Cookies, Recipes

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

A soft and chewy, chocolate cookie topped a chocolate mint drizzle and a sprinkling of crushed candy canes. 

Chocolate and peppermint is a popular combo, especially during the holiday months. This is another recipe that I created for my brother. He loves chocolate and peppermint! I basically took my red velvet cookie recipe that I adapted from Paula Deen, and just switched out cake box mix and the topping!

These chocolate cookies are soft, chewy, and a bit fudgy in the center. I love the addition of the peppermint flavor because it really awakens the cookie. Crushed peppermint candies make a festive, crunchy topping for these festive cookies. They are the perfect holiday cookie and  will get you in the holiday spirit ASAP. Perfect for cookie exchanges, holiday gatherings or alongside a cup of iced cold milk. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 (18 oz) box moist chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (8 oz) package room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick room temperature butter

Chocolate Drizzle 

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract 
  • 2 large candy canes, crushed

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. 

Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. 

Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls. 

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. 

The cookies will remain soft and gooey. 

Cool completely 

Melt semi sweet chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave, just be careful to stir frequently so chocolate doesn’t burn) until it’s smooth.

Add peppermint extract and whisk together. 

Drizzle a dollop of semi-sweet chocolate over each cookie.

Sprinkle a few pieces of crushed candy cane on top of the chocolate cookie centers while the chocolate is still warm. Let chocolate set for 30 minutes to an hour.

Recipes

Chicken Pot Pie with a Twist

I love getting a rotisserie chicken from Publix and turning it into something even more delicious!

In the recipe you can use that leftover Turkey from Thanksgiving or grab a rotisserie chicken. 

Pot pies are the ultimate casserole, there’s nothing more comforting and satisfying than a creamy pot pie gravy with a crispy, buttery outer crust. It’s the perfect treat on a cold day. Even if it can’t be eaten all at once, it’s just as good as leftovers.

This pot pie is made with rotisserie chicken, hearty winter vegetables (2 kinds of potatoes), a white wine sauce and topped with buttery puff pastry. I love using hearty root vegetables in the winter, feel free to swap in any of your favorites! The white wine sauce is the secret! It takes a classic comfort dish up a notch!

So, it’s time to preheat the oven, grab a bottle of Scout & Cellar TANGOTANGO Sauvignon Blanc, pour 1 cup in a measuring cup (for the sauce) and enjoy the rest of the bottle as you cook! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pint mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup of dry white wine (such as Scout & Cellar TANGOTANGO Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced gold Yukon potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of diced baby purple potatoes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked rotisserie chicken, cubed 
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheeses, shredded 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper 
  • ½ cup of half & half
  • 1 package/sheet of frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • Italian parsley, chopped (for topping)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make the filling: In a large dutch oven or heavy bottom skillet heat to medium heat and add in butter. Once butter has melted add in diced onion, cook until translucent (3-5 mins). 

Add mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add carrots for another 3 minutes. 

Add in thyme, garlic, flour, salt, and cracked pepper and stir until pasty, cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add in chicken broth, and wine to the mixture. Bring mixture to a simmer (5-10) minutes. Sauce will have thickened. Mix sauce with potatoes and chicken, cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and stir. 

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and the potatoes are fork tender. 

Remove the casserole from the oven and top with 1 sheet of thawed puff pastry (I cut the pastry in circles with a circle cookie/biscuit cutter or you can just lay the sheet on top). Sprinkle the puff pastry with salt and freshly ground pepper. 

Continue to bake the casserole according to pastry package directions (mine took about 25 minutes) until the pastry is flaky and golden.

Let the casserole cool for 5-10 minutes and top with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.

On the Side, Recipes

Cauliflower Stuffing

Here’s a healthier stuffing for those of you looking to cut out some carbs this Thanksgiving!

It has all the stuffing flavors just instead of bread, I used cauliflower!

Cauliflower has stood in for carbs plenty of other times, so why not with stuffing? Of course you need to like roasted cauliflower to enjoy it, but it still has all the things you want in great stuffing.

It has the same spices and delicious add-ins that you’d expect, it’s nice and soft, and it totally has that comfort food factor. It’s actually so easy to make that I will definitely make it outside of the holiday season. Believe it or not, it’s simple enough even for a busy weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • Olive Oil 
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter unsalted
  • 1 Lb Breakfast Sausage casings removed
  • 1 Large Onion finely chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Fennel Bulb finely chopped
  • 4 Celery Stalks finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine dry
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Sage finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • ½ cup Grated Fontinella cheese or Parmesan cheese 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Chop cauliflower into florets and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cauliflower softens and begins to brown slightly.

While the cauliflower bakes, cook the sausage.

Add the sausage to a large skillet. 

Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Cook until no longer pink. 

Place sausage on a paper towel-lined plate.

Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel but leave some of the grease and bits. 

Add butter to the skillet and melt, stirring constantly so it doesn’t brown. 

Add chopped onions, garlic, fennel, and celery. Sprinkle it with salt and  pepper. Cook in butter until they’re soft and lightly browned (around 10 minutes). 

Add wine to skillet and bring to a boil. 

Cook until no wine is left — about 5 minutes. 

Add cheese, parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

In a casserole dish, combine sausage, cauliflower, and veggies and stir to combine. 

Place them in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. If you want the tops a little crispy, turn the broiler on for 5 minutes.

Blogs, Pasta, Recipes

Creamy Spinach Orzo

I love orzo! I much rather have orzo than rice any day! 

Since orzo is so quick-cooking, it’s a perfect choice for a one-pot dinner. It cooks up fast in a simmering pot of broth and milk, and the starch from the pasta actually helps to thicken the creamy sauce. 

There’s little work required, besides stirring in a few big handfuls of baby spinach and plenty of grated Parmesan cheese. This orzo is an amazing blank-canvas recipe, it’s easy to tweak, you can add cherry tomatoes, peppers, or even shredded chicken. Seriously the possibilities are endless! Get creative! 

You can serve this creamy orzo as either a light main dish or a side dish. We served it alongside my Lemon Parmesan Chicken but totally could have eaten it as the main dish- it’s that good! 

Lemon Parmesan Chicken with Creamy Spinach Orzo

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dried orzo pasta (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. 

Add the onion and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. 

Add the garlic and orzo, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in the broth and milk and bring to a boil. 

Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed and has formed a creamy sauce, about 10 minutes. 

(If the orzo isn’t completely, you can add another splash or two of broth to the pot and continue to simmer until it has.)

Stir in the spinach and Parmesan until the spinach has just wilted and the cheese melts, about 1 minute. 

Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with additional cheese.

Blogs, Recipes, Small Bites

Smoke Spicy Meatballs

These smoked meatballs are slowly smoked on the grill, and then finished with a homemade spicy & sweet BBQ sauce glaze. The ultimate game day food or appetizer for your next party.

I start with the meat. In this case I combined ground Italian turkey and pork for added flavor. You can  also use chicken or ground beef. Then added flavor and binding with Panko bread crumbs, garlic and egg. For the cheese, I used blue cheese but there are plenty of options (cheddar, mozzarella, fontina, provolone, anything that melts well). 

Here’s my little secret to help the meatballs stay moist, I use butter. I know Paula Deen would be proud! 

Just form your ball and make a little well in it, and place a small square of butter in the well, then cover it up and reshape the ball.

I made this recipe on my Green Mountain smoker, but you can make it on your grill or in the oven.

Once the meatballs are cooked, add the homemade BBQ sauce. Gently toss the meatballs around (or use a large spoon) to get the balls fully covered in the sauce.

Make sure to dig in while they’re still warm!.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ lb Italian ground chicken or turkey sausage
  • ½ lb ground Pork 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoon of Frank’s Red Hot Ranch Dip seasoning packet 
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Blue Cheese crumbles 
  • ½ stick of butter, cut into tiny pieces- about the size of your pinky finger nail. 

The Sauce:

  • ½ cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes – you can add more or less depending on your spice preference
  • Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Makes about 28 medium sized meatballs

Prepare the meatballs: 

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. 

Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together. Shape the meat mixture into balls, about 3 tablespoons per ball. I like to use my medium size cookie scooper. 

Now here’s my little secret to help your meatballs stay moist, once your meatball is formed poke one piece of butter into the center and roll back into the meatball shape. 

The Smoker Method:

Preheat the smoker to 225ºF

Place the meatballs on your smoker at 225ºF. After 20 minutes of cooking, brush each meatball with the sauce. Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 155ºF (one hour).

Turn the smoker up to 350 for 15 minutes to finish them off! You will know they are done when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

The Oven Method:

Preheat the oven to 475ºF. 

Place shaped meatballs on a baking sheet.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the meatballs are completely cooked- internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

Brush each meatball with the sauce. 

Place back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes. 

Place on a serving tray and drizzle with additional sauce.

The Sauce:

In a saucepan, combine the ingredients of the sauce over medium high heat, allow it to come to a boil, reduce the heat so it simmers. 

Let simmer for 8-10 minutes. 

Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool. 

The sauce will thicken as it cools so don’t worry if it looks thin.

Gently toss the meatballs around (or use a large spoon) to get the balls fully covered in the sauce.

Serve and eat them while they warm!

Blogs, Recipes

Sticky Salmon in Parchment Paper

If you’re looking for an easy, delicious and healthy dinner, this salmon in parchment paper is the perfect recipe. The salmon is cooked in a parchment paper pouch creating an almost mess free dinner that’s not only easy, but yummy! Best part? It’s ready in just about thirty minutes. Just mix up a handful of pantry staples, pour over top, fold up the parchment paper, and bake. Every bite is sweet and savory!

We’ve been looking for ways to reduce our calories and eat healthier. In this recipe, you’ll notice Liquid Aminos and may be asking yourself, what is that? 

Liquid Aminos look and taste similar to soy sauce. It is made by fermenting coconut sap with salt and water or treating soybeans with an acidic solution to break them down into free amino acids. It adds a savory, salty flavor to meals and is naturally vegan and gluten-free. You can find it at most grocery stores. Can’t find Liquid Aminos, you can use Soy sauce. 

So here’s the story behind the parchment paper. I wanted to make an easy clean up dish- it’s been a crazy week. So I thought I’d make salmon in a foil packet. I opened my pantry and to my surprise… No foil! I’ve been reading about French cuisine and I remember reading about Salmon en Papillote, which translates to Salmon enveloped in paper! I had plenty of parchment paper and so this recipe was born!

By cooking the salmon in a parchment paper packet, you’re creating an envelope for your food to cook inside of. Not only does this save on mess and dishes, but cooking your food in parchment steams the food and cooks everything in their own juices. Cooking food this way preserves nutrients and creates an insane amount of flavor because all of the aromas are trapped inside. You can add vegetables into the packet with the salmon. I served mine with side salad.

How to make the parchment paper packet?

  1. Creating the packet isn’t difficult, but it requires a particular shape and folding technique. 
  2. Fold a 12-by-16-inch piece of parchment in half, then cut it so that it’ll be shaped like a heart when you unfold it.
  3. Cut a 12-by16-inch piece of parchment paper for each piece of salmon you’re cooking and fold it in half. Using scissors, cut the folded paper into half of a heart, then unfold. 
  4. Brush both sides of the paper lightly with olive oil.
  5. Place your salmon to one side of the creased line down the middle of the heart. Pour the sauce over the salmon. 
  6. Fold the other half of the heart over the salmon. Starting at the pointy end—the bottom of the heart—fold the edge of the parchment paper in small, overlapping triangles. This helps create a tight seal, making sure that the salmon will cook in its own juices and not dry out or lose flavor.
  7. And that’s it! Just transfer each packet to a dinner plate, cut a small opening in the paper, pull apart the packet and devour the contents. You’ll barely even need to wash the plates.

Looking for a wine?

Scout & Cellar Hushkeeper Pinot Gris is the perfect pairing! Zippy-yet-balanced with lemon, pear, and underripe pineapple on a medium-bodied frame with a bright finish. For this Pinot Gris, grapes were picked by hand from dry-farmed vines planted over 30 years ago. After harvest, the grapes were pressed and placed in stainless steel vessels where they fermented for 3 weeks. The wine then aged in stainless steel until bottling, unfined and lightly filtered with natural bentonite clay.

Now that you know all the whys and hows, let’s get cooking!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound salmon
  • 1/4 cup Lite Maple syrup (yes the kind for pancakes)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos (or reduced sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, optional
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Parchment paper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a small bowl, whisk together honey, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, Sriracha and pepper, to taste.

Take two pieces of parchment paper, fold in half, and cut a half-circle starting at each crease. They should look similar to a heart-shape when unfolded. 

Brush each piece of parchment with olive oil on both sides.

Place the one piece of salmon in the middle of one side of a prepared parchment paper. 

Pour the ginger syrup mixture over the salmon. Save the rest of the sauce for serving. 

Fold the other half of the circle over and seal the parchment edge by making overlapping folds around the edge. At the end, fold the last crease in the opposite direction of the rest to ensure it seals. 

Repeat with the second piece of prepared parchment and remaining ingredients. 

Place pouches on a baking sheet.

Place into the oven and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.(Baking time may need to be adjusted depending on the thickness of the salmon).

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting open parchment. 

The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Drizzle the salmon with the leftover sauce. 

Serve immediately.

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen

Recipes

Honey Orange Glazed Grouper

This Honey Orange Glazed Grouper is a citrusy sweet recipe that I guarantee you’ll have on repeat. A quick and delicious dinner that will be  on the table in no time! Perfect for a healthy lunch, weeknight dinner or a dinner party! To make this easy fish dinner you need less than 30 minutes, isn’t it great?

And it keeps getting better and better! You can use this sauce for just about anything from fish, shrimp, chicken or as a salad dressing. It’s very versatile and delicious!

I love experimenting with new marinades and sauces. And really love using orange marmalade in my homemade salad dressings so I figured it would be great in this recipe. The outcome? Amazingly delicious! You’ll want to drizzle the sauce on all your side dishes too. So I recommend pouring about ¼ cup of the prepaped sauce into a separate bowl and save for the table. 

What to serve with this dish?

Cold Zucchini noodle salad or steamed Broccoli, pan fried Asparagus.

Want a starch? Couscous or rice are also great choices, but anything will do as long as you like it.

Grab a bottle of Scout and Cellar 2019 FIELDHOUSE WHITE BLEND and you have yourself one delicious meal! The taste? Under ripe peach, under ripe apricot and white flowers with refreshing acidity that hangs on so the wine finishes clean; as the wine warms, notes of pear and honey emerge.

TIP:

I covered my broiler pan with foil then sprayed it with non-stick Olive oil spray, which is a real clean up saver.  The honey makes the grouper crispy and crackly and tastes like heaven, but makes cleaning up no fun.  What good is a quick dinner if you are scrubbing the pan all night, right? 

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound grouper fillets
  • 2  tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Orange Juice
  • ¾  teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoon dried parsley

Instructions

Preheat broiler.

Combine all ingredients except grouper, mixing well.

Season filets with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place fillets on an oiled broiler pan and brush fillets with honey glaze to cover.

Broil or 4 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Flip fillets, brush with honey glaze and broil for an additional 2 minutes, then brush with honey glaze and broil for additional 1-2 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily.

*Don’t have a broiler pan? No worries! You can use a baking sheet. Don’t forget to cover it with foil and oil it for easy clean up!

Blogs, Recipes

Zucchini Salad with Honey Orange Dressing

Light, Fresh & Easy! I swear that could be a song title! LOL!!

This zucchini noodle spaghetti salad is tossed in a homemade honey orange dressing and loaded with flavor! Perfect for summer cookouts, or a light lunch! 

If you haven’t spiralized zucchini yet, you’ve got to. In addition to it being a fun thing to do, the noodle shape somehow transforms raw zucchini into something absolutely delicious. 

If you do have a vegetable spiralizer, great. If not no worries. I didn’t use one, just cut the zucchini into long strips. You can even buy zucchini already spiralized at some grocery stores. 

When I was first preparing this dish, I thought I would saute the zucchini noodles in the sauce. But as I tossed the noodles in the sauce and tasted it, I decided this would be delicious as a cold salad with the tangy fish I was planning to serve as the main dish. So my point being, this dish can be served hot or cold. Totally up to you!

In a few steps, you have yourself a delicious side dish or even a lunch!

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minces
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 teaspoon White Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon Honey
    1 tablespoon Orange Marmalade 
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

Instructions

Cut zucchini into long strips like noodles.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

Toss zucchini noodles in sauce and let sit in the refrigerator for at least ten minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve.