Archive for the 'Thanksgiving' Category

Heart Attack Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse

Serves 8 to 10

Making something new for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is always problematic. Everyone seems to want what is traditional for those meals, whatever that tradition is for their family.
For instance, at my house, we always have to have herb stuffing baked inside the turkey. Now, you and I know that the turkey should just have aromatics in the cavity and the stuffing should be baked separately.
But, my family will not hear of that. To get around the problem of the stuffing needing to be heated up higher than the dark or white meat of the turkey, I make the stuffing at the last minute and stuff the turkey with hot stuffing the give the stuffing a head start.
But, again I digress.
Last year I baked a twice baked potato casserole that I saw Emeril make on TV and it was a big hit. In fact, my family asked me to make it again this year and it disappeared again.
This makes this dish a classic and a tradition at our house. It is one that we will most likely have for special dinners throughout the year. But not too often.
This is a very rich dish and tastes delicious. My family has nicknamed this dish: Heart Attack Twice Baked Potato Casserole because as you take a bite, your brain is telling you how great it is as you simultaneously hear your arteries closing up!
This is a great potato dish. Give it a try.

Recipe to follow.

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Square Cream Biscuits — down home taste, fast

Makes nine biscuits

There are lots of ways to make biscuits.  Usually they involve butter and/or vegetable shorting.  You then have to blend the flour and fats together to form “pea-sized” pieces.  While this is not hard, as with pie dough, it does not lend itself to consistency.
This recipe does not use any solid fat.  The fat comes from heavy cream.  And all you do is mix the dry ingredients and then gently fold in the cream until the mixture forms a rough ball.  Then mix on the counter and cut into biscuits and bake.
Simple, consistent and delicious.

Recipe follows.

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Thanksgiving Between Two Pieces of Toast

One sandwich

This isn’t a recipe as much as it’s an adventure. Many, many Thanksgivings ago, my sister, Lynn, made a sandwich on the Friday after Thanksgiving using dressing from the turkey on it.
This blew my mind. I had never thought of even trying such a thing. But, the saying in our house has always been, “You need to broaden your horizons. You have to try something before you say you don’t like it.”
I tried it, and I was hooked.
This is one of those sandwiches I look forward every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It just tastes delicious.

Recipe follows.

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Turkey Pot Pie

Serves 8 to 10

Any kind of pot pie is great comfort food to serve for dinner.  But during Thanksgiving or Christmas, we usually have leftover turkey and that calls for a turkey pot pie.  My family loves it.
When I first started making pot pies, it seemed like such a hard dish.  But the more I made it, the easier it got.  I have found that with a lot of recipes and there is a lesson in there: stick to it and if you make it enough, it will become almost second nature.
While a pot pie has a long list of ingredients, it is not hard.  Cook some cut up veggies, make a roux (butter and flour cooked together), add some stock, add some milk, add some frozen peas, and mix it all together.
I use pie crust for the topping but you can use biscuits if you wish.  Both are good. This recipe uses a unique method of keeping the pie crust from getting soggy and it works great.  So look for it in the instructions.
I also use a lot of meat in my pot pies.  Two pounds to be exact.  I just hate eating a pot pie where it seems like a turkey or chicken just walked through the gravy.
This recipe works well with barbecued boneless chicken breast, a rotisserie chicken for the grocery store, or leftover turkey meat.   Your choice.
So give this a try.  It is fast and delicious.

Recipe follows.

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Mom’s Apple Squares

Makes one 15 x 10-inch jellyroll pan of delicious apple squares.

When I was growing up, my mother (who is a great cook) used to cook for our family of six.  She had a recipe that made 14 dozen chocolate chip cookies.  And every time she made them they lasted two days!  But I digress.
This is another recipe from my childhood that my Mom made all the time.  However, this recipe has evolved over the years and I have made changes to it as I have learned about apples and pie making.
This is a great recipe because it is easy to do, it makes a lot, and it is a hit every time.  I use Granny Smith and Braeburn apples for the contrast between the two.  Granny Smiths hold up while cooking and the Braeburn tend to break down a bit.  If you cannot find Braeburn apples, then Fuji or Johnagold will work.
Also, I use a lot of dough in this recipe. I make two recipes of the Fail-Safe, Double-Crust Pie Dough found here.  I just cannot seem to roll out dough made from 1-1/2 cups of flour and make it fit in the 10×15 x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Besides, I love pie crust.
One unique thing about this recipe is the layer of crushed cornflakes on the bottom crust.  The cornflakes soak up and help thicken the juice that comes out of the apples.  This is what makes Apple Squares so cool. You cut out squares and you can hold the apple square in your hand to eat it. No plate needed.
Of course, I usually take a couple of squares and a little vanilla ice cream on a plate and dig in.  Delicious.
Note: Some in my family like the glaze and some do not. So to keep everyone happy, I glaze just half of the pan.

Recipe follows.

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You Should Brine Your Turkey

Brining is an important step in turkey preparation. It will keep it moist and adds flavor.
And, no it will not make it salty.  Just be sure to rinse your bird well after brining over night.
I am not going to explain all about bringing. You can get all the information you need at this link: Brining Turkey.  It is very well done.
I use a five-gallon bucket lined with a new garbage bag. I put the turkey in the bucket/bag, cover it with brine, and dump about four cups of ice in the bucket.  I keep the bucket out in my garage.
Of course, I live in Michigan and keeping the brine at 40 degree F or lower is not a problem in November.
If you do not live in a cold climate, use frozen blocks of ice in the bucket or put the bird and brine in a cooler and fill with ice. Replace the ice if needed.
Just keep the brine temperature below 40 degree F.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Orange Cranberry Sauce


Adapted from an Internet recipe downloaded years ago.
Serves 8 to 10

I really like cranberry sauce. Quite awhile ago, I went looking for the perfect cranberry sauce. After a couple of years of searching, I found it.
This one is cooked along with an orange and orange juice to balance off the cranberries.
This recipe calls for you to supreme an orange. This is taking all the skin off, taking the white pith with it, and cutting the orange sections out so you end up with just orange. Here is a great explanation and photos of the process here: Supreme an Orange.
I usually cook this sauce just a little bit longer after the cranberries have popped.
If you cook it much longer, you will release a lot of pectin and the sauce will be very jelly-like and stiff. That’s okay if you that’s what you want. It’s just not my cup of tea.
You should give this a try. It’s easy and delicious.

Recipe follows.

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