BLT Dip (5-10 minutes prep, 25-30 minutes cooking)
1½ pounds bacon (cooked, drained, crumbled, and divided)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
1 tablespoon mustard
2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
1 ½ cups shredded Iceberg lettuce
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted bread rounds, crackers, or pita chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a 1 ½ quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Set aside ¾ cup crumbled bacon.
4. In a large bowl, combine remaining bacon, cream cheese, shredded cheeses, sour cream, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, mustard, salt, and pepper.
5. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.
6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
7. Sprinkle chopped tomatoes, remaining ¾ cup crumbled bacon, and lettuce over hot dip.
8. Serve immediately with toasted bread rounds, crackers, or pita chips.
Icy Holiday Punch (10 minutes prep + freezing, Yield 32-36 servings or 5 ¾ quarts)
1 package (6-ounce) cherry gelatin
¾ cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
1 can (46 ounces) pineapple juice
6 cups cold water
2 liter ginger ale, chilled
1. In a 4-quart freezer-proof container, dissolve gelatin and sugar in boiling water.
2. Stir in pineapple juice and cold water.
3. Cover and freeze overnight.
4. Remove from the freezer 2 hours before serving.
5. Place in a punch bowl.
6. Stir in ginger ale just before serving.
*Note: Any flavors of gelatin and juice may be used to suit tastes. Also, any alcohol may be added if desired.
Gingerbread Martini (5 minutes, Yield 1 serving)
2 tablespoons ginger liqueur
2 tablespoons vanilla-citrus liqueur
1 ½ tablespoons coffee-flavored rum
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 cup ice cubes
Garnish: partially split vanilla bean brushed with liqueur and rolled in sugar (optional)
1. Dip glass rims in ginger liqueur and crushed gingersnaps.
2. Store glasses in freezer up to 2 days.
3. Stir together the 2 tablespoons ginger liqueur, vanilla-citrus liqueur, coffee-flavored rum, honey, and whipping cream in a cocktail shaker.
4. Add ice cubes.
5. Cover with lid and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds).
6. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
7. Garnish, if desired.
Hot Cider Nog (20 minutes, Yield 5 ½ cups)
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
1 cup apple cider
2 large eggs
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup bourbon (optional)
½ cup whipping cream, whipped
Garnish: cinnamon sticks
1. Whisk together first 8 ingredients in a heavy saucepan.
2. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture thickens and coats a spoon (about 15 minutes).
3. Stir in bourbon, if desired.
4. Top each serving with whipping cream.
5. Garnish, if desired.
Peanut Brittle (5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking, Yield 3 pounds)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter
3 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
3 cups shelled raw peanuts
Candy thermometer (optional)
1. Measure the vanilla into a small bowl and set aside.
2. Combine the baking soda and salt in another small bowl and set aside.
3. Butter 1 cookie sheet with sides or jelly roll pan liberally with ½ stick of the butter. Set aside.
4. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and ½ cup water in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil; attach a candy thermometer and cook over medium-high heat until the syrup spins a thread when poured from a spoon or reaches 240 degrees F on the thermometer.
5. Stir in the peanuts and continue cooking and stirring until the candy becomes golden brown or reaches 300 degrees F.
6. Remove from the heat immediately and quickly add the remaining 1 stick butter and vanilla, baking soda and salt.
7. Stir only until the butter melts, and then quickly pour the brittle onto the cookie sheet, spreading the mixture thinly.
8. When the brittle is completely cooled, break the candy into pieces and store in a tightly covered container.
*Note: Any nut can be used instead of peanuts if desired.
Peppermint Bark (5 minutes prep, 45 minutes inactive, 10 minutes cooking, Yield about 2 pounds of candy)
Crushed candy canes, to yield 1 cup
2 pounds white chocolate
Peppermint flavorings, optional
1. Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller.
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
3. Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate (add peppermint flavoring at this point if desired.)
4. Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm.
5. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle).