Friday, November 30, 2007

The Thanksgiving recipes

I won't post them all, since the stuffing was yucky and the green bean casserole was just from the back of the can. But here are the recipes for pumpkin pie and the turkey gravy, which Joannie made (it was fantastic). For the turkey, like Joannie said, I just brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled some s&p. Very simple!

Best Pumpkin Pie
(From Better Homes and Gardens magazine)

1 15oz can of pumpkin
3/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/4 c. milk (not evaporated, just regular)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3 eggs, beaten
9" pie crust

1) Preheat oven to 375.
2) In a large bowl, combine pumpkin & spices. Add eggs; beat slightly with a fork until combined. Gradually add milk; stir until combined.
3) Carefully pour filling in pastry shell. Cover edge with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, bake 30 more minutes or until knife comes out of the center clean. Cool. Refridgerate within two hours.

Quick Gravy
from Real Simple magazine

Pan juices from the turkey and roasting pan
4 cups turkey or chicken broth
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Strain the pan juices into a bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Skim and discard the fat from the surface. In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring 1 cup of the juices and the broth to a boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water until no lumps remain. Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the simmering broth. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and season with the salt and pepper. Strain just before serving.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our Thanksgiving (according to Joannie)

Sorry, sorry! It's been a crazy week and I haven't had a chance to post. We weren't able to upload the pictures over the weekend, like we wanted to, so this post is a little late. I don't have any of the recipes, so Jill will have to post another entry and include any of those.

Here are pictures. It was a simple dinner-- which was good, since there were only three of us anyway! (Well, four, if you include George. I think his favorite part was the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes!!)

Just like our Mom taught us, we used a bag to make the turkey. This has never, ever failed. The bag makes the turkey so moist and flavorful -- without any fuss! Jill barely seasoned the turkey at all, and it was so wonderful... Mmmmm....

We made the old standby green bean casserole, stuffing, sweet potatoes, turkey, and rolls. Like I said, it was a good simple meal. Oh, pumpkin pie and pecan-chocolate pie (see that recipe in the post below) too. I must say, the pumpkin pie was delicious. I've only made pumpkin pie with the Libby's recipe on the back of the can, but Jill's recipe was different and very yummy (not that yours isn't, Libby). I'm pretty sure I ate 80% of the pie, if not more. George had a piece, too. : )

We made a few mistakes... like putting the onions on top of the green bean casserole at the beginning, instead of the end. But Jill saw that they were burning, realized the mistake, and just stirred them in. So it was still yummy! The stuffing was... interesting. We used too much stuffing for the amount of stock we mixed in, but Jill threw in more stock when we saw it was too dry, and it helped. We decided we wouldn't recommend the stuffing recipe, though, so I don't know if Jill will even post that. Oh, and we burned the rolls... but we had more, so it was okay. But when we ran out of leftover rolls the next day (they're so yummy for making mini turkey sandwiches), we were sad we burned them. We almost burned them twice -- I think Patrick said something about needing more starch or something, as a joke, and Jill and I both leapt up from the table and rushed to take the second set of rolls out! : )

I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch of stuff. All in all, it was a very yummy holiday!! And it was a good bonding time for these sisters.

Okay you J sisters, you promised us coverage! I need pictures! And recipes! And stories! And whatever else you've got to share!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving in less than a week!

I brought home our Thanksgiving bird today and he's thawing in the fridge right now! Joannie is coming down so hopefully we will take some pics and bring you coverage of our day of cooking and feasting! I have a few new recipes up my sleeve (as well as the usual traditions).

I made this pie last year and highly recommend it:

Chocolate Pecan Pie
by Emeril Lagasse

1 1/2 cups pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread the pecan pieces and the chocolate chips evenly on the bottom of the pie shell.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together. Pour the filling over the pecans. Bake until the filling sets, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Cut into individual servings and serve with a drizzle of Caramel Sauce and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Notes: Since there is so much sugar in this pie, and my oven tends to be hotter than average, I reduced the temp to 350 and covered the pie with aluminum foil . My first attempt came out almost black on top after an hour because all the sugar burned. I also recommend testing the middle of the pie to make sure it's set all the way through; my second attempt, although nice and brown on top, was still runny in the middle. Okay, it actually took me three attempts before I made this pie correctly. But it was worth it, trust me. It is simply decadent. Of course, I don't recommend making it 3 times in one day, especially if you have time constraints.

There are so many recipes for chocolate pecan pie out there, so if you have one I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

must be the season for soup...

I was going to post this yesterday, but I didn't want to snatch the spotlight from that yummy-looking soup of my sister's. So I waited a day.

Chili seems to be a hit around here, so I don't feel bad adding another chili recipe to this list. This wasn't your typical chili, though -- with the addition of pasta, most of the liquid was soaked up, at least in the leftovers. But it was still really good.

Italian-Style Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
2 cups of water
2 cups of medium-sized pasta shapes, any kind (I used rotini)
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 c Parmesan cheese, divided
1 Tbsp chili powder

1. Brown meat in large saucepan; drain.

2. Add spaghetti sauce, water, pasta, beans, onion, 1/4 c of cheese, and chili powder. Stir.

3. Cover; cook on medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.

4. Sprinkle with remaining cheese just before serving.

Okay, now it's time for Joannie to explain how she could make something so easy turn into a mess . . . it looks really easy, right? And it is . . . unless you only own one pot (I know, who just owns one pot?!) and it's too small for this... It was all okay until I added the sauce and the water, and then I thought, "uh oh..." and my pot was full. I stirred it for awhile, not really sure what I was going to do, but knowing I needed to do something... so I threw what I had mixed (beef, sauce, water) into the crockpot, turned the crockpot on high, then cooked my pasta in my one pot. While my pasta was cooking, I threw the beans, onion, and cheese in the crockpot, and then when the pasta was done, it all went into the crockpot for a good stir. Tada! Like Anne said, you can't mess up chili. I think I need to buy another pot, though...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Get your soup on

Are you feeling vitamin A deficient? Then this is the soup for you:

Butternut Squash Bisque.

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 diced onion
1 peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 4 cups)
3 cups water
3 bouillion cubes
salt and ground black pepper to taste
ground nutmeg to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Heat the oil and melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion in the butter and oil under tender.
Mix the squash into the pot. Pour in water and bouillion, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender.
In a blender or food processor, puree the soup mixture until smooth. (Don't forget the lid for the blender -- very important. Return to the pot, and stir in the heavy cream. Heat through, but do not boil. Serve warm with a dash of nutmeg.

You can also smack a nice dollop of sour cream on the top.

I made this last week and we still have leftovers. It is not a soup to take lightly, as it is very filling! But it keeps you nice and warm on chilly nights.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fool Proof

I've said it before and I'll say it again: You can't ruin chili.

Not if you put in chick peas instead of standard chili beans. Not if you put in a mixture of Prego spaghetti sauce and regular tomato sauce. Not if even if you eat some leftovers and absentmindedly throw the remaining leftovers in the freezer without the lid being completely air-tight. Defrost, then heat through.

Still good.


If you want to get a jumpstart on your Christmas cookie baking, check out Angela's blog. I received this same email from our very own Joannie a couple days ago, but never thought to post it.

Looks like fun!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

French Onion soup Question

Does anyone know, does the incredible taste (and dark color) of french onion soup come from making it with beef broth instead of chicken broth? Has anyone ever made it? I tried making it last night with chicken broth and a lot of onion (and a blender) and it tasted rather , nay VERY blah. I even put in a bunch of random such luck? anyone have success with this?