Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

December 17, 2014 in Desserts, Holidays

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Cranberries and cream cheese are a match made in heaven.

You can find some gems while flipping through magazines waiting at the beauty salon. Like this cheesecake from Woman’s Day magazine, for instance.

This cheesecake looks so pretty and festive on a plate (you can skip sprinkling on the extra chocolate crumbs if you want a more pristine look), but the reason to make this cheesecake is the light, fluffy texture and the tart swirl on the top made from cranberries and raspberries cooked down and strained.

I don’t even normally like cheesecake, by the by, but this one has won my taste buds over.

It is a cinch to throw together, but will look like you’ve slaved for hours. A win-win in my book!

Happy Holly Days, food friends!

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Almond Joy to the World Coconut Custards

December 15, 2014 in Desserts

Coconut, almond and chocolate combine in a holiday homage to my culinary progenitor.

Almond Joy Coconut Milk Custards

Almond Joy Coconut Milk Custards

One of my first Donna Kelly family recipe experiences was her famous Joy to the World Balls, the homespun Christmas candy that is an annual highlight in the Kelly calendar. It was during the first Christmas we got to spend together, post-reunion, once I finally had the honor of being introduced to the rest of her (our) fabulous family. Do try making these in their original form, if you’re looking for a unique holiday confection! This year, I decided to try making the flavor combination in a custard form, using coconut milk and honey.  Consider it an homage to the original – well worth trying whether you follow dairy-free or paleo guidelines or not.  Read the rest of this entry →


Five Ingredient Kale Sausage and White Bean Soup in Five Minutes

December 12, 2014 in Soups and Stews

Kale Sausage and Bean Soup

This flavorful soup can be on your table in five minutes flat.

Five Ingredient Fridays is a new feature of one of our favorite blogs, Kalyn’s Kitchen, and so we decided to follow suit and regularly post easy five ingredient recipes on Fridays. So, we will feature more five ingredient recipes that are quick, easy and have a minimum of processed ingredients with a maximum of flavor. Win – win, no?

This soup  is packed with flavors that will make your taste buds dance.  (Think Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana, only easier and cheaper!) And yet – grocery bag to table in just about 5 minutes flat!

You can get this on the table and finish eating dinner quicker that you can drive through anywhere! This is my current go-to quick comfort food dinner, and now that the holiday season is in full swing, who doesn’t need easy yummy recipes at your fingertips?

Weeknight dinner stress SOLVED.

– posted by Donna

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Stuffed Kale Rolls

December 11, 2014 in Vegetarian Entrees

Meet the new Cabbage Rolls. Only with Kale.

Stuffed Kale Rolls

The New Cabbage Rolls have arrived. AKA Kale Rolls.

Remember cabbage rolls? So popular in the 1970’s when I was a kid. These rolls were so popular, they even appeared on our school lunch menus. And, surprisingly, they were Good!

Now all of that yummy, comforting goodness has gone 21st century: Kale Rolls. They are just as good as cabbage rolls, with more flavor because of the kale.

You do have to blanch the kale first to soften it, and then these can be prepared the very same way that you prepare cabbage rolls. I like to use a pilaf recipe with fruit and nuts, and then I tossed in some crumbled goat cheese for tartness and creaminess. The combo of flavors and textures is heavenly here.

And, if you need a festive meatless  holiday dinner for the vegetarians at your table, these fit the bill perfectly. Perfec t for a Meatless  Monday holiday meal.

Happy, happy Holidays to you!

– posted by Donna

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DIY Jeweled Rice Pilaf Mix for a Gift from Your Kitchen

December 8, 2014 in Holidays, Side Dishes

Jeweled Rice Pilaf Mix

Give a Savory Food Gift this Holiday Season

Persian Jeweled rice is a dish that is made for special occasions, I am guessing because it looks so festive, and the taste is exotic and unexpected. It’s not just plain old rice pilaf.

I love to give gifts from my kitchen for holiday gifts, but I wanted to make something that isn’t just the usual cookie or brownie mix in a jar. I wanted something savory that will require minimum fuss to go from jar to table.

This jeweled rice pilaf mix fits the bill perfectly. It only takes a few  minutes of prep time, and then your friends and family will think you have been slaving for hours.

I did substitute a few things to keep the cost down. Traditionally, saffron would be used, but I added a little curry powder for taste and color. And, the traditional nut is pistachios, but I like pecans. You can use whatever spice and whatever nut you like.

The flavors and textures are such an unexpected treat – sweet and salty, soft and crunchy – a party in your mouth!

Just put this mix in layers in a pretty jar and attach the directions and there you have it – the perfect food gift!

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5 Ingredient Leftover Turkey with Cranberries and Rosemary

December 4, 2014 in Entrees, Gluten Free

One more Thanksgiving leftover salad – simple as can be. 

Leftover Thanksgiving Salad

Leftover Thanksgiving Salad with Turkey, Cranberries and Rosemary

This is as easy as it gets, and yet the flavor combination is totally worth noting and repeating. Naturally you can use chicken on any other occasion, but do try it out with the rosemary and cranberries even if you don’t happen to have them (and the celery) leftover from a prior feast, as I did. Read the rest of this entry →


Cranberry Orange Nut Cookies Cookie Exchange and Cookies for Santa’s Milk Drive

December 3, 2014 in Desserts, Holidays, Snacks, Uncategorized

Cranberry Orange Walnut Cookies

All the Christmas flavors in one little cookie.

Let the Christmas cookie season begin!

This cookie packs so many holiday flavors into one little cookie: cranberries, orange and walnuts. They truly are packed with flavor, and so many wonderful textures.

These cookies are dairy free as well, so you can serve them up to even the vegans on your cookie list!

Christmas is the one time of year that I do actual baking, so I need recipes that are easy and no-fail, like these cookies. I promise you will not be disappointed – they are like a burst of sunshine in your mouth!

We are thrilled to be joining the Cookie Exchange put together by Liz Latham at Hoosier Homemade – please visit these food blogs for their fabulous recipes!


And, cookies are just so much more delicious with milk, as any kid can tell you. Did you know that milk is one of the items which food banks never get enough of during the holidays? Please consider donating to Santa’s Milk Drive this holiday season by visiting and donating a gallon of milk.

Santa just might put you on the “nice list” if you do!


Happy Cookie Days, All!

– posted by Donna

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2014 Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

November 26, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare, Holidays, Side Dishes, Techniques

We all need some 11th hour inspiration from time to time. If you’re still working out the kinks in your menu, here are some  favorite fun ideas.

What sweet little Thanksgiving Turkeys.


For starters, if you have a lot of kids in attendance, here are a few fun ideas to keep them occupied AND make some great contributions to the feasting table. As per the picture above, try making some adorable candy turkeys. Check out the video below:  Read the rest of this entry →


Easy Leftover Turkey Posole

November 23, 2014 in Soups and Stews

Posole easy enough for a weeknight.

Easy Chicken Thigh Posole

A glorious way to use up your leftover turkey!

There is something about a warm spicy soup that fills you belly and your soul on a cold winter’s night.

Posole is one of those soups. Actually, I make mine more like a thick and hearty stew than a soup. And I love old school Fritos for crumbling on top as a garnish.

Posole is a spicy corn stew and an ancient Aztec food that originated in southern Mexico – it has withstood the test of time because it is so easy and flavorful. The native people considered corn to be a sacred plant and so posole was a popular and revered dish. I used poblano chiles in this, which are very mild. If you want heat, roast a few jalepenos, too!

Making this with your leftover turkey means you can get this on your table in 30 minutes, with no sacrifice of flavor.

Happy Leftover Day, Everyone!

– posted by Donna

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Wild Rice Salmon Salad with Pine Nuts, Lemon and Parsley

November 19, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

This wild rice and salmon dish is a perfect salad for your Thanksgiving lineup.

Wild Rice Salmon Salad with Lemon, Parsley and Pine Nuts

Wild Rice Salmon Salad with Lemon, Parsley and Pine Nuts

To mangle Robert Burns, the best laid recipe plans aft gang agly . . . but also sometimes turn out deliciously regardless. My original thought with this dish was to make a sort of wild rice maki, that would be fitting on a Thanksgiving table, rolled up in slices of lox-style smoked salmon. Round 1: Tastes great, but sliced salmon won’t hold the shape together well enough. Round 2: Chopped up salmon and mixed it into the rice, and tried using nori to wrap the whole mixture up. Not sticky enough to work. Round 3: Decide the tasty rice mixture does just fine all on its own. Tossed in a bowl it is!

As it stands, the salad is gluten-free (some would consider it grain-free as well, as wild rice is actually a kind of grass) and dairy-free, though I have it on good authority that some crumbled chevre in the mix is a lovely addition as well.  Read the rest of this entry →