Monday, November 30, 2009

Easy Beef and Scallion Cheese Ball

One of our family's favorite appetizers that we always make around the holidays is this Easy Beef and Scallion Cheese Ball. It only has three ingredients, but it tastes great, and it practically disappears as soon as it is put out. It goes great with crackers and vegetables, and I can't wait to make it again for Christmas. It's by no means low fat, but hey, it's Thanksgiving. :)

Easy Beef and Scallion Cheese Ball

2-8 oz blocks of cream cheese
2-2 0z packages of chipped beef (I used Buddig Beef), chopped, 2 tablespoons reserved
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sliced scallions, divided

Combine the cream cheese, the chipped beef, and 1/4 cup of the scallions in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer beat the mixture until it is well combined the and beef has been minced into smaller pieces. Place in plastic wrap or a covered bowl until ready to be served.

For serving, place the cheese ball on the serving platter and shape into ball. I usually place plastic wrap over the cheese ball while doing this, so my hands don't get covered in cream cheese (and the guests probably appreciate that as well). Take the reserved chipped beef and scallions and sprinkle over the cheese ball, pressing gently into the cheese ball, so they adhere properly.

Serve with crackers (Wheat Thins are the best in my opinion), as well as vegetables such as baby carrots and celery. Enjoy!

A few other pictures from Thanksgiving:

My niece Julia with her Great Grandmother (my Grandmother) and her dad (my brother) enjoying her first Thanksgiving.

And our beautifully decorated Thanksgiving table (my Mom always does such a wonderful job).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CEiMB: Cranberry French Toast Bake

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly is from Liz of The Not So Skinny Kitchen. She chose for us to make Peach French Toast Bake from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger. Since I had a lot of cranberries left over from my Cranberry Orange Applesauce, and since cranberries are more in season than peaches, I decided to make my French toast bake with them instead.

I made a few additions and substitutions since I was using cranberries instead of peaches. Since cranberries are much tarter than peaches I added an additional tablespoon of brown sugar to the egg mixture and an additional 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the cranberry topping. I substituted orange juice for the lemon juice in the recipe, and added the zest of half an orange to the egg mixture. Based on the reviews on the Food Network, I added some spices to the egg mixture as well. I added 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.

This dish was incredibly easy to throw together, and you can make it the night before, and bake it off in the morning for a quick breakfast. I actually only let mine rest in the refrigerator for about 4 hours, but that seemed to be plenty of time for the bread to soak up the egg mixture. My French toast took about 50 minutes to bake. The orange flavor went well with the tart cranberries, which were still quite tart, but when I drizzled maple syrup over the top, it was a nice combination of sweet and sour. This recipe is very versatile, I would like to try it with blueberries and almonds or plums and crystallized ginger. There are really a lot of combinations that would work well with the French toast, but I think it is really important to add a lot of flavors to the egg mixture or the French toast will probably come off as a little bland.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cranberry Orange Applesauce

I was trying to think of an easy side dish for a fall meal, when I came across a recipe for Cranberry Applesauce over at Simply Recipes. I changed the recipe a little bit by reducing the sugar in the recipe and adding some orange juice and zest. This recipe was very easy to throw together, you simply just throw everything into a pot and let things simmer until until the apples are soft. The sauce has a great sweet-tart flavor to it. It would make a great side dish for roast pork or a Thanksgiving meal.

Cranberry Orange Applesauce


  • 3 to 4 pounds of peeled, cored, roughly chopped (Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp)
  • 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • the zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

-Place all of the ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a
simmer and cover. Cook about 20 minutes, or until the apples can easily be mashed.

-Remove from heat. Mash the apples and cranberries with a potato masher to desired