Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sparkling Bourbon Cranberry Cider

Bourbon is the perfect drink for this time of year. Actually, let's not kid ourselves...bourbon is the perfect companion no matter the time of year. But, I will say it does warm you up a little more with these frigid temps. and by frigid I mean how it was only 57' in Raleigh today. 

We leave for Boston tomorrow where the high is supposed to be in the 20's and it is supposed to be 74' here on Saturday. Please excuse me while I go cry for a few minutes. I am trying to prepare, but this may be where my trusty bourbon comes in. A few sips here, a few sips there. No one will be any the wiser.

But if you want to enjoy your bourbon in a classier way than the brown bag, this is the perfect option for your next gathering! It is really light and refreshing and if you are not a big whiskey drinker, this is a good way to ease yourself in!

Ingredients
1 cup cran apple juice
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup bourbon
1 bottle champagne
1/2 fresh cranberries
1 cinnamon stick(optional)

In a container, mix together all ingredients except the champagne and cranberries. I used one of my favorite bourbons, Evan Williams Apple Orchard. It is bourbon infused with cinnamon and a few other flavors. It is seasonal, so if you cannot find it, just add in the cinnamon stick when you combine your liquids. I would let the flavors marry for about an hour before you move onto the next step. and if you want to forgo the cinnamon, it is just as tasty...you have my word. 

Chill your mixed juice and then once you are ready to serve, drop a few cranberries in a your champagne glass and then fill  about 1/2 way full and top with your champagne. 

You could easily make these by the pitcher and you could use any cranberry juice you like. Cran raspberry may be good or even pear.

I have a feeling we may be ringing 2014 in with this tasty concoction! 

Linking up with Kristin today

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Eggnog Mudslide

I have to admit that I did not grow up a fan of eggnog. at all. maybe even the largest understatement of the month. And like most things I have discovered I may like a little bit, the mister is the one who turned me on to the yumminess of eggynoggy. Don't you just love it when people make all their words end in a y;) me neither.

Anyways, I still do not go out of my way to indulge in this treat, but I do like it when mixed with other flavors. and by flavors I mean bourbon. or kahlua or bailey's. or cream cheese. or pudding. or ice cream. You getting the picture now? Needless to say, the ingredients that make up this concoction end up with me being a very large of fan of this version of eggnog!

You can make this ten ways till Sunday and after I give you the rundown on how easy this is, I have a few other versions you may want to try out. and yea, does anyone even know the origin of the term "ten ways to Sunday?" I know where I am going when I am done. Wikipedia here I come.

Ingredients(makes 2 mudslides)
1 cup eggnog ice cream
1 oz eggnog
1 oz bailey's
1 oz kahlua
1/2 cup ice

Blend till desired consistency.

ok, here are a few different ways that you can make this. If you wanted this to be a kid friendly shake, just use non alcoholic eggnog  and add a little chocolate sauce. blend. If you can't find eggnog ice cream, vanilla would work just fine, you may just need to add a little more eggnog. I found gingerbread kahlua and let's just say.....oh, it was love at first sip! Yum. You could also make a non frozen version by using 3 oz eggnog, 1 oz kahlua and 1 oz bailey's. Shake vigorously over ice and strain into glass.

Now do yourself a favor and make this!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Peppermint Mudslide Cookies

This week I hosted a cookie exchange party and when deciding what to make, I realized I had some Bailey's & Kahlua on hand and knew that I somehow wanted to incorporate them in my cookies. One of my favorite recipes I have created was a peppermint oreo mudslide. When I stumbled upon a plethora of peppermint goodies at World Market, my mind was made up.

This is a cake mix cookie, but the flavors of the kahlua and bailey's married with the peppermint, make for the perfect combo and you will hardly notice. 

Ingredients
1 box chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 oz kahlua
1 oz bailey's
1/2 cup peppermint pieces

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat on low till all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pre heat the oven to 350'. Using a cookie scoop (I also use a tbsp) place about an inch apart on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes.

if you have any extra peppermint pieces you can sprinkle a bit on top of each cookie just as they come out of the oven, the pieces melt into the cookies for a nice crunch in an otherwise chewy cookie.

Let cool for about 20 minutes. 

These are also really yummy to turn into a whoopie pie! I used a chocolate peppermint mousse and gave my cookies new life the next day.

The cookie exchange party was a complete success if you don't count the zero pictures I snapped. Does that mean it didn't even happen? Actually, I think it is a sign that us ladies were having such a great time with one another that we couldn't be bothered to stop our talking for something such as a pictures;)

Thanks to all you ladies that joined in on the fun, I had such a great time enjoying your company!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blueberry & Coconut Bars

Ok. I think I can safely say, that, as of now...these may be my favorite bars that I have made to date. I would have never thought of this combo without a little directional pushing from this contest. Thanks is all I got to say. And seeing as I normally am not a coconut fan, that is saying something. Oh my word, I greedily ate way more than my share of these yummy bars. So thanks for the extra weight. Well, actually these have blueberries which automatically qualifies them as a health food, right? I mean...


Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 Small box instant coconut pudding
1/4 Cup water
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
2 Eggs
1 pkge fresh blueberries(about 6 oz)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cake mix, pudding, water, vegetable oil, eggs and blueberries in a large mixing bowl.
Pour the batter  into a greased 10x13 baking dish. Top with the shredded coconut. I sprayed it with non spray cooking oil and I have also used parchment paper.
Bake your bars for 20-25 minutes (if you want them a little crispier, you could cook for 30 min)
You want it to still be slightly gooey in middle, but if the edges are browning, it is just about right.
I would just recommend watching it, my mom has an electric stove and I have gas and they cooked differently.
Cool for about 20 minutes and cut into squares. And if you are like me, you will steal up the corners. They are just the best part, no arguments allowed. Well, actually, I suppose you can argue, as that leaves the best for me;)
If you want to see more about this yummy contest and the blue super food known as blueberries, check it out here.here

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Whoopie Pies

So many of my friends love banana. Like too die for emotions regarding it. I am here to let you know, in case you have missed my previous grumblings, I am not one of these people. In a smoothie, yes. Covered in dark chocolate and frozen. Yes, again. In my bread. Nope, not happening. Or pretty much any other way.

But then...there is banana pudding. That whole imitation nonsense. Guess what? Ok!, not my favorite, but I can deal with it. Especially after, oh...you know, there is whip cream and peanut butter added to the mix. Twist my arm and count me in. But only if you must...

So, with all the banana request lately...I wanted to at least try my hand at coming up with recipes I was willing to try and I am happy to say I found one.


Peanut butter cookie (mix or homemade)
cup chocolate chips
1 pkge banana pudding
6-8 oz cream cheese(softened)
1 1/2 cup whipping cream

Make your PB cookies and add in the chocolate chips. Bake and cool. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the pudding mix and 1/2 cup of whipping cream. Beat till combined and add in rest of cream ,beating till thick.

Place dollop on cookie and top with other cookie to spread filling.

Things I learned while from this....if placed in freezer overnight- it tastes like an ice cream sandwich. Oh my gosh, it was so very yummy and the banana flavor was less obvious. If you are a banana fan, then you should probably use 2 packs of pudding for a more intense flavor. Plus, instead of chocolate chips, you could always use reeses or even white chocolate.

Also, you could make the banana pudding with 1 cup of milk, let set for a few minutes and then mix with cool whip for a more simple filling. 

Just be sure to keep covered in fridge so they don't dry out.

and the funny thing is when I did spell check, I only spelled one word wrong, but over and over: banana. I was typing this in such a hurry that I really wanted it to be spelled banaba. 

Linking up with Jess & Ashley

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Apple Cider Margarita

Let me say this from the beginning...I hate Apple Cider in its purest form. I just cannot drink it by itself. So last year when some friends asked me to create recipes using cider for the holidays, I was slightly apprehensive as to how I was going to go about it. and then I discovered something..

If you mix apple cider with just about any other flavor...I will instantly become a fan. haha First up last year was this apple cider sangria, followed by this apple cider mimosa and now, this year...I came up with a margarita version and then after I thought it up, my pinterest feed decided to humble me and let me know just how unoriginal my thought process really is. But, I will say that after looking through them, most of them have cinnamon or nutmeg and I stayed away from those.

This is really simple to create. The only tip I would give is to try and buy legitimate apple cider, if you don't have a local apple orchard, at least go for the for the jugs at the store that have obvious apple "bits" floating around.


Ingredients
4 oz apple cider
1 1/2 oz silver/gold tequila
1 oz triple sec
1 splash lime juice
sparkling cider/wine(optional)

Place all ingredients in shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with apple slices. If you so wish, top with sparkling cider or wine. In case you had yet to ascertain this little diddly about me...I am a lover of the bubbly. 

This is perfect for the upcoming holidays and you could easily swap this to make it a martini by using vodka in lieu of tequila.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pumpkin Butterscotch Bars With Heath

I think I was almost surprised by how much I loved these and I should mention the torture I had to endure as they cooked. It was my birthday. and it was smack in the middle of my 2 week no sugar binge.

Yes, let's all take a moment to wonder what in the hades I was thinking. It was torture. The smells emitting from my kitchen were ridiculous. and I wanted them so bad and I was so good. and then, two days later...I had one. One measly serving. Gah.

But that one serving more than made up for the previous 12 days.  I think most of you know how much I love my bourbon and my bacon...but I also adore heath bar and butterscotch. and oh, they paired so extremely well with the pumpkin. 

My dad thought they were best in the morning, with his coffee. He had them two in a row, so I think he was semi serious about it;)

and they were so simple to make!





Ingredients:

1 Box pumpkin cake mix

1 Small box instant vanilla pudding
1/4 Cup water
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
2 Eggs
1/2 cup heath pieces
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cake mix, pudding, water, vegetable oil, eggs & butterscotch in a large mixing bowl.
Pour the batter  into a greased 10x13 baking dish. Top with the heath pieces. I sprayed it with non spray cooking oil and I have also used parchment paper.
Bake your bars for 20-25 minutes (if you want them a little crispier, you could cook for 30 min)
You want it to still be slightly gooey in middle, but if the edges are browning, it is just about right.
If you can't find pumpkin cake mix, you should be able to sub a yellow cake mix and add pumpkin pie spice, about a tsp. and for recipe sake, I said water, but you can use flavored coffee creamer, gives it a little more flavor punch.
Linking up with Jessica & Ashley

Friday, November 15, 2013

Spiced Banana & Caramel Bread Pudding

I have been planning this recipe in my mind for awhile, tweeking it, going back and forth the small details I wanted to complete it. And then, as I spotted this month's spiked ingredient...I knew. For whatever reason, this was the first recipe idea that popped into my mind when deciding what I should make for the contest.

I was intrigued as to how the spice of the rum would play off the sweetness of the banana and the caramel...and it was love at first bite. And...I make that declaration while simultaneously pointing out that I am not the biggest banana fan. Actually, I just lied. I am the antithesis of a banana fan, But for whatever reason, I seemed to enjoy them in this dish.

I can say that truthfully because I may be eating the left overs as I write this. It is late. It was only fair I have it as dessert to give you another option instead of just brunch..which was how this was devoured the first go round. and, uh, I may have added a big ole scoop of coffee ice cream.

Ingredients
8-10 slices of bread(cubed)
1 banana (diced)
3/4 cup cream (or milk)
2 oz spiced rum
3 large eggs (4 regular)
4 tbsp caramel sauce

cut the bread into cubes and place in a baking dish(make sure to butter or spray with non stick) Sprinkle bananas throughout and on top. In a separate bowl,  whisk together eggs, milk, rum and 1 tbsp of caramel sauce. Pour over bread. I like to use the tips of my fingers to press the bread down to make sure all of it is submerged in the egg mixture. Cover and place in fridge overnight(or at least 8 hours) Keep in mind it will rise when it bakes, so only fill the dish about 3/4 way full. Sometimes, there is liquid left over, if so, I save it and pour it over the bread in morning, right before I pop into oven.

preheat oven to 350 and bake for 30-45 minutes or until baked through. The bottom should be creamy and the top crispy. Top with caramel sauce.

***Notes.
Here are a few tips for making your best version of this dessert.


 For this particular one, I used this yummy bread.


 It made it sweeter, so if you want to minimize that, use any bread you want. These slices are small,  if you choose a different bread, you may not need as many slices.

I used flavored coffee creamer instead of milk. It gives it a creamier texture than just regular milk. I almost always substitute flavored creamer for milk when I am making a sweet dish.

 I love using them to make puddings also. You can change in boring old vanilla or cheesecake into multiple flavors. Flavored coffee creamers may be one of my favorite ingredients...except in coffee. I hate coffee. My husband still doesn't understand;) and yes, you did read the part about me adding coffee ice cream earlier...and no, I  don't always make sense. I am aware..


Linking up for the Spiked Challenge with This Gal Cooks and Frugal Foodie Mama

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Caramel Apple Whoopie Pies

This is the best way to enjoy the yummy flavors of a caramel apple, minus the mess. Although, it can't really replace the nostalgia I have from eating one. And oh, just the small addition of cheesecake. Yum, I think there are very few foods that will get me more excited than cheesecake. Actually, that may be a small fib. Heath bar may be on up there. Which is why my favorite blizzard is heath cheesecake. and now I am craving one. and it is 1am. How rude that Dairy Queen is A) not open this late and B) they don't offer delivery. 

But for the time being, this will have to satiate me and it delivers. I promise you this.  and my promises carry weight. Believe it.

When I stumbled upon the caramel apple cake mix in Target, I knew right away that I would be making a whoopie pie with it. I just needed to think about what filling would compliment the sweetness of the caramel and the tartness of the apple. Cheesecake was an easy choice. and if you haven't spied the caramel apple cake mix, never fear...in the notes section I have an alternate version.

Ingredients
1 box caramel apple cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp caramel ice cream topping
filling
1 packet cheesecake cream pudding
4-6 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 350'

Mix together dry cake mix, oil, eggs, caramel and water. Place in fridge for about an hour.
I normally use a round TBSP to place on cookie sheet, but you can also use a round TSP to make them bite size and get more out of it. Bake 8-9 minutes

For the filling
Cream softened cream cheese on low for 1 minute to get fluffy, add the pudding packet and 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream, beat until fully incorporated and slowly add the  whipping cream and beat until peaks begin to form. or for alternate version, prepare the pudding w/1 cup cold milk and mix w/cool whip. Place in fridge for hour to let either version set up. 

 Melt the ice cream topping in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Place a large dollop of the filling on one cookie, spoon a little of the caramel over the cheesecake filling and press another on top to spread the filling out.

***Notes. If for some reason you cannot locate the caramel apple cake mix. Get a white cake mix and use 1/4 cup apple cider in place of the water and 2 tbsp caramel topping. Otherwise, follow directions. You could also possibly add in a half a cup of shredded apples.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chocolate Bars With Pumpkin & Coconut

I really like to play around with pumpkin flavors this time of the year. Seeing as how it was still in the 80's the first weekend in November  I can trick my mind into full on fall.  I normally go for the obvious marriage of pumpkin and caramel, but I appreciate how the spice of the pumpkin plays off of the chocolate  My sister in law is a big fan pumpkin and coconut and the idea for this was born out of her love. Even though she never got to taste them, she was definitely my muse. Don't worry, I made up for it and made another version she loves just as much.

One of my favorite bars to play around with is the ooey gooey recipe I first got from Paula Deen. I have been ready to try something new, though and after scouring through pinterest for ideas, I came up with the perfect base by combining 4 different recipes. I guess that means this is a whole new one;)

Either way, simple and easy and yummy! I have multiple creations from this one base for you over the next few weeks. It is pumpkin time and I refuse to back down. Even though I hate pumpkin pie to a whole other level. But this isn't pie... so I am in the clear. 


Ingredients:

1 Box chocolate cake mix
1 Small box instant coconut pudding
1/4 Cup water
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
2 Eggs
1 cup pumpkin spice m & M's
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cake mix, pudding, water, vegetable oil, eggs and m & m's in a large mixing bowl.
Pour the batter  into a greased 10x13 baking dish. Top with the shredded coconut. I sprayed it with non spray cooking oil and I have also used parchment paper.
Bake your bars for 20-25 minutes (if you want them a little crispier, you could cook for 30 min)
You want it to still be slightly gooey in middle, but if the edges are browning, it is just about right.
I would just recommend watching it, my mom has an electric stove and I have gas and they cooked differently.
Cool for about 20 minutes and cut into squares. And if you are like me, you will steal up the corners. They are just the best part, no arguments allowed. Well, actually, I suppose you can argue, as that leaves the best for me;)

Linking up with Jessica and Ashley

Monday, November 4, 2013

OTT: Raleigh-Calavera

Of all the places there are to eat and or enjoy a cocktail in Raleigh, there are few that make me as happy as this small corner bar. And small may be too large a description. When you walk in downstairs you land straight in the bar that can comfortably hold less than ten people. But many times I have been there when it many more than that were in attendance.
Calavera Empanadas & Tequila Bar

Up the stairs you go and find a very unassuming dining room with windows that overlook a few other dinner and late night spots in the Oak City. And then you are handed a menu and as you look over it you begin to get the feeling that this in not your typical bar.



and you would be right. They claim to specialize in two specific things: Tequila and empanadas. And I believe that is why they do them so well. Some places can pull off a menu that is all over the map, but I feel it holds true that when you do specific things right, you will succeed. 

and every visit I have partaken in to this sweet spot has led me to believe that they absolutely back up their claim. I am not the largest fan of their jerk chicken empanadas, it is certainly not due to the fact that they are not incredible, but more so that they do the pork ones so beyond tasty that everything else falls second in my book.


and not to be outdone, their tequila selection is top notch. Perhaps one of the largest in our area. And they whip up a darn good margarita. And I love that they usually offer seasonal flavors. Right now it was Apple Cider, which is funny because I had just come up with my own recipe for it and to say they were similar would be an understatement!



One of the other reasons I love stopping by here is their proximity to one of my favorite hole in the wall music venues, Lincoln Theater. You can swing in for dinner beforehand or even just a late night beverage. 

I promise a visit here will be worth your while. 


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just A Sip

When we were in New Hampshire a few months back I stumbled onto these perfect little pours and they were having a huge sale and these were a buck each. Ergo, I had to try them out. I am nothing if not economical.

I have since seen these at the wine/beer here since then and they are still not to expensive and these would be perfect for a girls night. They pack a flavorful punch and I love the bubbly aspect.



Go Getcha some. Especially the pineapple mandarin. Yummmmmm.

Linking up for Thirsty Thursday

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Whoope Pie Wednesday: Chocolate with a Pumpkin Coconut Filling

There are very few things that I love more than a good whoopie pie. And this flavor didn't disappoint. I made so many combos last year that it took me a while to create ones that I hand't tried for the season yet. And then a pregnant friend was the inspiration behind this. She loves pumpkin and coconut and I had made her a brownie with similar flavors a few weeks ago and this just came to me one night.

I love coming up with simple recipes that you remind you of friends. Each time I think on these yummy treats I will remember this specific time in our life. And her and her sweet belly in particular.
The belly that we think holds a boy...but after they were first certain it was a girl before changing their minds a few weeks later, we are not holding our breath...

This is a rich treat for this crisp(well, it was 71' today so perhaps that is not the best description at this moment;) weather that represents all things fall. The coconut plays very well off of the pumpkin. It is reminiscent of a mounds bar, but an Autumn version.


Ingredients
cookies
1 box chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup cocnut coffee creamer( or milk)
filling
1 packet cocnut pudding
4-6 oz pumpkin spice cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 
2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350'

Mix together dry cake mix, oil, eggs and creamer. I normally use a round TBSP to place on cookie sheet, but you can also use a round TSP to make them bite size and get more out of it. Bake 8-9 minutes 
For the filling, cream softened cream cheese on low for 1 minute to get fluffy, add the pudding packet and 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream, beat until fully incorporated and slowly add the whipping cream and beat until peaks begin to form. or for alternate version, prepare the pudding w/1 cup cold milk, mix w/cool whip. Place in fridge for hour to let either version set up. 

Notes*** if you can't find the pumpkin spice cream cheese, just use regular cream cheese, but only 4 oz and then 2 oz pumpkin pie filling. Also, I think using the pumpkin cream liqueur in lieu of the coconut creamer may be really yummy! 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bourbon Cider Popsicles

Oh, my gosh. I am pretty sure that I can emphatically state that this in my new favorite fall treat. These were so tasty and so simple to whip up! And even though you use a small amount of bourbon in this, the flavor is still jam packed! 

These were the perfect mixture of what I love about fall. And I made sure to use real apple cider, the good stuff as it is full of flavor and even small apple bits.

As you know I usually prefer to enjoy my bourbon the way it was intended...room temp and straight out of the bottle. But sometimes you have to maintain the presumption of being classy.

ingredients
1 cup apple cider
1 1/2 tbsp bourbon
plastic shot glass cups
sticks

Combine the bourbon and cider together, shaking to make sure thoroughly mixed and pour into the cups, freeze for about an hour and add in the sticks. Then freeze for at least 24 hours, but they fared a little better after 48.

Run under hot water and they should pop right out, if they do not, no worries, just use scissors to snip the side of the plastic cup.


It is really important to not go over this alcohol ratio or they will not freeze! 

and thanks again so much to my bestie, Joja for taking these photos. You make magic with a camera! Love you, lady!

I think next time I want to make cran- apple bourbon pops. Off to do some...work;)

Linking up with Thirsty Thursday

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles

So, I think it is safe to say that there may be an addiction when you start making food based on your favorite candles. I have a problem with Bath & Body Works candles, I may have about 20 in just my living room/kitchen right now and that is not including the linen closet full... but that will not stop me from the next candle sale. No way.



So, when the new fall scents included a pumpkin pecan waffle, it was clear what my duty was for the year. Make them...while I burned my candle. and obviously find a way to work some bourbon in the recipe. Be serious.

Anyways, the all knowing world of pinterest showed me earlier this year how you can make waffles from cake mix. Then I saw the seasonal pumpkin cake mix and this recipe was ready to happen. If you can't find the pumpkin cake mix, never fear, check my notes and I will have another version you can switch out for.

Make the cake mix as it is directed on box, I did however use pecan praline coffee creamer in place of the water and I added a tbsp of Jack. The couple I nanny for was out of bourbon and I prefer Jack to Crown.  Then I added about half a cup of chopped pecans. 

Once you have  prepped the cake mix, turn your waffle iron on and once it is ready, pour in your cake mix and cook just like you would a regular waffle.

If you want ice cream, that would work perfectly or I made a maple bourbon cool whip topping. usually, I would make my won whipping cream, but it was not at my disposal at their house. I just took 2 cups of french vanilla cool whip, 2 tbsp maple syrup and 1 1/2 tbsp jack and mixed together for a new cool whip flavor. Place on waffle and top with remaining pecans. So very tasty!

****notes if you can't find the pumpkin cake mix, just use yellow/white and add a cup of pumpkin puree and a dash of pumpkin spice. Or use regular waffle mix and do the same thing. 

These were perfect for a chilly, crisp fall morning or to have at an afternoon brunch.

Linking up with Love & laundry Simply Sweet Home What's cooking loveJessica, Ashley, Totally Posted Tuesday, Tasty Thursday  Wake Up Wednesday

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pumpkin Alfredo Bake WIth Prosciutto

I am really excited to bring you a recipe I concocted for a  contest that I am participating in for the Legends From Europe. The stipulations were pretty simple, you were given the option of making a recipe involving meat or cheese, once you chose they would email you with your selection.

Due to the fact that there was even a slim chance I would be given Prosciutto di Parma, I had to choose meat for that very reason. This girl loves it! If you are unfamiliar,  it is dry cured ham, to find out more about why it's so amazing, you can check out the link here on the Legends From Europe website.

The stars aligned and I was chosen to create a recipe with this delectable ingredient. I did the happy dance in my kitchen. Actually, if we're being truthful here, I was at this little known store, Target, when I got the email on my phone and I may have been more than a little excited than usual in my shopping adventure.

The rules were easy to adhere to, your recipe must contain your item and no other cured meat or grana cheeses. Those are rules I can live with and the recipe I came up with is perfect for all this fall weather we are finally starting to have here in North Carolina!



I chose to create a Pumpkin alfredo sauce and incorporate the Prosciutto di Parma. The saltiness of the meat played off the creaminess of the pumpkin and mascarpone. I decided to forgo adding any spices that would bring out sweetness in the pumpkin and instead added only ground black pepper, a small pinch og salt and since this is me...a hint of bourbon.

1/2 lb penne pasta
1/2 lb Prosciutto di Parma (thinly sliced and chopped)
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz mascarpone
8 oz mozzarella/provolone mix(shredded)
1 tbsp bourbon
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp butter


Cook the pasta to al dente, once finished, drain. 

In a small saute pan, add in the Prosciutto di Parma and the bourbon. Cook just until crisp. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pain, combine mascarpone, pumpkin and butter on low heat. Once it begins to bubble add in the cream. Let it cook for a few minutes and add in 6 oz of the shredded cheese. Continue whisking till fully melted. Add in the prosciutto. Then add in the cooked pasta and stir till fully incorporated into the cheese sauce.

Pour into a baking dish, top with the remaining cheese and bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes or just until the  cheese begins to brown.


Linking up with what's cooking love Marvelous Mondays mix it up monday Weekend potluck , mellywood mansion sweet bella roos

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cran-Apple Mimosa

Looking for a drink that feels like fall and is missing the pumpkin taste? Well, I have the perfect cocktail for you this week. It is so yummy that you will almost feel like you cheated it is so simple to make! I made this a few times and you can create a few different versions. 




The first and most simple version simply involves 2 oz cran apple juice, 1 oz apple cider and topped with your favorite champagne or sparkling wine. I actually used a sparkling moscato in this recipe. Normally I am not the biggest fan of moscato but the tartness from the cider matched evenly with the sweetness to bring about a big glass of delicious.

The second version was just me playing around with my favorite friend, you all know him as Mister Bourbon. I just know him as Yes, Please. I have been using him so so abundantly in recipes lately that I honestly cannot remember which one I used in this particular version. Was it Makers? Maybe it was Buffalo Trace. I know it wasn't mister Williams due to the fact that I ran out of Evan while making this recipe. Hmmmm, maybe it was Forester. I don't know people, I do not discriminate. But I do play favorites. That is for another post. One that has already been written. You should have read it...

So I have a PSA for you guys...use your favorite! I cannot make it for you, but just do your taste buds a favor and use some in this drink. It was a good choice. As if adding alcoholic corn could ever be seen as a bad decision. Please.

So if you go with this version the recipe changes only ever so slightly. 1 1/2 oz cran apple, 1 oz apple cider , 1 oz bourbon and a dry sparkling wine. Add a straw and let the good times roll.

Linking up with Kitchen Fun


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beer Queso

I may really, really love me some queso. and guess what, my favorite is hands down tostitos. Not the whole velveeta and rotel version. I am sorry. I just feel that Tostitos kinda has the whole deal down on lock and so really, why should you mess with a good thing. Well...until you decide to add beer.

Quite a few times I have made a recipe similar to this and I would just use tostitos and pour into this dish. and believe me when I say that you can absolutely still do that, but I must say...I really enjoyed this version. Way too much.

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef(or turkey)
1 pkge taco seasoning(or your own homemade version)
4 oz beer
6 oz cream cheese
4 oz salsa
4 oz shredded cheese(Mexican blend is what I used)

brown the meat and drain, add in the taco seasoning and the beer. Stir together and heat on low until it begins to bubble. Add in the cream cheese and stir for a few minutes till the flavors are melted together and then add in the salsa. You can use any flavor you like. Spicy or mild. We actually used green salsa yesterday. and then add in shredded cheese, stirring to combine.

Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Linking up with Ashley and Jessica