Brittany wrote this on 4 January 2016
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BetterWithCraisins #CollectiveBiasSometimes, you have no choice but to just throw all your favorite things into one recipe.
Meat? Check. Cream cheese? Check. Cranberries? Check check. Add in a bit of citrus and the kick of Sriracha and you have something that can only be called wonderful. Julie Andrews is singing in my head… “…these are a few of my favorite things….”
It is officially game season here and in the weeks leading up to various big games, I am upping my strategy a bit with this recipe. I don’t make a lot of pinwheels (although I have no idea why) but I really really love it when I see them at gatherings. So I said to myself, “Self? Why not make them more often?” I was experimenting with my favorite flavors over the holidays and eventually, it all morphed into this. I tested the recipe at a few holiday events with mucho success, and now, they are hitting the football party scene.The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity. The cream cheese and turkey pair great together, but the Craisins® Dried Cranberries are the star. They add color, texture, and a bit of natural sweetness. Obviously, most of us use Craisins® in baked goods, snack mixes, and salad toppings, but if you have never used them in a savory appetizer, now is your chance. Bonus! 1/4 c of dried cranberries equals a 1/2 c serving of fruit, so when you are popping these bites in your mouth, you know you are putting good things in your body.I got my Craisins® at the local Walmart and they were very easy to find in the dried fruit section. I also discovered something new! These Craisins® Fruit Clusters come in two different flavors and my whole family loved both kinds. You can find them right next to the other Craisins® products. They are pretty great for snacking. I portion them out into smaller containers and tuck them in my kids lunch box, or toss the whole bag into my purse for those days when the family needs something easy to munch on when we are traipsing around the zoo, running errands in town, or spending a few extra hours at the park. However, the recipe today features the straight-up, no frills dried cranberries. I wanted the sweet and sour, classic flavor in this appetizer and it works perfectly. Other reasons this works so well? You can make it ahead of time and can easily be a gluten free, depending on the tortillas you use. The cream cheese mixture can be made a day or two in advance and you can assemble the rolls when you need them. Or make the pinwheels as directed and store them in the fridge, uncut, up to 8 hours before party time. Leftover cranberry mixture? It is out of this world smeared on a bagel.
So when you are sprinkling those Craisins® over your oatmeal in the morning, consider a savory appetizer like this one for your next get together. Who could resist when it is full of favorite things?
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Don’t worry about the heat from the Sriracha. It isn’t enough to do much more than give it just a bit of warmth in the back of your throat. Of course, I won’t tell anyone if you add more. Feel free to experiment with other flavors of Craisins®. All would taste just as good!
6 large tortillas-we like whole grain and gluten free versions
1 block cream cheese, low fat is fine
1/2 c Craisins® Dried Cranberries
1 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)
zest of 1 large orange
1/2 lb smoked turkey, sliced thin
In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, Craisins®, Sriracha, and orange zest until well mixed. Set aside. Can be made up to two days ahead of time. Spread the mixture evenly on the tortillas, making sure to go all the way to the edges! Lay two pieces of turkey down the middle so that the meat reaches from end to end. Roll very tightly and set aside, doing the same with the other tortillas. Wrap tightly and store in the fridge for a few hours until ready to serve, or slice immediately. Cut into 1 inch slices, arrange on a platter or plate, and enjoy!
Brittany wrote this on 29 December 2015
It is funny sometimes how things stick with you.
Years ago, (why do so many of my posts start with that…?) I was watching Giada DeLaurentiis make a pasta dish on one of her very first cooking shows, Everyday Italian. They featured the finished product first and it was wonderfully creamy and rich looking. I drooled all over the couch.
Then I heard what it was: Vodka Sauce. I wrinkled my nose and nearly changed the channel, but got caught up in all the adjectives she was using to describe the food. Tangy. Velvety. Smooth. All things I did NOT associate with vodka. So I put off doing whatever it is I was supposed to be doing (probably laundry) and watched.
Ooooh baby. It looked absolutely glorious. I mean, the dish was finished off with heavy cream and cheese. How could that be wrong?! (The correct answer to that is, it can’t.) My favorite part? Four ingredients. Four stinkin’ ingredients and you end up with this lovely, easy to make sauce that tastes extra special. And I have been making it ever since.I have mentioned before that our family likes to have an extra special pasta dish for our New Years dinner. This seafood one is a major favorite, but today’s recipe would be excellent as well. It really is a great meal for company and in my experience, adults and kids alike love the flavor. Don’t worry; the alcohol gets cooked out and the bite of the vodka mellows. No one eating this is in danger of getting schnockered. Although, what you do with any leftover vodka is your own business.
Vodka Sauce W/Spicy Sausage
Recipe adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis
I never serve this without the sausage, but obviously, you can omit it. If you don’t have sausage, this is outstanding served alongside grilled chicken. If you want to make it for company but don’t have the time to let the sauce simmer, make it a day or two ahead of time, but stop after you cook down the sauce and the vodka. Let it cool and store it in the fridge. Before you serve it, warm it gently on the stove and then continue with the recipe, adding the rest of the ingredients.
1 quart homemade or purchased plain marinara sauce
1 c vodka
1/2 c cream
1/2 c freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lb spicy italian sausage in the casing
1 lb pasta-penne, penne rigati, fettuccine, or linguini all work well
fresh basil for garnish, if desired
In a medium sauce pan, heat the marinara sauce and the vodka together over medium heat. Bring it to a slow simmer and let the liquid evaporate until its thick again. This will take about 30 minutes, depending on your sauce. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions and set aside. Brown the sausages in their casings until cooked through, then slice into coin shaped pieces. Set aside. When the sauce has thickened and the vodka has lost its bite, add the cream. Gently heat through-do not let it bubble- and then stir in the cheese. Heat until cheese is melted and the whole sauce is smooth and creamy. Stir in the sausage and gently toss the whole thing with the pasta until coated evenly. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.
Brittany wrote this on 22 December 2015
These cookies will no doubt bring back a flood of memories for many of you. Christmas baking sessions of yesteryear, cookie exchanges of your youth, or church parties in the basement. Few trays of holiday delights would be complete without these little bites of shortbread.
Snowballs are often called Mexican wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, or jumbles. All are correct and all refer to the same kind of cookie. Originally from Europe and dating back to the middle ages, these all contain butter, flour, and a bit of sugar. The nuts and flavorings mixed in vary by region and, well, century. These days almond flavoring is often added, but I prefer to let the flavor of the pecans come through. Sometimes these can be hard and dense, but this recipe is light and tender and absolutely melt in your mouth. The pecans inside are like toasted little bits of crunchy goodness. Festive and wonderfully delightful.
Years ago, I was at a family Christmas celebration that was being hosted by my sister-in-law. She had a huge rubbermaid container of these cookies sitting on the counter and while the family tucked into them, I held back. The last I remembered, those cookies were tasteless and dry. Definitely not good eats. But I had one anyway (it WAS Christmas after all…) and it was fantastic. The best little snowball cookie ever. When I started experimenting to get the most perfect version to post here, I compared all recipes to the cookies from that one special Christmas. Turns out, the recipe from Land O’Lakes was the front runner and I never changed it. Classic and simple, these come together super fast. They look festive and absolutely lovely on a platter during the holidays and are a great recipe to make with your kids. Tasty and fantastic, they are great-no matter what you call them!
Snowballs (Russian Tea Cakes)
Recipe from Land O’Lakes
2 c flour
2 c finely chopped pecans
1/4 c sugar
1 c (2 sticks) softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 325.
In the large bowl of a mixer, combine all ingredients except powdered sugar, just until blended well. Scoop by heaping teaspoonfuls and roll between your hands to form a smooth ball. Place on a lined sheet pan. These cookies won’t spread so I place them 4 by 5 on the pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are just BARELY starting to brown. Remove, let cool for a few minutes, and then gently toss in powdered sugar. Set on a rack and let cool completely. If desired, roll again in powdered sugar to achieve a full on white ‘snowball’ look. Store at room temperature, tightly sealed, for up to 5 days, or freeze for several months. Enjoy!