Hot Chocolate Recipes
I came across a recipe for hot chocolate and red wine – combined – while looking for a variety in hot chocolate recipes. Dark chocolate and red wine. Together. I had to try it immediately. All you need is milk, a dark chocolate candy bar or chips, and red wine. Add whipping cream to the list if you want whipped cream. If you don’t happen to have dark chocolate in the house you can substitute any hot chocolate you do have. A few curls of chocolate or a sprinkling of spice at the end adds to the decadence.
A note to On The Fire listeners – I’ve added the vanilla to the recipe. That little extra flavor makes a difference.
Another Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
4 cups milk (cow, goat, almond, whatever you like)
1 tsp vanilla
Bring the cocoa, sugar and water to a boil, stirring continually. Carefully mix in the milk, continuing to stir. Continue to heat until the milk is hot but not boiling, remove from heat, and then stir in the vanilla.
I enjoy a glass of wine before dinner if I’m still writing. On the coldest days of winter I’ll switch to Dark Red Hot Chocolate. Take note of the garnishing in the recipe, and if you have suggestions of your own, please leave them in the comments.
With these hot chocolate recipes there’s a nice way to unwind at the end of the day before turning in for a long winter night’s nap. Enjoy!
Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Frittata
Our “kids” are grown so Christmas morning is quiet at our house. This year Steve is working “weekend duty” at work so he’ll be out to morning meeting and make sure everything’s alright. While he’s gone I’ll make our breakfast. We traditionally have a hot breakfast, not too big, that holds us over until we have dinner in the early afternoon. This year I’m making a favorite, sausage and cheese breakfast frittata. I’ll give you a couple of ideas to make this a brunch frittata or even a breakfast-for-supper fritta, too.
It’s easy to change up the breakfast frittata. Add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. Fresh or granulated garlic changes the flavor slightly. When using fresh mushrooms, saute them first to remove excess moisture. Add leftover vegetables such as asparagus (there’s never leftover asparagus at my house) or broccoli.
For a buffet, remove the breakfast frittata from the oven in time to let it cool for five to ten minutes, then slice. Or, serve it cold. This dish travels well for potlucks because it can be served hot or cold. I’ve learned that when served cold, guests are more likely to add this to their plates if the pieces are small. Instead of cutting the frittata into eight pieces, try 12 or even 16.
Hot Pepper Wine Jelly
Hot Pepper Wine Jelly, also know as Christmas Jelly because of it’s beautiful red and green peppers, is my favorite holiday party appetizer. It’s also my favorite Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and curled up on the couch watching a movie during a nor’easter appetizer. The zing from the peppers combined with the sweet sugar and the richness of sour cream is awesome.
You can adjust the heat level with your choice of hot pepper. Heat is rated with the Scoville Heat Scale. I personally wouldn’t go higher than Jalepeno because I’m a heat wimp. If you’re using this recipe for a party appetizer I suggest putting a small sign in front of the serving bowl so everyone knows it has some degree of heat. I haven’t made this jelly without hot peppers. If you have I’d love to know how it tastes.
- 0 Bell peppers
- 1,000 to 2,000 Poblano and Ancho
- 2,000 to 5,000 Jalepeno
- 100,000 – 350,000 Habenero
I make this jelly in late summer and hot water bath can it. To make and serve as an appetizer in the next couple of weeks you don’t need to can it. I still ladle it into pint canning jars and cover it with a canning lid and ring. The lid will seal but the jars should be stored in the refrigerator.
Serving Suggestions for Hot Pepper Wine Jelly
This recipe makes two pints. I use one pint for an eight ounce block of cream cheese. Place the cream cheese on a wide plate and scoop the jelly over it. Ritz type crackers are my favorite flavor of cracker to serve with this jelly but they break easily under the pressure of a knife spreading cream cheese, so be aware of that. A firmer cracker helps keep this convenient as an appetizer in a crowd.
I keep a few dip spreaders on hand to switch out in case jelly gets on them.
Squash soup is another favorite way to use Thanksgiving leftovers. Did you see the recipe for Potato Pancakes? Squash soup and a potato pancake with a little sour cream on both would be really good right now!
For vegetarian and vegan recipe, skip this step. To add a little heat and hardiness to this soup I like to slice a quarter-pound of Linguica or Chorizo sausage into 1/4″ thick pieces. Saute the sausage in a small pan to release some of the oil. Remove the sausage and set aside. Pour 1/2 cup hot chicken stock into the pan, turn off the heat, and let it sit. Chop a few pieces of sausage into crumbles to use as a garnish.
To one quart of leftover winter squash (Butternut is my favorite; any dry squash works well) I add one to two cups of vegetable or chicken stock. Heat the squash and stock to simmering, and then add the sausage. Using an immersion blender, blend the squash and sausage until the sausage is in small pieces. By hand, stir in a teaspoon or two of cinnamon or nutmeg. I find allspice to be too strong for squash soup but if you decide to try it, start with a quarter teaspoon and add. You can’t take it out once it’s blended so taste the squash soup as you add.
I like to serve squash soup with a slice of warm homemade bread with a little butter. Dip your bread into the soup. Go ahead… Eat with your fingers a little! A dollop of sour cream or a little shredded cheese with the sausage crumbles on top is also nice. Pumpkin seeds and croutons add a little crunch. What else could we do? I love hearing suggestions.
Leftovers are convenient. When used as the main ingredient in an entirely separate dish they’re no longer leftovers but a main course. Enjoy!
I’ve adjusted the ingredient measurements for these Thanksgiving leftovers recipes. They’re a little more solid than the recipes I gave in this week’s On The Fire on air – but there’s still a lot of wiggle room. The moisture content in your mashed potatoes will determine whether or not you need to use an extra egg or add all-purpose flour in your potato pancakes mix.
You’ll find another Thanksgiving leftovers recipe in Squash Soup.
Thanksgiving leftovers are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. We spend hours roasting, washing, peeling, slicing, stirring, mashing, smashing and serving the meal. Thirty minutes after we say Grace everyone’s pants are unbuttoned and dinner’s over. After Dad and his hunting buddies and their sons, nephews and grandsons left for hunting dinner Mum, Melissa (my sister), Aunt Betty and I got the leftovers from the fridge and ate again. I stood in front of the stove frying potato pancakes for half an hour. Waddle we did when we were done and it was worth every single bite and calorie.
I like to serve potato pancakes with a dollop of sour cream and maybe some fresh chives. Topping them with shredded cheese as they come out of the pan is always a winner. Or top them with a fried egg and Hollandaise sauce.
Mincemeat cookies? Really? ohh…no, thanks. I don’t really like mincemeat. “You’ll like these,” Erin Merrill said as she nudged the plate across the table a few inches. I resisted for a while. Erin looked from me to the cookies and back again several times, nudging them now and then. “They’re gooood.” Erin’s convincing, and as mom to my favorite little guy, she’s kind of hard to resist.
She was right. These cookies are fantastic. There isn’t a lot of mincemeat in this filled cookie so it’s a great recipe for someone who thinks they don’t like mincemeat cookies, or isn’t crazy about mincemeat but doesn’t hate it, to enjoy the cookies. The cookie recipe is Erin’s. The mincemeat recipe is my Mum’s.
Mincemeat was made back in the day when refrigeration wasn’t as easy as opening a door on an appliance. Spices were used as a preservative. Mum used basic measurements. The main ingredients are in pounds, the spices in tablespoons. If you want to use a bowl for the measuring container use the same bowl, and adjust the spices to suit the amount of main ingredients.
I store these cookies in the refrigerator because they’re filling so the batch lasts a while. I like to either warm them in the microwave for 10 seconds or leave them on the counter until the reach room temperature.
and a strong cup of coffee
Erin writes a blog called …and a strong cup of coffee. What’s it like to hunt from a woman’s point of view? She shares her experiences from learning with her dad to now hunting with Dad and her husband. Erin recommended me for the spot as co-host of On The Fire, and she’s a great friend, outdoorswoman, and financial supporter of this blog. And seriously, she makes excellent mincemeat cookies.
Salted Caramel Apple Pie Recipe
Salted caramel apple pie is my new go-to pie for potluck suppers, Thanksgiving dinner, having guests over, and girlfriends’ lunch when it’s my turn to host here on the homestead. Steve takes it to office luncheons. This pie is rich, sweet and immensely satisfying so you might consider a smaller-than-usual slice. Hahaha…no. Eat the pie. Enjou the pie.
I am all for kids in the kitchen. Mine started cooking when they were three or four years old. This caramel sauce is not for safe for kids to make. The cold heavy cream hitting the hot syrup will spit and sputter. Adults need long sleeves and oven mitts. Kids need to be away from the stove. They can stir the sauce into the apples when it all cools down and drizzle is over the pie when plating slices. If you want to skip making the caramel sauce you can keep it simple. Go to the store and buy two 12 oz jars of caramel sauce. Warm the sauce and stir in the sea salt. Salted caramel apple pie without salted caramel really isn’t quite right. You will miss the salt in the caramel when you drizzle it over the top crust at serving time.
I like to use at least two varieties of apples for pie – Honey Crisp and a Winesap. Use what you like best for pies. This recipe is different. You’re going to cook the apples before they go into the crust. You do this so you can mix in the caramel sauce without it flooding the bottom crust. You’ll have no empty air pocket (a result of using apple varieties that aren’t great for baking in traditional apple pie recipes) between the top crust and filling no matter what varieties you use.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
I use the recipe for soft pumpkin cookies for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and then use a cream cheese frosting recipe to make the filling for the pies. This filling recipe is very, very sweet. You might want to use almond extract instead of vanilla (did you know that lessens sweet taste?) and eight cups of powered sugar instead of nine. It’s not a huge difference but it does help.
Gundy has a great suggestion. Make these for Halloween and double the batch. Freeze leftover whoopie pies for Thanksgiving, and eat frozen. I’m doing it!
And another suggestion – replace the milk in the filling with Bailey’s Irish Cream and make sure the kids don’t get into the adult batch of whoopie pies.
Apple Cider Pulled Pork
Pigs love cleaning up the ground in an apple orchard. It seems fitting to simmer and serve pork and apple cider together. This is one of my favorite autumn meals, and it carries easily into winter. Busy with a day of hunting, stacking firewood, raking leaves, ice fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or shoveling the driveway after a storm? Whatever it is that’s keeping you busy on these chilly days, Apple Cider Pulled Pork is the answer to “What’s for dinner?” It takes about 30 minutes total to prepare and then takes care of itself the rest of the day.
Vinegar in pulled pork doesn’t sound quite right but don’t skip this ingredient. It will help break down the pork so that it shreds well.
You can change up the recipe by adding shredded carrots, chives or green onions, or chunks of apple in the last hour of simmering.
A toasted sourdough roll is a great way to serve this pulled pork. The sauce isn’t as thick as a barbecue sauce so it needs a sturdy bread, or you’ll probably want to drain some of the cider before serving. Or, keep the cider sauce and eat this sandwich with a fork.
Sauerkraut, baked beans or coleslaw are great sides with apple cider pulled pork. Gundy, my co-host at On The Fire, didn’t have a slice of bread in the house. He cooked a fast-cooking rice in the unthicked sauce and serve the apple cider pulled pork over the rice. I can’t wait to try this!