Valentine’s Day Candy Bark

For some odd reason I decided to make our bark in a pie pan.  Bad idea–stick to waxed paper on a jellyroll pan.  I love how the salty pretzels help offset the sweet of the candy bark.  Once the candy has melted, you’ll want to work quickly so that it doesn’t set before you place your decorations on it.  Thanks to Wilton for the original idea!

Valentine’s Day Candy Bark

Ingredients:

  • white candy bark
  • chocolate candy bark
  • pretzel twists
  • M&Ms
  • sprinkles

Directions:

Line jellyroll pan with wax paper.  In microwave safe bowl, melt white candy bark according to package directions.  Spread over wax paper in thin layer.  Lightly place pretzels on white bark as desired.  Melt 1/4 to 1/3 package of chocolate candy bark according to package directions.  Carefully spoon into openings of pretzels, covering pretzel so that it resembles a chocolate heart in the center.  Place M&M or desired candy in middle of pretzel hearts.  Decorate white bark with sprinkles.  Leave at room temperature or put in cool place to harden.  Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Fried Plantains

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Fried plantains are one of my favorite foods to snack on!  The key is to buy a couple of plantains and let them sit until they turn black and look like they’re basically inedible.  At that point, check them to see how soft/firm they are.  You’ll want them to be a sort of medium firmness–not hard but not too mushy.  They are addicting!

Fried Plantains

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 plantains (1 feeds about 2 people)
  • canola oil (try other oils for a slightly different taste)

Directions:

Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Peel plantain by cutting in half, slicing off other end, and making a slit down the length of the skin.  Peel skin off of fruit.  Slice plantain into coins.  Once oil is heated, place sliced plantain in hot oil to fry.  Flip and fry other side once bottom is golden-dark brown, depending on your preference.  Once fried on both sides, remove to paper towel-lined plate to cool slightly.  Enjoy!

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Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

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I believe that I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.  But honestly, I can’t remember anymore.  The point is that I love, love, love these appetizers!  They are very messy, so have forks and napkins ready.  If you prefer less sauce, they are just as good with half of the called-for amount.  I especially enjoy serving these at Christmas or New Year’s parties.

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 1 C. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans water chestnuts, drained

Directions:

In small bowl combine brown sugar, ketchup and Worcestershire.  Refrigerate.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cut bacon strips in half.  Wrap one halved slice of bacon around each water chestnut.  Secure with a toothpick or place seam-side down in 9″ x 13″ cake pan.  Bake wraps about 45 minutes for crispness.  (If desired you can broil them in metal pan for about 15 minutes instead.)  Remove from oven and drain grease from pan.  You can use a cooling rack to keep wraps in place when pan is tilted for draining.  Drizzle refrigerated sauce over wraps and bake 30-35 minutes more.  Let cool slightly.  Serve warm.

*Note: This recipe makes a lot of sauce.  If preferred, you can halve the amount of brown sugar, ketchup and Worcestershire that you use.

Cream Cheese Roll-Ups

cream-cheese-roll-ups

I got this recipe years ago from a friend at church.  She brought them to a baby shower and I had to get the recipe for myself!  My family loves them and we had fun brainstorming alternative fillings.

Cream Cheese Roll-Ups

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz. mild green chiles, drained
  • 1 C. shredded cheddar
  • 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (optional)
  • 4-5 flour tortillas

Directions:

In medium bowl, mix sour cream, cream cheese, chiles, cheddar, and taco seasoning (if desired).  Spread evenly on tortillas.  Roll up each tortilla somewhat tightly.  Place in gallon ziploc or wrap in plastic wrap.  Put in fridge to chill.  Once chilled and firm, place on cutting board and slice into bite-size spirals.  Serve with salsa.

*Variation: luncheon meat & diced dill pickle instead of green chiles (omit taco seasoning)

Chocolate Cavity-Maker Cake

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When I want a rich, chocolatey cake this is my go-to recipe.  It’s heavenly when it’s just warm and the chocolate chips are gooey.  Enjoy it with a hot cup of coffee or tea!  I got this recipe from my dad who printed it off of allrecipes.com.  It looks like their version is slighty different from mine, though.

Chocolate Cavity-Maker Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 box dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1 sm. box instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 C. canola oil
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1/4 C. coffee
  • 1 C. chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan.  In lg. bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, oil, milk, and coffee.  Beat until well blended.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Batter will be thick.  Spoon into prepared pan.  Bake 1 hour or until cake springs back when lightly tapped.  Cool about 10 minutes in pan, loosen sides with thing spatula or knife, and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar to make pretty.  Best served warm.

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Taco Dip

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Who doesn’t love taco dip?  We’ve been known to have this for lunch, though I’m sure it isn’t the healthiest option.  Feel free to customize the toppings according to what your family likes.  I got this recipe from my brother’s girlfriend’s mom when we attended a graduation party at their house.

Taco Dip

Ingredients:

  • 4 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning
  • 1 can refried beans
  • shredded lettuce
  • 1 lg. can sliced black olives
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • green onion, chopped (to taste)
  • 2 C.+ shredded cheddar
  • 1-2 lg. bags Fritos or tortilla chips

Directions:

In large bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream, and taco seasoning.  Mix thoroughly.  Spread mixture evenly in jellyroll or cake pan.  Layer toppings over cream cheese mixture: beans, lettuce, olives, tomatoes, onions, and cheese.  Cover and chill.  Serve with chips.

Wassail

wassail

The first time I had this was at my sister-in-law’s house and boy was I impressed!  I just had to have the recipe and have made it many times since.  We’ve tried making it with green tea, but prefer black.  This is an excellent drink for the wintertime, so why don’t you make a batch for your own family?

Wassail

Ingredients:

  • 8 C. water
  • 4 tea bags (I prefer black tea)
  • 1 C. water
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 whole allspice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 C. lemon juice
  • 3/4 C. orange juice
  • 3/4 C. apple juice OR cider

Directions:

Boil 8 C. water in large pot.  Turn off heat and add tea bags to steep for 5 minutes.  Remove tea bags when done steeping.  Meanwhile, combine 1 C. water, sugar, and cinnamon stick in small saucepan.  Place cloves and allspice in tea ball and add to sugar mixture.  Boil for 5 minutes.  When sugar-spice mixture is done, add to large pot of tea.  Also mix in lemon, orange, and apple juices.  Heat and serve.

Buckeyes

buckeyes

We absolutely love Buckeyes!  They are a family Christmas tradition and the holidays just aren’t complete without this peanut-buttery treat on the table.  This year my niece made them and she did an excellent job!

Buckeyes

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 C. crunchy OR creamy peanut butter
  • 3 C. Rice Krispies cereal
  • 3 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 lb. paraffin wax
  • Lg. Hershey bar or other melting chocolate

Directions:

In lg. bowl, mix together butter, peanut butter, cereal, and powdered sugar.  Melt chocolate and wax together in double boiler.  Form peanut butter mixture into balls, dip in chocolate to cover, and place on wax paper to harden.

Easy Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

easy-pb-cookies

We made this peanut butter cookies to snack on this Christmas.  I actually have two Peanut Butter Kiss Cookie recipes–this is the simple one.  It has surprisingly good taste for how few ingredients are included.  This recipe lends itself well to having children help–they love putting the chocolate on top.

Easy Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 C. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 C. sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 72 Hershey Kisses or chocolate stars

Directions:

Unwrap Kisses.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In lg. bowl, stir together peanut butter, sugar, and eggs until blended (it will be sticky).  Using a small scoop, drop 1 1/2″ balls of dough on cookie sheet about 1 1/2″ apart.  Bake 12-14 minutes, until cookies look dry and tops look cracked.  Remove from oven and immediately press a Kiss or chocolate star in center of each cookie.  Leave on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.  Make sure chocolate has set before storing.

Maple Walnut Fudge

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My husband is not a fan of chocolate fudge, so we like to try out alternate fudge recipes to please his palate.  This one has earned a thumbs-up from the husband!  I love the maple taste and it pairs wonderfully with the nuts.  If you don’t have walnuts, you can substitute another nut.  We used pecans for this batch.  Also, since some of us don’t like nuts in fudge, I just put the pecan half on top and leave it out of the mixture altogether.  That way it can be picked off the top and everybody is accommodated.  I can’t find the original source of this recipe.

Maple Walnut Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 2 C. sugar
  • 1 C. evaporated milk
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 C. mini marshmallows
  • 3 C. white chocolate chips
  • 1 C. chopped walnuts, or nut of choice (optional)
  • 3 tsp. maple extract
  • 50 walnut halves (optional)

Directions:

In lg. saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, milk, and butter.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Let boil 5 minutes at 236-238 degrees F (soft-ball stage).  Remove from heat and quickly stir in marshmallows, white chocolate, chopped walnuts, and maple flavor.  Spread in a foil-lined 9×13″pan.  Top with walnut halves.  Chill 8 hours or overnight.  Cut around lg. walnut pieces to serve.

Tip: If the mixture doesn’t get hot enough, it will not set right.  It will still be delicious, just not firm like fudge.

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