Tag Archive | Christmas cookies

Tired of Turkey? Optional Thanksgiving Treats

Wild Turkey

Gobble, Gobble… Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Jennifer (Smith) Schuler

In anticipation of the USA’s annual stuff-our-stomach-with-as-much-turkey-as-possible-a-thon … a.k.a. Thanksgiving, I wanted to be sure that you, dear readers, had a few delicious options for what to do when you are well, simply put – tired of turkey.

Of course, the day after your filling Thanksgiving feast you can always make yourself the traditional turkey sandwich with your leftovers, or simply re-heat the whole meal and enjoy all over again. For me, it usually ends there and even at Christmas time my family is still too tired of the turkey taste to cook another on Christmas Day. Instead, my husband has always prepared a delicious filet mignon with lobster tail meal – and there is never a leftover in sight to have to worry about!

Several years ago at a chain store called Ollie’s, near my mother’s house in a small Pennsylvania town, I bought a set of 10 short hardback cookbooks for $10.00 (LW Press – a division of Publications International, Ltd.). What a bargain, and they are simply adorable! I know, perhaps a strange adjective to describe cookbooks, yet it’s true. Each has a different theme: Comfort Food, Slow Cooker Recipes, Soups & Stews, Favorite Chili Recipes, Hearty Casseroles, Simple Winter Meals, Classic Appetizers, Easy Appetizers, Holiday Appetizers, and Kids’ Favorite Christmas Cookies. These cookbooks are great because rather than search through one big one for a recipe that might suit my craving, I can just breeze through the few pages in the book I’m interested in. All of the recipes are easy-breezy and do not require a lot in the way of fancy, what-in-the-world-is-that ingredient and where in the grocery store would I find it? The cooking directions are clear, and pictures accompany many of the recipes.


The best $10 I ever spent!

Below, I share with you three of my favorite recipes from the categories of Appetizers, Slow Cooker Recipes, and Desserts. Bon Appétit!

Oh, and of course … let me know if you enjoyed making any of these tasty dishes as well!

Sweet potatoes

Turn these spuds into Sweet Potato Chips! Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Appetizers –

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

2 cups thinly sliced sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons margarine

Place sweet potatoes, in single layer, in microwavable dish. Sprinkle with water. Microwave at HIGH 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and margarine. Microwave at HIGH 2 to 3 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.


Slow Cooker Recipes – Cheesy Slow Cooker Chicken

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ½ pounds)


Black Pepper

Garlic Powder

2 cans (10 ¾ ounces each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 can (10 ¾ ounces) condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted

Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1) Place 3 chicken breasts in slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Repeat with remaining 3 breasts and seasonings.

2) Combine soups in medium bowl; pour over chicken. Cover; cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Garnish with parsley before serving, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.



Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Good! Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Mmmmm, Mmmmm, Good! Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Desserts – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chippers

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter

1 egg

¾ cup milk chocolate chips

granulated sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Beat brown sugar, peanut butter, and egg in medium bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add chocolate chips; stir well.

3) Shape heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into 1 ½-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

4) Dip fork into granulated sugar; press criss-cross fashion onto each ball, flattening to ½-inch thickness.

5) Bake 12 minutes or until set. Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Note: This simple recipe is unusual because it doesn’t contain any flour – but it still makes great cookies!


Christmas Cookies–without Eggs and Nuts

By Jen Ashenfelter

It is “that” time of the holiday season. Do or die.  Make or break. Crunch time. Not exactly D Day, but B Day. Yes, I’m talking about Baking Day and filling the cookie jars. If you haven’t spent a few hours baking Christmas cookies yet, you definitely need to make the time, now!  And I have to confess, I just found time this week.  Whew.  Good thing–I needed a cookie fix!

My last post was about having a child with food allergies. Depending on what food the child is allergic or sensitive to, this can present challenges during special holidays. A peanut or tree nut allergy is always a concern but it can be a bit more tricky at Halloween and Easter. Try taking half of a 5 year old’s candy away from him after an hour of trick-or-treating. And then there are the trays of beautiful Christmas cookies–next to a pillowcase full of candy, what child can resist? Nearly every cookie recipe calls for an egg and most are chocked full of nuts. So what does a mother do? She sets out on a quest to find sweet treats and holiday traditions that will leave no family member feeling left out of the eating frenzy.

Luckily, there are two cookie recipes from my childhood that keep the baked Christmas tradition alive: Spiced Shortbreads and Little Raisin Logs. Neither use eggs or nuts and both are delicious. If your child has a dairy allergy, then you might try making them with alternatives to butter and milk chocolate.

Spiced Shortbreadchristmas-cookies-1
Preheat oven to 300.

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tbsp brown sugar (For regular shortbread, use regular sugar and omit the spices.)

1/2 cup butter

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

* In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and spices. Using a pastry cutter (or a food processor), cut in butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Form the mixture into a ball and knead until smooth.

* To make shortbread rounds, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/2″ thick. Use a cookie cutter (or the top of a small glass) to cut rounds. Place them 1″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Knead the remaining dough and repeat until there’s not enough dough left. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with colored sugar immediately after removing from the oven.

If you’ve never made shortbread cookies or, like me, you’re the farthest thing from a Martha Stewart baking champ,  consider yourself warned…a lot more work goes into them compared to making chocolate chip cookies. But to me, it’s worth the effort to make my little guy happy with a special Christmastime treat.

Little Raisin Logs

Preheat oven to 325.

1 cup raisinsraisin log cookies

(1 cup pecans – obviously I omit these but if you don’t have a nut allergy, then you may want to add these in.)

1 cup butter or soft margarine

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp brandy

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 pkg (6oz) semi-sweet chocolate pieces

3 tbsp shortening

* Finely chop raisins (and pecans). In a large bowl, thoroughly blend butter and sugar. Beat in brandy, vanilla and salt. Stir in raisins, nuts and flour.

* On a lightly floured board, take a small spoonful of dough and roll into a log shape about 1/2″ in diameter and 2 1/2″ long. Bake on an ungreased pan/sheet for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool.

* Meanwhile, melt chocolate and shortening in a bowl over boiling water. (I set one of my metal mixing bowls over a medium saucepan.) Blend thoroughly. When the cookies have cooled, dip one end into the melted chocolate. Place on a wire rack to set. Depending on the size of the logs, makes 4 or 5 dozen.

I also have a few recipes for layered magic bars that don’t use eggs or nuts either. I’m happy to share those recipes too–leave a note asking for the recipe and I’ll gladly post or send you an email. If you decide to try these recipes, I’d love to hear your feedback. And if you have a favorite Christmas cookie recipe that doesn’t use eggs or nuts, please share! Enjoy…