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

fried-plantain-1

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!

fried-plantain-2

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

bacon-water-chestnuts

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.

Chocolate Cavity-Maker Cake

choc-cav-cake-1

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.

choc-cav-cake-2

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.

Molasses Sugar Cookies

molasses-cookies

My family absolutely loves these cookies!  You can make them with or without the raisins–they’re great either way.  We usually make them for Christmas, although they aren’t really a typical Christmas cookie.  Also, they freeze really well–in case you want to save them for an upcoming event.  I got the recipe from my mother-in-law.

Molasses Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C. shortening
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/4 C. molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 C. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. raisins (optional)

Directions:

Melt shortening in small saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat and let cool.  In large bowl, beat together cooled shortening, sugar, molasses, and egg.  Set aside.  In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.  Add to first mixture.  Mix well and stir in raisins, if you choose.  Chill.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Form dough into 1″ balls, roll in granulated sugar, and place 2″ apart on cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Let cool 2-3 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Pilaf Bengal

Pilaf Bengal - w

I believe this recipe came from my mother-in-law.  It seems like an odd assortment of ingredients, but it really does end up tasting lovely.  Even my kids loved it!  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Rice-a-Roni
  • 1 C. chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 C. chopped apples
  • 1/2 C. apricot preserves
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cubed
  • raisins
  • peanuts
  • coconut
  • chutney

 

Directions:

Prepare Rice-a-Roni as directed on package.  Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in butter, in a medium skillet.  Add apples, apricot preserves, bouillon, flour, pepper, lemon juice, and curry powder.  Stir to mix.  Add chicken and simmer 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Serve chicken mixture over Rice-a-Roni.  Garnish with raisins, peanuts, coconut, and chutney.

 

Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes-w

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law.  We tend to go gaga over these because they are so good.  They’re the kind of food that you want to keep eating even after you’re full, just so you can keep tasting them.  Give ’em a try!

Ingredients:

  • 2 C. milk
  • 1 1/2 C. quick oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C. canola oil
  • 3/4 C. flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

 

Directions:

In large bowl, pour milk over oats.  Let stand 2 minutes.  Beat in eggs and oil, then add remaining ingredients and mix.  Mixture will be thin.  Cook on electric griddle at about 300 degrees.

Yield: 3 servings

Appetizer Pizza

Appetizer Pizza

 

I got this recipe from a good friend of mine.  It is a favorite in her family and regularly shows up at family functions.  We gave it a go and love it, too!  You can serve it with any kind of Triscuit® cracker you like.  We even eat this for dinner sometimes–don’t tell on us!

Appetizer Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 C. sour cream
  • 1/4 C. plus 1-2 Tbsp. ranch dressing
  • 1/4 C. ketchup
  • assorted toppings–diced ham, diced turkey, pepperoni, chopped cucumbers, sliced black olives, diced carrots, diced broccoli, diced cauliflower, shredded cheese
  • 1 box Triscuit crackers

 

Directions:

In medium bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream and 1/4 C. ranch dressing.  Spread on platter a little larger than a dinner plate.  In small bowl, mix ketchup and remaining dressing.  Spread on top of cream cheese layer to within 1/2″ of the edge.  Top with meat, vegetables, and cheese.  Chill.  Serve with Triscuits.