Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Up until a few years ago, I never liked cranberry sauce, and I think it’s because I only tried the kind in the can.

I finally decided to make my own and it was a game changer. I use apple cider in place of water, which adds a nice zing. The tarty-sweetness offsets the rich, heavy flavors of a holiday meal.

The recipe is easy. It needs to set up overnight in the fridge, so be sure to make it ahead. Depending on how many people you’re making it for, you may need to double the recipe. This makes enough for four.

Put a cup of apple cider, juice of one orange, and 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan on med-high heat. Once the sugar is melted, add the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, orange zest, and cranberries. Stir.

Uncovered, let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. Don’t be surprised when the cranberries pop and crackle.

img_4897

One the sauce is thickened, pour in a container, and let it completely cool before putting it in the fridge to set up overnight.

fullsizerender_17

This is a cranberry sauce I think everyone will enjoy!

What you’ll need:

1 lb. cranberries

1 cup apple cider

1/2 cup sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 orange, zested and juiced

Directions:

Put a cup of apple cider, juice of one orange, and 1/2 cup of sugar, in a saucepan on med-high heat. Once the sugar is melted, add the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, orange zest, and cranberries. Stir.

Uncovered, let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. Don’t be surprised when the cranberries pop and crackle.

One the sauce is thickened, pour in a container, and let it completely cool before putting it in the fridge to set up overnight.

 

Read Full Post »

What screams Thanksgiving more than dressing? Well, maybe the for the meat eaters, the turkey does, but for me, dressing is my Thanksgiving favorite.

Over the years, I’ve made it all kinds of different ways. I’ve done traditional cornbread dressing, added sausage, or added oysters, but traditional is my favorite. Last year I did a little twist to my recipe– I added sage to my buttermilk biscuits and crumbled them into my dressing. It turned out great!

Some people like their dressing dense, where you can cut it into squares. Me? I like it on the looser side, so instead of mashing all the ingredients together, I toss them with my hands, so the cornbread and biscuits are still (somewhat) cubed.

To get started with my recipe, you need to make a pan of cornbread (do not add sugar) and bake some biscuits (add three tablespoons of sage to the recipe). Do this a day before and let the breads stay out overnight. Also, set out 6 slices of a hearty white bread a day or two days before making the dressing.

Now, cube the breads, or crumble them, into big pieces and add them to a large bowl.

Chop the onions and celery and add to the bowl.

fullsizerender_10

Now, add all seasonings: sage, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then add two beaten eggs. You’ll notice below in the ingredients’ list, I use a lot of seasoning. Trust me on the amounts. You do not want bland dressing.

Add one box of vegetable stock. If you want, use stock from your turkey or you can make a homemade veggie stock. Do whatever you wish. Also, add I cup of half and half. I know it seems a little weird, but I promise, it helps with the texture and moisture.

Mix with your hands. If you want a more dense dressing mash it all together rather aggressively. If you want it looser, toss lightly.

Now, taste it just to make sure the seasonings are to your liking.

Put in a large casserole dish or baking tin (I like using those for cleanup purposes). You can make this a day ahead of time. If you do, be sure to take it out of the refrigerator, and let it come to room temperature. This will help you not overcook it because the center won’t be so cold when you put it in the oven.

fullsizerender_14

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Then, take off the foil and bake at 425 degrees for another 15 minutes.

design

What you’ll need:

One pan of cornbread

One recipe of biscuits (add 3 tablespoons of sage)

6 slices of hearty white bread

2 medium-to-large onions, chopped

8 stalks of celery, chopped

1/3 cup sage (in addition to what you put in the biscuits)

1/3 cup of onion powder

1/3 cup garlic powder

1/3 cup pepper

3 tablespoons salt

1 cup of half and half

1 box of vegetable stock

2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Make a pan of cornbread (do not add sugar) and bake some biscuits (add three tablespoons of sage to the recipe).  Do this a day before you make the dressing and let the breads stay out overnight.

Cube the breads, or crumble them, into large pieces and add them to a large bowl.

Chop the onions and celery and add to the bowl.

Add all seasonings: sage, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then add two beaten eggs.

Add one box of vegetable stock. If you want, use stock from your turkey or you can make a homemade veggie stock. Do whatever you wish. Also, add I cup of half and half.

Mix with your hands. If you want a more dense dressing mash it all together rather aggressively. If you want it looser, toss lightly.

Now, taste it just to make sure the seasonings are to your liking.

Put in a large casserole dish or baking tin (I like using those for cleanup purposes). You can make this a day ahead of time. If you do, be sure to take it out of the refrigerator, and let it come to room temperature. This will help you not overcook it because the center won’t be so cold when you put it in the oven.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Then, take off the foil and bake at 425 degrees for another 15 minutes.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Mac & Cheese…

Mac & Cheese…

Mac & Cheese…

I love Mac & Cheese!

It’s one of my favorite comfort foods. I don’t make it often, but once the holidays come around, it’s a given. I grew up having it at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and now, once the Hallmark Christmas movies begin (end of October), I start craving it.

Last weekend, Chris and I drove to Lake Willoughby and stayed in a cabin on the lake. I didn’t want to cook much while we were there, so I made ahead my mac and cheese along with my cornbread and biscuit dressing (recipe to come soon). It also gave me the opportunity to take pictures and get the recipe ready for this post… just in time for Thanksgiving.

I use four cheeses– sharp, extra sharp, monterey jack, and gouda. You can mix it up however you wish. Just make sure you have at least one or two creamy cheeses– like gouda and monterey jack. Fontina would also work. Growing up, we used Velveeta. Use whatever gets your taste buds going.

Here’s a big tip: Grate the cheese yourself. Don’t use already grated cheese; they have additives and preservatives that prevent them from melting as ooey-gooey as you want for mac and cheese.

 img_4621fullsizerender_1

Oky, now we have the cheese grated and ready, let’s get to the rest.

First, cook the pasta by the al-dente directions on the box. However, it’s best to cook 1-2 minutes less because the pasta will continue to cook while in the oven. Drain the pasta and put aside.

I used Mario Batali’s pasta. I like how big it is, which allows the cheese sauce to get inside the pasta.

img_4619

Now, on medium heat, make a roux by melting 6 tablespoons of butter and then slowly whisking in the ½ cup of flour. Continue to whisk for about 3-5 minutes until the roux is light brown. It should be a creamy texture. If not, add a little more butter.

fullsizerender_2

Keep the heat on medium to medium high and slowly add in the milk and continue to whisk. The milk should never boil. Whisk until it becomes a smooth, thick consistency— it should be able to coat the back of a spoon. This normally takes 10-15 minutes. Be patient and continue to whisk. Once it’s thick, add salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.

fullsizerender_5

Turn off the heat and then add all the grated cheese (you don’t want to leave it on the heat, because it would break the fats down and make your cheese sauce gritty). Keep stirring until all the cheese is melted.

fullsizerender_4

Once all the cheese is melted, add in your cooked pasta, stir, and pour into a pan.

Since we were traveling, I used a 9 x 13 tin pan. You can use a casserole dish of your choice.

fullsizerender_7

From this point, you can do one two things– cook it right away or put it in the fridge overnight. I almost always make it a day ahead. Having it chill out for a night sets it nicely and seems to thicken it up a bit. If you do this, be sure to take it out, and let it come to room temperature before baking it. This cuts down on cook time, which means you won’t overcook it.

Cook for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

I like a crunchy top on mine, so once it becomes bubbly hot and cooked through, I take it out, and add my topping.

To make the topping, melt butter, and combine with panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Mix together with your hands until the butter is well incorporated. Spread the mixture over the top of the mac and cheese and put back in the oven.

fullsizerender_19

Once it’s browned and crunchy on top, take it out, and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. Then, it’s time to dive in!!

img_4839

 

What you’ll need for the mac and cheese:

Approx. 1/2 lb. each of your favorite 4 cheeses– I used sharp cheddar, extra sharp, monterey jack, and gouda.

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup flour

4 cups of whole milk

Dash of nutmeg

1 Tablespoon salt

1 Tablespoon pepper

1 16-ounce box of pasta (You can use your choice of pasta, I used Tortiglioni)

What you’ll need for the crunchy topping:

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1-cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ stick  unsalted, melted butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grate all your cheeses.

Cook the pasta by the al-dente directions on the box. However, it’s best to cook 1-2 minutes less because the pasta will continue to cook while in the oven. Drain the pasta and put aside.

On medium heat, make a roux by melting 6 tablespoons of butter and then slowly whisking in the ½ cup of flour. Continue to whisk for about 3-5 minutes until the roux is light brown. It should be a creamy texture. If not, add a little more butter.

Keep the heat on medium to medium high and slowly add in the milk and continue to whisk. The milk should never boil. Whisk until it becomes a smooth, thick consistency— it should be able to coat the back of a spoon. This normally takes 10-15 minutes. Be patient and continue to whisk. Once it’s thick, add salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.

Turn off the heat and then add all the grated cheese (you don’t want to leave it on the heat, because it would break down the fats and make your cheese sauce gritty). Keep stirring until all the cheese is melted.

Once all the cheese is melted, add in your cooked pasta, stir, and pour into a pan.

From this point, you can do one two things– cook it right away or put it in the fridge overnight. I almost always make it a day ahead. Having it chill out for a night sets it nicely and seems to thicken it up a bit. If you do this, be sure to take it out, and let it come to room temperature before baking it. This cuts down on cook time, which means you won’t overcook it.

Cook for approx. 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

I like a crunchy top on mine, so once it becomes bubbly hot and cooked through, I take it out, and add my topping.

To make the topping, melt butter, and combine with panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Mix together with your hands until the butter is well incorporated. Spread the mixture over the top of the mac and cheese and put back in the oven and bake until browned and crunchy on top.

Let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before diving in!

Read Full Post »