Some December Favorites

 

December was such a busy month with a very full load of grading and closing down the semester,  followed by a child-filled holiday season. Therefore,  blogging had to be put on the back-burner.

However, two things that I made this month, that I just have to share are Cranberry Sauce and Jalapeno Poppers.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce.
I have a great love for cranberries. I wrote about it HERE.  And this very time-limited cranberry season is about to end!  So, if you haven’t already stocked your fridge/freezer with cranberries, get them quick.  My Kroger had them on clearance this week for 25 cents a bag!

Cranberry sauce is one of those recipes that people think is complicated or difficult but actually it is quick and very simple. I made a few batches of cranberry sauce this season. YUM! So easy and so delicious!

Just a few ingredients!

Place a bag of fresh cranberries in a large pot on the stove (pick out any rotten or shriveled berries from the pot). Add 1 cup of granulated sugar. Pour in 1 cup of water. If you want, you can add the zest of an orange. Stir ingredients together. Heat on medium high for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the berries pop. Take off of stove and let cool. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Store in a tight container in the refrigerator.

 

 

 

 

I love cranberry sauce on top of meat, on a turkey sandwich, as a side dish with a savory meal, or swirled into my plain greek yogurt for breakfast!
Having a jar of it in the refrigerator inspires all kinds of uses.

Secondly, these Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers were a favorite of our season.

Maybe because it’s been the holiday season and it inspires party food.  Or maybe it’s because cooking a whole meal lately has felt overwhelming.  But I’ve been wanting snack dinners lately.  We have had appetizers for dinner several times during the holidays.  Sometimes we have had crackers and cheese, sliced apples,  hummus and veggies, goat cheese with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes with crackers and pita chips, texas caviar and chips.  And if we’re really going for it- these bacon wrapped pepper poppers have made it on the menu!

We made these a couple of summers ago for the first time when grilling with friends and we fell in love.
They are a little kicky but the spiciness really varies pepper to pepper.

They are simple and just have three ingredients: jalapeño peppers, cream cheese and bacon.

Slice jalapeños long-wise and carefully hull out the seeds and the white inside the pepper (the seeds are the hot part of the pepper, so be careful when handling them!).
Use a knife to smear softened cream cheese into each of the peppers.  Slice bacon in half and wrap a piece around each pepper, securing the two sides together on top.  Place them on a grill over medium heat.  If you have a higher rack, use it. Cook until bacon is fully cooked and crispy, and the jalapeños are softened. Serve immediately.

Or if you don’t have easy access to a grill, you can place them on a baking sheet and bake them in a 375˚ oven for 25 minutes, or until bacon is crispy.

 

 

 

 

 

I love December and the foods and festivities, however, I sure enjoy starting a new year, embracing a clean slate.  So, I’ve packed up the Christmas decorations, made some resolutions and am thankful it’s January.

I hope you are having a great start to a new year.

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