What I Made For Christmas

Christmas Recipes ~ The Peachy Pair

Tis the week after Christmas and all through the house.  Not a creature was stirring because we were all too tired to do any more cooking until at least the new year. 

I don’t know about you, but over the last 4 or 5 days, I have eaten a lot of good food!  My family and I tend to go nontraditional, so you will see recipes here that can be used year round.  I found recipes to use that I followed to the letter; I didn’t think Christmas was a good time to do any experimenting, especially when I was hosting!  Click on the recipe names in RED to see the step by step of each.  You can see my pictures of each creation at the end. 

My celebrations started Wednesday night, Christmas Eve, with a small gathering of Glen, his mom Kay, and I chowing down on Slow Cooker Texas Chili from foodnetwork.com.  I had made this a couple of times before and it is a real winner, especially if you like a hearty chili without beans. 

Slow Cooker Texas Chili ~ The Peachy Pair

To go along with this, I made Texas Caviar from a recipe my mom gave me.  I honestly don’t know where the recipe came from, but it is supposed to be a dip.  I have served it several times as a side.  I hear it is good, but there isn’t anything in it that I would eat. 

Texas Caviar ~ The Peachy Pair

Next was Christmas Day!  After an amazing breakfast that Glen made of eggs, grits, bacon, and biscuits, I got started on Scott Peacock’s Pulled Pork from July 2014 Better Homes and Gardens.   I have been holding onto this recipe for months, wanting to try it.  I took the chance on Christmas and it paid off!  The Barbecue Sauce didn’t turn out as thick as I would have liked, but it was still good.  I sat out a bottle in case people didn’t like it, but I don’t think the bottle was touched!  If you have 7 hours to cook, try this one!

Pulled Pork ~ The Peachy Pair

Then comes Saturday, Christmas in Alabama!  I made my world famous (in my own mind) Macaroni and Cheese!  The link is to my now defunct blog, Parker’s Pantry.  I have simplified the recipe a little and will one day post the new and improved (easier) version here one day.  Basic principles are the same.

So, now you have seen mine; I want to see yours!  What did you make for the holidays? 

Slow Cooker Texas Chili

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 Texas Caviar

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Scott Peacock’s Pulled Pork

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Merry Christmas from the Peachy Pair

Merry Christmas - The Peachy Pair

From our home to yours, we wish you the most joyous Christmas. Jenny is in the kitchen preparing our meal. We are slow cooking a pork shoulder and our guests (family) are bringing the sides/desserts.

What are you cooking for the holidays?

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Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage and Apples

Macaroni and Cheese with Apples and Sausage ~ The Peachy Pair

Macaroni and Cheese.  Possibly my favorite food on the planet.  Funny thing is, when I was a kid, I HATED it!  Pasta went with spaghetti sauce, not cheese!  My poor mother. 

Something changed, though, and now I realize the true magnificence of this glorious food.  One day I will have to share with you my famous (in my own mind) baked macaroni and cheese that has a total of 6 different types of cheeses. 

But today, I have another incarnation of macaroni and cheese to share with you.  Better Homes and Gardens September 2014 featured Apple Bacon Mac and Cheese in special section on new ways with apples. 

This recipe inspired a creation of macaroni, two types of apples and cheese, and an apple and Gouda sausage.  A one pot meal that is not only tasty, but quite easy as well. 

Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage and Apples

  • Cooking Spray
  • 12 ounces apple and Gouda sausage
  • 1 large Gala apple, chopped
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Gouda, shredded
  • 8 ounces penne pasta

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook pasta according to box directions. 

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Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat.  Add sausage, cook for 10 minutes, turning half way through. 

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Remove from pan and set aside. 

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Slice. 

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Spray the same skillet with cooking spray and add the chopped apples and onion.

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  Cook for about 5 minutes and then set aside. 

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Melt the butter in the skillet. 

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Whisk in the flour and black pepper. 

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Add the milk and cook, whisking until thickened. 

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Add Dijon

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and both cheeses, stirring until melted. 

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Add the cooked macaroni,

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apple mixture,

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and sausage. 

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Stir until well combined.  Transfer to a baking dish

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and bake for 30 minutes. 

Macaroni and Cheese with Apples and Sausage ~ The Peachy Pair

Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage and Apples
Serves 6
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
647 calories
56 g
123 g
33 g
32 g
21 g
372 g
798 g
21 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
372g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 647
Calories from Fat 293
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 33g
51%
Saturated Fat 21g
104%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 123mg
41%
Sodium 798mg
33%
Total Carbohydrates 56g
19%
Dietary Fiber 5g
20%
Sugars 21g
Protein 32g
Vitamin A
19%
Vitamin C
13%
Calcium
79%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. • Cooking Spray
  2. • 12 ounces apple and Gouda sausage, sliced
  3. • 1 large Gala apple, chopped
  4. • 1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
  5. • 1 onion, chopped
  6. • 2 tbsp butter
  7. • 2 tbsp flour
  8. • Freshly ground black pepper
  9. • 2 cups 2% milk
  10. • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  11. • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  12. • 1 cup Gouda, shredded
  13. • 8 ounces penne pasta
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to box directions. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add sausage, cook for 10 minutes, turning half way through. Remove from pan and set aside. Slice. Spray the same skillet with cooking spray and add the chopped apples and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes and then set aside. Melt the butter in the skillet. Whisk in the flour and black pepper. Add the milk and cook, whisking until thickened. Add Dijon and both cheeses, stirring until melted. Add the cooked macaroni, sausage, and apple mixture. Stir until well combined. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
beta
calories
647
fat
33g
protein
32g
carbs
56g
more
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens September 2014 Apple-Bacon Mac and Cheese
The Peachy Pair http://www.thepeachypair.com/

Apricot Rosemary Chicken Thighs

 Apricot Rosemary Chicken Thighs ~ The Peachy Pair

Chicken Thighs.  Rosemary.  Couscous.  Um, what is wrong with this combination?  Absolutely nothing!

The September 2014 issue of Cooking Light features a recipe for Apricot Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Roasted Almond Couscous.  What a great recipe for a fast and easy weeknight dinner!

I did tweak this a bit, using bone in chicken thighs, which did take longer to cook, and leaving out the almonds.  Still, this was a winner!

I have lamented my hatred for chicken breasts on this blog in the past.  But the chicken thigh, oh the delicious, flavorful, juicy chicken thigh….I love you.  Sorry.  It just got weird. 

Apricot Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Couscous

  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Fresh ground black pepper

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bring stock to a boil in a small saucepan. 

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Add couscous, remove from heat, and cover. 

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Let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.  Stir in parsley. 

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Meanwhile, combine preserves, vinegar, and rosemary in a microwave safe bowl. 

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Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring half way through. 

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Heat an oven safe grill pan over medium high heat.  Spray with cooking spray. 

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Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. 

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Add chicken and sear for 5 minutes on each side. 

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Place grill pan in oven and cook for about 20 minutes.  Coat with half of the apricot mixture and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, or until done.  Brush with remaining apricot mixture

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and serve with couscous.

Apricot Rosemary Chicken Thighs ~ The Peachy Pair

Apricot Rosemary Chicken Thighs
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
555 calories
54 g
231 g
15 g
48 g
4 g
311 g
252 g
13 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
311g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 555
Calories from Fat 137
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g
23%
Saturated Fat 4g
21%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 231mg
77%
Sodium 252mg
10%
Total Carbohydrates 54g
18%
Dietary Fiber 3g
10%
Sugars 13g
Protein 48g
Vitamin A
11%
Vitamin C
15%
Calcium
4%
Iron
16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  2. • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  3. • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  4. • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  5. • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  6. • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  7. • Cooking spray
  8. • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
  9. • Fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous, remove from heat, and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Stir in parsley. Meanwhile, combine preserves, vinegar, and rosemary in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring half way through. Heat an oven safe grill pan over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Add chicken and sear for 5 minutes on each side. Place grill pan in oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Coat with half of the apricot mixture and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, or until done. Brush with remaining apricot mixture and serve with couscous.
Notes
  1. I cooked the couscous in the beginning, but would recommend that you work on this while the chicken is in the oven.
beta
calories
555
fat
15g
protein
48g
carbs
54g
more
Adapted from Cooking Light September 2014 Apricot Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Roasted Almond Couscous
The Peachy Pair http://www.thepeachypair.com/

Holiday Travel and Fitness

Healthy Holiday Travel Tips - The Peachy Pair

Weather you are traveling by plane, Train, or Automobile, the folks over at MyFitnessPal have come up with some tips that are too good not to share. Link to their Blog is at the bottom, but I have copied the text here for your reading pleasure…..

PLANES

1. Reserve an aisle seat It’s so much easier to get up and go for a little walk up and down the aisle, or do a quick stretch when you don’t have to push past your neighbors.

2. Use your own two feet Escalators and moving walkways in airports are super tempting. Fight the urge to stand still and walk up the stairs and between gates whenever possible. And while you’re at it…

3. Adopt a “no sitting” rule Don’t sit down when you find your gate. Instead, keep moving. Do a few laps around the terminal, make a walking phone call, and keep walking until right before you board.

4. Carry on your lunch Airplane food pickings are getting slim—so long, free packet of peanuts! Make sure you stash a healthy option in your carry on so you won’t be tempted to swipe your credit card out of convenience. A simple sandwich and a piece of fruit are easy to get through the security check.

TRAINS

5. Stand up often Take every opportunity you can to stand up—when you’re waiting for your train to board, after finding your seat, and once the train gets moving.

6. Do mini seated stretches Roll your neck, gently twist your back side-to-side, roll your ankles and wrists, lift and lower your feet. Mini-stretches help to keep your blood flowing during long seated periods. (These can be done on an airplane and in the car, too—as long as you’re not the one driving!)

7. Stay out of the dining car On sold-out, holiday travel days many unfortunate passengers get stuck sitting in the dining car. Arrive early and board your train as soon as possible to make sure you get a proper seat. You can only smell hot cocoa and stare at packets of M&M’s for so long before your willpower gives out!

AUTOMOBILES

8. Fill your cup holder with water Find a water bottle that fits in your car’s console (or in your carry on bag!) and take it with you wherever you go. Set a goal for how many times you’ll refill the bottle during the day. You’ll stay hydrated during travel and avoid grabbing higher calorie beverages, like sodas, juices, and energy drinks, during rest stops.

9. BYO-Snacks! Pack healthy snacks to take with you on your road trip. You’ll be less likely to pull over at the next drive-through! Some handy options: Cut up carrots and other veggies, popcorn, and almonds.

10. Break for fitness Wear your sneakers on the road and turn pit stops into exercise zones. Jog around the parking lot, find a bench and do a few pushups or triceps dips, or pack a jump rope in the trunk and get in a few skips next to the car. You’ll arrive at your destination without feeling stiff, and burn some extra calories to boot!

MyFitnessPal Blog