Virginia Willis New Cookbook Giveaway & Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin Recipe

I was fortunate to meet Virginia Wills several years ago, and I had the pleasure and honor to co-speak with her last year at Food Blog South. Last fall, I attended an event in Atlanta where she previewed some of her recipes for her new book, “From Basic to Brilliant”. I couldn’t wait for it to be released. Virginia is a graduate of  L’Academie de Cuisine and Ecole de Cuisine LaVarenne and, previously, was the Kitchen Director for Martha Stewart Living. Virginia expands on her incredible style in this 150 recipe cookbook where she offers incredible preparation and presentation techniques (her writing is amazing too). This recipe for Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin is just one of the many stellar recipes in this book. I served it to company this weekend on a cold evening, and I received rave reviews. Her amazingly beautiful photos were taken by Helene Dujardin of Tartlette. “From Basic to Brilliant” can be found at Amazon or any of your favorite online stores as well as bookstores nationwide.

For a chance to win a copy, leave me a comment telling me why you want a copy of this book. Winner will be drawn on Thursday, November 10th and must be a U.S resident. For more chances, leave as many comments as you like telling me that you did the following:

1. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

2. Like Ingredients, Inc on Facebook

3. Follow Virginia Willis on Twitter

4. Like Virginia Willis on Facebook

 

“Reprinted with permission from Basic to Brilliant, Y’all: 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress Them Up for Company by Virginia Willis, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.”

Photo credit: Helene Dujardin © 2011

Classic Passover Mandel Bread

Every year my sister, Julie, and sister-in-law, Debby, make the best Mandel Bread for Passover. If you haven’t tried Mandel Bread before, it’s very similar to biscotti. It is a great Passover dessert, afternoon snack or perfect for breakfast served with coffee or tea. I will warn you that it is also super addictive, so once you start, you almost can’t stop eating it. You can make it with or without chocolate chips, but this version with lemon juice and almond extract is wonderful.

Oreo Cupcakes

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! This is my last dessert for a while, but I wanted to share this recipe for Oreo Cupcakes which has been lightened up. The cupcake part of the recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine. In their recipe, they sprinkled the cupcakes with powdered sugar, and they are great. I love extra chocolate flavor so I slathered mine with chocolate frosting and of course, an Oreo. If you don’t have time to make your own frosting, you can substitute the store-bought icing. The total calories per serving for the cupcake is 150 calories, 5 grams of fat and 24 carbohydrates. Enjoy and have a fun and wonderful Valentines!

Christmas and Hanukkah Homemade Gifts-Chocolate-Covered Popcorn

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Since the White Chocolate Popcorn recipe was so popular, I thought I would try it with a mixture of milk chocolate and semisweet. It turned out even better than I thought. “Fabulous”, said some of my friends. Everyone will love receiving this food gift, but make plenty because once you start eating it, you won’t be able to stop.

 

Chocolate Popcorn

Feel free to double this recipe.

Prep: 5 minutes

Yield: 6 cups

Ingredients

1 /2 (12-ounce) package milk chocoolate morsels (I used Nestle Milk Chocolate Morsels)

1/2 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels (I used Nestle Milk Chocolate Morsels)

6 cups popcorn (popped without salt or fat)

Preparation

1. Place chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Combine chocolate and popcorn in a large mixing bowl, tossing gently.  Spread mixture on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper; refrigerate until chocolate gets hard. Store in an airtight container.

Two Ingredient Food Holiday Gift Idea-White Chocolate Popcorn

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Caramel popcorn can be a popular holiday gift. We usually receive several tins of it every year, and my kids devour it. As a Recipe Developer, I sometimes try to take a popular concept and give it a new twist. Since I had some extra white chocolate on hand, I thought I would develop a simple new recipe for White Chocolate Popcorn, and it worked great! This recipe takes no time at all and has only two ingredients. Best, of all, there’s hardly any mess. 

 

White Chocolate Popcorn

Feel free to double this recipe.

Prep: 5 minutes

Yield: 6 cups

Ingredients

1 (11-ounce) package white chocoolate morsels (I used Ghiradelli white chocolate or Nestle Milk Chocolate Morsels)

6 cups popcorn (popped without salt or fat)

Preparation

1. Place white or milk chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once.  Combine chocolate and popcorn in a large mixing bowl, tossing gently.  Spread mixture on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper; let cool and store in an airtight container.