Recipes to sweeten your holiday from Meijer

Recipes to sweeten your holiday from Meijer

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(WJBK) -- Get these recipes courtesy of Tina Miller, Meijer's Healthy Living Advisor. Learn more about www.meijermealbox.com/healthy-living.

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Shortcut Sugar Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients:
1 17.5 oz. pkg. Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 egg
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or butter blend
Decorating supplies:
Cookie cutters, garlic press
Decorator writing icing, String licorice, Mini-candies (mini-M&Ms), White icing (canned), Colored sugar and sprinkles

Directions:
1.    In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms.  Cover and refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours (or more.)  
2.    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand for 10 minutes.  Lightly dust rolling pin and rolling surface with flour.  Roll a "handful" of dough 1/4" thick and cut shapes using cookie cutters.   Place on cookies sheets lined with parchment paper.  Add leftover cut out dough to the batch of remaining dough.  Repeat rolling and cutting until all dough is used.
3.    If desired, lightly brush cookies with egg white.   Bake 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

Steven's Scrumptious Gingerbread Cookies
Shortcut: Buy refrigerated gingerbread cookie dough just roll, cut, bake and decorate!
Makes 3 dozen.

Gingerbread Ingredients:

3 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or Whole White Wheat Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon McCormick ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon McCormick ground cloves
1/2 cup Meijer unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup Meijer granulated white sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup dark molasses (spray measuring cup with non-stick pan spray prior to measuring to prevent     molasses from sticking to the measuring cup).

Confectioners Frosting:
2 cups Meijer confectioner's sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup Meijer unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon McCormick pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons milk or light cream

Directions:
1.    Gingerbread: In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.   In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses and then beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated. Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.  
2.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside while you roll out the dough.
3.    On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread cookie cutter or other shapes to cut out cookies.  Using a spatula lift the cut out cookies onto the baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1 inch apart.  Note: If you are hanging the cookies or using as gift tags, make a hole at the top of the cookies with a straw or end of a wooden skewer.
4.    Bake 8 - 12 minutes.  Cookies are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown.  Remove the cookies from the oven and let stand about one minute. When they are firm enough to move, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5.    If desired, you can press raisins or candies into the dough for eyes and buttons while the cookies are still warm. Otherwise, confectioners frosting can be used to decorate the cookies.  Icing can also be used to attach candies, raisins, and sprinkles.

Confectioners Frosting:  
1.    In a medium to large bowl, cream the butter until smooth and well blended.  Add vanilla extract, mix.   Gradually beat in sugar until well blended.  Add milk and beat on high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  
2.    Add a little more milk if too dry. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate the gingerbread men as desired.  Alternately, make a small cut on the corner of a quart size zip-lock bag.  Fill bag with frosting and squeeze to decorate cookies. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Simple Bar Cookies

Layered Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
   
Ingredients:
2 cups unsifted White Whole Wheat flour (fluff flour with spoon before measuring)
1 1/2 cups Meijer oats
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbls firmly packed Meijer brown sugar
1 cup Land O'Lakes Spreadable butter with canola oil
1 8-oz. package Meijer reduced-fat cream cheese (not fat free)
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk (Not evaporated milk)
1/4 cup ReaLemon Lemon Juice from concentrate
2 Tbls Meijer Cornstarch
1 16-oz. can Meijer whole cranberry sauce

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    In a large mixer bowl, combine flour, oats 3/4 cup sugar, mix well.  Add spreadable butter and mix until crumbly.  Reserve 1 1/2 cup of crumb mixture.  Press remainder of crumb mixture firmly on the bottom of a greased 13x9 inch baking pan.  Bake 15 minutes.  
3.    Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth.  Add lemon juice and mix until well blended.  Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over baked crust.
4.    Mix cornstarch and 1 Tbls brown sugar in a small mixing bowl.  Add cranberry sauce and mix well.  Spread evenly over the top of the cream cheese mixture.  
5.    Top with reserved crumb mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes, until golden.  Cool and store in refrigerator.  Makes 24 to 36 bars.

Chocolate Nutty Bars
    
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup White Whole Wheat flour or Whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Meijer salt
1 cup firmly packed Meijer brown sugar
1 cup Meijer butter, softened (or 1 8oz. pkg. Land o'Lakes Spreadable Butter w/Canola oil
1 teaspoon McCormick vanilla extract
1 egg
12-ounce package (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 1/2 cup Diamond Chopped Walnuts, finely chopped

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat brown sugar, butter and vanilla extract until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup chopped walnuts. Spread into greased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake 23 to 25 minutes.
2.    Immediately sprinkle semi-sweet chocolate morsels over top. Let stand until morsels become shiny and soft (about 3-5 minutes). Spread chocolate evenly over top. Garnish with remaining ground walnuts. When cool, chill 5 to 10 minutes to set chocolate. Cut into 2- x 1 -inch bars.  Makes 24 bars.

Easy Classic Favorite Cookies

Dylan's Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (White whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 Cup Meijer All-purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Oat Bran
1/4 Cup Ground Flax Seed (Flax meal)
3/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 Cup Loosely Packed Meijer Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Softened Butter (or margarine)
1 tsp. McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1 Pkg. (12 oz.) Chocolate Chips
Optional:  1 Cup chopped nuts, 1/2 cup dried Cherries

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
2.    Combine flour, oat bran, flax meal, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.  3.    Cream butter, add brown sugar and beat until smooth.  Add granulated sugar and beat until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat again until smooth.
4.    Add half of the mixed dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix well.  Add remaining dry ingredients and mix well.  Add chocolate chips (and nuts if desired) and mix until well blended.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets (line with parchment paper for easier clean up).  Bake 8 to 10 minutes.  Makes approximately 5 dozen 2" cookies.  (For best results, refrigerate dough for 1 to 2 hours before baking.)

Chocolate-Cherry Thumbprints
Makes 4 dozen

Ingredients:
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1-3/4 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups Meijer white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
3/4 cup Meijer granulated sugar
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon McCormick pure vanilla extract
2 cups (two 10-ounce jars) maraschino cherries, drained and patted dry

Directions:
1.    MICROWAVE 1 cup morsels in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted. Combine oats, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
2.    BEAT sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until smooth. Beat in melted chocolate. Stir in oat mixture. Cover; refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
3.    PREHEAT oven to 350° F.
4.    SHAPE dough into 1-inch balls; press thumb into tops to make deep depression. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Fill each depression with maraschino cherry.
5.    BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Melt remaining morsels; drizzle over cookies.

Holiday Quick Breads for Sharing or Giving

Holiday Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups Meijer white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground McCormick cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground McCormick nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground McCormick ginger
1/2 cup packed Meijer brown sugar
1/2 cup Meijer granulated sugar
1/2 cup margarine
2 eggs
1 16-oz. can Meijer solid pack pumpkin
3/4 cup dates, chopped
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9"x 5" loaf pan with pan spray (or 4 mini-loaf pans).  
2.    In a medium bowl, mix flours, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.  
3.    In a large mixing bowl, beat on medium speed margarine, eggs, pumpkin and then adding sugar last, beat until well blended.  
4.    Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix only until moistened.  Stir in chopped dates and walnuts. Spoon batter evenly into pan(s).  Note: Lightly sprinkle raw batter with additional ground nuts if desired.  
5.    Bake approximately 50 to 60 minutes (about 40 minutes for mini-loaves); unit toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (If top of loaf browns to quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil until baking is completed.) Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.  Remove from baking pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 1 loaf (12 hearty servings).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 305 calories, 7g protein, 49g carbohydrate, 9g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium, 4.5g fiber.   

Cranberry Nut Bread
Makes 1 standard loaf or 3 mini-loaves

Ingredients:
2 cups Meijer white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Meijer granulated sugar
1/4 cup Meijer brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries (1/2 to 2/3 cup dried cranberries may be substituted for fresh berries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 egg
3 Tbsp. Meijer canola or vegetable oil
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
2. Combine the flour, sugars, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the cranberries and walnuts, and stir to coat with flour. Mix together the egg, oil, orange juice, and orange zest. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, and stir until just blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack, and cool completely.

More Holiday Treats

Chef Jenn's Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cupcake
Perfect bite size portions allow you to enjoy a more indulgent treat, in moderation!
Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:
6 Tbsp. Meijer unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup Meijer dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup Meijer granulated sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 large egg yolk (room temperature)
3/4 cup red wine
1 tsp. McCormick pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. Meijer baking powder
1 /4 tsp. salt
1 cup Sanders Caramel topping
1 cup Meijer chocolate frosting
1 Tbsp. course ground sea salt

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2.    In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars; add eggs, red wine and vanilla and beat until well combined.
3.    Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and ¼ tsp. salt.  Whisk into butter mixture until well combined.  
4.    Fill the 24 mini cupcake pan cups 3/4 full.  Bake for 15-17 minutes.
5.    While cupcakes bake, in a small mixing bowl combine 3/4 cup caramel with 1/2 Tbsp. coarse salt.  Place into a pastry bag with any tip (leaf shape works best).  
6.    In another small mixing bowl, mix frosting 1/4 cup caramel and 1/2 Tbsp. coarse salt.  Fill a second pastry bag with frosting.
7.    Once cupcakes are baked, use the pastry bag with the caramel to poke a hot in the top and fill the inside of cupcake with a squeeze of caramel.  Top with frosting.  Garnish with a light dusting of coarse salt if desired.
8.    Enjoy!

Recipe source: Chef Jennifer, Meijer culinary team


Oven Roasted Spiced Nuts


Ingredients:
2 egg whites lightly beaten (or 1/2 cup liquid egg white)
2 Tablespoons of water
6 cups Shelled walnuts or Pecan halves
1 cup Meijer sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground McCormick cinnamon
1 tsp. ground McCormick cloves
1 tsp. ground McCormick nutmeg
1 tsp. McCormick Chinese 5-spice powder

Directions:
1.    Preheat conventional oven to 350 degrees.  
2.    Line a cookie sheet with parchment baking paper or use a silicone baking sheet.  
3.    In a bowl beat egg white, mix in water, and add nuts.  In a separate bowl whisk together well all spices and sugar.  Add spice-sugar mix to nut mix.  
4.    Mix well and spread onto cookie sheet.  Place in the middle rack of oven – bake for 30 minutes (no longer) until mostly dry, stir every 10 minutes (this is important to avoid burning).  Watch closely at end of baking time to avoid burning.  
5.    Allow to cool completely before storing.  Do not refrigerate.  Seal tightly in a zipper lock bag or an air-tight sealed container.  Makes 24 -- 1/4 cup portions.

Nutrition Information per serving:  301 Calories, 28g Fat, 3.9g Protein, 13.3g Carbohydrate, 105mg Sodium, 0 mg Cholesterol, 3.7g Fiber, 37mg Calcium.

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