Tea Cakes

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There is nothing I love better than this festive time of the year! From the decorating to shopping, to the baking, it’s all fun to me. Preparing the recipes that I have collected throughout the years from loved ones and friends bring back wonderful memories and for a little while, some that have been long gone are with me again.

A new recipe to my collection if from my Aunt Janis. These are possibly my all-time favorite cookie, though. You can bake it 10 to 12 minutes for a soft cookie or go just a little longer for a cookie with a little bit of crisp.

To make absolutely gorgeous cookies decorate with sprinkles by rolling the dough log in sprinkles before freezing. These make a delicious and pretty gift when placed in clear treat bags.

Tea Cakes
 
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Ingredients
  • 1¾ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. Butter flavor Crisco shortening
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. self-rising flour
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and shortening. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add the flour, one cup at a time and mix just until blended.
  3. Divide the dough in half and place each half on a large sheet of wax paper. Use the wax paper and roll the dough into a log. At this point, you can roll in sprinkles, if desired. Wrap tightly in the wax paper and freeze the roll for about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from freezer and cut into approximately ⅜-inch slices. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 325° for 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Remove cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. Store in an airtight container.

 

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Balsamic and Garlic Green Beans

 

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Worrying about the big holiday meal has apparently been passed on to me from many generations before. My mother, grandmother, and aunts started planning their holiday dishes far in advance. Everything had to be exceptional, and it seemed to take them days to cook and prepare for the feast. Don’t get me wrong; they did a fine job of it too! In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had any better meals than those in my memories.

I am still going to start planning weeks in advance but after years of fretting I have figured out that every dish does not have to be painstakingly hard or time-consuming. Nevertheless, it can be every bit as delicious.

These days there seem to be fewer casseroles on holiday tables compared to years past. I have noticed at my family gatherings alone; we now have asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and green beans. I never saw those on Thanksgiving and Christmas tables when I was growing up. Sure, there will always be the sweet potato casseroles and a few of the other classics. However, with our society being more health conscious, and fresh produce more readily available, fresh vegetables have become increasingly popular side dishes for holiday feasts.

Thanks to Berry Farms in Lyons I have these wonderful fresh organic green beans.  These fabulous green beans are not only delicious, but they are very easy to prepare as well. You may find that this becomes a year round side dish because they are so yummy!

 

Balsamic and Garlic Green Beans
 
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Serves: 4 to 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook beans in boiling salted water to cover over high heat for 6 minutes; drain. Plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process; drain.
  2. Saute garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the beans and saute 3 to 4 minutes. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper; saute 1 minute.

 

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Pecan Pie Truffles

 

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If you make chocolate, they will come! Yes, it’s true, for me anyway. I will go for anything chocolate on the dessert table above anything else, any time of the day, any day of the year.

These fabulous little nuggets of heaven taste amazing, and they are super easy to make. Aren’t they pretty on this beautiful serving tray too?

If you are looking for something just a little bit different for this year’s dessert table, give these delicious truffles a try. Then grab a cup of coffee and devour away!

Pecan Pie Truffles
 
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Ingredients
  • 2½ c. pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ¼ c. light corn syrup
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 pkg. Candiquik candy coating, white chocolate or chocolate or combination
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine the pecans, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and salt.
  2. Add maple syrup, corn syrup, and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes.
  4. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Remove pecan mixture from the refrigerator and roll into 1-inch balls. (I use a scoop to get all of the truffles the same size.) Place on the wax paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Melt Candiquik according to package directions.
  6. Coat truffles with chocolate and return to the wax paper. Return to the refrigerator to allow the coating to harden.

 

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Cheesy Onion Casserole

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If you search my website, you will find very few recipes with condensed creamed soup listed as an ingredient. I usually try to make a homemade version. It’s easy to make, the recipe can be found easily with a Google search, and it is lower in sodium.

However, just like you. I sometimes struggle to get food on the table for my family. I just don’t have it in me to cook or to clean up a mess in the kitchen. Those nights would be pizza delivery nights if only I lived in a pizza delivery area! Or maybe we would pick up take-out. If only I were close enough to a restaurant where I could actually make it home with warm food.

I keep a few cans of condensed cream soups on hand for roast or emergencies. I was having one of those uninspiring nights recently. Greg was grilling steaks, which was great, but we needed something on the side. I threw this casserole together in no time, and the results were awesomeness in a casserole dish!  I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website and it’s going in my book of favorites!

The casserole has the taste of a French Onion Soup. It would be a great side dish to accompany any meat. It is different from anything I have every seen on a Thanksgiving table, but I believe it would be great with turkey and dressing!

If you want to include this on your holiday table, saute the onions a day or two ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator. Assemble and bake the casserole the day of your holiday meal.

 

Cheesy Onion Casserole
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 - 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 large yellow onions, sliced into rings
  • 2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 (10-oz.) can Cream of Chicken soup, undiluted
  • ⅔ c. milk
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • Sliced French Bread (sliced about ½-inch thick)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent (a little brown in okay too). Add some freshly ground black pepper and stir.
  3. Pour the onions into a shallow 2-quart casserole dish. Top with ⅔ of the Swiss cheese and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl add the soup, milk, and soy sauce. Whisk together until well blended. Pour over the cheese and onions. Top with French Bread slices.
  5. Bake in 350° F oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and gently push the bread down into the sauce. Top with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake uncovered, 15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

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Mama’s French Coconut Pie

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Thanksgiving is four weeks away, and the pressure is on.

My mom has had a few health scares this year. The latest being just a few weeks ago. So this year I will be taking on the Thanksgiving meal by myself. I will go to mama’s house early to start preparing the feast. Even though I cook all of the time, and I’ll have her there for support, I already know that the meal will not hold a candle to anything mama cooks. Why is it that mama’s food is always the best? Maybe it’s the love that goes into it.

The plan is to start with a few of mama’s tried and true recipes. After all, the traditional dishes are part of what makes the holidays special. One of my favorite desserts is her French Coconut Pie. She has been making this pie for as long as I can remember and it is the best! It’s a no fuss recipe that can even be made the day before.

As I plan the rest of our Thanksgiving menu, I would love to hear from you. What are the traditional dishes that you want to see on the table this Thanksgiving? Share your ideas and even recipes with me at notjustsundaydinner@yahoo.com.

 

French Coconut Pie
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
½ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • ¼ c. buttermilk
  • 1½ c. flaked coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 unbaked pie shell
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer. Add flour, eggs, and buttermilk and blend well. Stir in coconut and vanilla extract. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until set.

 

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