Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkey: Brine Baby

I am a little late in posting my Thanksgiving menu, but we have had some crazy holidays!!! We had the best Thanksgiving feast!! My parents were in town and we spared nothing!! I used this brine from Williams Sonoma for my turkey and it was A M A Z I N G!!! The best flavor and made the best gravy!! I have never brined a turkey before - but it is the way to go!!! The rest of our feast consisted of the following:
Roasted red pepper dip
Green bean bundles
Refrigerator Rolls
Ribbon Jello
Candied Walnut Salad with honey red wine viniagrette
Mashed potatoes
Honey Roasted butternut squash
Apple Squares
Pumpkin Pie Bites

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

This is my new favorite appetizer! I found it on "Our Best Bites". Everyone who tries it loves it! I made it as our "snack" on Thanksgiving while we were waiting for the turkey to cook....YUM!!
7oz jar roasted red peppers (about 1C diced)
4 C grated pepper jack cheese (3/4 lb)
8oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3/4 C mayonnaise
2 T minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 350. Remove peppers from jar and blot excess water with paper towels. You want to make sure they are dry so they don't add moisture to the dip. Then dice 'em up. In a bowl mix cream cheese, mayo, onion, garlic and dijon. Stir to combine. Add in cheese and peppers and combine. place in an round dish (mine was about 9 inches around) and place in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Cooking time depends on the dish you use. You want the edges just golden and bubbly. Serve with sliced baguettes or crackers! So Good!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Candied Walnut Salad with Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette

Nothing like a refreshing, fallish salad. This is the one I made for Thanksgiving this year. I found the recipe on my new favorite recipe blog: "Our best bites". (see link on the side of this blog)

Candied Walnut Salad
2 heads of leafy greens; 1 can be a bag of spinach (I like 1 bag of spinach and a head of Romaine or just 2 heads of Romaine)
3/4 c. Craisins
2 crisp apples, cut into cubes and tossed with OJ
Orange juice (enough to toss apples in to prevent browning and add a little flavor)
2 oz. blue cheese or Gorgonzola (I prefer Gorgonzola; it's milder, but harder to find and more expensive), cut into small chunks
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. sugar

Add the walnuts and the sugar to a small saute pan over medium low heat. Stir constantly until sugar melts and coats the nuts. (you know you are done when the sugar turns a light golden color. Transfer nuts to a plate lined with wax paper and let cool. Add all other ingredients to a salad bowl and toss lightly. cover with candied walnuts. Top with honey red wine viniagrette.

Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. honey
1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (really, that's pretty optional; it all goes in the blender)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 c. canola oil

Mix together in blender and top salad just before serving.

Green Bean Bundles

This is an amazing side dish that I found on Soooo yummers! We love green beans at our house and I love to find different ways to make them. This was one of our Thanksgiving sides this year. You have got to try it!!!

1 lb. green beans, ends removed
8 slices bacon
3 T. real butter
1 T. rice vinegar
1 T. white sugar
1 T. minced red onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 t. Kosher salt

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. If you're using fresh green beans, wash and snip the ends off. When water is boiling, add the beans and blanch the beans for 2-3 minutes, or when the beans start turning bright green. Quickly drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process, until the beans have cooled.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a cookie sheet, divide the green beans evenly into 8 piles. Carefully bundle each pile of green beans with one slice of bacon and return to the baking sheet. When the oven is ready, place the pan in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and sizzling. While the bundles are in the oven, melt the butter over medium high heat in a small saucepan. When the butter is bubble, add in the onions and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are softened a fragrant. Reduce heat to low and add in vinegar, sugar, and salt. Remove from heat and set aside. When ready to serve, place bean bundles on a serving platter and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.

Refrigerator Rolls

1 T. yeast

1 T. sugar

2 T. water

3 eggs

1/2 c. sugar

3/4 t. salt

1 c. scalded milk, slightly cooled

1/2 c. butter, softened

3 1/2-4 c. sifted flour

Dissolve yeast, sugar, and water; let stand. Beat eggs, sugar, and salt. Slowly pour in warm milk; mix well. Add butter and let melt in warm milk. When butter is dissolved, add to yeast and beat in flour. Dough should be soft and sticky. Store in fridge overnight. Cut in half the following day. Roll out like a pie crust. Brush lightly with butter. Cut with biscuit cutter, or other small round cutter and fold circles in half. Place on cookie sheet and let rise 4-6 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Apple Squares

My mom has been making these every year for Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. Its like apple pie, but SQUARE....haha. A lot of work, but definitely worth it!


5 C. flour

2 t. salt

1/4 c. sugar

Combine in a bowl and set aside.

2 c. shortening

2 slightly beaten egg yolks


In a liquid measuring cup, mix egg yolk and milk to add up to 1 1/3 cup. Add to dry ingredients. Add shortening and form into a soft ball handling as little as possible. Divide the dough in half. Roll out the 1st half of dough to fit into a cookie sheet with some up over the sides. (tip from my mom: If you roll the dough on a piece of saran wrap the size of your cookie sheet this keeps the dough from being handled too much.). Extend the dough up the sides of the pan and cut off the excess. Make the apple filling and spoon on top of dough in cookie sheet.

Apple filling:

2 quarts peeled sliced apples (8 cups)

1 1/3 c. sugar

5 T. cornstarch

1/4 t. salt

2 t. cinnamon

Mix together and place in cookie sheet on top of dough. "Dot" the top with about 2 T of cold butter.

Roll out 2nd half of dough and place over the top to cover filling, cutting the excess off of the sides. Brush the top with slightly beaten egg whites.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes and then 250 degrees for 10 minutes. Spread with glaze while warm.


2 c. powdered sugar

2/4 T. water

1/2 t. vanilla



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