Pinterest Fun Friday: Christmas Appetizers

 
 
Every Friday I like to highlight some of my favorite Pinterest finds of the week. This not only allows me to spotlight some really awesome and crafty ideas but it allows you to see a few Pins you might not have seen this week.  
 
I spend way too many minutes’ hours in the day pinning on Pinterest. Now if I could only find the time to make all of these wonderful things I pin. Wouldn’t that be great?
 
Let’s Get Pinning!

 

Baked Spaghetti (Paula Deen)


This recipe was just OK. I think the concept of the recipe is a great one especially if you are using leftover spaghetti sauce. The sauce in the recipe is truly its downfall. My family liked the recipe but no one was overly impressed with the sauce. This is one of those recipes that you take the idea behind the recipe and simply replace the sauce. The Italian season was just over the top that’s all I could taste.
I think I will make this recipe in the future, but instead of this sauce I will use leftover Nana’s Spaghetti Sauce instead, or worse case scenario a jarred sauce would work. I think it would be fantastic using a bunch of different cheese’s like, parmesan, mozzarella, asiago, and even some provolone. Yum.
This is a great base idea/recipe but “fixing” the sauce would be a great improvement.
Ingredients: 
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt pepper combo
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack
Directions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a stockpot, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, seasoning mixtures, sugar, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat and let simmer, covered, for 1 hour. 
  3. Crumble the ground beef in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until fully cooked, with no pink color remaining. Drain the fat from the meat, and then add the ground beef to the stockpot. 
  4. Simmer for 20 more minutes. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. 
  5. Cover the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with sauce. Add a layer of pasta and then a little less than 1/2 of each cheese; repeat the layers, ending with the sauce. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. 
  6. Top the casserole with the remaining cheese, return it to the oven, and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 more minutes. Cut into squares before serving.

Triple Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

This mac-n-cheese is delicious. It’s a pain to make if you are thinking of boxed mac-n-cheese, but let me tell you its well worth all the work. It’s so creamy and delicious.
 
This recipe is very decadent and rich. If you are wanting something plain and simple this recipe is not for you. The only I could suggest is leaving out the Gouda cheese, but I wouldn’t!
 
If you want to serve it right away leave the bread crumbs off and sever right from the stove top. You can’t beat this mac-n-cheese. 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups Dried Pasta
  • 1/4 cup unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 teaspoons Dry Mustard
  • 2 ounces Smoked Gouda grated
  • 8 ounces Cheddar Cheese grated
  • 6 ounces Mozzarella Cheese grated
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • Plain Bread Crumbs

Directions: 

  1. Cook pasta about 4 minutes shy of package directions then drain and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly.
  3. Pour in milk, and mustard, then whisk until smooth. Cook until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
  4. Add in cheese and stir to melt.
  5. Add seasoned salt and pepper.
  6. Pour in cooked pasta and stir to combine.
  7. Pour into a buttered baking dish, top with plain bread crumbs, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Original Recipe Source

Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate

 

 
At this time of year my favorite find is Pumpkin Spice anything. I love pumpkin spice latte’ and any kind of hot chocolate.  When I found a pumpkin spice hot chocolate I knew I had to give this recipe a try. It’s what I consider the best of both worlds. The recipe certainly lived up to my expectations. It’s thick, creamy and has an amazing pumpkin pie flavor.
 
The smell in the house while this is cooking on the stove is incredible. This would also work great in a slow cooker. Try serving this recipe throughout the day on Thanksgiving. Your guest will be very happy I know I was!!
 
This is the doubled recipe. One recipe wasn’t even close to enough I had to double it!
 
Ingredients: 
  • 5 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup hot cocoa mix (no marshmallows)
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Whipped cream or marshmallows optional
Directions: 
  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium low heat whisk together your milk and hot cocoa mix. 
  2. You will want to keep your heat no higher than medium. It’s important that all of your spices to have a chance to mingle in the hot chocolate.
  3. Add canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Heat until desired temperature is reached.
  5. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and/or marshmallows

Famous Focaccia Bread

I purchased a three pack of focaccia bread. I had never had it nor did I really know what to do with it. So between my husband and I we came up with this excellent bread that leaves you craving more. We served it at a spaghetti dinner we were having, and it was a total hit. I hope you like it too. 

Ingredients:

  • Focaccia Bread (you can make your own click here for the recipe)
  • 1 ounce Domestic feta cheese (This is a little saltier than regular feta) crumbled
  • 2 ounces of grated Whole milk mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a small sauce pan add olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, thyme, salt and red pepper flakes, and heat until it’s simmering.
  3. Place your focaccia on a lined cookie sheet
  4. Brush the focaccia heavily with the olive oil mixture (cover the entire bread round) 
  5. Top bread with mozzarella and feta
  6. Bake on 350 for 8-10 minutes (depending on your over) until mozzarella cheese is melted (feta won’t melt)
  7. With a pizza cutter cut into slices

Spinach Rice Balls (Leftover Rice Recipe)

I really love this recipe. I hate having left over rice because it’s such a waste, and I always make too much. I normally freeze it and find something else to do with it. Normally I use it to speed up cooking time by just pulling it out of the freezer instead of making more. In the last Woman’s Day magazine I got in the mail, they had an article with this recipe in it. It sounded so good I had to try it. It has a very delicate flavor. The spinach is very mild for all of you spinach haters (yep that includes me) and the parmesan cheese is not as overwhelming as I figured it would be. I am going to find a nice parmesan-mozzarella cheese dip to go with this recipe next time. I think it would add a nice touch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 cup thawed frozen cut-leaf spinach
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup rice (3 cups cooked)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheet with nonstick foil. Heat 2 tsp oil in skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup thawed frozen cut-leaf spinach, 1/2 small onion, diced, and 1/2 tsp minced garlic; cook 2 minutes until spinach is tender. 
  2. Stir into spinach mixture 1 cup cooked rice, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, 1 large egg and 1/8 tsp pepper.
  3. Drop rounded tbsp. onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until firm. Serve with marinara. Makes about 10.

Cinnamon Apple Cranberries Orange Relish

 
 
 
This recipe is incredible. I can’t even begin to tell you how fantastic it is. The flavor is amazing with just enough sweet and just enough tart. This is truly the best cranberry relish recipe I have ever had.
 
I can’t wait to make it again. I want to make it again for Christmas. Everyone loved it at our Thanksgiving table. No one could believe that the cranberries were dried. I bet it would taste just as good with fresh cranberries, although you just might have to add a bit more sugar.
 
 
Ingredients 
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 (6-ounce) bag sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large Orange peeled, seeds removed, and diced
  • 2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch

Directions  

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the cranberry juice, orange, cranberries, cinnamon and sugar. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have softened and apples are tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove 8 ounces of the liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch. Slowly add the cornstarch-juice mixture (slurry) to the cranberry mixture, stirring constantly. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl. Refrigerate until thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and serve.

Cheater… Cheater… Stuffing!

 

I absolutely loved this recipe!  It’s simple fantastic! Don’t get me wrong it’s nothing fancy, but that’s what I like about it. I already like Stovetop Stuffing, but this takes Stovetop and fancy’s it up!  After it was made no one had a clue that the majority of the recipe came out of a box! Frugal, easy, and fantastic… what more could you ask for?
Ingredients: 
  • 1 medium onions, minced
  • 2 -3 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1-2 cups chicken broth (or any broth)
  • Hot water
  • 1 (6 ounce) packages Stove Top-style stuffing mix

Directions:

  1. Sauté onions and celery in butter.
  2. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning.
  3. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Toss this mixture into your favorite dry stuffing mix.
  5. Heat broth and set aside.
  6. Read directions on your favorite stuffing mix box.
  7. Add enough hot water to the broth to make up the required liquid needed.
  8. (Omit butter the recipe calls for as it was already used to sauté vegetables.)
  9. Pour over stuffing/vegetables mixture and mix well.
  10. Stuff your chicken or turkey. For a side dish place stuffing in a baking dish; cover and bake for 15 to 25 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Original Source