Words and Recipes by Carly Terrell
Photography provided by Shad Ramsey Photography

It sometimes feels that winter can’t come soon enough, such as the heat we all had to endure this past September, it was brutal! That said, when she arrives, I never seem to have enough thick socks, jeans long enough for my growing boys, or a proper jacket for each member of our family. Nope. I know she’s coming, and I am never quite prepared. The only thing I can keep on top of with the change of the season, is how my appetite quickly switches to crave soups and stews, hearty vegetables and sweet holiday cookies. There is nothing like that crisp air you feel when your windows are open at night to kick your comfort-food radar into high gear! I suppose next Fall, when I get a hankering for a chicken pot pie and peppermint anything, I’ll know to head to the store and pick up our winter duds…I don’t want my boys wearing highwaters again!

Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 23/4thcupsAllPurpose flour
  • 1teaspoonbakingsoda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (8oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg (room temp)
  • 1 large egg yolk (room temp)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4th teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 package each white and regular chocolate bark
  • 1⁄2cuppeppermintbits, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt
and cream of tartar. Set aside. In your mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until combined. Add in the egg and then the egg yolk, vanilla and peppermint extract.

With your mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients. The dough will be thick, and you may have to finish by hand.

Scoop out 2 Tablespoons of dough and shape into balls, placing 2-inches apart on your prepared baking sheets. *Chill dough balls that aren’t currently baking in the refrigerator.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-11 minutes, they will appear slightly undercooked. Remove from oven and allow to rest, pressing the middle of each cookie down slightly to flatten. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining chilled dough balls.

Place the two chocolate barks in separate bowls and microwave for 30 seconds, stir and another 20 seconds. Dip half of each cooled cookie into the alternating chocolates and sprinkle on the peppermint bits, if desired. Place onto a sheet of wax paper and allow to set in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. *Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Southern Pecan Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • D4 small sweet potatoes
  • 1⁄2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and place on a baking sheet until softened, about 30-45 minutes.

Cut each softened potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out the baked insides, careful to leave the skins intact like a bowl and place back onto the baking sheet.

Mash the softened sweet potato flesh in a bowl until smooth. Mix in the Greek yogurt, real maple syrup, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Spoon back into the sweet potato shells.

In a separate bowl, combine the chopped pecans, melted butter and brown sugar. Sprinkle over the filled potato skins and bake again at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Drizzle with extra maple syrup and serve.

Braised Swiss Steak

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 lbs beef top round steak, slice 1” thick and tenderize
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (14.5oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into rings
  • 2 cups baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, minced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large oven proof skillet or Dutch oven, cook the bacon till slightly crisp, transfer to a plate (chop up) and reserve the grease in the pot. Meanwhile, dredge your sliced round steaks in the flour (really press well) and season with salt and pepper. With a meat mallet, tenderize until 1⁄2-inch thick.

To the bacon grease over medium heat, cook the onions and the floured beef cutlets until a golden brown on each side. This will likely have to be done in two batches.

Return all the meat to the pan, including the cooked, chopped bacon. Pour in the fire-roasted tomatoes, the bell pepper strips, mushrooms and chicken broth. The liquid should come up about 3/4th of the way. Add a little water if needed.

Bring to a simmer, cover and place into your preheated oven for 1 1⁄2 hours, basting twice, until tender.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

Winter Salad With Maple Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1⁄4 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup canola oil
  • 10oz Spring mix salad greens
  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 tart apple, sliced thin
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1⁄4 cup red onion, sliced thin Garnish

Directions:

In a small mason jar, add in the first six ingredients. Cover and shake well. Refrigerate until ready to use; shake well again.

To serve: Layer the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle your vinaigrette as desired. This salad is great alongside a roasted chicken or turkey.

Meet Carly Terrell

Meet Carly Terrell

Born in Nebraska and raised in Arizona, Carly Terrell, now a Granbury resident, has been honing her cooking skills since a young child. Given her changes of scenery along the way, she has certainly picked up a thing or two! Carly is also the proud wife of a railroad engineer and mother of two young boys, who keep her quite busy. In her downtime of the hectic railroad life, she has put her foodie efforts into her successful cooking blog of family loved recipes. She has been fortunate enough to have been featured in Taste of Home magazine, Good Housekeeping, Readers Digest and on ABC’s The Chew… but always has plans for more!