Monday, November 29, 2010

Grilled Chicken Salad

this recipe comes from the cookbook Mexican Everyday

This is my favorite salad!

½ c vegetable or olive oil + more for onion
4 garlic cloves
2 serranos or 1 lg jalapeno, stemmed and halved
½ c fresh lime juice
¾ c loosely packed cilantro
¼ tsp pepper
4 chicken breast halves
1 medium white onion chopped
2 avocados
Romaine lettuce
~1/3 c grated Romano, Parmesan, or Mexican queso anejo cheese

Heat oil and add garlic and chiles. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft and lightly browned, 1-2 minutes. Pour oil, garlic, and chile into food processor. Add lime juice, cilantro, pepper, and scant 1 tsp salt. Process until smooth.
Place chicken in a bowl and pour 1/3 of dressing over, spreading evenly. Lightly brush onions with oil. Sprinkle with salt. Cook both over medium heat in separate pans. Sear chicken. Cook onion until well browned, 3-4 minutes on each side.
Place onions in a bowl with avocados. Add another 1/3 dressing, then mash together. Season to taste with about ½ tsp salt.
Place cut romaine lettuce into a large bowl and toss with remaining dressing. If you plan to have left overs, do not toss lettuce w/dressing, the leftovers will get soggy. Just pour dressing individually.

Serve with guacamole, chicken, and cheese.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Buttermilk Pancakes

from Fine Cooking Magazine, Dec 09

I always use real buttermilk, I find they turn out fluffier.
Avoid overmixing, which will make pancakes heavier.

3 T butter
9 oz (2 c) unbleached, all purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 c buttermilk
2 eggs
vegetable oil for the griddle

Heat oven to 200 (if you want to make them all at once and keep warm until ready to serve).

Melt butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool briefly.

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk and eggs. Pour wet into dry ingredients.

Whisk gently until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated. STOP before the batter is evenly moistened.

Add the cooled butter and mix just until the batter is evenly moistened (there will be lumps). Let the batter rest while you heat the griddle (to relax any gluten that has formed, which will produce a more tender pancake.)

Heat the griddle to 375 or a skillet over medium heat until drops of water briefly dance on the surface before evaporating. Lightly oil the griddle.

Pour 1/4 c of the batter for each pancake. Let cook undisturbed until bubbles rise to the surface and edges look dry, 1-2 minutes. Check the underside to make sure it is nicely browned then flip. Cook until nicely browned, about 1 minute.

Transfer pancakes to a baking sheet if desired to keep warm while you cook the remaining batter.

*Cooked pancakes will keep in sealed freezer bags for up to 2 days in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a 350 oven for 5 minutes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

How to Roast a Pumpkin

So there are a lot of pumpkin recipes out there this time of year. While canned pumpkin certainly is convenient, it just doesn't compare in flavor to fresh pumpkin. Not to mention it is twice as expensive; also, I remember 2 years ago there was a shortage of canned and the only thing you COULD do was used fresh. Or pay $10 for a can.

For all these reasons and more, I make my own pumpkin puree by roasting a pumpkin. It's really really simple:

For your pumpkin, you will want to use a sugar pumpkin, or a "pie pumpkin" - they are the little round ones that weigh around 2-4 pounds. You CAN use a regular ol' jack-o-lantern pumpkin, but they are less sweet and have a higher water content, so if you do use one of the big ones, just put your roasted pumpkin meat into a strainer to get as much liquid out as possible, and then add 2T brown sugar and 1 egg yolk for every 2c pumpkin puree used.

Moving on...
Cut your pumpkin in half - remove all the seeds and yuck. Place them, cut side down, in a large baking dish or roasting pan and fill the pan with 1/4" of water.
Cook at 350 for 45-60 minutes. Check it at 45 minutes (poke it with a fork- you want it to be very tender). If it's not done at 45 minutes, continue baking and check it at 5 minute intervals.

Once tender, remove from the pan of water and let it cool. Then scoop out all the meat and put it in a blender / food processor and puree until smooth.
If your puree is too dry, add water, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. If it's too runny, put it in a strainer and let it release some of its liquid.

(If you're using a large pumpkin, you can quarter it (or cut it into as many pieces as necessary) to fit it into the pan.)

There you go, perfect FRESH pumpkin puree! :)
*If you enjoy canned pumpkin (I don't, but some people prefer its flavor), the reason it's so orange and has such a strong flavor is because it uses the rind of the pumpkin as well. So if you'd like more of a canned pumpkin flavor, scrub your pumpkin really well first, and then don't scoop out your meat, just put the whole thing in a blender. *

Double-Coconut Cream Pie

When we were young, my siblings and I were not big fans of pumpkin pie (one of my sisters even threw up after eating it and still won't touch the stuff!), so my mom would take requests and make whatever we wanted for Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie was not a staple, or really that necessary at our house. My husband thinks we are so weird. "It's not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie!" Whatever! Though I do like pumpkin pie now, there are plenty of pies way more delicious than pumpkin. Some of our favorites were chocolate, lemon meringue, and banana cream; you know all the sweet, creamy pudding pies. In honor of our family tradition, I will be making Coconut Cream Pie, because that is what I requested this year. And Cody can have his pumpkin.

3 egg whites
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. milk
3/4 c. cream of coconut
3 beaten egg yolks
2 Tbs. butter
1 c. flaked coconut
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 c. sugar
1 9-inch baked pie crust shell
2 Tbs. flaked coconut

1. Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, for filling, in a medium saucepan combine cornstarch and salt; stir in 1/4 c. of the milk until smooth. Stir in remaining milk and cream of coconut. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

2. Remove from heat. Gradually stir about 1 c. of the hot filling into egg yolks, stirring constantly. Pour yolk mixture into remaining hot filling in saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir for 2 min. more. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted. Stir in 1 c. coconut and 2 tsp vanilla. Keep warm. Preheat oven to 350 ° F.

3. For meringue, in a large mixing bowl combine egg whites, the 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed about 1 min. or until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/3 c. sugar, 1 Tbs. at a time, beating on high speed about 4 min. more or until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks (tips stand straight) and sugar dissolves.

4. Spoon warm filling into the cooled baked pie crust shell. Immediately spread meringue over warm filling, carefully sealing to edge of pastry to prevent shrinkage. Sprinkle with the 2 Tbs. coconut. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Chill for 3 to 6 hours before serving; cover for longer storage. Makes 8 servings.

From Better Homes and Gardens: All-Time Favorites Cookbook Volume 2

Turkey Stuffing

A traditional stuffing recipe that has been passed down four generations (and for good reason)!

1 1/2 loaves bread
2 c. onion
1 1/2 c. celery
6 eggs
1/2 c. butter
12 boullion cubes, dissolved in 1 1/2 c. water
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. sage

Saute onions in 1/2 of the butter. Cut bread into bite size pieces. Add seasoning to bread, then onion, celery, eggs, and butter. If not moist enough, add some water. Add salt to taste. This recipe is enough to stuff a 12 lb. turkey or 1 1/2 the recipe for 18 to 20 lbs, 2 times the recipe for 25 lbs. Or do like I do and cook it in a crock pot for 4 to 5 hours.

Sweet Potato Pie

I'll be honest, growing up I was scared of anything yam or sweet potato. But only because everyone else was. Then I tried my in-laws' sweet potato pie. And I went back for seconds, and thirds, and probably fourths. Now I love all things sweet potato. This one has got to be the best though, because it is pretty much dessert but you get to eat it as a side with the rest of the meal. No waiting necessary. My kind of vegetable!

1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 Tbs. cream
8 oz. yams (or sweet potatoes, technically they are not the same thing, but I interchange them and can't tell much difference)

Mix until well combined. Spread in greased pie dish.

1/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 c. brown sugar
3 Tbs. flour
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Mix and sprinkle over potatoes.

Bake uncovered at 350 ° F for 30 minutes.

Shrimp Dip

My in-laws always, ALWAYS, make shrimp dip for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We all gorge ourselves on it while waiting for the Turkey feast to be ready. Then we eat even more with the meal... and after the meal... and you get the idea. It is so good and so addicting. A must in the Rowland household. A tradition I will very gladly be carrying on.

8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. cream
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated onion

Cream together.

6 oz. canned shrimp
Dash Worcestershire sauce
1 carton cottage cheese

Add, stir to combine. Serve with potato chips or crackers.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shannon's Thanksgiving spread

I hope no one minds me doing this, but I wanted to have a post of just links to my entire Thanksgiving menu so (family that is using the same menu and) I can have it right on hand. I've also added a suggested rough time table as far as preparation goes. Maybe it will be helpful to some of you as well? Anyway, here it is.

My spread includes:

Superman Turkey (Brine this the night before and cook the next day)

Southern-style cornbread stuffing (you can start this the night before - cook the onions and celery, cube the breads, just don't mix them all together yet. The next morning, reheat the cooked veggie mixture and mix with the bread to bake.)

Green bean casserole - I make mine with homemade fried onion strings, although those croutons are the best ever. (This can be assembled the night before, just leave off the topping. The next day, put the topping on and bake.)

Orange-ginger cranberry chutney - I freeze the leftovers in ziplock bags (2/3 c batches) and plop the frozen chutney into a batch of plain muffin batter. Greatest. Muffins. Ever. No exaggeration. (This can be made up to 2 days in advance.)

Mashed potatoes (make these Thanksgiving day)

Turkey pan gravy (make this Thanksgiving day)

Mixed spring greens salad

Whole wheat rolls (can be made the day before if your Thanksgiving day is full, but they are best fresh out of the oven. I put them in and have them baking while I'm putting the very finishing touches on the rest of the meal.)

Butternut squash soup (this can be made the day before if needs be, just heat up and garnish. Or make it Thanksgiving day, but the squash can be roasted up to 2 days ahead of time.)

Spiced candied walnuts - I have these sitting out all day for people to snack on while they're waiting for the real food to be done. (these can be made within a week in advance. Just make sure there's still some left by the time Thanksgiving rolls around.)

Fresh pumpkin pie - I like to top mine with nutmeg whipped cream (heavy cream, add sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste - whip until soft peaks form) (This can be made the day before, but the pumpkin can be roasted well ahead of time. Any remaining pumpkin can be frozen and stored up to 6 months.)

I can't wait for Thanksgiving!!!!

Traditional cranberry sauce

If you are not a fan of the crazy cranberry chutneys like I am, here is a more traditional cranberry sauce / jelly.

2 bags cranberries
2 1/2 c water
2 1/2 c sugar
1t pectin

Bring cranberries and water to a boil and cook for 20 minutes.
Strain pulp as much as possible (as in almost break your wooden spoon, or in my case, literally break your wooden spoon and send bright burgundy sauce flying all over your kitchen)

Put the juice back on the stove and cook for about 3 minutes to let it thicken.
Add the sugar and pectin. Cook for 2 more minutes.

Grease your mold VERY well, and fill with the jelly. Chill and turn out.

Orange-ginger cranberry chutney

This is NOT the same flavor as canned cranberry sauce. A little goes a long way. It's strong and bitter, but I love it. Also, it makes a lot, so you can freeze it and add 2/3 of a cup to plain muffin batter and you'll have the greatest muffins ever.

2 cups water
3 cups sugar
2 whole oranges, peel included, diced, seeded, and finely chopped in a blender
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup golden raisins

In a medium pot, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the oranges and ginger and reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Add the cranberries, cinnamon and cloves and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until thickened. Add the raisins and cook for about 7 minutes more, until big bubbles appear in the sauce. Cool in a bowl before serving.

Spiced candied walnuts

I originally made these as a garnish for a fall soup I had made once, but they were so good I decided that they deserved to be more than just a garnish, and now I make them every Thanksgiving as an appetizer. I make them the night before and set them out Thanksgiving morning. Everyone grazes on them all day long while they wait for the feast, which I love because it gives them something to curb their appetites, but it's not so heavy that they don't have room for the dinner that I slaved over for two days. Win win.

Peanut or canola oil
4c walnut halves
1c sifted powdered sugar
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper

In a large skillet or fryer, heat 1 inch of oil to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together cayenne, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the walnuts for 30 seconds. Drain and transfer to a bowl. While the nuts are still hot and slightly damp, add powdered sugar and toss until coated, and all the sugar has melted into the nuts. The sugar must all be melted.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the nuts in small batches into the hot oil. Fry until med. brown, about 45 seconds. Do not overcook. Scatter on a large baking sheet to let cool. Continue in small batches until all the nuts are fried.

While the nuts are still warm, transfer them to a bowl and toss with about half the spice mix (sprinkle it evenly over the top, it will clump if you just dump it). Add more spice mix to taste and toss well after each addition.

This will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks. Wait until cool to store.

Not your grandma's pumpkin pie

I will let everyone in on a secret. I hate pumpkin pie. I mean, I really hate it. I love pumpkin. Really anything pumpkin. And when I say love, I mean to an unhealthy degree. But I think that pumpkin pie is a scourge on the good name of pumpkin goodness. It's too orange and too spiced and too dense and too sweet and too....pumpkin pie.

I do, however, love MY pumpkin pie. There are several differences that make me like mine over any other, and they are: I only use fresh, not canned pumpkin; I use cream cheese instead of evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk (no it is not a pumpkin cheesecake, although those are delicious); and I beat the crap out of it until it's super fluffy. The end result? A light, fluffy, tasty pie that isn't so sweet or rich that you can only eat a couple bites. I have literally eaten an entire pie by myself. In one sitting. For breakfast. And later discovered that my mother-in-law, her husband, my father-in-law, AND his wife, all did the same thing. :)

Here goes:

1 8oz cream cheese (softened)
2 c pumpkin FRESH roasted pumpkin (if you don't know how to do that, ask and I will write a know who you are)
1 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1 egg + 2 egg yolks, beaten
1c half and half
1/4 c butter
1t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
pie dough (2)
(I'm not going to leave a recipe for this. If you want one, ask and I will - you know who you are!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your pie crust with foil and fill with weights or beans, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and beans and bake again for another 10 minutes. Cool.

Beat cream cheese. Add fresh pumpkin and beat. Add sugar and salt beat again. Add eggs, half and half, and butter and beat. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, and beat again. Pour into pie crusts and bake, 50 minutes.

*Depending on my oven and altitude, I have baked this pie anywhere between 50 minutes and an hour and a half. Just take it out when the center is no longer jiggly.*

Whole wheat dinner rolls

I hesitate to post this because it is my father-in-laws recipe that has been passed down through several generations, but after some deliberation, I decided this recipe needed to be shared. I have honestly never had a better roll than this, and it just happens to be whole wheat. They are so soft and slightly gooey - something you don't really find with whole wheat rolls.

3 packages of yeast (if you're using jarred, 1 pkg = 2 1/4 t)
1 c warm (not hot, it will kill the yeast) water
1/8 c sugar
3 c warm milk
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1c sugar
4t salt
2 squares oleo, melted (or 1c other fat, like shortening or butter)
8-10 c flour

Mix yeast, water, and sugar together and let sit for 10 minutes, or until bubbly.
Mix in everything else except flour.
Add 7 c flour and mix well. Mix in as much more flour as needed to make a dough that just barely sticks to your finger. Cover and let rise, about 20 minutes. Punch down, cover and let rise again. repeat 2 more times, until it has risen for 1 hr. Roll out and use a pizza cutter or knife to cut them into square rolls. Dip them in butter in put them in a pan. Let them rise while you preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Cook for 10-15 minutes, and brush with butter when cooked.

Butternut squash soup

There are a lot of fall soups out there, and a lot of butternut squash variations. I know that many of them are a sweet and sour type, with apples or other fruit. If that's what you like, you may not like this one. I enjoy the more savory soups, so this has leeks and bacon. Just so you know what you're getting before you try to make it.

1 butternut squash
1 onion or leek (whichever you prefer) chopped
1T fresh grated ginger
3T butter
3c broth
1-2 c apple cider
salt and pepper
heavy cream
sour cream
cooked bacon, crumbled

Quarter and bake your squash for 40-45 minutes. Once cool, scoop out the pulp.
Cook onion and ginger in butter in a saucepan over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add broth and simmer for 10 minutes, covered. Remove form heat and add the squash pulp and puree till smooth. Add cider to desired consistency, and salt and pepper to taste. Return to the stove and cook till hot. When ready to serve, add a splash (or 5) of cream. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and crumbled bacon.

Green Bean Casserole

This is fresh, people. No canned veggies or condensed soup here. And it's the bomb.

3 lbs green beans, strung and snapped
2T unsalted butter
2T fresh thyme
2T fresh chives
2T olive oil
2 pounds mixed mushrooms (I use button, shitake, cremini, and portobello, but you can really use whatever you like)
2 shallots, sliced
1c heavy cream
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt and the green beans. If you like your green beans crisp, cook them for about 5 minutes, as they will cook more in the oven. If you like them more tender, cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain them and set aside.
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the shallots are tender and the mushrooms have released all their liquid. Pour in the cream, thyme, and chives, and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the green beans and stir well. Season to taste. Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and top with desired topping (choices listed below). Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.


1 loaf crusty Italian bread
1T fresh chives
1T fresh thyme leaves
1T fresh rosemary
2T parmesan cheese
3T olive oil

Cube bread (2" cubes). Put them in a bowl with all the ingredients and mix well. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 until it turns just golden (about 10 min). If using the croutons, sprinkle a little more parmesan cheese on top of everything before baking.

Fried onion strings:
1 large onion
1 egg plus dash of milk
1c flour
1t garlic powder
1t season salt
1t salt
1/2 t pepper
peanut oil or other frying oil

Mix egg and milk to make a batter coating.
Mix flour, garlic powder, season salt, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Heat oil to 350 degrees. Thinly slice your onion into rings. In batches, dip in egg mixture and lift out, letting excess egg drip off. Toss in the flour mixture until coated. Shake off excess and fry in hot oil, about 3 minutes, until golden. Place on paper towels to drain and repeat with remaining onions. Use enough to coat the casserole. You don't need to add these until the last 5 or 10 minutes of baking time. Place unused onion strings in an airtight container. Will keep for about 2 weeks. Longer if stored in the fridge.

Or you can just use a can of French's fried onions if you want to cut down on your work.

*I use the homemade onion strings - they're a lot easier than they sound, and they are amazing!!!

Superman Turkey

This is my absolute favorite turkey, hands down. It got the name "superman turkey" because of a cooking method I use to have a perfectly crispy skin but a moist bird, that involves making an aluminum foil "shield" for the turkey to wear. It will make you laugh, just warning you now. Your turkey will look like a little knight or a superhero of some sort. And let's face it, it's way more fun to eat a cute turkey in a costume than it is to eat some plain, boring poultry with no sense of humor.

Moving on.....

First step: you want to brine your turkey. The high amount of salt will allow your turkey to absorb the liquid and flavor, making a juicy flavorful bird.
1 c salt
1/2 c brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1T whole black peppercorns
1/2 T allspice berries
1/2 T candied ginger
1 gallon iced water

Combine all brine ingredients except ice water in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until completely chilled. Early on the day of cooking (or late the night before), combine the brine and the ice water in a clean (do I really need to say that?) 5 gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey breast side down in the brine. Cover and set in a cool area for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, halfway through brining.

As I've stated before, I don't stuff my turkey, I use aromatics. Here's my favorite blend:
1 red apple, sliced into wedges
1/2 onion, sliced into wedges
1 cinnamon stick
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
1c water

Okay, on to cooking:
A few minutes before roasting, heat your oven to 500 (yes, 500) degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and water in a bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Remove turkey from the brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a wide low pan, and pat dry with paper towels. Add the steeped aromatics to the cavity, along with rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings back (pull them up and out, then tuck the tips behind the shoulders like he's just lounging. He'll look super cute and relaxed). Coat liberally with canola or other neutral oil (NOT olive oil, as it has a lower temperature tolerance. It will smoke you out of your house. I recommend canola or peanut oil).

Roast your turkey on the lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the breast with a double layer of aluminum foil (get a large square and fold it in half into a triangle. Place it on the breast, point down, flat side on the top toward neck. Pinch a section of it to make a handle to make it easier to remove). Insert a probe into the thickest part of the breast and return it to the oven, reducing oven temp to 350. Set the thermometer alarm to 161 (yes, 161) degrees. A 12 pound bird should require 2 - 2 1/2 hours. (15 - 20 min. per pound). Let the turkey rest, loosely covered, for 15 minutes before carving.

*If you want to skip the brine (some people do), I recommend mixing some softened butter and some sage leaves and slipping it between the skin and the meat of the turkey, all over the bird. That way you'll at least get some flavor in there.

Cornbread stuffing

I am from the South, and so most of my culinary creations have some sort of southern flair. This stuffing is a staple for us in my family. It's a true southern stuffing, but is sure to please even the Yankees at the table (I should know, all my in-laws are from Utah!). There are some variations you can use for this recipe, so I'll give the basic recipe, and then list the add ons below.

This recipe is for a 12 pound Turkey, and it makes about 9 c. Or if you're like me and don't stuff the turkey, it will make one 9x13 and one 8x8 casserole dish of stuffing.

1 1/2 c chopped onion
3 c chopped celery
2c butter
9 c SOFT bread cubes (do not dry them like you would for traditional stuffing)
9 c cubed corn bread (this is meant to be made with southern style corn bread - NOT sweet corn "cake" like all y'all yankees like to make! :) So reduce the sugar in your cornbread to 2 T (for a recipe originally calling for 1/4 c) to make this more authentic.)
2t salt
3t crushed sage
2t dried thyme
1 t pepper

Cook and stir onions, celery, and butter till opaque. Mix all ingredients until well coated.

If cooking inside the bird, DO NOT PACK the turkey cavity. Place loosely in the bird and use the remainder in a small casserole dish.

If you are cooking this on the side in a casserole dish, you can either wait until the turkey is completely cooked and then dump the juices into the stuffing before cooking, or you can melt some butter and mix it with some chicken broth and drizzle that on the top of your casserole. Either way, you want enough juices mixed in to your stuffing so as not to let it dry out while baking.

Sausage stuffing:
cook some breakfast sausage, andouille sausage (for a cajun flair), or smoked sausage with the onions and celery. Reduce the bread by 1c and omit salt.

Giblet stuffing:
Reserve the neck, giblets, and liver from your turkey when you are cleaning out your bird. Boil the neck, liver and giblets for several hours until tender. Shred the meat from the neck and finely chop the giblets and liver. Add to your mixture.
This is probably the most authentically southern, but grosses most people out.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Best Pan Gravy

This is assuming you're having a turkey for Thanksgiving. That goes without saying, right?

4c low sodium chicken broth
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig rosemary, minced (approx. 1T)
1 sprig thyme, stemmed and minced (approx. 1t)
1 bay leaf
1t kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
3T flour
3T unsalted butter

After roasting your turkey, reserve pan drippings into a cup and let it set to separate. Skim off 2T fat, and discard the rest, and add the separated juice to the broth.

In a pan, heat the reserved fat. Add the shallot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf. Season w/ salt and pepper. Cook until the shallot is tender (about 3 min.).

Make a paste with the butter and flour in a small bowl and set aside. Add the broth to the pan and scrape up any bits that have formed in the bottom of the pan. Brink this to a boil and whisk in the flour mixture. Boil until the gravy has thickened (it will thicken considerably more as it cools), about 4-5 minutes. Season to taste, if necessary. Remove garlic and bay leaf.

There you have it. Super simple and very tasty. I never stuff my turkey for sanitary purposes, but I always use aromatics in the cavity. The combo I love is apple wedges, onion wedges, and several sprigs of rosemary. It smells heavenly and really flavors the bird nicely. It's a very subtle flavor that goes well with this gravy.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

creamy chicken enchiladas

Enchiladas are not the greatest in my book- but these are. I just made them for the first time and we both loved this recipe. I found the recipe from this blog and the way she raved over them convinced me to try them. They're seriously good.

cooked chicken tenderloins, shredded or cubed
1/4 c butter
1/2 of an onion, chopped
1 can green chiles
8 oz cream cheese
2 c mexican style cheese, divide
1/4 c salsa
flour tortillas
1 can El Pato sauce (found in the mexican aisle, it is an enchilada sauce)
1/2 c heavy whipping cream

In a frying pan saute butter, onion, green chilies.
Mix in cream cheese, 1 cup of cheese and salsa.
Once cheese is melted add Shredded or cubed Chicken

Place about 3 Tb. of the chicken filling in a flour tortilla. Then roll it up like an enchilada and place in a 9x13 pan.

Mix together El Pato Sauce (mild if you don't like it too spicy) and the whipping cream. Then pour the sauce over the enchiladas. Cover with 1 cup of Mexican style cheese and bake at 350 for 20 min covered. Then bake 10 more minutes uncovered. Take it out when it's nice and bubbly!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Theme

What are your must have's at your Thanksgiving feast or What do you do with the leftovers?

Feel free to post your favorite even if someone has already done a recipe for that kind of food (like below). Its always nice to try new recipes and have a change from our usuals.

These are my favorites after years of searching:

Creamy mashed potatoes,
best green bean casserole I've ever had,
these rolls turn out soft and perfect every time and are made with a bread machine
this is such a moist turkey,
this stuffing is very flavorful
and have you ever tried the cheesecake factory pumpkin cheesecake? I searced for a copy cat and this is it! Sooo good!

I love this pot pie and use the left over turkey to make it.

To get your minds going, think also appetizers, pies, desserts, salads, breakfast, drinks, etc.

Apple Crumb Cake

from woman’s day

Crumb Topping
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (or 2 whole graham crackers, ground in a food processor)
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
5 Tbsp plus 1 tsp (1/3 cup) stick butter, softened
1 ½ sticks butter, softened
1 ¼ cups packed light-brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups reduced-fat sour cream, at room temperature
3 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, halved, cored and very thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
Garnish: confectioners' sugar

Heat oven to 350F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2-in. baking pan with nonstick foil, letting foil extend 2 in. above ends of pan.
Topping: Mix flour, cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until large crumbs form.
Cake: In a large bowl with mixer on low speed, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt 3 minutes or until creamy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time until blended. With mixer on low speed, add flour alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour and beating just until smooth.
Spoon 1/2 into prepared pan; spread evenly. Cover with 1/2 the apples, the remaining batter, then remaining apples. Crumble topping over apples.
Bake 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Holding foil ends, lift cake from pan to rack to cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Cut in squares with a serrated knife and serve warm, or cool before cutting.
Planning Tip: Wrap airtight in pan and store at room temperature up to 3 days, or remove from pan, wrap and freeze up to 2 months.