Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Our Favorites!!!
Leftover casserole

I actually get this assembled as I am putting food away, then just pop it in the oven the next night.

13 x 9 pan
Layer mashed potatoes on the bottom. Use your hands to pat them into the bottom.
Layer of turkey, white meat, dark meat, alot or a little whatever you like!
Layer of green beans(leftover GB casserole or 2-3 cups fresh or frozen)
Next in a bowl mix 1 recipe cream of celery soup(or 1-15 oz can), 1 cup sour cream and one recipe(or commercial packet) dry onion soup mix,(more sour cream and 1 recipe(or can) of cream of mushroom soup if you want more goo to it!)
Layer this mixture over the green beans
top with a layer of stuffing
Drizzle with left over gravy if desired!

Bake in 350 degree oven until heated through.

The best Turkey Sandwich!!
2 slices sourdough bread (preferably homemade and this recipe!!) toasted
cranberry sauce
cream cheese
thin slice of purple onion

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mostly Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner

Hate to be cooking ALL day when you are expecting company??? If you have a roaster you can make a mostly make ahead YUMMY Thanksgiving dinner:

I cleaned this up so you can just click the link to take you to each recipe. It got WAY too long and confusing the way it was before!!

Saturday before:(sooner or later depending on your free time)
Pumpkin Rolls---this one is the most time consuming but thankfully can be made and frozen very early!

Allow to cool to room temp and freeze them(I pile them loosely in a cake pan cover with plastic wrap then a layer of heavy duty foil)

Make a loaf of white bread and leave it out  to make it stale for stuffing. ( You can use store bread, just make sure it is a good quality sturdy bread)

Wednesday :

Brine your Turkey

Make your Cheesecakes:
Pumpkin Cheesecake

Cranberry Cheesecake

Southern Comfort Sweet Potatoes

Dont bake them , just cover with plastic wrap, pop in fridge. Remove at least 30 minutes prior to reheat.

Also Wednesday Peel and Boil Approx 2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes until fork tender but not mushy
and take pumpkin rolls out of the freezer

Thursday Morning:
now here is where it starts to vary in times. I use a 22 qt roaster for my turkey(and it is NOT stuffed) which means I have a free oven. Your reheat times may vary so I am just going to give recipes and APPROX times.
I get my bird in about 10 am at 325 (planning dinner 3-4) if the bird is done sooner I turn the heat down low.

Before you get your turkey in you can do the rest of the prep work:

Gourmet Green Bean Casserole

Apple-Bread Stuffing
Grab that stale bread and get this one going.....premake it and add the chicken broth last minute

Cream Cheese Fruit Salad
here is an easy one, no reheating necessary. Whip it up and toss it in the fridge.

Best Mashed Potatoes
Grab the taters you cooked yesterday. I chunk them then heat them up in the microwave for a minute or two then just start at step two......

This can be made last minute OR you can make them up put them in a casserole dish and heat with everything else...cover with foil and allow an hour or so for them to heat(again bring it to room temp, about 30 minute before heating)

Cranberry Raspberry Sauce
This one is also optional make ahead(even Wed if you want) or last minute depending on if you want it hot or cold.

And the Main Dish

Roasted Turkey with Bourbon-Butter Glaze

Remove your turkey from the brine solution, pat it dry and allow to air dry for 30 minutes.

You can follow the cooking recipe on the Brine page but this one is our favorite for thanksgiving!

brined 16-18 lb turkey
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons snipped fresh marjoram or 2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crushed
2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 cup bourbon
Fresh herbs (optional)
Kumquats (optional)

For glaze, combine butter, brown sugar, marjoram, and lemon peel in a small mixing bowl. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Using your fingers, separate turkey skin from breast meat, being careful not to tear skin or pierce meat. Spread about half of the glaze over the breast meat under the skin. Melt remaining glaze; cool slightly. Stir in bourbon. Brush mixture over outside of turkey. Season turkey with salt and pepper. Pull neck skin to back and fasten with a short skewer. Tuck drumsticks under the band of skin that crosses the tail. If there isn't a band, tie drumsticks to tail. Twist wing tips under back. Insert a meat thermometer in the center of an inside thigh muscle. The thermometer bulb should not touch bone.

Place 2 cups of brining solution and all the veggies from it in the bottom of the roaster, add in another cup or so of chicken stock. Then add the turey.

Roast at 325 degree F  for 3-3/4 to 4-1/4 hours(depending on your bird size) or until thermometer registers 180 degrees F. After 3 hours, cut the skin or string between drumsticks. Turkey is done when drumsticks move very easily in their sockets and their thickest parts feel soft when pressed. Remove turkey from roaster and cover loosely with foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

In a sauce pan melt 2 TB butter and whisk in 6 TB flour until crumbly slowly add approx 2 cups of the liquid drippings and 2 cups chicken stock....salt and pepper to taste Heat and whisk to boiling and boil for 2 minutes....

If you get up a little early all this stuff can be done before you even get your Turkey in the roaster! Then you can clean up, and enjoy your company and just pop things in the oven when you are ready. Make SURE you take the stuff to be heated out of the fridge to come to room temp or your reaheat times will be ALOT longer(and things get cripsy on the edges!)
Dont forget to heat the pumpkin rolls too! It may take some awesome tertis skills but everything should fit in your oven if you take note of you dish sizes while you are prepping, also check things often and move them around as necessary(like from top bottom rack to top rack) since the oven is so full the heat WILL be uneven.
Everything should be heated at 350!

We also add in a spinach and strawberry salad. That can be made whenever you please!(Sorry I dont have personal pics of that!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

We love carving jack-o-lanterns for Halloween but throwing out all the seeds seems like such a waste. This year make a tasty treat!

When carving out your pumpkin have a colander near by. Separate the seeds into the colander and the guts to the side to throw out.

Rinse them well removing extra guts that like to ride on.

Put 1 Tablespoon salt into a bowl of water and add your cleaned seeds. I pop it in the fridge overnight or you can boil them for 20 minutes to speed up the process. Drain them and pat them as dry as you can....they will be slippery so be careful!
Spread them out in a jelly roll pan in a single layer. (some people let them air dry for 24 hours but I found that unnecessary)

You can season them further for your tastes at this point(chili powder, garlic, whatever you like!). I left them salted only...then popped them in the oven and set it to 275. Let them roast stirring every 15 minutes or so until they are golden brown.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Everything but the Kitchen Sink cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flaked coconut
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Sift together flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, applesauce brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in milk and vanilla. Gradually mix in the sifted ingredients until well blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the graham crackers, oats, coconut, chocolate chips, raisins and walnuts. Spoon dough in walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets; flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Delightful Blueberry Muffins

Delightful Blueberry Muffins


2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 Tbsp unsalted butter , softenened

1/4 c unsweetened applesauce

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cup yogurt(plain, lemon, vanilla, blueberry, creative!!)

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel(if using PLAIN yogurt, if using flavored this can be omitted)

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1 Tbsp flour (if using defrosted frozen berries)


1 Adjust the oven rack to the middle-lower part of the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2 Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

3 In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together, beating until fluffy, add in applesauce and mix. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each one. Beat in the grated lemon peel(if using).

4 Beat in one half of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Beat in one third of the yogurt. Beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients. Beat in a second third of the yogurt. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients and then the remaining yogurt. Again be careful to beat until just incorporated. Do not over beat. Fold in the berries. If you are using frozen berries, defrost them first, drain the excess liquid, and then coat them in a light dusting of flour.

5 Using 3 standard 6-muffin muffin pans.(I made 12 big muffins and 20 mini muffins) Coat each muffin cup lightly oil or butter. Or use one of those convenient vegetable oil sprays. Fill each cup to the top. Bake until muffins are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick (we use a thin bamboo skewer) to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin and serve slightly warm.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Overnight Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

This is a favorite Christmas morning breakfast! I get it assembled the night before, and stick it in the oven
while we dive into presents! By the time we are done, breakfast is ready.

1 loaf white bread, no crusts(want to go homemade?? Try THIS one)
1/2 loaf French bread, Try this one
6 cups fresh blueberries or frozen blueberries, rinsed
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Cut white bread into cubes and place into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.
Sprinkle blueberries evenly over bread.
Microwave cream cheese in bowl for 2 minutes.
Stir carefully and add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1 teaspoons vanilla.
Spread over blueberries.
Cut French bread into 10-1 inch thick slices, place over cream cheese.
Beat eggs, milk, half&half, cinnamon, and nutmeg and pour over bread.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from fridge 30 minutes before you plan to bake it.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes covered, then uncover for approximately 15 minutes.
Let set before slicing.
Sift powdered sugar over before serving.

    Monday, August 3, 2009

    Chicken Burrito Casserole

    When I have made a big batch of frozen burritos sometimes not all of them get used in a timely manner. This is an excellent way to use them up if they are at risk for freezer burn!

    Chicken Burrito Casserole
    1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
    8-10 frozen bean and cheese burritos, LINK to my recipe or you can use Store Bought ones
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 can condensed Cream of Mushroom soup(LINK for homemade)
    1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese(or any kind of cheese really, colby jack is great, or pepper jack for a kick)
    1/2 c black olives, sliced(optional)
    1 TB chopped cilantro(optional)
    1/2 cup salsa(optional)

    Heat oven to 350
    Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray and layer burritos on the bottom.
    Scatter chicken over the top of the burritos
    Mix soup, sour cream, milk, 1 cup of cheese, salsa, cilantro and olives(if using) in a medium bowl
    Pour mixture over chicken and top with remaining cheese.(I put my olives on top this time, I knew I had a can but didnt find them until the last minute)

    Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly. Cool slightly before serving.

    Thursday, July 30, 2009

    Homemade Poptarts ---LOW(er)FAT!!

    I found a recipe for Homemade Poptarts but I wanted a lower fat version so here is the one I made:

    4 1/2 c all purpose flour
    dash of salt
    1 c CHILLED oil
    4 egg whites lightly beaten
    4 tsp apple cider vinegar

    ICE water

    In medium bowl, mix together flour and salt. Make small well in center of flour; add oil. Lightly mix with fingertips, fork or food processor until dough is like cornmeal. Do not overmix. Add egg white and vinegar; mix just until incorporated.

    With fingertips, form dough into ball. If still crumbly, add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is slightly sticky and holds together.

    Divide into 2 balls, Form into flattened circle about 1/2-inch thick.
    Wrap tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 20 minutes.

    After dough is chilled, roll out in two long strips six inches wide.

    Cut into three-inch sections. (I cut mine in 3 inch then in half again for my little ones.)

    Place filling in the middle of the strips for the bottom layer.


    1) Use a couple teaspoons jam of your choice Or just plain crushed fruit with a little sugar on top

    My first batch(pictured) I made homemade apple pie filling for the middle* see recipe below

    2) Or, for brown sugar ‘n’ cinnamon PopTarts melt 3 tablespoons butter and combine 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush melted butter on each piece then sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture.

    Using the other strip, place tops on PopTart pieces, pinching all the way around the sides to seal. Press a fork all around the sides then prick the centers to vent. Transfer to a greased baking sheet using a spatula.

    Bake at 400-degrees approximately 15 minutes, switching oven racks halfway through baking.

    Powdered Sugar Icing:

    Combine 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and enough milk (one to two teaspoons) for drizzling consistency.

    Apple Filling(this makes more than needed for one batch of poptarts but it freezes well and is GREAT on ice cream!)
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1-1/4 cups water
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    3/4 pound apples

    in a large pan, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add salt and water and mix well. Bring to a boil and add cored, peeled(I like the peels but not everyone does) and chopped apples, cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and mash the cooked apples slightly(or more for less chunky consistency).
    YOU MAY NEED to add some more thickener. I used 2 extra tablespoons cornstarch mixed into 1/4 c COLD water then stirred into boiling apple mix.
    Allow to cool.

    here is the full fat pastry version if you are not watching your calories


    4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 3/4 cups shortening
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 tablespoon vinegar
    1 egg
    1/2 cup very cold water

    Add flour, shortening, sugar, and salt to a large bowl. Mix flour and shortening with a pastry cutter until it looks nice and crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, egg, and water. Add to the flour mixture, stirring in till well-moistened. Stick your hands in there and shape it into a ball. (Don’t overhandle.) Divide dough into equal halves. Wrap each half with plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before using.

    Wednesday, July 29, 2009

    Chicken and Salsa Noodle Salad

    This is my one of my first creations. It works great for potlucks!

    Chicken and Salsa Noodle Salad


    16 oz pasta, shape of your preference, I prefer fusilli

    1 16 oz jar Pace Pico de Gallo Salsa

    1 c frozen corn, boil to thaw and cool

    2 chicken breasts

    2 chipotle bullion cubes


    1/4 c canola oil

    1/3 c lemon juice

    1/3 c vinegar

    2 TB fresh cilantro , chopped

    1 T chili powder

    1 t garlic salt

    1 chipotle bullion cube , crumbled


    Boil noodles according to package instructions, drain and set aside
    Boil chicken with 2 bullion cubes, cool and shred
    Combine cooled noodles with salsa, chicken and corn in a large bowl. Toss well and Refrigerate.
    In salsa jar combine all sauce ingredients, cap and shake well.
    Place in the fridge with noodle dish.
    Chill every thing well.
    Shake sauce again , add to noodles and toss well prior to serving.

    Chocolate Angel Food Cake

    Chocolate Angel Food Cake
    12 egg whites
    1 1/2 t cream of tartar
    1 1/2 c sugar divided
    2 t vanilla
    2/3 c sifted flour
    1/3 c baking cocoa powder
    1/4 t salt

    Separate your eggs while they are cold but allow them to come to room temp before whipping.

    Beat egg whites with cream of tartar at high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add 3/4 c sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved and whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks. Beat in flavoring

    Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt together then gently fold into egg whites 1/2 c at a time. Pour into ungreased tube pan and cut with butter knife to remove air bubbles.

    Bake in preheated 350 oven for 40-45 minutes, until it springs back when lightly touched. Invert entire pan(I put a bottle in the hole of the center tube and stand it on that) and cool completely

    3 Musketeers

    3 Musketeers Bars
    3 cups granulated sugar
    3/4 cup light corn syrup
    3/4 cup water
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    3 egg whites
    1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    2 bags milk chocolate chips (12−ounce bags)
    In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar,
    corn syrup, water, and salt. Heat, stirring, to boiling, then continue
    to cook using a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.
    Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and form peaks. Don't use a
    plastic bowl for this. When the sugar solution comes to 270 degrees F,
    or the soft−crack stage, remove from the heat and pour the mixture in
    thin streams into the egg whites, blending completely with a mixer set
    on low speed. Continue to mix until the candy begins to harden to the
    consistency of dough. This may take as long as 20 minutes. At this point
    add the semisweet chocolate chips. Remember that the candy must
    already be at the consistency of dough when you add the chocolate;
    the nougat will thicken no more after the chocolate is added.
    When the chocolate is thoroughly blended and the nougat has thickened,
    Press it into a greased 9x9−inch pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 30
    minutes. With a sharp knife, cut the candy in half down the middle of
    the pan. Then cut across into 7 segments to create a total of 14 bars.
    Melt the milk chocolate chips in the microwave for 2 minutes on half
    power, stirring halfway through the heating time. Melt completely, but
    be careful not to overheat. Resting a bar on a fork dip each bar into
    the chocolate to coat completely and place on wax paper.
    Cool until firm at room temperature, 1 to 2 hours. Makes 14 candy bars

    I used white chocolate chips for the outside!!

    2nd batch I made for my dad and hubby for Father's Day, they LOVED getting candy bars as a present!!


    My friends have requested that I start a recipe blog. These will be my tried and true recipes that I have found on the internet and tried myself with my kiddos. I will try to include pictures as often as possible.
    thanks for following along!