My “top ten” favorite posts from 2015 started as a very long list this year. I am particularly fond of the recipes that I shared with you during 2015, and it was not easy to limit my favorites to ten. I finally cut my list until I had a “top seventeen” but who has ever heard of a “top seventeen” list??? After much deliberation, I finally settled on my top FIFTEEN recipes for 2015. These are recipes that I have made over and over. Many of these recipes have found their place in the regular rotation of foods I often cook, including Mexican Milanese Style Sandwiches and Buffalo Turkey Burgers.
Thanks for visiting NJSD in 2015! I look forward to bringing you many delicious recipes in 2016. As always, I enjoy hearing from you via Facebook, email, or simply by leaving a comment on my posts. Happy New Year to everyone!
New England Clam Chowder
Smoky Gouda Grits and Shrimp
Mexican Milanese Style Sandwiches
Finally Figured it Out Brunswick Stew
Ranchman’s Steak Butter
Buffalo Turkey Burger
Ultimate Tomato Soup with Over the Top Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Texas Eggs Benedict
Sweet Potato Pies
Let me start by saying that I have thoroughly enjoyed the holidays! It all began in November with Thanksgiving, or maybe even before that with holiday shopping. Then the festivities were non-stop through Christmas. Between the decorating and the baking, and the traveling and the shopping, the wrapping and everything else involved, and I am ready for a nap! Maybe a vacation would even be better! However, there’s still the tree to take down, the wreath to put away, and every other little Christmas decoration scattered throughout the house to box up. Who wants to cook all day for New Year’s Day? I’ll raise my hand on that!
The fact remains that I am a southern gal through and through. I know that peas and greens have to be eaten on New Year’s Day. I know that my family depends on me to set them up for good luck in the new year. No pressure, no stress, just everybody’s success in 2016 on my shoulders.
Luckily, my cousin, Greg, shared a wonderful and oh so easy recipe with me during the holidays! Hoping’ John Stew with White Cheddar Cheese Grits is going to be my lifesaver on New Year’s Day! This recipe requires minimal preparation and only a short time to cook. The flavors come together great, and you can even check greens off of your list because of the cilantro in this dish.
May you always be blessed with happiness and health in the coming year.
Hoppin' John Stew with White Cheddar Cheese Grits
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 c. chopped smoked ham
- ¾ c. chopped onion
- 2 (15-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 2 (10-oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
- 1 c. frozen corn kernels
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
- White Cheddar Cheese Grits
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add ham and onions, and saute until onions are tender. Stir in black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, and sugar. Cover and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cilantro. Serve immediately over White Cheddar Cheese Grits.
White Cheddar Cheese Grits
- 4 c. chicken broth
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 c. uncooked quick-cooking grits
- 2 c. (8-oz.) shredded white Cheddar cheese
- Bring chicken broth and butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in the grits, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheese until melted. Serve immediately.
Christmas seems to be the perfect time for candy making. The perfect time to indulge without the guilt! I waited a little later to make my candy this year because I want the freshest candy to serve to my family and friends on Christmas day. Truffles are among the easiest homemade candies to make. Most do not require cooking or a candy thermometer and come together very fast. If you are running around trying to finish up everything that must be done, but you still want homemade candy for your Christmas celebration, this is your recipe. You will have these coconut truffles mixed up and ready to serve in no time. For variety, add a toasted almond to the top of a few of the truffles.
- 3 c. sweetened, shredded coconut
- ½ c. powdered sugar
- ½ c. Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ c. coconut oil, melted
- 1½ to 2 c. chocolate chips, melted (I prefer Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate)
- In a large bowl, combine coconut, powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and melted coconut oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Using a small scoop, scoop out 1-2 tsp. of the coconut mixture and roll into balls. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze at least 30 minutes.
- Place chocolate chips in a large glass bowl. Place in microwave for 1 minutes on high. Stir. Continue heating and stirring every 10 to 20 seconds until the chips are completely smooth and melted.
- Remove the coconut balls from the freezer and immediately dip into the melted chocolate. Place back on the lined baking pan and refrigerate until firm.
- Remove from pan and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts! I make them for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas. They are delicious and easy to prepare and there seem to be thousands of different flavors. Some of my favorite are Oreo, Red Velvet, Almond Amaretto, plain, and this delicious Snickers Cheesecake! This fun cheesecake combines the best of cheesecake with the best of candy! To serve this mouthwatering dessert drizzle with warmed caramel and chocolate sauces and top with chopped Snickers.
- 24 Oreos, (not double stuff)
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- Pinch salt
- 4 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1⅓ c. sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 4 lg. eggs, at room temperature
- 1⅓ c. heavy cream (or sour cream or any combination of the two)
- 20 fun-size Snickers, cut into about 10 pieces, plus more for garnish, if desired
- Caramel Sauce
- Chocolate Sauce
- To make the crust:
- Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Choose one that has sides are 2¾ inches high. If the sides are lower you will have cheesecake batter left over. Wrap the pan, bottom and sides, with a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.
- Process the Oreos in a food processor until you have crumbs. Add melted butter and salt and pulse to combine. Turn out into the springform pan and use your finger to pat an even layer of crumbs along bottom of the and about half way up the sides. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.
- Center the rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the baking sheet with the springform pan in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
- To make the cheesecake:
- Put a kettle of water on to boil.
- Working in a stand mixer, preferable fitted with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of it's name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition, you want a well aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the heavy cream and/or sour cream. Fold in the Snickers, stirring the batter off the bottom of the pan.
- Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in a roaster pan.
- Scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have too much batter you can bake the extra batter in a buttered ramekin.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned and may have risen just a little about the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven's heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in it's water bath for another hour.
- After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, life the springform pan out of the roaster, be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil, remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
- When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.
Cheese balls are fantastic crowd-pleasing appetizers. They are an excellent addition to any holiday party, they make beautiful hostess gifts, and they travel easily if you need to take something to an office party. Dress them up by arranging on a platter with fruit and crackers or make this darling pinecone by shaping into an oval and decorating with pecan halves, whole almonds, and rosemary.
Our local television stations are out of Augusta, Georgia. Occasionally, I have the opportunity to watch Vera Stewart’s cooking show. She was a caterer in Augusta for years and shares wonderful tried and true recipe. This is a recipe that she often used while catering. It is the perfect combination of cheeses, and the blue cheese isn’t overpowering. You can simply shape into a round ball and roll in pecans if you like. This cheese ball can be frozen for future use.
Blue Cheese Cheese Ball
- 6-oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ c. blue cheese crumbles
- ½ c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 small garlic clove, minced fine
- 2 tsp. Durkee's mustard sauce
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. hot sauce
- ¼ c. ground pecans
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- Combine cream cheese, blue cheese, Cheddar cheese, garlic, mustard sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until combined. Add pecans and parsley and mix.
- Roll into a ball or oval shape.
- If decorating as pine cone, wrap in wax paper and place in a plastic storage container. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Just before serving, remove from refrigerator and unwrap. Place on serving tray and decorate with pecan halves or whole salted almonds and rosemary.
- If you plan to serve in a round ball shape, combine ¼ to ½ cup ground pecans and ¼ c. chopped fresh parsley. Roll cheeseball in the mixture before storing in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
If you have problems locating the mustard sauce in your local store, look near the mayonnaise and the mustard.