Slowly getting it done!

Almost every year I find myself more and more NOT in the Christmas spirit; don’t really have a good reason why, I just feel like I really don’t want to do decorations, baking, shopping, etc. (Blame it on old age, I guess . . . I’m 71 1/2). Today I had a chat with another friend who’s older than me by ‘some’ years and she, too, feels that way but . . . after our chat I found myself saying: “Do I REALLY want to have THAT attitude?” That got me up & off my comfy chair and climbing the stairs in search of all the decorations. After some work I’m happy to say the house looks much more Christmasy! I’m debating putting up the tree on top of the baby grand piano (lots of work) but we’ll still have the other fiber-optic tree in the dining room if I ‘opt-out’. After my hips decided I’d had more than enough climbing stairs I finally quit for the time being – there’s always another day and I made it BEFORE Christmas! (one year I got to almost 3 days from Christmas – that was really pushing it).’

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White Chocolate/Caramel Fudge

3 C. white chocolate chips (can also
use semi-sweet or dark chocolate)
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 T. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. chopped pecans
1/2 C. caramel sauce – room temp.

Line a baking tray with parchment
paper.
In a medium glass bowl combine choc.
chips, milk & butter. Microwave 90 seconds.
Stir & heat another 15 seconds. Stir & heat
an additional 15 seconds (only if needed).
There will still be a few pieces of unmelted
chocolate). Add vanilla & nuts – stir to combine.
Scoop onto prepared tray & spread with a
spatula to approximately 1 inch thickness.
Drizzle top with caramel sauce & lightly
swirl caramel into fudge using a knife or the
end of the spatula. Chill until ready to serve.
Slice into 1-inch squares & store in an air-
tight container, refrigerated, for up to a week.

(recipe: barefeetinthekitchen.com)
——————————

Chicken Balsamico

1 T. olive oil
1 1/4 lb. skinless boneless chicken
breast halves
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T. balsamic vinegar
3/4 C. water
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of chicken
soup
1 C. diced plum tomatoes (OR)
1/2 C. thinly sliced sun-dired tomatoes
1/2 C. sliced, pitted kalamata olives
(optional)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/4 C. crumbled feta cheese
4 C. hot, cooked orzo pasta

In large skillet heat oil over medium-
high heat. Season chicken as desired &
cook in skillet 10 minutes until well
browned on both sides – remove from
pan. Stir garlic, vinegar & water into
skillet – cook & stir 1 minute. Stir in
undiluted soup, tomatoes, olives (if using)
& oregano – heat to a boil. Return chicken
to skillet – reduce heat to Low & cook 5
minutes until chicken is cooked through.
Season to taste & sprinkle with cheese.
Serve chicken & sauce with cooked orzo.
Serves 4

(recipe: campbells.com)
——————-

Lasagna Dip

6 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
oil for deep-fat frying

Dip:
1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage
2 C. whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 C. spaghetti sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 C. shredded Italian cheese blend

Cook lasagna noodles accordg. to pkg.
directions; drain. Cut cooked noodles
into 2 inch pieces & prick each piece
several times with a fork. In a small
bowl mix Parm. cheese, Italian seasoning
& garlic powder. Place several paper
towels on a plate or wire rack.Heat oil
to 375 degrees F. using an elec. skillet or
deep fryer. Fry noodles in batches 1-2
minutes or until golden brown, turning once.
Drain on paper towels & immediately
sprinkle with cheese mixture.
Dip:
In large skillet cook sausage over medium
heat 4-6 minutes until no longer pink,
breaking into fine crumbles; drain. Stir in
ricotta, spaghetti sauce, garlic & seasonings;
bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered,
5 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring
occasionally. Transfer to a 1-qt. microwave-
safe dish. Sprinkle top with Italian cheese &
microwave, covered, on High 45-60 seconds
until cheese is melted. Serve with lasagna
chips. Makes 3 cups & 36 ‘chips’

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
—————————————

Family-style Meatballs
(using no bread or fillers)

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 T. Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 T. fresh thyme, finely chopped (or)
1 1/2 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 egg
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 tsp. salt
1/3 tsp. black pepper
2 T. oil
Sauce:
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (20 oz) can tomato puree
1-2 dashes hot pepper sauce (optional)
2-3 T. fresh basil, chopped
10 oz. water
salt/pepper, to taste
====
Cooked pasta to serve 6
====
For Meatballs:
In large bowl mix all ingredients
except oil – shape into 24  even-
sized balls & chill at least 30 minutes.
Heat oil in large heavy skillet & add
meatballs. Brown over medium-high
heat on all sides (you might have to
do this in batches – don’t crowd the pan).
Remove browned meatballs & keep warm.

For Sauce:
In same skillet add onion & garlic; cook
over medium heat until they begin to get
tender. Lower heat & cover pan, allowing
onions to cook completely. Stir in tomato
puree, hot sauce & salt/pepper. Gently
boil over medium-low heat about 10
minutes so sauce reduces about 25%.
Add meatballs to skillet & half the fresh
basil – cover & simmer 10 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Add remaining
basil to garnish.

Serve over cooked pasta of your choice
Serves 6

(recipe: bakeatmidnite.com)
————————–
Spanish-style Creamy Garlic Soup

2 T. olive oil
1 (6 oz) pkg. Oscar Mayer Smoked ham,
coarsely chopped
12 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 t. Spanish paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, cubed
3 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth

In large saucepan heat oil on medium-high
heat. Add ham & garlic, cook 1-2 minutes
until garlic is golden brown, stirring constantly.
Add paprika & cumin; cook & stir 1 minute or
just until seasonings are toasted. Stir in cream
cheese; cook & stir 1-2 minutes until cream
cheese is melted & mixture is well blended.
Add broth; stir – bring to boil; simmer on
medium-low heat 5 minutes, stirring
frequently. Serves 8

(recipe: myfoodandfamily.com)
——————————

Crockpot Amazing Mac & Cheese

1 (18 oz) box elbow macaroni (uncooked)
3 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
9 oz. cream cheese, cut into chunks
2 1/2 C. milk
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
salt/pepper, to taste

Pour all ingredients in crockpot; stir.
Cover & cook on Low 2 1/2 hours (stir
after 2 hours – if it’s too thick, add a little
milk, stir & continue cooking 30 minutes.

(recipe: simplemost.com)
———————-

Sausage Cheese Squares
(appetizers)

1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated crescent
rolls
1 (8 oz) pkg. frozen fully cooked
breakfast sausage links, thawed/cut
into 1/2″ slices
2 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 large eggs
3/4 C. milk
2 T. chopped green pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Unroll crescent dough & place in an
ungreased 9 X 13″ baking dish – press
onto bottom & 1/2 inch up sides to form
a crust. Top with sausage slices & cheese.
Beat eggs in a bowl; add remaining
ingredients – mix & carefully pour over
cheese/sausages in pan. Bake, uncovered,
20-25 minutes until a knife inserted into
center comes out clean. Cut into 12 squares.

(recipe: tasteofhome.com)
——————————

Super Easy Lemon Butter Cookies

2 1/4 C. flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
10 T. butter, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
10 drops yellow food coloring
3/4 C. powdered sugar

In medium bowl whisk flour, baking
powder & salt. In large bowl using an
elec. mixer, beat butter & cream cheese
with sugar until light & fluffy (about 2
minutes). Beat in eggs, lemon zest &
juice, vanilla & food coloring. Beat in
dry ingredients until just combined.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate
until firm, at least 2 hours & up to over-
night.
===
Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment
paper. Place some powdered sugar
in a shallow plate or pie tin.
Roll dough into 2 inch balls then roll
in powdered sugar. Let stand 2 minutes
until sugar is absorbed then re-roll in
powdered sugar (do not shake off excess).
Place cookies about 2 inches apart on
prepared sheet & bake 18-20 minutes
until cookies crackle on top & are set but
still slightly soft in center. Transfer to a
coolin rack & cool completely.
Makes 24 cookies

(recipe: delish.com)

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Going through the recipes that come into my emails
there are a LOT of cookie and appetizer recipes – am
thinking of doing a blog for each one, just so I can
share them all with you!
===========
DISCLAIMER:
Every once in awhile I need to state that the recipes
I feature on my blog are NOT my own – at the bottom
of each recipe is the site where I found it.
============

Our weather has been very cold but still CLEAR –
just a dusting of snow on the ground – YAY! Schedule-
wise, my days are pretty booked up for the next 2
weeks – sometimes that can make me feel a ‘tad’
anxious, but I’m doing well – my de-stresser is
knitting & crochet (of course – you knew that!).

It also seems to be a season of prayer for friends;
one of our church members just died Saturday –
he was 54 and five months ago got leukemia.
Another friend is awaiting test results for possible
cancer while yet another is having her thyroid
removed next week because of cancer. This is a
time, for those of us who put our trust and faith
in the Lord Jesus Christ, to draw nearer to the Lord,
pray more for others and let them know how much
they mean to you. Life is short and death is final – please
remember to let those you love and care for know
how much they mean to you.

Love and hugs;

Pammie

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