So here we are at the last weekend of holiday shopping. If you are still looking for more “gifts from the kitchen” ideas, here is a wrap-up of some other gift-giving ideas:
Pancake Mix: We made this last year and it was a hit. It even began a special pancake-making tradition for R and his Pop. This recipe from allrecipes.com is a good one.
Popcorn Kits: I think I have mentioned it before, but homemade microwave popcorn is really easy to make. Wrap some up and give it to your favorite NetFlix patron:
Glazed Nuts: I’ve never made these before, but we have a family friend who does, and they are apparently easy to do. I can vouch for their tastiness!
Soup Mix: This mix is what I used to develop one of my all-time favorite slow-cooker recipes, Italian Bean and Artichoke Soup.
Italian Bean Soup Mix
3 cups of dried beans (pinto, lima, navy, black, great northern, red and kidney all work)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Layer beans in 1-quart food storage jar with tight fitting lid. Slide bay leaves down the side of jar. Put onion, parsley, bouillon, garlic, thyme, oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes into a small food-storage bag. Close with twist tie; cut off top of bag. Place bag on top of beans. Close jar.
Cover top of jar with fabric; attach tag with raffia or ribbon.
Tag should read:
TO MAKE THIS SOUP YOU WILL NEED:
1 jar country 6 bean soup mix
4-5 cups water
1 jar (28 ounces) pasta sauce
8 ounces smoked sausage links, sliced, or 2 smoked ham hocks
Hot pepper sauce or red wine vinegar (optional)
Remove seasoning packet and bay leaves; set aside.
Place beans in large bowl. Cover with water. Soak 6-8 hours, or overnight. (To quick-soak beans, place them in a large saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, let soak uncovered for 1 hour.) Drain beans, discard water.
Combine soaked beans, water, tomatoes, sausage, contents of seasoning packet, and reserved bay leaves in Dutch oven or slow cooker (if using, cook on low for 7-10 hours). Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are tender. Season to taste with hot pepper sauce, if desired.
Note: For thicker consistency, mash beans slightly with potato masher.
Makes 8-10 servings
Hot Chocolate Mix: An oldie, but a goodie. We add marshmallows and jar them up for a quick and fun gift.
So there you have it, a list of easy and yummy gifts to share. Now get in your kitchen and start creating. Hey, it's a lot easier than fighting the crowds at the mall!