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Fourth of July Feast On the Grill

Almost everyone has an early recollection of how the Fourth of July was celebrated his or her home town. I remember how my father provided fireworks for the neighborhood and what my mother prepared for dinner. She would say: "There should be red, white, and blue food." Usually it would be salmon, mashed or baked potatoes, and a blueberry cobbler or pie for dessert. Now, with the popularity of the grill, the following five recipes, which constitute a family meal, might be appropriate. Thanks, mom, for the idea.
Making your Fourth of July meal on the grill presents some logistics problems that would not occur in your inside kitchen. But, as always, the secret of unchaotic meals is to prepare as much as possible ahead of time. In this case, you can skewer the shrimp, make its chili mop, and refrigerate both in the morning. The salad and red salsa for the potatoes can also be prepared in advance, and the potatoes themselves scrubbed and parboiled. As for the blueberry pudding, it should be made the day before.
When it's time to start your grill on the Fourth, first prepare the bell pepper sauce for the salmon and refrigerate it until needed. Next grill the skewered shrimp appetizers and get everyone started while you put on the potato wedges. After they're cooking, add the salmon steaks to the grill so both dishes are done together. Retrieve the sauces from the fridge, serve up the salad, and let the feast begin.

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Cranberry Jelly

Wash and pick over cranberries, discarding any that are soft. Place in a deep saucepan and add fruit juices. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until fruit is soft. Mash to break up any berries left whole.
Strain in food mill to remove seeds. Return to saucepan and heat to boiling. Add pectin, glycerine and gelatin, stirring well. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim and pour into hot, sterile pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch at top. Cap with hot sterile lids. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes after water returns to boiling. If any jars fail to seal, refrigerate and use within 10 days or freeze for later use. Makes 3 1/2 cups.
VARIATION: You can substitute 1/2 cup low-methoxy pectin solution and 2 1/2 tsp calcium solution for the liquid pectin and glycerine, but add calcium after removing from heat. If you plan to freeze the jelly, be sure to use the full amount of gelatin.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE: 1 tb contains 20 Calories (protein 0, fat 0, carbohydrate 5 gm) 1 1/2 tbsp = 1/2 diabetic fruit exchange or 1/2 bread exchange. If salt is omitted, 1 1/2 tsp contain less than 1 mg sodium. Recipe contains 0 cholesterol. 1/2 tsp can be used without diabetic replacement.
Use the full amount of gelatin for very firm jam or for freezing.

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Holiday Float

Scald all but 1/2 cup milk in top of a large double boiler. Separate eggs. In a large bowl, beat yokes well while adding 1 cup sugar and flour sifted together and 1/2 cup cold milk. Add hot milk slowly to mixture, stirring well. Put back into double boiler and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add wiskey, brandy and vanilla. Place nutmeg on bottom of a large baking bowl. Beat egg whites while slowly adding 10 tablespoons sugar until foam peaks. Place on top of custard mix. Bake at 350F about 10 minutes or top turns golden brown. Chill before serving.
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Holiday Almond Wreaths

In medium bowl with electric mixer at medium speed, beat margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg product and almond extract; beat well. Stir in flour and ground almonds. Using pastry bag with 1/2" star tip, pipe dough into 1 1/2" wreaths, 2" apart, on ungreased baking sheets. Decorate wreaths with red and green candied cherries, if desired. Bake at 400'F. for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
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Brunch Egg Casserole

Preheat oven to 350.
Melt butter. Chop ham. Beat eggs until light-lemon-colored. Add flour and remaining ingredients. Pour into well-greased casserole dish. Bake 40 minutes, until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.

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Holiday Charlotte

Separate ladyfingers and line bottom and sides of 9-inch charlotte mold or bowl. Combine sugar and water in small saucepan. Bring to boil. Boil 2 minutes. Cool. Beat egg yolks in large bowl. Gradually beat in sugar syrup. Blend in melted chocolate. Fold in whipped cream. Turn into ladyfinger- lined pan to within 1 inch of rim. Chill until set. When ready to serve, remove cake from mold. Fill top of cake with fruit, then brush fruit with melted apple jelly.
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Holiday Sun Catchers

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray sides of cookie cutters with nonstick cooking spray; place on foil-lined cookie sheet. Unwrap and place hard ring-shaped candies on the foil, inside the cookie cutters. Fill as much of the cookie cutter as possible, keeping the candies in a single layer. Bake until candies are melted, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately cut holes in the top of each Sun Catcher using a drinking straw. If Sun Catchers harden too quickly, return them to the oven for 1 minute. (Cookie cutters and candy will be hot) When cool, peel off foil. Break off any excess candy around cookie cutter. Carefully loosen cookie cutter from Sun Catcher. Thread a ribbon through hole in top to form a loop for hanging.
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Hoppin John

Wash and sort the peas. Place them in a saucepan, add the water, and discard any peas that float. Gently boil the peas with the pepper, ham hock and onion, uncovered, until tender but not mushy - about 1 1/2 hours - or until 2 cups of liquid remain. Add the rice to the pot, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, never lifting the lid.
Remove from the heat and allow to steam, still covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove the cover, fluff with a fork, and serve immediately.

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New Year s Sherried Figs

Place plenty of California dried figs in a bowl. Cover with California sherry. Turn occasionally so all figs are well soaked in the sherry. Let them stand for 24 hours or longer. Drain and roll lightly in confectioners' sugar. Keep the sherry for pudding sauce. These Sherried Figs are guaranteed to disappear like the Old Year at midnight!
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Plum and Fig Pudding

Cover the figs with hot water and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain. With scissors, snip off stems, then cut into small bits. Cut raisins into thirds. Combine all ingredients and place in buttered casserole. Dot top of pudding with remaining butter. Place casserole in pan of hot water. Bake for about 40 minutes in moderate oven (350 F.) or until pudding is "set". Serve warm with hard sauce. Serves 6-7.
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Smoked Turkey With Smoked Oyster Dressing

This is a fairly straightforward smoked turkey recipe.
Prepare your smoker and smoke the turkey for six to eight hours between 220-240 degrees, using your choice of hardwood (a 50/50 mix of apple and oak is excellent, if you can get it--try your best to include at least some fruit wood). If you live in a particularly dry climate, you can put a water pan underneath the turkey, or between the turkey and the heat source, to insure a moist smoke.
When you start the turkey, take your loaf of bread and spread it out on a table to let it get stale. About an hour before the turkey is ready to come off the smoker, take your quart jar of oysters, strain and reserve the oyster liquid, put the oysters into a pan, and put them in the smoker with the turkey. Keep up a good, steady smoke throughout the time the turkey is in the smoker.
At the end of six or eight hours, remove the turkey and the oysters from the smoker. Set the oysters aside, put the turkey into a large dutch oven with a cover. Add one cup of white vinegar and about six or seven cups of water to the dutch oven--enough liquid so that there is about one and a half to two inches in the bottom of the oven. If you'd like, you can sprinkle the turkey with a little garlic powder and black pepper and drizzle with honey, but this is optional. Put the turkey, covered, into your range oven and bake at 325 degrees for 2 to 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the bird at it's thickest point reads 190 degrees (I like to be extra cautious when it comes to poultry. I lived in North Carolina, which is one of the top commercial turkey producing states in the USA, for a long time, and I've seen how they're raised).
While the turkey is baking, get out a large baking pan. Brush lightly with oil, pull your stale bread into chunks, and place in the pan. About 15 minutes before the turkey is done, add the chopped onion and celery, pressed garlic, chopped jalapeno, sage, oregano, black pepper, and crushed mustard seeds. Combine well. Add the smoked oysters and reserved oyster liquor (make sure you've strained this well). Combine. Remove the turkey from the oven and keep covered. Add 2 to 3 cups of the turkey liquor from the dutch oven and 4 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce to your dressing and combine well. Don't make it too wet, but you do want it to be somewhat doughy. Place the dressing in your range oven and bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the top of the dressing is just slightly darker than golden brown. Remove the dressing from the oven and serve along with the turkey.

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Valentine Cutouts

In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in water; set aside for 30 min. In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix until smooth, about 1 minute. Quickly pour into gelatin; whisk until well blended. Pour into an oiled 13x9x2" dish. Chill until set. Cut into cubes or use a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Yield: 8-10 servings.
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Valentine Sugar Cookies

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and extracts. Stir in flour; mix well. Chill for several hours. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness; cut with a 2 1/2 or 3 inch heart shaped cookie cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheets; sprinkle with red sugar, if desired. Bake at 375F for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
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Winterlude Jar Potpourri

Blend all.
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