My Favorite Posts for 2013

It’s hard to believe that another year has almost passed us by.  It’s been a pretty good year here in Southeast Georgia and we have much to be thankful for.  I started the year off a little slow after my surgery last January and overall didn’t have as many post for 2013 as I did in 2012 or 2011.  I think maybe I’m a little pickier with the recipes that go on NJSD than I have ever been.  I also started a new venture in 2013, writing a weekly column for the Courier Herald newspaper in Dublin, Ga.  I love the opportunity to reach people that may not have a computer to read my blog.  As we approach a new year I wanted to look back at my favorite post from 2013.  It was hard to narrow my favorites to 10, but after much consideration this is my list, from oldest post to newest post.

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Coffee-Glazed Ham with Red Eye Gravy

I have been very skeptical about sharing this recipe with you.  I only want to share recipes that I deem great.  Rest assured that I will not post a mediocre dish just to have a new posting on Not Just Sunday Dinner.  Yes, I am aware of the fact that you may not like everything you prepare from NJSD, but it has for sure passed the test in our household.  

Wes described this as the best ham he has ever had and I agree.  It is the best ham I’ve ever baked.  However,  with the original recipe, I had an issue with a smell of burnt coffee.  (Not an odor that is going to smell up you house.) Being the first time I had baked it, I kept thinking the ham was going to be ruined.  I didn’t know what to expect.  Maybe that’s what it took to give this ham such a wonderful taste because I now think that may be what it took to penetrate the ham and bake the flavor into it.  I’m sure Alton Brown could explain the exact why and the what, but I can’t.  

The second time I baked it was for my Bolton Family Thanksgiving Dinner.  I completely changed the way I baked  it.  It did solve the problem of the burnt coffee smell but it tasted just like any other baked ham, nothing special and definitely not like the first one I baked.  

This ham is delicious and I hope you give it a shot, despite the warnings.  Unlike me, you’ll know what to expect.  It is so worth it and I really don’t think I’ll ever bake a ham any other way.  Below is what I originally typed after I had cooked it the first time.   

Coffee lover or not, it is fabulous!  However, despite the wonderful taste, almost immediately after putting the ham into the oven I was thinking I had messed up.  It smelled like burnt coffee and I felt like the glaze was burning the entire time it was baking.  I didn’t even bake it as long as the recipe suggested.  It’s a Southern Living recipe and they suggest 2 hours, 30 minutes.  I baked my ham about 1 hour, 30 minutes.  
 
The glaze thickens while cooking and some of it will actually get sticky and stay in the pan when you pour off the drippings.  Don’t worry about it.  Use the drippings that pour easily from the pan for the gravy.  The pan isn’t hard to clean, just takes a little soaking.  In spite of my warning, I hope this description hasn’t discouraged you from trying this recipe.  

Coffee-Glazed Ham with Red Eye Gravy
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (8 to 10-lb.) bone-in, fully cooked smoked ham half
  • 2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 c. freshly brewed coffee
  • ¼ c. heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Remove skin from ham, if present, and trim fat to ¼" thickness. Place ham in a lightly greased broiler pan. Combine sugar and hot coffee in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves; pour over ham.
  2. Bake at 350° for 1½ hours to 2½ hours. (The Southern Living recipe suggest a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion register 140°) Baste ham every 20 minutes. Transfer ham from pan to a serving platter. Cover and keep warm. Pour drippings into a 4-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 10 minutes. Pour off and discard fat; stir cream into remaining drippings. Serve gravy with ham.
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Eggs Benedict Casserole

I can hardly believe that Christmas is next week!  The house is decorated and the shopping is done.  Our family gatherings start this weekend and it’s time to start preparing all of those recipes I’ve been looking forward to making.

When the kids were small, and we lived closer to grandparents, I always prepared a big breakfast.  The kids would wake us up early to open gifts.  Then the grandparents would start dropping by to see what Santa had brought.  They would eat at our house before going on to see the other grandchildren.

Nowadays, I don’t need to prepare a big spread so I try to do a breakfast casserole each year.  This year I’ll be making this Eggs Benedict Casserole.  Like most breakfast casseroles you assemble it the night before and bake the next morning.  You can make a homemade hollandaise sauce if you prefer but I like the Knorr brand found at most supermarkets, and it’s easy.  Serve with fresh fruit and a good pot of coffee for a perfect Christmas morning breakfast!

 

Eggs Benedict Casserole
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 12-oz. Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 6 English muffins, split and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 lg. eggs
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 2 (.9-oz.) pkg. Knorr Hollandaise sauce mix
Instructions
  1. The night before you plan to bake the casserole, grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. Place half of the Canadian bacon in the bottom of the dish. Top with English muffins and remaining bacon.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and onion powder; pour over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator while oven heats. Sprinkle the top of casserole with paprika. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  5. While the casserole bakes prepare the hollandaise sauce. Serve immediately with casserole.
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Cajun Shrimp Casserole

Hey everyone!!  I know I’ve been absent from the blogging scene lately.  A few weeks ago I got the bright idea of decluttering, AGAIN.  I haven’t had a lot of Christmas shopping to do so I’ve spent my time finally getting rid of things that I should have donated when we first moved to Georgia.  We moved into Greg’s grandparents house from a much bigger house and stored a LOT of stuff.  Truth be told, I’ve only been going through things stored here.  I haven’t even gone to the storage unit we have rented!  That will be my project for 2014.

I have finally started my Christmas cooking.  I have made (and eaten) so many Sugared Peanuts this week that I’m already tired of snacking on them.  I’ve also made a ton of Seasoned Pretzels this year.  That is a new recipe that I found on Sally’s Baking Addiction.  They are delicious, but oh the breath that comes with eating them!  If you plan to snack on the Seasoned Pretzels just don’t do it before a date night!!  I have almost finished another new recipe.  I decided to do this post while the Espresso Truffle mixture is in the freezer for two hours.  I can’t wait to try them!

In the midst of preparing all of these goodies, I am inclined to forget cooking dinner all together but my family would not be very pleased.  This casserole was something I found on the Southern Living website while looking for Christmas recipes.  We are crazy for Cajun food around my house so I knew the family would love this.  I used up the last of my shrimp in the freezer from out beach trip this summer so I’m thinking a trip to Pensacola and Joe Patti’s is in my near future!!  Give this casserole a try, I think you’ll be pleased!

 

Cajun Shrimp Casserole
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lb. unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
  • ¼ c. butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ c. red bell pepper
  • ½ c. yellow bell pepper
  • ½ c. green bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1 (10¾-oz.) can cream of shrimp soup
  • ½ c. dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 c. cooked long-grain rice
  • ¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnishes: lemon slices & fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
Instructions
  1. Peel shrimp, devein, if desired.
  2. Melt ¼ c. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 3 ingredients; sauté 7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in soup and next 4 ingredients until blended. Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese is lightly browned. Garnish if desired.
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Coconut Black Walnut Bonbons

I’ve always enjoyed the Christmas season and my plans this year are to have a very stress-free holiday.  I have cut back on exchanging gifts this year and I stopped sending Christmas cards last year.  Yes, they were both things I enjoyed, in the beginning.  However, they had both become so overwhelming that it was taking the “joy” from my season.  My Christmas card list had reached well over one hundred and I was giving gifts & receiving gifts that just weren’t needed or wanted.
My parents never went overboard with Christmas presents but the season was always fun.  I have great memories and it’s not of the material gifts I received.  First and foremost, we knew that Christmas was about celebrating the birth of Jesus.  Being a preacher’s daughter, church was always a part of my life.  Christmas caroling with our church family was one of my favorite things to do.  I also loved getting together with my Bolton and Glover families, celebrating with my cousins was always fun.
The stress of decorating her house to look like a picture from a magazine wasn’t there for my mother.  We had a tree, stockings, and maybe a wreath on the front door.  As long as I can remember my dad would take me and my brother into the woods to search for the perfect tree.  It was all I had ever known and I didn’t realize how special it was until years later when a friend was telling her favorite Christmas memory.  To my surprise she said it was Christmas tree hunting with my family. Looking back on the pictures and home movies I now realize how perfect those lopsided, straggly trees full of homemade ornaments were.
Whether you celebrate the season low-key or with gusto I’m sure food is a special part of it.  I found this recipe in an old Southern Living cookbook found in my mother’s basement.  This was my first time making it and I think they are great!  They were really easy, with only five ingredients!  I have shared a few but I also put a big container in the freezer to pull out closer to Christmas.  To easily shape these I used my small scoop and dropped them straight into a bowl with flaked coconut.  I then rolled them in the coconut.  All of the bonbons were the same size and with the scoop it wasn’t near as messy as it could have been.

 

Coconut Black Walnut Bonbons
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 7 c. sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. black walnut flavoring
  • 1¼ c. black walnut pieces
  • 1 (7-oz.) pkg. flaked coconut
Instructions
  1. Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Add flavoring and mix well. Stir in black walnuts.
  2. Shape mixture into a ball and roll in coconut to coat outside. Chill until firm.
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