Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mahogany Turkey Breast with Vegetable Gravy

I know it's too late for your Thanksgiving meals for this year, but I heartily recommend this recipe - it's what we'll be having tomorrow. (So, you know, posting this is a good way to review the recipe & see how long I'm going to need to make it.) I made it a few weeks ago with a smaller turkey breast (and a few substitutions when I thought I had stuff I didn't) and the gravy was AMAZING. It's from the Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2002 cookbook.

2 c. thinly sliced onion [2 medium]
1 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
Cooking spray
2 Tbl. low-sodium soy sauce, divided [or regular]
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided [I use "Better than Bouillon" and make about that much.]
1 (5- to 6- lb.) bone-in turkey breast
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. dry sherry or Madeira [subbed in white wine]
2 Tbl. molasses [which I didn't have but I thought I did, so I subbed 1 Tbl. real maple syrup & 1 Tbl. honey]
1 Tbl. all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine onion, carrot, and celery in a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Add 1 Tbl. soy sauce and 2/3 c. broth; stir to coat. Place turkey breast, skin side up, on vegetables. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Insert meat thermometer into turkey breast, making sure it does not touch bone. [I didn't do the thermometer in the whole time - just checked it when I thought it would be done.] Bake at 350F for 1 hour; baste turkey with 2 Tbl. broth every 30 minutes. [Who would actually measure this? Not me!]
  3. Combine 2 Tbl. soy sauce, sherry, and molasses. Bake turkey an additional 45 minutes or until thermometer registers 180F, brushing with sherry mixture every 15 minutes. Place turkey on a platter. Cover turkey loosely with foil; let stand 15 minutes. Do not discard drippings.
  4. Combine remaining chicken broth and flour, stirring with a whisk until well-blended to form a slurry. Drain onion mixture and drippings into a colander over a bowl, reserving both. Place a zip-loc bag inside a 2-cup glass measuring cup or bowl. Pour drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a medium saucepan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat*.
  5. Add reserved onion mixture to pan [I did this the first time I made it but didn't like the chunky veg in the gravy, so now I don't put do that anymore. So I just put the with-fat drippings and slurry in the pan together, without the onion mixture.]; stir in slurry. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  6. Serve turkey with gravy. Yum!!!

*I didn't do this fat reduction step, but you could if you wanted to.

Wednesday Fun #60 - Happy Thanksgiving!

If you are cooking, or still looking for holiday recipes, I have some links for you.
I have found these to be very helpful:
Pioneer Woman Cooks - the 2nd post down is a great one about finding wine for Thanksgiving
Food Network - lots of great side dish & dessert ideas
Butterball - of course (they have more than Turkey tips though too)
Very Best Baking (nestle)- Lots of pie, cake & cookie recipes of course, but also some sides, some food gift ideas, etc.
If you have other links that you like, please share them in the comments!
I hope you all have a fun, relaxing and TASTY Thanksgiving!

P.S. Thanks to Ms. H for letting me do the Wednesday Fun for October and November! It's been fun :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cakes, good and bad... or awful and AWESOME

You might already know about Cake Wrecks, which are good for a laugh or wince of disgust.

But here, HERE is a cake that is way awesome - the Indiana Jones Temple of Doom Idol cake by Clever Cake Studio.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Turkey Cookies

Turkey Cookies -

I made these 3 years ago and thought you all might like to try. They are made with striped cookies (bought). The round chocolate ball is a peanut butter ball but you can use chocolate covered cherries (store bought). I made the peanut butter balls as I do not like chocolate covered cherries. Candy corn head. Use melted chocolate to get everything to stick together. Enjoy!!

Have also made Marshmallo Pilgrim Hats but could not find a picture.

We have also had something like Sugar-Cone Cornucopia.

Wednesday Fun #59 - Seating arrangements

I know, Thanksgiving isn't until next week (it is so LATE this year!) but it feels like everyone is thinking about it now anyway, so let's discuss.

How formal is your Thanksgiving dinner?

Do you all sit down at a huge table and pass plates family-style? Is there a buffet and everyone sits (or stands!) anywhere there is room? Is it very formal with the linens and the silver and the good china? Is it very laid back with paper plates/cups and you eat off your lap? Does the football stay on while you eat? Do you like things the way they are, or do you wish it was done differently?

Bonus discussion: Leftovers. If you host, do you horde the leftovers or do you try to get rid of them so you don't have quite so much? If you don't host, do you get leftovers? Should you?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday Fun #58 - I have never

I tried a new recipe last night (it was just for a homemade mac and cheese) and sadly it was not very good at all. But that experience and the Ratatouille recipe got me thinking about things I have never made before- and there are a lot of them!

So quick, Can you name 3 things you have never made??? (I'll put mine in comments) Bonus points if it's something common, like a chocolate cake or a lasagna or something like that. (Not that it's a bonus that you haven't made it before, just that it would be extra odd that you haven't)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


This is between a soup and a stew. It will cook down. We usually serve it in a bowl. It makes a HUGE batch and lasts along time.

1 Eggplant
4 Zucchini
1-2 onions
3-4 Green Peppers
1 Jalapeno
3 cans Diced Tomatoes (Italian Style - Basil, Oregano, Garlic)
1 can small Black Olives
3-4 cloves Garlic Minced
2 T. Chicken base
Saute garlic in Olive Oil. Add rest of ingredients and simmer for 1-1.5 hours until tender.
Top with Parmesan Cheese

Winter Salad

This was not the salad I was looking for and I have to admit I have not made this one. My mother had it at a potluck and said it was wonderful so it was on my computer. It looks good and something different. I might try making it for my cooking club next Thursday as we are doing Thanksgiving Sides. I will post all the good things people bring for all of you next weekend.

Winter Salad
1 1/2 head romaine lettuce
1 C. shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup craisins
1 cup cashews
1 apple cubed
1 pear cubed
grapes to taste
Dressing: 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t. dijon mustard
1 T poppy seed
1 T grated onion
1/3 c lemon juice
2/3 c oil

Cider-Glazed Carrots

Another Cooking Light recipe, this one from November 2002. They suggest boiling the carrots a day ahead, refrigerating them in a zip-top plastic bag, then sauteing just before serving.

9 cups (3-inch) julienne-cut carrots (about 2 1/2 lbs.)
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 Tbl. butter
2 Tbl. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. celery seeds
1 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley

  1. Place carrots in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 1 minute or until tender. Drain.
  2. Combine brown sugar and remaining ingredients except parsley in a large nonstick skillet over low heat; cook until butter melts, stirring frequently. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium; add carrots. Cook 3 minutes or until carrots are glazed and thoroughly headed; stirring constantly. Sprinkle with chopped parsley; toss to combine.
Yield: 12 servings (serving size: about 2/3 c.)

Bruleed Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I know this doesn't help AKJ with her Thanksgiving side dish problem, but it's a yummy non-marshmallow-but-still-sweet way to do sweet potatoes. From Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2002.

6 c. hot mashed sweet potatoes (about 4 lbs.)
[I peel 'em, cut 'em up small, and roast 'em in a lidded casserole with maybe a Tbl or two of water added. After, um, 45 min? they are soft enough to mash in the casserole with a potato masher.]

3/4 c. whole milk
3 Tbl. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Cooking spray
1/2 c. packed brown sugar

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Spoon potato mixture into a 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/2 c. brown sugar evenly over top. Broil 2 minutes or until sugar melts. Let stand until melted sugar hardens (about 5 minutes.)
Yield: 14 servings (serving size: about 1/2 c.)

Notes: I don't think the size of the baking dish matters that much other than as it affects the ratio of sweet potato to sweet, crunchy topping. So, like brulee? Put it in a larger pan and spread on more sugar! Also, I bet if you wanted to, you could make and mash the sweet potatoes ahead of time, then reheat them in the microwave and continue with the recipe as written, but I've not tried it that way yet.

HELP! with Thanksgiving sides...

I have been instructed to bring a side for Thanksgiving. (easy, I thought, that's November's theme!) But all of this is already being brought/made by someone else:
sweet potatoes
creamed corn
green bean casserole
cranberry jello thing
pickles/relish tray

(my mom is totally greedy and is bringing 2 of the above but whatever)
What the heck is left???
Do you think that cream cheese wantons would go over well? ;)
Ideas? Suggestions?

Monday, November 10, 2008


Anyone know a good substitute for cheesecloth? I can't find any here but have a pumpkin to bake and puree and get rid of some extra juice. Or, if you know another method to do so so I can use said pumpkin puree for bread etc with out having to guess how much I need to reduce the oil/other moisture by, please let me know.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Crazy Meatballs

Crazy Meat Balls

1 16 oz sauerkraut
1 16 oz whole cranberry sauce
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 8 oz bottle chili sauce
1 ½ Cups brown sugar

Mix above ingredients well. Buy one bag of meatballs (6 lbs frozen meatballs) and put in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. (I have to use a bigger roasting pan). Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Bake meatballs at 375˚ uncovered for 1 ½ hours. (Until thick)

I will also put these in a crockpot for a party and they serve great. No one can guess what is in it but they always come back for more.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday Fun #57- Crazy recipes

What recipes do you (or your family) make that other people would never eat? Or would cause others to question your taste and/or cooking ability?

For example, my MIL made this dip/spread once with cream cheese, green peppers, and crushed pineapple. Serve with Wheat Thins. You would not think these things go together, but I find it really yummy and I make it all the time.

Or a friend of mine once told me about her family's recipe for "Corn Pudding" - it involved corn, cream, cream cheese and brown sugar. I think there were some other things too- but it was the corn and sugar together that threw me. (and I guess it's not unheard of in the south)

Another one is from when I was little, my BFF's Dad made this one and it was just called "Dad Cooking": scrambled eggs with shrimp mixed in, served over white rice. Throw on some beef consume and soy sauce to top it off.

Do you have any really strange ones?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Simple Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Open Face Sandwiches

I just posted this over at Musings & Mutterings, but I just know if I want to remember how I did them, I'm going to be looking over here, so I figured I might as well double-post these. Fun, and not as time-consuming as I thought they'd be.

Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Open Face Sandwiches

First, we used a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cheese. I used American slices (NOT individually wrapped!) and did three at a time. Peeling the outside edges before taking off the cutter works well.

After cutting out ALL the cheese slices, I cut out the jack-o-lantern faces. Again, keeping them together as the three-at-a-time I did before worked well, except that last one was always a little tricky to get the eyes and nose out. Still, MUCH better than one at a time!

Then it was time to cut out the bread. Unfortunately, that was one slice at a time, but it didn't go too badly. Pushing the cutter down and then wiggling the whole thing around on the cutting board for a little bit helps get through the last bit cleanly. Again, peeling off the outer edges first makes it easier.

Then I buttered the breads and we put a cheese pumpkin face on each.

(Aren't they cute?!)

(And all the leftover cheese and bread bits were used up in an egg bake for supper that night! Brilliant, if I do say so myself!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

No Crust Pumpkin Pie

If you're at all like me, you find that the crust of your typical pumpkin pie kind of, well, sucks. It's just too thick for that style of pie, gets soggy etc. I think it's the only time I only eat the filling of a pie. So, here's a good solution. This pie makes it's own "crust" on the bottom which is very thin. Much more enjoyable in my mind. Plus, this is a very simple recipe. Double win.

4 eggs
1 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 can pumpkin
1 can 20 oz, evaporated milk

Combine ingredients and put in 9" pie pan.
Bake 45 min at 375 degrees.

November's Theme - Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Welcome to a new month & a new theme. When I came up with the list of themes for the end of this year & 2009, I put down "Thanksgiving Side Dishes" for this month. How that differs from regular side dishes, um, I'll let you decide. :)

We currently have the following recipes already posted that I think qualify as Thanksgiving side dishes. Let me know in the comments if there are more and I'll add them. (I didn't put in appetizers, but you can just click on the "Appetizers/Cocktail Food" label in the sidebar to the right if that's what you're looking for.)

Veggie-type side dishes

Starchy-type side dishes
And, of course, we've got a classic from Pusher: Pumpkin Pie!

When you post YOUR yummy Thanksgiving side dishes, please label them as "vegetable side dish," "starchy side dish" (you know - rice, potatoes, pasta...), or whatever (bread? dessert?). Thanks!

P.S. As always, feel free to post whatever recipes your little heart desires - they do NOT have to be Turkey Day sides.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who contributed a slowcooker/crockpot recipe last month! There are a bunch that look yummy that I've got to try. FYI, in the interest of keeping the label list manageable, I've labeled all of them "Crockpot/Slowcooker" and eliminated the two separate tags.