Friday, December 19, 2014

Last Minute Holiday Recipes

Is it just me or did this year fly by? I just can't believe that Christmas is less than a week away! As you finalize your dishes for your holiday table, I would like to share a couple that I created for Thanksgiving that would translate well for events through the rest of the month! The Apple Cider Sangria is a great drink for a crowd and doesn't involve too many specialty (or unnaturally flavored) ingredients like many of the other recipes I encountered. The Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing Bites were just the right about of sweet and savory to accompany a traditional or non-traditional holiday meal. They would also be great on a appetizer buffet! Please excuse the photos as always. These items are much more beautiful in real life! Enjoy!

Apple Cider Sangria

6 cups Trader Joe’s Pear Cinnamon Cider (If you can't find this particular cider, I would recommend adding some pear juice to your traditional cider as well as some cinnamon. Mix to taste.)
1 cup Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum
1/2 cup Patron Citronage (or another orange flavored liquor)
2 apples (I used Sweet Tango), chopped
2 Bosc pears, chopped
1 orange, chopped
1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc

1. In a large bowl sealable bowl, combine the cider, rum, and Citronage.
2. Add chopped fruit to cider and alcohol mixture. Stir well.
3. Seal and refrigerate for at least 3 hours though overnight is recommended.
4. Prior to serving, mix in 1 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
5. Serve in a punchbowl or a pitcher. Make sure each glass gets some of the delicious fruit in it!

Pumpkin Cornbread Stuffing Bites

4 cups Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cornbread Croutons (Can't find these croutons? You can try regular cornbread croutons with some pumpkin pie spice.)
4 slices of bacon, chopped/crumbled (more if you want to amp up the bacon flavor, this can also be left out to make it vegetarian)
½ cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned
2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth can be substituted, if you prefer a slightly more moist stuffing, you may want to consider adding another 1/2 cup broth)
¼ cup fresh sage, chopped

1. Pre-heat the oven 350.
2. Brown the unsalted butter in a 12 inch skillet (directions for creating browned butter can be found online).
3. As the butter starts to foam and brown, add the shallots so that as the butter finishes the shallots will get a quick saute.
4. Add the crumbled bacon, sage and broth. Heat to boiling.
5. Remove from heat and fold in the croutons and mix well.
6. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
7. Make small balls out of the stuffing mix and place one into each slot in the mini muffin tin.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are crispy and the bites are set. This made exactly 2 dozen bites!

Notes: I prepped the stuffing mix earlier in the day and didn't bake for several hours and had no problems. They were a little crumbly but that didn't bother me. As mentioned above, you may wish to include a little more liquid of some egg to help bind it.