Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Pin It/Do It - Pins #13-16: Food

The gathering of family for Christmas seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out some new recipes.  I reported earlier on the Weight Watchers Taco Soup that I made ahead and froze.  We had so many options on Christmas day, that I never got around to trying the Taco Soup, then sent all the leftovers home with college kids - so you're on your own with that recipe.  All I know is that It tasted good while it was cooking, and those who ate it on Christmas came back for more - so it must have been ok.

I also tried a couple other recipes that I actually ate and can review.  First was Peanut Butter Eclair Cake.  I have been making Eclair Cake since it was served at my bridal shower over thirty years ago.  It has long been Mitch's favorite and his request for his birthday every year - but I never thought of adding peanut butter.  Genius!

Note: I wasn't able to find chocolate graham crackers, either at my local grocery store or even at the huge Wal-Mart, so I made it with regular graham crackers and it was still awesome.
From Plain Chicken
Peanut Butter Chocolate Éclair Cake

1 box chocolate graham crackers (there will be a few graham crackers left over)

2 (3 1/4-ounce) boxes vanilla instant pudding
1 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
1 can chocolate frosting

Spray the bottom of a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with whole graham crackers. In bowl of an electric mixer, mix pudding with milk and peanut butter; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer. Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.

Heat the container of prepared frosting, uncovered in the microwave for 1 minute. Pour over the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.

To balance the indulgence of peanut butter and chocolate, I cut calories by making my own Ranch Dressing.  
From Caffeinated Chronicles of a SuperMom
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (not dip mix)
1/2 cup 1% milk.
Whisk together, chill 1 hour before use.

The entire jar has only 1.75 grams of fat and 255 calories!

The pinner wrote that this version "tastes better than bottled".  I'm not sure I would go that far but, considering the fat and calorie savings, it was darn good.  The yogurt has a tang to it that you don't usually find in Ranch dressing, but still a very good alternative to bottled Ranch with 140 calories in two tablespoons.

With all those saved calories, we splurged on breakfast the next morning with this delicious and simple recipe from Too Stinkin' Cute.  
Breakfast Sticky Bun Ring
2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits OR 1 tube Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 C. maple syrup
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. chopped pecans, optional
1/4 C. chopped almonds, optional

Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray. Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired).  Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top. Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring.  Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter and enjoy!

Never one to leave well enough alone when it comes to recipes, I substituted Karo syrup for the maple syrup (I'm not a maple fan) and I used 1 1/2 cans of the larger canned biscuits because it seemed a little skimpy in the pan with only one.  This recipe definitely gets a permanent spot in my recipe file and will get made at every excuse.

My final food-related pin wasn't a recipe, but a serving idea. Jen @ Yummy Fun shared a recipe for guacamole and showed it served in a candle holder.  I didn't try the recipe, but I did borrow the serving idea for my buffet.  I filled two (faux)-wrought iron and glass votive holders with sauce for the cocktail shrimp.  They looked pretty and added some height variety to the buffet.  I love finding alternative uses for common items.

The Holiday Pin It/Do It Challenge is nearly complete.  I'll be back tomorrow with one final pin - or at least 1/2 of a pin.  


  1. I will definitely try the cinnamon biscuit ring and the serving idea is awesome! I can't think of anything I own that would work - but I will keep it in mind!! You are a wonderful mom and grandma - thinking of all the little extras to make the holiday special - with new recipes and tried and true recipes, table decorations, buffet decorating touches, decorative trees around the house and a mix of new and old decorating ideas! Love it!

  2. P.S. Only problem I see is that I didn't get to be there!

  3. P.P.S I am so doing that Sticky Bun for New Year's Day!

  4. These look like awesome recipes to try. Thank you for sharing them.

  5. I made the sticky buns too! They are delicious and I will try it with karo next time. The topping got really hard when they cooled and had to be reheated enable to eat the couple left over. I'm pinning the eclair cake!