Monday, December 31, 2012

Bring on the New Year!

So, we survived Christmas 2012!  This was the first Christmas I didn't spend with my family and it was different, but just as fun.  I have found now that I have a little one of my own, it doesn't matter where you are, Santa always finds you! 

With the holidays comes tons of baking and cooking loads of comfort foods!  Instead of me attempting to be a good blogger, I am going to put a few recipes all on this post.  Shoot me...I never said I would be great at this whole blogging thing.  ;)

SOOO, let's talk chocolate pound cake!!!  Bet I got your attention with that, now didn't I?  I got this recipe from a Paula Deen cookbook a few years ago.  It is worth every calorie....seriously!

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package butter recipe cake mix
1  3.4 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 3.4 oz. pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix
1 stick melted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6-ounces chocolate chips
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a tube pan or bundt pan. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, water, and vanilla on low. Stir in the cake mix and pudding mixes. Slowly add the butter and oil, and mix well.
Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan.
 Bake for 50-60 mins. Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cake plate. Sift powdered sugar over the cake, or drizzle with chocolate sauce, if desired.

Ahhh, chicken and dumplin's how I love thee!  Nothing says comfort food like a big ol' bowl of steamy chicken and dumplin's.  Fluffy dumplin's and a ever slightly salty and peppery broth makes this one of our family's favorite winter meals.  The hubs won't eat chicken and dumplins if the temp rises above 70 degrees.  Now, since he is gone the majority of the time little man and I will whip up a batch every now and then in the spring and fall.  The secret to this recipe is NOT to stir the pot a bunch.  It breaks down the starch and can make the dumplings kinda gummy.

Chicken and Dumplin's
1 1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 small onion, chopped
celery, chopped
carrot, chopped
1 32 oz. carton low-sodium chicken broth or (24oz. chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups water)
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
black pepper to taste
1 5-biscuit can
1/4-1/2 cup chicken gravy
In a dutch oven, melt butter and saute onions, carrots, and celery (approx. 10 mins). 
Add broth, poultry seasoning, pepper and chicken.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 mins.
On a flat surface, dust with flour and press biscuits approximately 1/4" thick.  Cut into even strips about 1" wide with a pizza cutter.
Skim off any fat from from your broth mixture.  Stir in chicken gravy.  Drop dumplings into pot a few at a time.  Slowly stir them all in and cover with a tight lid.  Simmer for 10 more minutes.  If not thick enough, mix 1 Tbs. cornstarch with cold water and slowly pour into pot.  Stir.  It will thicken. 
Sorry I was so hungry I forgot to take a pic of the final product.  :)  Guess you will just have to make it to see!!!

We always have the same menu for Christmas supper... a spiral sliced Ham (except for this year it is always a Honeybaked Ham), broccoli cheese rice casserole, pea salad, and Parker house rolls.  Now, we usually rotate mac & cheese, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole for our starch to round out our feast!  This year I made broccoli cheese casserole and I have to say it was as good as Mama's (and that is saying a lot!).  I forgot to take pics of the broccoli casserole, so I will post the recipe next time I make it unless one of you posts that you would like for me to share it sooner!  But....I did take pics of the pea salad.  It's one of the hubs favorite things to eat.  The best thing is, it is SUPER easy to make!

Mama's Pea Salad
1 16 oz. bag frozen baby/petite peas
4 green onions, sliced thin
¾ to 1 cup diced celery
2-3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
¾ to 1 cup mayonnaise
1 jar diced pimentos, drained well
1 8 oz. bag shredded cheese (we use Co-Jack)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let it set for at least 8 hours (overnight is even better).  Serve.

As we wrap up 2012, I wish all y'all the very best in 2013.  May the new year be better than you ever wished for!