Happy Hour Friday: The Poinsettia

Photo property of the Food Network

If you are in desperate need of a New Year's Eve cocktail to serve tomorrow night, look no further. This tasty poinsettia is truly indicative of the season and only requires three ingredients (most of which you probably already have at home). Serve it in a wine glass with crushed ice and a few strips of orange zest and you are sure to have your guests beggin' for more!

Have a safe and happy New Year! Cheers to 2012!

Adapted from The Food Network

You Will Need:
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup Champagne
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • Crushed ice
  • 2 strips orange zest, each about 1/4-inch wide and 2 inches long

Here We Go:
  • Combine the vodka, champagne and juice in a large-stemmed red wine glass
  • Add crushed ice and stir until the mixture is well chilled
  • Twist the orange strips over the glass, drop them in, and serve

Makes 1 Cocktail
Happy Feasting!


    Cheese and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

    Still have family in town for the holidays? Make this easy breakfast casserole the night before and pop it in the oven right before you and your guests are ready to eat. Who doesn't like cheese, eggs and sausage? You can also add various bell peppers for more festive colors and complexity.

    Adapted from: Tride and True From Eleana's Kitchen

    You Will Need:
    • 7 slices wheat bread, trimmed and toasted
    • 1 lb mild italian sausage, cooked
    • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tsp mustard
    • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 cups milk
    • 2/3 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
    • 2/3 cup Swiss cheese, grated
    • 4-5 pieces turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled

    Here We Go:
    • Place bread into bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish
    • Place crumbled sausage over bread
    • Cover sausage with cheeses and onion
    • In blender, mix mustard, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, and milk until well blended
    • Pour mixture over sausage, cheeses and onion
    • Top with crumbled bacon
    • Cover and refrigerate overnight
    • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until top is brown or knife inserted into middle of casserole comes out clean

    Makes 6 Servings
    Happy Feasting!


    Brie & Raspberry Phyllo Cups

    Three easy ingredients and you have yourself quite the festive appetizer. These bite size cups are perfect for a holiday get together or your New Year's eve party. Pop them in the oven for five minutes and voila! Not a fan of raspberries? Any other fruit would work as a topper or even a jelly or jam.

    Source: Gimmesomeoven.com

    You Will Need:
    • 1 package (1.9 oz.) mini phyllo tart shells
    • 6 oz. brie, rind removed
    • 15 raspberries

    Here We Go:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    • Place the tart shells on an ungreased baking sheet
    • Measure 1 teaspoon brie, and carefully place it in a tart shell
    • Top with one raspberry
    • Repeat with remaining shells
    • Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until brie is melted
    • Serve immediately

    Makes 15 cups
    Happy Feasting!


    Peanut Butter Nugget Cookies

    Who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate? Throw some almonds and toffee on top and I'm sold. Taste of Home says, "Baking cookies to share doesn't get much easier than this. Stir together four ingredients. Bake. Top with a nugget." I couldn't agree more with that statement. Share these cookies with neighbors and friends this holiday season and they will surely thank you.

    Adapted from Taste of Home Nov. 2011

    You Will Need:
    • 1 cup peanut butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 12 toffee nuggets; halved

    Here We Go:
    • In a large bowl, cream peanut butter and sugar until light and fluffy
    • Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until ingredients are blended
    • Roll into 1 1/4 inch balls
    • Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets
    • Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until top are slightly cracked
    • Immediately press one chocolate nugget halve into the center of each cookie
    • Cool for five minutes before removing from pans to wire racks

    Makes 2 dozen cookies
    Happy Feasting!


    Italian Tortellini Soup

    There is something about a hearty bowl of soup during the winter months that brings a sense of comfort and also manages to satisfy a full belly. I found this recipe on another one of my go-to food/craft/home blogs, Madaket Market. This soup is the perfect staple to get you through the craziness of the holiday season. It it so simple that it can be made on a weeknight but the flavors make it seem like you simmered it on the stove top for hours. Feel free to substitute any of the vegetables to your liking or even swap the torellini for another type of pasta or rice. We ate ours with fresh "semi-homemade" cornbread muffins.

    Source: Madakethome.com

    You Will Need:
    • 4 cans (14 1/2 oz each) Italian style stewed tomatoes, coarsely chopped, plus liquid
    • 2 cans (14 1/2oz each) beef broth
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1 whole Vidalia onion, diced
    • 1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced (and/or squash)
    • 3/4 pound green beans, snapped and cut into thirds
    • 3/4 pound ground Italian sausage, crumbled, browned and drained
    • 1 package tortellini with cheese (6-8 ounces)
    • 3/4 Tbsp minced garlic
    • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

    Here We Go:

    • Combine tomatoes plus liquid, broth, basil and pepper in a dutch oven.
    • Bring to a boil.
    • Reduce heat.
    • Add garlic, zucchini, green beans, onion, sausage, and tortellini.
    • Cook about 10-15 minutes or until tortellini is tender.
    • Serve with grated Parmesan

    Happy Feasting!


    Beer Butt Chicken

    Are you tired of your normal weeknight roast chicken recipe? Well, you can definitely liven up your weeknight chicken repertoire but having some fun with this Beer Butt Chicken. The hardest part of this recipe is having the aromas fill your house while it is cooking and knowing that you can't eat it yet! If you have a few spices, some butter, a chicken and a beer can you can have this chicken ready in under an hour and a half. So while the chicken is cooking in the oven, you can prepare your sides, do laundry or catch the latest episode of Law and Order: SVU that you might have missed. This chicken recipe is honestly the most tender, flavorful and juicy chicken that I have ever had. There are so many variations on what rub you can use to flavor your chicken, too, so if you want to make up your own recipe - go for it!

    You Will Need:
    • 1 cup butter
    • 2 Tbsp garlic salt
    • 2 Tbsp chicken seasoning
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 (12 oz) can beer
    • 1 (4 lb) whole chicken

    Here We Go:
    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
    • In a small bowl, melt 1/2 cup butter
    • Mix in garlic salt, chicken seasoning, salt and pepper
    • Discard 1/2 the beer, leaving the remainder in the can
    • Place can on a disposable baking sheet
    • Set chicken on can, inserting can into the cavity of the chicken (Or you can use a beer butt chicken stand like the one I have and it makes things a little easier but you definitely don't have to!)
    • Rub butter mixture onto chicken
    • Place baking sheet with beer and chicken in oven
    • Cook for about 1- 1 1/2 hours or until chicken internal temperature is 180 degrees

    Serves 4-6
    Happy Feasting!


    Honey Roasted Cashews

    The month of December makes me think of nuts. Whether they are spiced pecans, honey roasted peanuts, or just plain salted cashews people love giving the gift of nuts during the Christmas season. These honey roasted cashews are easy to make and you can double or even triple the batch to give to neighbors, family and friends. Serve these with  holiday cocktails and you are sure to have your crowd coming back for more!

    Source: Simply Scratch

    You Will Need:
    • 1 lb. Cashews
    • 2 tablespoons of Honey
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons of real maple syrup
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
    • 1 teaspoon Salt
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
    • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons Sugar

    Here We Go:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil
    • Measure out all ingredients and combine the honey, syrup and butter
    • Microwave until butter is melted {about 25-30 seconds}
    • Then add salt, vanilla and cinnamon to the honey mixture and stir
    • Place cashews in a medium size bowl, pour the honey mixture over the nuts and toss
    • When coated spread on the prepared cookie sheet {forming a single layer} and bake for 6 minutes
    • Remove from oven, toss again and place back in the oven for 6 more minutes
    • Remove and pour into a clean bowl, toss with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and a little salt to taste and let cool, stirring occasionally
    • When completely cool pour into a glass jar with an air-tight lid

    Makes 4 Cups
    Happy Feasting!