29 December 2009

8 Easy Yummy New Years Recipes to Warm Your Guests

From Denny: What can I say? I combined the best of what I found for New Years recipes that are both easy and low cost. I mean, who ever thought of making expensive pesto out of broccoli? What a clever idea!

First up are recipes from the Food Network series star, Claire Robinson, of the "5 Ingredient Fix" show. She shows us how to make memorable food and drinks with a minimum of hassle. After all, we are supposed to be ringing in the New Year! :)

Carla Hall contributes an additional four recipes great for entertaining, one of which is seafood. We love seafood appetizers in Louisiana and include them every time we throw a party!

Now that football bowl games are playing and LSU is about to play theirs soon these recipes are also a great idea for cold weather entertaining.

Featured recipes:

Mini beef Wellingtons
Rosemary Parmesan shortbread
Spiced candied cashews
Big Apple Bubbletini
Grits or polenta on a spoon with shrimp ragout
Parmesan and Walnut Cheese Crisps
Grilled broccoli pesto and cheese fingers
Tomato soup shooters with bite-size grilled cheese


For the video link since this one is not allowed for embedding, go here.

Mini beef Wellingtons

From:
Claire Robinson, Food Network

Yield: 24 pieces

INGREDIENTS

• 2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 24 one-inch cubes
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
• 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
• 1 large shallot, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, such as Dufour, thawed

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and season all sides with salt and pepper. Quickly sear the beef on two sides only until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes total; do not overcook. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Add the mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown and release liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and continue cooking until mushroom mixture dries out, is golden brown and shallots are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat to the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

On a work surface, roll one sheet of puff pastry to a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Put teaspoon-sized mounds of mushroom mixture on the pastry, evenly spacing them in 4 rows of 3. Top the mushroom mound with a piece of beef, seared side up. With a sharp knife, cut the pastry into even squares around the meat and mushrooms. Working one at a time, pull two opposite sides of pastry up over each beef piece then fold the ends over the top to make a packet. Invert and place the packets seam-side down on the baking sheet and press them lightly to seal the pastry. Repeat with the remaining beef, mushrooms and pastry.

Bake the Wellingtons until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Rosemary Parmesan shortbread

From:
Claire Robinson, Food Network

Yield: About 2½ dozen

INGREDIENTS

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup confectioners' sugar
• 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 cup, 2 sticks, unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon water, if needed

DIRECTIONS

Put the flour, sugar, rosemary, salt and Parmesan into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse just until a soft dough forms; the dough should hold together when squeezed with your hands. If not, add the water and pulse until combined.

Spread a large sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface and transfer the dough onto it. Using the plastic wrap as a guide, form the dough into a loose log along one edge of the long side of the sheet. Roll the dough log, twisting the plastic gathered at the ends in opposite directions until the log is tight and compact, about 2½ inches in diameter. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment sheets or silicone baking mats. Slice the dough log into 1/3-inch-thick slices and place on the lined sheets, about one inch apart. Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 12-14 minutes.

Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store the shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.

Spiced candied cashews

From:
Claire Robinson, Food Network

Yield: About 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

• 2 cups raw unsalted cashews
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

DIRECTIONS

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the nuts, sugar, water and salt into a large skillet over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook until water is nearly evaporated and liquid gets syrupy, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the spices together in a small bowl.

After 10 minutes, sprinkle the spices over the nuts and stir well. Continue stirring constantly while the water evaporates completely, about 5 minutes. When there is no longer any sugar syrup left in the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat and stir the nuts vigorously but carefully in the pan until the sugar seizes and the nuts are evenly coated with crystallized sugar.

Turn the nuts out onto the lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Cool completely before sifting the excess sugar from the coated nuts and storing in an airtight container.
TIPS

DO NOT touch the nuts at any time while cooking or just afterward. Cooked sugar is extremely hot and can burn instantly when touched.

Big Apple Bubbletini

From:
Claire Robinson, Food Network

Yield: 8 cocktails

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup fresh apple cider
• 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
• 1/2 cup apple brandy or Calvados
• 1 bottle Prosecco or Cava, chilled
• 1 crisp apple, such as Macintosh, for garnishing

DIRECTIONS

Mix the cider, pomegranate juice and apple brandy in a glass measuring cup or pitcher until combined. Chill until ready to serve.

To make a Bubbletini, pour about 1/4 cup of the cider mixture into a chilled martini glass. Top with ice-cold Prosecco. To garnish, either very thinly slice the apple crosswise on a mandolin slicer and float the wheel in the cocktail, or cut thin wedges from the apple and garnish the rim.

Grits or polenta on a spoon with shrimp ragout

From:
Carla Hall

INGREDIENTS

For grits:

• 1 cup stone-ground grits
• 11/2 cups whole milk
• 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 4 tablespoons butter

For shrimp ragout:

• 6 sliced bacon, chopped finely
• 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
• 1 cup scallions, thinly sliced
• 1 large garlic clove, minced
• 2 dozen Chinese spoons

DIRECTIONS

In a 5 quart pot, combine milk and stock. Generously season the mixture with salt. Pour grits into the cold liquid and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Immediate reduce heat to a simmer and continue to stir until grits are soft and creamy — at least 25 minutes. If necessary, add more stock to continue cooking grits. Stir in butter and adjust seasoning if necessary.

While the grits are simmering, prepare the shrimp ragout. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned. Remove bacon from skillet and drain well. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Cook the shrimp until it turns pink. Add lemon juice, bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes.

Spoon hot grits onto Chinese spoons and top with a teaspoon of shrimp ragout.

Parmesan and Walnut Cheese Crisps

From:
Carla Hall

INGREDIENTS

• 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
• 3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, toss Parmesan and walnuts together. Spread mixture evenly on a parchment paper lined sheetpan. Bake until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Break into random pieces.

Grilled broccoli pesto and cheese fingers

From:
Carla Hall

Makes: 16 fingers

INGREDIENTS

For cheese fingers:

• 8 slices white bread
• 6 tablespoons butter, divided
• 4 slices extra sharp Cheddar cheese

For broccoli pesto:

• 2 cups broccoli florets
• 1/2 cup fresh parsley
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
• 1/4 cup fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
• 2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

For pesto:

Blanch the broccoli florets in salted water until crisp-tender. Drain and immediately immerse the broccoli in ice-cold water to retain the bright green color.

Drain again, and transfer the broccoli to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add parsley, garlic, pine nuts and Parmigiano. Pulse 7 or 8 times until a chunky paste forms.

Pulse again while drizzling in the olive oil. When the mixture reaches the desired consistency, stop and season to taste with salt. Store pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

For cheese fingers:

Spread 2 tablespoons of pesto on 1 slice of bread. Top with a slice of cheese, then another piece of bread. Repeat with pesto and remaining cheese and bread.

Preheat skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in skillet, and add a sandwich. Place a weight, like a foil-wrapped brick, on the sandwich to press it down during the grilling. When the one side is golden, add another tablespoon of butter, turn the sandwich over, and brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Let the sandwiches cool for a bit and then trim the edges. Cut the trimmed sandwiches into 4 fingers/rectangles. The sandwiches may be made a few hours ahead and reheated before serving.

Tomato soup shooters with bite-size grilled cheese

From:
Carla Hall

INGREDIENTS

For soup:

• 1(14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
• 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
• 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
• 1/2 cup sweet potato, roughly chopped
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
• 2 tablespoon butter
• 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional

For grilled cheese

• 4 slices Cheddar or Swiss cheese
• 4 slices of country white bread
• 4 tablespoon butter

DIRECTIONS

For soup:

Strain tomatoes and reserve juices. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the strained tomatoes, season again and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Add the reserved tomato juices, broth, sweet potato, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and cream, if using. Puree until silky smooth in blender.

Serve in a demitasse cup or a shot glass with grill cheese sidecar.

For grilled cheese:

Put 2 slices of cheese between 2 slices of bread.

Preheat skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in skillet, and add a sandwich. Place a weight, like a foil-wrapped brick, on the sandwich to press it down during the grilling. When the one side is golden, add another tablespoon of butter, turn the sandwich over, replace brick, and brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Let the sandwiches cool for a bit, then trim the edges. Cut the trimmed sandwiches into 2 squares. The sandwiches may be made a few hours ahead and reheated before serving.


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*** ALSO: Fun Kid Recipes, Activities Keep Them Busy For Holidays

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