Monday, December 31, 2018

Tomato and Creamed Corn Soup

What can you do with a can of creamed corn? If you look around there aren’t too many options that’s why when I saw this soup I had to try it. Serves 6 Total Time: 20 minutes Quick and Easy..try it today and let me know what you think. 


1 10oz can diced tomatoes 
1 10oz can creamed corn
1 cup low fat milk 
1/2 medium onion, minced 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
3-4 green onions, chopped 
salt and pepper to taste


Heat medium pot, add olive oil. Once oil is hot, add onion and garlic and cook until transluscent. Add canned tomatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes until combined well with onion/garlic mixture. 

Add canned creamed corn and milk. Stir to combine evenly, then slowly bring to boil. Reduce heat, add green onions and salt/pepper to taste. 

Cook for about 5 minutes until soup is combined well. Serve warm with your favorite bread or crackers. Yum Yum! 

What the Heck is Pepper Pot?

Even Buddy doesn’t know what Pepper Pot is. And they made a national day out of it? According to “Made of tripe, vegetables and pepper, pepper pot soup, also sometimes known as Philadelphia pepper pot, has for long been the subject of many American revolution legends. 

Rumor has it that the soup was responsible for helping George Washington's army win the American Revolution. During the war, many farmers chose to sell food to the British. This created a shortage of food for the Continental Army. The cooks in the army cooked whatever they could find their hand on in a stew and saved the day by feeding soldiers pepper pot.”

Pepper Pot might have originated from the Caribbean and immigrants from that area brought it to the US.

I don’t know about you but I’m not a fan of tripe and will be replacing it with ham. You can also use beef, chicken or sausage. Serves 6 Total Time: 2 hours + 30 minutes 


1 1/2 pounds ham steak, cubed
3 teaspoons salt
Water with 1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 stalk celery, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thin
1 leek (about 1 cup), washed, sliced, including tender green part
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder or cayenne pepper (optional)
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups diced potatoes, 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup butter for garnish
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Cut the ham steak into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter, chopped onions, celery, carrots, leeks, and bell pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables, cover, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.
  2. Add the chicken broth and water to the pot, along with the ham, garlic, chili powder, (if using) bay leaf, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add in the potatoes, milk, and parsley. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Stir in cornstarch mixture and simmer 2 to 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Swirl butter into the hot soup until it's melted and immediately ladle into bowls to serve. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Yum Yum!

How to Make Vichyssoise 4 Ways

Did you know that some say this soup originated with Julia Child, while others say it was in France. I mean the name kinda refers to France, otherwise I would think it would be called Potato Leek Soup. Even though it is traditionally served cold, you can have it hot also. Serves 4

Original Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 leek, rinsed and sliced + extra slices for garnish
13 1/2 oz can of chicken broth
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)


Melt the butter in a medium size Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until soft. Add the chicken broth; bring to boil then add the potato chunks. Cover; simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Place 1/2 of the soup in a blender with 1/2 of the skim milk. Cover and blend until smooth. Repeat for other half. Return the soup to the Dutch Oven and stir in the nutmeg and cayenne pepper (if using). Heat until warm. Serve warm or chill if serving cold. Garnish with extra leek slices. Yum Yum!

Carrot Ingredients:
Same as original except
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped + 1 small carrot peeled and grated for garnish
Replace leek with 6 scallions, chopped
Replace cayenne pepper with 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Reduce potatoes to 2 medium, peeled and chopped
Salt, to taste


Combine potatoes, 3 chopped carrots, scallions and chicken broth in a Dutch Oven. Heat to boil then reduce to simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cool slightly. Transfer to a blender, 1/2 at a time. Transfer to a bowl add the nutmeg, pepper, cream and salt, to taste. Refrigerate until cold. To serve garnish with grated raw carrot. Yum Yum!

Sweet Potato Ingredients:
Same as the original except
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
Reduce potatoes to 2, peeled and chopped
Salt and white pepper, to taste (no cayenne)
Add 1 cup apple juice
No nutmeg
Replace skim milk with 2 1/2 cups half and half


In a Dutch Oven melt the butter over medium heat then add the leek and cook until tender. Add in the chicken broth, potatoes, sweet potatoes, apple juice, salt and white pepper; bring to boil then reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly. Transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth, 1/2 of the soup at a time. Transfer to a bowl then add the cream. Serve warm or chill for 4 hours. Serve with a crispy slice of sweet potato and peeled leek (optional). Yum Yum!

Corn Ingredients:
Same as original except
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Reduce to 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
3 ears grilled or boiled corn, sliced from the cob (save some for garnish)
4 cups chicken stock instead of broth 
1 sprig thyme
Only 1 tablespoon heavy cream
coarse sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste 
No nutmeg chives, for garnish


Heat butter and oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add leek. Cook until translucent and soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add potato, chicken stock, and thyme sprig; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove thyme sprig. Add two-thirds of the corn, reserving the rest for garnish. Cool slightly.

Using a food processor or blender, purée the soup until smooth. Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper. If desired, strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve. Chill for at least 2 hours. To serve, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with remaining corn and chives. Yum Yum!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Homemade Bistro-Style Onion Soup

Who doesn’t like a good French Homemade Bistro-Style Onion Soup....with all that cheese? Serves 6 Total Time: about an hour


3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
4 medium onions, halved and sliced 3/8” thick
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
4 cups beef broth or bone broth
1 cup water
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of nutmeg
6 to 12 thin slices of French bread
2 cups grated gruyere or Swiss cheese
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In a large Dutch Oven on medium/high heat add the butter and oil then the onions and toss until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Do not burn.

Add the garlic and toss 1 minute. Add the flour and toss to coat lower heat and cook stirring until incorporated about 3 minutes. Add in the broth, wine, water, thyme, nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to boil then skim off fat. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes, skim again.

Preheat broiler. In 6 individual serving oven-proof soup crocks on a baking sheet divide soup between them.

Top each with 1 or 2 slices of toasted French bread. Sprinkle each with cheese in an even layer. Press cheese lightly onto outer rims of crocks. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and lightly golden, about 3-5 minutes. Don’t let burn. With a spatula transfer crocks to plates and serve hot. Yum Yum!

Minestrone alla Milanese

You can add almost any vegetable to minestrone soup, but you must have onions, celery, carrots, beans, potatoes and tomatoes. The Milanese version is thought to be the original using the regions butter and vegetables. Serves 6-8 Total Time 3+ hours 


1 ham bone
1 large onion, chopped 
2 medium carrots, diced
3 medium stalks of celery, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 small head of cabbage, shredded 
1 large leek, chopped 
7 1/2 cups of beef broth 
1/4 cup navy beans 
5/8 cup long grain rice
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, chopped 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped 
1/2 teaspoon dried basil 
1 tablespoon dried parsley 
Grated Parmesan cheese 


In a large Dutch Oven add the ham bone, onion, carrots, cabbage, leek and beef broth. Drain the beans and add to the pot, salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to boil then remove the scum. Cover and lower heat let simmer for 2 3/4 hours or until beans are tender. Add water if the soup thickens to much. Add the rice, potatoes and garlic and let simmer an additional 20 minutes. Stir in basil, parsley and cheese. Serve immediately. Yum Yum!

Columbian Creamy Avocado Soup

This cream of avocado soup uses less cream than the typical cream soups because avocados are so creamy on their own. Serves 4 Total Time: 25 minutes 


2 cloves of garlic, minced 
1/2 yellow onion, minced 
2 cups chicken broth, divided 
2 large avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into cubes 
1 tablespoon lime juice 
1/4 cup cilantro leaves 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1/2 cup heavy cream
Top with slices of avocado, cilantro leaves and a swirl of sour cream 


Add garlic, onions and 1/4 cup of chicken broth to a Dutch Oven on med/high heat. Cook until the garlic is lightly browned and the onions are translucent. Add in the rest of the chicken broth, avocados, lime juice and cilantro leaves. Bring to simmer and cook 5-10 minutes until the flavors blend together. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the soup in a blender and blend until smooth. Add cream and blend on low just until cream is incorporated. Serve with toppings. Yum Yum! 

Note: Try additional toppings like tomatoes, shrimp, scallops, feta 
cheese or corn. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

Copycat Happy New Years Pizza

I saw this on genius kitchen and had to add it to my recipes. This is a great idea if your having friends over for New Year’s Eve or just hanging out with your grandchildren watching the ball drop. Serves 6-8 Total Time 35 minutes 


2 13 7/8oz cans pizza dough 
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce 
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese 
1 red, yellow and green bell pepper, diced 
1 small red onion, diced 
1 zucchini, diced
4 oz mushrooms, diced 
2 oz sliced pepperoni


  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one at a time, unroll pizza dough onto a cutting board with the longest side parallel to the edge of the counter. Cut in half vertically, then use a sharp knife to cut out the numbers 2 and 0. Transfer numbers to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, cut out the numbers 1 and 9 and transfer to second baking sheet.
  2. Bake for 6 minutes, remove from oven and top each number with pizza sauce, spreading to cover dough to the edges. Top sauce with shredded mozzarella, diced red, yellow and green peppers, onions, zucchini, mushrooms and pepperoni.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes longer until crust is golden and toppings are cooked. Serve on a large platter or cutting board with the numbers 2019 next to each other. Yum Yum!Genius kitchen

Instant Pot Black Bean Dip

Are you having a super bowl party? This Instant Pot Black Bean Dip should be a hit. Not only delicious, but very easy to make. You don’t have to soak your dried beans ahead of time just pour them into your Instant Pot. Serves 24 Total Time 45 Minutes


1 1/2 cup dried black beans

1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 medium jalapeños (approx. 1/3 cup chopped)
1 14.5 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 Tablespoons avocado oil
juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Cheesy Baked Black Bean Dip
(Make the above recipe and after cooking add)
4 oz cream cheese, softened 
1 cup grated pepper jack or cheddar cheese 


  • chopped tomatoes
  • sliced jalapeños 
  • diced bell pepper
  • chopped red onion
  • cilantro
  • sour cream
  • greek yogurt
  • salsa
  • pico de gallo
  • guacamole


Rinse your black beans and toss them into your Instant Pot. Dice and chop your vegetables and mince your garlic. Add your vegetables, garlic, tomatoes, broth, oil, lime juice and spices to the pot and mix. Close the lid, press the bean button and cook 30 minutes on high.  Use natural release method for 10 minutes then quick release remaining pressure.

Use a blender or a food processor to blend the dip until creamy. When cooled taste test and adjust seasonings accordingly. If you want it spicier add hot sauce, red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. To serve add your favorite toppings. Yum Yum 

Cheesy Baked Black Bean Dip

Preheat oven to 350F. Add cream cheese to your bean dip before blending then pour into a lightly greased cast iron skillet and top with grated cheese. Bake 15 minutes. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Crockpot Italian Tortellini Soup

It’s soup season and what could be better than a bowl full of hot Italian Tortellini Soup. Especially if you make the Pillsbury Bacon Cheese Jalapeño Pull-apart Bread to eat it with. Serves 10-12 Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes

  • 3 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet or spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • cup spinach roughly chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half-n-half milk 
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for topping
  • 1 9 ounce package Three Cheese Tortellini

  1. In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons oil, sausage, onion and garlic. Roughly chop while the sausage is cooking and cook over medium-high heat until the sausage is completely cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. 
  2. Once sausage is cooked remove from heat and drain excess grease, if you desire.
  3. In a 6 qt. crockpot add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, cooked sausage and all of the seasonings.
  4. Close the lid and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low 4-5.
  5. Add heavy cream, shredded parmesan cheese and tortellini and cook for another 20 minutes.
  6. Then add chopped spinach and cook another 10 minutes.
  7. Once cooked, serve and garnish with more cheese if you so desire. Yum Yum!

Pillsbury Bacon and Cheese Jalapeño Pull-Apart Bread

I see a lot of soups in my future. And with any soup I need a good dipping bread to go along with it. That’s why when I saw this Bacon and Cheese Jalapeño Pull-Apart Bread from Pillsbury, I thought “why didn’t I think of that!” So simple, just 6 ingredients, and yet so delicious. Serves 8 Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes 


1 can Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers, refrigerated original biscuits 

1/3 cup spicy jalapeño cream cheese spread (from 8oz container)
8 slices of bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled 
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped 
3 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped 
4 slices Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend, quartered 


Heat oven to 350°F. Line 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil; spray with cooking spray. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers, to make a total of 16 thin biscuits.

Spread about one teaspoon cream cheese spread on each. Top each with 1/2 tablespoon bacon, 1 teaspoon cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon green onion and one quarter slice cheese.

Make 2 stacks of 8 biscuits each. Place stacks on their sides in 1 long row in loaf pan, making sure sides without filling are facing both ends of pan.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until loaf is deep golden brown and center is baked through and no longer doughy in center, covering with foil if necessary to prevent excess browning during last 15 minutes of bake time. Cool 10 minutes in pan on cooling rack. Remove foil; serve warm. Sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro, if desired. Yum Yum!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Crockpot Sausage Peppers and Onions

This is my Sunday.... throw a bunch of stuff in the crockpot, let it cook 3-4 hours and sit back and enjoy my evening in front of the TV. This is also a great time to eat up some of the food in the fridge that needs to be cooked (like my tomatoes and peppers). 

Clean up is easy, if you have leftovers, just let it cool enough to put it in the refrigerator. (that's the interior of the crockpot, not the entire crockpot)

 I’m thinking of adding potatoes to this recipe. What do you think? Serves 4 Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes


1-2 lbs of cooked sausage, cut into 1” pieces
3 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 onion, sliced
3 tomatoes, diced
15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
3-4 red potatoes, peeled and diced (optional)
1 tablespoon oregano
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients together in your crockpot, stir to combine. Cook on high 2-3 hours or on low for 4-6 hours. Serve. Yum Yum!

Can’t wait to try this? Then use the Instant Pot and it’s ready in 7 minutes!


Set the Instant Pot on sauté and add 2 teaspoons of oil (your choice). Add in the onions and peppers and sauté until softened. Stir in the remaining ingredients, close lid and seal vent. Select pressure on high for 7 minutes. Use the quick release method. Serve.

Spicy Honey Butter Pork Tenderloin

I wouldn’t mind having this instead of turkey or ham for the holidays. Serves 4 Total Time: approximately 35 minutes. (Depends on your preferred doneness)
Just make sure the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees for medium rare.


4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 lbs Pork Tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cups water


Preheat oven to 375F. In a large sauté pan melt the butter and add the honey. Keep heat low enough so the honey doesn’t burn. Rub the Cajun seasoning and the pepper on all sides of the pork tenderloin. Brown each side for at least 5 minutes. Place the pan in the oven uncovered for at least 15 minutes or until your desired temperature (see above). Remove pork to a plate and cover with foil. Add water to the pan and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom. Cook over medium heat until the liquid reduces slightly. Stir occasionally. Slice pork on the diagonal and drizzle with the sauce. Serve immediately. Yum Yum!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Instant Pot Cinnamon Rolls

I just made a post back in November on how to copycat Holiday Inns Cinnamon Rolls, but I didn’t know you could make them from scratch in your Instant Pot! Makes 6 rolls Total Time: 43 minutes

You’ll need a 7” cheesecake pan with a removable bottom. 

3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

1 1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 1/2 cups flour + more for dusting
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups water

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons milk


In a small bowl combine the filling ingredients until it resembles wet sand. Set aside.

In a cup combine the milk and the vinegar, let sit 5 minutes. This will sour the milk, you could use buttermilk instead.

Brush 1 tablespoon of melted butter on the bottom of your 7” pan, set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix 2 tablespoons melted butter into the sour milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the soured butter milk.mix until a dough is formed. Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth. Roll the dough into a 9x12 rectangle. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle the filling on top of the butter, leaving 1/4” of space around the edge. Pat it down until it sticks. Roll lengthwise until it resembles a log, then cut it into 6 equal pieces. Place one piece in the middle of the pan and the remaining 5 around the center roll. Brush the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Pour 2 cups of water in the instant pot and place the provided trivet with handles inside.

Place a paper towel on top of the pan and cover with a piece of foil. This prevents water from getting into the pan, so your rolls don’t get soggy. Gently lower your pan into the Instant Pot. Close lid, close vent and select pressure on high for 23 minutes. Use the natural release method for 15 minutes.

Make the cream cheese frosting by mixing together the milk and cream cheese, then whisking in the powdered sugar until smooth. When rolls are finished remove from Instant Pot and let cool 10 minutes. Remove the rolls by pushing out the bottom of the cheesecake pan onto a plate and spread the icing over the top. Serve immediately. Yum Yum!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Mince Pie 🥧

A tradition in my parents house while growing up was my grandmother making a mincemeat pie for my father for Christmas dinner. She’d make a small one for him, because the rest of us preferred pumpkin or pecan. That’s why these little mince pies are not only so cute and festive, but made just for the mincemeat lovers. Makes 24 muffin size pies. Total Time 1 hour.


Homemade Mincemeat:
4 tablespoons  butter
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and grated (Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious are good choices)
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/2 cup dried figs (or prunes or dates), chopped
3/4 cup candied mixed peel
1/2 cup candied red cherries, chopped
Zest and juice of one orange or lemon
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup  dark or light rum
1/3 cup brandy or cognac
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt


Homemade Mincemeat:Place all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often. Then, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the mincemeat, stirring often, for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is almost evaporated. Remove from heat and, if desired, stir in 2-4 tablespoons of rum or brandy. Let the mincemeat cool completely, then transfer to a covered container, and place in the refrigerator, at least overnight, before using. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Note:If storing longer than a week, stir in a little rum or brandy every week to keep it from drying out and to preserve the mincemeat. Otherwise it may not keep a month. Makes about 4 cups.


Pie Pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks
3 - 4 tablespoons ice cold water

Mincemeat Filling:
1 1/4 cups


Pie Pastry: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the cold butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (about 15 seconds). Sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of ice water over the pastry and process just until the pastry holds together when pinched. Add a little more water, if necessary.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the pastry in half, flatten each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 - 60 minutes, or until firm. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Have ready a 24 mini muffin tin (preferably non stick). After the pastry has chilled sufficiently, take one of the disks of pastry, and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out each round of pastry until it's about 1/8 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter that's slightly bigger than the muffin cups, cut the pastry into 24 rounds. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).) 

Gently place the rounds into the muffin cups and top each with a heaping teaspoon of mincemeat. Gather up any leftover scraps of pastry and re roll. Cut out 24 stars or other shapes using a small cookie cutter, and gently place the stars on top of the mincemeat. If desired, brush the tops of the stars with a little cream and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the pastry has lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. If desired, dust the Mince Pies with powdered sugar before serving. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold. Yum Yum!