Monday, December 21, 2015

Pepperidge Farms Holiday Favorites

Sure, Christmas is the time for spending time with  family and friends and giving...but let's be honest it's also the time for cookies.  There is no debating it- a good cookie is worth its weight in gold, but let's face it- between the parties, the shopping, the gift wrapping and everything else going on during this time, baking the perfect cookie isn't exactly on the top of everyone's list.  Here's the secret though- the fact that Pepperidge Farms exists means that you don't have to make the perfect cookie- they do it for you!

Now, I enjoy a good baking session every so often, but for my money, the Pepperidge Farm varieties are so perfectly done that they always satisfy my craving- and this holiday they have introduced so gloriously festive types.  Take their peppermint Milanos.  Imagine the crispy, buttery milano, filled with not only rich dark chocolate, but also a perfect hint of peppermint to incorporate that classic pairing.  

During the holiday season they also sell boxes stuffed full of all different types of their cookies, from Milanos to chessmen and everything in between.  These are the perfect assortments to put out at any holiday party- or to snack on during those amazing Christmas movie marathons they run!

I gotta say though- my favorite this year were their gingerbread men.  Sweet and Spicy, crisp and delicious- these guys were perfect on their own, but I decided to jazz them up a bit. I swapped them into Martha Stewart's Cookie Pie Crust and then used the crust as the base for my Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie.  The flavor of these cookies made that pie irresistible, so much more fun than your average pie crust.  

In my mind, Pepperidge Farms does very little poorly- if at all.  Their holiday selections of cookies are perfectly delicious and the most wonderful way to honor your friends and family.            

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cranberry-Marinated Rack of Australian Lamb

How did the wonders of lamb get relegated to springtime?  What law got passed so many years ago that said- all of the delicious dishes that lamb can make should really only be eaten between March and May?  I think it is long past time to change that rule- and luckily the Australian Lamb Board agrees with me. The US shortage of turkeys this year around our holiday season has sent a lot of people scrambling for an alternative to the healthy bird.  Lamb is well known as one of the leanest meats, its low in cholesterol and a 3 oz serving has only 175 calories.  So as your loved ones gather around the table- when you serve lamb you'll know that you are serving them a meal that will take care of them as much as delight their taste buds.

I was the very lucky recipient of two racks of lamb from the Australian Lamb Board a few weeks ago and I got to try one of their recipes perfectly crafted holiday inspired recipes- their Cranberry-Marinated Rack of Australian Lamb.  Now I've never made a rack of lamb before, but their recipe was so well written, and easy to follow that I flawlessly was able to serve a gorgeous and flavorful rack without too much fuss.  And really isn't delicious and easy two key features to a holiday meal?  

Give this recipe a try and impress every guest at your holiday party!

Servings:  6

2 Australian lamb racks, frenched
1 cup pure cranberry or pomegranate juice 
1 cup white or red wine 
½ cup cranberries
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place racks of lamb in large, deep dish. Add juice, wine, cranberries, and rosemary. Cover and marinate 2-3 hours or overnight. 

Remove lamb from marinade, pat dry and season to taste. Place marinade in
saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to a thin glaze. Discard rosemary. Keep glaze warm. 

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Heat oil in a large pan and sear lamb on all sides to brown, place in oven and cook 8-10 minutes for medium rare or until cooked as desired. Allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing into individual chops.

Spoon sauce over lamb and serve with rice and steamed green beans.

Marinate the lamb the day before. 

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