I think this might be my favorite time of year from a cooking perspective. All the parties and get-togethers, all the new recipes to try, all the cookies to bake.
With work, the fun is the annual squad party. It’s one of the few times each year when most of the squad members can be found under the same roof outside the office, and I think it’s the only time when spouses come along for the ride. And let me tell you, get us all together, get one of the guys to play bartender, and let the good times roll!
I’d put into words some of said good times, but I’m pretty sure that’s frowned upon — I think I have to plead the Fifth if ever asked about them. :D So, to make up for it, I’m going to share the recipes I took with me last night. They got really good reviews, and I liked them (Southern Honey only liked the dip, but he’s not a dessert person, especially chocolate). In fact, I’m planning on using them for next weekend when we go to my dad’s family Christmas gathering next weekend.
Oreo Peppermint Bark, from Sing for Your Supper
1 lb chocolate bark (the original calls for dark chocolate, which I think would be an improvement)
1 lb white chocolate almond bark
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 c crushed peppermints
10 Oreos, roughly chopped
Melt the chocolate bark in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring to keep it melting evenly. When melted, pour onto a sheet of waxed paper and spread into a thin layer (I used waxed paper on a cookie sheet in fear it would go everywhere, but I totally could have skipped that part). Then let cool for 15-20 minutes at room temperature or pop into the freezer for about 10 minutes if you’re running short on time.
Melt the white chocolate bark the same way and add the peppermint extract. I’m not sure if this is normal, but the extract changed the texture of the melted chocolate, and it refused to pour properly. It spread just fine, but it was far more solid than pre-extract.
Sprinkle the chopped Oreos and crushed peppermints evenly on top. You might want to press them into the chocolate a little to make sure fewer of them fall off during the breaking/chopping process. Then let it cool completely and break or chop into small pieces (ours was too thick to want to break).
Spicy Sausage Dip, courtesy of Annie’s Eats
1 lb package sausage, spicy
2 8 oz packages cream cheese
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with chiles, undrained (I could only find 14.5 oz cans but didn’t figure that extra half-ounce was going to break the recipe)
Hot sauce to taste
Crumble and brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain any excess fat. Then pop it into the crock pot with the tomatoes and cream cheese for an hour or so on low heat. Stir occasionally, until the cream cheese is melted. Then add the hot sauce to your level of spicy.
Serve with some pita chips or tortilla chips, or maybe some bread chips like these.
Southern Honey isn’t a big cream cheese fan, so he has requested that I replace some or all of the cream cheese with Velveeta or something the next time around. We’ll see. I thought it was fantastic just the way it was.