Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What To Make This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! We are literally ONE day away! Have you decided what you are making for the feast? If not, get busy lady! It's tomorrow! And if you are lucky enough to be a guest who doesn't need to bake, cook or roast something tomorrow, then feast your eyes and get ready for all the deliciousness! I have included a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes to get you in the mood for food!

The Bird

I have used this turkey recipe both times that I hosted Thanksgiving at our house and I'm proud to say that some family members even said it was the best turkey they ever had. I never like turkey....and I loved this one.

Kiss of Lemon Turkey (Source:
Kiss-of-Lemon Roast Turkey

1 turkey (14 to 16 lbs.), rinsed and patted dry (giblets and neck reserved for stock)
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 lemon, zested and halved
2 onions, root ends discarded, then halved with skin on
2 teaspoons dried thyme
Coarse salt and pepper

Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Using kitchen shears, cut off the first two joints of the wing, leaving the drumettes attached to the bird (reserve the wings for turkey stock). Let the turkey come to room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. (And remember to take out the neck and plastic bag of giblets.....don't wanna leave THAT in there. Thank goodness my mother saved me from that one year).
In a small bowl, mash together the butter and lemon zest with a fork. Smear the butter mixture all over the turkey. Squeeze lemon juice over the bird and put the lemon halves in the cavity. Place 2 onion halves in the turkey cavity, and the others in the pan. Sprinkle the thyme, salt and pepper over the turkey.
About 20 minutes before roasting, position a rack in the lowest part of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees . Tie the legs of the turkey together. Transfer to the oven and roast for 1 hour. Rotate the pan a half-turn, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and roast for 1 hour longer. After the second hour, using a bulb baster or brush, baste the turkey with the pan juices. Continue roasting, basting once or twice, until the bird registers 150 degrees to 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the inner thigh, about 30 minutes longer. Using tongs or a sturdy spatula and a two-pronged fork, tilt the turkey to pour any juices from the cavity into the pan.
Transfer the turkey to a large carving board, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before carving and while you make gravy.

The Sides

If I ever give up my absolute favorite stuffing recipe, this one would be a close contender. I love the unique ingredients!

Pear, Prosciutto, and Hazelnut Stuffing (Source:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto; cook, stirring, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel and shallot and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
 Add sage, thyme and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Transfer everything to a large bowl and gently stir in bread, pears, parsley, hazelnuts and the prosciutto. Add broth; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared baking dish; cover with foil.
Bake for 40 minutes; remove the foil and bake until the top is beginning to crisp, 25 to 30 minutes more.

I love Chef Anne Burrell from the Food Network. Everything she makes looks amazing. Wish she was my private chef!

Sweet Potato Casserole (Source: Anne Burrell/Food Network)

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3)
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup diced dried apricots

1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pea-sized pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the sweet potatoes on a sheet tray and roast for 35 to 40 minutes. The sweet potatoes might still be a little hard in the center- no problem!

While the sweet potatoes are baking make the topping. In a food processor, combine the oatmeal, brown sugar, olive oil, butter, and walnuts and pulse until mixture comes together.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Discard the skins. Put the potatoes into a large dish and add the remaining ingredients. Mash together with a potato masher until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a 2-quart casserole dish. Crumble the topping mixture over the potatoes. Bake until the mixture hot all the way through and the topping is brown and crispy, about 30 minutes.

No one can make them like my sister can. But we can at least try!

Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon (Source:
Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon | KneadForFood - Food Blog Recipes
1lb Brussel Sprouts
3 Strips Thick-cut Bacon
1 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

 Preping the brussel sprouts is the only time consuming part of the entire recipe.  For those that may not have worked with brussel sprouts before, just cut off the end that was attached to the stalk, making sure to cut the stems of the outer most leaves.  Those leaves should almost fall right off now.  Cut the brussel sprout in half making sure to cut through the core so that it holds together.
Cut the bacon in thirds and fry it in a medium heat pan.  As a bacon press, I use some aluminum foil and a pot that is just smaller than the pan.  It works great and costs nothing.  If you want to be really efficient, don’t throw the foil away when you’re done with it, as you’ll need again in a bit.
When the bacon is done, remove it but leave the fat behind.  Add the olive oil to it with some salt and pepper.  Place the brussel sprouts face down in the pan and cover the pan with the foil.  Covering the pan with foil will trap the steam that is let off and cook the sprouts evenly.  Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-12 minutes.  When the brussel sprouts are good and caramelized add the bacon back in to reheat. Serve immediately or turn off the heat and replace the foil to keep them warm for dinner.

Tyler Florence. Everything he makes is simple, but he somehow makes the simplest of ingredients the best thing you ever tasted!

Velvety Mashed Potatoes (Source: Food Network/ Tyler Florence)

1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, optional

Warm the cream with the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts; set aside.
Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to boil then add 1 teaspoon of salt and reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender. Drain. Pass the potatoes through a food mill or a ricer into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the warm cream and butter mixture until the cream is absorbed and the mixture is smooth. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and finish them off by stirring in 1/4 cup olive oil.

The Dessert (aka the best part of any meal)

So I made these for a Friendsgiving we went to last weekend and I couldn't believe how they turned out. I told my husband to pray that they turned out before I made them. God must love him, because they were the best macrons ever! Literally, perfect. Everyone at the party raved about them! Master the macron and you will feel like the coolest person ever. Seriously. I'm not divulging my secret tricks quite yet. But I will at least give you the recipe that I based mine off of. This woman is gorgeous and so is all the food she makes! I want her new book!

Pumpkin Macarons (Source:
For Macron shells
1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon confectioners sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground sliced, blanched almonds
6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
orange gel food coloring (optional)

For Filling
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

Directions for the shells:

To make the macarons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Add pumpkin pie spice and a small amount of food coloring if using. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners' sugar mixture until completely incorporated.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets (or ovals with stems for pumpkins), leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macarons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.
Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macarons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macarons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Directions for the filling:
Beat all ingredients  until smooth. Then sandwich between macaron shells. 

My favorite Thanksgiving pie is Pecan. Not a huge fan of all the nuts, but I LOVE the filling. Yum! And with some vanilla ice cream too!? Ugh, kill me now!
Pecan Pie (Source: Food Network)
Picture of Pecan Pie Recipe

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick), diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Flour, for rolling the dough

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 cups chopped toasted pecans
1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Make the dough by hand: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter. (If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon more of cold water over the mixture.

Alternatively, make the dough in a food processor. With the machine fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter, about 10 times. Add the egg and pulse 1 to 2 times; don't let the dough form into a ball in the machine. (If the dough is very dry add up to a tablespoon more of cold water.) Remove the bowl from the machine, remove the blade, and bring the dough together by hand.

Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge. Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is even with the rim. Flute the edge as desired. Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.

Set separate racks in the center and lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack until the dough is set, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift sides of the parchment paper to remove the beans. Continue baking until the pie shell is lightly golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

While the crust is baking make the filling: In medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and stirring constantly, continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, bourbon, and the vanilla. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. (If the crust has cooled, return it to the oven for 5 minutes to warm through.) Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth. Put the pie shell on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the hot crust.

Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 40 to 45 minutes. (If the edges get very dark, cover them with aluminum foil half way during baking.) Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

If you are scrambling at the last minute for a Thanksgiving recipe, I hope this helped you. If not, I hope you're hungry! Can't wait for tomorrow!

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