Archives for December 2013

Easy Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

Over the last couple of days, I’ve shared recipes perfect for holiday parties (Cranberry Mimosas, anyone?) and a traditional New Year’s Day Meal (Hoppin’ John.) Today I’m going to share with you an easy jalapeno poppers recipe. These jalapeno poppers show up at every family get together we have. My mom makes them, and we all love them. These will be a perfect addition to any New Year’s Eve party you might be attending.

Why do I say this is an easy jalapeno poppers recipe? Because you don’t stuff whole jalapenos. Simply slicing jalapenos instead of trying to stuff whole ones makes this easy jalapeno poppers recipe a cinch to throw together quickly. Cut them in half and throw everything else on top. As they bake, the jalapenos stay hard enough to support everything on top. So when you go to pick them up, they don’t fall apart.

An easy jalapeno poppers recipe with bacon, sausage & cheese. You will never have to stuff whole jalapenos again! Link to Jalapeno Popper Dip too.

Some people like bacon and sausage in their poppers, some don’t. You can fill these jalapenos with anything you’d like; don’t be afraid to switch up the recipe to suit your family’s tastes. And as you can see from the picture above, they don’t have to be perfect; messy jalapeno poppers are totally acceptable!

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Easy Jalapeno Poppers Recipe
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Ingredients

  • I lb. bacon, cooked and diced
  • 1 lb. bulk sausage (I used Jimmy Deanâ??s hot sausage), cooked and crumbled
  • *To quickly and effortlessly cook your bacon and sausage while you prep everything else, read my b][How To Oven Fry Bacon and Sausage [/b].
  • 8 ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 12 jalapenos, chopped in half lengthwise and seeded. If you like heat, leave about 1/2 of the jalapeno seeds (or more!) in.
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine the bacon, sausage, and cream cheese in a large bowl. Mix until well blended.
  3. Place the jalapeno halves on a tin foil lined baking sheet. Spoon mixture on to each jalapeno.
  4. Sprinkle the cheeses over the jalapenos.
  5. Bake the jalapenos for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly and browned on top.

Notes

These also cook well on a barbecue grill. Place them on the grill for about 30 minutes and they make a great appetizer!

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So there you have it! The easiest jalapeno poppers you’ll ever make. If you are a fan of jalapeno poppers, don’t miss my recipe for Jalapeno Popper Dip and my Bacon Jalapeno Popper Wontons too!

Looking for more appetizer, food, decor ideas for New Year’s? Check out my Ring In the New Year board on Pinterest. If it’s tailgating or game day recipes you are looking for, check out my Football & Tailgating board on Pinterest.

Hoppin John: Bring Good Luck To Your New Year By Eating This Traditional Dish

Have you ever heard of the tradition of eating Hoppin John on New Year’s? Do you know what Hoppin John is? I had never even heard of it until last year when I made it for the first time. It was delicious and it’s now going to be our New Year’s Day traditional meal! Hoppin John is a New Year's Day traditional meal; it's thought to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year. Try this recipe; it's yummy!

The Story of Hoppin John

In the southern states of the US, eating Hoppin John on New Year’s Day is supposed to bring those who eat it a year of good luck and prosperity. I know I can use that!  The black-eyed peas are thought to symbolize pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes left under the bowls of peas. You’re supposed to also eat Hoppin John with collard (or mustard or turnip) greens, chard, kale, cabbage…basically any greens. Why? Because they add to the wealth since they are the color of money! You can also serve with cornbread since it is the color of gold. 

What is Hoppin John?

Hoppin John is full of black-eyed peas, rice, onion, bacon, and depending on where you are from, other yumminess. Some use sausage instead of bacon or ham hocks. Some people put bell peppers in, others include vinegar. There are many variations to this dish.

Hoppin John: Bring Good Luck To Your New Year By Eating This Traditional Dish
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. cajun, kielbasa or andouille sausage (or substitute 1/2 lb. bacon, cut in pieces)
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas, about 2 cups
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (if you like heat)
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups of water or chicken broth
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • Scallions or green onions for garnish

Instructions

  1. Slowly cook the sausage or bacon until crispy in a medium pot over medium-low heat.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the celery, onion, and green pepper and sauté until they begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the black-eyed peas, bay leaf, and seasonings. Cover with 4 cups of water. Cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or longer if needed, until the peas are tender.
  4. While the peas are cooking, cook the rice separately according to package instructions.
  5. When the peas are done, drain out the remaining cooking water. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the peas for salt and add more if needed. Add in the rice.
  6. Serve along side greens (collard greens, kale, or spinach). Garnish with chopped green onions.
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Sounds great right? It’s easy to make and can feed an army by doubling or tripling the recipe. As I mentioned, there are many variations to this dish. I think this year I might do half sausage and half bacon. She Wears Many Hats has a Hoppin John recipe with ham hock and baconOnce a Month Meals’ shares a Hoppin John crock pot recipe. And betsylife shares a really cool twist on the recipe by making Hoppin John with quinoa. Remember when I told you all about the White Trash Cooking cookbook? There’s a recipe in there for Hoppin’ John, and it couldn’t be simpler:

Hoppin John is a New Year's Day traditional meal; it's thought to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year. Try this recipe; it's yummy!

Best Mimosa Recipe: Cranberry Mimosa

Mimosas are always a hit at breakfast and brunch get togethers, and this is one of the best mimosa recipes I’ve tried! This cranberry mimosa is a perfect twist to a regular old mimosa. Make sure to use good champagne – I used Michelle Extra Dry – to really enhance the flavor!

This is the best mimosa recipe we've tried in a long time. A mixture of cranberry juice, orange juice, and Champagne will make your taste buds sing!

It’s really easy to make. Mix up some cranberry juice, orange juice, and champagne and you’ve got a gorgeous looking mimosa. This recipe is perfect if you are mixing a batch up for the masses or if you are making just one or two.

If you are making just one or two, fill 1/3 of a champagne flute (or whatever glass you are using) with cranberry juice, top with another 1/3 or orange juice, and top off the rest of the glass with champagne.

If you are making it for the masses, follow the best mimosa recipe below:

Best Mimosa Recipe: Cranberry Mimosa
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Ingredients

  • 32 ounces Champagne, chilled
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice, chilled
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice, chilled
  • 8 orange slices or fresh mint for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine the Champagne, orange juice, cranberry juice in a large pitcher. Serve immediately, adding garnish for flair.
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The great thing about mimosas is that they are so versatile. You can add in any juices and still call it a champagne cocktail or mimosa. Mix it up and try a variety of juice combinations and feel free to share your best mimosa recipe.

Looking for another best mimosa recipe? Try my Amaretto Mimosa. For other yummy cocktail ideas, check out my Alcoholic Beverages on Pinterest.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Michelle Sparkling Wines for sending me two samples of sparkling wines to try! This was a great way to drink good bubbly!

Christmas: Feelings Before and After The Big Day

A burned out string of lights - right in the middle of the tree - and a lone present are all that is left of Christmas.

A burned out string of lights – right in the middle of the tree – and a lone present are all that is left of Christmas.

I always feel a little let down the day after Christmas. There’s so much excitement and joy for the month leading up to it, and in just a few short hours, it’s all over.

Every Christmas Eve we let the kids open one gift it’s usually one that I pick for them so that they don’t pick one of the “really good ones” that they’ve been hoping to get. After all, part of the magic of Christmas morning is excitement and anticipation! This year, the girls opened up makeup that of course they loved. I love watching them put it on with such concentration…though they always look like clowns. It’s so cute. And hopefully will keep them out of my makeup!

On Christmas morning, Santa leaves gifts for them and this year they weren’t disappointed. Jason and I grab a cup of coffee and sit down to watch them tear through the rest of their gifts. This process usually takes about 3 minutes – it goes way to fast and I don’t even think they look at what they actually got until after they’ve opened everything.

Lila put on her new lipstick...all by herself.

Lila put on her new lipstick…all by herself.

We host Christmas brunch at our house. My siblings and parents come over and all the kids run around, happy to play with all of their cousins. This year my mom finally got the picture she’s been asking for every time we all get together: a picture of all 12 grandkids. It wasn’t an easy feat and I almost guarantee that at least 2 or 3 kids aren’t looking at the camera in every picture, but at least she has what she has wanted for so long. And by about 1 pm, everybody has gone home and Christmas is over.

I’m left with memories of my kids’ faces as they came in my room to tell me Santa had visited. I’m left with the thoughts of seeing family at a family party whom I don’t normally see except a couple of times a year. I’m left with memories of the kids all sitting around the tree singing carols and how excited they were.

I’m left with bits of wrapping paper and ribbons. I’m left stepping on Barbie shoes and pirate swords. I’m left with a tree that has a string of lights that is burned out (this happened about a week before Christmas and since the tree was decorated and their were presents underneath it, there was no way I was going to try to find that burned out bulb). I’m left with one lone present under the tree for my Papa who I will see next week. I’m left with approximately 1,562,286 boxes that need to be broken down and somehow stuffed in the recycling bin.

So now I’ll begin the tedious process of undecorating and putting the excitement of the holiday season away until next year, feeling a little like the Grinch. I wish this excitement could last year round.

This post was originally published December 26, 2012 on the Chiquita Moms site.

How To Make Candy Cane Vodka

I can’t imagine Christmas without candy canes. It’s the only time of the year that I eat them, and I love putting them with hot chocolate and making cookies with them. Long ago, I shared a recipe for making Jolly Rancher Infused Vodka…now I’m sharing a recipe that will have you making your own Candy Cane Vodka.

Instructions on how to make your own Candy Cane vodka, and links to drinks you can make with it!

This candy cane vodka recipe is super easy. The only way you could even screw it up is by not giving the candy canes enough time to dissolve into the vodka. Make sure you give yourself at least 24 hours for the candy cane vodka to become candy cane vodka.

Candy Cane Vodka

Candy Cane Vodka
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Ingredients

  • Candy Canes: You will need about 8 small candy canes for a pint size jar. For a full bottle (750 ml), you will need about 16 small candy canes
  • Your favorite Vodka

Instructions

  1. Put the candy canes in a mason jar (pint sized or full sized jar.) Fill the jar with vodka and put the lid on it.
  2. Now wait for the candy canes to dissolve! This process can take about 24 hours. You can shake the jar a couple of times a day if you'd like. When the candy canes are gone, you'll be left with a light pink vodka that's ready to go!
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You can add a shot of candy cane vodka to your after dinner coffee for a minty treat. You could also use this vodka to make Chocolate Pudding Shots (so good!) Or what about a Chocolate Mint Martini or a White Chocolate Candy Martini (you’ll have One Martini at a Time to thank for those recipes!)?

If you are a fan of candy canes and peppermint like I am, don’t miss my recipe for Peppermint Oreo Truffles. It only takes 3 ingredients to make them and they are fantastic! There’s lots of links to other holiday sweets and treats there too, so don’t miss out on checking it out.

Have you made candy infused vodka before? What is your favorite kind to make?