Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Need a last minute Christmas gift but don’t want to fight the crowds? Here’s a little recipe I’m making for friends. It’s a copycat for the Tastefully Simple Beer Bread.

Creative Commons photo by @joefoodie

Creative Commons photo by @joefoodie

Homemade Beer Bread from Pinterest
3 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (12 oz.) can or bottle of beer
3 T. butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients and package pretty. Recipient will need added beer and stir. Then, pour into greased bread pan. Top with melted butter and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Note: Another good gift idea is my homemade hot chocolate recipe.

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An Amber Original

Back in my Komen days, I remember going with our Community Outreach Manager to Atchison to present our first grant to the hospital. As the only hospital/imaging center serving that region of northeast Kansas, they hosted a big pink party to celebrate. One of the things their chef made was these amazing chocolate cookies with Raspberry M&Ms. I was in love. Although I haven’t been able to locate a recipe for these delicious cookies, I opted to take my best cookie recipe, remove the confectioner sugar, and add raspberry M&Ms. My you enjoys these as much as my Marriott co-workers did. They will melt in your mouth when served warm.

Chocolate Raspberry CookiesChocolate Raspberry Cookies by Amber Bourek
3/4 c. Butter, melted
1/2 c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 c. Sugar
2 c. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 c. Chocolate Chips
1/2 c. Raspberry M&Ms

In a large bowl, mix butter, cocoa, and sugar. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use an electric mixer to add eggs and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Slowly add dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate overnight. Roll into balls and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used mini-chocolate chips and it wasn’t as rich as I would have liked. I’d recommend using Milk Chocolate regular sized chips. You might even want to use 3/4 cup.
  • I used 1/2 c. Raspberry M&Ms. That put only about one M&M per cookie. You might want to use 3/4 or 1 cup of M&Ms.
  • I didn’t add but you could easily add a tsp. of raspberry syrup instead of adding more M&Ms.

Cherry Crisp

Fall is officially in the air. The low temperature last night was is in the upper 40s with a high in 70s. This is my kind of weather.

Craving cherry crisp, I went to my blog to search for the recipe. I was shocked that I hadn’t posted it for all of you yet. This recipe comes from my mother. Super easy and very tasty. It’s one of my favorite recipes. It serves up delicious warm or cold, with ice cream or fat free Cool Whip. Enjoy!

Cherry CrispCherry Crisp by Kathy Bourek
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. flour
1/2 c. oleo (I used butter/margarine)
1/2 c. oatmeal
1 can cherry pie mix

Crumble flour, oleo, and brown sugar with a fork. Add oatmeal and mix. Pour 1/2 into a 8 inch square pan. Pour cherry pie filling over crust. Sprinkle with remaining mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I first saw this recipe on Facebook. It got buried in my Facebook timeline and I had to go search the internet to find it. As a single person, it make way more than I can eat to decided to share it with my co-workers. They loved it and I hope you will too. It’s a good balance of chocolate and peanut butter.

Chocolate Peanut Butter BarsChocolate Peanut Butter Bars
2 c. instant oatmeal
1 1/2 c. flour
1 3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. of butter (2 sticks)
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1 c. chocolate chips
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 can sweet and condensed milk (14 oz.)
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter

Mix together oats, brown sugar, flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Cut in butter. Save 1 1/2 cups. Stir in egg to bowl and press in the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. In a separate bowl, stir together sweet and condensed milk and peanut butter. Pour over crust. Sprinkle crumble, chocolate chips, and nuts. Bake 15 minutes more.

Notes:

  • I omitted the peanuts.
  • I used Fat Free sweet and condensed milk and reduced fat peanut butter.

Chicken Nuggets

I’ve worked in the hotel industry for nearly 14 years now. Over the years, I’ve seen many brides and grooms create gift bags for their out of town guests. A few weeks ago, one of my co-workers told me when she gets married some day that she will include Cheetos for guests. It made me laugh. Renee proclaimed, “Everybody loves them even if they don’t admit it.” I said, “It’s like KFC. Everybody has a favorite kind or side dish but you don’t eat it every often.”

Although this recipe is no KFC secret recipe, it is a healthier way to serve your family something every kid will eat.

Chicken NuggetsBaked Nuggets by Parade Magazine
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 2 inch pieces)
1/4 c. skim milk
1/2 c. plain dried bread crumbs

Mix flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Pour milk into a separate shallow dish. Pour bread crumbs onto a third shallow dish. Place chicken piece in flour mixture, then milk, and roll in bread crumbs. Place coated pieces on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Nutritional Information: 220 calories per serving, 17 g. carbs, 26 g. protein, 4 g. fat, 65 mg. cholesterol, 220 mg. sodium, and 2 g. fiber. Recipe makes four servings.

Note: One of my friend’s children is allergic to milk. I’m sure this would work just as well with soy milk.

Tangy BBQ Sauce
1/3 c. barbecue sauce
1 T. cider vinegar
2 T. honey
1 tsp. grated orange rind

In a small sauce pan, bring ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Serve warm.

Note: I didn’t have an orange so I used orange juice. I thought the sauce was great.

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Muffins

In February, Kansas City was buried in snow. I’m not talking a little bit of snow. One week we got 14 inches on a Thursday morning and the following Monday night another 11 inches. Needless to say, I didn’t leave the house for a few days each time. One of my friends was joking on the internet about why the grocery stores were sold out of all the staples (bread, milk, and eggs). While I on the other hand, always have a pantry and freezer always stock with food. I was cooking up a storm before and after working from home.

This recipe is an oldie but goodie from Taste of Home. I came from one of those magazines my sister shared with me. The recipe was originally published in 2005.

Chocolate Chip MuffinChocolate Chip Muffin by Kelly Kirby
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c. chocolate chips

Topping
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 c. chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix. Then add yogurt and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, powder, and salt. Add to mixture slowly. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

In a small, mix topping ingredients. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. This recipe makes one dozen muffins.

Note: If you don’t want to add the topping, I think the recipe would still be good for a chocolate chip muffin.

Makeover Cheddar Biscuits

In the August/September 2012  issue of Taste of Home’s Healthy Cooking, I saw a recipe for a healthier version of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits. According to the magazine, 1.1 million biscuits are served every day at Red Lobster. Although I have only eaten at this restaurant once, I got excited thinking about the biscuits they serve at The Bristol (one of my favorite restaurants which serves seafood). They don’t taste exactly like the biscuits I was thinking of but I hope you enjoy this lower calorie/lower fat version of a classic recipe.

Makeover Cheddar Biscuits

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder, divided
1/4 tsp. baking soda
4 T. cold butter, divided
1/3 c. finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, and baking soda. Add 3 T. butter to mix and crumble with a fork. Stir in cheese. Then, add buttermilk. Drop spoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Melt remaining butter with garlic powder and parsley. Brush over warm biscuits.

Nutrition Facts: (Recipe make 15 biscuits) 1 biscuit equals – 106 calories, 4 grams of fat (3 saturated fat), 11 mg. cholesterol, 233 mg. sodium, 14 g. carbs, trace of fiber, and 3 g. protein.