Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes : Cooking Channel

Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes : Cooking Channel.

Well, it never hurts to have a few things in mind when you are faced with a refrigerator full of leftover items and not sure what to do with any of it. Cooking Channel has assembled several great recipes here to give you some great ideas of things to do with turkey, your side dishes and even the leftover pie. Check it out!

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Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Holidays, Leftovers


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Last-Minute Thanksgiving Dishes | Williams-Sonoma Taste

Last-Minute Thanksgiving Dishes | Williams-Sonoma Taste.

More last minute Thanksgiving dish ideas from Williams-Sonoma to make use of things you may already have in the house but aren’t sure what to do with or you need that sudden dish to bring somewhere. Give a look and see what you can do. Check it out!

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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Holidays


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20 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Dishes to Save Your Holiday – Bon Appétit

20 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Dishes to Save Your Holiday – Bon Appétit.

Still aren’t sure what to do for some of your dishes for Thanksgiving? Bon Appetit has 20 last-minute ideas for you using things you likely already have around for the holiday. They can cover all your sides, the turkey and dessert for you. Check it out!

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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Holidays


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Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes – Photo Gallery | SAVEUR

Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes – Photo Gallery | SAVEUR.

If it’s getting down to the wire and you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, there is still time for you to get some ideas for quick and easy items for you to make. Saveur Magazine has put together 38 recipes for you to make things last minute that taste great. Check it out!

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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Holidays


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Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes – CHOW

Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes – CHOW.

CHOW has some wonderful ideas for your Thanksgiving Day dessert table. If you are looking to do something a little different than the usual pumpkin pie or apple pie, check out these suggestions and give one a try this year!

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Cakes, Cookies, Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dessert, Holidays, Pie


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One More Thanksgiving Side Dish – Stuffing with Mushrooms and Bacon

When I made the simple roast turkey the other day, I also wanted to make a very simple stuffing to go along with it. I wanted something that didn’t use a lot of ingredients and would use what I most often have on hand in the house so I could be sure to whip it up with ease. Luckily, in the same New York Times article that I found the turkey recipe I also came across this stuffing recipe and it was perfect for what I had on hand. Not a lot of fuss, ingredients or anything else. The only change I made to it myself to make things easier is that the recipes calls for leeks, which I did not have on hand. I substituted an onion instead, and I think the results were just fine.

Stuffing with Mushrooms and Bacon

3 tablespoons melted butter, plus more as needed for greasing the pan

1 1/2 pounds sliced white bread or corn bread

1/2 pound bacon

2 large leeks or onions, trimmed and sliced (3 cups)

1 1/2 pounds mushrooms (mixed variety or use what you have), cut into bite-size pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped sage

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 1/4 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed

1/4 cup apple cider, if using white bread

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Trim the crusts from the white bread and cut it into 1-inch cubes; if you are using corn bread, coarsely crumble it. Spread the bread pieces out on one or 2 large baking sheets. Toast in the oven, tossing occasionally, until the bread crumbs are very dry, about 30 minutes for white bread, about 1 hour for the corn bread. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon strips until they are crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the leeks (or onions) to the bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1.2 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until the mushrooms are tender and most of their juices have evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the sage and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Spoon the mushroom mixture over the dried bread. Stir in the chicken stock. If you are using white bread, stir in the cider. Add the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. The mixture should be moist and very soft. If you like your stuffing extremely moist, add enough stock to make it seem slightly soggy but not wet (Think that it should look like pudding). Crumble the bacon and stir it into the mixture.

Transfer the bread mixture to the prepared baking pan. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of melted butter over the stuffing. Bake until the stuffing is golden, about 35 to 45 minutes and serve.

I did make one other change to this stuffing. I did add in one diced apple to give it a little extra crunch and flavor. Michelle said it seemed like just what the dish needed and she really enjoyed it with the apple in it, but make your own call if you like that kind of stuffing. The great thing about this dish is that it was easy to do. If you make the bread crumbs ahead of time (the day before), you can throw this together and put it in the oven while your turkey is resting and it should be done in plenty of time. I think this stuffing would go well with your regular weeknight roast chicken as well if you wanted to make your weeknight meal a little fancier or just feel like having some stuffing.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for more recipes. I will be making a post tomorrow, most likely with links to some other websites that have Thanksgiving meal hints and recipes. I will have a post in the coming days as well as you try to make use of some of your leftovers. I think I have some easy ideas of things you can do. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day (if you are on the East Coast, you are getting pelted with rain, like we are) and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Cooking, Holidays, Side Dishes, Turkey


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A Side Dish for the Kids (and Adults Too) – Alton Brown’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Let me preface this post by saying I do not like macaroni and cheese. I don’t eat pasta, I don’t eat cheese, so this dish really does nothing for me personally. That being said, it’s always a great idea to have something on the table that you know little ones are going to eat up, and macaroni and cheese always seems to be one of those dishes no matter what the occasion. Why not give the kids something special and offer this one up for them? Also, most adults I know love the stuff as well, so the big batch that this recipe makes might actually be just the answer you need for everyone and you may not even have that much left. According to Alton Brown, this is the most downloaded recipe of all-time at Food Network, so we had to give it a try to see what it was all about.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

8 ounces elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon powdered mustard

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup finely diced onion

1 bay leaf

3 cups whole milk

1 egg

12 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded, divided

1 teaspoon kosher salt


1 cup panko breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. For the pasta, In a 4-quart pot, cover the macaroni and salt with 1 inch of cold water. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. When the pasta comes to a boil, begin testing it for doneness. Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking.

For the cheese sauce, while the pasta is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Once the butter stops bubbling, whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture is pale blonde, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add the mustard, paprika, onion and bay leaf and whisk to combine. Add the milk, whisking continually for 7 to 8 minutes or until the mixture is slightly thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat and discard the bay leaf.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add a few ounces of the milk mixture to the egg and whisk it to combine. Add another few ounces of the milk mixture to the egg and thoroughly combine. Then add the egg mixture back to the milk mixture and whisk vigorously. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese and season well with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour it into a 4-quart casserole dish. Top the macaroni with the remaining cheese. Toss the breadcrumbs with the melted to butter to coat the crumbs. Sprinkle the macaroni with the breadcrumb mixture in an even layer.

Bake the macaroni and cheese for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

As I said, I don’t like it, so I didn’t try it. That task was left to my macaroni and cheese experts, Michelle and Sean, who both adore the meal. They both liked the added texture you got from the breadcrumbs and both really enjoyed the cheese sauce. Their only critique is that they felt the onion was a little too overpowering in the dish. I think for the next go round on this one, we’ll be leaving the onion out of the equation all together. If you like the flavor yourself, and I am sure many people do, by all means leave it in. I think it’s a great idea to have this on your Thanksgiving menu so it gives something a little different to eat for everyone and maybe appeals to the finicky kids who may not eat anything else. It’s certainly worth a try.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes. I do have one more stuffing recipe to share and then some ideas for leftovers, including a turkey pot pie and some turkey soup. I already made about 12 cups of stock from the turkeys I have used over the past week or so, so there are plenty of soup options. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Holidays, One Pot Meals, Pasta, Vegetarian


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Thanksgiving Recipes For Turkey, Vegetables, Sides, Cocktails And Crucial Closers | Food Republic

Thanksgiving Recipes For Turkey, Vegetables, Sides, Cocktails And Crucial Closers | Food Republic.

Food Republic takes the time to get together some of their best recipes for your Thanksgiving meal. They have a little bit of everything here so you are bound to find some ideas and inspiration for just what you need to make your meal great. Check it out!

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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Holidays


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One More Easy Turkey Recipe Before Thanksgiving – Simple Roast Turkey

Okay, there is still plenty of time left if you haven’t really decided want you want to do with your turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s only Monday, so you still have time to do some kind of brining if that is what you want to do. I made another turkey this past weekend to try out a dry brine method that I saw from The New York Times and Melissa Clark recently because I wanted to see if it made any difference in the bird. If it seems like I have made a lot of  turkey the last few weeks, well I have. I wanted to try some things out to give people some options and see how things work and since I wasn’t cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year myself, it seemed like a good idea. I even have 1 turkey left to cook, but my family is getting kind of tired of eating turkey at this point so I might hold on to that one until we get closer to Christmas. In the meantime, here is a very simple dry brine recipe that adds some great flavor to the turkey.

Simple Roast Turkey

1 turkey, 10 to 12 pounds

Coarse kosher salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 lemon, zested and quartered

1 bunch fresh thyme or rosemary

1 bunch fresh sage

12 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 bottle hard cider (12 ounces)

Dry white wine or water, as needed

2 onions, peeled and quartered

3 bay leaves

Olive oil or melted butter, as needed

Remove any giblets from the cavity and reserve for stock or gravy. Pat the turkey and the turkey neck dry with paper towels; rub the turkey all over with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt per 1 pound of turkey, the pepper and the lemon zest, including the neck. Transfer the turkey to a 2-gallon or larger resealable plastic bag. Tuck the herbs and 6 garlic cloves inside the bag. Seal and refrigerate the turkey on a small baking sheet or wrapped in another plastic bag for at least 1 day and up to 3 days, turning the bird over every day or after 12 hours if brining for only 1 day.

Remove the turkey from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, uncovered, back on the baking sheet. Return it to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours to dry out the skin. This will help to crisp the skin while it is cooking.

When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for one hour.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. In the bottom of a large roasting pan, add the hard cider and enough wine or water to fill the pan to 1/4-inch depth. Add half of the onions, the remaining 6 garlic cloves and the bay leaves. Stuff the remaining onions and the lemon quarters into the turkey cavity. Brush the turkey generously with olive oil or melted butter.

Place the turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set inside the roasting pan. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Cover the breast with aluminum foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 165 degrees, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.

A couple of things about roasting turkey. Though you have probably heard it a thousand times by now from every cooking show, magazine and blog out there, brining isn’t a necessity when cooking turkey; it does seem to help as far as flavor and the skin itself, but the only real key to having moist turkey is removing the turkey from the oven when it is the right temperature. Don’t go by those little buttons that pop up on the turkey; they are often set to pop when the internal temperature is already high, sometimes 180 degrees, and the bird will continue to cook as it rests outside the oven, leaving you with dry turkey. Invest the money in a thermometer and insert it into the thigh to check the temperature. When it is at 165, pull the turkey out and LET IT REST. Don’t carve it right away; it won’t be ready, you’ll lose all the liquid that needs to re-distribute while the bird rests, and you will end up with dry meat.

If you don’t have a roasting rack to put the turkey on, you can make something of your own to get the turkey up out of the liquid so it browns all over. Form a solid ring out of aluminum foil to place under the turkey to lift it out of the liquid. That is what I did with this bird since I wanted to use one of those disposable pans this time and my rack did not fit in the pan. It worked out really well and it is easy to do.

The dry brine in this recipe really seemed to add some flavor and I did like the combination of the cider and the aromatics. It helped to create some very tasty gravy for the meal. This is one of the easiest turkey recipes I have come across and one of the most effective. If you are making a larger bird, the New York Times does have a scale so you can adjust the herbs and seasonings and cooking time of your bird accordingly. You can check it out here if you wish. I would use this recipe if you want to do things easily for yourself and have great tasting turkey.

That’s all I have for today. I still have a couple of more side dishes to share before Thanksgiving, so check back for those. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Holidays, Poultry, Turkey


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A Throwback Dessert for the Holidays: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple upside-down cake is not something I would think of making very often. Let’s be honest – most of us who are old enough probably associate it with seeing it at parties our parents had when we were growing up in the seventies. You may not even have a good memory of it thanks to the tinny taste of the pineapple from the can and the super-sweet juice that came with it. All of that being said, Michelle had said to me not the long ago that she might want to give the dessert a try. As fate would have, when I walked into the grocery store last week fresh pineapples were on sale. I bought one and set about finding a recipe, and this one from Cook’s Illustrated seemed to be the best to use and the easiest to make.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Topping:

1 medium fresh pineapple (about 4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons butter, softened but still cool

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs at room temperature

1 egg white at room temperature

1/3 cup milk at room temperature

Lightly spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set it aside.

For the pineapple topping, combine the pineapple and brown sugar in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally during the first five minutes until the pineapple is translucent and has a light brown hue, about 15 to 18 minutes. Empty the fruit and the juices into a mesh strainer or colander set over a medium bowl. Return the juices to the skillet, leaving the pineapple in the strainer. You should have about 2 cups of cooked fruit. Simmer the juices over medium heat until it is thickened and beginning to darken and the mixture forms large bubbles, about 6 to 8 minutes, adding any more juices released by the fruit to the skillet after about 4 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and the vanilla. Pour the caramel mixture into the prepared cake pan. Set it aside while preparing the cake batter.

For the cake, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set it aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a flat beater, cream the butter and the sugar at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, add the vanilla and beat to combine. One at a time, add the whole eggs and then the egg white, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Reduce the speed to low; add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until it is incorporated. Add half of the milk and beat until it is incorporated; repeat the process, adding half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining milk, and finish with the remaining flour. Give a final stir with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure that the batter is combined. The batter will be thick.

To bake the cake, working quickly, distribute the cooked pineapple in the cake pan in an even layer, gently pressing the fruit into the caramel. Using a rubber spatula, drop mounds of the batter over the fruit, then spread the batter over the fruit and to the sides of the pan. Tap the pan lightly against the work surface to release any air bubbles. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then place an inverted serving platter over the cake pan. Invert the cake pan and platter together and lift off the cake pan to release the cake. Cool the cake to room temperature for about 2 hours, then cut into pieces and serve.

Taking the time to peel, core and chop a fresh pineapple is very worth it for this recipe and makes all the difference. The fresh pineapple taste and smell, to me, is so much better than what you get from a can and preparing the pineapple only takes a few minutes. The rest of the recipe is very easy and produces great results. You get the nice caramelized pineapple with a light cake and it was much better than any of us remembered it. I actually did the whole recipe in my trusty cast iron skillet. I cooked the pineapple and the caramel in it, cooled the pan with the caramel, pressed in the pineapple and poured in the batter. I think it came out just as well as it would in a cake pan, saved me a little cleaning and came out of the pan just as easily as it would a cake pan.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I tried out a couple of more Thanksgiving recipes yesterday, so I will post those before the big day on Thursday. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Cakes, Cooking, Dessert


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National Day Calendar

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