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    Holiday Traditions and Recipes from Good Life Family to You!

    Temperatures are cooling down, the days are starting to get shorter, and the holiday season is just around the corner. The best part of the year is finally upon us! 

    Besides the school break, delicious food, and gift-giving, what is it that makes this time of year so special? Why is it that our fondest family memories can be traced back to this time of year? The answer is simple: Traditions. Elf on the shelf? Christmas cookies left out for Santa? Potato pancakes and the dreidel game? The festive rituals we carry out year after year surrounded by our loved ones bring us together and create ever-lasting memories. 

    With the holidays approaching once again, it’s the perfect time to acknowledge and appreciate these special moments.

    Our staff has put together some of our favorite recipe traditions and will be sharing them with you in the weeks to come.

    And, we’d love to hear from you, too! Send your traditions and recipes to: Tricia White, Managing Editor

    Recipe #1: The Donahue Family

    “Holidays would not be complete in our home without Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake.”– Beth Donahue, Creative Director, Good Life Family Magazine 


    Adapted by the Donahues 

    CRUST:3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs1/4 cup light brown sugar1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 

    FILLING:1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin3 large eggs, beaten1/2 cup light brown sugar2 tablespoons heavy cream1 teaspoon vanilla1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon1/2 cup granulated sugar1 tablespoon cornstarch1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg1/2 teaspoon ground ginger1/2 teaspoon salt3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature 

    TOPPING:2 cups sour cream2 tablespoons granulated sugar1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon 

    Stir together crust ingredients until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Chill crust 1 hour. 

    Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla and bourbon until combined. In a separate bowl, stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth. 

    Pour the filling into crust, smoothing the top. Place the springform pan into a shallow baking pan and bake at 350°F until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool 5 minutes. 

    Whisk together topping ingredients. Spread on top of cheesecake and bake for 5 more minutes. Cool completely in springform pan on a rack. 

    Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving. Garnish with pecan halves. 

    Watch for more holiday traditions recipes in the weeks to come! More

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    Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

    This is the perfect breakfast casserole to prepare for an early brunch gathering because it rests overnight! Simply put it in the oven to bake the next morning and voila! You have a delicious casserole hot and ready to enjoy. Serve with maple syrup, berries, sprinkles of confectioner’s sugar, or all of the above! 

    Time: 55 minutes

    Yield: 10 servings


    Casserole:• 1 pound loaf sourdough or french bread • 8 large eggs • 2 cups of 2% or whole milk • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream • 1/2 cup granulated sugar • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon Topping: • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar • 2 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces 


    Step 1

    Lightly grease your casserole dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray. 

    Step 2

    Slice your bread into 1-2 inch cubes and distribute along the bottom of the dish. 

    Step 3

    In a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine eggs with milk, cream, sugars, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the casserole dish. It is important that all of the bread is wet. 

    Step 4

    Cover the casserole dish and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 6 hours or, ideally, overnight. 

    Step 5

    You may make the topping right before baking, or it can be made ahead and stored overnight. To make the topping, combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in the butter until a crumble begins to form. This should resemble a streusel. 

    Step 6

    Once you are ready to bake your casserole, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 

    Step 7

    Evenly distribute streusel topping over the casserole. 

    Step 8

    If you desire a moist consistency, bake for 45 minutes. If you desire a firm casserole with less moisture, bake for 1 hour. Remove the casserole from the oven and serve warm. More

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    Honeydew Jalapeño Margarita

    If you’re rounding up the sassiest – and most delicious – spins on the margarita for upcoming Cinco de Mayo festivities, check out this El Pepino from La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Created by the historic hotel’s F & B Director John Cuviello and Beverage Manager Sara Davis, this refreshing cocktail has just the right balance of sweetness and spice. 

    La Fonda on the Plaza’s El Pepino

    Serving Size: 1 Drink


    3 jalapeño slices, muddled1.5 oz. blanco tequila.75 oz. orange liqueur1 oz honeydew jalapeño shrub1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juiceTajin seasoning and lime wedge for rimAdditional lime wedge for garnish


    Run a lime wedge around the rim of a cocktail glass and dip it into Tajin seasoning. Fill glass with ice.Combine tequila, orange liqueur, honeydew jalapeño shrub, and fresh-squeezed lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.Shake and strain into prepared glass. Garnish with lime wedge and enjoy.

    Recipe courtesy of La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Created by the historic hotel’s F & B Director John Cuviello and Beverage Manager Sara Davis.  More

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    Seafood Paella

    By Bobbie Ames

    Ingredients:Yields 4 to 6 servings

    Non-stick vegetable cooking spray1 cup short-grain rice (such as Arborio)1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or use vegetable broth and/or white wine if serving vegetarians)1 bay leaf1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika1/8 teaspoon saffron1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided1 shallot, thinly sliced1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact1/2 pound langoustines or scallops1 pound mussels1 pound cherrystone clams3/4 cup canned chopped tomatoes1/2 cup sliced roasted red peppers1/4 cup green olives (such as Cerignola or Castelvetrano), pitted, sliced1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley1 preserved Meyer lemon, chopped or grilled slices from one lemon


    Arrange rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat rimmed baking sheet or *cazuela with cooking spray. Spread rice on the bottom and put into oven to toast for 5 minutes.Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan bring broth, bay leaf, pepper, paprika, saffron, and 1 tsp. salt to a low boil over medium heat.Remove rice from oven and stir. Arrange shallots evenly over rice and pour broth mixture carefully over. Cover baking sheet or cazuela with foil and bake 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil, stir rice mixture, and continue to bake uncovered, 5 minutes more.Combine shrimp with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Remove baking sheet from oven, discard bay leaf, and stir rice mixture again. Scatter shrimp, mussels, langoustines or scallops, tomatoes, red peppers, and olives over rice. Continue baking until rice is tender, shrimp is opaque and pink, and mussels have opened, about 8 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and toss with parsley and preserved Meyer lemon.

    *Cazuela: a Spanish dish that can be used to serve and cook food in the oven or on top of the stove. More

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    Midnight Meatballs

    By Chef Kenny Bowers
    Ingredients:Yields 6 to 10 servings
    12 ounces (3/4 of a loaf) white bread
    3 cups whole milk
    salt, iodized, to taste
    black pepper, table grind, to taste
    1 cup parmesan cheese
    1 ounce basil, fresh, chopped 3/8” no stem
    2 1/2 pounds ground beef
    1 1/2 pounds ground pork
    Tear bread into small pieces approximately 1”.  In a large bowl, combine milk and bread.  MIX TOGETHER BY HAND, making sure bread is completely dissolved in milk to form a soupy paste-like consistency. Add salt, pepper, cheese, basil and mix.  REFRIGERATE FOR AT LEAST 1 HOUR BEFORE NEXT STEP.
    Gently mix in meat making sure everything is evenly mixed.
    With slightly wet hands form 4 oz. wt. balls (approximately 20).
    Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes until medium brown and an internal temperature of 160.
    Place meatballs in oven-proof dish, top with favorite marinara sauce, cover with mozzarella cheese, and bake until cheese is brown & bubbly.  Approx. 3 minutes at 450 degrees.
    Kenny Bowers is owner and executive chef of Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill (Dallas), Kenny’s Burger Joint (Plano and Frisco), Kenny’s Italian Kitchen (Dallas) and Kenny’s Authentic East Coast Pizza (Plano). More

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    Sweet Potato and Andouille Soup

    By Chef Tim Byres and Chef Josh Trunnell
    Ingredients:Yields 8 quarts
    1/4 cup butter
    2 onions, medium diced
    1/2 bunch of celery, small dice
    1/2 cup garlic, minced
    4 quarts chicken stock
    5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, large dice
    3 pounds Andouille sausage, small dice
    1/2 cup Tabasco sauce
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2 tablespoons salt
    ground pepper to taste
    fresh sage, fine chiffonade, to taste
    Melt butter in a 12-quart soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are tender. Add stock and sweet potatoes. Bring soup to a simmer and cook until sweet potatoes fall apart, about 1 hour.
    Pan-fry sausage in 1/2 cup oil until done and lightly caramelized. Drain.
    Remove soup from the stove and puree with immersion blender. Return soup to the stove and bring to a simmer.
    Add sausage, spices, and 2 tbsp. of salt. Mix well and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce.
    Hot hold soup, covered, for service. Garnish each serving with fresh sage.
    James Beard award-winner, Tim Byres, is co-owner and food mastermind behind Smoke (Dallas and Plano), Chicken Scratch (Dallas), The Theodore (Dallas), Spork (Dallas), Bolsa (Dallas), and The Foundry (Dallas). He is the author of Smoke, New Firewood Cooking. Josh Trunnell is the executive chef of Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro At Panorama (Washington). More

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    Chicken “Zoodle” Lo Mein

    By The American Heart Association
    This restaurant favorite can be mastered at home—with even more flavor, less sodium, and a lot less calories with zucchini subbing for regular noodles.
    Servings: 6 | Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups
    4 medium zucchini
    1 1/2 pound skinless, boneless, thinly sliced chicken breast (cut into 1-inch strips)
    2 teaspoons garlic powder (divided)
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (divided)
    1/8 teaspoon salt (divided)
    3 teaspoons canola oil (divided)
    1 (14.4-ounce) bag frozen broccoli stir-fry vegetables, thawed
    2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
    1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/4 teaspoons red hot chile flakes (optional)
    1/2 cup chopped green onion
    2 cups fresh bean sprouts
    1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
    Place the shredder blade onto the spiralizer to cut zucchini into spaghetti-like threads. Spiralize each zucchini, and cut threads into 6- or 8-inch pieces so they are easier to eat. Add all the zucchini into a large bowl and reserve.
    Place the chicken breast lengthwise onto a cutting board and cut 1-inch strips of chicken. Add to a bowl and continue slicing remaining chicken. Season with 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ginger, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon salt.
    Warm a large nonstick pan with 1 teaspoon oil over high heat. Add chicken; stirring frequently, saute until chicken is fully-cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes depending on thickness. Remove from heat, transfer chicken to a plate, and cover with foil to keep warm.
    Again warm 1 teaspoon oil in the large nonstick pan over high heat. Add thawed stir-fry vegetables, stirring constantly and cooking until vegetables are cooked and all the water has evaporated, around 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to reserve.
    Make the sauce: In a small bowl, add soy sauce, chicken broth, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ginger, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and (optional) chile flakes. Stir together with a fork until cornstarch is dissolved. Also, chop the scallions.
    Warm 1 teaspoon oil in the large nonstick pan over high heat. Add half the zucchini, using tongs to stir constantly, until zucchini is somewhat wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in remaining zucchini along with the sauce, again using tongs to cook the zucchini and let it absorb the sauce. Cook until all the zucchini is tender, about 2 more minutes.
    Quickly stir in reserved chicken and vegetables. Cook another minute. Remove from heat and add bean sprouts, scallions, and sesame seeds. Serve.
    Quick Tips:
    Cooking Tip: A wok can also be used instead of a large nonstick pan. In fact, woks are an excellent piece of cooking equipment to own. Between its large round surface and its nonstick quality, it’s a great way to cook nutritious vegetables.
    Keep it Healthy: Frozen stir-fry veggies—whether using in a stir-fry recipe or not—are a convenient way to get a variety of vegetables into a dish without the work of chopping.
    Tip: Don’t have a spiralizer? Grate the zucchini on a box grater or buy about 12 cups of packaged spiralized zucchini in the grocery aisle.
    Nutritional Information:
     Calories: 226 Per Serving
     Protein: 29g Per Serving
     Fiber: 4g Per Serving
    To learn more about the Chicken “Zoodle” Lo Mein recipe from the American Heart Association, click here. More

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    Chicken Tortilla Soup

    By The American Heart Association
    A garnish of avocado bits, thinly sliced red bell pepper, and crisp tortilla strips adds texture and color to this popular soup.
    Servings: 4 | Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (all visible fat discarded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
    2 cups frozen whole kernel corn (thawed)
    2 cups fat-free, no-salt-added chicken broth
    14.5 ounces canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes (undrained)
    1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 teaspoon ancho powder
    2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 6- inch corn tortillas (cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips, plus)
    1 6- inch corn tortilla (torn into pieces)
    2 to 4 tablespoon snipped, fresh cilantro
    1/4 cup finely chopped avocado
    1/4 medium red bell pepper (cut into matchstick-size strips)
    In a 3-4 1/2-quart round or oval slow cooker, stir together the chicken, corn, broth, tomatoes with liquid, onion, sugar, ancho powder, garlic, and salt. Cook, covered, on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    Arrange the tortilla strips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Let the strips stand for about 15 minutes, or until cool. Transfer to an airtight container and set aside.
    When the soup is ready, transfer 1 cup to a food processor or blender. Stir in the tortilla pieces. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute so the tortilla pieces soften. Process until smooth. Stir the mixture into the soup. Stir in the cilantro.
    Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the avocado, bell pepper, and reserved baked tortilla strips.
    Quick Tips:
    Cooking Tip: Adding the processed soup and tortilla mixture to the rest of the soup gives the finished product more body and distributes the tortilla flavor.
    Nutritional Information:
     Calories: 292 Per Serving
     Protein: 30g Per Serving
     Fiber: 5g Per Serving
    To learn more about the Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe from the American Heart Association, click here. More