Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Let the Planning Begin

That time of year: Thanksgiving planning.

My beloved brother-in-law has to work this holiday, being a new doctor and all, and rearranging it doesn't quite work for him.  So, he won't be here.

And he's my main kitchen help.

Which means making our usual spread will be harder, if not impossible.  Even with him last year, it was too much work.

And so I've got to reconsider.  Except everyone has a favorite.  Or two.  That easily brings it to 10+ dishes.


Must reconsider.


  • appetizer--baked brie?  storebought?
  • another appetizer--nuts? storebought?
  • turkey--day of
  • gravy--requests for regular and giblet
  • dressing--requests for cornbread and also oyster--make day before
  • cranberry sauce--usually two or three (fresh/raw, horseradish, and canned), make in advance
  • green bean casserole--day of
  • mashed potatoes--make in advance
  • rolls--make week before, freeze, then bake day of
  • sweet potato casserole--make day before
  • pumpkin pie--storebought?
  • pecan pie--make cookie bars with Mama Teacher, half a batch for each of us?
  • apple pie--make day before

Thanksgiving of Years Past
Miss K's Baked Brie
Roll out a boxed pie crust ( I use the Pillsbury pie crust found in the cold section near the orange juice - 2 in a box) with a little flour into a large circle. Spray the baking dish with Pam (or whatever) and put the pie crust in the dish. Place the large brie in the middle (I use the President brand), top with a layer of preserves (for the party I used apricot but I've used others like orange, etc.) then top with sliced almonds (if you use cranberry then walnuts are good). Fold up the pie crust around the brie, pinch closed and tear off extra crust. Put a light egg wash all over and then if desired, put another thin layer of preserves and nuts on top. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until the pie crust is golden brown. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

3 cups Corn Chex® cereal
3 cups Rice Chex® cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bite-size pretzels
1 cup garlic-flavor bite-size bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt
¾  teaspoon garlic powder
½  teaspoon onion powder

1.         In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
2.         Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.
Oven Directions Heat oven to 250°F. In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in cereal mixture until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Chex website

A Trio of Pecans from Saveur's article "Southern Belle" by Wendell Brock
Glazed Pecans

¾ cup sugar
¼ cup sour cream
2 cups pecan halves, lightly toasted
¾ tsp. vanilla extract

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk sugar and sour cream in a 4-qt. saucepan until smooth; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbling and thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pecan halves and vanilla extract until well coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet; let cool completely. Break into bite-size pieces before serving.

Spiced Pecans
2 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground coriander
¼ tsp. granulated garlic
¼ tsp. ground cumin
⅛ tsp. ground allspice
2 cups pecan halves
½ beaten egg white

Heat oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Mix dark brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, salt, coriander, garlic, cumin, and allspice in a bowl. Mix pecan halves and egg white in a bowl until combined. Toss nuts with spice mixture to coat completely. Spread on prepared baking sheet; bake until browned and crisp, 25–30 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Candied Pecans
2 cups pecan halves
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. flake sea salt

Heat oven to 325°. Spread pecan halves on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 10 minutes; set aside. Boil brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until mixture is foamy and slightly thickened, 2–3 minutes. Add pecans and cook, stirring constantly, until well coated, about 3 minutes. Spread on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt; let cool completely. Break into bite-size pieces before serving.

Be patient and really let that roux brown!
Heat 4 tablespoons grease. Add 4 tablespoons of flour. Brown til copper-colored. Stir in 4 cups drippings. Add chicken bouillon and salt and pepper to taste.



½ cup margarine
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 bag of stuffing
2 cups dry bread (or 2 more cups of Pepperidge Farms)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon sage
1 cup chicken stock (double this amount!)

Saute onion and celery in margarine. In mixing bowl, crumble breads and add spices and onion/celery mix. Add chicken stock. Refrigerate over night. Bake at 350°F for 45 min.-1 hour.



29 oz. can yams, drained
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
orange juice

Bake at 375°F. Add marshmallows to brown.


Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Topping

1 lb sweet potatoes or 29 oz. can, drained
3/4 cup milk
3 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
6 tablespoons butter, melted


6 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¾  cup crushed corn flakes

Beat together potatoes and next 5 ingredients.  Place in an ungreased 1 ½ quart baking dish.  Bake for 45 minutes or until edges leaves sides of pan.  Mix together all topping ingredients in a bowl until combined. Spread over baked dish.  Cook under broiler for 1 minute or until topping browns.

Gommie Hungry

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish

2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed
1 small onion
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar ("red is a bit milder than white")

Grind the raw berries and onion together. ("I use an old-fashioned meat grinder," says Stamberg. "I'm sure there's a setting on the food processor that will give you a chunky grind -- not a puree.")
Add everything else and mix.
Put in a plastic container and freeze.
Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. ("It should still have some little icy slivers left.")
The relish will be thick, creamy, and shocking pink. ("OK, Pepto Bismol pink. It has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It’s also good on next-day turkey sandwiches, and with roast beef.")
Makes 1-1/2 pints.

NPR radio

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish
1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray(r) Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 unpeeled orange, cut into eighths and seeded
3/4-1 cup sugar
Place half the cranberries and half the orange slices in food processor container or food grinder. Process until mixture is evenly chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining cranberries and orange slices. Stir in sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer. Makes about 3 cups.


Green Bean Casserole

2-16 oz. cans whole green beans, drained (can also use frozen)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
½ cup milk
Dash pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1-2.8 oz. can of French-Fried Onions

Combine soup, milk, soy sauce and pepper. Stir in green beans and ½ can of onions. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until hot; stir. Top with remaining onions. Bake 5 minutes.

Somewhat Homemade Green Bean Casserole
2 pounds green beans, trimmed, cut in half, and steamed (8 to 10 minutes or until tender),
6 tablespoons butter
8 ounces mushrooms, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
2 ½ cups milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
French's fried onions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook while stirring for 2 to 3 minutes.  Sprinkle in the flour and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to let the flour burn. Stir in the salt and pepper.  Carefully whisk in the milk and soy sauce while scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a light boil. Whisk and cook until the sauce thickens to the consistency of a really thick soup, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Mix the sauce with the green beans and some fried onions in a casserole dish and toss to combine. Bake in the oven until bubbly, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with French's fried onions and bake until brown.

adapted from 100 Days of Real Food (they make their own onions)

Broccoli Rice Casserole
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ stick (4 tablespoons) margarine
2 –10 oz packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked
2 cups cooked rice (from about ¾ cup raw)
1-10 ¾ oz can condensed cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
½  small jar (4 ounces) Cheez Whiz
1-5 oz can water chestnuts, sliced

Brown onion and celery in margarine until soft and golden.  Combine with broccoli, rice, soup, Cheez Whiz and drained water chestnuts in a greased 2-quart casserole.  Bake 25-30 minutes at 350°F.  Serves 8.  May be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to cook.  May be frozen.  Allow 45 minutes to 1 hour time if casserole is chilled or frozen.

Brussel Sprouts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400* F.

Remove the ends and brown or damaged leaves of the Brussel sprouts. Rinse well in cold water. Dry the sprouts well. Cut in half lengthwise. In a bowl, gently mix the sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on foil-lined baking sheet for 30- 40 minutes, until crispy and on the outside and tender inside.

Mashed Potatoes
In a large slow cooker set on high heat, combine 4 pounds peeled potatoes with 1 smashed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon salt, and hot water just to cover. Cover and cook on high heat for 3 to 4 hours; the potatoes will slowly absorb the water and become soft. Scoop out of the cooker with a slotted spoon (save the cooking water) and into a bowl. Immediately mash with hot cream and soft butter, then salt and pepper to taste. If the potatoes seem dry, add some cooking water. Return to the cooker, cover and keep warm.


Pumpkin "Indian" Pudding
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 cups 1% milk
⅓ cup yellow cornmeal
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 large pinch salt
1 Tbs. butter
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbs. blackstrap molasses
Preheat oven heat to 275ºF. Coat 1-qt. baking dish with cooking spray.
Whisk together milk, cornmeal, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in saucepan. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat, and blend in butter. Stir in pumpkin purée, brown sugar, and molasses. Pour into prepared baking dish, and bake, uncovered, 1½ hours, or until knife tip inserted in center comes out clean.
adapted from Vegetarian Times

Big-Batch Quick Dinner Rolls
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 cups warm milk ( 100 - 110°F)
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons yeast, instant preferred
6 to 7 cups KA all-purpose flour

I put everything in my bread machine (using 5 cups of flour and then adding 1 1/2 more as needed).  I let it knead and then rise about 30+ minutes (i.e. not the whole cycle).  And then removed the dough, made a 12 x 8" rectangle, divided it into 4 rows with 6 rolls each, rolled them into balls, and placed them into greased aluminum pie tins. Allow to rise 10 minutes.  Then I covered them tightly and put them in the freezer.  I'll defrost overnight.  In the morning, I'll preheat to 350F and bake 20-25 minutes until golden.  Yum!

adapted from King Arthur Flour

Church Pie Crust
Makes 2 crusts

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1/3 + 1 tablespoon ice water

from Joy of Cooking

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie
1 cup apple butter
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine apple butter, pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Stir in eggs. Gradually add milk and mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake for about 40 minutes or until set.

Paula Deen

Pecan Pie
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo syrup (light or dark; I usually have light)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cup whole pecans
1-9 inch unbaked or frozen pie crust

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In large bowl, stir the first five ingredients until well blended.  Stir in pecans.  Pour into pie crust.  Bake 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between crust and center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.
 Karo syrup bottle

My Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at cool room temperature*
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional, or the flavor of your choice; eggnog flavor makes a delicious holiday shortbread
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1) Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease 9 x 13" pan If you worry about the shortbread possibly sticking in your particular pan, line it with parchment, and grease the parchment.
2) In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, then beat in the flour. The mixture may seem a little dry at first; keep beating till it comes together. If it absolutely won't come together, dribble in up to 1 tablespoon of water, until it does. This is a stiff dough.
3) Press dough into prepared pan, smoothing the surface with your fingers, or with a mini rolling pin.
4) Use a fork to prick the dough all over; this allows any steam to escape, and prevents the shortbread from bubbling as it bakes. Prick the dough in a random pattern, but it looks nicer pricked with some kind of symmetry.
5) Bake the shortbread until it's a light golden brown across the top surface, and a deeper golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.
6)  Allow shortbread to cool while you make the pecan filling. 

1 ½ cups pecan halves (170 grams)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (56 grams)
¾ cup dark corn syrup
4 large eggs
½ cup packed light brown sugar (100 grams)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (5 grams)
2 tablespoons bourbon
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat oven temperature to 350 degrees. Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast nuts, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool.
Make the filling: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth; cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together cooled chocolate-butter mixture, corn syrup, eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, bourbon and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared shortbread crust. Arrange pecans over filling. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the filling is just set when the pan is jiggled, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove pie from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

A combo from King Arthur Flour and the NYTimes

Patricia’s Apple Pie
Now this is my signature apple pie, made for all holidays.  And as my paternal grandmother always used to say, “Apple pie without cheese is like a hug without a squeeze!”  Mama Hungry didn’t believe until she tried it; now she won't eat pie without it.

¾ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon nutmeg
6 sliced, peeled apples
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pie crust and crumb topping

 Peel and slice apples, soaking in water and lemon juice to prevent browning.  Heat oven to 425°F.  Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Stir in apples.  Cover with crumb topping.  Cover edge of pie with aluminum foil, shiny side out.  Bake 40-50 minutes, removing foil for last 10 minutes.

Crumb Topping

1 cup flour

½ cup firm margarine
½ cup packed, crumbly brown sugar

 Mix with fork and sprinkle on top of pie.

my college roommate

7-Up/Lime Jello Salad (my usual jello salad)
1-8 oz. (large) package lime jello
2 tablespoons hot water
12 oz can 7-Up
20 oz can drained pineapple
8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup pecans

Heat can of 7-Up. Take off heat and add Jello. Add the cream cheese that has softened in hot water or let sit at room temperature for awhile (you can microwave it for 1-2 minutes to soften). Add pineapple and pecans. Refrigerate.
Note: This looks beautiful in a jello mold. Just spray it with Pam and wipe with a paper towel before filling.

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