Good morning! I send out a weekly newsletter to some friends and family each Thursday morning, but I’m going to start posting them on the blog as well, so people can ask questions, make comments etc… So, ask away!

Hillman’s Helpings #9
A Recipe For Lexi

Hello!
Today is a special day because my little sister is turning 21! I can now breathe easy knowing I won’t get in trouble for giving her my old drivers license. Happy Birthday Seeester!

In honor of Lexi’s birthday I’m giving you a Holiday Peppermint Bark recipe (coincidentally, the holidays are upon us!). Lexi LOVES peppermint bark. I’ve been making this recipe for the past few years. Not only is it super easy, but it is also a great gift to give to co-workers, friends, hosts etc…

I’m also providing a chicken recipe I made quite a bit while I was in college. It’s pretty random and a little (and I mean a LITTLE) bit trickier than the rest have been, but the results speak for themselves.

Lastly, I want to officially announce the Hillman’s Helpings blog! Thanks to a friend who put the idea in my head. 🙂 I’ll cross-post each newsletter and you’ll be able to comment on the recipes, ask questions etc… I’ll also post other things I make or any random cooking thoughts that come to mind. The blog can be accessed by going to this website.

Enjoy!

Lauren Hillman

Holiday Peppermint Bark
For Lexi

Line a baking sheet with wax paper.

Microwave 2-12 oz. packages of dark chocolate chips on medium-high for 1 minutes. Stir the chocolate. Place the bowl back in the microwave for 10 seconds. Stir again. Repeat until the chips are all melted.

Spread the dark chocolate onto the wax paper and place in the freezer to harden for at least 30 minutes.

Place 5-7 candy canes (unwrapped, obviously) in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin (or other heavy object) until there are some small pieces and some fine pieces of candy cane (like sand).

Melt 2-12 oz. bags of white chocolate chips the same way you melted the dark chocolate chips.

Cut the smallest corner of the plastic bag and pour the sand-like candy cane pieces into the melted white chocolate. Stir to incorporate.

Spread the white chocolate onto the now frozen dark chocolate. Sprinkle the larger pieces of candy canes onto the white chocolate. Press them down lightly so they will adhere to the chocolate. Place in the freezer.

When the bark has completely frozen, carefully separate the wax paper from the bark and break into pieces. Eat!

Chicken, Pear and Spinach Skillet
Serves 2

Heat 1 tbs. vegetable oil in a skillet and cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts until brown on both sides (about 3-4 minutes per side). The chicken does not have to be cooked all the way through.

While the chicken is cooking, combine 2 tbs. white wine, 3 tsp. soy sauce, 2/3 c. liquid from a can of sliced pears (I know, a little strange, but trust me), 3 tsp. cornstarch, 1/4 tsp. thyme in a bowl. Stir to make sure the cornstarch has dissolved in the liquid. Cornstarch helps to thicken sauces.

Remove the chicken from the pan and add 1/2 c. chopped onion and 1 clove of chopped garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are a bit translucent. Add the pear/soy/cornstarch mixture and cook until the sauce has thickened.

Add the browned chicken, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Add the slices pears from the can and a large handful of fresh spinach. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until the spinach has wilted.

Bon Appetit!

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