Sunday, January 5, 2014

Wedding Cookies

My friend, Angela, came over the other day and we did a bit of holiday baking.  We both talked about how we used to love those powdered sugar wedding cookies that came in a pink bag that our mothers would bring home from the grocery store.  Here is our version.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Cream butter, vanilla and 1/4 powdered sugar together in your handy, dandy, fancy schmancy new mixer using the whisk attachment.
  • Change to the beater attachment on the mixer.
  • Add flour a half-cup at a time, blending well with each addition.
  • Add cinnamon with second flour addition.
  • Stir in chopped pecans.
  • Dough will form into a large ball, wrap in clear wrap, and chill for a couple of hours.
  • Make some Chocolate Oatmeal cookies while you wait for the dough to chill and have Angela drop half of them onto the wax paper when she gets antsy and starts playing around too much.
  • Take chilled dough out of the fridge and shape dough into one-inch-balls - caution your friend Angela that one-inch is rather small - not the size of a baseball!
  • Place cookie dough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 9-11 minutes.  Do not count on your friend Angela to keep up with the time because she will forget.
  • Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool slightly.  
  • While still warm, roll cookies in powdered sugar and cool completely on a wire rack or waxed paper.
  • You may want to roll the cooled cookies in powdered sugar as well.  We did not.  We just wanted to eat them!
I think I might try to add mini-chocolate chips to these the next time I make them.  I bet that would be even more tasty!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Sausage Balls

You know, it really doesn't matter what the occasion, for a snack, sausage balls seem to hit the spot with our family.  I have tried lots of different recipes but this one seems to be the favorite around here.

2 pounds sausage
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups biscuit mix
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

To prepare:
  • Several days prior to making these, have your sweet husband use his new, handy, dandy meat grinder that you gave him for Christmas to make some sausage.  (He used a Boston Butt that we had in the freezer.  It was a trial and error process - sometimes the 'run' would be too sage-y, sometimes it was too fire-y from red pepper.  The end product needed a bit more fat - which he had anticipated - and was a bit more pepper-y than he intended.  Boy, is it tasty, though!)
  • Weigh out two pounds of sausage using the new, handy, dandy scale you got for your birthday and dump it into your mixing bowl - the sausage, not the scale.
  • Add the softened cream cheese to the sausage.

  • With the dough hook attachment, mix together using the new, handy, dandy mixer your sweet husband gave you for Christmas.
  • Add half the cheddar cheese; continue mixing.  Add the other half of the cheddar cheese and mix well.
  • Mix in biscuit mix a half-cup at a time until the mixture is well blended.
  • Sausage balls may be frozen, uncooked.
  • While it is blending, stand back and admire your new, handy, dandy mixer and the fine job it does and just how beautiful it is!
  • Using your handy, dandy one-tablespoon scoop (that has been spritzed with vegetable oil), dip out and drop balls onto a baking sheet that has been lightly spritz with vegetable oil spray.
  • If you are planning to freeze sausage balls, drop onto wax-paper-lined baking sheet.
  • How did the rows on that one get wonky like that?  That usually drives me crazy and I have to fix it.  Since I was less than half through, I guess it didn't bother me too much.  
Even though the picture is a bit fuzzy, this pan is much more pleasing and rows are uniform!
  • If freezing, set pans in freezer for several hours or overnight till frozen through.  Then, remove from wax paper and store in a zipper bag or seal in plastic with one of those vacuum seal machines.
  • Bake fresh sausage balls in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or till brown.
  • If baking frozen sausage balls, add a few minutes to the baking time.
These are great warm from the oven or reheated in the microwave.  Our family likes them either way!

Zucchinin Gratin

This recipe is adapted from one of Martha Stewart's.

4 Tablespoons Butter
5 Medium zucchini
1 3 thick slices of a large onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used a mixture of mild Cheddar, Parmesan, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella)

  • Slice zucchini crosswise into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices.
  • Dice onion slices with a rough chop.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add zucchini, onion, and garlic.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is crisp-tender (6-8 minutes)
  • Add buttermilk.
  • Cook until thickened, about 5-7 more minutes.
  • Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1 cup of grated cheese.
  • Stir in 1/2 Panko bread crumbs.
  • Spoon mixture into a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
  • Sprinkle remaining cheese and remaining bread crumbs over top.
  • Bake until top is golden (about 8-10 minutes) and serve.