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December Recipes

GOOEY CHOCOLATE DROPS

1/2    Cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter

4       oz. Unsweetened Chocolate (chopped)

4       oz. Semisweet Chocolate (chopped)

1       Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar

1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

1       tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

4       Large Eggs

2       Tbsp. Buttermilk

1       Cup All-purpose Flour

1/2    Cup Cocoa Powder

1       tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/2    tsp. Salt

11     oz. (1 bag) Semisweet Chocolate Chunks

1       Cup Dried Cherries (optional)

Position racks in the lower and upper third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. (If you don't have 3 pans, simply cool the pan between batches.)

Put the butter and the unsweetened and semisweet chocolates in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 75 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir and heat again until melted, up to 2 minutes more. (Alternatively, put the chocolates and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)

Stir the light brown and granulated sugars and vanilla into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and buttermilk and beat vigorously until thick and glossy.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, cinnamon and salt together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just mixed. Stir in chocolate chunks and dried cherries, if using.

Drop the batter in heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies set but are soft and fudgy on the inside, 12 to 15 minutes.

Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Serve. Yield: About 2 dozen large cookies. Store cookies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to a week.


CHEDDAR TURKEY CASSEROLE

Pasta, veggies and leftover turkey combine to create a filling meal.

4       Cups Uncooked Spiral Pasta

1       Garlic Clove (minced)

3      Tbsp. Butter

3      Tbsp. All-purpose Flour

1       tsp. Salt

1/4    tsp. Prepared Mustard

1/4    tsp. Dried Thyme

1/4    tsp. Pepper

2       Cups 2% Milk

1 1/2 Cups (6 oz.) Shredded Cheddar Cheese

2       Cups Cooked Turkey (cubed)

2       Cups Frozen Mixed Vegetables (thawed)

1/2    Cup Slivered Almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, sauté garlic in butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt, mustard, thyme and pepper. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened.

Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted. Drain pasta; place in a large bowl. Toss with turkey, vegetables and cheese sauce. Transfer to a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings.


FROSTED CRANBERRY SALAD

1    (8.5 oz.) Can Crushed Pineapple

1    (1 lb.) Can Whole Cranberry Sauce

2    (3 oz.) Pkg. Raspberry Flavor Gelatin

1    (8 oz.) Pkg. Cream Cheese (softened)

2    Tbsp. Mayonnaise Salad Dressing

1    Cup Heavy Cream or 1 Envelope Dessert Topping (whipped)

1/2 Cup Walnuts (coarsely chopped)

1    Tart Apple (peeled and chopped)

Drain pineapple and cranberry sauce, reserving the liquid;  add enough water to make 2 cups of liquid. Bring to a boil. Dissolve the gelatin in the hot liquid. Chill until partially set.

Beat softened cream cheese and salad dressing together until fluffy. Gradually beat in the gelatin; fold this mixture into the whipped cream (or whipped topping mix). Set aside 1 1/2 cups of this mixture for the topping. Add drained cranberry, nuts and apple to remaining cheese mixture. Pour into a 11 1/2 x 7 3/8 x 1 1/2 glass dish. Refrigerate until surface sets, about 20 minutes. Top with reserved cheese mixture. Chill several hours or freeze. If frozen remove salad to refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.  Makes about 12 servings.

Recipe From: Linda


PRIEST COOKIES

"These are the favorite cookies in our family for the past 50 or 60 years."

1  lb. Butter

1  lb. Sugar

4  Eggs

1  tsp. Baking Soda

2  tsp. Cream of Tartar

6  Cups (about) Flour

    Red and Green Food Coloring

Combine all ingredients. Divide dough in half and color one half green and one half red. Roll each half into a log and wrap in wax paper. Chill or place in the freezer. Slice  and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Recipe From: Linda

Notes: This recipe is an old one and came with very few instructions. It sounds close to a sand tart type cookie. I would cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Then add the eggs one at a time and mix well between each addition. Combine the dry ingredients and add slowly to the creamed mixture and mix well. I would also chill the logs over night. I believe these cookies should be sliced as thin as possible and placed on a parchment lined cookie sheet to bake.


ICY HOLIDAY PUNCH

Easy to prepare and its rosy color makes it so pretty for Christmas.

1    pkg. (6 oz.) Cherry Gelatin

3/4 Cup Sugar

2    Cups Boiling Water

1    Can (46 oz.) Pineapple Juice

6    Cups Cold Water

2    Liters Ginger Ale (chilled)

In a 4-qt. freezer-proof container, dissolve gelatin and sugar in boiling water. Stir in pineapple juice and cold water. Cover and freeze overnight.

Remove from the freezer 2 hours before serving. Place in a punch bowl; stir in ginger ale just before serving. Yield: 32-36 servings (5 3/4 quarts).


SNICKERDOODLES

For the Cookies:

2 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour

2       tsp. Cream of Tartar

1       tsp. Baking Soda

1/2    tsp. Salt

1       Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)

1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

1/2    tsp. Vanilla Extract

2       Large Eggs (at room temperature)

Coating:

1/4    Cup Granulated Sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon

Mix Dough: Sift or whisk flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and the salt together then set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. (Or use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). Reduce speed to low. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the flour mixture in three parts, just mixing until it disappears. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill dough at least 30 minutes (very important!) or up to 3 days.

Coating: In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon together.

Bake Cookies: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use silicon baking mats.

Shape heaping tablespoon sized mounds of cookie dough into balls. Roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and place 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. (A medium cookie scoop is helpful here).

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies have puffed a little and the tops look set. The cookies should be light golden. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. (The cookies will sink a little as they cool). Yield: 28 to 30 cookies

**Storing the Cookies: Baked and cooled cookies will keep, stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Also, keep in mind that you can freeze this cookie dough. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, scoop and roll individual dough balls and place onto the baking sheet (they can be close together), and then place in the freezer until hard, about 30 minutes. Transfer frozen dough balls to an airtight container or plastic bag.

Cookie Baking Tips:

**In general, cookie dough should be mixed by hand or with an electric hand mixer. Over mixing can lead to tough cookies. Stir in ingredients such as chocolate chips, nuts, and dried fruits by hand.

** Use sturdy, aluminum baking sheets with or without a rim. Skip greasing the sheets and line them with parchment paper instead. This helps the cookies bake more evenly, makes it easier to slide them onto a cooling rack and allows for quick cleanup.

**Always preheat the oven. Space cookies at least 2 inches apart; even cookies that don't spread a lot need their space to bake evenly. If your first sheet of cookies spread too much, then chill the remaining cookie dough in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before baking.


SANTA'S CROCK POT BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

1       (32 oz.) Bag Frozen Hash Brown Potatoes

1       lb. Bacon (diced, cooked and drained or 1 lb. cooked ham, cubed)

1       Medium Onion (diced)

1       Green Bell Pepper (diced)

1 1/2 Cup Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese (shredded)

1       Dozen Eggs

1       Cup Milk

1       tsp. Salt

1       tsp. Pepper (more or less to taste)

Place a layer of frozen potatoes on the bottom of the slow cooker (Crock pot), followed by a layer of bacon, then onions, green pepper and cheese.

Repeat the layering process two or three more times, ending with a layer of cheese.

Beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together.

Pour over the Crock pot mixture, cover and turn on low.

Cook for 10 - 12 hours.

**Note: This is a perfect dish to make when your oven is busy with the ham or a turkey. To make cleanup easier you can line the crock pot with foil or use one of those new crock pot liners. They are very handy!

Recipe From: Laura


CHRISTMAS MORNING BREAKFAST IDEA

Here are a few creative ideas I found to dress up breakfast for an extra special treat on Christmas morning. That is if you can pry them away from the newly opened toys, under the tree. With a bit of forethought and a little extra effort these gems assemble quickly and just might do the trick.

Pancakes poured in the shape of Frosty the Snowman with chocolate chip buttons, eyes and nose, a bacon scarf and scattered mini marshmallow snow. Cute, yet simple!

Rudolph pancakes with a smaller pancake and strawberry nose, whipped cream and blueberry eyes and crispy bacon antlers.

HoHoHo... a round Santa Pancake ringed with fluffy whipped cream, banana slice and chocolate chip eyes, a cherry nose and cherry pie filling in the shape of his hat with a whipped cream pompom.

Last we have Grinch kabobs! Green grapes, a slice of banana, the bottom half of a strawberry and a mini marshmallow on wooden picks. Awesomely simple..... totally delightful.

All great ideas to help celebrate this very special day.


MOTHERS ARMY CAKE

(made during W.W.II)

1. Boil slowly for 5 minutes

2    Cups Raisins

1    Cup Granulated Sugar

2    Tbsp. Crisco (I use butter flavor)

1    tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves

1    Cup Cold Water

2. Let Cool: Then add

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda (dissolved in 2 Tbsp. hot water)

3. Add:

1 1/2 Cup Flour (sifted)

4. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until done.

Recipe From: Evelyn Evans


SPAGHETTI WITH SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS

A quick Italian meal that's sure to please the entire family.

8    oz. Uncooked Spaghetti

1    lb. Mild Italian Sausage (casings removed)

1    Medium Onion (cut into eighths)

1    Green Bell Pepper (cut into strips)

1    Red or Yellow Bell Pepper (cut into strips)

2    to 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)

1    Tbsp. Olive Oil

1    (28 oz.) Can Diced Tomatoes w/ Basil, Garlic, and Oregano

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Pepper

1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, breaking sausage into pieces while cooking. Remove sausage and drippings from Dutch oven, and drain well on paper towels.

Sauté onion and next 3 ingredients in hot oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes, salt, and pepper; cook 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in sausage, pasta, and cheese. Transfer mixture to serving platter, and serve immediately. Yield: Makes 4 servings   

Turkey Spaghetti With Sausage and Peppers: Substitute 1 (1 lb.) package Italian turkey sausage for mild Italian sausage. Remove and discard casings from sausage. Increase olive oil to 2 Tbsp. Cook sausage in 1 Tbsp. hot oil as directed above. Discard any drippings in Dutch oven. Proceed with recipe as directed, sauté onion and next 3 ingredients in remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.