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Easy Elegant Celebration Menu

Michelle Huxtable, author of The Gathering of Friends, shares her plan for an unforgettable New Year’s Even soiree.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

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3 whole chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
1 lb. thinly sliced ham
16 oz. Swiss cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 ½ c. hot water
3 tbsp. granulated chicken bouillon
½ c. white cooking wine
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ c. butter
3 c. seasoned dry bread crumbs
toothpicks

Preheat oven to 350°. Slice each chicken breast in half, cutting down the middle. Divide each half cutting across from side to side into three very thin slices. Between two sheets of wax paper, tenderize the pieces on both sides using a meat mallet. Cut the Swiss cheese into ½” x 2″ cubes. Lay the chicken flat, place a slice of ham on the chicken and a cheese cube. Roll up chicken with ham and cheese, pierce with a toothpick through the middle to hold its shape. Place each chicken roll side by side in a 9″ x 13″ pan. If there is excess cheese, cut into cubes and place in the pan between the rolls of chicken. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken. In blender combine cream cheese, water, bouillon and cooking wine, purée. Pour the sauce over the chicken rolls. Toss bread crumbs in melted butter and spread over chicken and sauce. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Makes 18 Chicken Cordon Bleu rolls.

Butternut Squash

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1 sweet garden butternut squash
4 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. anise seed
5 tbsp. melted butter
1 tbsp. freshly minced ginger

Preheat oven to 350°. Peel squash and cut into 1″ pieces. Place in a buttered dish. Melt butter in microwave and add spices and brown sugar. Pour over squash and cover. Bake for 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Asparagus Wild Rice

2 c. white rice
2 tsp. granulated chicken bouillon
2 c. wild rice
1 lg. bundle of asparagus
4 tbsp. creamy butter

In two separate pots place white and wild rice substituting chicken bouillon for salt and add 2 tbsp. butter to each pot and continue preparing rice according to instructions. Take clean asparagus and bend near the bottom to find natural break, snap end off, discard tough pieces and chop remaining asparagus pieces. When the white rice is cooked, turn off heat, add asparagus pieces and cover with lid. When wild rice is completely cooked fold into white rice and asparagus, toss together and serve.

Honey Glazed Walnut Rolls

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2/3 c. nonfat dry milk
1/3 c. sugar
2 pkg. dry yeast (2 tbsp.)
1 egg
2 c. warm water
1/3 c. butter
5-6 c. flour
2½ tsp. salt

In a bowl using an electric mixer, combine yeast and water. Let stand 5 minutes. Add sugar, butter, salt, dry milk, 2 c. flour and egg. Beat together until smooth. Add 3½ c. of flour, one cup at a time and beat until smooth. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Brush dough with butter and return to bowl. Let rise in a warm place until it triples in size. Dust surface with flour for rolling and shaping dough. Cut or mold into desired shapes. Place on greased baking sheets. Brush surface of rolls with melted butter. Let rise in warm place for 1½ hours. Preheat oven to 400°. Bake rolls for 10 minutes, remove from oven, cover with Honey Walnut Glaze. Return rolls to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Honey Walnut Glaze

½ c. liquid honey
1/3 c. granulated sugar
¼ c. finely chopped walnuts
3 tbsp. creamy butter
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Mix ingredients together and heat. Do not boil. Remove from heat and slightly cool. Bake rolls for 10 minutes. Take out of oven and spoon on Honey Walnut Glaze. Return to oven and bake rolls for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Beet Salad

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2 heads hearts of romaine lettuce
6 oz. block of Parmesan cheese
2 c. sweet pickled beets
½ tsp. freshly ground black peppercorn

Clean and tear lettuce. Chill. Slice beets into small pieces. Using a cheese slicer cut Parmesan cheese into flat pieces. Add cheese and beets to chilled lettuce, top with coarse ground pepper and Honey Dijon Vinaigrette.

Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

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2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
4 tbsp. honey
1 sm. garlic clove
2 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. white wine vinegar
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. capers

Place all ingredients in food processor and slowly add oil, blend until mixture emulsifies. Toss lightly with salad.

Blueberry Torte

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crust:
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 c. flour
½ c. creamy butter
1 c. gently chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar and flour. Cut in butter and chopped pecans. Press into a greased 10″ springform pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool in refrigerator.

filling:
11/3 c. sugar
1½ c. Cool Whip™
12 oz. softened cream cheese
1 can blueberry pie filling (21 oz.)

Whip cream cheese and sugar together, fold in Cool Whip™. Spread filling into cooled crust. Top with blueberry pie filling and chill.

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