Sunday, December 30, 2012

Triple Chocolate Oreo Balls


When the holidays roll around, I find myself in the mood to fix goodies to share with all of our co-workers. Blair and I fixed three batches of Oreo balls. We made two with the original Oreo Ball recipe (one with regular, the other with chocolate stuffed Oreos and the other was this triple chocolate version I found in a Kraft Foods Food and Family magazine. These ended up being just slightly less sweet than the original recipe. WARNING: Have a gallon of fresh whole milk on hand to wash these down!
 
Triple Chocolate Oreo Balls
  • 1 package chocolate stuffed Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 1 large package of Jello Chocolate Instant Pudding
  • ½ cup cold milk
  • 1-1/2 packages (12 squares) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
MAKE YOUR DIPPING TOOL FIRST:
Remove the two center tines from a heavy-duty plastic fork. This will make dipping the balls in chocolate so much easier. I’ve always stuck the balls with a toothpick to dip them and it makes a big mess. The fork as a dipping tool allows the excess chocolate to drip off.
In a large bowl, beat pudding mix and milk for two minutes (will be very thick).
Add cookie crumbs. Using gloves, mix the ingredients together until well blended.
Shape into 1-inch balls.
Freeze for 30 minutes. Dip into the melted chocolate; place on a wax-paper lined baking sheet.
Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm.  If you want a really thick coating, you can double dip the chocolate coating a second time after the first refrigeration.

Keep refrigerated!

Original Oreo Balls

This is the recipe on the top of the holiday treat list. We made two batches; one with regular and one with chocolate stuffed Oreos and a third batch of the Triple Chocolate version this year for Christmas co-worker treats.The first time we ever fixed Oreo Balls, we all kept being drawn to the refrigerator...for one or two of these and a glass of milk. They are so rich and addictive you'll be relieved when they're all gone. I won't mention names, but someone in our household would get up in the middle of the night and eat them before coming back to bed. I won't tell you how I figured out who the midnight snacker turned out to be. It is a pretty funny story. :-)


Oreo Balls
  • 1 package regular or Chocolate stuffed Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 8 oz. Package of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ package white almond bark, melted
EASY DIPPING TOOL:
Remove the two center tines from a heavy-duty plastic fork. This will make dipping the balls in the white chocolate so much easier. I’ve always stuck the balls with a toothpick to dip them and it makes a big mess. The fork as a dipping tool allows the excess coating to drip off.


In a large bowl mix the crushed cookies and cream cheese (I use vinyl gloves) until well blended.
Shape into 1-inch balls.
Freeze for 30 minutes. Dip into the melted chocolate; place on a wax-paper lined baking sheet.




I don’t have a double boiler, so I take a large bowl and set it on top of a large pot filled with about 2-3 inches of water to melt my chocolate coating in. Be careful to not get burned by any steam escaping!
Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm.  If you want a really thick coating, you can double dip the chocolate coating and refrigerate for a second time.
Keep refrigerated!



Delicious Deviled Eggs

One of my favorite sides is deviled eggs. The sad thing is I normally only fix them at holidays. For the life of me, I can't figure out why. They're so easy to make. And goodness knows, I own enough egg plates to carry several dozens anywhere I choose...cut glass, vintage, Easter-themed and even a double decker Tupperware-style number that's perfect for outdoor occasions. Blair's future babies are the deviled egg "eatingist" kids. They both inhaled at least five a piece at Thanksgiving. We decided on a Mexican-themed Christmas dinner so I left the eggs off the menu. They let me know if I had fixed them they would have eaten them.

If I am lucky enough to live to be 100, there is a deviled egg story I will never forget. Sharon, a friend of mine, told me about the first time she ever fixed deviled eggs that makes me practically cry (from laughing so hard) every time I'm fix them. She said she went to a holiday dinner with a plate of deviled eggs. Well, when everyone bit into them, they got the surprise of their lives! Sharon didn't realize people sprinkled Paprika on their eggs...she thought it was cayenne pepper! Woo hoo! She set some tongues on fire! Love it!

This recipe is one of those that my Mother, who hates to share recipes, finally gave up. She used to make a variation with chopped celery instead of pickle relish that I loved. However, my bunch isn't crazy about celery, so this is our official recipe.

Delicious Deviled Eggs
  • 9 large eggs
  • Hellman's mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup pickle relish* (Wickles pickle relish is a great choice!)
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • Paprika
*If pickle relish is very runny, be sure to drain off some of the excess juice!
Hard boil eggs (cook covered in boiling water for 15 minutes) and peel. When cooled, slice in half and drop the yolks into a small bowl. Mash with a fork until the yolks become crumbled. Add salt and pepper, pickle relish and mustard. Mix well. Add mayo by the tablespoon full until the consistency is moistened and creamy.
Using a kitchen teaspoon, fill each egg half with yolk mixture. Sprinkle paprika on top. Cover with plastic and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.



Crock Pot Black-Eyed Peas

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

I don't know about you, but I'm planning on 2013 being an awesome year! 2012 has me burned out on all things political, crazy people and idiocracy in general. Our household is so sick of what we see on the news we have just about given up on watching it. Rest assured, when our taxes go up after we go off the fiscal cliff, you'll be able to find inexpensive ways to feed your family nutritious meals right here. We are all about eating well and not spending a lot to do so.

A few weeks ago, I experienced the saddest thing. An elderly lady, who seemed a little odd, came up to me in Wal-Mart. She was looking for a specific cereal and wanted to find the version of it you could buy in a bag. I was buying my "bag" version of frosted mini wheats and I figured from her description she wanted the puff cereal because she kept on and on about a bear on the box. Once we located the cereal, she told me she needed help figuring out how much she had spent on the food in her buggy. Since nothing had price tags and I don't buy any of what she had, I told her I couldn't help her. She told me she knew what most of the items cost so I looked at the cereal price and we started adding everything up. I was guessing it was pretty close to $49.00 but there was one item she wasn't sure about the cost. She then told me she had $50.00 on her food stamp card. OK. There were three 12 packs of Pepsi and Coke products in the buggy. Everything else was a frozen microwave meal or canned chili. I wanted to cry. We are blessed to eat well everyday. Even if we have the means to, we don't blow it on garbage food. I was guessing her age to be in the mid-60s. How did she get to this age and not know how to feed herself better? How could soft drinks consume almost 1/3 of her food budget?

Later that evening, I talked about it with a friend of mine. Both of us raised children as single Moms. We knew how to cut corners but still eat well. And leftovers? There's always something you can throw together to make use of leftovers and make them delicious. Water is free. How about buying a $1.50 box of flavoring instead of $18.00 worth of canned drinks? If all I had to spend was $50, my family might be eating a lot of soups, but we'd be eating healthy.

The recipe below is my take on crock pot black-eyed peas (also known as Hoppin' John) from Kraft Foods Food & Family magazine using leftover ham from dinner one night and bacon from breakfast. It's the perfect New Year's dish...it's got the greens (so you'll have plenty of green in 2013), black-eyed peas (plenty of coins) and bacon (substitute for hog jowl to ensure health, prosperity and progress). The flavor is out of this world too! According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "black-eyed peas are low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are low in sodium. They are high in potassium, iron, and fiber and a one-half cup serving of cooked black-eyed peas counts as one ounce of lean meat from the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs and Nuts Group of the Food Guide Pyramid." 

 Crock Pot Black-Eyed Peas
  • 1 lb. Black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 slices of bacon, crumbled
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 cup water
  • Left-over cooked ham, cubed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 bunch greens, chopped  (We used Kale)
  • 6 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice

Pull any odd looking peas out when you sort through them.
In a large saucepan, add black-eyed peas and enough water to cover them by 3 inches. Bring to a boil; simmer on medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for one hour.
In a skillet, cook carrots, onion and bacon on medium heat until onions are crisp tender. 

In a large saucepan, bring broth, tomatoes and water to a boil.
Drain peas. Place in crock pot. Add cooked vegetables, broth mixture, chopped ham and cumin. 
Stir all ingredients well. Cover with lid and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Stir in chopped greens. 
Cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until greens are tender.
Serve over rice.