November 28, 2008
I’m back and just in time for a Thanksgiving post. This was my first year hosting Thanksgiving and let me tell you, I was so excited. I’ve always wanted to host turkey day at our house, but we normally go to my in-law’s. But this year, they were out of town and we weren’t able to go to my parents’ so they decided to come here. So my first Thanksgiving was a small one; just me, my husband, and my parents.
My family likes pretty traditional foods for Thanksgiving so I decided I’d play it safe and just make everyone’s favorite foods so there would be no misses. After browsing through lots of recipes I finally settled on the ones I would use. After a lengthy (and expensive) trip to the grocery store I was finally ready to get started. Thankfully, I got off work early on Wednesday so I could get a head start on the prep work. My parents came in Wednesday night so my mom helped me a lot on the actual day. And the verdict? Everything turned out great! But if I learned one thing from hosting my first Thanksgiving it would be that it’s a lot of work! I am so much more appreciative of my great-grandmothers, grandmother, my mom and mother-in-law who have planned and hosted Thanksgiving for many more people than I did for many years now. I would love to host again, but I think I might have to go into training beforehand next time. ; )
On the menu this year:
Garlic and Citrus Brined Turkey
For the brine
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
3 bay leaves
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 gallon water
For the turkey
1 8-10 lb turkey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Dissolve the salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon of water. Place the turkey in a large stock pot or brining bag. Pour the brining solution over the turkey. Add the sliced oranges, lemons, garlic and bay leaves to the brine solution. Refrigerate over night or place in a cooler with ice. Before cooking the turkey, rinse it well inside and out and pat dry with papertowels. Rub the turkey inside and out with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook as desired.
And yes, that is canned cranberry sauce…the only kind my family and I like!
2 cups prepared cornbread, crumbled
2 cups Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing mix
8-10 crumbled crackers (saltine or club will work)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
chicken broth (about 3-4 cups, enough to make the bread mixture moist)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Begin my sauteing the onions and celery in a little olive oil until soft, about 8 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cornbread, stuffing mix, celery, onion, butter, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth until the mixture is very moist. It will be just slightly soupy but the bread will absorb the liquid. Place in a greased 9×13 baking dish and bake 35-40 min.
Sweet Potato Casserole
(my mother-in-law’s recipe)
3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked until tender (should be easy to mash) about 4 med potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a baking dish.
For the topping:
1 cup pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), melted
1/2 cup flour
Mix all dry ingredients and sprinkle over casserole. Pour melted butter over the top. Bake at 350 for 30-35 min. The top should be bubbly and have a golden crust.
Jiffy Apple Pie
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 box Jiffy yellow cake mix
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
Preheat oven to 325 F. Place chopped apples in an 8×8 baking dish. In a bowl, mix dry cake mix, cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Slice the stick of butter into thin slices and place all over the top of the cake mixture. Bake for 35 min or until the top is golden and bubbly.
This apple pie is obviously not a traditional apple pie. It’s best served warm as a dessert topping for vanilla ice cream. Yum!
- 1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.
- Bake on center rack of oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.
- **To use prepared frozen pie crust: Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven as directed. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on preheated cookie sheet.
- RECIPE TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200°F. Tap center surface of pie lightly – it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If pie crust is overbrowning, cover edges with foil.
- NUTRITION TIP: To reduce calories, substitute new Karo® Lite Syrup for the Karo® Light or Dark Corn Syrup.
- High Altitude Adjustments: Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tablespoons. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
My only complaint from the whole Thanksgiving dinner was that my pecan pie didn’t set. It’s the first one I’ve ever made and I followed the directions exactly, and it just didn’t set in the middle. I’m not sure why, but I’ll definitely be making another one in the future and hopefully will have better luck with that one.
Along with this we also had green beans and rolls.
September 29, 2008
I am in love with Mexican food. I think it’s probably my favorite type of cuisine. It’s saucy, spicy, and most of the time cheesy. What could be better? Another thing is that it’s normally pretty quick and easy to make. This dish combines all the things I love about Mexican food. It’s spicy, saucy, cheesy and easy! The hubby loved it too so I’ll definitely be making this again. And another plus is that there is plenty leftover for lunches. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow.
1 lb lean ground turkey
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 cup corn kernels (canned or frozen)
1 bag Mintute rice (I used brown)
1 packet taco seasoning (or make your own-see recipe below)
10 oz can diced tomatoes with chilies
14 oz can enchilada sauce (small can)
shredded mexican cheese
6- 8″ tortillas (I used flour but corn would work also)
Preheat oven to 375. Begin by sauteing the onion in a little olive oil until it begins to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add the ground turkey to the pan. While the turkey is browning, cook the rice according to the package directions and set aside. Once the turkey is browned, drain any fat or liquid from the pan. Add the corn kernels, taco seasoning and 3/4 cup water. Stir to combine. Add the rice and stir. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Add 1/2 the can of enchilada sauce to the bottom of the pan. Next, make a layer with two tortillas. They should overlap a little. Add a layer of the ground turkey mixture and then 1/2 the can of diced tomatoes with chilies. Add a thin layer of shredded cheese. Add two more tortillas and repeat the layers, ending with a layer of tortillas. Top with the additional enchilada sauce and cheese. Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and allow to cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.
Here’s how to make your own taco seasoning.
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each)
Combine all ingredients.
June 23, 2008
I’m pretty sure this recipe might be on the list of the seven deadly sins. But in this case if it’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right. Really, it could be more of a dessert with all it’s brown sugary yumminess, but I decided to make this for breakfast today. From the minute I saw Tyler Florence make this on his show, Tyler’s Ultimate, I knew I wanted to try it. I mean, what could be bad about french toast, apples, and a brown sugary glaze. This recipe is a little time consuming as far as prep goes, but the results are totally worth it. As soon as it started baking, my house filled with the smell of apple pie and caramel apples. I wish I could capture that smell in a candle so I could enjoy it every day without all the calories that come with it. This would be a great recipe for brunch or even breakfast on Christmas morning. The original recipe calls for cranberries, but I left those out because my picky husband doesn’t like them. I think those would be a great addition though.
Upside-Down Apple French Toast with Cranberries and Pecans
(with my alterations in italics)
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 loaf challah bread, cut into 1 inch-thick slices (I used french bread)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling, divided
4 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I omitted)
Confectioners’ sugar, garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.In a flat dish, crack eggs and add milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Whisk until well combined then lay challah slices in mixture to coat and absorb it all, turning occasionally.
Set a 10-inch skillet, seasoned cast iron if you have, over medium heat. Add the butter and 1 cup sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has melted and caramelized, about 8 minutes. While the sugar is melting, peel apples, core and cut into halves. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the heavy cream. Sprinkle in the pecans, dried cranberries and gently press in the apple halves so there is a flat surface. Lay soaked slices of challah over the top so it is completely covered – you should be able to arrange the large slices and small slices so there are no gaps. Sprinkle the top with some brown sugar and place into the preheated oven. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and puffy.
When done, allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes then invert onto a large plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and serve.
Chef’s Note: FYI – if your cast iron skillet is not seasoned, the cranberries will react with the skillet and turn black.
*I don’t have a cast iron skillet so I used a pie dish to bake this in. I melted the butter and sugar in a pot on the stove and then poured it into the pie dish before assembling.
Source: Food Network
November 18, 2007
We ate dinner unusually early tonight. As if my husband doesn’t work enough hours each week, he has to go back in for a couple hours this evening. Well I couldn’t send him back to work on an empty stomach. I’ve been planning on making this for a week or so now and finally decided to try it out tonight. As I was eating dinner, I was trying to think how I would describe this dish. With each bite all I kept thinking was “sweet, savory, and southern”. Very original, right? But really if you break it down, it is. The dish itself reminds me of a rustic, country pot pie. Then there’s the combination of the roughly chopped savory vegetables and broth with the slightly sweet cornbread topping. Each component is very different, but the flavors somehow meld together so well. Overall, it was surprisingly delicious. We had this as a main dish for dinner tonight since we’re both still under the weather and not eating much, but it would also be a great side dish as well. In fact, a dish worthy of a spot alongside your Thanksgiving turkey or on your Sunday dinner table. I would suggest doubling the recipe though if making this for a large group.
Autumn Vegetable Cobbler
1 small onion, sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 small red potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, chopped
1/4 cup water
2 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and cut into slices
2 cups chopped fresh spinach*
1 cup vegetable broth (I used chicken broth since that’s what I had on hand)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (I didn’t have fresh so used 1 Tbsp dried parsley)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cornbread Topping -(I used a box of corn muffin mix but you can click on the link to view the original cornbread topping recipe.)
Sauté sliced onion in hot oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until tender. Add potato, carrot, and 1/4 cup water; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add leeks and spinach, and cook 3 minutes or until spinach wilts.
Whisk together vegetable broth and flour until smooth. Stir broth mixture, minced parsley, soy sauce, and salt into spinach mixture. Bring to a boil; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until thickened.
Spoon vegetable mixture into a lightly greased 8-inch baking dish. Drop Cornbread Topping by heaping tablespoonfuls onto hot vegetable mixture.
Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until golden. (I would suggest checking this around 20 min. Mine turned out very dark brown at 20 min.)
*Chopped kale, collard greens, or turnip greens may be substituted.
*When preparing the leeks, slice and separate them and then float them in a bowl of water. If there is any dirt in between the layers, it will fall to the bottom of the bowl.
Makes 4 servings
November 6, 2007
Today was my day off and I got a lot accomplished. I cleaned all three of my bathrooms, dusted, vacuumed, and did a ton of laundry. When I finally sat down and the cleaning rush wore off, I started to feel not so good. I’ve been fighting a little cold for a couple weeks now and I think it’s finally catching up with me. I had planned on making chicken pot pie for dinner tonight but wasn’t sure if I was up to it. My husband offered to go and pick up something for dinner, but I finally mustered up the energy to get in the kitchen. I figured some warm chicken pot pie would help me feel better and also be good for leftovers this week. While I was cooking dinner, my husband did go to the store and get me some medicine and orange juice. Hopefully with a little chicken pot pie and medication in me, I’ll be feeling better tomorrow. Thankfully, my chicken pot pie turned out better than the one I made a couple weeks ago.
Chicken Pot Pie
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or broth)
1 cup water
1 cup milk, warmed
3 Tbsp butter
2-3 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 large red potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup green beans- fresh, frozen, or canned
salt and pepper to taste
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375. In a large pot, add potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, green beans, broth and water. Let simmer for 7-10 min or until vegetables start to get tender. Add in butter and warm milk and stir. Add flour and whisk. Let simmer for a couple minutes until sauce starts to thicken. Add in chicken and salt and pepper to taste. Pour mixture into a baking dish. Prepare the crust by stirring flour, milk and butter together. Pour over the chicken and vegetable mixture. Bake for 35-45 min, until crust is golden brown and mixture is bubbly.
October 23, 2007
I have been dying to try Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons Chicken Pot Pie for a while now. When we were in Savannah, GA this past April, we actually ate at the Lady and Sons restaurant. I didn’t get the chicken pot pie there, but I saw several people order it and remember thinking it looked so good. I was very happy when I found the recipe for it on foodnetwork.com. So I finally decided to try it tonight. I followed the recipe exactly, except I cooked it longer than it said to at the end to make sure if was heated through. When I took my first bite, all I could say was “yuck!”. It was just too bland and the flavor wasn’t all that great either. But I decided to post it anyway to show that not every dinner or recipe always turns out the way you hoped it would. I think it’s a very pretty chicken pot pie, but I think I’ll stick to my regular old chicken pot pie in the future. Who knows, maybe it was something I did or didn’t do. Someone else might have more luck with it than I did. : P
1 roasted chicken carcass (bones), skin and meat removed
1-1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
1 1/2 cups carrots, cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 an onion
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
water, enough to cover all other ingredients
Place first six ingredients in a large stock pot and cover with water and chicken broth. Simmer over low heat for about 3 hrs or so. Strain liquid into a bowl and skim fat off the surface. Place pre-measured amounts in individual containers to freeze for easy use in later recipes.
*I froze mine in 1 cup portions. I got about 9-10 cups of stock.