Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category
Well, this is my Thanksgiving post!!! The fact that we’re already back here celebrating the holidays after what seems like a month still has me reeling. Even the spring time this year passed very quickly. Remember when you were a kid and the days just seemed just crawl by and it always seemed like there was plenty of time to do you wanted? Yeah….the older I get, the more quickly the time passes each year and the more I reminisce about those days when life was much slower and carefree!
Last year about this time, I posted some really good recipes that we make each year for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, these are the recipes that the family looks forward to each year as well – AND the leftovers are just as good too! I’ve also added another recipe for the collection this year…..cranberry sauce, and it’s so much better than the stuff that we find in the cans, not that the canned stuff isn’t good, but I guarantee this is much better!
To begin with the sweet potato casserole is pretty much to die for – the creamy dreamy texture with a nice, buttery, sweet, and slightly crisp topping is just fabulous!
Then my own creation: Italian Sausage and Wild Rice Dressing, doesn’t sound like anything extraordinary but it’s been a hit with the family since I started making it. In fact, everyone always asks if that is going to be served with dinner. It’s funny too, everyone in our family calls it “German Dressing”, I’m afraid there isn’t anything German about it, but I suppose it’s all in the eye of the beholder, right?
Forging ahead, the Crescent rolls..…what’s Thanksgiving dinner without rolls??? And these are really yummy, they’re super buttery and just a hint of sweetness that just begs for butter to be melted over the top of it. These are really awesome folks. In my original post, I demonstrated that this bread dough could also be used for cinnamon rolls so if you’re feeling adventurous, you could take and use half of the dough for the rolls and the other half for cinnamon rolls – your family will say thank you too!
And finally, fresh cranberry sauce which has orange juice and sugar in it. Oh my……cranberry sauce really wasn’t my thing until my mom made some of this one year, changed my life – really!! The great thing about this stuff too is that it can be served warm or chilled AND it can be dabbed onto that turkey sandwich the next day too, no kidding, that stuff’s dang good!!!! Ok – I’m making myself salivate here.
I hope that your Thanksgiving is filled with special family memories and wonderful blessings!
This Thanksgiving I decided that a cranberry sauce recipe was necessary, especially where, in my opinion, the canned cranberry sauce is good on a sandwich, but not really good for anything else. This stuff completely changes that cranberry sauce stage and I do mean quite literally! The difference between fresh made cranberry sauce and the canned stuff is world’s apart. And to make this even better…….it’s super easy, few ingredients and fast! Which is always a huge help in the kitchen when you’ve got a big dinner to fix.
This starts out with orange juice, sugar, orange zest and a little dab of cinnamon in a sauce pan.
On medium heat, stir the orange juice mixture until hot and the sugar has dissolved.
Rinse the cranberries and add them to the sauce pan, stirring frequently. The cranberries will start to pop (kind of a really cool sound).
Then simmer for about 20 minutes, continue to stir frequently. This will start to thicken and reduce. Once everything has thickened up a little, remove it from the stove and pour into a bowl. One other neat thing about this is that it can be served warm or it can be served later after it’s cooled – just depends upon your preference.
This can also be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, so nice to have one of those “make ahead” dishes for the big day!!!
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Adapted from All Recipes
1 – 12 oz package fresh cranberries
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup orange juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp orange zest (optional)
In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice, orange zest and add cinnamon. Stir in the cranberries and simmer until the cranberries start pop and break down well (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
This past weekend I figured it was time to post a recipe for some sort of rolls, since one can’t have Thanksgiving dinner with rolls – it’s just illegal, or…..it should be! This was a recipe that I hadn’t tried before, but it just looked like it might be buttery and nice and soft, so I simply couldn’t resist. I did veer away from the recipe a bit though in that I didn’t use a mixer and I didn’t let the dough sit overnight, but to be completely honest, I don’t think it hurt one thing. In fact while I was making the crescent rolls, Mr. stated that he would prefer cinnamon rolls instead. So I used half of the dough for crescent rolls and then the other half for cinnamon rolls…..both of which turned out incredible!
I started with the yeast mixture, it’s important to proof your yeast so to do that you need to measure the water and just 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, then lightly stir the yeast into the water just until it’s moistened. I set that aside.
Meanwhile, I melted the butter and added the eggs, salt and sugar.
Then I added just 1 cup of flour and gave that another stir…..don’t forget to hold your mouth right, it helps – really! Add the yeast mixture and stir that in, then add 4 – 5 cups more of flour until the dough is pretty much into a good ball.
Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, allow to rise in a separate bowl that has a little canola or olive oil in it, just to coat the dough so that it doesn’t dry out.
Allow the dough to rise for about an hour to an hour and a half, it should double in size. Punch the dough down and pinch the dough in half. Set one half aside and pinch the dough you’re working with in half one more time. Roll the dough out until it’s a good sized circle of dough and about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick.
Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece of dough from the large end first, tucking the small end underneath on the cooking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Allow to rise for about 30 minutes more and bake at 350 for about 15 – 20 minutes or until golden in color.
For the cinnamon rolls: This time roll the entire piece of dough out onto a floured surface.
Spread melted butter over then entire surface
Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon
Roll the dough into one piece, careful not to let the sugar to roll out. Cut into pieces about 1/2 inch thick and place in a sprayed baking pan – 9 x 13 is a good size. Allow to rise for about 30 minutes and bake at 350 for about 20 – 25 minutes or until golden on top, be sure to check inside the rolls to be sure they’re done.
Top with a glaze and enjoy……these, I promise are to die for!
Crescent Rolls and/or Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from All Recipes
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
Filling for Cinnamon Rolls:
1/3 C butter, softened
1 C brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
Glaze for Cinnamon Rolls:
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 6 tablespoons hot water
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, salt and yeast mixture. Stir in enough flour until dough leaves the sides of bowl and is soft (do not knead). Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into a 12-in. circle; cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up wedges from the wide end and place with pointed end down on greased baking sheets. Curve ends to form crescents. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks. Note: If using the entire batch of dough for cinnamon rolls, be sure to double the recipe for the filling as well as the glaze.
With Thanksgiving getting close, I start to think about the things that I’m truly grateful for……..family, friends, good health, and the wonderful dishes that we all serve on that big day, oh and don’t forget good wine! It’s hard to believe that we’re coming close to the end of 2011 and preparing to begin a brand new year full of renewed hope and new adventures.
I remember growing up and having the traditional Thanksgiving dishes at the table, all of which were absolutely wonderful so a few years ago when someone sent this recipe out to us, I had to try it and I’m so glad that I did – the sweet potato dish that my Mom made throughout my childhood was quickly replaced once everyone had a taste of this casserole. This is one of Mr’s favorite dishes through the holidays too. The creamy sweet potatoes with the crunchy topping is just divine. You seriously need to try this, you won’ be sorry – I promise!
Here is what you’ll need: Baked sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk, flour, pecans
Start by peeling the sweet potatoes and smashing them up good.
Then in a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork.
Then stir everything together and pour into a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Combine the topping ingredients, flour, brown sugar, butter and pecans.
I could almost eat the topping before it ever gets a chance to bake……
After the resistance has passed…..distribute the topping evenly on top of the sweet potatoes and bake them for about 30 – 40 minutes.
Sweet Potato Casserole
3 C mashed sweet potatoes
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
½ C milk
½ C melted butter
½ C brown sugar
1/3 C flour
1/3 C melted butter
1 C chopped pecans
Combine first 6 ingredients, pour into a buttered 1 ½ to 2 quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 for 30 – 40 minutes, until hot and browned. Serve warm. Serves 10
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is nearly here! Only a few days left and we’ll be plunging straight into the holiday season with friends and family and get togethers. I love this time of year! And we have so much to be thankful for, a warm home, soft pillow to lay our heads on and such yummy things to eat. I say we savor the moment for as long as we possibly can, because before we know it, the holidays will be over and we’ll be starting a whole new year full of new adventures and expectations.
Several years ago, I came up with this dressing after visiting with my boss as the time, who just happened to be born and raised in Germany and who also just happened to be the one who prepared Thanksgiving dinner for his family each year. He told me about how he fixed the dressing for their dinner, and I liked the part about adding Italian sausage and wine to it. So I went home and pondered on it for a week or so and came up with this. It also just happened that I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner that year for some of my in-laws, and I was fairly new to the family……nervous! The dinner turned out really good and since then, this is a request each year. I wouldn’t dare fix Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without preparing this to go with it now.
I started by preparing the rice according to the instructions on the box, then chopping the celery and the onion.
Then I crumbled the Italian sausage up and browned the veggies and the sausage together. The house smells super good now……just sayin!
I love the smells that come from the holiday cooking.
So while the rice goes bubbly, bubbly – I dumped the Stove Top directly into a casserole dish that I’ve sprayed with cooking spray. Then in goes the veggies and Italian sausage along with the wine.
Then a good portion of butter, for one cannot live without butter.
Once the rice finished cooking I added that too and then the chicken broth. Then I held my mouth just right and gave it a good stir, just to combine everything good. Pop it into the oven for about 30 minutes and presto…..it’s awesome!!!!
Italian Sausage and Wild Rice Dressing
1 box Stove Top stuffing
1 box Uncle Ben’s rice mix (prepared according to package instructions)
1 C celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package mild or sweet Italian sausage
1/2 C dry white wine
1 1/2 C chicken broth
1/3 C butter
Prepare rice according to package instructions. Brown sausage, celery and onion together until sausage is no longer pink. Pour contents of Stove Top stuffing mix into a 5 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed. Add sausage mix to stuffing mix, once the rice is finished, add to the sausage and Stove Top, add wine, chicken broth and butter and stir until completely combined. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 10 – 12.