Colder weather gives the excuse for the comfort of real, honest-to-goodness hot chocolate! Nix the powdered convenience for this easy and delightful version of a cold weather, timeless classic.
1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips (we use Ghiradelli 60% cacao)
2 cup whole milk, divided
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
whipped cream (optional)
Pour 1 cup of the milk, all the chocolate chips, and the cinnamon into a microwavable glass measuring cup. Microwave on high 20 seconds at a time, stirring after every interval until the chocolate is melted and well combined with the milk. Add the rest of the milk and stir well. Heat in the microwave 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each turn until desired temperature. Pour into mugs, top with marshmallows or whipped cream and enjoy!
My best friend from high school is on a gluten free diet. We modified our crockpot chili recipe to host her and her family for dinner! Now, we make it this way all the time.
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP chili powder
1-2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
2 packages of gluten free beef-bullion (or the 2 serving equivalent)
1/4 large sweet onion, chopped and sauteed until translucent
1/8 cup of sour cream
2 tsp cocoa
1-2 (15oz) can(s) kidney beans, 1 drained and 1 not (if using 1 can, do not drain)
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup cola (not diet!)
Brown ground beef in a preheated skillet over medium high heat. Drain if needed. Add all ingredients to a crock pot and stir. Let simmer on low for 6 hours or on high for 2 hours.
You can top with cheddar cheese, diced onion and sour cream if desired.
The Dining Downloads visited Ireland in October 2011. These tasty treats are a common breakfast item in the United Kingdom. We couldn’t get enough of them! We make them several times a month and almost ALWAYS on special occasion breakfasts!
Kosher Salt and fresh cracked black pepper
This recipe takes about four minutes from the point you place the tomato in the pan. Cut the end off of the Roma tomato and slice it in half so you have two flat sides. Place 1-2 tsp of butter (the amount of butter depends on the number of tomatoes you’re frying) in the pan on high until the butter melts. Once the butter is melted, lower the heat to medium-high. Add a small pinch of salt and few cracks of pepper over the melted butter (this is for the bottom of the tomato), then place tomato on it’s flat side in the pan on to the butter, ground salt, and pepper. It will sizzle. Add salt and pepper to the top of the tomato. Wait about 90 seconds, then flip the tomato and add another tsp or so of butter to the pan, gently sliding the tomato around (be sure not to squeeze it or crush it). Let it sit for about 60-90 seconds, then flip one last time just to make sure both sides are nicely coated with the butter and seasonings. Remove and serve. When they’re ready, you’ll notice some blackened edges on the tomato. Serve hot.
Note: This recipe requires a high quality non-stick pan. We use a Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 12-Inch Everyday Pan all the time in our kitchen and highly recommend it.
This is usually served at an appetizer. You can get a little “fancier” and twist it once so it corkscrews. We usually leave it flat. It is just as tasty!
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 pound sliced bacon
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread brown sugar on a large plate or platter. Brush both sides of the bacon strip with syrup. Press each slice of bacon into the brown sugar on both sides. Place bacon on a metal cooling rack on top of a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, taking care not to burn. Remove from oven and let bacon sit for 2-3 minutes to cool, harden slightly, and drain. Serve warm.
We serve this in the Dining Downloads kitchen for the holidays. The sweetness of the cranberries mixed with the savory sage, thyme and vegetables make this Dining Downloads exclusive recipe a HUGE hit!
4 cups homemade croutons** (about 1/2 of a 16oz loaf)
1/2 tsp dried thyme, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp dried sage
1 chopped sweet onion
2 chopped celery ribs
1 cup regular Craisins
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 TBSP melted butter
3 lb boneless raw turkey breast
1/2 tsp pepper
Spray a 4qt crock pot with cooking spray. Add croutons, 1/4 tsp thyme, 1/4 tsp salt, sage, onion, celery, and Craisins. Combine broth and melted butter. Pour over top of the ingredients in the crock pot, and stir gently.
If the turkey breast comes with a string, remove. Rinse turkey breast. Place turkey in crock pot on top of crouton mixture. Combine 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp thyme, pepper, and sprinkle over turkey. Cover and cook on HIGH 1 hour. Reduce to LOW, and cook 5 to 6 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted in turkey registers 170°.
Remove turkey to a serving platter. Let turkey rest for 10 minutes. Slice on the diagonal. Stir stuffing gently in slow cooker. Note: it will be a wet stuffing.
**You may substitute plain, boxed croutons, but omit the 1/4 tsp salt for the
This is a GREAT way to use up stale bread. It works well with white, wheat, sourdough and rye and goes GREAT with salads or for making stuffing!
1/2 of a 16oz loaf of stale bread cut into 1 by 1 inch squares
2 TBSP salted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Put the bread cubes in a large bowl. Drizzle butter over bread and gently toss to distribute. Spread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until golden brown (about 10-15 minutes) stirring halfway through. Let cool completely (we leave it out for about 1-2 hours). Store at room temperature in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.
This is a basic, sweet cornbread that has great texture! You can add ingredients to it like cheddar cheese, crumbled and cooked bacon, jalapenos, sauteed onion or sauteed green and red bell pepper (oh how festive!).
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup buttermilk
Raw kernels from 2 cobs of fresh corn** (1 1/2 cups of frozen (not canned) may be substituted)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8×8 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Combine melted butter, salt, sugar, eggs, buttermilk and corn kernels in a mixing bowl. Whisk until all ingredients are well combined. In a separate bowl combine the baking soda, salt, flour and cornmeal until well blended. Add the dry ingredients to the wet (we know the rule, but we ignore it). Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
**We have seen many professional chefs cut corn off the cob. They put the top of the cob up and the base on the cutting board. They start at the top and cut downward. Then the kernels go all over the place! We have a much better solution. Lay the corn on the cutting board with the base towards you and the tip pointing away. Cut off a side. Turn and repeat. After you make the first cut, the corn will sit flat on the cutting board. THAT… is how it’s done
We LOVE a good bagel! A kettle boiled, honest to goodness bagel is one of life’s finer gifts! But what is even better than that lump of chewy, doughy deliciousness? That oozy topping that is the creamy crown, CREAM CHEESE! Forget paying extra at the bagel shop for it. Make your own!
1 sliced red or orange bell pepper
1 sliced medium sweet/vidalia onion
4 smashed garlic cloves
1 sliced zucchini
1 sliced carrot
1 TBSP canola oil
2 thinly sliced green onions
16oz cream cheese, softened (we use Philadelphia)
salt and pepper to taste
Toss the all the vegetables except green onions and oil in a bowl to coat the veggies. Spread evenly on a foil lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 400°F for 45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Once the edges start to brown, they are ready! Set aside to cool.
When the vegetables have cooled completely (do not be impatient with this. You don’t want to melt the cream cheese!), chop 1/3 of the vegetables and set aside. Place the remaining vegetables in a food processor and pulse until finely minced but not pureed. Add cream cheese until well combined but not completely smooth. You do not want it whipped. Once combined, transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in the green onions and reserved 1/3 vegetables from earlier. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
This recipe is a quick alternative to take-out. It is very versatile and you can change out the ingredients to fit your tastes. You can even make this VEGETARIAN by taking out the chicken and adding more vegetables.
4 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp mirin wine
2 tsp corn starch
4 TBSP water
1 garlic clove, finely minced
*1-2 pounds raw chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
**4oz pack of instant chow mein (we use Nissan brand) NOODLES ONLY
1-2 celery rib, sliced on a diagonal (crescent moon shaped)
1-2 carrot, sliced
1/2-1 cup broccoli flowerettes
1-2 zucchini, cubed
8-20 button mushrooms, quartered
2-4 green onions, halved lengthwise and cut in 1″ pieces
1-2 handful(s) bean sprouts
Combine soy sauce, wine, corn starch, water, and garlic and stir well. Skip the part in brackets if making vegetarian version. [Pour liquid over chicken and marinate for 20 minutes to overnight.] Follow directions on noodles package, EXCEPT do not use seasoning or sauce packages that come with the noodles. Add 2 TBSP cooking oil to a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, [add chicken and stir constantly for about 4-5 minutes, When chicken is mostly done,] add celery, carrot, and broccoli (and sauce from above if making vegetarian version) for about 3 minutes or until broccoli is cooked but still firm. Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add cooked mein noodles and stir to distribute vegetables throughout the noodles. Cook for about 1-2 minutes or heated through. Add green onions for 30 seconds, remove from heat and add sprouts.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup Sweet Thai Chili sauce for a sweet kick!
*Omit chicken if making vegetarian version, of course.
**You can alternatively use regular mein noodles and prepare them according to package.
When we make Whole Roasted Chicken, we typically make 2 and save the second for this recipe. You can also use it for your leftovers from Thanksgiving!
2 small diced red potatoes
1 small diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
kernels from 2 cobs of white or bi-color corn (or 1 cup frozen)
1 diced stalk of celery
1/4 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/8 tsp ground rosemary
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
4 cups cooked, leftover chicken or turkey
2 – 10oz cans condensed cream soup, any flavor you like (we use broccoli cheddar and chicken and mushroom)
16oz can refrigerated biscuits (we use Grands)
1 TBSP melted butter
3/4 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients for filling except biscuits, melted butter, and pepper. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Cover tightly with foil and place on baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
After 1 hour, remove foil and stir. Arrange biscuits on top of casserole. Brush biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with black pepper. Return to oven and continue baking for another 15 to 18 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.