Crispy Cheese Sticks

With the holidays approaching, it’s fun to make special recipes and elaborate meals.  My experience has been, however, that there are also days during the holiday season that are rushed, leaving little time for cooking.  (Don’t you wish that on the days we don’t have time to cook our stomachs could all just not get hungry?)

So, I’m going to post a few super easy dishes that might help take some pressure off during the season.  These cheese sticks are a great side to soup or any other meal, but could also be made as an appetizer with dip or even served alone if you’re responsible for taking a dish to share at a holiday party.  My family devours them when I make them.

These cheese sticks have just two ingredients:  frozen puff pastry and parmesan cheese.  It’s one of those things you can always remember to buy, or is easy to keep on hand for nights when you’re in a pinch.

Here goes:

Crispy Cheese Sticks Ingredients:

1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed 1/2 cup parmesan cheese Preparation:

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions.

Lay pastry on baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Carefully cut each pastry sheet lengthwise into 1 inch strips, then cut the strips in half to make them a nice finger food size.  Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over pastry.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.


Pumpkin Biscuits

The temperature has dropped this week, and right now I sit curled up in one of my favorite fall quilts.  That’s a good thing, because it means I made it to the basement to unpack some Fall and Halloween decorations for my children.  The little ones have switched costumes at least fifty times in the last 24 hours and I look around at the disarray with a smile.  I’m so grateful they get to do this, and I’m grateful it will end in a few days.  Halloween is just around the corner.

Several weeks ago I purchased this publication .   At the time I wondered a little at my decision, but now I’m thrilled to have it.  I’ve tried more than half a dozen recipes from it and they’ve all been delicious. It’s full of bookmarks, a spill, and tattered corners.  One of the things I love about it is having a picture of every recipe included.  I highly recommend it.

One of  the first recipes I tried was this recipe for pumpkin biscuits.  Our whole family enjoyed them and one son in particular begs everyone else for their biscuit while the rest of us enjoy dinner.

Pumpkin Biscuits (recipe from Taste of Home Fall Baking publication) Ingredients:
1- 3/4 cups flour 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 2- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup cold butter 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree 1/3 cup buttermilk Preparation:
In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut in 1/2 cup water until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Combine pumpkin and buttermilk, stir into crumb mixture just until moistened.  *Note:  I’ve made these twice now and both times I had to add a couple of tablespoons more milk.

Turn onto lightly floured surface, knead 8-10 times.  Roll out to 1 inch thickness; cut with a 2 or 2-1/2 inch biscuit cutter.  Place 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet (or just use parchment paper).

Bake at 425 for 18 minutes or until golden brown.  **Another note:  the recipe calls for 1-1/2 tsp. melted butter to be brushed over the biscuits, but I haven’t added it.  It seems to me there’s already plenty of butter in them.

According to the recipe, one batch makes 6 biscuits if cut with a 2 1/2 inch round cutter.  The first time we made them, we cut them into 1 1/2 inch circles for taste testing and it made two dozen.  Last night I used a 2 inch cutter and squeezed 10 biscuits out of a batch.  Next time I make them, I’ll double it for my family.

I hope you enjoy this pumpkin recipe.

Lemon Zucchini Bread

Last year a dear friend shared a loaf of this bread with me and I loved its light, lemony flavor.   She shared the recipe with me last week, and I’ve already made several batches.

The color of the bread is gorgeous, a beautiful golden brown on the outside and a light, creamy yellow with tiny green flecks when you cut into it.

My family has fallen in love with this bread.  They especially love it when I bake mini-loaves and meet them at school with a tiny warm loaf all their own.  I’ve done it twice now, and I love the “Yes!” I hear when they see it in the car.  So, here’s the recipe…

Lemon Zucchini Bread Ingredients:
2 cups cubed zucchini, with peel 1/2 cup oil 1/2 cup applesauce 3 eggs 2 Tb. lemon zest 4 Tb. lemon juice 1 Tb. vanilla 3 cups flour 2 cups sugar 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt Preparation:
In a blender or food processor, combine zucchini, oil, applesauce, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.  Blend for 30 seconds.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Pour zucchini mixture into dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Coat two loaf pans with non-stick spray and divide batter between pans.  Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes (in my oven it has only needed 50 minutes).  Let bread cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans.  Cool on cooling rack, then serve and enjoy!

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