Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

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Something I  made when we had a few friends over before Christmas was this bark.  I saw the recipe on King Arthur Flour and it looked so delicious to me that I had to try it.

It’s easy to make even though it may not look that way.  Just make sure to follow the steps and yours will turn out great, too.

The recipe called for semisweet and white chocolate but I used the packages of chocolate and white bark that you can buy in the grocery store. They melt easily and then harden back up easily and they taste good.

Chocolate, Pecan, Cranberry Bark

Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup toasted pecans
1 pkg chocolate bark, melted
1 pkg white chocolate bark, melted

In a small bowl, mix the cranberries and toasted pecans together and set aside.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate bark according to the pkg directions. Spread into an oval on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and let set.

Melt the white chocolate according to the pkg directions and carefully spread over the chocolate layer. Before the white chocolate sets, sprinkle the cranberry and nut mixture over the top and press in lightly.

Let the chocolate harden for several hours and then break into chunks. If you are having trouble getting the chocolate to harden, put the pan in the refrigerator until hard.

Makes about 24 pieces.

Happy Cooking!

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Granola Bars

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I made these to take to a friend’s brunch on Christmas Eve.  They are super easy to make and are just delicious.  You will never buy granola bars again.

The recipe calls for pumpkin seeds, nuts, etc., but at my local grocery store they sell something called Brain Food.  The one type that I chose was pumpkin seeds, nuts, and raisins mixed together so I used the entire container of this (I think it was 16 oz) instead of each individual ingredients.  I also added a small bag of dried cranberries.  I used fat free sweetened condensed milk to save some calories and this worked perfectly and is how I will make them in the future.

I found the recipe on Allrecipes and it’s a keeper!

Granola Bars

2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)

Preheat an oven to 350º.

Line a 13×9-inch pan with lightly-greased parchment paper; an inch or so of parchment paper should stick up on 2 sides to form lifting handles.

Mix both oats, pumpkin seeds, both nuts, cranberries, and sweetened condensed milk together in a bowl and spread into the prepared pan, evenly pressing into the corners and out to the sides.

Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are golden brown, 20-25 minutes, using slightly less time for chewier bars and slightly more time for crunchier bars.  I went longer for crunchier bars.

Let the bars cool for 5 minutes in the pan before using the parchment paper to lift them from the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars. Let the bars cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Makes 24 bars.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

Happy Cooking!

Holiday Salad

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My daughter served this salad on Thanksgiving and it was sooooo good.  I know the bowl looks really messy and I’ll take the blame for being a messy salad tosser.  The recipe called for a raspberry vinaigrette and I couldn’t find just a plain raspberry vinaigrette so I used a raspberry-pomegranate vinaigrette and it was superb as well as being fairly healthy.  This salad is chock-full of yummy ingredients and the color just makes it perfect for the holidays.   The recipe came from allrecipes originally.

Holiday  Salad

1 (10 ounce) package Italian-blend salad greens
1 (5 ounce) package spring mix salad greens
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 medium red apple, cored and chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8 ounce) bottle raspberry vinaigrette ~ I used about 1/4 to 1/3 of the bottle

In a large salad bowl, toss all of the ingredients except the dressing.

Just before serving, drizzle with vinaigrette and toss.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Cranberry Eggnog Streusel Muffins

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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Mr. Meat Eater and I went to Richmond to have Thanksgiving with our daughter and her boyfriend.  My daughter cooked her first Thanksgiving dinner and it was FANTASTIC!!!   I am happy to pass the torch!  We missed having our son with us to enjoy the meal but he had dinner at Disney World so we were all jealous.

Here are some pictures:

And this is how we felt when our turkey comas set in:

On to the recipe…this muffin recipe is fantastic!  I found it in the December issue of the Food Network magazine and it’s a keeper.

Now, I would do a few things differently when I make them again.  First of all, this recipe makes way too much streusel.  I like streusel as much as the next person but really I could have gotten away with about 1/4 to 1/3 of the amount of streusel.  I hate wasted ingredients and that’s what I felt about this streusel.  I think I could get away with using less butter in the streusel, too.  I made the full recipe and 1  1/2 sticks are just too much.  Butter is too expensive to waste it.  The rest of the recipe worked OK and the outcome is delish!

Cranberry Eggnog Streusel Muffins

Muffins:
1 cup dried cranberries, rough chop
1/2 cup rum
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 cups eggnog
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla

Streusel (Full recipe so cut it down if you want):
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375º. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, mix the rum and the chopped cranberries. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt.

In another medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, eggnog, eggs and vanilla. Fold dry ingredient mixture into wet mixture. Batter will be lumpy. Do not overmix. Fold in the cranberries.

Scoop batter evenly into prepared pan ~ I use an ice cream scoop.

For the streusel, mix all ingredients together until it looks like lumpy, wet sand. Sprinkle with fingers over the tops of the muffins.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Test with a toothpick before removing from oven. Cool in pan for a few minutes then carefully remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

Happy Cooking!

Mary’s Cranberry Apple Casserole

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This is fabulous!  Mr. Meat Eater and I were practically fighting over it.  It’s a very easy dessert to make and, frankly, I wouldn’t be above eating it for breakfast.  It’s certainly perfect for the upcoming holidays.

Thank you, Mary, for sharing this recipe with me ~ it’s going to be a favorite in our house!

Mary’s Cranberry Apple Casserole

Filling:
2 cups fresh whole cranberries
3 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples (I just sliced mine because I am lazy)
1 cup sugar (I used about 3/4 cup since my apples were very sweet)
1 tbsp. flour

Topping:
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup uncooked oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Heat oven to 350º.

Mix the filling ingredients and pour into a 8×8 or 9×9 square, greased casserole dish.

Combine the topping ingredients and spoon over the filling.

Bake for 45 minutes or until apples are tender.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Makes about 6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Cranberry Pecan Coffee Cake

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Wow ~ this coffee cake is wonderful!  A must make and  perfect for the upcoming holidays or anytime you need a special coffee cake.

It looks more complicated than it is ~ it’s really easy and best of all it looks like you have spent hours in the kitchen.

Cranberry Pecan Coffee Cake

Topping:
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 1/4 cup whole fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Cake:
1/2 cup butter at room temp
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream (I used less fat sour cream)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350º. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum to prevent any leaking (I did have a little leaking but the foil caught it).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside (I just whisk it all together since I don’t own a sifter).

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and 1/3 cup butter and bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil, pour it in the bottom of the ungreased springform pan. Sprinkle the cranberries (whole) and pecans over the top of the butter/brown sugar mixture. Make sure that they spread out over the entire pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream. Spoon this cake mixture over the the top of the cranberry mixture already in the pan.

Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert onto serving platter and carefully remove pan.

Makes 8 -10 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Colorful Salad

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This salad is very quick and easy to make and all the ingredients just go together so well.  If you don’t like using the envelope of Italian dressing, there are loads of copycat recipes on the internet. If you are serving more people, just double the salad ingredients but not the dressing ingredients.

Colorful Salad

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsps water
1 packet of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix

1 pkg. Italian-blend salad greens
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Mix all the dressing ingredients together until well combined.

In a large bowl, mix the salad ingredients.

Dress the salad and serve.

Makes 5 ~ 6 servings.

Happy Cooking!