Holiday Recipes

Cinco de Mayo Recipes to Satisfy Everyone's Chile Spice Preferences

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5th within certain regions of Mexico and the United States. Festivities include showcasing Mexican foods and beverages, music and dancing, parades, concerts, and celebration of Mexican culture and traditions.

The following Cinco de Mayo recipes embrace traditional Mexican fare with a hint of American flavor. These Mexican food recipes are easy to prepare and can be adapted to suit your taste buds and spice tolerance. Not only are these spiced-up recipes great for Cinco de Mayo parties, they are tasty any time of the year!

MEXICAN MEATBALL SOUP (Albondigas)
Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

Broth:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped (1/2 for soup and 1/2 for meatballs)
4 cups Water
2 tablespoons fresh Cilantro, stems removed and loosely chopped
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 16-ounce can diced Green Chiles
2 medium Tomatoes, diced

Meatballs:
½ pound Ground Round Beef
½ pound Chorizo Sausage
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add olive oil to 4-quart saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add one-half of chopped onions. Stir frequently and cook until onion is translucent.
2. Add four cups water, along with cilantro, oregano, green chiles and tomatoes. Bring to a boil for 10 -12 minutes. Stir frequently.

To Prepare Meatballs:
1. In medium bowl, combine ground round, chorizo, remaining onion, garlic and oregano.
2. Blend well and roll mixture into 1-inch balls.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Carefully add to soup base and continue cooking until meatballs are done; about 30 minutes.
5. Transfer to serving bowls and serve immediately.

If desired top with shredded longhorn or cheddar cheese and serve with tortilla chips.

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VEGETARIAN TAMALE PIE
Serves 6
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 to 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 fresh Jalapeno Pepper, seeds removed and minced
1 15-ounce can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can Refried Beans
1 15-ounce can Corn
1 15-ounce can diced Tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper flakes (or Cayenne Pepper)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Sour Cream, optional

Topping:

3 cups Yellow Cornmeal
2 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoon Salt
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups Water

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper. Sauté until crisp tender.
3. In medium mixing bowl, combine black beans, refried beans, corn, tomatoes, spices and sautéed vegetables. Mix well.
4. In small mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, honey, salt, olive oil and water. Mix until smooth.
5. Pour bean mixture into lightly greased 8-inch glass baking dish.
6. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of bean mixture.
7. Using a large spoon, place dollops of tamale pie topping on cheese and bean mixture. Carefully spread across the top as if icing a cake.
8. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cornmeal topping comes out clean.
9. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes.
10. Transfer to serving dish. Top with sour cream, if desired.

Vegetarian-tamale-pie-the-cheap-gourmet

MEXICAN RICE
Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

This Mexican food recipe has quickly become one of our family favorites. We serve it with tacos, burritos, nachos, enchiladas and quesadillas as well as a side dish served with steak. Leftover rice can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days and can easily be reheated in the microwave or stovetop. Add a tablespoon or two of water or broth to fluff it back up

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup short grain White or Brown Rice
1 small Yellow Onion, finely diced
2 medium fresh Tomatoes, medium diced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeds removed, finely diced (use 1 pepper for mild spiciness)
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 cups Beef Broth

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add olive oil to 4-quart saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Add rice and coat each kernel in oil. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until rice is light brown (medium brown if using brown rice).
2. Add onion, tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, garlic, and beef broth and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is soft and all water is absorbed.
4. Remove from heat and set 5 minutes.
5. Gently fluff rice with fork. Transfer to serving dish and serve immediately.


July 4th Beach Barbeque Recipes

July-4th-beach-barbeque-recipesCelebrating July 4th at the beach with family and friends was something I dreamed about as a kid. As a Midwestern, the closest thing I experienced to a beach was our above ground swimming pool in the backyard.

In 2006, my immediate family relocated to Florida and I finally had the chance to celebrate July 4th at the beach. Since then, we've created a fun menu that is easy to prepare and transport to the beach. It has become our tradition and each year more people join in the fun.

Our beach barbeque menu consists of jerk chicken kabobs, pineapple BBQ shrimp kabobs, multi-colored peppers pasta salad, baked beans, fresh veggie platter with Beau Monde dip, and grilled banana boat S'mores.

 

JULY 4TH BEACH BARBEQUE MENU

Jerk-chicken-kabobs-the-cheap-gourmetJerk Chicken Kabobs
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 24 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup Jerk Sauce
2 cups fresh Pineapple, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 Red Bell Peppers, cut each pepper into 12 wedges
1 medium Sweet Onion, cut into 12 wedges and separated into chunks

Directions:
1. In a resealable gallon-size plastic bag, add chicken and 1/4 cup jerk sauce. Gently toss to cover chicken then store in refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Using extra-long skewers, thread 4 chunks each of chicken, pineapple, peppers, and onion. Alternate ingredients and leave space between each piece. Lightly brush kabobs with remaining jerk sauce.
3. Cook kabobs over open-flame and rotate every 2 to 3 minutes for about 15 minutes or until chicken juice runs clear and vegetables are tender.

Pineapple-bbq-shrimp-skewers-the-cheap-gourmetPineapple BBQ Shrimp Skewers
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 to 8 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Barbeque Sauce
3/4 cup fresh Pineapple Juice
1/4 cup fresh Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons fresh Cilantro, loosely chopped
24 large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups fresh Pineapple, cut into 2-inch chunks

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine BBQ sauce, pineapple juice, lime juice, and cilantro. Using a wire whisk, combine ingredients until well incorporated.
2. Pour half of mixture into a resealable gallon size plastic bag. Reserve the remaining sauce for basting and dipping. Add shrimp, seal the bag, and shake well until shrimp is coated. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. Using extra-long skewers, thread 4 shrimp and pineapple chunks; alternating pieces and leaving space between each. Lightly brush pineapple with BBQ sauce.
4. Cook kabobs over open-flame and rotate every minute or two for 6 to 8 minutes or until shrimp begins to curl and turn translucent pink.
6. Serve with remaining pineapple BBQ sauce.

Multi-colored-peppers-pasta-salad-the-cheap-gourmetMulti-Colored Peppers Pasta Salad
Servings: 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
1 (16-oz.) box Rotini pasta
1 each Red, Yellow, and Green Bell Pepper
1 small Red Onion
2 medium Carrots
1 (7.5-oz.) can medium, pitted Black Olives
1/2 bottle spicy Italian salad dressing
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. While pasta is cooking, slice peppers, onion, and carrots into thin strips. Drain juice from olives.
3. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
4. Transfer pasta, veggies, and olives to a large bowl.
5. Add salad dressing. Season with salt and pepper and mix until ingredients are well combined. 6. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour prior to serving.

Baked Beans

Crock-pot-baked-beans-the-cheap-gourmetI'm a little bit lazy when it comes to baked beans. I buy 2 cans of beans and add a few ingredients to boost the flavor. My favorite combination is 2 strips cooked bacon crumbled, 2 Tablespoons diced white onion, 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar, and 2 Tablespoons ketchup. I cook these in the slow-cooker for 4 to 6 hours and transport to the bonfire in a covered foil pan.

Fresh Veggie Platter with Beau Monde Dip

Beau-monde-chip-vegetable-dip-the-cheap-gourmetMy sister's Beau Monde Chip and Veggie Dip recipe has been a family favorite for over 30 years. This dip is amazing with just about anything. It's perfect for veggies, chips, and pretzels.

Beau Monde dip is made with cream cheese, so must be kept on ice. I found a great serving bowl that can be placed in the freezer overnight and remains cold for 4 to 6 hours. If you often eat outdoors it's a product you might want to look for.

I serve a variety of veggies including Bell peppers, carrot and celery sticks, radishes, zucchini and cucumber slices. The dip is somewhat thick so it's best to use durable veggies. I arrange on a sectioned vegetable platter and insert a bowl of dip in the middle. If you don't have a chill platter, set a bowl of ice in the center and place the bowl of dip on top. Don't leave out in the heat for more than 15 minutes without ice underneath, and no more than 30 minutes with ice.

Grilled Banana Boat S'mores

Grilled-banana-boat-smores-betty-crocker-the-cheap-gourmetI discovered the recipe for grilled banana boat S'mores at the Betty Crocker website. This is a great dessert for kids and grown-ups and is super easy to make.

The original recipe is prepared by grilling bananas wrapped in foil. However, you can cook the S'mores over an open flame by sticking an extra-long skewer half-way into the banana.

Banana boat S'mores ingredients consist of whole bananas, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and chopped pecans. We store the chocolate chips in a small plastic container placed in the ice cooler until ready for use.

Once you try these S'mores you'll be hooked. Grab the recipe for Grilled Banana Boat S'mores at BettyCrocker.com.

Even if you aren't able to make it to the beach for July 4th, you can create a beach-themed party and cook foods on the grill. Close the night out with sparklers and fire crackers, weather permitting.

 

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Chocolate Covered Marshmallows on a Stick

Chocolate covered marshmallows on a stick are one of the easiest treats to make and almost everybody loves them. I prefer to use the giant-size marshmallows, but you can use regular or mini marshmallows. When using mini-size, opt for a toothpick rather than a stick!

Kids love making chocolate covered marshmallows. Depending on their age they can do a variety of tasks. Little ones can help put in the sticks or decorate, while older kids can help dip in melted chocolate. It's a great way to create lasting memories or even family traditions. 

CHOCOLATE COVERED MARSHMALLOWS ON A STICK

Servings: 28-30 using giant marshmallows
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Dipping and Decorating Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag giant marshmallows
1 (12 ounce) bag Milk or Dark Chocolate melting discs
1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, peanuts, sprinkles, or mini chocolate or butterscotch chips
28-30 Sucker Sticks

DIRECTIONS:

1. Using a double-boiler, add chocolate wafer discs and heat over low heat until melted.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sucker stick in the center of each marshmallow and place on sheet.
3. Dip each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Shake off excess, then lightly roll the sides in nuts, sprinkles or mini chips. Set on baking sheet and let dry for 20-30 minutes.

 

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Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls with Bacon

My all-time favorite holiday candy is chocolate covered peanut butter balls, or Buckeyes. I've been making these homemade candies for over 20 years (yikes!) and last year I decided to amp them up a bit by adding bacon. After all, everything tastes better with bacon, right?

Not only do these chocolate covered peanut butter balls with bacon taste amazing, they are relatively easy to make. The most time consuming part is dipping the balls in melted chocolate.

One thing I have found to be incredibly helpful is to insert a toothpick into the center of each ball than freeze for at least an hour before dipping in chocolate. Also, when dipping in chocolate I work in batches of no more than 20 balls at a time since it doesn't take long for them to thaw out.

Another tip is to line baking sheets with parchment paper. This is especially helpful to keep dipped PB balls from sliding around while the chocolate is wet. Remove toothpicks right after dipping. The toothpick is a great tool for spreading chocolate over the top and covering up the hole.

Last, but not least, sprinkle bacon bits on top of balls right after dipping in chocolate. Dipping chocolate sets up fast once it hits the cold candy. If it dries too quickly the bacon bits won't stay attached. I usually dip 2 to 3 balls than sprinkle bacon bits, instead of stopping between each one. If you're making a lot of peanut butter balls it is helpful to have an assistant who can add the bacon bits.

Chocolate-covered-peanut-butter-balls-with-bacon
CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUT BUTTER BALLS WITH BACON

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Yield: 60 (1-inch) balls
Prep Time:  1-1/2 hours
Freeze Time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound Cherrywood Bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1 cup smooth Peanut Butter
1 stick unsalted Butter, softened
2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
16 ounces milk or dark Chocolate Candy Wafers

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon on sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until crisp. Turn slices halfway through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb grease. Once cooled, chop into small bits.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream together peanut butter and butter until smooth. Gradually add confectioner's sugar and 1/2 of the bacon bits until well incorporated.
4. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small cookie scoop, roll into 1-inch balls and insert a toothpick in the center. Freeze for 1 hour.
5. Add chocolate candy wafers to a double boiler or small saucepan. Heat on low setting until wafers melt. If chocolate becomes too thick add a teaspoon of coconut oil or vegetable shortening.
6. Transfer 20 balls at a time to a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
7. Dip 2 to 3 balls in chocolate. Remove toothpick and sprinkle with a pinch of bacon bits. Repeat until all balls are coated and topped with bacon.
8. If desired, transfer peanut balls to decorative paper cups and package in colorful boxes.

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Monthly Chocolate Club


Potato Chip Cookies | Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

This is the first year I've participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and I must say it was a lot of fun. Not only did I receive three dozen yummy homemade cookies, I also met four new food bloggers.

While it was challenging to choose one cookie to exchange with my newfound foodie friends, I decided upon Potato Chip Cookies. Reason being, they are one of my all-time favorites and since they contain greasy potato chips they stay fresh for quite some time.

Before revealing the recipe for Potato Chip Cookies, I wanted to share these photos and introduce you to the cookie swap partners.

Great-food-blogger-cookie-swap
The first batch of cookies I received were Boozy Salted Fennel Pollen Shortbreads sent from Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Pictured above on the top right, these square shortbreads were packaged in adorable green and red polka dot containers. Very festive! They had a really unique licorice-honey flavor from the fennel pollen and the slightest hint of Ouzo. Tasty!

The second batch of cookies was Peppermint Tea Shortbread dipped in White Chocolate and dusted with Christmas sprinkles sent from Amber at Bluebonnets and Brownies. They are pictured above on the bottom right. It's easy to spot them by the colorful sprinkles! These cookies were crisp on the outside, soft in the middle, and had a delightful undertone of peppermint. I found them to be perfect for dunking in a cup of tea. I was going to try them with hot cocoa, but by the time I got around to it they were gone!

The third batch of cookies was good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies from Amishi at NaiveCookCooks.com. I was very happy to receive these cookies because they are definitely one of my favorites. Amishi packaged her cookies in a super cute red box covered in snowflakes. It was such a great touch and very much appreciated. Not only was the packaging great, the cookies were amazing!

My cookie exchange partners included Camilla from Culinary Adventures, and Amber of Blue Bonnets and Brownies, along with Kimberly from Eat the Evidence.

What's great about the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is it is helping raise funds for my favorite organization, Cookies for Kids' Cancer. You might recall that this past October, The Cheap Gourmet hosted Team Logan Bake Sale in honor of my friend Sherry's son Logan and to raise money for this non-profit organization.

Cookies for Kids' Cancer is doing great things to advance pediatric cancer research and is one of the most honest and ethical charities I've ever had the pleasure of working with. I hope you will support them by hosting your very own bake sale, cookie swap, or donating funds.

Since I had some packaging supplies and marketing materials left over from the bake sale, I decided to package my cookies with CFKC stickers. Since the potato chip cookies are somewhat fragile I hoped the packaging would provide extra cushion during shipping.

Cookies-for-kids-cancer-potato-chip-cookies
The ladies who organized the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap provided an array of stickers and labels, so I prepared gift tags and printed an ingredients list which included their logo.

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Here is a box of Potato Chip Cookies ready to go to Kimberly.

Potato-chip-cookies-packaged
One of the reasons I chose Potato Chip Cookies is they are sweet and salty. Normally, when I prepare these cookies I drizzle them with melted chocolate chips. Since I was shipping cookies across the country I elected to leave off the chocolate for fear it would make a mess.

POTATO CHIP COOKIES RECIPE

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Yield: 4 dozen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20-22 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted Butter, softened
1 cup granulated Sugar
3-1/4 cups all purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups Potato Chips, coarsely crushed (I use crinkle cut chips because they are thicker than regular chips)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit

2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Slowly add flour and vanilla extract until well blended.

3. Stir in crushed potato chips and mix well.

4. Using a cookie scoop, drop one scoop of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Use a fork to slightly flatten each cookie in a criss-cross pattern. (Flattened cookies on left and center rows and non-flattened cookies on right)

Potato-chip-cookies-drop
5. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until light golden brown around edges. Let cookies stand for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack until completely cooled.

Potato-chip-cookies-baked
6. If desired, sprinkle cooled cookies with confectioners' sugar or drizzle with melted chocolate. To make melted chocolate, place 1/2-cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening in a small bowl and heat in microwave for 45-60 seconds.


Chocolate Chip Cookies with Orange Zest and Vanilla Bean

Want to add a twist to traditional chocolate chip cookies? If so, you'll love the following Chocolate Chip Cookies with Orange Zest and Vanilla Bean! The addition of these two basic ingredients creates an amazing flavor profile that will leave everyone asking for more.

Baked-vanilla-orange-chocolate-chip-cookies
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES WITH ORANGE ZEST AND VANILLA BEAN

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Yield: (30) 2-inch cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 8-10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
2 vanilla beans, pulp only
2-1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chip morsels

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Using a grater, scrape orange zest into small bowl.

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3. Scrape pulp from vanilla beans and add to orange zest.

Vanilla-bean
4. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
5. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, granulated and brown sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add egg and mix well.
6. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until well-incorporated.
7. Stir in orange zest, vanilla bean pulp, and chocolate chips.
8. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets.

Orange-vanilla-chocolate-chip-cookies
9. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks until completely cooled.

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Click here to learn more about the "Be a Good Cookie" spatula.


Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies | Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Sometimes the best holiday cookie recipes are the ones found on the side of a packaged cake mix box. A good example is these Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies from Duncan Hines. Those of you who have followed The Cheap Gourmet for awhile know that I can't resist deviating from original recipes. However, I only modified this one a little bit.

What I like about these Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies is they are super easy to make and ideal for shipping. They are also great for holiday cookie exchange parties. It's hard to find sturdy cookies that won't crumble after being tossed around in a postal truck. It's also hard to find cookies that won't lose their moistness while enroute to family and friends. Not only are these cookies durable AND moist, they taste amazing!

Red-velvet-crinkle-cookies-baked
RED VELVET CRINKLE COOKIES

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Yield: 36 (2-inch) cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 9-11 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

6 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
1 cup Confectioners Sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix
2 large Eggs
2 Vanilla Beans, pulp only
2 teaspoon fresh Orange zest

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in a microwave; set aside to cool.

3. Place confectioners sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Mix with a fork to blend. Set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, add cake mix, cooled butter, eggs, vanilla pulp, and orange zest. Mix by hand until well blended and a dough ball forms.

5. Use a cookie scoop and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in confectioners sugar and shake off excess.

NOTE: I found it easiest to roll out all the balls first,  then dip in powdered sugar.

Red-velvet-crinkle-cookies-balls-powdered-sugar

6. Place cookie balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Red-velvet-crinkle-cookies-powdered-sugar
7. Bake one sheet at a time, in center of oven until set. Cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. 

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8. Store in airtight container and separate cookies by placing sheets of wax or parchment paper between layers.

Click here for the original Duncan Hines Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies recipe.


BBQ Turkey Crostini Appetizer

Looking for something different to make from Thanksgiving leftover turkey? Try this tangy BBQ turkey crostini. It's super easy to make and only requires a few basic ingredients. Best of all, this tasty appetizer is ready in less than 30 minutes.

The BBQ turkey crostini appetizer is perfect year-round. If you don't have leftover turkey, a good alternative is packaged turkey meat chunks, smoked turkey legs, or use chicken or pork instead.

Bbq-turkey-crostini-appetizer
BBQ TURKEY CROSTINI APPETIZER

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Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

6 slices Farmer's Bread
1-1/2 cups Turkey meat, chopped
1/4 small Red Onion, diced
2/3 cup BBQ Sauce (try this homemade sweet and tart BBQ sauce)
4 slices cooked Bacon, chopped
6-8  slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Add turkey, onion, and BBQ sauce to a small skillet. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble. Stir frequently.

Bbq-turkey-meat
3. Place bread slices on ungreased baking sheet. Top each slice with 1/4 cup BBQ turkey mixture.

Bbq-turkey-crostini-spread

4. Add 1-2 tablespoons chopped bacon.

Bbq-turkey-crostini-with-bacon

5. Top with cheddar cheese. If bread slices are long, you might need to break cheese slices into smaller pieces to cover the entire crostini.

Bbq-turkey-crostini-with-cheese
6. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese bubbles and begins to turn brown.
7. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and enjoy!

Bbq-turkey-crostini-with-bacon-cheese-baked

 


Spicy Hot Chocolate Covered Bacon

Spicy-chocolate-covered-bacon-on-a-silver-platter If you've never tried spicy hot chocolate covered bacon you are in for the treat of a lifetime! The saltiness of the bacon combined with heat of freshly ground chili peppers and slathered in melted chocolate offers a taste bud sensation like no other!

Before divulging the spicy hot chocolate covered bacon recipe, allow me to tell you how it came to be. Last November, I was invited to participate in "A Chile and a Spoon Competition" hosted by Marx Foods.

Marx Foods provided a variety of dried chili peppers to food bloggers and allowed competitors to create any dish we wanted as long as it contained one or more of the sample peppers and could be eaten with a spoon. My entry was Smokin' Hot Molten Chocolate Lava Cake.

I've been like a kid in a candy store since receiving the generous supply of chili peppers from Marx Foods. I've made a few dozen varieties of chili powder and used them in soups, stews, side dishes, desserts, marinades, sauces, and as meat rubs.

My all-time favorite use of freshly ground chili powder is pairing with chocolate. I can say with certainty I have not made one chocolate dessert without chilies since the chocolate lava cake entry. So, when my favorite foodie website on the planet, FoodBuzz.com, announced they were hosting a bacon recipe contest with a grand prize of $500 cash AND $100 Denny's restaurant gift card, the idea of spicy hot chocolate covered bacon came to mind. 

Please note the following recipe was created as part of the Denny's and or FoodBuzz BACONALIA challenge and is an entry for a chance to win.

This recipe calls for thick sliced bacon. If the bacon is too thin it will fall apart when coated in melted chocolate. I used hardwood smoked bacon, but I bet maple or pepper-crusted would be delicious as well.

While you can use any type of chili peppers, I highly recommend Marx Foods. They have a fabulous supply of unique peppers and the flavors are absolutely divine!

I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Here's the chocolate covered bacon recipe. Enjoy!

SPICY HOT CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON

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Yield: 54 pieces
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 22-25 minutes


INGREDIENTS:

18 slices thick hardwood smoked Bacon
1 dried Mulato Chili (mild)
1 dried Organic Limo Rojo Chili (hot)
7 ounces Chocolate Candy Discs or Baker's Dipping Chocolate

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Remove stems from chili peppers. Roast chilies in small skillet over medium-high heat until aromatic; about 5 to 6 minutes. Frequently turn to prevent scorching.

Mulato-chili-peppers

3. Grind peppers in coffee grinder or food processor until fine powder. Transfer to small container and set aside.

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4. Line 18"x13" baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon strips side-by-side, leaving a little room to prevent sticking. Lightly sprinkle each side with chili powder.

5. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until bacon is dark golden brown and crisp. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease.

6. Using a double-boiler, melt chocolate candy discs over low heat or microwave according to package directions. Transfer melted chocolate to a medium bowl large enough to accommodate your hands.

7. Using kitchen shears, cut bacon slices in thirds. Add to melted chocolate and gently toss with hands until evenly coated.

8. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently shake off excess chocolate and place bacon pieces on baking sheet.

9. Place in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to serving dish or resealable container. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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Nature's Pride Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Kahlua-Infused Raisins and Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Pumpkin-bread-pudding-with-cinnamon-whipped-cream-2
The following Nature's Pride pumpkin bread pudding with Kahlua-infused raisins is a recipe I am submitting for a FoodBuzz.com competition. If my recipe is selected, I will have the opportunity to present my dish to food bloggers during the Nature's Pride Festival food blogger conference hosted in San Francisco in November.

My Nature's Pride pumpkin bread pudding with Kahlua-infused raisins was adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe for pumpkin bread pudding and Country Living's recipe for cinnamon whipped cream.

The original pumpkin bread pudding recipe used 10-ounce ramekins, but I substitued with 6-ounce custard cups. The great thing about this recipe is it can be baked in a variety of sizes such as regular and mini muffin tins. I recommend using mini muffin tins to serve pumpkin bread pudding during holiday parties. If you prefer a non-alcoholic version, substitue Kahlua with espresso coffee syrup.

I'd like to thank Nature's Pride bread for providing a coupon for a free loaf of their 100% whole wheat bread. Using whole wheat bread adds a rustic element to the pumpkin bread pudding and the cinnamon whipped cream brings all the flavor profiles together. I hope you enjoy this delightful bread pudding recipe!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Kahlua-Infused Raisins

Print Friendly and PDF

Yield: 8, 6-ounce custard cups; 18 muffins; or 48 mini muffins
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

Ingredients-pumpkin-bread-pudding
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup Kahlua, coffee flavored liqueur
1/2 cup hot water
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature, for custard cups
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
12 slices Nature's Pride 100% Whole Wheat bread
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 large brown eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with Kahlua and hot water. Let soak until plump, about 20 minutes.

Kahlua-soaked-raisins
2. Lightly butter custard cups and sprinkle each with 1-1/2 teaspoon brown sugar. Lightly press sugar into bottom of cups. Set aside.

Brown-sugar-custard-cup
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Place bread slices on baking sheet and heat in oven for 5 to 6 minutes or until bread is slightly crisp. Remove from oven and set aside; leaving oven turned on. Cut bread into quarters lengthwise and crosswise to make 3/4-inch cubes.

Natures-pride-bread-cubes
4. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, granulated sugar, milk, vanilla, spices, and salt.

5. Toss in bread crumbs and mix gently with hands to evenly coat. Let stand a few minutes to absorb pumpkin puree and spices.

Step-1-pumpkin-bread-pudding-ingredients
6.Fold in Kahlua-infused raisins.

Step-2-pumpkin-bread-ingredients-with-kahlua-infused-raisins

7. Divide among prepared dishes, pressing down slightly to make level.

Step-3-pumpkin-bread-pudding-filled-custard-cups

8. Bake until custard is set in the center and top is golden; about 38 to 40 minutes for custard cups and muffin tins; 17 to 18 minutes for mini muffins.

Step-4-pumpkin-bread-pudding-baked

9. Remove from oven; let cool slightly. Un-mold onto plates. Top with homemade cinnamon whipped cream.

Homemade Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Cinnamon-whipped-cream

Yields: 1-1/2 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar spice, optional

Directions:

1. Add ingredients to a medium bowl.

2. Using a hand mixer set on medium-high, beat ingredients until stiff peaks form.

3. Drop a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream on top of each pumpkin bread pudding and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture, if desired.

Pumpkin-bread-pudding-with-cinnamon-whipped-cream

 

 


4th of July Independence Day Recipes

The following 4th of July Independence Day recipes have been served in my family for years. The exception is the grilled pork rib roast which I created last week. It's so tasty that we'll be serving it at our 4th of July cook-out. Personally, I think sharing family recipes is one of the greatest gifts we can offer one another. I hope you enjoy tasting a bit of my family's heritage.

What's great about these 4th of July Independence Day recipes is they can be served any time of the year. The chip and veggie dip recipe was created by my sister and originally served at Christmas dinner. We loved it so much it became a staple at every family gathering.

The mind altering pink margaritas were developed by a family friend during a hurricane party, but quickly became my favorite summertime drink.  I hope some of these recipes become part of your holiday fare and bring you as many good memories as they have for me!

4th of July Independence Day Recipes

Click on the recipe title to be directed to the full recipe.

Super Easy Chip and Veggie Dip Recipe
: This recipe has been a holiday family favorite for as long as I can remember. Made from cream cheese, onions, and Beau Monde seasoning, this has become the one and only chip and veggie dip served at special occasions and parties.

Best Homemade Potato Salad: This mustard and mayonnaise based potato salad incorporates bacon and sweet pickle relish for the best damn potato salad you've ever eaten! It can be traced back to my great grandmother and has been served in our family since the beginning of time.
 
Baked Spicy Macaroni and Cheese with Ground Beef and Hamburger Casserole
: This one-dish meal is perfect for pitch-in dinners and is a version of America's all-time favorite comfort food. Serve with a fresh garden salad and hot dinner rolls for a satisfying and tasty meal!

Grilled Pork Rib Roast: This roast is perfect for 4th of July parties, birthday celebrations, special occasions, or Sunday dinner. A 3-pound roast requires about two hours of grilling time. The char rub crust is a combination of seven spices which create an explosion of flavor while retaining meat moisture.

Spicy Garlic Grilled Chicken Wings: This is my highly regarded grilled chicken wing recipe that took years to perfect. Everyone who has eaten them swears they are the best chicken wings on the planet. Serve with celery and carrot sticks and chunky bleu cheese dressing, along with lots of napkins!

Mind Altering Pink Margaritas: When I say these margaritas are mind-altering, I am serious. Actually, I think the mind alteration comes from the fact these things are so incredibly smooth you tend to suck them down rather than sip them. It's a little too easy to over-indulge, so be careful.


Truvia Shortbread Cookies by The Cheap Gourmet

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of making Truvia Shortbread Cookies and I must say they are the best shortbread cookies I have ever tasted! As you may know, The Cheap Gourmet was contacted by the marketing department of Truvia Natural Sweetener who graciously donated FIVE full-size boxes of this delightful zero-calorie sweetener to be given away to readers of this blog. The winners of the January Giveaway have been selected and contacted via email. Once they confirm their prize and grant permission to use their names, I will post the winners on the blog.

The Truvia Shortbread Cookie recipe is available at www.Truvia.com, along with several other tasty treats. Fortunately, this zero-calorie sweetener allows me to make extra yummy treats that don't end up on my thighs! Not only are they easier on the waistline, they taste just as good, if not better, than the high-calorie, fattening versions.

Many of the recipes presented at Truvia's website are inspired by Celebrity Chef, Marisa Churchill. Marisa was chosen as one of the top 40 pastry chefs in the country by Food Arts magazine. She has appeared on many of my favorite food programs including Bravo's Top Chef and The Food Network.

Truvia's shortbread cookie recipe is super simple to make. It took less than an hour from start to finish to create three dozen of these delectable treats. Better yet, Truvia's shortbread cookies only require eight ingredients: butter, Truvia sweetener, sugar, 1 egg, vanilla extract, flour, cornstarch and salt.

Once ingredients are blended together, shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet.

Truvia_shortbread_cookies_balls

Next, dip a flat-bottomed glass in a small amount of cornstarch. I'll admit, I added too much cornstarch to the glass bottom. If you make the same mistake, use a pastry brush to lightly dust-off the cookies prior to baking.

Truvia_shortbread-cookies_flat

Bake for 16-18 minutes until shortbread cookies are light golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to baker's rack. Cool for 20-30 minutes and transfer to airtight container.

Truvia_shortbread_cookies

I had one extra packet of Truvia Natural Sweetener and decided to sprinkle a small amount on each cookie. This step is not included in the directions, but I found the addition of the Truvia sprinkles to add a bit of crunch and a little burst of extra sweetness.

After having the pleasure of using Truvia Natural Sweetener for the past month, I can honestly say I am a Truvia-convert. The Truvia Fudgy Brownies recipe was a huge hit with my family and as I recall they lasted about 1-1/2 days. That's a sure sign that my family loved every morsel ;-)

I am grateful that Truvia introduced their product to me and allowed me to experiment with the various recipes posted on their website. I am also grateful for their generosity to share their product with readers of The Cheap Gourmet Blog.

Personally, I love Truvia and will be trying more of the delightful dessert recipes, beverages and smoothies. I hope you will give Truvia Natural Sweetener a try as well. I think you'll be as pleased with the product as I am.

Tomorrow, I will be announcing the February contest. Please stop back by or subscribe to our "Get the Scoop" mailing list to be notified of new recipes and upcoming giveaways. Thank you for being part of The Cheap Gourmet family and good luck in upcoming contests and giveaways!

Happy Cheap Gourmet Cooking!

P.S. We are frequently adding new cooking contests, sweepstakes and giveaways in our Cooking Contests section. Please bookmark the page and stop back often!

Copyright © The Cheap Gourmet and Kathy Browning. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright and intellectual property rights. Reproducing or electronically submitting this article without written permission from the author is prohibited by law. Govern yourself accordingly. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

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Truvia Natural Sweetener Fudgy Brownies

As mentioned earlier, Truvia Natural Sweetener is the January sponsor of The Cheap Gourmet blog. I have had the joy of experimenting with Truvia and am very impressed with the product. Last night, I made a batch of Truvia Natural Sweetener Fudgy Brownies, which are delicious and decadent!

The recipe for Truvia Natural Sweetener Brownies is available at Truvia's website, along with recipes for more yummy baked goods, sauces, spreads, pudding and hot cocoa mix. Truvia brownies were very easy to make and required about 15 minutes of prep time. 

Truvia_brownies_baked

Beautiful baked brownies at only 130 calories! Life doesn't get better than this!

The Cheap Gourmet and Truvia Natural Sweetener will be giving away FIVE (5) boxes of this healthy sugar alternative on February 1st. The only requirement for obtaining an entry to win a box of Truvia is to leave a comment on the blog or subscribe to "Get the Scoop" mailing list. Subscribers receive monthly recipes, menu planners, grocery coupons, gourmet food sales, and cooking contest information. 

Please support our sponsor by visiting their website and purchasing their products. If you love brownies, I can guarantee you will love Truvia Brownies. If chocolate isn't your thing, perhaps you would enjoy shortbread cookies, sweet potato pie, pear and sour cherry crisp or raspberry oatmeal bars.

Thank you and Good Luck!


More Goodness from Real Simple Magazine

If you are a regular reader of The Cheap Gourmet blog, then you probably already know that the December Giveaway is a One Year subscription to Real Simple magazine. If you aren't familiar with Real Simple, check out their website at www.RealSimple.com

All that is required to gain an entry for the giveaway is to submit a comment on the blog. One winner will be selected at random on December 31st. So, leave a comment and check back on Jan. 4th to see if you are the winner. The winner will also be notified via email in order to obtain your mailing address.

The December issue of Real Simple is packed with great holiday gift ideas, entertaining ideas and plenty of tasty recipes. Below is a snippet of what you will find in the magazine and on the Real Simple website.

10 Ideas for Sugar Cookie Dough: There’s no such thing as too many cookies during the holidays: from entertaining to gift-giving, these edible treats are a winter essential.  Rather than spending hours assembling several different recipes, why not use the same basic dough “dressed up” in different ways? The December issue of Real Simple has ten totally different, delectable variations for sugar cookies that originate from one easy recipe. Add dried cherries and sliced almonds for delicious drop cookies; shape the dough into twists and dust with coarse sanding sugar for sparkling sugar twists; create jam thumbprint cookies with your favorite fruit preserves and more.

Hors d’Oeuvres Made Easy: Holiday entertaining and finger-food often go hand in hand; the December issue of Real Simple shows you how to make those fussy-looking snacks without all the fuss. We provide you with 11 appetizing, inventive recipes – all of which can be made in advance – that are sure to delight guests with even the choosiest of palates. Sophisticated bites like Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Crisps with Radicchio, Prosciutto Crostini with Lemony Fennel Slaw, and Carmelized Onion Tarts with Apples will make your holiday gathering seem extra fancy (without all the work.) Best of all, most of our recipes have twenty minutes or less of hands-on time.


Super Easy Chip and Veggie Dip

The following Super Easy Chip and Veggie Dip recipe has been a family holiday favorite for as long as I can remember. My sister created this delightful dip about 30 years ago. It was a huge hit the day she served it with a bowl of chips and a veggie tray. It has become the one and only chip and veggie dip served at our family gatherings because nothing else compares to the flavor.

Super Easy Chip and Veggie Dip consists of five ingredients. The secret to this dip is a spice called Beau Monde Seasoning. Manufactured by Spice Islands, Beau Monde can be a little difficult to find, but some grocery stores do carry it.

I know Publix and Kroger are two grocers who carry the Spice Islands brand, as do some health food stores. Otherwise, you might have to order it directly from the website at www.SpiceIslands.com. Online the cost is $5.15 and, in my opinion, is worth every penny!

Beau Monde seasoning is exceptionally versatile. It is fabulous with chicken, fish, beef, potatoes, vegetables and of course, dip!

Super easy chip and veggie dip is supposed to be relatively thick. It can be thinned out by using additional milk. When using the dip with chips, add extra milk to make the dip easier to scoop. When using the dip for veggies, use less milk. The dip should have a smooth creamy consistency that can be stirred with a spoon, but not so thin that is slides off the spoon.

 
SUPER EASY CHIP AND VEGGIE DIP

Print Friendly and PDF

Serves: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 8-ounce package Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons Beau Monde Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt (or 1 teaspoon Table Salt)
2 - 3 Tablespoons Whole Milk or Half-and-Half (can substitute soy, almond or rice milk if desired)
1/3 cup White Onion, minced

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place cream cheese, beau monde seasoning, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
2. Using a hand mixer, beat ingredients together, adding 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until dip achieves desired consistency.
3. Add in minced white onion and stir by hand to incorporate.
4. Allow to chill for at least one hour before serving.
5. Serve with potato chips, corn chips or fresh vegetables including baby carrots, cucumber slices, radishes, celery sticks, broccoli or cauliflower florets, cherry tomatoes, black or green olives.

Super_easy_chip_and_veggie_dip

 

Enter to win a one year subscription to Real Simple magazine.

Click here for details of The Cheap Gourmet December Giveaway.


Thank you for shopping with our affiliates. The Cheap Gourmet earns commissions when visitors purchase from our carefully selected merchants. Affiliate earnings help offset business expenses and allow us to continue providing free recipes, giveaways, product deals and other fun stuff!

The Cheap Gourmet November Winner and December Giveaway

The Cheap Gourmet is pleased to announce Roxanne of NewSmyrnaBeachMom.com as the winner of the November Giveaway. Roxanne has won the Holiday Greeting Card Gift Pack from DogCaptionsCards.com. Congratulations Roxanne! Please check your email account for information about how to receive your gift and thank you for being a loyal fan of The Cheap Gourmet Blog!

Next, I'm excited to announce our December giveaway. This month, Real Simple magazine, a division of Time, Inc. Lifestyle Group is generously offering a one-year subscription to their amazing magazine.

I received a complimentary copy of the December issue and let me tell you, this magazine is packed with holiday gift ideas, health and beauty tips, fashion and party accessories, holiday decorating ideas, quick-and-easy recipes, and tons of money-saving coupons from a wide range of popular stores and manufacturers.

 Here are just a few items you'll find in the December issue of Real Simple magazine:

Real-simple-magazine-december-2009 * 50 Gifts Under $50, plus stocking stuffers under $15 and inspired ideas for homemade presents

* 10 Sweet (and quick) Holiday Cookie Recipes

* No-nonsense Strategies for Better Winter Skin

*Easy Make-Ahead Hors d'Oeuvres

*How to Make Your Favorite Clothes Last Longer

* How to Save on Seasonal Decorations and Avoid Holiday–Air-travel Charges

*Party Accessories: 17 Dazzling Finds for $90 or under

* Happy Wrapping: 21 Inventive Ideas to Festoon your Presents


In sticking with the theme of Real Simple, the only eligibility requirements for The Cheap Gourmet December Giveaway is to leave a comment on any blog post. This giveaway is open to residents within the continental U.S. One winner will be selected at random on January 1, 2010. This prize is provided directly through the sponsor.

I encourage you to grab a copy of the December issue of Real Simple magazine. Not only will you find great gift ideas and deals, you will discover a plethora of unique vendors offerings exceptionally unique gifts. Real Simple is an fabulous gift idea; particularly for those on your list who are hard to buy for.

Learn more about Real Simple magazine by visiting their website at www.RealSimple.com. Take advantage of the Special 2-for-1 Holiday Offer. Buy one subscription and receive a second subscription for free!

Please support our sponsor whose generosity allows The Cheap Gourmet to provide exciting and exclusive giveaways to our readers.

Good Luck in December Giveaway and have a wonderful, love-filled holiday season!


Thanksgiving and Holiday Dessert Recipe Resources

If you are reading this, chances are you're scrambling for Thanksgiving and holiday dessert recipes. The good news is you've come to the right place! Below I've listed my five favorite dessert resources. Each source provides dozens of yummy treats to serve on turkey day or throughout the holiday season. I know you're short on time, so let's get down to dessert business!

The Cheap Gourmet's Five Favorite Thanksgiving and Holiday Dessert Recipe Resources

Truvia.com – Truvia™ is a new all-natural sweetener derived from the stevia leaf. Truvia was recently featured on The Martha Stewart Show as one of "Martha's Finds" and part of O You!, The Oprah Magazine's signature event in Kansas City, Missouri.

Baking with Truvia is different than using granulated sugar, so be certain to review the Sweetness Conversion Chart if you decide to use Truvia in recipes other than those presented on their website.

My personal Truvia recipes include: Pumpkin Pie (of course!), Pecan Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, Classic Cheesecake, and Apple Berry Galette. Give your guests the special treat of reduced-calorie, flavor-rich healthy desserts. I promise they will never know the difference unless you tell them!

MyRecipes.com – Featuring Thanksgiving and holiday recipes from Cooking Light, Southern Living, Coastal Living, All You, Real Simple and Health magazines, MyRecipes.com is featuring a special holiday pie section.

"9 Delicious Pies for Turkey Day" selections include: Double Apple Pie with Cornmeal Crust, Oatmeal Pecan Pie, Elegant Pumpkin-Walnut Layered Pie, Coconut Cream Pie with Pineapple, Tiramisu Toffee Trifle Pie, Peanut Butter Banana Pie, Cherries Jubilee Ice Cream Pie, Fudge Pie and Peanut Butter Pie.

KraftFoods.com – Kraft Foods has a special place in my heart as my mom whipped up many holiday meals and desserts using their product line. Their website presents a "Best Ever Thanksgiving Recipes" section that can help you with everything from turkey and trimmings to elegant desserts.

This year, I will be serving Kraft Foods Rocky Road Freeze pie. This decadent dessert is super easy to prepare, requires few ingredients, and is often accompanied by squeals of delight at first bite!

Other delicious dessert recipes include: Chocolate Truffle Pie, The Perfect Apple Pie, Candy Crunch Pudding Pie, Philadelphia Caramel Pecan Cheesecake, Ginger Snap Bread Pudding, Banana Pudding Squares, and Angel Lush; a diabetic-friendly dessert!

BakeSpace.com – Another social cooking site, Bake Space is a fun and interactive website offering an abundance of recipes for every day cooking to holiday entertaining. At present, Bake Space members have swapped more than 1 million recipes so chances are high you will find exactly what you're looking for along with many recipe surprises!

Dozens of Thanksgiving dessert recipes are included in the Bake Space database. A few of my favorites include: Pumpkin Custard Ice Cream, Zucchini Spice Cake with Lemon Sauce, Pumpkin Mousse in Cinnamon Pastry Shells and Apple Cider Float.

If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to subscribe to our mailing list. Subscribers are instantly notified of new recipes, product specials and cooking contests and giveaways. We have some amazing giveaways planned for 2010. Don't miss out on these exciting gifts! Subscribe today and you could be our next winner.

Last, but not least, post a comment on any blog post and you're automatically entered into November's giveaway. Details can be found at The Cheap Gourmet November Giveaway.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!


Clubs of America


Thanksgiving Menu Ideas, Recipes, Cooking Tips and How-To Video Resources

Tired of the same ole' Thanksgiving menu? Ready to venture out and try new and exciting recipes? In need of cooking tips or searching for how-to videos that provide step-by-step cooking instructions? If so, you'll love the following Thanksgiving menu ideas and cooking resources!

For years, our family Thanksgiving menu consisted of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, noodles, the infamous green bean casserole, freshly baked rolls along with at least one pumpkin pie and one pecan pie.

This year we are joining friends for a Thanksgiving feast and I have been searching for unique dessert and side dish recipes. The following holiday cooking resources have helped me locate a variety of delicious, nutritious and healthy recipes. My biggest problem now is deciding which ones to prepare! I hope these resources help you locate recipes to complement and enhance your Thanksgiving meal!

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas, Recipes, Cooking Tips and How-To Video Resources

Every Day with Rachel Ray
– Rachel Ray is infamous for creating recipes suited for home cooks who don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Her website is packed with recipes for all occasions and includes a special section devoted to Thanksgiving.

At Every Day with Rachel Ray you'll find recipes for starters, sides, turkey, stuffing, soups, desserts and drinks. How-to videos are available and include: How to prep a turkey for roasting; how to carve a turkey; how to make stuffing; how to make gravy; how to make easy mashed potatoes; how to make an easy lattice pie; and much more!

Cooking.com – Here you will discover a vast database of recipes for every occasion. From breakfast, lunch and dinner to party planning and holiday fare, Cooking.com is a one-stop resource for recipes, cooking tips, kitchen gadgets and more!

Click on the Holidays and Parties link to locate complete menu planners or individual recipes. Wow your guests with unique pumpkin recipes such as Pumpkin Maple Crème Brulée, Pumpkin Walnut Cake or Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake. Go beyond traditional Thanksgiving casserole dishes by whipping up Pear and Red Onion Gratin, Whipped Sweet Potato Bake, or Canadian Bacon, Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin.

Campbell's Kitchen – Manufacturer of America's favorite soups, Campbell's Kitchen provides 115 holiday recipes certain to please even the pickiest eaters. From Skinny Mashed Potatoes to Sausage Walnut Stuffing and Herb Roasted Turkey to Brie en Croute, Cambell's Kitchen offers affordable and easy-to-prepare recipes practically guaranteed to make your Thanksgiving feast memorable.

Be certain to download Campbell's Kitchen Free Holiday Planner which includes all the recipes you'll need for the holidays and the leftovers to follow!

Eat Better America – Locating healthy holiday recipes can be challenging, but Eat Better America provides a vast assortment of great tasting, nutritious recipes that are low in calories while bursting with flavor.

Indulge in French classics such as Turkey Ratatouille or Italian favorites such as Turkey and Spinach Manicotti. Savor the intoxicating flavors of Thyme-Roasted Turkey Breast or save time by preparing the Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Stuffed with Rice.

Eat Better America recipe selections include: breakfast and brunch, appetizers and snacks, dinner, sides, breads, desserts and drinks. Take a moment to subscribe to their newsletter and receive diet, nutrition and fitness tips; discover simple ways to eat healthy; and obtain a variety of money saving coupons.

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Try Angie's List!


Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Resources

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and many of us are in need of outstanding recipes that will impress our guests and provide a moist, tender turkey. Today, I'd like to share my favorite Thanksgiving turkey recipe resources and hope they help you find the perfect recipe for your holiday feast.

Thanksgiving-turkey-recipes


Top Five Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Resources:


Food Network – The Food Network provides dozens of turkey recipes, along with appetizers, side dishes, stuffing and dressing, side dishes, salads and desserts. Thanksgiving turkey recipes include: Roasted Turkey with Citrus Rosemary Salt; Oven Roasted Turkey Breast with Leeks; Paula Deen's Turkey with Maple Cranberry Glaze; Bobby Flay's Apple-Sage Glazed Grilled Whole Turkey; and Alton Brown's Turkey with Stuffing.

AllRecipes.com– Here you will discover how to make the infamous deep-fried turkey, along with recipes for BBQ turkey, smoked turkey, classic stuffed turkey, the best "Ugly Turkey", easy herb turkey and the "World's Best" turkey!

Butterball provides the Turkey Talk Line each weekday between the hours of 8am to 8pm. The Butterball website provides tips and how-to ideas for roasting, broasting, grilling and baking whole turkeys, turkey legs, wings and breasts. Butterball is currently offering a $2.00 discount coupon for any fresh or frozen whole Butterball turkey. Offer expires 12/31/09.

EatTurkey.com offers a wealth of turkey recipes and resources to create a successful holiday meal. Here you'll find prep tips and cooking times, holiday menu planners, roasting procedures, how to choose the proper roasting pan, how to carve a turkey, and storage and preparation safety guides.

Real Simple is one of my favorite resources for obtaining all types of recipes. In the spirit of the holidays, Real Simple offers a vast array of turkey recipes including tips for how to host a Thanksgiving Potluck dinner.

Real Simple offers more than 50 Thanksgiving recipes including: Basic Roast Turkey, Maple Glazed Turkey, Roast Turkey with Sage Stuffing and Gravy, and Turkey with Molasses Butter. You'll also have access to recipes for homemade gravies, stuffing, dressings, breads and biscuits, cranberries, beans, spinach and greens, salads, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables and desserts.

Take a moment to subscribe to The Cheap Gourmet mailing list to receive more holiday tips and recipes, along with future giveaways. We have lined up some amazing sponsors who will be offering exclusive giveaways to The Cheap Gourmet readers.

Simply enter your email address in the subscription box on the right sidebar. We never sell, rent, trade or giveaway your contact information and only contact you when new articles and announcements are published.

Thank you for being part of The Cheap Gourmet family. We wish you a happy holiday season and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

P.S. Don't forget to download your complimentary "Healthy Holiday Thanksgiving Menu Planner" below:


Thanksgiving Healthy Holiday Cooking Menu Planner

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is only six days away! If you are looking for healthy alternatives to traditional holiday fare, I'd like to share The Cheap Gourmet Thanksgiving Healthy Holiday Cooking Menu Planner.

The Thanksgiving Healthy Holiday Cooking Menu Planner includes recipes fit for a feast. Recipes range from appetizers to desserts and include family favorites such as oven roasted turkey and mashed sweet potatoes.

Thanksgiving Healthy Holiday Cooking includes something for everyone - from carnivores to vegetarians and vegans. You're certain to find recipes that will tantalize your tastebuds and impress your guests.

Download The Cheap Gourmet Presents Healthy Holiday Cooking Thanksgiving Recipe Collection 2009

Recipes include:

Appetizers:
Artichoke and White Bean Dip
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Soups:
The Great Pumpkin Soup
Quinoa Soup with Greens and Potatoes

Salads:
Quinoa Apple Salad
Persimmon Mesculin Salad

Entrées:
Roasted Turkey
Baked Cod Fillets

Side Dishes:
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Quinoa Stuffing
Roasted Beets
Couscous Stuffed Artichokes

Beverages:
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Orange Coconut Frost

Desserts:
Creamy Pumpkin Pudding
Rice Pudding with Cranberries

Feel free to pass along the Thanksgiving Healthy Holiday Menu Planner to health-conscious friends and family.

In closing, I'd like to thank each and everyone of you for supporting The Cheap Gourmet and wish you a bountiful holiday season!

Please support our affliates during the holiday season by visiting our Gourmet Foods Catalog. Discover unique gourmet gifts for all your food lover friends! Purchasing gifts through our carefully selected food purveyors and affiliate programs allows us to continue providing free recipes, menu planners, and great gift ideas.

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P.S.Don't forget to leave a comment on any blog post to be entered into our fun November Giveaway!


ANNOUNCEMENT: Winner of Alouette Gourmet Fall Cheese Giveaway

Drumroll please.... The winner of the Alouette Cheese: "Let's Slow Down and Savor Life Wine and Cheese Giveaway is.... Samantha Lim.

Samantha's suggestion to slow down and savor life is "When taking the bus home, get off a few stops earlier and enjoy the walk".

I couldn't agree more with Samantha's suggestion. It's amazing the wonderful things you can see, smell and hear when taking a leisurely stroll. Not to mention, walking is great exercise that increases endorphin production and makes you feel good!

Congratulations Samantha. Please check your email for instructions to confirm your mailing address. Once you have confirmed your address, I will submit to Corrinne, the marketing director of Alouette. Your prize package will be sent directly from Alouette.

May your gift help you create many slow down and savor life moments for years to come! Congratulations!

To those who entered, but did not win, don't worry. The Cheap Gourmet will continue to offer a variety of contests and prizes throughout the year.

In case you missed the previous post, I have created a wonderful Wine and Cheese menu planner complete with recipes for finger foods, fruit and veggie trays, dips and desserts. The menu is in PDF format and requires Adobe Reader to view.

Download Gourmet Wine and Cheese Party Menu




Alouette Cheese Gourmet Fall Cheese Party Giveaway

It's not too late to enter the Alouette Cheese Gourmet Fall Cheese Party Giveaway. But, you better hurry because the winner will be selected at midnight on Halloween night, October 31st. My dear friend, Maeme, was gracious enough to open her home and host The Cheap Gourmet's wine and cheese party. It was a huge success and tons of fun. Here's Maeme enjoying one of Alouette's spreadable cheeses.

Maeme enjoying alouette cheese spread

Kim, shown below, brought two bottles of Chocolate Wine, which was a big hit. After all, who doesn't love chocolate? The chocolate wine is definitely more of an after-dinner dessert wine. A small glass or two is the perfect accompaniment with a piece of dark chocolate and a slice of brie cheese. Thanks for the chocolate wine Kim. It was delightful!

Kim enjoying alouette cheese spread

We indulged in a bounty of finger foods, salads, veggie tray, fruit platter, nuts, candies, crackers, breads and cheeses. As you can see, everyone loved the luscious Alouette cheeses and were extremely impressed by the gorgeous cheeseboard that's part of the Gourmet Fall Cheese Party giveaway.

Delane enjoying alouette cheese

Delane loved Alouette's spreadable spinach and artichoke dip.

Diane alouette cheese

Bonnie's favorites included the spreadable Sundried Tomato and Basil and and Creme de Brie.

I have compiled a Wine and Cheese menu which includes several of the dishes served at The Cheap Gourmet's Wine and Cheese party. I hope you enjoy the recipes and wish you the best of luck in the drawing. 

Click here to download The Cheap Gourmet Wine and Cheese Party Menu

The winner of Alouette's Slow Down and Savor Life Gourmet Cheese giveaway will be announced on the blog on Monday, November 2nd, 2009. The winner will be notified via email to confirm the mailing address for their prize. If the winner does not respond within three days, a new winner will be selected at random. Be sure to check the blog and your email to see if you win!

Alouette Cheese and Cheese Board


How to Make a Cupcake Cake for any Occasion

How to Make a Cupcake Cake for any Occasion

Last weekend my husband and I attended a birthday celebration for friends who were both turning 60. Being such a milestone birthday, friends and family organized a semi-surprise party and planned a feast for royalty.

In July, I ordered mini cupcake pans from Easy Bakeware, which I had not had a chance to try out. Several years ago, another friend of mine taught me how to make cupcake cakes. The guest list included several children and I thought mini cupcakes would be a great way to keep them away from the "grown-up" cake until it was ready to be served.

I was preparing several dishes for the party and needed to save a little time, so I purchased boxed cake mixes and canned icing. Overall, I baked about 225 mini cupcakes. Although I only had two 12-cupcake mini muffin pans, the Easy Bakeware made the process a breeze!

Easy Bakeware

I used mini muffin paper baking tins and filled each about 2/3rd's full of batter. Baking time per batch was 13 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. I used three types of cake batter - French Vanilla, Dark Chocolate and Butter Chocolate. The Butter Chocolate was by far my favorite; although all of them were quite tasty and addicting!

Next, I cut a cardboard moving box into a 24"x18" rectangle and covered it with foil. I had purchased decorative letters and colored sprinkles at the store. For the cupcakes used for the mini cupcake cake, I spread the icing evenly using a small icing knife, then placed one letter on each mini cupcake.

Happy Birthyday Mini Cupcake Cake 

As  you can see, I used white frosting for the cupcakes with letters. It reads: "Happy 60th Birthday Maeme and Carl". I alternated flavors on each row. The first, third and fifth row are French Vanilla cupcakes, while the second and fourth rows are chocolate cupcakes.

Using some of the extra mini cupcakes, I created little islands on the sides to fill in the extra space. I purchased paper palm trees attached to a toothpick. These palm trees gave me fits because they had this teeny-tiny square adhesive covered in paper. The paper had to be removed and the palm trees stretched out and attached to the other side. Considering it was 4am when I was finishing up this cake, not all the palm trees came out uniformly. As they say, it's the thought that counts!

Cupcake Cake Birthday  

I used the butter chocolate mini cupcakes to create the islands and used a piping bag to swirl the icing. I placed 3 to 4 "island" cupcakes together and then placed one on top of the stack to create the illusion of an island. I then used white icing to pipe around the edges of the cardboard and topped with colored sprinkles. 

This was my first attempt at making a cupcake cake and while it isn't perfect, it was certainly a huge hit at the party. I placed the remaining cupcakes on dessert trays and when we departed the party, I noticed only 3 were left. The cupcake cake was completely devoured.

Not only was the cupcake cake a lot of fun to make, it didn't take much time and the guests absolutely loved it. Homemade gifts are always a great way to make people feel special. Even though I used boxed cake mixes, I could not have been more pleased with the final product.

If you are wondering how I transported the cake, I simply covered it loosely with foil. The palm trees helped keep the foil off the icing. I drive a Toyota Rav4, so the cardboard platform fit perfectly in the tailgate area. We drove extra careful to make certain we didn't need to make any sudden stops or take corners on two wheels ;-)

The possibilities of cupcake cakes are endless. Grocery stores, dollar stores, and party stores carry a wide range of novelty items that can be used to create all kinds of theme cakes. If you don't own a pasty bag and piping tips, you can place icing inside a sandwich bag and snip one corner off. Piping the icing on the cupcakes is considerably more efficient than using an icing spreader.

After using the EasyBakeware muffin pan, I can honestly say that I will be converting ALL my bakeware to this brand. The pans are made from silicone (I think!) and are super easy to clean. The muffins popped out easily and there was little mess to clean up.

EasyBakeware is currently offering FREE bakeware. You can receive any piece of bakeware for free, but will have to pay the shipping cost of $7.95. I've seen this type of bakeware in stores and the average retail price is $19.95 to $24.95 per piece!

If you're like me and love to bake, I highly recommend giving EasyBakeware a try. Click on the banner below and take advantage of the free offer before it's too late.

Easy Bakeware


Happy Thanksgiving - Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection

Happy Thanksgiving! It's hard to believe turkey day is only 2 days away. If you haven't planned your Thanksgiving feast and are looking for healthy alternatives to your favorite holiday fare, I'd like to offer you my FREE "Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection".

This 23-page report includes a complete menu to help you create a healthy holiday meal. Simply choose one recipe from each category, along with two side dishes and you'll be well on your way to creating the perfect holiday feast.

Categories include: Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Entrees, Side Dishes, Beverages and Dessert.

Click here to download - Download Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection.

*Please note the recipe collection is a PDF report and requires Adobe Reader to view.

 

OmahaSteaks.com, Inc.


Barb's Fall Harvest Pumpkin Bread

Since it is officially fall, I felt there was no better time to share mom's "Fall Harvest Pumpkin Bread" recipe. Mom served this hearty loaf bread throughout the fall and winter season. I remember one time she made the pumpkin bread for the adults attending a Halloween Party. I loved the aromas bursting from the oven and couldn't wait to indulge in a slice. Mom told me the bread was Halloween candy for grown-ups and if there was any left over, I could have it. There was never any leftover!

When I became a mom and my daughter was involved with Girl Scouts, I made mini loaves of mom's pumpkin bread and gave them to the parents. I attached a card that said "Grown-up Halloween Candy" and included the recipe on the back. Everyone loved the idea. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I'd be delighted if you baked mom's "Fall Harvest Pumpkin Bread" and give them away as gifts. Feel free to share the recipe with everyone you love and tell them it is a gift from heaven ;-)

BARB'S FALL HARVEST PUMPKIN BREAD

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Yield: 2 bread loaves

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups Sugar
2/3 cup Vegetable shortening
1 1-pound can Pumpkin
4 Eggs
3-1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
2/3 cup Water
1 teaspoon Allspice
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Grease and flour two 8"x4"x2-1/2" loaf pans.

  3. In large mixing bowl combine sugar and vegetable shortening. Using hand mixer, cream sugar and shortening together on low speed.

  4. Add pumpkin and mix on low for about one minute.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat each egg for 20 seconds, then add another egg until all four eggs are combined with batter.
  6. Using the low setting on the mixer, add flour 1 cup at a time until all 3-1/2 cups are combined with batter.
  7. Add remaining dry ingredients, except for walnuts. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, or until ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  8. Add walnuts and using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold nuts into mixture.
  9. Pour half of the batter in each loaf pan and spread mixture evenly.
  10. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  11. Remove from oven, place on cooling rack.
  12. Cut into 1-inch slices and enjoy!

French Toast Bread Pudding

Earlier today, I discovered French Toast Bread Pudding at Windy City Restaurant Hopper;a fabulous blog with amazing recipes! This blog has archives dating back to September 2006 and categories include appetizers, chicken, lobster, seafood, shrimp, wine pairings and more.

I think the thing I enjoy most about blogging is connecting with other passionate foodies who are eager and willing to share their secrets. I left a message at Windy City Restaurant Hopper and asked if I could post her French Toast Bread Pudding recipe. Robyn, the founder of the blog, contacted me within a few hours, granting me permission. Let's all give Robyn a round of applause and a great big THANK YOU! 

French Toast Bread Pudding

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Serves 6
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
*Requires overnight refrigeration before baking

French_toast_bread_pudding_4 Ingredients:
1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large Eggs
2 cups Half-and-Half
1 cup Milk
2 tablespoons granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup, if desired

Directions:

  • Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs).
  • Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.
  • In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly.
  • Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices.
  • Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
Serve with maple syrup, if desired.

Praline Topping:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) Butter
1 cup packed light Brown Sugar
1 cup chopped Pecans
2 tablespoons light Corn Syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg


Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips Recipe

There's nothing better than banana bread with chocolate chips on a cold winter morning. This easy-to-prepare recipe is the perfect choice for Christmas morning breakfast, holiday brunch or any holiday celebration.

This chocolate chip banana bread makes a fantastic gift for teachers, mail carriers, neighbors, co-workers, family and friends. Simply wrap individual loaves in colored plastic wrap, tie with ribbon, stick on a festive bow and voila!, you'll have a gift everyone will enjoy!

To obtain more servings and offer guests "finger food", slice the banana bread in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 1-inch slices. Serve plain, top with ice cream or whipped cream, or slather on a layer of peanut butter and put two slices together to create a decadent chocolate chip peanut butter banana sandwich. Yum-O!

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
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Yield: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 to 50 minutes

Choc_chip_banana_bread Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose Flour
1 cup granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup ripe Bananas, mashed (about 3 small or 2 medium)
1/2 cup shortening or solid Coconut oil (Coconut oil will add a rich coconut flavor)
2 Eggs
1 cup semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Pecans or Walnuts, chopped



Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease bottom only of two 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2-inch loaf pans.
  • In large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and nuts.
  • Blend ingredients well using a hand-held electric mixer set on medium speed.
  • Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  • Pour into prepared loaf pans.
  • Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans and transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Fudge Pound Cake Recipe

The following Fudge Pound Cake recipe is one of my all-time favorites. But, before I share the recipe I'd like to share a story with you. Last week I made numerous baked goods for the company my husband works for. They were exhibiting their product at a trade show and provided holiday treats for everyone who visited their booth. It was especially important for the baked goods to leave a lasting impression.

Since the fudge pound cake is so scrumptious, I decided to quadruple the recipe. For some reason, I ended up with considerably more batter than I needed. I made the mistake of adding a little extra to each loaf pan. To make matters worse, I also forgot to turn on the kitchen timer. When I opened the oven door, I was aghast to see this...

 

Fudge_pound_cake

At first glance I thought all was lost. After all, it's a little "crispy" on top and certainly isn't very appealing. The extra batter I added caused the pound cake to overflow, which turned out to be good for me. As I surveyed the damage, I noticed most of the outer edges could be trimmed off. First, I trimmed the edges while the pound cake was still in the pan.

Fudge_pound_cake2

Next, I flipped the cake out of the pan and trimmed up all the edges. It's looking much better, wouldn't you agree?

Fudge_pound_cake3

After trimming the pound cake, I then sliced it in half

Fudge_pound_cake4

Then, I sliced each half into 1-inch thick slices, which make for perfect finger food!

Fudge_pound_cake5

When making pound cake or other baked goods, keep in mind that just because the top is burnt doesn't mean the entire cake is a loss. Once the burnt pieces were trimmed away, this fudge pound cake was baked to perfection. Slicing it into smaller pieces is a great way to serve at any function or holiday gathering.

Below is the recipe for this decadent Fudge Pound Cake. I recommend making one batch at a time to avoid the problems I encountered ;-)


FUDGE POUND CAKE

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Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted Butter, softened
1-3/4 cups granulated Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
3 Eggs
1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose Flour
2/3 cup Cocoa powder
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Sour Cream (substitute with Light or Low-fat, if desired)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda.
  • Blend one-third of flour mixture into butter mixture; then 1/3 cup Sour Cream. Alternate until ingredients are incorporated.
  • Pour batter into a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
  • Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Banana Split Brownie Pizza

It's that time of year where holiday desserts are offered at office parties, home parties, school parties and family gatherings. The next few weeks, The Cheap Gourmet will focus on providing a variety of recipes that you can serve or take to holiday gatherings. No worries, I'll also be including low-fat, low-calorie desserts along with appetizers and a variety of healthy party foods!

Today, I'd like to share one of my favorite holiday dessert recipes with you - the Banana Split Brownie Pizza. This recipe is super easy to make and perfect for any party. You can take it to the office, serve it at parties or give it as a gift. It tastes so yummy that you might want to make an extra just for YOU!

This recipe requires the use of Parchment paper and a baking stone. If you don't have a baking stone, you can use a regular pizza pan. However, do not attempt to make this without the use of parchment paper or you'll end up with a big mess in your oven. You can purchase parchment paper in most grocery stores at a cost of around $3.50. Once you use parchment paper in your baking endeavors, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it! It makes things slide right off and eliminates sticking so you'll always have perfect desserts!

Banana Split Brownie Pizza
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Serves: 16
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (21-ounce) package Brownie Mix
1/2 cup Applesauce
1/2 cup Water
1 Egg
1 (8-ounce) package Cream Cheese, softened (use Light Cream Cheese, if desired)
1/2 cup Confectioner's Sugar
2 medium Bananas, sliced 1/2-inch thick and tossed in lemon juice to prevent browning
1 cup fresh Strawberries, sliced
1 (8-ounce) can crushed Pineapples, drained
2 Tablespoons Walnuts, chopped
4 Tablespoons semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, applesauce, water and egg. Mix by hand as per package directions.
  3. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a 15-inch Baking Stone or pizza pan.
  4. Pour brownie mixture on top of paper and spread into a 14-inch circle.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  7. In a small bowl, combine softened cream cheese and powdered sugar. Mix by hand or using an electric mixer until smooth.
  8. Using an icing spreader or butter knife, spread cream cheese mixture over top of brownie crust.
  9. Slice bananas and dip in small amount of lemon juice to prevent browning. Drain excess lemon juice and place banana slices on top of cream cheese mixture.
  10. Slice strawberries length-wise and place on top of of brownie pizza.
  11. Add crushed pineapple to pizza.
  12. Sprinkle walnuts and chocolate chips on top of fruit.
  13. Chill for at least one hour; longer if possible.
  14. Cut into 16 wedges and serve.

For those watching their calorie intake one slice of Banana Split Brownie Pizza contains approximately 250 calories and 7 grams of fat.


Thanksgiving Tips

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. Currently, we have about 48 hours left until Thanksgiving Feast Day arrives! I've been scouring the 'net to find quick, easy Thanksgiving tips that will help you prepare the perfect turkey, bake the best pies, serve delectable desserts and locate a cornucopia of Thanksgiving recipes.

The first Thanksgiving Tip is provided by Whole Foods Market. They offer a Holiday Meal Planning Guide which will help you organize your guest list, prepare a menu and shopping list and develop a cooking plan. Organization is the key to presenting an elaborate Thanksgiving feast. Whole Foods Holiday Meal Planning Guide will help you get everything under control in no time!

If you're planning on serving turkey for your Thanksgiving meal, Whole Foods Market presents the Guide to a Perfect Turkey. Discover how to choose the perfect turkey, learn how to safely handle the turkey (you don't want your guests getting sick!), stuffing techniques, general turkey cooking tips and a turkey roasting guide. The Guide to a Perfect Turkey provides everything you need to prepare the perfect bird!

Not sure how to carve a turkey? Whole Foods provides a step-by-step How to Carve a Turkey guide complete with photos.

Need help with baking? This Holiday Baking Guide will help you every step of the way. Learn how to choose the right type of flour, understand the difference between chocolate, discover healthy substitutions, pick up a list of pantry basics and grab some delicious recipes.

If you find yourself struggling as you prepare your Thanksgiving meal, Real Simple magazine offers How to Fix 10 Common Thanksgiving Problems and a Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet.

Need Thanksgiving Recipes? You can find 925 Thanksgiving recipes at the Food Network or download The Cheap Gourmet's recipe collections including Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection or the Pumpkin Patch Recipe Collection.