Monday, December 26, 2011

Leftover ham recipes


I hope everyone enjoyed their Holiday celebration and I hope you were able to enjoy your family and friends as well as DELICIOUS food, as I did!

Here are links to a couple of my previous posts that are perfect for using your ham leftovers from Easter.

Both receive rave reviews from my bunch!

The first is Pasta Primavera with Smoky Ham (an old Bon Appetite recipe)Delicious and not heavy. Especially good after a heavy meal. (It is photographed above)


The next is a simple throw together, Ham/veggie Casserole.


A simple but tasty recipe to mix-up those ham leftovers.

ENJOY!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Festive presentation tips- simple and easy (I'm live on TV3)

You can watch me display some quick and easy last minute party ideas for Christmas on WSILTV 3 morning news show recently.

Remember, you don't need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen,these quick tips are all about presentation to help make very simple dishes look festive.


Click HERE to watch the short segment.

Super Moist Tyler Florence Meatballs ( a repost)




I made these meatballs on Christmas Eve last year and served them with pasta for my family and all of them agreed that these were THE best meatballs I've made. My oldest son, who travels all over the country told me they tasted just like the meatballs served in the Fine Italian Restaurants he has frequented during his travels.

The secret to the moistness? Soaking the bread in milk!
The only thing I changed about this recipe, is Tyler makes 10 large meatballs, and I made many small ones.

You can also try them as a meatball sandwich, or serve them with toothpicks as an appetizer for the holidays.

You must give them a try.

YOU WILL NEED:


* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, smashed
* 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
* 1 cup milk
* 4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed
* 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
* 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 4 cups heated Pomodoro Sauce, recipe follows, or good quality jarred tomato sauce
* 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
* Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh basil
* 1 pound spaghetti

Directions

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.


Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling.

Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. (Hang onto the pan - you'll need it to cook the meatballs.) Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don't overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Divide into equal pieces and shape them into nice looking meatballs.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a 3-count of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put them into a baking dish and spoon about half of the tomato sauce over. Shower with the mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and put it onto a large serving platter. Pour on the rest of the sauce and mix well. Spoon the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and garnish with basil leaves. Serve immediately along with extra cheese.
Pomodoro Sauce:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand, liquid reserved

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes) and about 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring for a few minutes with a wooden spoon to further break up the tomatoes. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and season again.

Yield: 4 cups

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

And the winner is....

And the winner of the free night's stay in the Bed and Breakfast is....JULIE MACIER of West Frankfort!!!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS Julie!

I will make arrangements with you through facebook to pick up your gift certicate, and I will call your name into the office there so they know to expect your call!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Enter the BED & BREAKFAST FREE NIGHT'S STAY GIVEAWAY TODAY!





Yes, you heard me correctly. One lucky winner will get to stay in the available room of their choice (up to $200 value) in this luxurious Bed & Breakfast in Metropolis, Il. (the home of Super Man himself!) *

The Summer's Riverview Mansion, is a spectacular retreat that puts the BREAK in Bed and BREAKfast!

My husband and I recently spent a wonderfully relaxing night in a room fit for royalty!(An early Christmas gift from him)We were pampered and well taken care of by the innkeepers who have lovingly put their hearts into making our experience a memorable one.

Our stay included a quick tour through the home on arrival, to late snacks prepared for us and delivered to our door, to delicious food and peaceful surroundings, and beautiful decor with much attention paid to details.



Lovely on the inside and outside, with a delicious full breakfast to boot!

Many people ask me why we choose to stay at a Bed and Breakfast rather than a hotel. Well, take a look at these photos, and I think any questions will be answered. NOTHING compares!

Let me take you on a tour (through my camera's eye)....


Each beautiful suite had a matching Christmas tree and wreaths on the doors and the gorgeous fireplace mantles were beautifully decorated as well.














The gorgeous Parlor









And the all inclusive full breakfast served from this beautiful dining room.














If you're thinking this would be perfect for a honeymoon or anniversary getaway, you are right--but ALSO, a new Wedding Chapel has been added to the property for an intimate ceremony.






So, would you love a great place to spend a romantic New Year's Eve? Or Valentine's Day? Anniversary? Honeymoon? Birthday?


Truly, I could go on and on about this place, and I've many more pictures I could share, but I want to get back to the contest...

Here's the rules:

1.If you enter, PLEASE only do so if you truly plan to take advantage of this special night (or at least give it to someone who you know will enjoy it.) (This is in the Southern Illinois area, and offer is good from now until March 2012.) CONTINENTAL US ONLY.

2. You need only to enter by leaving a comment. ONE ENTRY PER PERSON. Please leave your name and a way to contact you. Winner will be chosen by random draw. Contest closes on Sat., Dec. 17, 9 pm. Winner will be announced on this blog and contacted by email( or facebook)after 9 PM Dec. 17.

*You may use the ANONYMOUS option for commenting, however, you will still need to leave your name and a way top contact you. *IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE LEAVING A COMMENT ON THIS BLOG, email me at asmurphy@clearwave.com



For more info on this B&B, click here.

If you decide to book a night here, even if you are not the winner, tell em Sherri sent ya!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bed And Breakfast Giveaway!




This is a teaser for TOMORROW'S Giveaway!

Visit this blog tomorrow (actually, anytime after midnight tonight) for an inside tour of this Luxurious Bed & Breakfast in Metropolis, Il. and you may win a FREE NIGHT'S STAY (up to $200 value)!

All you need to do is leave a comment (on tomrrow's post) and random draw will determine the winner.

More details and photos tomorrow...in the meantime, scroll down for some delicious recipes perfect for the Christmas season.

See you back here tomorrow!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

No Fuss Ham (crock pot recipe)



Need a simple but DELICIOUS ham recipe for Christmas but think it will involve too much of your time watching the oven and testing for doneness?

Try this CROCK POT recipe that I found at this wonderful crock pot recipe site.

If you find yourself hosting a large family dinner in your home, this is a perfect recipe that will need no tending to- once it has started the slow cooking.

And it extremely moist. NO MORE DRY HAM!

Only a few ingredients:

7-8 pound bone-in spiral-cut ham

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup all natural maple syrup

2 cups pineapple juice



The Directions.


Use a 6-7 quart slow cooker. Unwrap the ham, and discard flavor packet. Place it into your stoneware, flat-side down. Rub brown sugar on all sides. Pour on maple syrup and pineapple juice. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. If possible, baste ham with collected juice from the bottom of the crock an hour or so before serving. When cooking is done, remove carefully and let it rest on a cutting board for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Now, how easy is that?

And your house will smell DIVINE!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

QUICK LAST-MINUTE TIPS for Thanksgiving Dinner


Quick Tips for the Big Dinner Success:

Breathe.
Be THANKFUL.
Look around at your table and cherish those faces-- trust me- someday, some seats will be empty and you'll regret having stressed over a menu!

Even if you don't normally pray, start a new tradition. Pray. Thanking God for each person at your table- call them out by name.

Be grateful for the blessings you have been given. If you're reading this, you have eyesight and comprehention (many have neither), you have enough money to pay for an internet connection and some sort of computer device to interact...there's your start- you take it from here!

MAKE it a day of gratefulness, YOU have that power!
*If you need a little help being grateful, read my post on my other blog, about the THANKSGIVING FLEA!(How some fleas set the tone for the day....)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Layered Cauliflower Salad ( a repost)





A beautiful and delicious salad that deserves a high holiday ranking, Of course it can be served anytime, but if you need a salad to serve during the holidays, this one will have your guests raving! The dressing is creamy and sweet- and the crunchy veges make for a perfect recipe. Although this can be assembled ahead of time,if you choose to serve it "mixed up", serve immediately.





YOU WILL NEED:

1 head lettuce (washed and crisped)torn into bite-sized pieces
1 head cauliflower-washed and cut into small pieces
1 lb. bacon, fried and drained, then crumbled
Chopped or dried onions, to taste (optional)
2 cups mayonnaise
3/4 sugar
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese

In glass serving dish, Layer:
lettuce
cauliflower
mayo
sugar
onion
bacon
parmesan cheese

Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge till ready to serve.

ENJOY!

EASY PEASY -Creamed Peas (a repost)


Sorry for the corny title...I just couldn't resist!

Simple creamed peas jazzed up a baked potato the other night and thought I'd go ahead and share this recipe, although most of you probably have one of your own.

This would be an easy addition to a Thanksgiving menu for a new or BUSY cook!

Give it a try.


YOU WILL NEED:

* 1 can peas
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon sugar

Directions

Cook peas on stove till heated through. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until blended; gradually add milk and sugar. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Drain peas; stir into the sauce and heat through.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Easy Thanksgiving Sides- Asparagus and Green Beans( a repost)


"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."
-- Meister Eckhardt

Just a couple of simple side dishes for last minute additions to the Thanksgiving table, or any meal.
*Check out my sidebar for many more Thanksgiving recipes you can add to your feast!




ASPARAGUS
Ingredients

* 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
* 1 bunch fresh asparagus
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* sprinkling of Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and asparagus spears; cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until asparagus is tender.Top with parmesan. If you like your asparagus well done, reduce heat and cook an additional 10 minutes.



GREEN BEANS






Ingredients

* 5 (15 ounce) cans green beans, drained
* 7 slices bacon
* 2/3 cup brown sugar
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 7 teaspoons soy sauce
* 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder


1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the drained green beans in a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. Cook bacon in a microwave on microwave-safe plate for 2 minutes until slightly cooked. Lay the bacon on top of the green beans.
3. Combine the brown sugar, melted butter, soy sauce, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Pour the butter mixture over the green beans and bacon. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.


Both recipes adapted from Allrecipes.com

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sweet potato casserole (a repost)



I never was a fan of sweet potatoes, even at Thanksgiving when covered in brown sugar and marshmallows. Then, my friend Pam brought this recipe to a church Thanksgiving dinner and I was won over by the deliciously sweet flavor of this dish. The crunchy topping texture is a nice contrast to the smooth texture of the potatoes. I make it every year now for our table at Thanksgiving, and it always a hit when I take it to potlucks.

Prepare for rave reviews!


YOU WILL NEED:

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (2 16 oz. cans)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 stick melted butter
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

topping

3/4 cup crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup. chopped pecans
3/4 stick butter, melted

In Lg. bowl mash potatoes with mixer. Add remaining ingredients, Excluding topping. Mix well. Pour into 8 x8 baking dish sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a dull sheen forms on top. Mix topping ingredients all together. Spread evenly over top. Return to oven for 5- 10 min.

Let set a few minutes before serving.

If you need to prepare a larger quantity, just make another 8x8 dish - as doubling the recipe did not work well for me in a 9X13" pan. It took forever for the center to set up.

Have a wonderful holiday.

*Check out more delicious Thanksgiving Dishes on my side bar.

People who live the most fulfilling lives are the ones who are always rejoicing at what they have.
-- Richard Carlson

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NEVER-Fail Dressing casserole (a repost)


When I was younger, I had a hard time getting the perfect texture when I made dressing. I tried this recipe at a church dinner that everyone raved over, and later the cook submitted it into our church cookbook. It is simple to prepare and tastes wonderful. Nothing fancy, just a simple dish that can be enjoyed at a main dish any time of year, and would also impress guests around your Thanksgiving table.

So, thank you Mary Darnell for this wonderful recipe.


1 chicken (boiled and deboned, save broth)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 small pkg. Pepperidge Farm Dressing with herbs
2 eggs
1 medium onion
3/4 can milnot 2 stalks celery, diced

Boil chicken, save broth. Place shredded meat on bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Pour soup over meat. Mix dressing, eggs, onion, celery and milnot together until well blended. Spoon over soup. Pour chicken broth over all to 1/2 inch of the dish top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Enjoy.

Easy Pumpkin Pancakes (a repost)




Perfect Autumn breakfast without all the fuss! My guys loved them and it was SOOOO quick and easy.

These make a heavier pancake, but very tasty!

Serve with maple syrup and butter.


YOU WILL NEED:




2 cups favorite pancake mix (plus water, or eggs/milk, as indicated on box)
1/2 cup canned or fresh pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger

Substitution Options:
Substitute 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, allspice and ginger



Directions

In mixing bowl, combine pancake mix with water or eggs/milk. Whisk. Then whisk in canned pumpkin and water. Finally, whisk in spices.



Pour batter in 1/3 cup portions onto griddle. Let cook until bubbles form. Flip and let cook another 1-2 minutes.




Now how simple is that?

Just another Fast and Furious Friday recipe so you can enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My video tuturial (of sorts) on PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING

This morning I was in featured a short presentation on PRESENTATION on our local news morning show. (You can read the last post for more details).

YOu will find the Glazed Carrot recipe here that I shared in the video.

The glassware used in this presentation was from thrift stores (as was my table cloth and runner) and the other gorgeous dishes were from a wonderful product line I happen to represent, BLESSINGS UNLIMITED.
Simple ways to make a dinner special.

Click HERE to view video and enjoy a SPECIAL Thanksgiving holiday meal , whether or not you consider yourself a great cook.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Feast for the Eyes...or Presentation is Everything!




We eat with our eyes first. It's true. Especially me, a visual person. I eat with my smeller next, it has to smell good, too, but first I must be drawn to the dish with my eyes before I ever try to sneak a smell and before I take the first bite.

The photo above is from a small wedding party I had in my home for my son and his wife. They were married out of state, and plan to have a reception later for everyone, however, we wanted to celebrate their marriage in a non-fancy way before-hand, so I made up my son's favorite dishes and added a few more simple things, but served them on all nice serving pieces and it became special.

I remember back in 1979, my Freshmen year of high school, Mrs. Pappas instructed us on the importance of contrasting colors and textures for our meals. She explained how no one wants to eat an "all-brown meal" (beef, brown gravy, brown rice, chocolate cake)or an all-smooth textured one (dumplings,mashed potatoes, applesauce, pudding).At this point in my life, these are no-brainers--I rarely have to stop and think about these lessons anymore- it is automatic while choosing my menu selection.

However, something I notice often, is how many very ordinary dishes, can look EXTRAordinary just by serving them from a not-so-ordinary dish!



This is just yogurt with fruit and granola, that was first served to me at a Bed and Breakfast as a first course. (I've never served mine any other way now!)

Simple dessert can be revved up much the same way.I often go to thrift stores to purchase interesting stemware to serve pudding, ice cream, etc. It makes such a difference!

My Pumpkin Mousse is much more appealing served this way, don'tcha think?




And here, I served simple fruits and marshmallows to be dipped from a chocolate fountain. I used pretty vintage glass dishes (from an antique shop)to serve them and it took on a more elegant look, although there is really nothing fancy about this at all!


Simple pretzel rods dipped in almond bark and rolled in colored sprinkles, served on nice glass apothecary jars, even looked fancy.





Or simple veggies can look much more appetizing served in a bright contrasting colored dish ( or bright veggies served in a contrasting colored dish).

Do me a favor...DON'T serve the dish you bring to the Thanksgiving table in your plastic Tupperware (great products, just not for the serving table)or old chipped, faded dishes. Make your guests feel special just by putting some thought into the serving pieces.

You don't have to spend a lot of money. Thrift stores, yard sales and Dollar stores are FILLED with great finds.

IF you don't have time to scour the deals, and prefer to shop online, I happen to be a consultant for BLESSINGS UNLIMITED- a FABULOUS line of entertaining products, home decor, etc. all with inspirational messages or scriptures adorning them.

These are a few of my favorite pieces:

The dishes are GORGEOUS! Such beautiful detail...






This stand will hold various cookies I am making for Thanksgiving. I will use it again at Christmas- probably decorating the top. It will also hold plates and bowls full of your favorite recipes! And what an eye-catcher!









*I keep this on my island in the kitchen. SOmedays it serves as a large grocery list or to-do list, but most days, I write inspirational messages on it to remind me of the really important things!


And of course, every good cook, needs a good apron.



The best thing is you can order them securely online, and they will be shipped directly to your home and you will receive them QUICKLY-normally, just a few days- NO HASSLE! While you're shopping the online catalog, you may also find some Christmas gifts for others on your list.

The products are TOP QUALITY and really must be seen to be truly appreciated. I receive so many compliments on mine- and my sales increase each time I use them to serve some of these delicious recipes from them. :)

Click on my website SHOP ONLINE to view the products and have them delivered directly to your door!