As a lover of sweets, I desperately needed an upgrade from Betty Crocker’s bagged sugar cookie recipe so I went searching. Not only did I find a bomb.com sugar cookie recipe but also a buttercream frosting recipe (from here and here). These cookies are exactly what they claim to be, thick and soft. The best part is the recipe is perfect for birthdays, holidays, parties, and everything in between.
Never having been a huge fan of New Year’s Eve, as proven by my six consecutive years of babysitting throughout middle and high school, I am continuing my low-key New Year’s plans by enjoying a dinner out at a tapas restaurant with some of my favorite people followed by games and drinks at my friend Erin’s house. Sounds way more fun in my opinion than spending $150 to get into a Chicago bar to stand shoulder to shoulder with randoms unable to hear anyone or get a single drink. Wow, I sound old and crotchety, sorry. If you are hosting your own get together, here are a few ideas I found on Pinterest to help get your creative hosting wheels turning. However you are choose to celebrate, have a blast ringing in 2012.
GET YOUR PARTY ROCK ON:
Not going to lie…this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe took 50 minutes of me in the kitchen chopping, stirring, draining, and mixing. Not OK. Although it turned out to be a recipe of Italian restaurant quality, much to Justin’s dismay (he absolutely loved it) I don’t see myself making this again unless it is for a special occasion in the future (i.e anniversary, dinner, parents in town, etc).
Prep Time 50 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Makes 6-8 Servings
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 lbs broccoli florets
12 ounces penne pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3) cut into bite-sized pieces
3 ounces smoked mozzarella, shredded
8 ounces jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into pieces
1. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and melted butter. Set aside.
3. In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Stir in one tablespoon salt and the broccoli. Cook broccoli for 1 minute until it is bright green. Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate and set to the side.
4. Return the water to a boil, add penne pasta, and cook until al dente (about 1-2 minutes less than normal since the pasta will cook in the oven also). Drain pasta and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Leave in colander.
6. Stir in garlic and thyme. Cook about 30 seconds while stirring constantly. Add flour, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook about 1 minute while stirring constantly.
7. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and heaving whipping cream. Bring to a simmer, whisk often.
While attending one of our six family Christmas get-togethers this holiday weekend, we were asked to participate in a Christmas Rap. While I initially was terrified of personal humiliation due to my non-existent lyrical rapping skills, I was relieved when our group was handed a black bag full of crepe paper streamers, scissors, tape, markers, foam, and props from The Dollar Store insinuating that we would be wrapping humans not rapping rhymes. Thank goodness. This challenge created by Justin’s super creative and organized Aunt Joy forced all the 30+ family members away from the football game, the aimless snacking at the dessert table, and the individual conversations to work-together to create their wrapped Christmas character and unforgettable family memories.
In honor of our recent trip to New York City and my favorite Christmas movie of all time, MERRY CHRISTMAS! Embrace the Christmas spirit as if you are Buddy the Elf yourself and have the merriest Christmas of all! Remember the best way to spread Christmas cheer is signing loud for all to hear!