Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Family Dinner, part 2

We had such a wonderful time having the family over for dinner.

Our gracious guests have asked that I send them a few of my recipes.  I thought about doing a typical "The Pioneer Woman" cooking section, and then I remembered I don't want to over stress myself with this.  "Keep it simple" was chanting in my head.  I remembered it is Christmas time and I am trying to still make a few things so I didn't put myself in front of the run away bus (by over achieving) and decided to "keep it simple". So, here are the recipes, without the photos of preparation.  Sorry.

The first thing I did was kennel my dogs and the extra testosterone canine who is here, as well.  They are great in the kennels.  That is where they are safe, content, sleep, rest, and stay out of my way.  For the party I put the kennels in the utility room.  I needed a little extra space in the eating area to make room for two tables.  The dogs could see the guests arrive from the utility room and that made them happy.

My menu:
   Appetizers:  Smoked Salmon, Crackers, celery and carrot sticks,  jalapeno poppers, grape tomatoes,
peta chips, and anything else I could find in the kitchen to make it look festive.

  Main course: Taco Soup, Clam Chowder, Hot rolls with butter.  I served the soup from crock pots.

  Desert:  Nantucket Cranberry Pie and vanilla ice cream.

  Beverage:  Water with lemon slices.

I believe in keeping it simple when you are feeding a crowd of people who are mostly over 60 years of age, and most of them suffer from some genetic gene of diabetic aliment.  That limits the butter, sugar and junk that most people want to eat....and the chocolate.......and the Wassail!  I wanted the wassail so bad!  But, just figured it would be better with water.

I want you to have to recipe, though.  It is Aunt Rochell's recipe, and it is so so so so so good!


6 cups apple cider or juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 cup honey
3 T. Lemon juice (Use fresh lemon juice.  It is a much better taste than bottled type)
1 t. grated lemon peel
1 can (18 oz) Unsweetened pineapple juice (2 1/4 cups)
Orange slices, studded with cloves

In large saucepan, heat cider and cinnamon stick to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Uncover, stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes longer.  Float orange slices studded with whole cloves.  This will hold in a crock pot.

My Nikki loves this Wassail as much as I do.  I wanted her with me as I cooked that day.  She would have insisted that we make Wassail, and she would have done it for me. 

Jalapeno Poppers

Rubber gloves must be worn when preparing the Jalapenos.  Trust me you don't want to leave this part out.  I buy cheap vinyl gloves by the box and they work fine. 

18 fresh jalapeno peppers
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 green onion, sliced
18 slices thin bacon, cut into halves
1 bottle BBQ sauce

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and light-colored membranes.
In a bowl combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and green onion. Mix gently with a spoon.
Stuff each pepper with the cheese mixture.
Wrap bacon slice around each pepper.
Brush the surface of the bacon with BBQ sauce.
Secure the bacon with toothpicks.

Bake for about an hour at a low temp.....until the bacon sizzles.  Then they are done.
Serve hot or room temperature.
Make plenty, as they go fast!
*This is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond (my hero).

I now want to be sure to thank my youngest off spring for sticking around and taking pictures of the event.  She even took photos with her phone and sent them to her siblings.  They were all texting back and forth throughout the evening.  All of the kids loved seeing the relatives that they don't see very often.  They each wished they were with us.  We were all grateful for phones and pictures that night.

Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 can corn
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can diced green peppers
1 can tomato sauce
1 envelope Taco Seasoning

Toss it in a crock pot or sauce pan.  Heat, stir and serve.  It doesn't get much easier than that.
I had a bowl of  shredded cheese and a bowl of taco chips next to the crock pot to top the soup with.

 Tawnya's World Famous Clam Chowder

2 cans (6 1/2 oz) minced Clams
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
2 cups diced potatoes
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart Half and Half
1 1/2 tsp. salt
sugar to taste
dash of pepper
* 1 can corn, optional (the DH insists I use it, and it is better with it)

Drain the juice from clams and pour over vegetables in a medium saucepan; add enough water to cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt butter, and add flour and blend.  Cook a minute or two. Add half and half and stir while cooking using a wire whisk.  Add undrained vegetables and clams.  Heat through.  Season with salt, pepper and sugar.

I double this recipe every time I make it.  If you have left overs (not likely if you invite guests over) it freezes great!

At the party I saw one of the brothers go back for 3rds.  It caused my heart to soar!  Like an eagle.  That is when you know it is good, and appreciated by your family and guests.

Nantucket Cranberry Pie

2 cups heaping Cranberries
3/4 cup chopped Pecans (optional)
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t. Vanilla extract (optional Almond extract)
1/4 t. salt
1 T. sugar for sprinkling on top
butter for greasing the pan

Preheat oven to 350.
Generously butter a cake pan or pie pan.  Add cranberries to the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle chopped pecans, then sprinkle on the sugar.

In a mixing bow, combine flour, 1 cup sugar, melted butter, eggs, extract, and salt.  Stir gently to combine.  Pour batter slowly over the top of cranberries.  It will be thick, so spread it a bit to cover the surface.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes.  5 minutes before removing from the oven, sprinkle surface with 1 T sugar (I opted not to do this. We don't need more sugar).

Cut and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

This is great with or without the nuts.  Many in my immediate family don't like nuts so I only put nuts on one half the pan.

For the party I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9x13 pan.  I used 2 bags of cranberries, which equaled about 5 cups and it tasted just great! 

I have shared my roll recipe with you before, so I am not adding it today.
It is just the Potato Dinner Roll recipe, which is easy and fool proof.
Just be sure to add the salt to the recipe when you make it, or you are the fool.  I forgot the salt for the party.  I didn't tell anyone until all the guests went home.  I hope nobody noticed.  When you are getting so many dishes ready all at once it is easy to forget something. 

Although I have been troubled with nightmares of the guests being in their cars and driving home and saying "Those rolls tasted so flat.  I wish they would have served jam or something to put on them.  Butter just wasn't enough"!

Or they say, "I don't know why she gave us this baggie with these rolls?  We will never eat them.  They taste so flat.  Let's stop on the greenbelt and feed them to the geese".

I hope they say, "That was so fun tonight.  We just don't see each other enough.  Everything was so pretty and tasted so good, except the rolls.  She should have sent V to Sam's and bought some.  But, it is OK, as the rest of the food was delicious and they are so sweet to send us all home with leftovers".

I also planned ahead a little bit.  V had made Scrabble Mix and we had put it in containers and tied a big holiday bow on the containers.  That was the gift they were given to take home with them.  (If they were hungry still, they had something to munch on until they got to Article Circle and ordered that hamburger!)

The end.

ps.  *Some photos were edited in Picnik.  Some wrinkles were removed but no harm was done to that person.*  You can thank me later.  :)

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happy, in love, getting closer to retirement, love my family, love my Savior.