Christmas Party Food

I had so much fun at last night’s Christmas party.  I’m bummed to be leaving Relief Society – this calling has allowed me to stretch and try out some of my hobbies on a larger scale.  The sense of fullfilment I’ve had after each one of these occasions has been amazing, but I know I can’t do this forever! 

I’m on to Young Women’s, and if ever there was a calling that could drag me away from planning events for my friends, it’s this one. 

Anyway, I was absolutely overjoyed at the response over the food last night.  I had lots of requests for recipes, and since I’m so bad about typing them out I decided I’d better get it over with right away. 

Chicken Saltimbocca

This was an amazing chicken dish – the flavor was wonderful, the chicken was tender, and the sauce was just downright tasty!!


  • 6 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup flour, plus
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 12 slices prosciutto or ham, thin slices
  • 6 ounces Mozzarella cheese, in 6 slices each also cut in half
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb mushroom, sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • salt and pepper


  1. Dip chicken in flour; brown in butter.
  2. Arrange in a butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
  3. Top each with 1 slice prosciutto ham and 1/2 slice cheese.
  4. Cook onions and garlic until soft; add mushrooms, broth and herbs.
  5. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes.
  6. Stir into hot mixture 1 T flour and cream.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour sauce over chicken.
  9. Bake in a 375° oven for 20 minutes. 

Almond Wild Rice

This photo looks different than my version because I used Craisins in my recipe.  It just seemed more festive.  You can use raisins if you’d like.  The other thing I did differently is that I used the 16 oz. bag of Lundberg wild blend rice in the organic aisle at Safeway, and I think the rice was much better.  It’s more than 50% off right now!!  If you do use it, use the directions on the package to cook it, not the ones here – there’s too much liquid.  Call me if you have questions.



  • 5 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup dried Craisins
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice (or substite both wild and brown rice for wild and brown rice blend)
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup broth to a boil. Remove from the heat; add Craisins and set aside (do not drain).
  2. In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups of broth and 2 tablespoons of butter to a boil. Add wild rice; cover and simmer for 55-60 minutes or until the rice is tender (drain if necessary).
  3. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, combine the brown rice, 2 tablespoons butter and remaining broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until rice is tender (drain if necessary).
  4. In a skillet, saute the almonds in remaining butter until lightly browned. In a serving bowl, combine the wild rice, brown rice, Craisin mixture, almonds, parsley, salt and pepper.

Pomegranate and Feta Salad

This is a beautiful and festive salad  – unfortunately since I sort of threw it together I don’t have an exact recipe.  You may have to play around with it a little.  It’s always safer to add less at first and then add more of what you think you need. 


  • 4-5 cups salad greens (whatever you want; spinach, baby greens, romaine, etc.)
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds (I bought the packaged ones at Costco)
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup toasted pecans
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • White balsamic vinaigrette

Toss all ingredients.


I’m sorry I can’t give you a recipe for the cake; I didn’t use one, and I’m afraid that if I tried to write it down it would turn out all wrong.  They started out as individual flourless chocolate cakes, but I didn’t like them.  It was one of those things where you mix up the batter, cook one cake, add some chocolate, cook another cake, add some flour, cook another cake.  I didn’t love the way they turned out anyway…but I’ll keep trying to make the perfect flourless chocolate cake (according to me, of course! 😉

Thanks so much to everyone who helped out with the food – there were four or five of you who jumped in before everyone got there to help prep, and we couldn’t have gotten it done without you!  And thanks to Vicki for letting us mess up her perfectly clean kitchen (sorry!)


These are not exactly a traditional biscotti.  There’s no corn meal in them (which I actually prefer) and so they’re softer than most variations.  I use raw sugar to sprinkle on the top which gives them an extra sugary crunch.  The recipe doesn’t say to dip them in chocolate, but what isn’t better dipped in chocolate? 

You really must try these…really.

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup boiling water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios coarsely chopped (2 1/2 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.  Place cranberries in a small bowl, and add boiling water.  Let stand until plump, about 145 minutes.  Drain and set aside  Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted wih the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medum speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in vanilla.  Add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed until combined.  Miox in the drained cranberries and the pistachios.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half.  Shape weach piece into a 16-by-2-inch log, and transfer to prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart.  With the palm of your hand, flatten logs slightly.  Brush beaten egg over the surface of the dough logs, and sprinkle generously with sugar (I use raw).

Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until logs are slightly firm to the touch, about 25 minutes.  Transfer logs on parchment paper to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 20 mi8nutes.  Reduce oven temp to 300.

Place logs on a cutting board.  Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Place a wire rack on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Arrange slices, cut sides down, on the rack.  Bake until firm to the touch, about 30 minutes.  Remove pan from oven; let biscotti cool completely on the rack.  Biscottie can be kept in an airtight container at room temp for up to a week.

Cooking tips:

  • You can use almonds and cherries instead if you prefer.
  • I use raw sugar to sprinkle on my biscotti because I like the large chunky texture.  It doesn’t matter which you use.
  • Buy your shelled pistachios in the bulk section of the grocery store.  If you can’t find them there go to your local Indian market.  Please, for the love of Pete, don’t buy a bag of pistachios and shell them yourself.  Unless you can’t find them.  Then make your kids do it or something.
  • These are great to give as gifts at Christmastime, or anytime for that matter.  I’m going to make an almond and cherry variation to take camping with us.  Hot chocolate and biscotti by the fire…CAN’T WAIT!


Pan Pizza

This is the best homemade pan pizza I’ve ever had.  You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make this – but you have to have cake pans.  I know, cake pans!  That’s one thing I have in abundance!

Makes two 9-inch pizzas serving 4 to 6
1/2 cup olive oil  
3/4 cup skim milk plus 2 additional tablespoons, warmed to 110 degrees 
2 teaspoons sugar  
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for counter 
1 package  instant yeast  
1/2 teaspoon table salt  

1 (3.5-ounce) package sliced pepperoni  
1 1/3 cups tomato sauce (I use whatever I can find at the grocery store if I don’t have time to make it)         
3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese  

See Illustrations Below: How to Make Pan Pizza
1. To make the dough: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Lightly grease large bowl with cooking spray. Coat each of two 9-inch cake pans with 3 tablespoons oil.
2. Mix milk, sugar, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in measuring cup. Mix flour, yeast, and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium-low and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter, gently shape into ball, and place in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
3. To shape and top the dough: Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, divide in half, and lightly roll each half into ball. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, roll and shape dough into 9 1/2-inch round and press into oiled pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm spot (not in oven) until puffy and slightly risen, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees.

4. While dough rises, put half of pepperoni in single layer on microwave-safe plate lined with 2 paper towels. Cover with 2 more paper towels and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Discard towels and set pepperoni aside; repeat with new paper towels and remaining pepperoni.

5. Remove plastic wrap from dough. Ladle 2/3 cup sauce on each round, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Sprinkle each with 1 1/2 cups cheese and top with pepperoni. Bake until cheese is melted and pepperoni is browning around edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let pizzas rest in pans for 1 minute. Using spatula, transfer pizzas to cutting board and cut each into 8 wedges. Serve.

Cooking Tip

  • If you like your crust a little extra crispy, take them out of their pans when they’re done baking and put them directly on a rack of your oven for 5-7 minutes.  So good!!



For Beth

My husband’s aunt has recently had a death in the family (Bubba the Budgie), and I sent her a care package in the mail to cheer her up.  She’s had some curry debacles in the last couple of weeks due to faulty powders and needed ingredients and a good recipe.  Sorry it’s taken me so long to get this to you Beth, I hope the curry paste redeems me a little!

At long last, Yellow Chicken Curry:


1/4 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons yellow curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons palm sugar
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 pounds chicken thigh fillets, cut into slices
1 3/4 cups coconut milk
3 ounces bamboo shoots
4 sprigs fresh green peppercorns
4-6 lime leaves
12 Thai sweet basil leaves

Put the coconut cream in a wok or saucepan and simmer over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the cream separates and a layer of oil forms on the surface.  Stir the cream if it starts to brown around the edges.

Add the curry paste, stir well to combine and cook until fragrant.  Add the fish sauce, palm sugar and turmeric and stir well.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture darkens.

Add the chicken to the pan and stir to coat all the pieces evenly in the spice mixture.  Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding the coconut milk a tablespoon at a tie to incorporate.  Add the bamboo shoots, peppercorns, lime and basil leaves and cook for another 5 minutes.

Cooking tips:

  • Don’t get the yellow curry paste or turmeric on your fingers – it’ll stain your fingernails yellow.
  • Buy asian market curry paste.  I use Aroy-D.  It’s really, really good – and so much easier!
  • Fish sauce is the most disgusting smelling stuff on the planet.  Open a window before using it, and if you get some on your fingers, do not lick them!
  • You can use brown sugar instead of palm sugar.
  • I use chicken breast instead of thighs because it’s what I normally have.  If you choose to do this also, don’t overcook it.
  • Make sure to use bamboo shoots cut into thin strips if you can find them, otherwise, just cut the ones from the store into strips.
  • If you can find them, use peppercorns on the sprig – they’re less spicy for some reason.
  • DO NOT substitute Italian basil for Thai sweet (red) basil.  It won’t taste right.

Cooking Group: Mexican Night

Our cooking group had a great time with Mexican Wednesday night.  We had a fun group of about thirteen ladies, and as far as I know, everyone enjoyed the meal.  I tried to tone down the spice quite a bit to accommodate sensitive palates, and aside from a little bit of heat in the tamales it was pretty tame.  Thanks for letting us use your house GB! 

Wednesday morning I took a trip up to Everett to my old neighbor’s Mexican market, Tienda Chapala.  The market started out as just that, a little neighborhood grocery.  Since then, the owners Jose and Lizbeth, have expanded into the two adjoining stores and have turned them into a butcher and tortillaria. 

I purchased the meat from their sweet butcher, despite our inability to understand each others’ language.  We must have looked pretty funny mixing our broken English and Spanish with a sort of weird sign language.  He already had marinade made up and dumped a bunch in the bag of meat, which saved me a lot of time, and meant that my meat would marinate for seven hours!  Man, was it goooood!

After that I headed over to the tortillaria where I got a couple dozen chicken and pork tamales and corn and flour tortillas.  Each were made fresh that morning and were piping hot.  My kids devoured a tamale on the spot, and the employees got a kick out of my little white children gobbling down spicy Mexican fare. 

Here was our menu:

  • Carne asada
  • Pico de gallo
  • Pork and chicken tamales
  • Rice with black beans
  • Shrimp ceviche
  • Fresh corn and flour tortillas
  • Mexican cheesecake with caramel sauce

Here are the recipes we used; enjoy!  We sure did.

Carne Asada 

Carne Asada

2 pounds flank or skirt steak
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chili pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed (best to lightly toast the seeds first, then grind them)
1 large handful fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, finely chopped (great flavor in the stems)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

1 Lay the flank steak in a large non-reactive bowl or baking dish. Combine marinade ingredients and pour the marinade over the steak. Make sure each piece is well coated. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.

2 Preheat your grill over medium-high flame (you can also use a cast iron grill pan on high heat for stove-top cooking). Brush the grates with a little oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Remove the steak from the marinade. If you are cooking indoors, you may want to brush off excess marinade as the bits may burn and smoke on the hot pan. Season both sides of the steak pieces with salt and pepper. Grill the pieces for a few minutes only, on each side, depending on how thin they are, until medium rare to well done, to your preference. You may need to work in batches. Remove the steak pieces to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal.
Serves 4-6.

Pico De Gallo Recipe

Fresh Tomato Salsa

  • 2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (from 1 lb to 1 1/2 lb), stems removed, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 jalapeño chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced
  • One clove garlic 
  • 1 1/2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

1 Start with chopping up 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes. Prepare the chilies. Be very careful while handling the hot pepper. If you can, avoid touching them with your hands.  Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours. Set aside some of the seeds from the peppers. If the salsa isn’t hot enough, you can add a few for heat.

2 Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Taste. If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. If not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies.Let sit for an hour for the flavors to combine.Makes approximately 3-4 cups.Serve with chips, tortillas, tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadilla, pinto or black beans.
Shrimp Ceviche
Shrimp Ceviche
1 pound medium-small shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp sea salt
3/4 cup lime juice (juice from 4-6 limes)
3/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 2-3 lemons)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 jalapeño chili, ribs and seeds removed, minced
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cucumber, peeled diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 avocado, peeled, seed removed, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of water, salted with 2 Tbsp salt. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute to 2 minutes max, depending on size of shrimp. (Over-cooking the shrimp will turn it rubbery.) Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

2 Drain the shrimp. Cut each piece of shrimp in half, or into inch-long pieces. Place shrimp in a glass or ceramic bowl. Mix in the lime and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for a half hour.

3Mix in the chopped red onion and jalapeño chili. Refrigerate an additional half hour.

4 Right before serving, add the cilantro, cucumber, and avocado.

Serves 4-6.

*Recipes and photos from Simply Recipes

Chicken In A “Pot” Pie

This is a kid friendly meal with a little character.  It’s from one of my many Cooking Light cookbooks, which means it’s easy on your tush.  It also happens to be very easy to prepare – interesting, kid friendly and easy, nice combo, right?

I use these cookbooks a lot and rarely find a recipe I dislike.  Which would make you wonder why I’m not a skinny minny.  Answer: I can’t keep my hands off of all my other cookbooks.  Cookbooks don’t care about my weight, pant size, or self esteem.  They’re catering to Mouth, and she has bad judgement.


Chicken In A “Pot” Pie

  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 C 1% low-fat milk
  • ½ C fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ C dry white wine (or use an extra ½ C chicken broth if you’re a goodie-goodie)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2/3 C chopped sweet onion
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 C sliced carrot1 C (1/8-inch-thik) slices zucchini
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. dried tarragon
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 4 (4.5 oz) country or peasant rolls (I use the little sourdough rolls from Safeway)
  1. Place flour in a small bowl; slowly add milk, stiring with a whisk to form a slurry.  Add broth and white wine
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion and chicken.  Saute 2 minutes; stir in carrot and next 4 ingredients.  Cover, reduce heat, and cook 4 minutes.  Stire slurry into chcken mixture and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 mintues or until thick, stirring occasionally.
  3. Cut rolls horizontally 1 inch from tops.  Hollow out bottoms of rolls, leaving 1/4 –inch-thinck shells.  Yield: 4 servings

Calories: 413

Mini Caramel Apples


These little guys can be made for anything from preschool snacks to dessert for a nice dinner.  They’re really easy to make, but you have to know a few tricks before making them.


5 Granny Smith Apples
1 package Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels or Kraft Caramel Bits
2 packs lollipop sticks
sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, crushed candy bars, etc.
flour for dredging

Place a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet.  Spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Use a melon baller to scoop rounded balls from the apples.  Cut the peel off each mini apple after scooping.  Dredge the mini apples in flour and skewer with a lollipop stick as shown in the photo.  Add caramels to a medium sauce pan on medium-low heat.  Follow package directions if using Caramel Bits (these are new, I believe and so easy to use!).  If using Werther’s Caramels, cook over medium-low heat until melted.  Dip dredged apples in melted caramel.  Make sure to cover the apples completely.  Let the excess caramel drip off – scrape the bottom of the apples if necessary.  Immediately sprinkle or roll apples in toppings.  Refrigerate until caramel is set, about one hour.  Remove 15 minutes before serving.