Easy Peasy Dinners and Cookies Galore!

With Christmas break upon us, I thought I'd share some of my easy go-to recipes for those evenings when you simply don't have the time or energy to cook up anything too complicated -OR- you're on holidays! Not only are these meals delicious but they are also healthier than a lot of frozen meals you can buy! So here goes!

Quiche! I am a huge fan of this one because it can be quickly pulled together and it is so easy to make 2 at the same time! That way one can be thrown in the freezer for another time because lets face it - there are days when turning on the oven even seems like too much of an effort!
Also, quiche is wonderful for the very fact that you can add to it pretty much whatever suits your fancy! I usually prefer spinach but you can also do broccoli or any other veg you can think of! My favorite additions are kalamata olives and bacon to top it off...mmmm, yum! On the one in the pic, I threw some hot banana peppers on top especially for my hubby since he loves spicy things and I ended up really liking that too!

Shepherd's pie is another staple in our home but recently I came across a recipe for Tex Mex Shepherd's Pie which ended up being a huge hit with the kiddos! It has just enough zing to make it a new found favorite for my 2 little goobers! :) And again, its so easy to make 2 and freeze it!!

This next one is a vegetarian casserole that I LOVE! Its Chilaquiles Casserole - layers of tortillas, black beans, zucchini, diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce and cheese! So very yummy with a green salad in the side! And as you can see the kids enjoy the leftovers at lunch the next day!

 Now that the rush of Christmas baking is over, I want to share with you some of what I baked this holiday, too!

First off, an old favorite - Ginger Sparklers! They are the taste of Christmas to me! So soft and gingery...even thinking about them makes me want to go make a batch right now! The recipe was from my friend, Andrea but I don't quite remember who she said she got it from. I think you get the picture though - this is a recipe worth passing along!

Ginger Sparklers

Combine 2 c. flour, 2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger and 1/2 tsp. cloves. In a separate bowl, cream 3/4 c. margarine/butter and 1 c. brown sugar. Add  1/4 c. molasses and 1 egg. Blend thoroughly then add flour mixture. Mix well. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in white sugar. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes.

This next recipe is a new one I found this year but one that I will definitely be making for years to come! Candy Cane Kiss Cookies are a lovely combination of mint and chocolate and they look festive too! Piper loved helping me with these. She was the kiss inserter (although some ended up being added to her mouth and not the cookie...I think I'll have to make my instructions a little clearer next time! ;)) The cookie dough for these cookies made the perfect Christmas gift for friends this year too!

So after making an 'ol' faithful' recipe and finding a new favorite, I just got adventurous! Thats right. I went a little crazy and made a gluten free cookie! It all started on an evening when I found myself roaming Bulk Barn all alone (ie. I had no kids with me and so more than just time enough to run in, grab what I needed and run out!!). I was browsing at all the different flours and such and came across organic coconut flour. I'd seen it come up in several recipes lately but had no idea where to find such a thing...and all of a sudden, there it was! I just had to buy some! And they even had a little recipe right there for Cinnamon Sugar Cookies! I thought it was worth a try! So I whipped a few up and took my first taste of a 'gluten-less' cookie...not quite what I had expected. Initially, I had a texture issue with it and the strong smell of coconut just seemed wrong when about to consume a sugar cookie! But the next day I tried again and they weren't so bad! Anyhow, I'll include a recipe in case you want to give it a try too! I'm sure there are better gluten free cookie recipes out there then what can be found at the Bulk Barn, I just need to look for them! (If you have a good recipe, add a link in the comment box!)

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Combine 4 eggs, 3/4 c. + 1 T. sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and 1/2 c. butter. Mix well. Stir in 3/4 c. coconut flour (I ended up having to use double that in order to be able to make the dough stiff enough to roll into balls). Let mixture rest 5 minutes to allow it to thicken. Combine 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1 T. sugar. Form dough into 1" balls and roll in cinnamon mixture, coating thoroughly. Place on cookie sheet 1" apart. Flatten ball to a 2" diameter. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

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