Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cinnamon-Roast Almonds & Spicy-Candied Pecans

Today you get two recipes in one blog post... because these delicious candied nut recipes are so similar, addicting and EASY!

This holiday season I've decided to send off candied pecans & roasted almonds to a few friends & family members. I started off trying a wonderful recipe for Spicy-Candied Pecans from Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible, page 417. I'll tell ya right now, these things are amazing. Thank you, Paula! They're so good I almost did a cartwheel... almost. My partner asked me to try something with almonds instead of pecans. I searched online and found several ways to roast them... until I came across one for Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds that sounded good. After tweaking it a bit they turned out to be an addictive treat worth sharing. At a dinner party, place a bowl of these out on the table and watch people devour them. 

Like I mentioned, both of these recipes are very easy to make... plus they make your kitchen smell like Heaven. Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds


1 egg white
4 cups whole almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Lightly greased a 10 x 15 inch baking pan or sheet.

2. Lightly beat the egg white; add water and vanilla and beat until frothy but not stiff. Add the nuts, and stir until well coated. Mix the sugar, salt, cayenne pepper and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the nuts. Toss to coat and spread evenly on the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, stirring every 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating.

Spicy-Candied Pecans


1 cup sugar
1 large egg white
1 pound pecan halves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch of ground cloves


1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  -  I just lined a baking sheet with foil. It worked just fine. 

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg white. Add the pecans and toss to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and cloves. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the nuts and toss well.

3. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, tossing occasionally, until the pecans are fragrant and almost dry to the touch, about 30 minutes. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cheddar Biscuits

Have you ever been to the seafood restaurant, Red Lobster? I haven't been there in years, but one of things I remember about that restaurant was the cheddar biscuits they would serve you as soon as you sat down. Man, those were good. Here's an easy recipe for delicious biscuits that you're entire family will enjoy. They're not exactly like the ones from Red Lobster... but they're pretty darn good. They go well with just about any type of meal...or they're great by themselves too!

Cheddar Biscuits


2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and parsley. Whisk.

3. Cut in shortening until it resembles cornmeal. Add Cheese and sour cream.

4. Stir in buttermilk all at one time. I usually get in there with my hands and mix it up to form a thick dough. Careful not to over stir.

5. Make little balls of dough (about 1 to 2 tablespoon of dough per ball) and place on a well greased baking sheet.

6. Brush with each dough ball with melted butter.

7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

8. Brush with a little more butter as soon as removed from the oven.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Roasting vegetables isn't rocket-science. It's super easy. The trick I've found over the last few years comes down to just a few simple rules - (1.) Roast veggies under a high heat, (2.) Stir every 10 to 15 minutes, (3.) know what veggies are in season, and (4.) always use fresh herbs. That's it. If you know of any other "tricks" for better roasted vegetables I would welcome your thoughts!

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, this recipe would make a healthier side dish. The original recipe I found online excluded Brussels sprouts... but, with the sprouts being in season, I saw no reason not to add them.

 Coating the vegetables.

Ready to be popped in the oven.

 Final results after 45 minutes.

                Balsamic Roasted Vegetables


1 small Butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cubed
2 Red Bell Peppers
1 Sweet Potato, peeled & cubed
3 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed
1 Red Onion, guarted
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Thyme
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Rosemary
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cups Brussels Sprouts, halved
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 475 F.

2 In a large bowl, combine squash, bell pepper, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and gold potatoes. Separate the red onion quarters into pieces and add to the mixture.

3. In a small bowl, stir thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss with the vegetables until they are well coated. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.

4. Roast for 40-45 minutes in the prepared oven, stirring every 10-15 minutes.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

I never thought the combination of pumpkin & apples would taste so good! I've never come across a recipe that did... until now. These delicious Apple Pumpkin Muffins are a wonderful treat with your morning coffee or a perfect dessert for a dinner party. I personally like cutting them in half and spreading butter on each piece. Ymm! This recipe is by Beth Knapp from New Hampshire and can be found in the cookbook, The Best of Country Cooking, 2000. She writes, "The combination of apples and pumpkin makes this recipe a perfect treat for cool autumn days." Right you are, Beth!

                    Apple Pumpkin Muffins


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped peeled tart apples


1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.

3. In a small bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin and oil. Stir.

4. Stir pumpkin mixture into dry mixture until it's a moistened batter; then fold in apples.

5. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

7. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen muffins.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Brussel Sprouts with Apple & Bacon

I LOVE Fall produce - butternut squash, cabbage, celery (which is best in the Fall season), eggplant and, my favorite, Brussels sprouts... or, "little cabbages" as I used to call them when I was a child.

This simple holiday recipe for brussel sprouts with apple & bacon is brought to you today by Chef Susan Feniger from a little cooking pamphlet titled, Holiday Joy Made Easy, chef collection 2010, volume 1 that I picked up 2 years ago at the store. Feniger writes, "There's something about brussel sprouts that make them perfect to combine with other flavors." I'm no chef, but I couldn't agree more with her. This recipe is incredibly simple to fix and bursting with flavor - sweet from the apples & salty from the bacon. I would go well with your Thanksgiving turkey as a delicious and unique side dish!

Give this recipe a shot and check out Chef Susan Feniger's website for more of her recipes HERE !

Brussel Sprouts with Apple & Bacon


12 ounces brussel sprouts, cut and quarted
1 fuji or gala apple, cut in 1/2 inches
1 red onion, cut in 1/2 inches
3 slices of applewood smoked bacon or good quality bacon, cut in 1/4 inch strips
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1. Place the oil, bacon and onions in a saute pan, on medium heat. Stir constantly and cook for 4-5 minutes to caramelize. The onions should be golden and the fairly bacon fairly crispy.*

2. Add apples, brussel sprouts and salt and continue cooking for another 5-8 minutes. Stir occasionally, but you want to let sit still in the pan long enough to sear and color.

3. When all are nice, seared, golden brown, but brussel sprouts are still partially crisp, turn off the heat and add lemon juice. Stir and remove pan to stop the cooking process. Serve warm

* I personally felt it took a little longer than 4-5 minutes for the onions to caramelize and for the bacon to become crispy. I would suggest adding the bacon first and cooking just a few minutes before adding the onions.