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Saturday, December 31, 2011

RED GOLD AND GREAT FOODINI PRESENT.....ANDOUILLE RATATOUILLE

Feeling a little......'Fwench' are we????  Perhaps....Vewy...vewy Fwench????  Hahaha - I am trying a bit of 'fusion' myself here - much preferring fusion to confusion, as a rule!


So - my love affair with tomatoes continues.  Actually, my love affair with Red Gold specifically.  How I love that Red Gold does all the work and I get all the credit.

Thanks for the great notes and comments on the Red Gold Two Minute Salsa, and the other appetizers and thanks for the questions and comments on the Huevos Rancheros - I am so glad you liked them!!!  Mr. W was asking for those the other day again too.....

Today's recipe - Red Gold Andouille Ratatouille is an outstanding recipe where once again, Red Gold does all the work and I get all the credit.  Here's where the magic happens.....Ratatouille is a French traditional dish featuring tomatoes as the star and key ingredient - with bell peppers, onions, eggplant, zucchini and herbs as the supporting cast.  Many very famous and accomplished French chefs support a very time consuming and laborious method whereby each individual vegetable is cooked or roasted to attain it's best flavor, and then combined and heated through to meld the flavors.  Needless to say - this can be very time consuming but the end result is - quite simply - delicious.  An Americanized version, and one that I have previously used in many classes is the quick saute and bake to blend method which yields great results - especially with my favorite canned tomatoes grown right here in the Midwest, my Red Gold.

The star of the show!
So...fast forward to a few months ago when I found...

and guess what?  All of the deep flavors of the slow roasting come together in one simple can of Red Gold Culinary Classics Sliced Tomatoes with Zucchini, onions, celery and bell peppers.   I love andouille sausage with this dish.  Andouille sausage is traditionally quite spicy with a Cajun style seasoning.  It's found in many butcher shops and even in some grocery stores.  It's great...but, if you prefer a milder sausage or can't find andouille - any favorite sausage will be outstanding!

I knew this was going to be an amazing combination and with a few fresh veggies - baked right with the delicious tomatoes and I've got an amazing ratatouille with layers of flavors and all kinds of time for other important things....like napping before a New Year's Eve party!

And the best part?  Red Gold canned tomatoes - born and raised in the Midwest.  Just. Like. Me!


On the left.......fresh and bright, right out of the can.....

On the right....beautiful caramelized goodness, in just an hour.....





RED GOLD ANDOUILLE RATATOUILLE

2 - 28 oz cans Red Gold Sliced Tomatoes with
  Zucchini
1 small eggplant, cubed
2 small yellow squash, sliced and quartered
2 lbs. Andouille (or other favorite sausage)

Preheat oven to 375.  Place both cans of tomatoes (undrained) in baking dish.  Add eggplant and yellow squash, stirring to combine.  Bake uncovered, one hour, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, either grill or pan sear and heat your sausage in 2 or 3 inch links.  If grilling is an option, it's my favorite way - or a grill pan on the stove or even a nice sear in a hot pan will work for the nice char marks and to caramelize the great flavors of the sausage.

When ratatouille is heated through and eggplant and squash have cooked down, remove from oven, add sausage and return for another 10 minutes to heat through.  Stir and serve - we like this over hot, brown rice.

RECIPE TIP:  If you can find the Japanese style or small eggplants - they are perfect for this recipe!

A huge bonus to this recipe - it is so very good for us - tomatoes are a Rock Star in the healthy food world and all of the other veggies don't hurt either!  Andouille is traditionally very lean but don't forget all of the GREAT turkey sausage products available to us too!

Well my friends!  Looks like we have a wrap to 2011!  My wish for all of us never changes - health, happiness, peace and hope, and.....a little something delicious every day!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

MAGICAL CHRISTMAS RECIPES!

Happy Happy and Merry Merry to all of my friends and family reading today!  These are just a couple of fun recipes to share this time of year - something for the little ones and something for the big ones - enjoy and all of the joy of the season from my home to yours!




MAGIC REINDEER FOOD

Make a wish and close your eyes tight,
Then sprinkle on your lawn at night.
As Santa’s reindeer fly and roam
This food will guide them to your home!
Merry Christmas!
 
Use any combination of oatmeal, cereal, sprinkles and glitter to make your magic reindeer food!

CHOCOLATE FONDUE

2/3 cup corn syrup                                                     
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream                                    
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips                                             
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bananas, strawberries, dried apricots,
pineapple, graham crackers, cookies, 
pretzels, marshmallows, etc...




Combine corn syrup and cream in medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and remove.  Stir in chocolate and vanilla until completely melted.  Return to low heat if necessary to melt chocolate.  Serve with assorted dippers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GREAT FOODINI APPEARANCE ON FOX2 DETROIT!

Hello friends!  Just a quick note to let you know that I will be appearing on Fox2 Detroit tomorrow morning sometime in the 9:00 a.m. hour on their really fun morning show called 'The Nine'.  I am doing a segment on holiday baking with some of my tips, tricks and last minute baking magic - if you can't get the station, I will post the segment here when I get home or you can visit their website at www.myfoxdetroit.com

I'll post new recipes here very soon too!

Monday, December 19, 2011

ASK FOODINI....CANNED TOMATOES

I just received an email from Sandy about when to use fresh tomatoes and when to use canned - great question Sandy!!  Thanks for asking.....

When a recipe specifically calls for fresh tomatoes - often in a dish that is uncooked like a salad, a cold appetizer or a dip, or when tomatoes are used as a garnish for color as much as flavor, that is when a fresh tomato - as red as you can get it - is typically your 'go to' ingredient.

When a recipe calls for diced tomatoes and it's in a soup, stew, sauce or another warm dish - I find that substituting canned tomatoes (especially in the off season when good quality tomatoes are not at peak) is an outstanding ingredient because like I have mentioned before - you are getting the tomatoes at their peak of flavor simply by opening a can.  Can't beat that for flavor and convenience.

Another time when I am looking for a canned tomato product is when I am short on time but do not want to compromise flavor.

I have been a cooking instructor for over 25 years and even though I can cook 'gourmet' with the best chefs, (heck - I cooked for Gordon Ramsay and lived to tell about it!!!) and can turn out 5 star foods - my success as a teacher comes from creating foods and recipes that not only can be duplicated but WILL be duplicated by my students and other aspiring cooks.  That's where the 'time' component comes in - and there is no better way to make time than by using flavored canned tomatoes.

There are a lot of sauces and stocks out there that require hours and hours of seasoning and cooking to get the proper flavors and consistency.  When you open a can of seasoned tomatoes, and I trust Red Gold with my recipes, you are getting all of the flavor that would usually take hours and hours of simmering and seasoning with the flip of a can.

Look at it this way - Red Gold does all the work and you get all the credit!  I am A-OK with that!!!

Thanks for your question!

RED GOLD TOMATOES AND TURK FARM FRESH EGGS = BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS!


Oh yeah, it's a good day in the Foodini household!  This morning I whipped up a Breakfast of Champions for my vacationing Mr. Wonderful and myself - I had my eye out for the UPS guy because I would have invited him in too but he's nowhere to be found!

Okay - my new obsession is the new Culinary Classics product line from Red Gold tomatoes.  You've seen my posts about my Red Gold Two Minute Salsa, my Red Gold Basil Bruschetta and my Red Gold Minute Marinara.....one of the other new flavors - Chipotle Diced was the star of the show in the Foodini kitchen this morning.  My long time obsession is buying locally and eating seasonally and you know what?  This morning's breakfast did just that.  Loved the smoky heat of the chipotle peppers!

Dave Turk and I checking out the eggs
I did a Great Foodini appearance this weekend at Turk Farms and left with some of the freshest meats, dairy and eggs available anywhere - what I had in my car on Saturday was in the field last week.  Can't get much fresher than that.  Fresh equals flavor so we have a win-win situation here!

There are some ingredients, however, that are simply not available year-round, especially in Michigan with our short and sweet growing season.  Tomatoes are one of those products - and tomatoes are one of my favorite ingredients so - here we have Red Gold to the rescue!  Did you know that Red Gold canned tomatoes are grown right here in the Midwest, where great soils and perfect climate combine for the best tasting tomatoes.  They are then picked at the peak of freshness and carefully trucked to a nearby processing facility where - within 45 minutes, they are in the can.   This is why you get a whiff of summer every time you open a can of Red Gold tomatoes.  It's quite simply - canned summer!

Here's what we had for breakfast this morning!

RED GOLD CHIPOTLE HUEVOS RANCHEROS
Breakfast of Champions!

1 28 oz can Red Gold Diced Tomatoes with Chipotle,
  slightly drained (save juice for soup)
2 eggs per person
Cheddar or queso blanco

Toasted corn or flour tortillas      

In medium sauté pan, heat tomatoes over medium low heat until heated through and simmer until most of the liquid is cooked off and mixture thickens slightly.  Make 4 wells in tomato mixture and ease eggs into wells.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook eggs about 3 to 4 minutes for slightly runny yolk or more for harder cooked eggs.  Sprinkle with cheese, remove from heat, cover 1 minute and serve with toasted tortillas on the side.

To toast tortillas, heat very small amount of butter or oil in skillet or pan, add tortilla and heat a little on both sides - I like to char the tortillas just a bit to crisp.
Si......por favor!!!

RECIPE TIP:  This variety of tomatoes does have a bit of heat - if this is too spicy for you, add a fresh diced tomato or a drained can of plain diced tomatoes.

FOOD 411:  When a recipe refers to chipotle, it means it is using a smoked and dried jalapeno pepper.  I love chipotle because it adds a nice smoky flavor in addition to the pepper and heat.  

PRODUCT ALERT:   I love Red Gold tomatoes - have been a fan for a long time.  If they are not on your shelves - ask your grocer to check into carrying them - you just may be a hero in your neighborhood!

I hope you enjoy this new recipe - this is going to find it's way to our table on Christmas morning - so easy and so good!  I love that I will be cooking local - Turk Farm eggs, Turk Farm sausage and....Red Gold tomatoes - all born and raised in the Midwest...

Just. Like. Me!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

FARM TO TABLE - THIS IS HOW IT'S DONE......!

Don't forget about the Open House today at Turk Farms, 4915 Cullen Road in Fenton (Hartland). His retail store will be open 9-5 and I will be there from 11-2 with....Butternut and Friends Soup, free range roast chicken, Caribbean Black Beans, South of the Border Pinto Beans, Caramel Apple Dip and all of the late season fruits and vegetables including apples, squash, onions, potatoes, cabbage and ...his local farm free range fresh chickens, rabbits, goat and pork. I also love the selection of Thomas' organic yogurts and ice creams and his fresh eggs. Check out their website at www.turkfarms.com
and we are also featured on www.freshmichigan.com
. Come by for tasty samples and to check out this outstanding local farm - this is farm to table at it's best!WWW.FRESHMICHIGAN.COM

Friday, December 16, 2011

MORE APPETIZERS!! O' CHRISTMAS BRIE, O' CHRISTMAS BRIE.......

I'll do you a favor and stop singing.....hahahaha!!  You're welcome!!

Today's recipes from the Foodini Friday show on WHMI are my 'go to' recipes for making and taking to holiday parties.  One of the recipes, my Red Gold Two Minute Salsa was posted yesterday so check out that post.  The other two recipes, Christmas Brie and Mary and Barrie's Sweet Mustard are here!


O' Christmas Brie, O' Christmas Brie.....

CHRISTMAS BRIE

14 oz wheel brie                      
½ cup basil pesto                
 ½ cup roasted red pepper or
sundried tomato pesto

Preheat oven to 325.  Place brie wheel in large pie plate.  Heat in preheated oven for 5 minutes.  Remove and carefully spoon pesto in decorative pattern on top of brie.  Return to oven for another 5 to 8 minutes or until brie is warm and starting to melt.  Remove and serve with crusty breads or crackers.



Perfect as a pretzel dip....or on sandwiches too!
MARY AND BARRIE’S SWEET MUSTARD

1 c half and half
1 c sugar
½ c vinegar
2 T dry mustard           
2 T plus 2 t flour
Pinch salt

2 slightly beaten egg yolks

Combine all ingredients except eggs and bring to a low boil over medium heat.    Whisk constantly so mixture doesn’t burn on bottom of pan.  When slightly thickened, and just starting to boil add hot mix to eggs a little at a time and stir so eggs do not cook.  When tempered, add egg mixture to pan and cook until thickened, about 5 more minutes or so.  Cool and refrigerate.  Will last 3 weeks in fridge


RECIPE TIP:  This mustard is a wonderful gift idea - spoon mustard into a decorative jar or container, add a bag of pretzels and a pretty bow - a great gift from YOUR kitchen!!


Great fun and you know what?  Jon had never tried brie before - hey, learn something new every day!!!


And don't forget tomorrow, Great Foodini is appearing from 11-2 at Dave Turk Farms at 4915 Cullen Road in Fenton and answering food questions and serving up my famous Butternut and Friends Soup as well as sampling a free range roast chicken from Turk Farms.  Check out his website at www.turkfarms.com, or www.freshmichigan.com for more information.  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

WITH A CAN OF RED GOLD TOMATOES, A STICK BLENDER, AND 20 MINUTES, I CAN RULE THE WORLD!!

Seriously – for me, this week has been all about Red Gold to the rescue. It’s no secret that my success in developing recipes is measured by how many times somebody else makes that recipe and how much it’s enjoyed, right? To put it simply, I LOVE it when you tell me that you like my food – I am successful when you tell me YOU made it and your friends and family LOVED it!!!

Well this week I attended several events where the guests were to bring a dish to pass or an appetizer, easy enough, right? For my book club cookie exchange I had a recipe in mind….but, on a hunch I called my BFF to see what she was bringing and sure enough – she was taking my Christmas Brie recipe!!! Yikes!  I have to leave in 20 minutes and take something different. Red Gold to the rescue!!! I happened to have a package of spinach and cheese ravioli – I cooked them and then pan seared them, placed them on a plate and – get this, took a can of the new Culinary Classics Garlic and Olive Oil by Red Gold, drained them and pureed them, right in the can with my stick blender, warmed the sauce and poured it over the ravioli. Garnish with a little parmesan cheese and crushed basil – a quick zap in the microwave upon arrival and you have a delicious and beautiful appetizer, or main dish! 20 minutes start to finish.

I had to take another finger food appetizer to a work function and again, low on time but need something spectacular – hey, I have a reputation to keep here!! Red Gold to the rescue – again! I had also picked up a can of the new Red Gold Culinary Classics Chef’s Cut Tomatoes with Basil in Puree…..I knew these were going to be good. I made a Red Gold Bruschetta – I drained the can slightly (I saved the juice and puree for my next soup) and added one clove of fresh pressed garlic. I toasted a beautiful multigrain baguette, in slices, under the broiler and spooned on the tomatoes, sprinkled with a little fresh grated parmesan cheese, some capers for color and flavor and yet another star was born! Ten minutes start to finish.

Okay – so – need something even quicker?? This is an old standby for me – I developed this recipe a couple of years ago using a can of Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles….the can is marked *hot* and it doesn’t disappoint! Open and slightly drain the can of tomatoes – add a little lime, a little cumin, a little salt and a little cilantro and voila – a little magic happens and you have the most delicious salsa. This recipe is traveling with me tomorrow morning for a little Christmas Appetizer spot on my Foodini Friday appearance on the Marino and the Morning Crew radio show. Two minutes start to finish!

My best holiday cooking tip? Keep an assortment of Red Gold tomatoes on hand and you will never be more than 20 minutes away from creating a dish you will be proud to present at your next event.

For the record – there are lots of tomato products on the market but take it from me, the Red Gold brand – in the bright yellow can, is just the assurance you need that you are putting the best there is on your table. Red Gold tomatoes are grown right here in the Midwest, where the soils and the climate make all the difference in the world. Take that from a girl whose first food memory is of a bright red, warm tomato – picked by my grandfather and handed to me right off the vine – I can still smell that fresh picked scent and I can still feel and taste the warm, juicy freshness when I bit into it – like an apple – oh, talk about a walk down memory lane. That memory comes back to me every time I open a can of Red Gold tomatoes.

Best of all? I know that every Red Gold tomato in every Red Gold can was born and raised in the Midwest.   Just. Like. Me.




RED GOLD MINUTE MARINARA

1 28 oz can Red Gold Culinary Classics
   Tomatoes with Olive oil and Garlic
Prepared ravioli
Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese for garnish.

Cook ravioli according to package instructions – for entrée, drain well and place in serving dish. For appetizer ravioli, pan sear until lightly brown in a skillet with a little olive oil. Remove and place on serving platter.

For marinara, open can and drain most juice. I save the juice and put it in my next sauce or soup. It really is ‘red gold’!! Using a stick blender, if you have one, blend to puree the tomatoes right in the can. If you don’t have a stick blender, place contents of drained can in a blender or food processor and process until desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky. Place sauce in small sauce pan and warm through. Serve over prepared ravioli and garnish with fresh shredded cheese.











 


Simple ingredients - stunning taste!
  RED GOLD BRUSCHETTA

1 baguette of choice
Olive oil
Sea salt
1 28 oz can Red Gold Culinary Classics
   Chef’s Cut Tomatoes with Basil in Puree
1 clove fresh pressed garlic
Fresh grated Parmesan, Romano or Asiago Cheese
Capers for garnish

Preheat broiler on high. Slice baguette on the bias in ½ inch slices. Brush lightly with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Place on broiler safe baking sheet and broil until slightly charred and toasted. Remove and cool.

Open and drain tomatoes, I save the juice and put it in my next sauce or soup. Not wasting any ‘red gold’ on my watch!!! Add pressed garlic to tomatoes and stir to blend.

To assemble….top prepared bread slices with tomato mixture. Garnish with grated cheese and capers. Serve at room temperature, or, put under broiler for just a minute to warm through.







Ingredients for quick salsa!


RED GOLD TWO MINUTE SALSA

1 - 14.5 oz can Red Gold Petite Diced tomatoes
with Green Chilies, slightly drained
Juice from 1 lime
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
Small handful cilantro

Tortilla chips.


Ready in 2 minutes!

Combine all ingredients and blend well with blender, food processor or immersion blender. If this mixture is too spicy, add a second can of drained petite diced tomatoes.

That’s it! Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.










RECIPE TIP: When you need to drain tomatoes - save the juice and add it to your next sauce or soup recipe - or use it in place of water when you make rice. It's worth the effort!


SHOPPING TIP: It's easy to spot the Red Gold tomato products - they are in the bright yellow can and stand out like a bit of sunshine on the shelf!



Enjoy these recipes and stay tuned – I am almost done with two more new Red Gold tomato recipes using two more new flavors – tomatoes with zucchini that are starring in a super healthy ratatouille and……the diced tomatoes with chipotle has made it’s way to my table in a Huevos Rancheros breakfast dish that’s almost ready!


Friday, December 9, 2011

COOKIES UNDER PRESSURE!!!!

OMG!!!   It's Cookie Exchange Time!!!!!!  Notice I am emphasizing the cookie exchange part and not just baking cookies....which could be stressful in and of itself right??

No.  The Cookie Exchange - which is a way to procure many different kinds of cookies while only having to select and bake one kind of your own.  There are many different ways to host and run a cookie exchange but in a nutshell, a group of people get together and exchange a predetermined quantity of cookies, usually a dozen or so but that may vary.  This is typically held at someone's home with some beverages, some food, and a sampling of cookies that everybody brings.  One of the most fun things for me at these exchanges is hearing the stories behind the cookies - were they Grandma Betty's favorites?   Did Aunt Mary have to hide them from Uncle Ray so he didn't eat them all?  Or, my favorite - the Rum Balls with no rum because Cousin Eddie found the fifth.  Hahahaha - good times.

However.....

The simple cookie exchange can turn into a really intense gathering - of high expectations!!!  When I googled Cookie Exchange I came across a bunch of sites  that had RULES for cookie exchanges.....no store bought, no chocolate chip, no kids can help......YES!  Isn't that a scream?  The other common denominator is that they must be special cookies....i.e., apparently adding red and green sugar to your famous chocolate chip cookies isn't gonna cut it at a cookie exchange.

I have a cookie exchange coming up on Monday with all of my tennis girlfriends - I can't wait!  We have done this before and it is an amazing group of ladies all with amazing cookies.  I have a little pressure here - most of them are creative and the packaging of the cookies was amazing.  There were ribbons, and garland, and bells and even real pine boughs decorating the plates last year.  I had GREAT cookies but silly me, apparently name brand plastic wrap and a Chinet plate aren't gonna cut it.  Ugh, performance anxiety.

And - another fun twist.....this year we have to wear an ugly sweater!!!  YES!  An ugly sweater.  I have nightmares over this - last time we had Ugly Sweater Day at work, I had major trauma.  Somebody wore a sweater as their ugly sweater that was still in my rotation!  I had worn it two days before!!!  Ugh, good thing I can cook.

So - for today's radio spot on WHMI, I took my take on a perfect cookie plate to my Clapping Happy Morning Crew!

You see, I think the perfect cookie tray has.......something with powdered sugar, something with fruit, something with chocolate, something spicy, something cut out, something with sprinkles, something in the cute little cup or tassie shape....and something unique.  Here's what I took in.....


MMmmmmmmm....cookies!!!
 Powdered Sugar - Toasted Butter Almond     Snowballs
Chocolate - Fudge Truffle Balls
Spicy - Crispy Cinnamon Ginger Spice Cutouts
Colorful - Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles
Fruit - Cherry Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Cup Shaped - Hazelnut Brownie Tassie
Unusual - Herbed Shortbread

This covered everything on the 'must have' list and looked pretty too!

Since cookies with sprinkles make your tray so pretty, here's my favorite sugar cookie recipe - it's light, crispy and freezes and travels very well.

CRISPY SUGAR COOKIES


1 cup butter
1 cup cooking oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup 10x sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
4 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cream of tartar

Combine butter, oil and sugars in large mixing bowl, mix well. Add eggs, beat 1 minute until well blended. Add vanilla, beat well. Combine flour, baking soda and cream of tartar, add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Drop by small teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 5 dz cookies.

Note: Cookies may be sprinkled with sprinkles before baking.

RECIPE TIP:  When adding sprinkles, press them in lightly to the cookie before baking.


HAZELNUT BROWNIE TASSIES




One bite....or two???
Prepared brownie mix, 19 oz size
½ cup chopped hazelnuts
Nutella
Whole hazelnuts for garnish

Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Stir in chopped hazelnuts. Generously grease a mini muffin pan and fill about 2/3 full with brownie batter. Bake 13-15 minutes or until brownies are done. Remove from oven and let cool about 3 minutes. Using wooden dowel or tart shaper, or similar shaped utensil, flour and lightly press the top of each brownie cup to form a slight indent. Let cool about 5 minutes more and carefully loosen brownies from pan. Cool on cooling rack.

While brownies are still warm, but not hot, fill each indent with about a half teaspoon of Nutella. When completely cool, garnish with whole hazelnut.

RECIPE TIP:  Be sure to grease the wells of your mini muffin tin very well - I like to use a spray with flour, it seems to work very well.


Well, I know what I'm going to be doing this weekend......a little baking and hunting for a reallllllly ugly sweater!

Wish me luck!!!



Friday, December 2, 2011

A LIBATION CELEBRATION!

Catchy eh???  I could have called it....Drinks On Me!!!!

'Tis the season for spreading love and cheer and......how about a handful of fun new recipes for drinks - including what we talked about on WHMI this morning.....my homemade hot cocoa with a secret ingredient and my Hot Buttered Rum.  Perfect for this cold weather we've been having. 

I don't mean to whine, but.......It's December 2 and I have already caught myself complaining about having to brush off my car - looks like somebody has to put her big girl panties on and deal with it!!!  At least I know that I can have a little something warm to cheer me up when I come in.  Here's Mike and Jon of Marino and the Morning Crew enjoying a little cheer this morning!!


Cheers to you from the Morning Crew!
 HOT BUTTERED RUM


½ c confectioner’s sugar
½ c packed brown sugar
1 c butter
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t ground cinnamon
1 oz rum extract or 1 c rum
1 pint vanilla ice cream (about 2 cups)
boiling water

Cream together butter with sugars and spices. Beat in softened ice cream and rum or rum extract until smooth. Freeze mixture (the real rum mixture will not freeze solid). To serve, place large spoonful (about ¼ cup) in mug. Top with boiling water, garnish with cinnamon or nutmeg if desired. Serves 10-12.

RECIPE TIP:  If you use the rum extract, the mixture will freeze almost solid, use an ice cream scoop to fill your mug.  The mixture with real rum does not freeze solid, just stir it a little before spooning into your mug.

RECIPE TIP:  This is excellent with white rum, dark rum or even spiced rum, your choice!

We had a fun idea this morning on the radio - you know how Butterball has their turkey hotline at Thanksgiving and Christmas time???  I think I should start a Hot Buttered Rum hotline - that would be interesting, especially if people had been experimenting first.....or maybe I could be the compassionate bartender, solving all the world's problems over a nice warm drink....hmmmm, the possibilities!!
This is a really nice recipe for the kids - and is also a really nice Gift from the Kitchen.  It's easy enough that the kids can make it and would be really nice for teacher gifts.  So many of the dollar stores and department stores have such cute gift bags and boxes and such - lots of possibilities there too!!
HOT COCOA MIX

2 c powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup instant dry milk
1/2 cup powdered creamer
1/2 cup instant chocolate pudding
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend powders well using slow stirring motion taking care to turn up from the bottom until well blended.

For serving, use 3 heaping teaspoons per cup of hot water. Stir well to blend.

RECIPE TIP:  The 4 serving box of chocolate pudding is just about 1/2 cup - close enough anyhow for this recipe!

RECIPE TIP:  For a little different change of pace, use flavored powdered creamer to give your hot cocoa you own personal touch!  The hazelnut or peppermint flavors are really good!

Here's a recipe for when the really rough relatives come over, hahahaha - good thing we don't have that problem in our family!!!  We just have these for the 'yum' of it!!!
LONG ISLAND ICED TEA

Equal amounts of gin, tequila, triple sec, vodka and rum. Add 4 parts sweet and sour mix and 8 parts Coke. Stir to blend well and serve over lots of ice.

RECIPE TIP:  Don't use diet Coke in this recipe - for some reason it pulls the flavor off significantly, even for me, who is used to diet sodas.

RECIPE TIP:  Moderation, hahahaha!!

This is the recipe that Mr. Wonderful has made famous - whenever he makes these for my girlfriends they forget about me - Renee who?????  Wha?????  He is instantly the most popular guy in the room.


Now - I'm off, with maybe a little Long Island Iced Tea in my Santa mug....Shhhhhh, don't tell!!!