Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cranberry Orange Cookies

Everyone knows that this time of year (between Thanksgiving and Christmas) the magic of cookie making and treat baking goes up a notch! I can never be satisfied to make the same ol cookies every year....although my kids wouldn't mind. I'm always looking for something more unique...but still easy to make! I'm excited to share that I found my new favorite holiday cookie!!! (for this season... ha ha) This recipe perfectly blends the tartness of cranberries with the sweetness of fresh oranges and sugar. I was in such a hurry to make these yummy cookies that I forgot to take a picture of the ingredients. All the basics of a buttery sugar cookie with the addition of dried cranberries and two oranges. Next time I will double the recipe so there will be extra to share with friends!
Cranberry Orange Cookies

Sugar Mixture:
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel 

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all sugar mixture ingredients in small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, butter and egg. Beat until creamy. Reduce speed and add flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Beat until well mixed.  Add cranberries and 1 tbsp orange peel and beat until combined.  Shape cookies into one inch balls and roll in sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 7-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. (it took 9 minutes in my oven) Do not over bake.  Cool 1 minute and then remove from cookie sheet. 
Note: I dusted some of the extra orange sugar mixture on top of the "just baked" cookies while they were cooling. YUM!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Baked Ravioli Casserole

Everyone loves an easy weeknight meal recipe. I've seen several version of this recipe floating around Pinterest which consisted of just two ingredients.... marinara sauce and frozen ravioli. I decided to kick it up a notch with the addition of cooked mild Italian sausage and of course lots and lots of shredded Mozzarella cheese!!!! My family absolutely loved this Italian cheesy casserole and we will definitely make it again!!!
Baked Ravioli Casserole

1  (1 lb.)package Mild Italian Sausage (or use 1 lb. ground hamburger meat)
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
1  (22 oz.) package frozen cheese ravioli
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese (or use more if you like...I used closer to 4 cups total)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium skillet, cook the Italian sausage until done (no longer pink). Stir in the entire jar of marinara sauce with the sausage. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with baking spray. Spread half of the marinara meat sauce on bottom of baking pan. Layer with half of the frozen ravioli and half of the mozzarella cheese. Layer the other half of the frozen ravioli, remaining marinara meat sauce and then top with as much shredded mozzarella cheese as you like! Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly. 
NOTES: You could also add dollops of ricotta to this casserole or even a layer of cottage cheese.