. Remove to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”


1 head Cauliflower
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 Tbsp. Chicken Base
1/2 Tbsp. garlic
1/2 Tbsp. chives, chopped


1. Break Cauliflower into large chunks, removing any leaves or greenery.

2. Boil Cauliflower until it becomes fork tender. Once it reaches fork tender, remove from water and place in a large bowl or blender.

3. Add 1 Tbsp butter, skim milk, chicken base and garlic.

4. Beat or blend until smooth.

5. Stir in chives.

6. Warm up as necessary.

7. Enjoy!

Fudge Mountain Cake


1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup strong coffee (I’ve also used brandy)
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used a mix of dutch process and regular)
1 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 to 3/4 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Curls


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease three to five 8 inch cake pans (depending on how many layers you want) and line with parchment paper.

2. Melt the butter and chocolate chips in the microwave or on the stove top.

3. Meanwhile beat together the eggs and sugar for about five minutes at high speed until pale and more than doubled in volume. Add the coffee and vanilla to the eggs and beat until combined. Sift in the cocoa and salt and mix again until combined. Stream in the melted chocolate and butter and beat until combined.

4. Divide into prepared cake pans and bake for about 15-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out with some crumbs attached but no longer wet.

5. For the ganache, melt together the chocolate and about 1/4 cup of cream in the microwave. You’ll want to turn the microwave power down to about 30% and stir often or use a double broiler. Set some aside to use for the top. Place the bowl of melted chocolate in a larger bowl of ice water and beat for a while until fluffy, adding more cream if it gets too thick. Use this for the filling of the layers and then use what you have set aside for the top. Top with chocolate curls. This is very good served with whipped cream.

Chocolate Yule Log

Yield: 12 Servings


For the sponge:
5 eggs
120g caster sugar
60g self raising flour
30g cocoa powder

For the filling:
250g mascarpone
50g icing sugar
1tbsp coffee dissolved in 1/2 tbsp hot water

For the buttercream:
240g icing sugar
120g butter, softened
70ml double cream
30g cocoa powder


1. Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C. Cover a 35 x 25cm baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Separate the eggs. Add the sugar to the egg yolks and in an electric mixer, whisk until the mixture is light in colour. Sift in the flour and cocoa and fold in lightly until fully

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff and then fold gently into the cake mixture a third at a time.

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, or
until the cake feels firm to the touch. Put a large sheet of greaseproof paper on the work surface and sprinkle lightly with icing sugar. Turn the cake out onto the paper, peel off the lining paper and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to cool completely.

5. For the filling, place the mascarpone, icing sugar and dissolved coffee in a bowl and mix well.

6. Once the cake has cooled completely, spread the mascarpone mixture over the top
surface and roll the sponge tightly. Cover in clingfilm and place in the fridge until you are ready to decorate.

7. For the buttercream, place the icing sugar and butter in a bowl and mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the double cream and mix well. Sift the cocoa powder over the mixture and fold in until fully incorporated.

8. Cover the log in buttercream and, using a palette knife, make a pattern by smoothing over back and forth to resemble tree bark. Dust with icing sugar.

Irish Beef Stew

Yield: 4 servings


Beef Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. stew meat
4 large carrots, peeled & chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1 large bay leaf or 2 small
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
heaping 1/3 cup frozen peas

Mashed Potatoes
2 pounds Idaho Potatoes
3 Tablespoons Salted Butter
4 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
1 cup Whole Milk
Salt And Pepper, to taste


Beef Stew
1. In large pot or deep skillet, brown stew meat in olive oil until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes.

2. Pour in onions, carrots, garlic and spices. Cook another 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with beef broth. Cover and simmer 2-4 hours or until meat is very tender. (This would be perfect to cook in the crockpot!) When you are ready to serve, remove bay leaf.

3. In a small bowl stir softened butter and flour together until smooth and incorporated. Stir butter mixture into the stew with the frozen peas. Once the gravy thickens slightly, it’s done. Serve hot over mashed potatoes.

Mashed Potatoes
4. Peel potatoes and rinse them. Cut into even sized pieces and place into a large pot. Cover with water and add a dash of salt. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes.

5. Drain completely and place potatoes back into the hot pot. Mash potatoes with butter, cream cheese, milk, salt and pepper until desired consistency has been reached.

Buffalo Chicken Pull-Apart Bread


half of this pizza dough recipe right here
1 chicken breast, poached and shredded
1/3 cup (roughly) buffalo sauce (I used Frank’s)
1/2 cup (roughly) blue cheese crumbles
1 Tbs. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced


1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 3 x 6 mini loaf pan.

2. Roll the dough out super thin on a flour working surface. I had two leftover balls from the recipe, so I rolled them out separately. But you can do whatever. I DON’T EVEN CARE. I’m totally kidding. I care.

3. Using a knife or pizza cutter, trim the ends so you have a nice clean large square.

4. Brush the dough with the buffalo sauce.

5. Sprinkle the shredded chicken over the sauce.

6. Then sprinkle on that good crumbled blue cheese.

7. Then, carefully stack them on top of each other. Like maybe two or three at at time. Then transport them to the mini loaf pan where they’re side by side. Kelly had much better luck at making them nice and uniform. Mine look sad and pretty much suicidal.

8. Slide them into the oven for 15 minutes.

9. While they’re in the oven, melt your butter, add the minced garlic and mixeroo.

10. Pull the pan out, and brush the top with the garlic butter. Slide it back in for another 20 minutes.

11. Sprinkle some cilantro over the top and pull it apart, enjoy.

Peanut Butter-Glazed Chocolate Midnight Doughnuts


¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ cups boiling water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ cups Silvana’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter or dairy-free buttery sticks
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup brown rice syrup or light corn syrup
1 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped, for sprinkling


1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease two nonstick 6-doughnut baking pans with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water; let cool completely. Whisk in the eggs, oil and vanilla.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined; fill the prepared pans with about ¼ cup batter in each doughnut mold. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.

3. In a small saucepan, melt together the peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar and rice syrup over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Dip the doughnuts into the glaze and top with the peanuts.

Holiday Breakfast Casserole


2 packages (12 ounces each) JOHNSONVILLE® Original Breakfast Sausage Links
6 English muffins, cut into 1-in. cubes
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup (4 ounces) Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup (4 ounces) mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
12 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup bacon bits


1. Cook sausage according to package directions. Cool slightly; cut into ¼-inch slices.

2. In a greased 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish, layer half the English muffin cubes and half the cooked sausage. Repeat layers.

3. Drizzle with butter and top with the cheese, onion and red pepper.

4. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over casserole. Sprinkle with bacon. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Uncover and bake at 350˚F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Let stand 5 minutes.

Lemon Raspberry Ruffle Cake


For Victoria Sponge Cake
340 gr. butter at room temperature
340 gr. sugar
1’5 tsp. Vanilla extract
6 large eggs
300 gr. raising flour
40 gr. cornstarch
1’5 tsp. yeast
6 tbsp milk
zest of half a lemon
zest of half a lime
3 tsp. cointreau liqueur

For the Buttercream
300 ml egg whites
560 gr. sugar
550 gr. butter (good quality)
1 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
3 tsp raspberry lyophilized powder
pink dye


For Victoria Sponge Cake
1. In a bowl, put the butter and sugar, beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2. We add the eggs one by one and beat well after each addiction, add the remaining ingredients and mix to incorporate.

3. Add the flour, cornstarch and baking powder, gradually incorporating it, taking care not to crush the mass, so they do not lose fluffiness. Finally we put the milk and we link well with the dough, until we left smooth and fluffy.

For buttercream
4. Put the egg whites in a bowl in a double boiler and heat it slightly (a few minutes), stirring constantly, then add the sugar and mix until we get the sugar has dissolved completely.

5. Once at this point add the raspberry powder and mix until dissolved.

6. We spent this mixture to the bowl of our mixer with the whisk attachment and mix until a meringue with stiff peaks and shiny.

7. Just then changed the whisk attachment and put the shovel and began to gradually add the butter cut into small pieces (this should be at room temperature), we will see him go slightly before each integrating addiction. Mix until a creamy and firm.

1. We put one of the cakes on the mold where you go to file, fill with buttercream, put the next cake on top and return to fill it, cover it with the last cake and cover the whole cake (sides and top) with buttercream.

2. Then prepare the pastry put the nozzle we want to decorate, here is the number 124, Wilton, and fill the sleeve with our fill. Then we create the decoration of the flyers from the bottom up, continuing to complete the cake. We finish the process by covering the top.

Summer Corn Cakes




1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a brown paper bag.

2. Cut the corn from the cobs into a large bowl, and scrape the stripped cobs with the back of the knife (or a spoon) to release the juices into the bowl.

3. Place 2 cups of the corn kernels into a food processor, and pulse several times, until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky. Scrape into the bowl with the remaining corn kernels.

4. Add flour, cornmeal, onion, basil, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper to the corn. Stir to mix.

5. Add the eggs, buttermilk and butter, and stir just to combine. (Do not overmix.)

6. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add just enough canola oil to barely cover the bottom, and heat until sizzling hot.

7. One heaping tablespoon at a time, scoop the batter into the skillet. Cooking in batches of 4 to 5 to avoid overcrowding, fry the cakes 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.

8. Drain on the lined baking sheet, and place in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining corn cakes. Serve warm topped with a heap of Chopped Tomato and Avocado Salsa.

Shrimp Grits


1 Tablespoon of butter
1 cup milk
1 cup water, and additional may be needed to thin grits.
1 cup quick cooking grits
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
salt and pepper

1/2 cup butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 ounces dry white wine*
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped green onions


1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan. Add milk and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; whisk in grits. Reduce heat to lowest setting; cook 5 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally. Add cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm. If they set too firmly when ready to serve with shrimp, add water or milk to thin and reconstitute.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add garlic, celery, bell pepper, onions, cajun seasoning; sauté 30 seconds. Add shrimp, and cook 5 minutes. Remove shrimp and veggies from skillet.

3. Add wine, stirring to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to low; whisk in remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in lemon juice. Cook 1-2 minutes. Return shrimp and veggies to pan. Stir to mix with butter sauce. Serve over grits. Garnish with green onions if desired.

* If you would rather not use the wine, use broth or lemon juice.

Chocolate Cherry Layer Cake


3/4 cup plus 1 tsp.all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp.unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp.baking powder
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1/2 tsp.ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp.salt
1/3 cupun salted butter, softened
3/4 cupsugar
2 eggs
1 tsp.vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 recipe Cherry or Chocolate Frosting, recipe below
1 recipe Chocolate-Dipped Cherries, recipe below (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 6×2-inch round cake pans or springform pans. Mix 1 teaspoon each flour and cocoa powder; dust pans. Set pans aside.

2. In bowl combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

3. In large bowl with electric mixer beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in sour cream and flour mixture. Pour batter in pans; spread evenly.

4. Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on rack.

5. Use serrated knife to horizontally cut cakes in half to make 4 layers total. Place bottom layer on plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting. Repeat with layers. Place top layer on cake. Heap remaining frosting, swirling in peaks. Refrigerate. To serve, top with Chocolate-Dipped Cherries. Serves 8.

6. Cherry Frosting: In chilled large mixing bowl combine one 8-ounce carton sour cream. 1 cup whipping cream (do not use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream), 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, and 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice. Beat with chilled beaters on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

7. Chocolate Frosting: In a chilled large mixing bowl combine one 8-ounce carton sour cream, 1 cup whipping cream (do not use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream), 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder. Beat with chilled beaters on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

8. Chocolate-Dipped Cherries: Drain 16 maraschino cherries with stems; pat dry with paper towels. In small microwave-safe bowl combine 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces and 1 teaspoon shortening. Cook on 50 percent power (medium) 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Dip cherries in chocolate; place on waxed paper until set. Store, covered, up to 24 hours.

9. Alphabet Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare Chocolate-Cherry Stack Cake batter, above. Line sixteen 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. Fill each cup with two slightly rounded tablespoons of cake batter. Bake 18 minutes or until top springs back. Cool completely on wire rack. To assemble, top each cupcake with Cherry or Chocolate Frosting, above, (you will have some frosting left over). Top with Alphabet Cookies, recipe below.

10. Alphabet Cookies: On a lightly floured surface knead 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into 1/2 of a 16.5-ounce package of refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Roll dough 1/4-inch thick. Brush lightly with water; sprinkle with coarse red sugar. Cut 16 small cookies for cupcakes and cut remainder into desired shapes. Bake small cookies in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 6 minutes; bake larger cookies 7 to 8 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Use to decorate cupcakes.

Glitter Ball Cookies


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Sanding sugar, in assorted colors


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour, and mix just until combined. Shape into 3/4-inch balls (chill dough if too sticky). Place sanding sugar in shallow bowls. Roll each ball in sanding sugar, and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.

2. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are lightly golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on a wire rack. Spread 2 cookies with just enough filling to allow them to stick together.

Christmas Snowball

Yield: about 3 dozen.


1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 32 squares)
3-1/2 cups flaked coconut, divided
32 to 35 large marshmallows


1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, milk, cocoa and vanilla. Cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in cracker crumbs and 1-1/2 cups coconut. Let stand until cool enough to handle.

3. Using moistened hands, wrap about 1 tablespoon of mixture around each marshmallow (dip hands in water often to prevent sticking). Roll in remaining coconut; place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and freeze until firm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. May be frozen for up to 2 months.

Scallops with Cauliflower, Dried Cherries, and Capers


5 cups small cauliflower florets (from 1 large head)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 9-ounce package fresh spinach leaves
1 large shallot, finely chopped, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 large sea scallops, side muscle removed
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
6 large sage leaves, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons dried tart cherries
2 tablespoons drained capers


1. Cook cauliflower florets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and transfer cauliflower to bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add spinach and toss until just wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Transfer spinach to sieve set over large bowl and drain well. Reserve pot. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in reserved pot. Add half of shallot; saute 1 minute. Sprinkle cauliflower with cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Add to pot and toss to coat. Add spinach and toss until heated through, about 3 minutes. Divide vegetables among 6 plates.

3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in medium skillet over high heat. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Add to skillet; sear until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Place 1 scallop on each plate. Melt butter in same skillet. Add half of shallot and last 3 ingredients. Cook until butter starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Spoon over scallops and serve.

Amazingly Delicious Toffee


1 cup unblanched (skin on) whole almonds
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (12 oz.) package milk chocolate chips (2 cups)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans


1. Toast almonds by spreading them in a single layer on a plate and microwaving on high for 2-3 minutes (stir after each minute). On foil-lined baking sheet, arrange almonds in a single layer over an area measuring approx. 13×9 inches. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt.

2. Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly with a clean, dry wooden spoon till butter is melted.

3. Continue cooking and stirring for approx. 7-10 min. till candy is the color of the brown skin of the almonds; it will start smoking slightly. Immediately pour candy, without scraping pan, over almonds, covering all nuts. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the hot candy. Wait 1 minute and spread the melted chocolate until it is smooth. Sprinkle with pecans. Let cool and break into pieces. Store in a tightly covered container in cool place or refrigerator.

Candy Cane Blossoms

Yields approximately 35 cookies.


1 bag Hershey;s Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Red and Green colored sugar


1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from candies (approx. 35)

2. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

3. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 – 1o minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Cookie Dough Cocoa


4 tablespoons
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 pint cookie dough ice cream
5 cups water

Whipped cream
Mini chocolate chips
1 cup Cookie Crisp® cereal


1. In 3-quart saucepan or large pot, whisk together butter, brown sugar, and ice cream over medium-high heat until melted. Add the water; cook and stir mixture until steaming.

2. Serve in mugs, topped with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, and cookie crisp cereal.

Pork Chops with Herb Stuffing


1 cup cubed (3/8 inch) rustic bread, without crusts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion, and 3/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup plus one tablespoon mixed chopped parsley and thyme
2 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons chicken stock
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 bone-in pork chops (9 ounces each), cut horizontally to the bone
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast bread cubes on a baking sheet until golden, about 7 minutes. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add celery; cook 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl. Reserve skillet. Toss bread, herbs, 1/4 teaspoon coriander, and 3 tablespoons stock with onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Stuff chops. Using a fork, mix and mash garlic, 2 teaspoons coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon oil; rub onto pork. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes; flip, and transfer skillet to oven. Cook until pork registers 155 degrees, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate; cover.

3. Add sherry and 1/2 cup stock to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until reduced by half. Serve with pork.

Ham and Cheese Potato Skins


3 whole Russet potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of cracked black pepper
1 cup of thick cut ham, cut into bite sized cubes
2 cups of Colby jack cheese, shredded


1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the top of each potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove from the baking sheet, and place on a plate to let cool for about 15 minutes.

2. Once your potatoes are cooled, use a sharp bread knife and you will cut lengthwise, into three segments of one potato, long slices. So each potato will yield two skins, right? Discard the middle slice and reuse for breakfast the following morning, or heck for that matter, add some butter, salt, and cream, and make some rustic mashed potatoes.

3. Continue this cutting process with the rest of the potatoes. You should then have 10 skins. With a small spoon, being careful, scoop out about 70 percent of the potato, as you still want some potato in your boat.

4. Next, melt your butter in the microwave. Get your broiler heated to high.

5. Brush the butter on the inside and outside of each potato skin and place them back onto the baking sheet. Season the inside of each skin with salt and pepper.

6. Place them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the insides get a bit crispy from the melted butter.

Sweet Potato Casserole

YIELD: 8 servings


3 ½ pounds fresh sweet potatoes (about 5 medium)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Wash the sweet potatoes, prick them with a fork and place on baking sheet. Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 75-90 minutes or until they are cooked through. Allow potatoes to cool slightly until they are comfortable to touch.

2. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 9 inch casserole dish, set aside.

3. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop the insides into a large mixing bowl, discard skins.

4. Add sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, butter, milk, and vanilla to the sweet potatoes. Use an electric mixer and combine until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated and smooth.

5. Scoop mixture into prepared casserole dish, smoothing the top into an even layer.

6. In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven 30-40 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bars


30 peppermint creme-filled chocolate cookies (I used Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon fine salt

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
16 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup low fat sour cream
4 large eggs, room temperature

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tbs non hydrogenated shortening (I use Earth Balance)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup low fat sour cream, room temperature
crushed candy canes (about 3, large)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In a food processor – add cookies and process until they form crumbs. With the processor running, pour in the melted butter and salt – process just until combined. Press the mixture into a 9″ x 13″ pan lined with foil – evenly pressing to cover the bottom completely.

3. Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t allow the bowl to touch the water) – stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove and set aside to cool a bit.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sour cream and mix well, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix just until incorporated. Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and mix until smooth.

5. Pour the filling evenly over the crust and smooth the top. Bake until filling puffs slightly around the edges, but is still a bit wobbly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to begin cooling.

6. Add chocolate, butter and corn syrup to a small sauce pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Stir the chocolate mixture until melted and smooth, remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Spread glaze evenly over the warm cheesecake. When the glaze has almost set sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the top. Let cool completely and then refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Note: I’m always looking for ways to cut out a few calories when I can and found that using lower fat cream cheeses and sour cream does not alter the quality of the dessert for me. With these lower fat ingredients we still produced rich, decadent and delicious desserts!

Chicken Piccata


2 – 4 chicken breasts, split in half
2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs
salt and pepper
1 stick butter
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup parsley


1. Take the chicken breast and hold your hand on top of it. Slice it in half. Lay the chicken pieces between two sheets of wax paper. And then beat the crap out of it until it is very thin.

2. Pour the breadcrumbs into a bowl and beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Season the eggs and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then completely coat in the breadcrumbs.
I like to line a baking sheet with foil and lay the chicken breasts out. You can keep these in the fridge for a few hours until you are ready to cook them.

3. Heat a saute pan over medium high heat, and melt a few tablespoons of butter and a few tablespoons of olive oil. Let this get hot, test by dropping some breadcrumbs into the pan, when it sizzles, it is ready. Cook each side for about 3 minutes. The crust should be golden brown. Keep these in a very low oven, 300 degrees, while you work on the sauce.

4. Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, and capers. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add a pat of butter to mellow out the sauce. Check for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

5. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve with rice or pasta and some green vegetables.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Yield: Makes 10


2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup unsulphered molasses
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 recipe Butter Glaze
1 recipe Chocolate Glaze
1 recipe Meringue Buttercream

Butter Glaze
Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups, or enough for 10 large cupcakes

2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk

Chocolate Glaze
Yield: Makes 1 3/4 cups, or enough for 10 large cupcakes

6 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

Meringue Buttercream
Yield: Makes 3 cups, enough for one 2- or 3-layer cake or about 2 dozen cupcakes

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
5 large egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 10 jumbo muffin tins with paper baking cups, and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder; set aside.

2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light. Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs.

3. Fill the cupcake papers three-quarters full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cupcakes cool a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Butter Glaze
1. Place 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat; immediately pour the melted butter into the bowl with the sugar. Add 4 teaspoons milk; whisk until mixture is smooth. Working quickly, dip the top of each cupcake into the glaze, and place cupcake right-side up on a wire rack.

2. Repeat step 1; glaze remaining cupcakes. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes, before decorating.

Chocolate Glaze
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, and place in a medium bowl. Scald the cream, and pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.

2. Let the glaze stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

3. For the smoothest possible surface, carefully dip the cupcakes into the prepared chocolate glaze. Let cupcakes drip, dripped-side down, for several seconds, and then turn right-side up. Allow glaze to set before decorating.

Meringue Buttercream
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer onto the saucepan. Boil the syrup, brushing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallization, until the syrup registers 240 degrees (soft-ball stage).

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium high until stiff but not dry peaks form.

3. With the mixer running, pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl (to prevent splattering) into the egg whites in a steady stream, and beat on high speed until the steam is no longer visible, about 3 minutes. Beat in butter, piece by piece. Add vanilla; beat until smooth and spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes. If it looks curdled at any point during the beating process, continue beating until smooth.

Go Next To See Recipe 5: Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Go Next To See Recipe 3: Gingerbread Roulade

Gingerbread Roulade With Maple Whipped Cream and Candied Pecans

Makes 8 to 10 servings.


For cake:
4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. molasses, preferably dark
Powdered sugar
Maple Whipped Cream (see recipe)
Make Candied Pecans (see recipe).

Maple Whipped Cream
Yield: Makes about 3 cups

Note: To flavor the cream, you can use maple syrup or extract, or maple oil. Oil is a good option if you want to buy just enough flavoring for a particular recipe. The small bottles hold only a teaspoon or so.

1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup maple syrup, 1 tsp. maple extract, or ¼ tsp. maple oil (see Note)
¼ cup powdered sugar

Candied Pecans
Yield: Makes 1 cup

1 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and move rack to center.

2. Cut a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to fit the bottom of a 10- by 15-inch rimmed jellyroll pan and spray with cooking spray.

3. Beat together egg whites and cream of tartar, slowly at first, then gradually increasing the speed to high until whites hold stiff peaks when the beater is lifted. Set aside.

4. In small bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder and salt.

5. Beat together egg yolks and brown sugar until thick and light in color, about 3 minutes. Stir in butter and molasses, then flour mixture.

6. Stir one-third of the beaten egg whites into egg yolk mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg whites, using a gentle stroke that brings batter up from the bottom of the bowl and folds it over the surface. Repeat, turning the bowl, until no streaks remain. Gently spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until cake springs back lightly when touched.

7. While the cake is baking, sprinkle powdered sugar over a tea towel. When the cake is done, run a knife around the edge to make sure it’s loose, then quickly invert it onto the towel. Peel off the paper. Then, starting from the short side, roll cake and towel. Place seam side down on a wire rack until cool.

8. Meanwhile, make whipped cream (see recipe).

Maple Whipped Cream
9. Beat the heavy cream with maple syrup and powdered sugar until it holds stiff peaks. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

Candied Pecans
10. In saucepan, stir together pecans and syrup over medium heat. Sprinkle with salt and continue stirring for about 2 minutes.

11. Coat a plate with cooking spray and spread pecans on it to cool.

Go Next To See Recipe 4: Gingerbread Cupcakes

Go Back To See Recipe 2: Sparkling Ginger Stars

Sparkling Ginger Stars

Yield: 2 dozen


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 (3.25-oz.) jar coarse sparkling sugar (see note)


1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until blended.

2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add brown sugar, beating well. Beat in molasses, egg yolk, lemon rind, grated ginger, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture; beat just until blended.

3. Shape dough into a ball, and divide in half. Flatten each half into a round disk; wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill 2 1/2 hours until firm.

4. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough, 1 section at a time, to 1/4″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into star shapes, using a 4″ cookie cutter. Place 1/2″ apart on prepared baking sheets.

5. Whisk together 1 egg and whipping cream; brush egg wash lightly over cookies. Sprinkle heavily with sparkling sugar.

6. Bake at 325° for 17 minutes or until cookies are puffed and slightly darker around edges. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets; remove with parchment paper to wire racks to cool completely.


Go Next To See Recipe 3: Gingerbread Roulade

Click Back To See Recipe 1: Gingerbread Cookies

Linzer Cookies


1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Powdered sugar


1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer; gradually add 1 cup powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

2. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended.
Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Cover and chill 1 hour.

3. Roll each portion to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 3-inch star-shaped cutter. Cut centers out of half of cookies with a 1 1/2-inch star-shaped cutter. Place all stars on lightly greased baking sheets.

4. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes; cool on wire racks. Spread solid cookies with jam; sprinkle remaining stars with powdered sugar. Top each solid cookie with a hollow star.