I think not.
Quick and Easy Christmas is such a wonderful cookbook! All of the recipes are extremely simple to make, require ordinary ingredients, and generally take 30 minutes or less. They are all special enough to serve for the holidays and yet practical enough to make any time of the year. I love that! There's no need to pack this cookbook away with your Christmas decorations.
The book has 220 recipes organized in six chapters, including a chapter especially devoted to slow cooker recipes. They all looked so good that we found it hard to pick out what to try. I imagine this book will get a lot of use in my kitchen! Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the tips and tricks included at the bottom of each page. I think those are just about as fun to read as the recipes, and I got so many great gift ideas this time around!
Once again, we picked six recipe to try out and share with you. Here they are, each given its own "reward"!
Most Immediate Gratification
Buttermilk Syrup from the chapter "Breakfast and Brunch"
The buttermilk syrup was so easy to whip up that I managed to do it in between putting one batch of pancakes on the griddle and taking them off to serve. I think the total time was less than 3 minutes! And oh the taste...we loved it! I have a feeling that we're going to be opting for this homemade syrup over store-bought syrup from here on out. It was absolutely delicious, incredibly easy, and just an all-around great recipe.
Most Likely to Masquerade as a Cinnamon Roll
Glazed Walnuts from the chapter "Snacks and Appetizers"
When my husband first tasted these, he said, "Tastes like cinnamon roll filling!" He's right! If cinnamon roll filling could be turned into a candy, this is what it would look like. Made as it's written, the recipe makes clusters of candy-coated walnuts that pack quite a sweet punch. I think that next time I make it, I'll double the amount of walnuts so that they are more lightly coated...perfect for salads and trail mix. This is an extremely versatile and extremely delicious recipe. If you like cinnamon rolls, you'll want to give these a try!
Walnut-Parsley Pesto Linguine from the chapter "Soups, Sides, and Salads"
This pesto required the use of a food processor...a kitchen utensil that I don't have. As a result, I almost burned out my blender making this dish and probably didn't get it as finely "pestoed" as the recipe intended. No worries, though! It still tasted awesome and made for some excellent pasta. We considered this the most versatile recipe because of all of the possibilities. You could change up the pasta, add some veggies, or even throw in some chicken to make it a main dish. This pesto would also be excellent with spaghetti squash or eggplant. I just love it when you can use one recipe to make numerous dishes. Now...if only I had a food processor...
Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu from the chapter "Mains"
Why most inspiring? Because this recipe made me think of all of the other ways you could imitate the flavors of chicken cordon bleu! This recipe is simple - grilled chicken topped with a ham gravy and melted Swiss. I'll be honest - it didn't beat out regular cordon bleu for us, and it was not a contender for our favorite recipe from the book. But, I have a feeling that I'll be pulling this out again and tweaking it. What if I created a creamier gravy or stuffed the ham inside the chicken? What if I made a chicken and ham casserole topped with melted Swiss and bread crumbs? I can't wait to experiment!
Man Bars from the chapter "Desserts"
Most Surprisingly Delicious
Cranberry Turkey Breast from the chapter "Slow Cooker"
This recipe intrigued me the minute I saw it. You put a turkey breast in a slow cooker and top it with a mixture of cranberry sauce and onion soup. Weird! And yet, SO GOOD. I always let my husband pick which recipe wins the overall favorite award, but if left to me, this one may have just gotten the prize. We both loved how easy it was to make, how good our house smelled while it was cooking, and how fabulous the flavors were. Plop the turkey and gravy on top of mashed potatoes, serve with a salad, and you've got a warm and comforting meal. The cranberry flavor is subtle but absolutely perfect.
My husband gets to pick which one of the above recipes I share with you. It didn't take long for him to decide on his overall favorite...Buttermilk Syrup!
This recipe is so easy that I didn't even take pictures while making it. There wasn't anything to take a picture of. You just boil all of the ingredients for one minute...that's it! The final result is one cup of syrup that looks remarkably like beer. Don't you think?
Pour warm buttermilk syrup over buttermilk pancakes for a fantastic breakfast. Make sure you refrigerate the leftovers!
from Gooseberry Patch's Quick and Easy Christmas
2 T. butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 t. light corn syrup
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla extract
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, boil all ingredients except vanilla for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cover and store in refrigerator. Makes about one cup.
So...how can YOU win a free copy of Quick and Easy Christmas? Just leave me a comment answering the following question - which of the other recipes featured above would you like me to share? I'll tally up the answers and share that recipe when I announce the winner! (Please also make sure I have access to a valid e-mail so that I can contact you if you win. No contact info, no entry!) Giveaway ends next Tuesday at midnight (Pacific time). Winner announced Wednesday, May 18.
PS - Gooseberry Patch gave me a free book to review as well as another to give away, but the views and opinions (and pictures!) presented in this post are entirely my own! Disclosure...check!