Creating memories in the kitchen...One meal at a time.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fantasy Fudge

What would Christmas be without fudge? We have been making this recipe with my Mom ever since I can remember. It comes right from the back of the marshmallow creme package. It is chocolaty, creamy, delicious, and pretty easy. We usually make some with nuts and some without, just to please everyone. All of the ingredients are really simple and it makes 3 lbs. Now the only problem will be getting it out of the house before you eat it all!

Fantasy Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine (we usually use real butter)
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12-oz. (340 g) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7-oz. (198 g) jar Kraft Marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Traditional method:Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to full rolling bail, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate till melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts & vanilla beat till blended. Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Let cool and cut into 1-inch squares.

Microwave method:Microwave margarine in 4-quart microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) 1 minute or until melted. Add sugar and milk; mix well. Microwave on HIGH 5 minutes or until mixture begins to boil, stirring after 3 minutes. Mix well; scrape bowl. Continue microwaving on HIGH 5-1/2 minutes; stir after 3 minutes. Stir in chips until melted. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares. Makes 3 pounds.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

We're so excited to start posting some of our favorite Christmas treats. From cookies to candy, breads and cakes there are so many delicious holiday goodies. It's hard to choose. Christmas is such a special holiday for us. As far back as we can remember our Mom spent what seemed like weeks in the kitchen making all different kinds of treats that we would deliver to teachers, neighbors and friends. When we got old enough we started helping and this is where our love for cooking began. Luckily we still live close enough to carry on this tradition in our own families. We still get together every year and make our Christmas plates together. Some of our recipes go back to the days with our Mom and others, like the one we're posting today, are new favorites.

Julia made these cookies one year and brought them for Christmas. One bite and the whole family was hooked. They have that classic, buttery shortbread taste but the added flavors from the cherries and almond extract are just amazing. They are so festive looking with their red and white colors and the white chocolate and sprinkles add that special little touch. They look really pretty stacked in a clear cellophane bag tied with Christmas ribbons.

White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies
Better Homes and Gardens

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped (we always use white chocolate chips)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 drops red food coloring (optional)
2 teaspoons shortening
White nonpareils and/or red edible glitter (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
5. In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 60.
6. To Store: Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months

Posted by: Sallie & Julia

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Tettrazini Pasta

Another great way to disguise those turkey leftovers---pasta. A light creamy, sauce, delicious pasta and veggies too. If you don't have any turkey leftovers this is great with chicken too.

Turkey Tetrazzini Pasta
Cooks's Country

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces white mushrooms , sliced thin
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves , minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dry sherry (I use cooking sherry or just leave it out)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound spaghetti
3 cups cooked turkey meat , cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups frozen peas , thawed
1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in cream and sherry and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in Parmesan. Cover and keep warm.
2. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, drain pasta, and return to pot. Add mushroom sauce, turkey, and peas, and ½ cup reserved pasta water to pot and toss to combine, adding additional reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt . Serves 4.
Posted by: Sallie
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crispy Turkey Tostadas

Before we head into the yummy Christmas treats I wanted to post a few ways to use up those turkey leftovers. Let's face it, there's only so many turkey sandwiches you can eat. There are so many different ways to use up your turkey and make it taste like a brand new meal. Plus you have the bonus of the meat already being prepared so it makes for a simple meal.

Crispy Turkey Tostadas
Eating Well

1 can(s) (14-ounce) petite diced tomatoes, preferably with jalapenos
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cup(s) shredded cooked turkey or chicken, 12 ounces; see Tip
8 corn tortillas
Canola or olive oil cooking spray
1 avocado, pitted
1/4 cup(s) prepared salsa
2 tablespoon(s) regular or reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup(s) shredded romaine lettuce
1/2 cup(s) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees.
Bring tomatoes and their juice to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Add turkey (or chicken) and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray. Divide the tortillas between 2 large baking sheets. Bake, turning once, until crisped and lightly brown, about 10 minutes.
Mash avocado in a bowl. Stir in salsa, sour cream and cilantro until combined.
To assemble tostadas, spread each crisped tortilla with some of the avocado mixture. Top with the turkey (or chicken) mixture, lettuce and cheese.

Posted by: Sallie
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Roasted Pumpkin Soup With Cider Cream

This will be our last post for our Thanksgiving Countdown. We hope you've enjoyed all the recipes as much as we have. Have a great time preparing all of your delicious Thanksgiving food and most important of all spending time with the ones you love. I'd love to hear some of your traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas foods. Happy Thanksgiving.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup With Cider Cream
Williams Sonoma
4 baking pumpkins or kabocha squash, each about 2 lb., quartered and seeded
Olive oil as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
6 shallots, thickly sliced
2 celery stalks, thickly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
12 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup apple cider, reduced to 2 Tbs. and cooled
Directions:Position 1 rack in the upper third of an oven and 1 rack in the lower third, and preheat to 425°F.
Divide the pumpkins among 2 baking sheets. Drizzle the pumpkins with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkins, cut side down, on the baking sheets. Roast, turning the pumpkins occasionally, until they are tender and beginning to brown, about 45 minutes; rotate the baking sheets halfway through the roasting time. Let the pumpkins cool, then scoop the flesh into a bowl.
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the carrots, shallots, celery, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, nutmeg and sage and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add the pumpkin flesh and broth, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
In a bowl, whisk the cream until slightly thickened. Whisk in the reduced apple cider until blended. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and drizzle with the cider cream. Serve immediately. Serves 12 to 14.
Posted by: Sallie & Julia
Up next week? Some fabulous cookies and neighbor gifts!
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Butternut Squash Soup

Soups are another fun way to start off your Thanksgiving meal. You could easily make the soups the day before, then reheat the day of Thanksgiving. Here is one of our favorites.

Butternut Squash Soup
Williams Sonoma


1 Tbs. olive oil

5 oz. pancetta, cut into small dice

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 sprig fresh sage leaves

3 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

32 oz. butternut squash puree (recipe follows)

1 1/2 Tbs. Marsala wine

Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

1/4 cup heavy cream Lightly whipped cream for garnish

1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

Directions:In a stockpot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel lined plate; reserve the oil in the pot.
Add the onion and sugar to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and slightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sage sprig and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth and squash puree and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the sage sprig and discard. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Add the Marsala and season with salt and white pepper. Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth, then whisk in the cream. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Garnish with the pancetta, a dollop of whipped cream and hazelnuts. Serves 6.

Butternut Squash Puree:


1 butternut squash, 2 1/2 to 3 lb.

Directions:Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Cut the squash in half through the stem end and place, cut sides down, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until easily pierced with a knife, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and fibers and discard. Spoon the flesh into a bowl and keep warm.
Using a potato masher, mash the squash until smooth. Alternately, process the squash in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulsing several times until smooth, about 1 minute.
Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Mama's Stuffed Mushrooms

This is a recipe that is loved by both of our families. We have a fun little family Christmas tradition. When we get together for the holidays we always plan one dinner where every person or couple makes a recipe that they really like. It can be anything from appetizer, side dish, main dish or even a dessert. Julia's husband Vince made them one year and they have been a family favorite ever since.
Mamma's Stuffed Mushrooms
from Eat This...It'll Make You Feel Better by Dom DeLuise
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
1 sweet Italian sausages
5 tbsp. flavored bread crumbs
1 tsp. grated cheese
1 tbsp. minced parsley
1 egg1 lb. mushrooms (whole)
chicken stock
Directions: In a frying pan, gently brown the minced garlic in the olive oil.Remove the sausage meat from the casing, crumble the meat into the pan, and brown that, too. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, and egg. Add the cooked sausage.Wash the mushrooms quickly, because they tend to absorb water. Remove the mushroom stems and save them for soup or mince them and put them back into the stuffing. Fill the caps nicely with the stuffing. Place them in a baking pan lined with foil. Add a little chicken stock to the bottom of the pan (6-10 tbsp.), just to give them moisture.Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. If the mushrooms are small, maybe 15 minutes will do. Serve them hot! Serves 4-6.
Posted by: Sallie and Julia
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blue Cheese-Stuffed Endive

As if there isn't enough food on Thanksgiving I'm going to share a few appetizers with you. I do like to have them, especially on holidays because I don't know about you, but it seems like Thanksgiving morning I eat a small breakfast, skip lunch and then when I'm at the point of fainting, have a few appetizers and then stuff myself until I burst at dinner. If you're like us, you don't eat until later in the afternoon and it's nice to have a little something to nibble on while you're waiting for the big feast.

One problem I've come across is oven space. It seems like I'm cramming as much as possible into my one oven and there's no room left for appetizers. Some solutions --

1-Use your microwave or crock pot. This artichoke dip can be made as directed and then instead of putting it in the oven, warm it on low in the crock pot or just heat until warm in the microwave.

Meatballs are another great crock pot appetizer.

2-If you are hosting, cook your turkey early and assign out side dishes that will use your oven, thus freeing it for you to make some last minute appetizers OR assign out the appetizers.

3- Make cold appetizers that don't require an oven. Cheese balls with crackers, chips, veggies and dip, antipasto platters or fresh fruit platters are all great choices.

This recipe comes from a Better Homes and Gardens Holiday magazine. It can be made up to 4 hours in advance. The original recipe called for plain Hazelnuts but I really like the contrast of sweet and savory from the candied pecans. If you can't find or don't want to buy Endive leaves you can use a small baguette of bread and just spread the mixture on top of each slice.

Blue Cheese-Stuffed Endive

slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

1 8 oz. tub regular or light cream cheese

1/2 cup (2 oz.) crumbled blue cheese

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions or fresh chives

2 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and crumbled

2 tbsp. candied pecans or walnuts OR toasted hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts

36 Belgian Endive leaves (about 3 heads) or small baguettes, sliced

1. In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, blue cheese, green onions, bacon and nuts.

2. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the mixture. into the cup of each Belgian endive leaf.

*To make ahead: prepare as directed in step 1. Cover and chill for up to 4 hours. Continue as directed in step 2.

Posted by: Sallie
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Apple Cider Punch

This is another fun drink to serve around the holidays. I like to use the cranberry juice for the pretty red color. It has so many great flavorsThis is a great drink for Christmas or Christmas Eve.
Apple Cider Punch
Better Homes and Gardens
6 cups apple cider
2 cups orange juice, cranberry-raspberry juice, or orange-mango juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 1/4 cups sparkling white grape juice
1. In punch bowl, large pitcher, or pitchers combine apple cider, orange juice, and lemon juice. Slowly add sparkling white grape juice or sparkling wine. Serve immediately.
Posted by: Sallie
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Snickers Bar Pie

One more delicious pie for all of my fellow chocolate lovers. Again this pie comes from the Recipe Girl. If you haven't checked out her site, you need to. Doesn't she take the most gorgeous pictures? She has tons of yummy recipes and even a Weight Watchers section for those wanting to lighten things up. This pie, however, is not one of those things.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup chunky or creamy peanut butter
3 regular-sized Snickers candy bars, chopped
16 ounces Cool Whip, thawed (or about 8 cups of stiffly whipped, sweetened cream)
Two prepared graham cracker pie crusts or chocolate cookie pie crusts
chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, chopped snickers and chopped peanuts for garnish
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese sugar and peanut butter until creamy.
2. Stir in chopped candy bars.
3. Gently fold in the whipped cream just until mixed.
4. Divide between the two crusts. Drizzle chocolate and caramel syrup on top and sprinkle with chopped peanuts and additional chopped snickers. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Yield: 2 pies
Cooking Tips:*For the pie pictured, the crust was made out of Chocolate Teddy Grahams. 2 cups of ground Teddy Grahams, 1 stick of melted butter & 2 Tbsp. sugar, mixed together and pressed into a pie plate. Baked at 350 F. for 7 minutes, and cooled before adding filling.
Posted by: Sallie
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Butterfinger Pie

I know a lot of people enjoy fruit pies this time of year but I always like variety, and by variety I mean THERE MUST BE CHOCOLATE. This pie is so good. It's got creamy, crunchy, chocolatey, butterfingery, goodness, in every bite. Go raid your kid's Halloween candy and make yourself some of this delicious pie.
14 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos)
4 Tbs butter, melted
23 fun-size butterfinger candy bars (or 15 ounces of butterfingers), divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1. Prepare crust: Preheat oven to 375° F. In a food processor, process the cookies into fine crumbs. Add melted butter to crumbs and continue to process until well blended. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie pan and press evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for 8 minutes. The crust will puff up and shrink slightly. Use the flat bottom of a drinking glass to gently press down on the crust. Cool completely.
2. Prepare filling: In a food processor, process 20 of the butterfinger bars into fine crumbs. Divide the crumbs into two 1/2 cup portions and one 1 cup portion; set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and milk. Slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Beat egg yolks in a small bowl. Whisk in hot milk mixture 1 Tablespoon at a time until eggs are tempered (slowly warmed up). Then add eggs to remaining milk in the pan, bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture is thick. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter. Scoop out 1 cup of the peanut butter mixture and put it in a medium bowl; cover and set aside. Add chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the butterfinger crumbs to the remaining peanut butter mixture in the saucepan. Stir until chips are melted. Pour this mixture into the cooled crust. Refrigerate while you’re preparing the next layer.
4. Prepare peanut butter layer: Whip 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Scoop into the bowl with the reserved peanut butter filling and fold together with 1/2 cup of butterfinger crumbs too. Remove pie from refrigerator and mound peanut butter mixture evenly over chocolate layer and spread to the edges.
5. Prepare the topping: Whip the 2 cups of heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in remaining 1 cup of butterfinger crumbs. Spoon over the top of the pie, mounding slightly in the center. Chop the remaining 3 fun-sized candy bars and sprinkle over the top of the pie.
6. Cover loosely and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cooking Tips*If you don’t have a food processor, throw cookies in a zip bag and smash it. Candy bars too.**In step 3, if you add the eggs to the pan before they’re warmed up properly, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. Warm them up slowly by adding the milk mixture a little at a time until they’re quite warm.
Posted by: Sallie
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Luscious Slush Punch

This is another punch I like to serve for large crowds. I just love how pretty it looks with the floating fruits. Start with the smallest amount of sugar called for and add from there.
Luscious Slush Punch
All recipes
1 1/2 cups- 2 1/2 cups white sugar
6 cups water
2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored gelatin mix
1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 quart orange juice
2 (2 liter) bottles lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
Assorted fruits for garnish, optional
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin. Boil for 3 minutes. Stir in pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Divide mixture in half, and freeze in 2 separate containers.
When ready to serve, place the frozen contents of one container in a punch bowl, and stir in 1 bottle of lemon-lime soda until slushy. Makes 25 8 oz servings.
Posted by: Sallie
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Raspberry Lime Rickey

Lime Rickey's are a favorite of mine and this version is so yummy. It's perfect for summer bbq's and lazy days by the pool but it would also be a great drink to serve around the holidays just because of it's festive colors.
Raspberry Lime Rickey
Cooks Country
3 cups frozen raspberries ( 12 oz. package) or fresh raspberries
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons grated zest and 1/2 cup juice from 4 limes
Seltzer or club soda chilled
Optional Limes and Maraschino cherries for garnish
1. MAKE SYRUP Heat raspberries, sugar, and water in saucepan over medium heat until raspberries begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Mash with potato masher until berries break down, then stir in lime zest and juice. Simmer until mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
2. STRAIN AND SERVE Pour raspberry mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid (you should have about 2 1/2 cups). Discard berry solids. Refrigerate syrup until completely cool, at least 30 minutes or up to 1 week. To serve, combine 3/4 cup seltzer and 2 tablespoons syrup in tall, ice-filled glass. Makes 20 drinks.
Posted by: Sallie
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Pomegranate Frost

This is such a pretty drink to serve at parties. You can freeze pomegranate seeds with water in ice cube trays to float in the punch bowl or individual glasses.

Pomegranate Frost

Williams Sonoma

Ice cubes as needed
1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 bottle (24 fl. oz.) sparkling water
8 fresh mint leaves, finely shredded
Fill a pitcher half full with ice. Add the pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, lemon juice, lime juice, 1 1/2 cups of the sparkling water and the mint and stir until well mixed. Fill 6 tall glasses with ice. Pour the mixture into the glasses and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Posted by: Sallie
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Pina Colada Frappe

This is a recipe my friend Andrea made at a party last year. It goes great with Mexican Food!

Pina Colada Frappe
Andrea Wittwer

1/2 gallon Pineapple Sherbet
1 can Coco Lopez coconut milk syrup (cream of coconut)
2 2 liter bottles sprite

Mix coconut milk syrup in blender until smooth. Put sherbet into punch bowl and cut into pieces. Add coconut milk syrup and sprite. Serve.

Posted by: Sallie
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Chilled Christmas Punch

This is another fun drink for fall get togethers.

Chilled Christmas Punch
Taste of Home
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can (46 ounces) pineapple juice, chilled
4 cups cran-apple juice, chilled
1 liter ginger ale, chilled
Cinnamon sticks for garnish, if desired

In a large saucepan, bring the water, sugar and cinnamon to a boil; stir until sugar is dissolved. Chill. Just before serving, combine the syrup mixture, juices and ginger ale in a punch bowl or large pitcher. Serve over ice. Yield: 3-3/4 quarts (15-20 servings).

Posted by: Sallie

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Apple Dapple Punch

This is another great drink for any Fall celebration or Family get together. It looks so festive with the sliced apples floating on top.

32 oz. bottle Apple Juice, Chilled
12 oz. frozen Cranberry Juice Cocktail Concentrate,thawed
1 cup Orange Juice
1 1/2 liters Ginger Ale, chilled
Optional - sliced apples for garnish

Combine apple juice, cranberry juice, and orange juice in large punch bowl; stir until dissolved. Slowly pour in ginger ale. Float apple slices on top of punch. Makes 12 servings.

Posted by: Sallie
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Cranberry Slush

This is a delicious punch that would be perfect for the holidays. If you are serving individual drinks it looks really pretty if make a garnish for each glass. All you need is wooden skewers, fresh cranberries, and orange and lime slices. On each wooden skewer place one cranberry close to the top, then a thin triangle shaped wedge of lime, a thin triange shaped wedge of orange, and top with another cranberry (as shown above. This is just water, not the punch). If you're serving a big group you can place frozen grapes, strawberries and raspberries, that act like ice cubes, right in the punch. You could also float sliced oranges, limes and marichino cherries.

Cranberry Slush

Gooseberry Patch Family Favorite Recipes

3/4 cup sugar

8 cups water, divided

2 cups white grape juice

12 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate

12 oz. can frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate
6 oz. can frozen lime aide concentrate
2 liter bottle lemon-lime soda, chilled
Optional Garnishes- fresh cranberries, orange and lime slices
Combine sugar and 2 cups water in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add grape juice, next 3 ingredients and remaining 6 cups water. Pour into 2 (one-gallon size) heavy duty plastic Ziploc bags; freeze until solid. To serve, place frozen mixture into a punch bowl; pour chilled lemon-lime soda over mixture. Stir to break up chunks until mixture is slushy. Garnish each serving, if desired. Makes 23 1/2 cups.
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Festive Punch Ring

I just found the cutest idea that I am going to use for Christmas Eve. It's called a Festive Punch Ring. It is super easy and will take your Holiday beverages from average to awesome! You could easily alter this to fit any holiday by varying the items you freeze. Cranberries would still be beautiful for Thanksgiving and you could just omit the mint. You could even add some pretty sliced oranges to make it more Fall looking.

Festive Punch Ring
1 large freezer-safe Bundt pan or ring mold
1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh Cranberries
Fresh mint leaves, if desired
Water or Oceanspray White Cranberry Juice

Rinse cranberries in cold water. Drain.
Fill pan 1/2-inch to 1-inch deep with water. Place on even surface in freezer and freeze until solid. Remove pan from freezer. Add an additional 1/4-inch water over the ice surface. Arrange cranberries and mint leaves into desired pattern then return pan to freezer. Once set, add an additional 1/2-inch to 1-inch of water and freeze until solid. To unmold, run briefly under warm water to loosen. Float in punch bowl with desired party punch.
*Cranberries float, so if you add all the water at once, the cranberries will float to the surface. When you unmold the frozen ring, the decoration will be on the bottom of the ring. *
Posted by:Sallie
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Apple-Orange Cranberry Sauce

Quite awhile ago my family was visiting and we decided to roast a turkey for dinner. Of course we had all the fixings like potatoes, gravy, rolls, etc. and my sister said "we've gotta have cranberry sauce." Up until then I had polity passed this by every Thanksgiving and Christmas, thinking how can people be eating that stuff? I love cranberries, but it just never looked too appealing. But Williams Sonoma has never steered me wrong and I decided I just had to have a taste of the sauce my sister made. One bite and I was hooked! I think I ate turkey sandwiches on rolls with cranberry sauce the whole next week for lunch. It's got kind of a sweet/sour thing going on. I love the combination of all the different flavors-- the tart cranberries and apples, the brightness from the orange rind and last but not least the great spices of cinnamon and cloves. This is a tried and true recipe that will be appearing on my holiday table from now on!

Apple-Orange Cranberry Sauce
Williams Sonoma

1/2 orange
2 cups water
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, pippin or McIntosh
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Squeeze the juice from the orange and set the juice aside. Remove and discard the membrane from inside the orange rind and cut the rind into small dice. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the rind and the water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside. Peel, core and quarter the apple. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and place in a saucepan. Sort the cranberries, discarding any soft ones. Add to the apples along with the orange juice, orange rind, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a sauce boat and pass at the table.
Makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is another great make ahead recipe for Thanksgiving. In fact, I think most cheesecakes taste better after getting really cold in the fridge. If you want to change up the traditional pumpkin pie, this is a great way to do it while still keeping some pumpkin flavor. Even a lot of people that don't like pumpkin pie, like this cheesecake. This one is really good! For a yummy change of flavor you can use gingersnap cookies in place of the graham crackers for the crust.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Martha Stewart


1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs (from 10 whole crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

4 packages (8 ounces each) bar cream cheese, very soft
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.
Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overmix). Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.
Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).
Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold before serving. Serves 12.

*Tips and Tricks- A few things that are important when making cheesecake:

1-Let the cream cheese get really soft. If not, you'll have lumps that won't go away.

2- Be careful not to overmix the cream cheese once you add the flour. This will cause cracking.

3-Don't open oven while cooking or cooling.

Happy Baking!

Posted by: Sallie

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Green Bean Casserole

My sister makes a great Green Bean Casserole (found here) with fresh green beans, and crunchy water chestnuts but of course I always like to mix it up and I found another green bean casserole I love that is absolutely delicious. Not surprisingly, it comes from Cook's Illustrated. Instead of the usual cream of mushroom soup, you make a roux using chicken broth, flour and heavy cream. I also love that they added bread crumbs to maximize the crunch and flavor on top. This recipe can also be made ahead.

Classic Green Bean Casserole
Cooks Illustrated

4 slices white sandwich bread , each slice torn into quarters
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups canned fried onions (about 6 ounces)

Beans and Sauce
Table salt
2 pounds green beans , ends trimmed, and halved
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound white button mushrooms , stems trimmed, wiped clean, and broken into 1/2-inch pieces
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
Ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Pulse bread, butter, salt, and pepper in food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer to large bowl and toss with onions; set aside.
2. FOR THE BEANS AND SAUCE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Fill large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add 2 tablespoons salt and beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain beans in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Spread beans on paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
3. Add butter to now-empty Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3-quart (or 13 by 9-inch) baking dish. Sprinkle with topping and bake until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling around edges, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 10-12.

**This casserole can be prepared ahead of time. Store the bread-crumb topping in an airtight container in the refrigerator and combine with the onions just before cooking. Combine the beans and cooled sauce in a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To serve, remove the plastic wrap and heat the casserole in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake as directed. This recipe can be halved and baked in a 2-quart (or 8-inch-square) baking dish. If making a half batch, reduce the cooking time of the sauce in step 3 to about 6 minutes (1 3/4 cups) and the baking time in step 4 to 10 minutes. **

Posted by: Sallie

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday Corn With Bacon & Fresh Herbs

Around Thanksgiving time last year a group at church put together a little fall cookbook. This was one of the recipes in it and I made it last year for Thanksgiving. It was another big hit. I love it because it's a great way to dress up a simple vegetable and make it extra special for the holidays. Make sure you get a high quality frozen corn as it makes a big difference. Sorry, no picture on this one.

Holiday Corn with Bacon and Fresh Herbs
Christy Miller

6 slices bacon, drippings reserved
1/2 cup chopped onion (yellow or white)
2 tbsp flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup sour cream
3 1/2 cups whole kernel frozen corn
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives (garnish, optional)

Directions:In a skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Drain grease and save 2 tbsp drippings. Crumble the bacon and set aside. In your skillet with the reserved drippings, saute onions until tender, add flour, garlic and salt/pepper. Cook and stir until bubbly, then cook and stir one minute more. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream .Add corn, parsley and 1/2 the bacon, mix and pour into a 1 quart baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining bacon. Bake uncovered at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Serve with chives as a garnish.

Can be doubled & made in a 9 x 13 pan.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Dixie Fruit Salad

This is another side dish that comes from Duane's wonderful Grandma. I've had fruit salad like this before but she's the one who introduced me to the pomegrante version. I love the combination of the tart crunchy pomegranates, the sweet, crisp apples, sliced bananas, and of course the whipped cream. It makes such a difference here if you use real whipped cream instead of cool whip. It takes the salad from okay to delicious! If you like nuts, try adding some chopped pecans. This is a really simple fruit salad that you can tweek to your tastes. My daughter LOVES this salad so when I can't find pomegranates I use grapes. This salad is best eaten right after it is made.

Dixie Fruit Salad
Lorraine Sullivan

2 apples, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces

2 bananas, peeled and sliced

seeds from 1 pomegranate

whipped cream 1-2 cups depending on how creamy you like it

After slicing all fruit, combine in medium bowl. Fold in whipped cream. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sweet Potato Bake

This week we are going to feature some yummy side dishes you can add to your Thanksgiving Dinner. These are also things you might have someone bring if you're feeding a lot of people and just need some extra food to go along with the turkey. I might have mentioned that up until a year ago I had never even tried a sweet potato. Something about the slimy, little orange things floating in a marshmallow sauce never appealed to me. All of that changed when my sister's Mother in Law had a sweet potato souffle from Honey Baked Ham at her house for Christmas. Once I tasted it, all the other food was forgotten. That's how good it was. I think I must have had 3 or 4 helpings. Of course I vowed never to let another holiday pass without this delicious dish on my table. Good Old Paula Deen to the rescue! This is just so yummy it could really pass for a dessert and the crunchy topping is the best! It's super easy and bakes in only 30 minutes.

Sweet Potato Bake
Paula Deen

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup heavy cream (can use half and half or whole milk but cream is the best)


1 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (pecans are excellent too)
Mix together with fork; sprinkle over top of casserole.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all ingredients together except for cream. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add cream;mix well. Pour into greased casserole dish ( 1 1/2 quarts). Add topping. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brown Bag Apple Pie

When it comes to apple pie this is probably my favorite. I love the crunchy, brown sugar, crisp -like topping on apple pies. If I do make a two crust apple pie though, this is the recipe I like to use. The crust is so yummy and a little crunchy. There's more sugar in this dough than a normal pie crust and it tastes almost like a crunchy little sugar cookie. It pairs really well with the tart granny smith apples.If you prefer a less tart apple you could try Bra burn, Pink Lady, or Fuji. Jonagolds are also a great sweet/tart choice. I like to sprinkle a cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the crust for an extra special touch. This pie, just like the name states, does cook in a brown paper bag. It's so great because you don't have to worry about the crust burning and it just gives the pie a wonderful flavor. If you would rather do a crumb topping just mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup butter until crumb like and sprinkle on top before baking. Excuse my picture. My family just couldn't wait to devour it and ate it straight from the oven, hence the falling apart pie.

Brown Bag Apple Pie
Food Network

*Plan ahead. The crust needs to chill overnight*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into pieces
1/3 cup ice water
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Equipment: 9-inch aluminum pie pan, 1 medium-sized brown paper bag
Make the Crust: In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until pea-sized pieces appear. Add the water and pulse briefly—it will still look crumbly. Transfer the crumbs to 2 pieces of parchment paper or foil and form into 2 disks. Wrap the discs with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out 1 disk to a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Keep rolling until the circle is at least 2 inches larger than your pan. Line the pie pan with the dough, letting the edge hang over a bit. Roll the second disk, place it on a sheet pan and chill it until you're ready to build your pie.
Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, toss the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg together. Transfer to the pie shell and dot with the butter. Brush the overhanging edges of the dough with water. Carefully cover with the rolled-out top crust and pinch the edges together, turning them under all around to make a thick edge. To decorate the rim, press it all around with the back of a fork, or just pinch it to seal. With a scissors, cut a few V-vents in the center.
Slide the pie into the brown paper bag and fold the top down. Staple bag shut and place it on a sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour.
Remove the pie from the oven and cut a large circle in top of the bag. Return to the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
Let the pie cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Posted by: Sallie
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Rich Chocolate Pecan Pie

I decided to use this as my next pie recipe because it was such a hit last year when I brought it to Thanksgiving Dinner at my in-laws house. Even if you don't like traditional pecan pie you should give it a try. With the flaky crust, warm chocolate chips, and crunchy pecans it's almost like eating a chocolate chip cookie with lots of nuts. Very rich and decadent. I like it best served slightly warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. A word of caution, the crust does brown very quickly so I would check the pie after about 15 minutes and then cover with foil if browning too quickly.

Emeril's Rich Chocolate Pecan Pie
Food Network

1 1/2 cups pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
Caramel Sauce, for garnish, recipe follows (or store bought caramel sauce)
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Vanilla Ice Cream for serving, if desired

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread the pecan pieces and the chocolate chips evenly on the bottom of the pie shell.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together. Pour the filling over the pecans. Bake until the filling sets, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Cut into individual servings and serve with a drizzle of Caramel Sauce and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Caramel Sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup whole milk

Combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a medium heavy saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Let boil without stirring until the mixture becomes a deep amber color, 2 to 3 minutes, watching closely so it doesn't burn. Add the cream (be careful; it will bubble up), whisk to combine, and remove from the heat.
Add 2 tablespoons of the milk, then add up to 2 more tablespoons, until the desired consistency is reached. Let cool until just warm before serving. (The sauce will thicken as it cools.)

Posted by: Sallie
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Day 5- The Pie

I really struggled with what pie recipe to post today. I have so many favorites it was hard to choose. After going back and forth, I finally decided on this good old-fashioned pumpkin pie. I know, I know so unoriginal but this is a great recipe and if you've been using the pumpkin pie in a can you've got to try this. It's full of that great pumpkin flavor without being too overpowering and silky smooth. It uses a couple of interesting ingredients and techniques . First of all, the crust has Vodka in it. This is crucial for the texture of the crust and doesn't change the flavor at all. (I've included a second crust recipe if you are opposed to the Vodka.)Second, it uses pumpkin puree as well as Candied Yams. The other two things that seperate it from your average pumpkin pie are that you pre cook the filling on the stove before baking and strain it through a sieve, giving it the silky texture . I would make this at least a day in advance because it does require some chilling time. Never fear, if you're not a pumpkin pie fan, we will be posting several other pie recipes throughout the weekend and next week.

Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie
slighty adaped from Cook's Illustrated

Crust Ingredients
1 1/4 cups (61/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 tablespoon sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces

2 tablespoons cold vodka

2 tablespoons cold water

The Best Pie Dough
Cooks Illustrated
For a double-crust 8- or 9-inch pie.
When rolling out the dough, roll to a thickness of about 1/8-inch thick (about the thickness of two quarters).
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
11 tablespoons unsalted butter , cold, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
7 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled
4 - 5 tablespoons ice water
1. Mix flour, salt and sugar in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with some flour. cut butter into flour with five 1-second pulses. Add shortening and continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no larger than small peas, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if dough will not come together. Shape dough into two balls with your hands, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten into 4-inch-wide disks. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.
Filling Ingredients
1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

3 large eggs plus 2 large yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (if you can't find these regular canned yams will be fine)

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff, not pancake syrup!)

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon table salt

1. For the crust: Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 400°F. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
4. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
5. Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake 5 to 10 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove pie plate and baking sheet from oven.
6. For the filling: While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon,

nutmeg, and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.
7. Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Rewhisk mixture and transfer to warm prebaked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300°F and continue baking until edges of pie are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Day 4- The Rolls Recipe #2

Okay, here is the second and very delicious second roll recipe. A hybrid of a soft, fluffy American-style roll and a crusty European one could make for the ideal dinner roll. We wanted the best of both worlds without having to make any compromises. I would have to say that they accomplished their goal. The rolls turned out soft and tender , more chewy than fluffy and still had wonderful flavor. The pros to these rolls--they are really easy to make. Probably one of the easiest I've made. I would recommend these if you are a beginner. Another plus is that you can make and shape the rolls and then refrigerate until ready to bake. Cons- This recipe only makes 12 rolls so I would recommend doubling it. (I'm still partial to Duane's Grandma's Rolls or the Lion House Rolls but these are great!)With all these make ahead recipes, you might actually get to sit down on Thanksgiving!

Soft and Chewy Dinner Rolls
Cooks Country

Makes 12 rolls

1 1/4 cups water , heated to 110 degrees
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup instant potato flakes
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 egg , lightly beaten

1. WARM OVEN Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease large bowl.
2. MAKE DOUGH Whisk water, oil, sugar, and yeast in liquid measuring cup until yeast dissolves. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flour, potato flakes, and 1½ teaspoons salt until combined. With mixer on low, add water mixture in steady stream and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl, about 6 minutes.
3. LET RISE Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, cohesive ball. Transfer dough to prepared bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
4. SHAPE ROLLS Punch down dough on lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into quarters and cut each quarter into 3 equal pieces. On clean surface, form each piece into rough ball by pinching and pulling the edges under so that the top is smooth. Then cup each round with your palm and move in a circular motion on an unfloured surface to shape a smooth ball. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and return to turned-off oven until doubled in size, about 20 minutes. (Or refrigerate rolls for up to 24 hours.)
5. BRUSH AND BAKE Remove rolls from oven and discard plastic wrap. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush rolls with egg and sprinkle evenly with ½ teaspoon salt. (I didn't salt mine.) Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through cooking. Cool rolls on sheet 10 minutes. Serve.

***MAKE AHEAD: Bake as directed until rolls are just beginning to brown and outside is set, about 5 minutes. Cool completely and freeze in zipper-lock bag. When ready to reheat, defrost at room temperature for about 1 hour and bake 10 minutes in 400-degree oven.***

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 4- The Rolls!

As far as Thanksgiving goes I have to admit that besides the desserts of course, I think the rolls might be my favorite part of the dinner. I especially love the leftover sandwiches the next day. Yum! I was all set to post my husband's Grandma's roll recipe but my Cook's Country Magazine arrived awhile ago with a new roll recipe that I couldn't resist trying it. So, lucky for you, I will be posting not one but two roll recipes today. I'll let you decide which to make.

Roll #1- Grandma's Rolls

The first time I was invited to Thanksgiving Dinner at Duane's Grandparents house, before we were even married, the first thing my husband said was " My Grandma makes the BEST rolls!" I couldn't wait to try them and as promised they were amazing. Of course after we were married I got the recipe and have now been making them on my own. The pros to these rolls are they make a ton! The original recipe calls for 18 cups of flour, but I usually cut it into thirds which is the recipe I have below. They are more on dense side, but still very soft and tender inside with a buttery flavor. I think they make the best sandwiches the next day! The downside to these rolls is they call for a triple rise so they really take most of the day. However, that being said, you can bake them for 15 minutes, then freeze them and finish baking for 15 minutes the next day. (I always just make them and bake them the same day so unfortunately I can't vouch for this method. I will let you know as soon as I try it. Duane's Grandma said she didn't think you had to defrost them but couldn't remember .) I hope I didn't discourage you from making these because they are amazing!

P. S. Sorry, no picture on this yet. Between traveling and sick kids it just didn't happen. Hopefully next week.

Grandma' s Rolls
Lorraine Sullivan

2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c plus 1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup melted shortening, regular or butter flavored
6 cups flour, sifted
1 heaping tsp. salt

In large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 cup warm water. Add eggs, remaining 1 1/2 cups water, and melted shortening. Mix; let rise until double in bulk . Punch down. Rise again. Roll (I like to do mine Parker House style which is the way Duane's Grandma always does it) and let rise again. Bake in 375 degree oven until just set and starting to turn color about 15 minutes. Let cool. Freeze, then when ready to finish bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. I usually skip this step and just bake them in a 375 degree oven until golden brown. When rolls come out of the oven take a stick of butter and rub all over top of rolls.

Posted by: Sallie
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 3- The Potatoes

What would Thanksgiving be without mashed potatoes? I think my husband and kids would revolt! Around here we always have these, but if you prefer plain you can't go wrong with Pioneer Woman's Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes. The name says it all. You can mash them as little or as much as you like depending on how you like your potatoes. I recommend starting with the least amount of half and half called for and then adding more as needed. As if they weren't delicious enough, you can make them the day before and reheat the day of, how's that for delicious?

Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Pioneer Woman

5 lbs. Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 1/2 sticks (3/4) cup
1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2-3/4 cup half and half
1/2 to 1 tsp. Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1/2 to 1 tsp. black pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30-35 minutes. When they're cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost-but not totally fall apart.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot adn put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.
Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks butter, 1 8oz pkg cream cheese and about 1/2 cup of the half and half. Mash, mash, mash. Next, add about 1/2 tsp. of Lawry's Seasoning Salt and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper.
Stir well and place in a medium sized baking dish and to top it off with, you guess it, butter! Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350 degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through. (If making this dish in advance, take out of fridge about 2-3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350 degree oven 20-30 minutes until heated through.)

Note- I have made these when I have had other things cooking and reheated them in the microwave with good results.

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Thanksgiving Day 2 - The stuffing

We're very fortunate to have my husband's family close by so I've only actually had to do a full Thanksgiving myself once. I made this stuffing and now it is a tradition! It comes from Williams Sonoma and I just can't say enough about thier recipes. Everyone I've tried has been a winner.
If you're not a fan of sausage, just leave it out.
Bread and Sausage Stuffing
Williams Sonoma
1 loaf sourdough French bread, about 1 lb., cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, white and light green portions, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sausage, onion, leek, celery and sage and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the meat browns and is cooked through and the vegetables are translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in the bread cubes, parsley and half-and-half. Stir in the stock until the mixture is evenly moistened. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely before stuffing into the cavities of the turkey. Serves 8 to 10.
You can either use this savory mixture to stuff the turkey (see yesterday's recipe) and then spoon any extra stuffing into a buttered baking dish and bake it alongside the turkey during the last 40 minutes of roasting or just pile it all in a large baking dish. While the turkey rests, keep the stuffing in the oven to develop a golden brown crust.
Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thanksgiving Countown - Day 1 The Turkey!

Sorry I'm so slow in getting the post up. I hope everyone had a great weekend. I had a great time co-hosting a baby shower for Julia. It was fabulous and so fun to see her and her husband. She looks so cute! As soon as I get some pictures I'll try to post some.

I'm so excited to start sharing some of our Thanksgiving Favorites with you. First of all, let me warn you this is a LONG post. DO NOT GET OVERWHELMED! We are going to start with the basics this week and then move on to some fun extras next week. On the Menu for this week:

Buttermilked-Brined Turkey
Bread and Sausage Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Perfect Dinner Rolls

Let's get started shall we? This is one of those recipes you can do in steps and is actually not too hard. Also, I've included a couple different variations for cooking the turkey after the brining is done. Julia introduced me to this method about two years ago and I love it. It produces a very moist, flavorful turkey every time. Obviously you will need to plan ahead but the process is pretty simple and well worth the end results! I've included the basic version for cooking the turkey after the brining is finished or a delicious sage/butter version that we did a couple years ago.

*Soaking the turkey in a saltwater brine produces tender, juicy meat. In this recipe the brine mixture also includes buttermilk, which adds flavor to the turkey and helps keep the meat moist.*

Buttermilk-Brined Turkey
Williams Sonoma

1 1/2 cups turkey brine (either made or purchased. see bottom of recipe for brine options)
1 quart water
4 quarts buttermilk
1 fresh turkey, 16 to 18 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed (reserved, if desired)
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the turkey brine and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until the brine dissolves, 5 to 10 minutes. Let the brine mixture cool to room temperature. In a large pot, stir together the brine mixture and buttermilk.Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and place in a large brining bag. Carefully pour the buttermilk brine mixture into the bag. Seal the bag, pressing out the air, and place in a large stockpot or other container large enough to hold the turkey. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours, turning occasionally.

Basic Turkey Brine
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
1/4 Sugar
3 quarts water

Combine ingredients until just boiling and salt and sugar are dissolved. Let cool before adding to turkey.


Maple Brine (great for the holidays)
3 cups Water
1 1/2 cups maple syrup
1 tbsp. Molasses
1 tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice
2 Bay Leaves
1 tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 tbsp. onion juice
10 Whole Peppercorns
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. whole Mustard Seed

Combine ingredients until just boiling and salt is dissolved. Let cool before adding to turkey.

Directions for Basic Turkey (after brining)

Remove the turkey from the brine; discard the brine. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Rub the skin evenly with the butter. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. If the breast begins to cook too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. After about 2 hours of total roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 4 hours. Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serves 12 to 14.

Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter
Tyler Florence

12-14 lb. turkey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sage Butter, recipe follows


Remove the turkey from the brine; discard the brine. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and remove the top rack of the oven. Truss the turkey as desired using kitchen twine. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Cover the turkey with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Push the sage butter under the skin of the turkey, being careful not to puncture the skin.
Put the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan, and into the oven. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. The thigh juices will run clear when pricked with a knife, about 3 hours total (15 minutes per pound). If the legs or breast brown too quickly during roasting, cover them with foil.
*note- if you are using a larger turkey you will need to increase the time. Follow the 15 minutes per pound rule.*

Sage Butter:
2 sticks butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped sage
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients.

Stay tuned for some out of this world stuffing!

Posted by: Sallie & Julia
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Ultimate Pumpkin Bread

Okay, so here's my last pumpkin post for the week and it's a good one. I just spotted this on Barbara Bakes who got it from Streaming Gourmet. All I can say is look at the ingredients. 1 cup of butter, 3 cups of sugar how could this be bad? According to Barbara it tastes just like the Great Harvest Bread Co. Pumpkin Bread. Delish! I'm a chocolate girl so I decided to go that route this time but I also think it would be really good to do half chocolate chips and half nuts.
See you next week when we'll be starting our Thanksgiving Countdown!

Ultimate Pumpkin Bread
Barbara Bakes & Streaming Gourmet

Yields 2 Medium Loaves


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup butter, really soft, half melted really

3 large eggs

1 16 oz can of pure pumpkin

1/2 -1 cup mini chocolate chips or 1/2 cup pecans or 1/2 cup of each


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and spray two medium loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whisk attached, dump in the sugar. Take the butter and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, so that it is half melted. Dump it into the sugar. Add the eggs. Cream these three ingredients together on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and combine well.

4. In three batches, add the dry ingredients mix gently until each batch is just incorporated. Scrape the sides between each batch. Mix in chocolate chips.

5. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake side-by-side for about one hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean the top is golden.

Posted by: Sallie

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Magic Bars

Here's a new twist on an old favorite. I found these delicious pumpkin flavored Magic Bars on Picky Palate. Just like the delicious Magic Bars but with a fall twist. Jenny added cream cheese and pumpkin to make these perfect for Fall. She baked hers in a mini cheesecake pan but I doubled the recipe and used a 9x13 pan (see note at bottom). The one thing I changed was to use cinnamon graham crackers. Really yummy, give them a try!

Pumpkin Spice Magic Bars
adapted slightly from Picky Palate

1/4 Cup melted butter
3/4 Cup cinnamon flavored or regular graham cracker crumbs
2 oz softened cream cheese
3/4 Cup pumpkin puree, Libby’s
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Cup chocolate chips
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped cashews
3/4 Cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 Cup sweetened condensed milk
Caramel ice cream topping to drizzle (or make your own if you’d rather)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place melted butter and graham cracker crumbs into a bowl; mix to combine. Press into the bottom of mini cheesecake cups. Bake for 8 minutes then remove from oven.
2. In a bowl beat the pumpkin, softened cream cheese, sugar and cinnamon until smooth. Spoon evenly over each graham cracker crust, about 2 small spoonfuls. Next layer chocolate chips evenly over pumpkin layer following with cashews, coconut and condensed milk. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove and let cool. *Before bars completely cool, take a plastic knife and run around edges to loosen. It becomes very sticky and difficult to remove from the cups if you do not loosen.
3. Once cooled, carefully remove from cups and arrange onto serving tray. Drizzle with warm caramel and serve. 12 mini magic bars

*Note- To make these in a 9x13 pan (which is what I did) double the recipe. I cooked the crust for the same amount of time and the bars for just a few minutes longer. Just make sure the top is golden brown and you are good to go.

Posted by: Sallie
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Spiced Pumpkin Cookie Cakes

Sweet little pumpkin cookie cakes, sandwiched with orange cream cheese icing in the middle - autumnal whoopie pies. Think pumpkin gingerbread. I loved the bright flavor of the orange zest in the cream cheese icing. All of the recipes I've tried from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book seem to have unique touches that make them stand out from the crowd. (Like the toasted almonds in her lemon bars.) I didn't worry about using a pastry bag. Instead I just used a cookie scoop and used a frosting knife for the icing.. I also made mine slightly bigger than called for in the recipe.

Spiced Pumpkin Cookie Cakes
Sweet Melissa Baking Book

For the Cookie cakes:

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

8 tablespoons(1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup molasses

1 large egg

1 cup pumpkin puree fresh or canned

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup whole milk

Confectioners sugar for dusting

For the cream cheese filling:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

6 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup confections' sugar

3/4 freshly grated orange zest ( about 1/2 orange)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Before you start Position a rack int he center of your oven. preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the brown and white sugars on low speed to get rid of any lumps. Add the butter, and beat together until light and fluffy, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add the molasses and egg, and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the pumpkin puree and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture in the three batches, alternating with the milk. Mix well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Blend thoroughly, but do not over beat.

Using a pastry bag fitted with an Ateco #808 1/2 inch round pastry tip, pipe the dough into cookie cakes about 1 1/2 inch in diameter onto the prepared cookie Sheet. (Alternatively, drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls, onto the prepared cookie sheet or use a cookie scoop) Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of one of the cookies comes out clean.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

To make the Filling:In the bowl of and electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, orange zest, and vanilla. Start mixing on low speed and then continue on medium speed until just fluffy and smooth, 2-3 minutes. Do not over beat.

To complete the cookie cakes:Turn half of the cookie cakes upside down onto a freshly lined cookie sheet. Using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 inch round pastry tip( she uses Ateco #801) (or using a resealable plastic bag with a corner cut off or a knife), pipe or place about 1 teaspoon of filling onto each upside-down cookie cake. Place the remaining cookie cake halves(right side up) on top.Refrigerate briefly until set, 15-20 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.Keep the cookie cakes refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Posted by: Sallie

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