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Monday, December 23, 2013

What's Cookin' in the Country?


If you follow my blog on any regularity, you know that I've been planning and preparing for a Christmas Open House that took place on Friday night.  We had so much fun welcoming almost 80 people into our home.  Each group that stopped in heard the short version of how God answered our 10-year prayer and provided this home for us for which we are undeserving, but oh, so thankful!

My counter was filled with the appetizers and goodies that I had been working on for the last couple of weeks.  Here's a little look at the island of goodies...



For the appetizers I served Spinach balls.  Sounds odd, right?  These were one of the finger foods that the ladies at my church fixed for our wedding reception on my wedding day.  I got the recipe from them all those years ago and have made these so many times the recipe is ragged!  They're soft, flavorful and spicy enough to make you do a little double-take.  Serve them warm.  Oh, I love these!

I also served my Cheese Straws that I'd posted about here.
I like knowing what is being served.  I found these little chalkboard signs at TJ Maxx in their stationery department.  I could lable the things that were a bit unknown to my guests.

I served a platter of assorted homemade cookies.  I served Aurey Nut Balls, Raspberry Jam Shortbreads, Pecan Tarts, Sugar Cookies and of course my new recipes...

 Chocolate Peppermint and Mint Milanos that I posted about last week.  Not sure which cookie is my favorite; I just love them all.  That's what's so great about Christmas; all the favorite foods are at your fingertips (that's also why most of us vow to take off a few pounds after the New Year, right?!).


I also served Puppy Chow (or Muddy Buddies), Chex Mix and a new Pioneer Woman recipe - Holiday Roll-ups.  (Recipe below)

The beverages were simple - Coffee, Lemon Water and Peppermint Punch.  This punch is so simple, but absolutely delicious.  It's refreshing and yummy!  You must trust me on this one...if you need a great punch for your Christmas Day, here it is.  Oh, and Blue Bell Ice Cream carries Peppermint Ice Cream AND it's on sale at Ingles this week, AND you can get a dollar off coupon on their web site!  It's the best ice cream there is!


Peppermint Punch
1 quart Peppermint Ice Cream
1 Cup Milk
2 Liters Ginger Ale

Tortilla Pinwheels - Holiday Roll-ups
Tortilla Pinwheels - or  Holiday Roll-Ups
Ingredients
2 packages cream cheese, softened
1 package ranch dressing mix
Freshly ground black pepper
5 flour tortillas
1/2 cup finely diced green bell peppers
1/2 cup finely diced red bell peppers
2 green onions, sliced
Directions
Mix the cream cheese, ranch dressing mix and the black pepper together thoroughly.

Spread the mixture on the tortillas, and then sprinkle over the diced bell peppers and green onions. Roll up tightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until party time (for at least 1 hour).

Slice into small wheels and serve.




Here are the other cookie recipes:

Pecan Tarts
Ingredients
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
FILLING
1 egg
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup Diamond of California Chopped Pecans
Directions
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy; blend in flour and salt. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Shape into 1-in. balls; press onto the bottom and up the sides of greased mini-muffin cups.
For filling, in a small bowl, beat the egg. Add brown sugar, butter and vanilla; mix well. Stir in pecans. Spoon into tart shells.
Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before carefully removing from pans. Garnish with maraschino cherries if desired. Yield: about 20.

Aurey Nut Balls
1 Cup margarine
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 C flour
3/4 Cup walnuts
2 tsp vanilla
Cream butter & sugar.  Add flour, salt and nuts, vanilla and mix.  Form into balls the size of a walnut.  Bake at 325 degrees on ungreased pan 12-14 minutes or until they are lightly browned on the bottom.  Roll in powdered sugar a minute after coming out of oven.  Cool.

Raspberry Jam Shortbreads
1 Cup shortening
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
3 Tbl. milk
2 tsp vanilla
 2 2/3 cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup Raspberry jam

Cream shortening and sugars; add egg yolks, milk, vanilla and beat well.  Sift together dry ingredients, add to creamed mixture.  chill dough one hour.  On well-floured counter, roll half the dough into 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut with 2" round cuter.  Cut small hold in centers of half the cookies.  Bake on ungreased cookies sheet at 325 degrees, 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Spoon 1/2 tsp jam on plain cookie; top with cutout cookie.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

What are you cooking and baking for Christmas?

Be sure to stop in tomorrow on Christmas Eve for a tour of our home!  See you then.

With love from my country kitchen,

3 comments:

Whitney said...

I didn't know the spinach balls were served at your wedding, that is so sweet! I served your peppermint punch at my wedding, so that is a special recipe for me.

Love those chalkboard signs! Everything looks so pretty!

Dianne said...

Everything looked delicious and so pretty. I know your church family enjoyed themselves.

Denise said...

Thanks, Whitney and Dianne; it was such a fun evening! Whitney, it's fun to a have a recipe like that to serve that is also a sweet memory - especially something as delicious as that punch!