Thanksgiving Round-Up 2017

 

chicken pan

 

Are you ready??  When are you starting your prep?   Thanksgiving is only 5 days away!  Out of necessity, I will be doing my shopping tonight and cooking my first prep work (corn bread for stuffing) tomorrow night.  The corn bread needs time to dry out–usually only 3 days, but I will not have a chance to make it on Sunday or Monday.  So Saturday it is!

salad side

We are having the big day at M’s mum’s, like last year.  We will have a fairly large gathering, including M’s sister and brother-in-law visiting from the UK.  His brother-in-law has never attended Thanksgiving, so it should be quite fun!

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Several guests are bringing dishes to share, and M’s mum is handling the turkey, so our contribution will be: Green Bean Casserole, Stuffing, and a couple of pies (probably Pecan and Pumpkin, maybe a third).  I may even break out my Cranberry Chutney & Brie appetizer.  Usually I save it until after Christmas, but since M’s sister and her husband are here, I might make an exception.  If I cannot restrain myself, this recipe for glazed shallots looks amaaaaazing and may end up at the table as well!

carrot soup

I did want to take a moment to round up some of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving (and for Thanksgiving leftovers) that are on the blog.  If you are still planning your menu, or looking for some leftover inspiration, check out the links below!

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Gluten-Free Knock-off Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing — a total requirement each year!

Roast Chicken — can be inspiration for your roast Turkey.  The aromatic and herbs would all work wonderfully.  Be sure to adjust the cooking time to suit the size of your turkey!

Kale Salad — a super simple salad that is hearty enough to stand up to all the other Thanksgiving dishes!

Ginger-Carrot Soup — would be a lovely start to a more formal Thanksgiving meal with different courses.

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My Favorite Gluten-Free Pie Crust — here’s a hint: make an extra batch of pie crust and stick it in the fridge.  It’s my secret weapon for leftovers: wrap up turkey and veg to make hand pies, top a turkey pot pie, make a quiche, or roll it out, cut into pieces and bake for dipping into turkey pot pie soup!

Cranberry Chutney — if you can’t fit it into your Thanksgiving menu, you have to try it for your holiday parties!  One of my favorite things EVER and one of those iconic dishes that no one forgets.  Once December hits, everyone is always checking that I am bringing the cranberry chutney!

Rosemary & Honey Mustard Almonds — an easy, make-ahead recipes for nibbles, if you don’t want to commit to a full appetizer!

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French Bread — make a batch to have on hand for soaking up all that turkey gravy!

Popovers — another twist on the bread roll accompaniment!  A little lighter and airy, they won’t weigh you down nearly as much.

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies — an easy handheld dessert and always popular with kids!

Coconut-Pumpkin Custard — looking for a dairy-free and grain-free dessert?  This still sticks close to those fall flavors!

Leftovers

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Turkey Broccoli Quiche — my favorite quiche of ALL TIME and one that I only make once or twice a year, due to the need for turkey.  It is sooo good!

Turkey Pot Pie — riff off of my go-to biscuit-topped Chicken Pot Pie, by simply subbing cooked turkey for the cooked chicken

pot-pie-dish

Turkey Pot Pie Soup — for something a little different, but still comforting.  I love baking up wedges of pie crust to dip into this soup!

Turkey Hash — the classic breakfast for post-Black Friday shopping.

Mashed Potato Pancakes — another easy post-Turkey Day breakfast, with a little less meat!  These savory pancakes are delicious with a runny-yolked egg!

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Turkey-Broccoli Quiche (Thanksgiving Leftovers)

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Happy post-Thanksgiving, everyone!  Things got away from me in this past week or two.  Everything at work and school is starting to gear up.  We have three weeks until our performances and I have three/four weeks until my finals for my classes this semester.  Both of which include papers, on top of one final exam and one oral presentation.  I am desperately trying to make serious headway on both papers during my free time this weekend, but it will also be my only chance to decorate for Christmas and prep my food gifts (no telling what those will be, yet!).  I’m planning to make the dough for three different Christmas cookies tomorrow, which I will shape into cookies and pop in the freezer.  I know all three freeze beautifully and this will make things so much easier as the month goes on!  I might even make up a batch of my Cranberry Chutney, which is the ultimate sign that the Christmas season is here!

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We powered through our fundraiser for work last weekend, which went splendidly!  However, I felt my throat get a little sore throughout the day and by Monday I was knocked flat with some kind of winter muck.  A scratchy, painful throat that made my whole mouth hurt, some crazy body aches, super fatigued.  Ugh.  Thankfully, an afternoon of sleep, lots of soup, and a few eucalyptus & epsom salt baths got me back up on my feet to finish out this week and still get through my prep for Thanksgiving.  I still don’t know what it was, but I am hoping I avoided catching my coworker’s bronchitis and, instead, just picked up a bug off one of our students.  My asthma and allergies make me very prone to bronchitis and pneumonia, but this hasn’t really moved down into my chest as bronchitis normally would, so I do think I got lucky and it’s just a bad cold!

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Anyways, on to more pleasant topics!  Thanksgiving at M’s mum’s house ended up having 18 people and was, all-in-all, stress-free.  We had a few sticky moments when politics and other controversies came up (it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it, huh?) and trying to get the massive 21 lb turkey in the oven in time, but otherwise, it was lovely.  About half of those 18 people had already sign-up to bring a dish, so I focused on desserts (pumpkin pie, vanilla bean cheesecake, cranberry curd tarts, and a praline sauce) and ended up putting together the green bean casserole since M ran out of prep time.  But everything else was taken care of!  It was nice to loosen the reins a little bit!  Shockingly, with all of those people and all of that food, there wasn’t too much in way of leftover.  I managed to snag a few slices of dessert, cranberry sauce, and a solid 3 cups of turkey–some of which went into this quiche and the rest will go into a double batch of Turkey Pot Pie Soup tomorrow night.  I’m not too sad about our lack of leftovers.  We have a ton of veggies in the fridge from our Produce Delivery box, so I’m planning to do a lot of simple, plant-based meals to reset ourselves after this weekends indulgences.  Plus my crisper box is completely overflowing and this is the only way to deal with it!

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This quiche is, hands-down, my favorite quiche that I have ever eaten.  My mother made it often when we were younger, but I was only reintroduced to it after I graduated and we tried making it gluten-free.  I love quiche because it take so few ingredients to make a solid dish with many servings (with just M and I in the house, this will last us a few days worth in lunches, too).  But I usually don’t go through the fuss of making pie crust (often, I just thinly slice potatoes, layer them in a greased pan, and cook them until brown and crispy before adding in the quiche filling).  So this lovely mix of turkey, cheese, bacon, and broccoli, all wrapped up in a flaky, buttery crust, is extra special.  That last bite with more crust from the side as well as the bottom is just total bliss.  Every time I make this, I wish I had grabbed even more turkey leftovers, so I could stash them in the freezer.  I never seem to remember, so I will just have to do my best to enjoy this quiche now, before waiting another whole year to make it again!

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Turkey Broccoli Quiche

  • – 1 gluten-free pie crust
  • – 3/4 c. chopped broccoli
  • – 1 c. chopped, cooked turkey
  • – 1/2 c. shredded baby swiss cheese
  • – 1/4 of a medium onion, finely chopped
  • – 6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • – 1 Tbsp. butter
  • – 3 extra-large eggs
  • – 1 1/4 c. half-and-half (or: 1/2 c. heavy cream + 3/4 c. milk)
  • – 1 tsp groud thyme
  • – salt & pepper to taste

Roll out the pie crust and spread into a 9-inch pie pan.  Crimp the edges and place the pan in the fridge while you preheat the oven and prep the filling.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the broccoli and onion and sauté until tender, when the broccoli is bright green and the onion has softened.  Sprinkle turkey, bacon, and half of the cheese into pie crust.  Pour vegetables over top, spread evenly.  Top with the remainder of the cheese.  Whisk the eggs, half-and-half, and spices in bowl until thoroughly mixed.  Pour eggs over other ingredients in pie shell.  Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, until a knife inserted at the center comes out clean.

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Flashback Friday Post Update: Gluten-free Pie Crust

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Hi again, everyone.  I won’t bother asking how your week was, because I don’t really know that I want to talk about it.  At least not yet.  But, like always, the days keep going forward, which means we are getting closer and closer to Thanksgiving.  And what is Thanksgiving without dessert, right?  And what is a more Thanksgiving-worthy dessert than pie?  Maybe cheesecake…but I’m here to talk about my very favorite pie crust, so let’s keep the focus on pie!  Pie crust was one of the very first gluten-free recipes that I mastered.  The keys are: lots of starch to keep things light and to make the perfect mix with the fat (butter) to create a crispy crust.  A dash of vinegar helps too.  And best of all, while I suggest gentle handling while kneading and rolling out the dough, that isn’t quite as crucial.  See, the reason that we are so careful with pie crust is to (1) not melt the fat in the dough and (2) not activate the gluten in the flour.  We’ve removed one of those factors by using gluten-free flours.  No risk of tough, gluten-activated dough here!  Now we can focus on keeping everything chilled and make ourselves some super tasty pie!

Last Thanksgiving I made three pies: Pecan, Apple, and Maple-Nutmeg Custard.  (Don’t worry, my mother made a pumpkin cheesecake, so we fulfilled the pumpkin requirement!)  All three were delicious, but this year we have a ton of guests.  I plan to scale back to give them some room at the dessert table, so I am planning to make a traditional pumpkin pie using this crust.  And maybe a cheesecake, if I can’t help myself.

So here’s the deal with pies.  In general, fruit pies can be made with the dough raw, and the pie dough will bake along with the fruit.  Filled pies (that do not have a top crust), typically, want a par-baked (also known as blind-baked or prebaked) crust first.  Par-baking is nothing to be scared of, just form the bottom shell in your pie pan, place a sheet of parchment over the crust and fill the pie shell with a layer of dry, uncooked beans.  Bake for 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees, then remove the parchment and the beans (careful, they are hot!) and bake for another 5 minutes.  Then your crust is partially baked and much sturdier.  It will hold up better to the liquid, custard type fillings.

So pick your favorite fillings and get planning!  I usually try to cook my desserts one or two days before Thanksgiving, as they will keep.  Then I can warm them up gently, if needed, while we eat dinner!

Check out my recipe for Gluten-Free Pie Crust!

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Flashback Friday Post Update: Gluten-Free Knock-off Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing

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How was everyone’s Halloween?  We got ZERO trick-or-treaters, which is so surprising.  We have plenty of children in our complex, but maybe we are scary (or too far) by being a back-facing apartment down a set of stairs?  Everyone I talked to this year mentioned that they had fewer as well.  Is trick-or-treating no longer the “in” thing?  Is everyone going to parties and trunk-or-treats?  (Unless you live out in the country where there is too much distance between houses, I do not see the appeal of trunk-or-treats, by the way.)   I was lucky enough to grow up on a cul-de-sac in a sprawling neighborhood that was flooded with children.  Our street, at one point, had about 40 children amongst the seventeen or so houses.  We walked blocks on Halloween night, all through the other neighborhoods.  M grew up in a more rural, wooded area, but all of Main Street took on the responsibility of creating an amazing Halloween atmosphere, so the further houses would drive down to let their children trick-or-treat in town.  So I just don’t get it.  And now, I’m left with so much Halloween candy…oy.

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Otherwise, November has been off to a pretty rocky start.  M is on a full week of tech rehearsals and performances, meaning he starts work late enough that I don’t see him before I go to bed and he sleeps past when I leave in the morning.  We are communicating through texts, post-it notes, and leftovers.   On Tuesday, I also had my longest-lasting gall bladder attack, yet.  Thankfully, it wasn’t the most severe, pain-wise, but certainly the longest time in constant pain, from 10pm until almost 5 in the morning.  I did not get any sleep and I still feel like I am recovering from that.  Ugh.  I am counting down the weeks (6!) until my surgery and hopefully then this will all be over.  (Though I am steadfastly not thinking about the surgery part.  Eek!)

stuffing-bowl

Anyways, as a proper lead up to Thanksgiving this year, I though I would update a few old posts with some badly-needed new photos and share a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes every Friday!  We are starting things off with my #1 Thanksgiving necessity: stuffing.  After I had to skip it on my very first GF Thanksgiving (just two months after cutting gluten) I spent the rest of that first year endlessly researching this stuffing.  Growing up, my mom always used the Pepperidge Farms mix, with the tiny shriveled, dry cornbread pieces and the packet of seasoning.  It is the taste of my childhood Thanksgivings, so I knew I wanted to make a gluten-free stuffing that emulated those flavors.  This recipe uses a combo of home-made cornbread (baked in a jelly-roll pan, so is nice and thin) and store-bought GF bread.  Just be sure to give the bread a few days to dry out (or at least some solid time in a low-temp oven the day before Thanksgiving).  Drier = better, here.

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I have successfully made this stuffing in a crockpot, in a separate dish in the oven, and stuffed into the turkey, so it should stand up to any of your preferences.  These days, I also like to jazz things up with added cranberries, like in the photos*, or roasted chestnuts, or even some sage sausage (just cook the meet before adding it to the stuffing).  Add up to 2 cups of these additional mix-ins after stirring in the melted butter and before adding the chicken broth to the bread mixture.

Click through for the recipe for Knock-off Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing!

*the dish in the photos is holding a 1/2 batch of this recipe in an 8×8 dish!


Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Pot Pie Soup

TPP Soup Title

In the midst of these last few crazy weeks (2 days until final paper is due, 2 weeks until performance weekend), I wanted to jot down the recipes I’ve made in order to use up our Thanksgiving leftovers.  We had a very relaxed Thanksgiving, with most of my family coming over to M’s mum’s house.  Naps occurred, and plenty of food was eaten!  I brought pecan pie, apple pie, maple custard pie, and a dish of my Gluten Free Knock Off Pepperidge Farm’s Cornbread Stuffing.  And the necessary pre-dinner pickles and olives.  It’s a family tradition!

We came home with a huge amount of pie (surprise, surprise), a lunch’s worth of vegetables, and enough turkey and stuffing to stretch for a couple of meals.  I also made sure to bring home some of the bones from the turkey, so that I could make some broth for this soup!  I boiled the bones a second time after making the soup.  I’ll make a gravy from that tonight to go with sausages and Yorkshire Pudding and greens.  Tomorrow, I’m planning to use up the last of our turkey in Turkey and Broccoli Quiche to give us plenty of leftovers for lunches this week.

The soup is a nice mixture of leftovers and fresh foods (mostly the remaining fresh veg left over from preparing other thanksgiving dishes), and makes a hearty dish from a fairly small amount of food.  It has all of the flavors of pot pie, without the fuss.  I served my soup with pie crust points.  One of the crusts that I made the day before, while prepping desserts, shrank too much during it’s par bake.  I made another crust, but I saved the first and finished baking it laid flat.  This added the perfect crunchy bite to accompany my soup!  This soup is very forgiving.  Use whatever meat and vegetables that you have on hand and need to use up: chicken, potatoes, green beans, and peas would all be splendid!

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie Soup

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 4-5 button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 c. shredded, cooked turkey**
  • 3 c. turkey (or chicken) broth*
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1-2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1-2 Tbsp. cold water
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh thyme, for serving

*To use up more leftovers and save some money, make your broth from the bones of your turkey/chicken!  I roasted the bones at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes, placed the bones in a pot with 1 quart of water and boiled, covered, for 20-30 minutes.  I then cracked the lid and let the broth reduce by about a quarter, just so that the flavor was more concentrated.

**I used white meat in this recipe, knowing that the dryness of the meat would, obviously, not be a problem in this soup.

Once all of the vegetables are chopped, melt the butter in a soup pot and add the diced sweet potato.  Stir to cover the vegetables in the butter and place the lid back on.  Allow the vegetables to sweat for a minute.  Repeat this process by adding, first, the carrots, then the onion and celery, and finally, the mushrooms and garlic.  When the vegetable mixture is soft and the onions are translucent, add the broth.  Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer, covered with the lid, for 10 minutes.  Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and milk.  In a small dish, mix the cornstarch and cold water until smooth, then add to the simmering soup.  Cook for another minute or two, until the soup has thickened.  Taste the soup, and then add salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh thyme leaves.


2015 Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up

 

The big day is just a week away!  While many bloggers are posting a recipe a day, with every dish you need for your Thanksgiving meal, I’ve got to be honest with you:  I have a huge fundraising event on Sunday, a final paper due on December 1st, and our shows’ going up on December 12.  We currently have half of a set that is 3/4 painted, and are only just beginning to make progress on props and costumes.  I am up to my ears in cardboard, feathers, and comparative assessments.  If it were left up to me, there would be no Thanksgiving at all this year. I’ve turned most of the responsibility over to M’s mum (which she did suggest before I said anything at all!)  She has been gracious enough to host most of my family as well, angel that she is.  So I’ll make a batch of cornbread tomorrow to allow it plenty of time to go stale (for my Knockoff Pepperidge Farm’s Stuffing–a must) and I will set aside my paper for long enough on Wednesday to whip up a couple of pies, but that will be the extent of my Thanksgiving contributions.

Luckily, I do have a handful of recipes from seasons past that just might be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table.  Check out below for ideas on stuffings, breads, desserts, and even breakfast for the big day!

thanksgiving bread

My Knockoff Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing will absolutely be gracing our table.  It is the closest it could be to the real deal!  And, it is totally chill with tasty, extra additions like precooked sausage, cranberries, and chestnuts!  Just gently stir right before the stuffing goes into the oven!

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How about some French Bread?  Perfect as a base to cube for traditional stuffing, or to slice as is for the table.

popovers

Popovers are always first in line on our table at any occasion.

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This Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffing is chock full of apples, squash, sausage and herbs, and a nice change from traditional bread stuffings.

Peach-berry Pie

I am all about my pies at Thanksgiving.  This year, I’ll be making Bourbon-Toasted Pecan and an adaptation of Deb Perelman’s Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie.  And I’ll be using the Best Gluten-Free Pie Crust for both!

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Or how about some Coconut-Pumpkin Custard for a dairy-free dessert option?

pots de creme side

Chocolate-Coffee Pots De Creme are surprisingly simple, but make for an elegant (and MAKE-AHEAD) end to the evening.

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Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies have all the flavors of Thanksgiving paired with the comfort of chocolatey brownies.  The recipe is a cinch to whip up well ahead of the big Turkey day!

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These Pumpkin Scones makes the perfect breakfast on a busy Thanksgiving morning.  Make ahead and freeze, then thaw for a delicious start to a hectic day!


Thanksgiving Recipe Round-up!

Well, I had hoped to get  jumpstart on my newest project, My Grandmother’s Recipe Box, and bring you the first of the recipes.  However, the day after I lasted posted, my oven did not heat up.  I tried a few times of turning it off and on, but I did not want to fiddle too much since we have a gas oven and our gas lines (while the stovetop control is wonderful) pretty much have me existing in a mild state of terror.  I grew up with electric coils, and while I know modern gas lines are very safe and secure, I still worry almost constantly.   So, I waited for the boys to come home and shoved my rapidly-rising, unbaked bread dough into the fridge.  They came home and fiddled some more with no luck, but were pretty sure that the oven wasn’t turning on at all (no sound or smell of gas), so I stopped hyperventilating about a gas leak.  And, even more lucky, our stovetop was still working.  But, that did mean we had to submit a request with our rental company and it took a week for the repair to come.  Needless to say, there was no baking down this week, and it seems like all of my grandmothers’ recipes require some time in the oven.  Instead, the crockpot came out twice, and I did a lot of sautéing (and lugged the over-risen bread dough to my mother’s to bake).  Thankfully, all is working perfectly, just in time to make one of my more ambitious projects: the latest Snickers-bar-inspired dessert for M’s birthday tomorrow.  That will, in some form, make it onto the blog quite soon, I am already suspicious that the recipe I tried did not turn out as I planned.  I am hoping that the addition of caramel-peanut filling and salted caramel frosting will help to perk up a sub-par cake.

In the meantime, I am taking a quick break, as I wait for my butter to come to room temperature, to round up my recipes that might find a place on your Thanksgiving table.  I am traveling up to visit family, so, aside from serving as a gluten-free consultant and helping wherever I can, I will be taking the easier role of ‘guest’ for this holiday.  Several others seem to be starting their recipe round-ups as well, so , if you are beginning to plan out your feast, take a few minutes to look through some of my favorite recipes.

gnocchi closeButternut Squash Gnocchi have the familiar flavors of the holidays, but are a more unusual way to add that squash flavor.

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This Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffing is chock full of apples, squash, sausage and herbs, and a nice change from traditional bread stuffings.

thanksgiving bread

My Knockoff Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing is quite close to the real deal, and the combination of white bread and cornbread makes for  a truly flavorful dish.

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How about some French Bread?  Perfect as a base to cube for traditional stuffing, or to slice as is for the table.

popovers

Popovers are always first in line on our table at any occasion.

Peach-berry Pie

I am all about my pies at Thanksgiving.  My family rotates between some combination of Pumpkin, Apple, and Strawberry-Rhubarb.  Use the Best Gluten-Free Pie Crust for a fool-proof pie.

pots de creme side

Chocolate-Coffee Pots De Creme are surprisingly simple, but make for an elegant end to the evening.

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These Pumpkin Scones makes the perfect breakfast on a busy Thanksgiving morning.  Make ahead and freeze, then thaw for a delicious start to a hectic day!

 


Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Hash

Hashes are all over the web and are one of those dishes that don’t really have (or need) a proper recipe.  It is a quick, easy, delicious dish(that I favor as breakfast, but could be made for any meal) that uses up copious leftovers.  It was a no brainer for me, as I love hash with eggs.  And, while I did forget to make the sweet potato souffle for Thanksgiving, I had already separated the six eggs I would need.  So I had to use up a lot of eggs on top of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and the rest. If you still have some bits of dishes hanging around, try a hash for a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Hash is easy.  Choose the ingredients you want to include in your hash.  Meat and potatoes are traditional, but from there, the sky is the limit.  I choose some brussel sprouts and some sausage stuffing from Thanksgiving, a bit of onion and some tomatoes.  Chop all your ingredients into equal-sized pieces (shoot for smaller than bite-sized, so you can have a bit of each ingredient in each bite).  Heat some oil or butter in a saute pan, and, when hot, added your ingredients, cooking until heated through and the potatoes have a good crisp crust.  If you want to add some spices or cheese, right before removing from heat, feel free.

Scrape hash onto plates or find a new pan to make your eggs in.  Make your eggs however you like, and slide on top of the hash.  I had some cranberry relish alongside because I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Tada!

 

Good luck with the last of your leftovers.  M’s mum made turkey pasta salad last night so I think (*crosses fingers*) we’ve almost gotten through all of our leftovers.  Last thing left to do is try my hand at homemade stock!


Thanksgiving 2012 recap

Well, Thanksgiving was about as successful as we expected it to be…so, not half-bad. 🙂  We had a ridiculous amount of food, as all cooks involved got slightly overzealous.  The six of us found ourselves with enough food for at least a dozen guests, if not more.  At final count we had the turkey, 2 types of stuffing, cranberry relish, popovers, spinach, gravy, sweet potatoes, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, parsnips, brussel sprouts, braised carrots, ratatouille, hummus, crab dig with french bread and brie with cranberry chutney.  As I said, ridiculous.  Ah well, we’ve reached day four of leftovers and  I’m just about done with “Thanksgiving” flavors.  That being said, the shredded Turkey barbecue sandwiches, re-fried roasted potato salad, and coleslaw that graced last night’s dinner plater were awesome.  Use the strong flavors of regional foods (Asia, Barbecue, Mexican, etc) to jazz up the last of the leftovers languishing in your fridge!

I stayed in my pajamas through the parade and the dog show (and most of the cooking).  And started the day off right with one or three of these:

M was (mostly) in charge of the turkey this year.  We talked briefly about brining, something neither of us have ever attempted and decided not to try it.  Instead, we rubbed the whole turkey with herbed butter (including beneath the skin), tossed an onion, celery, carrots, apple, thyme, and cinnamon into the cavity and let it go.  It roasted for about 5.5 hours and we found ourselves with this transformation:

We followed Alton Brown’s tips generally and look at the perfect browning!  M and I have agree to try brining next year, simply because we are curious, but the herbed butter added succulence to the crisp skin and help keep this mostly moist.  The loose “stuffing” of vegetables shortened the cook time, reduced our risk of undercooked bread dressing, and added a boost of flavor to the turkey.

Meanwhile, I made my Gluten-Free Knockoff Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing again (and in the crock pot again), and added toasted pine nuts and cooked cranberries (cranberries+1 Tbsp each sugar and water, cooked for 15-20 minutes over medium heat until most berries have burst) as I ladled it into a casserole pan and finished it to crispy in the oven.  Unfortunately (again! ughh!) I forgot to take a proper photo of the stuffing.  I’ll have to stuff a chicken soon (when we’re ready to face a roasted bird again) and get some proper photos for you all!  The addition of pine nuts and cranberries was amazing!  I think I’ll try some new flavors (sausage!) next time.

The sweet potato souffle was forgotten amidst the last minute popover baking.  But I’d trade souffle for popovers any day.

The paler rolls are made from my French bread recipe.  Those were slightly disappointing.  I had trouble getting the rise I wanted out of the dough, but I’ll be working with this dough to see what other kinds of bread I can make in the future!  The actual loaves of French Bread turned out beautifully:

Picture-perfect next to my bread cubes, pre-stuffing. 🙂

Our downfall this year, aside from the vast quantities of food, was offering very filling appetizers.  The family tradition of pickles and olives is just right, enough to nibble on when the smells drifting from the oven become overwhelming.  But we also put out crab dip and my mother’s infamous brie with cranberry chutney.  Bad choice.  My mom was the only one to think to pace herself while I, as usual, inhaled the brie.  (There’s a reason I don’t stockpile cranberries in the freezer…the ability to make this chutney outside of Oct-Jan would be deadly).  By the time we sat down at the table, my mother was the only one who could finish her first plate!

Really, how could you resist?  I’ll be posting this delectable chutney recipe very soon.  I’m planning to can up a few jars for Christmas gifts within the week!  I have a ton of recipes and posts to share–Punc graduated her Puppy class on the Monday before Thanksgiving, I have several more recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers (in the meantime, check out last year’s Turkey-Broccoli Quiche and Mashed Potato Pancakes).  I already mentioned last night’s barbecue dinner.  It was simple enough: I shredded up slices of Turkey and added storebought barbecue sauce, hot sauce, and a touch of chicken broth until coated.  I modified this Mustard-Dill Vinagrette and poured it over sliced roasted potatoes that I had pan-fried.  I cobbled together a poor excuse for coleslaw dressing and shredded some cabbage and a couple carrot.  Serve as sandwiches and you’re done!  Bet you won’t guess it’s Thanksgiving leftovers!

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday!


Thanksgiving Gameplan 2012

Yes, I know, I’m pushing this one a bit close, but it is better than last year.  Planning for Thanksgiving this year has been trying, and I’ve hardly started cooking, yet!  But I think all is –finally–as settled as it can be.  From here on out, I’ll have to cross my fingers and hope that my general time schedule for shuffling dishes in the oven actually works out.  Here is this year’s line up:

Appetizers

  • Brie with Cranberry Chutney– My mother’s infamous chutney, found years ago in one magazine or another.  A delicious compote of cranberries, cider vinegar, and spices, served over warm, melty brie with crackers.  The number one “holiday smell” for me, my friends have proclaimed that it “tastes like Christmas” and it earned the coveted space on one friend’s father’s annual cheese-plate with one bite.  I will add the recipe after Thanksgiving (because it is perfect for Christmas, I’m just greedy enough to find room for it on Thanksgiving).  I’m just waiting for photos!
  • Crabdip with Gluten Free French Bread— M’s mum is making their family recipe and I’ll be providing the baguette.  Seems like the typical recipe (crab, cream cheese, butter, Worcestershire sauce, etc) as far as I can tell.  I’ll get the recipe from her someday
  • Pickles and olives, as mentioned last year, are an annual tradition in my family.  Not sure how it started, but it stayed.  It is so engrained that it was the first thing my sister asked when Thanksgiving discussion began.

Meal

  • Turkey–is under M’s direction (I think).  There was some discussion of cooking it on the grill to free up the oven, but with all of us so unfamiliar with that process, I believe we’re just going to make the oven ‘work’ and do the side dishes around that.  Aside from a rub of butter, I don’t think we’re planning to do much else with it.  M’s mum will make the gravy with the drippings.
  • Cornbread Stuffing–my tried-and-true Knockoff Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing, Gluten Free.  I’ll be making it the crockpot again, and am toying with the idea of adding some other tasty additions.  Maybe pine nuts or some apples or cranberries.
  • Potatoes–two kinds: mashed, from my mother (mixed with cream, butter, and chive & onion cream cheese) and slow roasted, from M’s mum.
  • Green Bean Casserole–by M.  We managed to find fried shallots at the asian market that do not contain gluten ingredients, so we’ll have the traditional crispy topping as well.
  • Ratatouille–my sister will be bringing that.  Don’t know much more about it…
  • Cranberry Relish–another recipe of M’s mum, cranberries and oranges and spices whirled in a food processor without any cooking required.  I’m a lover of all cranberry sauces (including the can-shaped jelly), but this sounds especially refreshing against the richer flavors of the other dishes.
  • Sweet Potato Souffle— I’ve been trying to track down the recipe for the dish I sampled at M’s mum’s friend’s last year, but I’m afraid it might be too late.  Emeril’s recipe seems promising.  It’ll be my first try at a soufflé, which does make me nervous.  Maybe I’ll have Pioneer Woman’s Sweet Soul ‘Taters on standby.  They’ll make a delicious breakfast the next day, if we don’t need them.
  • Popovers–my go-to, favorite buttery puffs of bread.

Desserts

  • Pecan Pie–M’s mum’s task again.  
  • I was left to come up with the second dessert.  My family is a big fan of pumpkin pie.  M’s family is not.  I’m hoping that this Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake might just be the bridge in between.  I might even sub in part goat-cheese…I’ll let you know!

So.  The plan is set.  But between now and then, I have a pile of work that should get started.  Most of my recipes are gathered on my planning board.  Best of luck as we enter the food Olympics!  What are you making for Thankgiving?