Christmas

Pecan Pie Baked Oatmeal

Now that summer is long gone, I have pushed aside my avocado toast in favor of a more warm and hearty breakfast.  These brisk morning’s remind me of my childhood; getting ready for school and having those Quaker Oatmeal packets (was always apple-cinnamon flavor for me) to warm me up!  I, naturally, had to one-up those days and figured why not combine that with my favorite Fall pie, pecan of course!!

I tell you what, though I made this with breakfast in mind, this has also graced our table with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.  Soooo, what may not be finished in the morning, will surely be devoured come night fall!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 cups pecans

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8×8 inch oven safe casserole dish.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, eggs and vanilla.  Add to the dry mix and thoroughly combine.  Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

While the oatmeal is baking, combine the topping.  In a small saucepan, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup to a low boil, stir in the pecans.

After the oatmeal has baked for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and evenly pour the pecan syrup over top.  Return to oven to bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Serve warm for a sweet and hearty breakfast or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.  Enjoy!

 

PecanPieOatmeal2

 

The BEST Roasted Potatoes

Friend!!  These potatoes are like a religious experience…they’re also like a science experiment. lol  “What?” you say…Yes, though easy, they have a couple ingredients you’ve probably never added to make roasted potatoes.  Which is why they’ve never turn out quite like these!  These roasted potatoes have a crunchy coating on the outside and are warm and tender in the center with a beautiful golden brown color, every single time.

A few things you want to remember when making the perfect restaurant-style roasted potatoes are:

  • You MUST parboil.  If you only roast in oven, your potato will almost always be overcooked or undercooked and not be too pretty to look at.  Plus the baking soda in the boiling water creates an alkaline pH that helps break down the potatoes surface, resulting in a starchy paste like exterior that will help make that crunch you’re after.
  • Please cut them in 2-inch (or even 3″) pieces for maximum surface area.  You always want the have a good exterior/interior ratio with roasted potatoes.
  • Russet potatoes are the best choice for this given they will make the crispest crust and fluffiest interior.  Save the Yukon Gold’s for mashed potatoes.
  • Please feel free to play around with the amount of baking soda and cornstarch as you make this recipe through the years.  Also, every oven operates a bit different, so just always watch to see if they need taken out sooner or need to roast a bit longer.

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2lbs russet potatoes, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 hefty teaspoon+ baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (bacon drippings too if you have it)
  • 1 Tbsp+ cornstarch
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Fresh or dried herbs for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (400 if using a convection setting).  Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, along with the 1 Tbsp kosher salt, the baking soda and 2″ cubed potatoes.  Boil for roughly 10 minutes, until a fork can just pierce them.  You don’t want them overdone as they’ll finish in the oven.

Drain the parboiled potatoes in a colander and allow excess moisture to evaporate (a minute or two).  Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, drizzle with the oil/a bit of bacon grease and sprinkle the cornstarch over top.  Roughly toss around in the bowl and a thick “mashed potato-like” paste will seem to build up over the potato cubes.

Finally, transfer to a baking sheet, lined with foil or nothing at all (parchment paper will not allow it to crisp up on the side touching the potato).  Spread them out evenly and place in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.  At this time, shake the potatoes around (you may need a thin spatula to release any stuck potatoes from pan) and return to oven for another 15-20 minutes and your potatoes are a beautiful golden brown and crisp all over.

Season with more salt and pepper or herbs and serve immediately, enjoy!

RoastedPotatoes

 

 

Creamy Crockpot Cocoa

‘Tis the season!  This is a fairly popular recipe for the beloved mug of Christmas cheer and my family’s favorite!  So much so that I’ve been known to make a batch for our Christmas Eve party and another within 24 hours for Christmas Day!  Plus, besides the rich and creamy flavor, the large batch (can be doubled even) allows you to enjoy the gathering and NOT the kitchen while making individual cup by cup for your guests.

If serving for a party, make sure to set up a “Hot Cocoa Bar” with marshmallows, sprinkles, candy canes, flavored syrup and perhaps some Baileys or Schnapps’ for the adults!

*This can also be made in a large pot on the stove top in only 30-40 minutes!  You can serve from there or you can quickly make and transfer to a slow-cooker to keep warm!! 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1.5 cups of heavy cream
  • 2 cups of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

So simple!  To your crockpot, add all of the above ingredients, cover and set on low, stirring ever so often till combined, 2-3 hours.  Set on warm and serve with your favorite accompaniments.  Makes about 12 large mugs/24 smaller cups.  Can be doubled if a large party.

CreamyCrockpotCocoa

 

OPTIONAL:

*Peppermint Marshmallow Stir Sticks:

  • Chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet, but you could even use white!  Milk chocolate is too bland and artificial, to me), melt in a bowl in the microwave.  Stir every 30 seconds until melted.
  • Stir Sticks or skinny candy canes (stick halfway into the large marshmallow)
  • Large marshmallows
  • Crushed peppermints or sprinkles, etc. 
  • Wax paper

    Dip the “marshmallow-on-a-stick” at least halfway into your melted chocolate of choice, drizzle off excess and the roll into the crushed peppermints or sprinkles or leave as is.  Transfer, stick up, bottom of coated marshmallow down onto a sheet of wax paper.  This can also be refrigerated for quicker hardening of the chocolate.

Marshmallow-Dips-Variety-590x412

*Borrowed pic, courtesy of @RoseBakes. as I forgot to take one!  Oops!

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