lemon loaf

Easy Lemon and Banana Loaf Recipes

There is something special about a fresh out of the oven loaf – enjoy them right away, or save them for snacks or school lunches (or tea time with friends!). You can also make two at a time and freeze one for later!

Banana Loaf Recipe

This recipe for banana loaf is so easy – and tasty! It honestly makes the best banana bread I have ever tasted. I like it the way it is, but you can also add a half of a cup of chocolate chips to the recipe if that tickles your fancy.

Ingredients

½ cup of shortening, margarine, or apple sauce
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
3 ripe bananas
2 cups of flour

Directions

Cream together shortening (or margarine or apple sauce) and sugar.
Add the eggs, baking soda, and bananas until well blended.
Add the flour and mix just until blended.
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Enjoy!

Lemon Loaf

This is one of my favourites from when I was a child – I hope you will enjoy it!

Ingredients

½ cup of shortening or margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
Grated rind from 1 lemon
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup of milk
1 ½ cup flour
Glaze: Mix together the juice of ½ lemon and ¼ cup of sugar

Directions

Cream together shortening and sugar.
Add eggs, grated lemon rind, baking powder, and milk. Mix until well blended.
Add flour and mix until just blended.
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Remove from pan. Pour the glaze over the top of the loaf.

You can also turn this into a lemon poppy seed loaf by just adding 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds (hint: soak them in the milk for a couple of minutes)

Enjoy!

easter-eggs-and-flowers-background

Easy Easter dinner side dishes for busy moms

Who wants to spend all day in the kitchen at Easter? I often cook a big turkey dinner, so I guess I do spend some time slaving over a hot stove. However, with some planning, help from my sisters, and some easy recipes, I manage to have some fun and minimize my time in the kitchen. I am a big fan of dishes that can be prepared ahead of time, then popped into the oven about 15 minutes before dinner (about the time it takes to make gravy and carve the meat!).

Here are a few easy and quick ideas for side dishes to go with your turkey, beef, or ham.

Parmesan Asparagus Recipe

You can get this ready ahead of time and pop it in the oven while you are making the gravy for your turkey.

Directions

1 lb. (450 g) fresh asparagus spears

3 Tbsp Grated Parmesan Grated Cheese

15 soda crackers, coarsely crushed (about 1/2 cup)

Olive Oil

Directions

Place asparagus in a shallow casserole dish or on a cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil over asparagus. Top with cheese and cracker crumbs.

BAKE 10 to 15 min. at 350 degrees or until topping is lightly browned and asparagus is cooked (but not soft).

Parmesan Butternut Squash Recipe

Ingredients

3 ½ lbs Butternut squash, cut into cubes (about 1 inch)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cilantro

1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the cilantro, oil, garlic, pepper. Stir in the squash. Place in an ungreased casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until squash tender (not too soft).
If you are planning to make this ahead of time, cook for 45 minutes. Then, re-heat it for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

Mashed Potatoes Recipe

You can pretty much make your regular mashed potatoes ahead of time, then reheat them in a covered casserole dish for about 15 – 20 minutes in the oven!

Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients

7 cups peeled and cubed potatoes

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons butter

Directions

Boil potatoes and garlic in a saucepan for about 20 minutes; drain. Add remaining ingredients; mash or beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Put into a covered casserole dish and then reheat in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes before dinnertime.

Enjoy your day!

 

hamballs

Ham Ball Recipe

These are so easy and delicious! They are a favourite at our family Christmas Eve parties, but are good for anytime.

Meatballs:

1 pound ground cooked ham
1 pound ground pork
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt

Sauce:

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (packed)
3/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Combine meats, bread crumbs, milk, eggs, and salt and mix thoroughly. Shape into aprox. 1 inch balls and place in a shallow baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients and pour over meatballs. Baked uncovered at 325 degrees for 40 minutes, basting often with the sauce.

You can serve as they come out of the oven, or to keep them hot, use a chafing dish.

Enjoy!

dip

Easy Holiday Dip Recipes

For busy people who need to bring a dish for the next holiday party.

The Christmas season is often a busy one and the odds are pretty good that there will be some partying going on in your life this time of year. Whether you are the host, or asked to bring something along with you, these recipes will be a hit – and they are easy to prepare too!

Hot Cheesy Dip

Ingredients
• 1 package cream cheese
• 1 cup asiago & artichoke dip
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• ¼ cup parmesan cheese
• ¼ cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese
• ¼ cup cheddar cheese
• ¼ cup salsa (optional)

Directions
Blend everything together in a food processor. Cook for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with nacho chips, bagel crisps, pita bread, or bread.

Crab Dip

Ingredients
• 1 brick cream cheese
• ½ cup sour cream
• ¼ cup miracle whip
• 1 cup artificial crab
• Topped with seafood sauce, diced tomato, green onion, 1 cup grated mozarella cheese

Directions
Mix all together in food processor. Spread dip on a plate and top with seafood sauce. Add finely-grated mozzarella, diced tomato, and onion. Serve chilled with crackers.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Ingredients
• 1 package cream cheese
• 1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers
• ½ tspn white or red pepper
• 1 clove garlic, crushed

Directions
Mix all together in a food processor. Serve chilled with crackers and sliced vegetables.

mocktails

Holiday Mocktail Recipes

What if your party includes children, people who just prefer to not drink alcohol, and designated drivers?

With holiday celebrations come festive drinks and cocktails, usually involving alcohol. Why not offer them something other than just soda or juice! Almost any juice will mix nicely with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda. Serve it in a nice glass with a garnish and all of a sudden it makes the ordinary festive! There are loads of mocktail recipes out there, too. Here are some simple festive drinks, especially favorite recipes for parties.

Shirley Temple

I remember as a child feeling very special when we would go out for dinner. On a special occasion, I was allowed to order a Shirley Temple! This classic drink is festive and fun for kids and adults alike!
Ingredients
• 3 oz. orange juice
• 6 oz. ginger ale
• 2/3 oz. grenadine (or for a less sweet taste, cranberry juice)
• Ice

Directions
1. In a tall glass with ice, combine the ingredients and stir gently to mix.
2. Garnish with a maraschino cherry or orange slice.

Roy Rogers

For the cola lover, this is the counterpart to the Shirley Temple.
Ingredients
• 6 oz. cola
• 2/3 oz. grenadine
• Ice

Directions
1. In a tall glass with ice, combine the ingredients and stir gently to mix.
2. Garnish with a maraschino cherry or orange slice.

Cranberry Punch

Ingredients
• 64 oz. cranberry juice or cranberry cocktail
• 1 can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
• 32 oz. chilled sparkling water, ginger ale, or lemon-lime soda

Directions
1. In a large punch bowl, mix the cranberry juice and the lemonade concentrate.
2. Add the sparkling water or soda just before serving. Toss in some cranberries and orange slices to make it look more festive. If you use frozen cranberries, it will also help to keep the punch cold without using ice that will dilute the flavors.

Virgin Caesar

Ingredients
• 8 oz. Clamato
• 3 shakes Worcestershire sauce
• Hot sauce to taste
• Salt and pepper (optional)

Directions
1. Rim a tall glass with celery salt (wet the rim of the glass with water or lime juice and dip the rim in a saucer with celery salt to coat the rim)
2. Fill the glass with ice
3. Add Worcestershire sauce into glass (about three shakes).
4. Add hot sauce.
5. Add Clamato juice.
6. Top with salt and pepper
7. Garnish with celery stalk, asparagus spear, or a pickled bean

We hope your festive parties will be the most memorable this year with these recipes! Enjoy!

turkey1

Once a Month Cooking – The Turkey Plan

Turkey is a far more versatile meat than most of us think. Many people relegate it to holidays and “leftovers”, but why not make it part of your everyday fare? Turkey is delicious, low in fat (unless drowned in gravy!) and can be substituted for chicken in most dishes. It is a little bit coarser in texture than chicken, but this can be overcome by boiling turkey, which I accidentally discovered after boiling a very meaty carcass and then using the meat for sandwiches. You really can’t tell the difference!

Turkey is also extremely economical if bought in bulk when the prices are the lowest, usually around the end of the fall and in the spring (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter). It is also much faster to debone than chickens and you get so much more meat! I have definitely turned into a turkey convert- I prefer it to chicken anyday!

I have divided the Turkey plan into two plans because they illustrate two very different ways to approach cooking such a large bird. Many of the recipes in this plan I have used, the second plan will be more experimental. Perhaps I need a third plan to demonstrate boiled turkey! Enjoy, and please let me know how these recipes turn out for you.

Strategy #1: Traditional Method- Roast a large whole turkey and serve for dinner. I have provided recipes for stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy too. All should freeze well, and you’ll be eating like kings long after Turkey Day!

Divide leftovers into the following: Sliced breast meat for dinner slices and diced white meat for meals where turkey is the “star” of the meal: stir fries, turkey ala king, curries, etc.

Dark meat, chopped for dishes where the meat is not necessarily the focus: casseroles, one dish meals, stews, potpies, soups, etc.

Bones, skin, gizzards- used for turkey stock and broth

Master Recipes:

Roasted Turkey
Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Stuffing

Secondary Recipes:

Turkey ala King
Turkey Pot Pie
Curry Turkey
Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Red Chili Sauce
Mexican Turkey Lasagna
Turkey Lasagna Roll Ups
Turkey Divan
Dinner Slices
Turkey Fried Rice
Turkey Turnovers
Turkey Tetrazinni

Quick and Easy (make these on the fly with frozen diced turkey):

Turkey Salad in Pitas
Turkey Stir Fry
Turkey Club Sandwich
Main dish salad with roasted turkey
Turkey Quesadillas
Turkey tacos/burritos

Other Ideas

Turkey Jokes

Roasted Turkey

Roasting a turkey is pretty easy. I have provided some basic instructions here, you can find more detailed info on the Butterball recipe site.

  • 1 turkey
  • 1 roasting pan
  • oil
  • pastry brush
  • meat thermometer (optional)
  • aluminum foil
  1. Wash turkey, cleaning out cavities and reserving “gizzard” (heart, liver, neck etc) for another use. Pat dry. Preheat oven to .
  2. Put turkey into roasting pan and brush skin with vegetable oil (use a pastry brush). Put turkey, uncovered, into oven and roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until skin is browned. Cover with foil or top of roasting pan and cook for another 3-4 hours, depending on size of turkey.
  3. Check meat for doneness by inserting a large two-pronged fork into the thigh. If it is done, the juices should run clear. They will be pink if not done.
  4. Carve the turkey however you like and serve. Enjoy!
  5. Note: when everyone is sitting around holding their bellies, I sneak back into the kitchen and cut what is left of the turkey off of the bone. I separate the meat into breast slices for dinners, white meat that is too small for dinner slices, and dark meat. You can throw all of the bones and other turkey leftover into a stock pot or crock pot, cover with water, add some salt, pepper and thyme and let it simmer for 3-4 hours on the stove, or longer in a crockpot. When done, strain and reserve the stock, and cut remaining meat from bones. It is AMAZING how much meat you can get even from a well-picked turkey. You can pressure can the stock, or you can freeze it or just refrigerate and make some more delicious meals with it. See below for more ideas.

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Easy Pan Gravy

(from Better Homes and Gardens Step by Step Cookbook)

  • Hot drippings from a roast or turkey
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • milk OR water OR broth
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of dried thyme, crushed
  • Few drops of Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
  1. After removing roast/turkey to a platter, pour the meat juices and fat into a two-cup measure.
  2. Skim off the fat, reserving three to four tablespoons. Return fat to the pan (I use a large saucepan).
  3. Stir in flour. Cook and stir over low heat until bubbly. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Add enough milk, broth, or water to reserved meat juices to make 2 cups. Add liquid all at once to the fat-flour mixture (called a roux); blend well. Add some salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add thyme and Kitchen Bouquet.
  5. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook two minutes more. Makes two cups.

Kim’s note: when I make this, I strain the meat juices so the gravy is not lumpy. You need to double this recipe if you make a 15 pound turkey, I wound up with3 cups of meat juices so I added milk to make it four and doubled the whole thing. The thyme is a wonderful touch! It tasted sooo good! Rosemary would be great too, but you would have to remove the leaves before serving (use fresh sprig- yum!) This gravy freezes well too. I freeze it in two cup portions and always have leftovers, there are 5 of us. If your gravy separates when reheating, just mix well and heat thoroughly, it will look and taste fine.

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Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes freeze very well, so make a bunch! Cook once, eat several times! There is nothing like home-cooked food waiting to be eaten in the freezer!

  • 10-20 medium sized russet potatoes (depends on how much you want to make and how big your stock pot is)
  • one very large stock pot
  • water to cover potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk or broth to flavor
  1. Peel and cube potatoes. Put into a large stock pot and cover with water. If you like, you can also add peeled garlic for a different taste.
  2. Boil potatoes for 20-30 minutes, strain, reserving water and a few potatoes for potato soup, or as a sourdough starter (or the base for a vegetable broth).
  3. Mash potatoes with egg beater or masher, add salt and pepper, butter and milk (if desired). For low fat potatoes, add chicken or turkey broth that has been defatted. Mix until the consistency is fluffy but not soupy.
  4. To freeze: pack potatoes into 2 cup freezer containers and freeze. 2 cups seems to be about right for our family of five, you may need to adjust this according to the number of people you will be serving.
  5. To serve: Thaw potatoes overnight in refrigerator or in microwave (this is my method! I always forget!). Put them in the oven, in a covered casserole and cook at 350 for 30-40 minutes. I usually put in turkey dinner slices and gravy and the same time for an easy, delicious meal.

Note: You can do a lot of things with leftover mashed potatoes. They are great for thickening soups and sauces, as well as adding moistness to bread dough (they are a main ingredient in potato refrigerator dough, an old Betty Crocker recipe), even cake! They are also great as pancakes and mixed with flour for dumplings. Let your imagination run wild!

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Homemade Stuffing

Here are methods and recipes for two kinds of stuffings- dry and moist, from the Time-life Cookbook Series, “The Good Cook”. You can freeze stuffing- it will come out very moist, but still taste wonderful. Enjoy!

Method 1- Dry Stuffing (bread is cut in cubes, made into croutons and seasoned) make croutons from firm, unsliced bread that is about two days old (or use el cheapo bread and leave it out). Choose ingredients that will compliment poultry: chopped celery, onion and mixed herbs (parsley thyme, rosemary, sage -just like the song!). Use what you like!

Browning the croutons-cut the bread in to chunks and fry in butter over low heat, adding more butter as it is absorbed, until the bread is browned. Or spread the chunks in a buttered pan and bake, turning occassionally, for half an hour in a moderate oven (low heat).

Mix stuffing- Place the croutons with the other ingredients in a bowl. The best way to mix this kind of stuffing is with your (clean!) hands: this method combines all of the elements while producing a light, airy mixture.

Basic Stuffing

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2-3 slices of bacon
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups small cubes of trimmed firm-textured bread
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley (or half of that amount using dried parsley)
  • crumbled dried thyme and rosemary (or fresh if you can get it!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk or chicken/turkey stock
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a large skillet, fry the bacon in half of the butter until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon, add the chopped onion to the pan, and saute or moderate heat until the pieces of the onion turn soft and golden. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add the remaining butter to the skillet. When it melts, add the bread cubes and toss over moderate heat until they have taken up the fat and turned a light golden color.
  3. Crumble the bacon into a mixing bowl. Add the sauteed onion, bread cubes, parsley, and a generous pinch each of thyme and rosemary. Toss with fork or hands until well mixed.
  4. In another bowl, beat the egg with the milk or stock. Pour this over the bread mixture, tossing with a fork to distribute evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. You can now use the stuffing to fill the turkey cavity. If you do not wish to cook it in the bird (some food safety organizations warn about samonella problems), you can cook in a covered casserole in the oven or microwave, to make sure the flavors blend and the egg cooks fully.

Method 2: Wet Stuffing– you make this from fresh bread crumbs, seasonings, butter and onion. There are so many flavor combinations!

Preparing ingredients- Parboil onion for about ten minutes. Chop it coarsely. Finely chop fresh sage leaves or if not available, crumble 1/2 teaspoon of dried sage.

Moistening and mixing-In a bowl, combine the onion and sage with fresh, coarse bread crumbs, chopped parsley and chopped, cooked giblets (if you want), salt, pepper, butter and an egg yolk. Add liquid- stock, water, etc, to moisten. Mix all ingredients together gently but thoroughly.

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Sage and Onion stuffing

  • 4 large onions
  • 10 fresh sage leaves or 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Peel onions and out them in the boiling water. Let simmer for 5 minutes or longer. Just before they are taken out, put in the sage leaves and boil for a minute or two.
  2. Drain, then chop the onions and sage very finely, add the bread crumbs, seasoning and butter, and work the whole together with the yolk of an egg.
  3. You can now use the stuffing to fill the turkey cavity. If you do not wish to cook it in the bird (some food safety organizations warn about samonella problems), you can cook in a covered casserole in the oven or microwave, to make sure the flavors blend and the egg cooks fully.

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Crock Pot Stuffing

from “ThanksgivingRecipes.com”, very nice web site, check it out!

This is an easy way to make “extra” stuffing for a large crowd, saving stove space because it cooks in a crock pot. Very tasty and moist!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup parsley sprigs
  • 1 (12 ounce) package mushrooms, sliced
  • 12 – 13 cups slightly dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon ground poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups chicken broth or turkey broth
  • 2 eggs, well beaten

Directions:

  1. Melt butter or margarine in a skillet. Sauté onion, celery, mushroom, and parsley.
  2. Pour sautéed vegetables over bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. Add all seasonings and toss together. Pour in enough broth to moisten. Add beaten eggs, and mix together well.
  3. Pack stuffing lightly into crock pot, and cover. Set to High for 45 minutes; then reduce to Low to cook for 4 to 8 hours.

Makes 8 servings

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Turkey ala King

  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (4 oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained and liquid reserved or 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cut-up cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1 jar (2 oz) diced pimientos drained (optional)

Noodles, hot cooked rice or toasted bread triangles to serve it on

Heat margarine in 3 quart saucepan over medium high heat. Cook bell pepper and mushrooms in the margarine 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until bubbly; remove from heat.

Stir in milk, broth, and reserved mushroom liquid. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in chicken and pimientos. Heat until hot. Serve over rice, noodles, biscuits, potatoes, whatever you like.

Kim’s note: We love this dish and it freezes well. Just be sure to reheat it thoroughly in an oven before serving, the white sauce tends to separate, just stir it and it will be fine. We love fresh mushrooms in this, and you can omit the pimiento, we don’t use it.

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Turkey Pot Pie

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken/ turkey broth
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups cut up chicken or turkey
  • pastry of your choice- homemade, frozen, or you can use biscuit dough (I do not put crust on the bottom, only the top)
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Rinse frozen peas and carrots in cold water to separate; drain.
  3. Heat margarine in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in flour, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Stir in chicken and vegetables.
  4. Prepare pastry ( I freeze this ahead and then thaw ahead when I make this or make a big batch the same day and freeze.) Roll two thirds of pastry into a 13-inch square. Ease into an ungreased square pan, 9x9x2 inches. Pour chicken mixture into pastry lined pan. Roll remaining pastry into an 11-inch square. Cut out designs with a cookie cutter. Place square over filling. Turn edges under and flute. Bake about 35 minutes or until golden. 6 servings

Kim’s adaptations: If I am serving this in a large pan, I omit the bottom layer. I put the filling in the pan then the crust and freeze it. When I want to serve it, I thaw it out and cook for 35 minutes or more. It turns out great. You can also make individual pot pies in those extra large muffin tins- they are the perfect size (be sure to have a top and bottom crust and line the muffin tin with foil so it is easier to get the pot pies out). The best way to freeze individual pot pies is to freeze the entire muffin tin and then take out the pies, it is so much easier! Less mess! You can also use this recipe to make beef pot pies, just use shredded beef and beef stock in place of the chicken or turkey.

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Turkey Curry

I adapted this easy recipe from my mother. She always made this for me and it is one of my favorites. I hope you like it too! Don’t let the ingredient list scare you- the beauty of this dish is that it is made entirely in the microwave! Easy!

Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • paprika to taste
  • 1 cup canned evaporated milk

The rest:

  • 4 cups cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1 egg well beaten
  • 1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • cooked hot rice (or reheated from freezer)
  • optional: chutney and “side boys”: raisins, chapatis and other traditional Indian side dishes
  1. Melt butter in casserole dish in your microwave. Add onion, flour, curry, salt, ginger, and paprika. Cook for 4 minutes on high, stirring occassionally.
  2. Gradually blend in milk, cook 3 minutes to thicken, stirring occassionally.
  3. Add chicken or turkey, blend a little sauce into the egg (so it does not cook) and add the egg into the curry sauce. Mix well. Heat but do not boil or the sauce will curdle. Stir in worcestershire sauce.
  4. Serve over rice with “side boys”/side dishes. We like coconut, peanuts and raisins.

Note: this should freeze fine. If sauce separates after reheating, just stir and make sure it is heated all of the way through. If you do not want to use the egg since it is not fully cooked, you can use egg white or those egg beaters at the store to avoid any samonella problems. I have never had a problem with this recipe. I have not tried to eliminate the egg, but you could do that if you wanted to. Don’t forget- rice freezes beautifully! Make a big batch and freeze in meal portions.

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Turkey Enchiladas with Homemade Red Chili Sauce

My recipe is a bit of departure from the traditional corn enchiladas. I wanted something that was easy to make, freezes very well (keep the sauce in separate container), and absolutely delicious! Here was what I came up with:

  • 2 cups of chopped turkey
  • 1 package of flour tortillas
  • 2 cups of homemade red chili sauce (recipe follows)
  • cheddar cheese
  • optional toppings:
  • diced fresh tomatoes
  • shredded lettuce
  • sliced olives
  1. I do not use a tradional method for making enchiladas, but the effect is the same and we all love this dish. Here goes:
  2. Put two cups of chopped turkey, shredded beef or pork in a mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup red chili sauce and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. (You can freeze the filling and tortillas separately and assemble later or you can assemble and freeze.)
  3. Place 1/4 cup of this mixture on to a tortilla and roll up, placing seam side down in a pyrex dish. Do this until all of the mixture is used up, this should yield 8 enchiladas. (I use a pyrex casserole dish with a plastic cover that can go from freezer to oven by just taking off the lid and adding foil.) Freeze enchiladas and sauce separately so that the enchiladas do not get soggy. Freeze extra cheese (about 1/2-1 cup) in a small ziploc baggie (you can tape this onto the pyrex dish).
  4. To serve: Preheat oven to 350. Defrost red chili sauce. Using a pasty brush, “paint” the enchiladas, completely covering them with all of the sauce. Top with cheese and bake until thoroughly heated, about 30 minutes. When done, top with tomatoes, lettuce and olives.

Note: I serve this with refried beans, homemade or store bought. I put them in a casserole and put a little of the red chili sauce and cheddar cheese on them. This dish winds up tasting like the authentic Mexican restaurants that I grew up around! Que magnifico!

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Homemade Red Chili Sauce

(from Recipes for Life from the Fitonics Kitchen by Marilyn Diamond)

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 up olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2-2/3 cup chili powder ( I use 2/3 and it’s great, if too spicy, reduce. I buy big canisters of chili powder at Sam’s, you want the regular red chili powder, not the hot stuff!)
  • 8 cups of water or beef broth
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp or less of sea salt or regular salt
  • 2 tsp oregano

1. Mix flour and oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until smooth

2. Add cumin and chili powder, stir, add water or beef broth

3. Add remaining ingredients

4. Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until sauce is thick enough to

coat the back of your mixing spoon.

Kim’s note: Original recipe served 8-10, this is quadrupled. It makes about 8 cups, I freeze it in 2 cup portions. This is an extremely versatile sauce. You can change spices and spiciness to your taste. It can be used in many recipes. I made enchiladas, mexican lasagna and a mexican “spaghetti sauce” by mixing it half and half with my no cook spaghetti sauce (tomato sauce plan)-delicious! Eventually I will write a Mexican plan, figured no one would want to wait that long for the recipe! LOL I would like to try this in the crockpot. If any one does, let me know how it turns out!

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Mexican Turkey Lasagna

This recipe has a few “non-scratch” ingredients, but it is so delicious that I had to include it! You can substitute your own homemade salsa if you make it. I am looking for a good salsa recipe to can next year, will post what I find!

  • 1 (16-ounce) jar mild salsa
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar medium salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10-ounce)package dry lasagne (6 noodles)
  • 2 cups nonfat cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded MontereyJack cheese

1.Pour both jars of salsa into a large non-aluminum saucepan. Add pepper, chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce is reduced to 4 cups, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions and drain well. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine noodles, the cottage cheese, eggs, parsley, and chiles; mix well and set aside.

3.Arrange half the cooled lasagna noodles in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread half the cottage cheese mixture over the pasta then half the cooked chicken, then half the salsa mixture

4. Sprinkle half the shredded cheeses on top. Repeat the layering steps, ending with the shredded cheeses. Bake, covered, until bubblv and heated through, about 45-50 minutes. Let stand uncovered for 10 minutes before cutting.

You can freeze this fully assembled and reheat by cooking for 1 hour at 350 (thaw it in the microwave or overnight first). This is magnificent!

serves 8-12 from “Making Waves in the Kitchen” Indian River, FL

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Turkey Lasagna Rolls

  • 11 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 pound ground turkey (why not try cooked, chopped?)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1(26-ounce) jar commercial spaghetti sauce with mushrooms and ripe olives
  • 1/4 cup Chablis or other dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups r1cotta cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain. Cut in half crosswise, and set aside.
  2. Cook turkey, onion, and garlic in a large skillet until turkev is browned, stirring to crumble meat. Drain. Add spaghetti sauce, wine, parsley, and salt, stirring well.
  3. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Combine ricotta cheese and next 5 ingredients, stirring well. Spread ricotta mixture evenly over lasagna noodles. Roll up jellyroll fashion, starting at narrow end. Place lasagna rolls, seam side down, in lightly greased 13-x9-x2-inch baking dish. Pour meat sauce over rolls, and sprink1e with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

TO STORE: Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Cover tightly, and freeze up to 2 weeks.

TO SERVE: Thaw in refrigerator. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

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Turkey Divan

  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. Dry white wine
  • 1/2/ cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli or 2 packages (10 oz each) frozen broccoli spears, cooked and drained
  • 6 large slices of turkey breast (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat margarine in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in flour and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.
  2. Stir in broth. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and the wine.
  3. Beat whipping cream in chilled bowl until stiff. Fold cheese mixture into whipped cream.
  4. Place hot broccoli in ungreased rectangular baking dish, 12x 7 1/2×2 inches. Top with turkey. Pour cheese sauce over turkey. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Set oven control to broil. Broil with top 3 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is bubbly and light brown.

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Dinner Slices

This is so easy that I almost did not put it in the plan! Just slice the leftover turkey breast into serving-sized pieces, lay on a cookie sheet, and freeze. When frozen, put into a ziploc baggie in meal sized amounts. Freeze leftover gravy and mashed potatoes separately and you have an instant Thanksgiving style dinner without the work!

To serve: Thaw in fridge or microwave. Heat over to 350 and put slices in a casserole with lid. Pour gravy over top and reheat for 30 minutes or so. I have even put the mashed potatoes in with the turkey and gravy. Serve with steamed veggies and salad. Yum!

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Turkey Fried Rice

  • 3/4 cup diced cooked turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained and sliced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion (with tops)
  • Dash of white pepper
  1. Mix turkey, cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  2. Heat wok until hot (or use large, deep fry pan). Add 1 tbsp. oil; rotate wok to coat sides. Add eggs; cook and stir until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist. Remove eggs from wok.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. oil, rotate wok again. Add turkey, water chestnuts, mushrooms and 1/2 tsp. salt; stir fry one minute. Stir in soy sauce. Add chicken mixture, eggs, green onion, and white pepper, stir-fry 30 seconds.

Kim’s note: This should freeze fine, though I have not tried it. Rice does very well in the freezer, eggs tend to get tough unless mixed like this. Let me know how it turns out for you!

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Turkey Turnovers

  • 1/2 cups leftover cooked turkey meat (white and/or dark), chopped
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. finely cut fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup leftover turkey gravy
  • 2 tbsp. dry sherry
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream

For the pastry:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water
  1. Mix the turkey, parsley, chives, onion and green pepper with the turkey gravy. Add the sherry and season well to taste. Preheat the oven to 375′ F.
  2. For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour and rub the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add just enough ice water (the least possible amount) to work the ingredients quickly into a firm dough.
  3. On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough very thin, about 1/8 inch thick, and cut it into 4-inch squares. Put 1 tablespoon of the turkey filling on each square. Fold the dough over the filling into a triangle. Brush the edges with a little water and seal them securely.
  4. Beat the egg yolk with the cream and use it to brush the tops of the turnovers. Bake them on an ungreased baking sheet for about 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  5. To serve, pile the freshly baked turnovers on a hot folded napkin on a warmed serving plate and serve immediately.

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Turkey Tetrazzini-Style

  • 1 cup thin strips of leftover cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped, cooked spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup sliced, sauteed fresh mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. bread crumbs, mixed with softened butter
  • 4 to 5 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cream sauce:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 or 3 thin onion slices
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1 whole clove
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • salt and pepper
  • grated nutmeg
  1. Make cream sauce by first scalding the cream containing the onion, parsley, bay leaf and clove and then straining it.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan, stir in the flour and let this roux cook briefly before, stirring in the flavored cream.
  3. Simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, then season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Stir in the turkey, spaghetti and mushrooms.
  4. Mix well and turn the mixture into a buttered baking dish or six individual baking dishes. Sprinkle with the buttered bread crumbs mixed with the Parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated moderate oven at 375 degrees 10 to 15 minutes or until the crumbs are brown. Serve at once, while still bubbling.

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Quick and Easy

(make these on the fly with frozen diced turkey):

There are hundreds of ways to use turkey, here are just a few ideas. I have included some links to more ideas and recipes on the internet. When doing research for this plan, I found enough recipes to fill an entire cookbook! I decided to stay with recipes I have tried or know how to do, but there are so many other options! Be creative!

Turkey Salad in Pitas

Defrost turkey (I freeze chopped turkey in 2 cup portions) and mix with mayonaisse or ranch (we like to use insanity sauce-see the chicken plan). Line pitas with lettuce and tomato, then add turkey salad. Add bacon if desired. Yum!

Turkey Stir Fry

Chop up turkey and stir-fry in peanut oil with your favorite chopped vegetables. Try some Chinese veggies, such as bok choy or bamboo shoots, or use some old favorites, such as carrots, broccoli, onion, and celery.

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Turkey Club Sandwich

Defrost some dinner slices or shredded turkey. Put turkey on toasted bread with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and bacon. Add sprouts or cheese if desired.

Main dish salad with roasted turkey

Easy and good! Make a nice salad with different kinds of lettuces, some chopped broccoli and cauliflower, if desired. Top with tomatoes, turkey and cheese. I like to put ranch dressing or insanity sauce on top, you can use whatever dressing you like. Add bacon bits if you like.

Turkey Quesadillas

Put diced turkey and cheese into a tortilla and fold. You can freeze them, fry them or bake them. You can add green chilies or jalapenos, they are good just about any which way!

Turkey tacos/burritos

Chop and use in place of ground beef on tostadas, in tacos, and burritos.

Other Ideas:

Use in empanadas, hot pockets, chili, as a pizza topping, on top of baked potatoes, on nachos, as a bbq, in casseroles, quiche crepes with white sauce, with pasta, in pilaf, etc. The possibilities are endless!

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The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven…
The turkey shot out of the oven
And rocketed into the air,
It knocked every plate off the table
And partly demolished a chair.
It ricocheted into a corner
And burst with a deafening boom,
Then splattered all over the kitchen,
Completely obscuring the room.
It stuck to the walls and the windows,
It totally coated the floor,
There was turkey attached to the ceiling,
Where there’d never been turkey before.
It blanketed every appliance,
It smeared every saucer and bowl,
There wasn’t a way I could stop it,
That turkey was out of control.
I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure,
And thought with chagrin as I mopped,
That I’d never again stuff a turkey
With popcorn that hadn’t been popped.

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Twas the Night….
Twas the night before Christmas and in my sleep.
Strange dreams in my mind, began to creep
Turkey leftovers beckoned — The dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation with all of my might.
Tossing and turning with anticipation……
The thought of a snack became infatuation…..
So to the kitchen I did race, Flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge full of goodies galore.
I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.
I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
Till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground!
I crashed through the ceiling. Floating into the sky….
With a mouthful l of pudding and a handful of pie,
But I managed to yell as I soared past the trees.
HAPPY EATING TO ALL!
PASS THE CRANBERRIES PLEASE!

 

Kim Tilley is the mother of three boys, ages 9,6 and 2. She is also a tightwad at heart. Her interests include cooking, crafts, gardening, computers, and saving money! When not typing away at the computer, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something out of nothing! Visit Kim’s website at
http://frugal-moms.com

turkey-soup

Holiday Leftover Ideas

The holidays are a time for friends, family, and good, old-fashioned home cooking. Who can resist the tempting smells coming from the kitchen, at this most favorite time of year? Holiday dinners were among my favorite, most memorable meals as a child. Our family shared our holiday meals with different relatives each year. Where ever we were, and whoever we were with, we always knew to expect good food and enjoyable family gatherings that we would remember for months to come.

When I was a child, it was always a tradition in our family to have turkey for Thanksgiving and ham for Christmas. We would also always enjoy mounds of creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams with lots of butter, brown sugar, and melted marshmallows, and I could always count on sampling my dad’s famous fruit salad. Homemade cranberry sauce was also always a special holiday treat.

Now that I’m married, we have even more family to share our holiday meals with. With so much family, though, we rarely get to host dinner at our house. It’s always nice to go to someone else’s house to eat, but then we don’t get any of the leftovers! We usually end up taking advantage of the holiday sales at the supermarket though, and then we can have our own little feast. I’ve had a lot of fun over the years devising ways to use up the leftovers from our own holiday meals — and I’d like to share some of my favorite recipes with you.

Turkey and Rice Soup

2 1/2 cups turkey, cooked and diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 6-ounce box long-grained rice
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrots, grated
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients with 6 cups of water. Simmer covered, until rice is cooked, approximately 30 minutes. Great with fresh bread.

Turkey Spaghetti

8 oz. spaghetti or other pasta
1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
3/4 c. grated mild cheddar cheese
2 c. leftover cooked, diced turkey
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional – diced celery and/or diced onion to your taste
Prepare soup as directed. Prepare spaghetti as directed,then drain. Combine spaghetti, soup and remaining ingredients. Stir until cheese melts. Serve and enjoy!

Mashed Potatoes and Ham Bake

2 cups mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons mustard
2 cups ham, cubed
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, mix mashed potatoes and mustard. Spread potato mixture in the bottom of a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Arrange ham on top of potatoes. In a small bowl, mix cottage cheese and cheddar cheese. Spread over ham. Bake until mixture is heated through, about 30 minutes.

Chopped Ham Sandwiches

2 lb. leftover ham, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 c. ketchup
1/4 c. vinegar
1 c. water
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Fry ham in a skillet and sprinkle flour over it. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour and serve on toast or hamburger buns. Makes 15 to 20 sandwiches.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of the Creative Homemaking Recipe of the Week Club Cookbook, a cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For recipes, tips to organize your home, home decorating, crafts, frugal living, and family fun, visit Creative Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com and in the Home and Garden section of Suite 101 http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/creative_homemaking

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Hot Holiday Drink Recipes

After a night out caroling with friends and/or relatives, invite everyone back to your house to help trim your Christmas tree and serve up the following drinks and snacks.

Hot Mulled Wine

1 bottle red wine
12 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
Rind of 1 lemon
Rind of 1 orange
2 tablespoons sugar

Add all ingredients to a pot and steep gently over a medium heat until hot. Avoid boiling the mixture. Serve in sturdy mugs. NOTE: This is good to make in a crock pot, too. Makes the house smell nice, also.

Kahlua Nog

1 cup Kahlua
1 pint dark rum
1 quart egg nog
1 pint chocolate ice cream
1 pint coffee-flavored ice cream

Mix rum, Kahlua and egg nog in a large pitcher. Right before serving, pour 1/2 of the mixture into a chilled large punch bowl. Add scoops of the ice creams. Then add the remaining liquid mixture.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 drops peppermint oil
Sweetened whipped cream for garnish
Candy Canes

In a saucepan, combine the cream, milk, sugar and chocolate and cook until the mixture just begins to steam. Add the peppermint oil. Divide the hot chocolate into mugs and top with sweetened whip cream. Add a candy cane to each cup. NOTE: Kids love this yummy drink.

Get-togethers like this call for food that can be prepared ahead of time and put out on a buffet table when everyone arrives. Make ahead a crock pot of beef stew or chicken noodle soup. Prepare a tray of fresh vegetables with dips and another tray of sliced cheeses, sausages, and other cold cuts then put out different types of breads and buns so everyone can make their own sandwiches. And since it’s the holidays, be sure to keep it simple. Put out plates of home made sweet breads such as banana bread, pumpkin bread and brownies. Plates of homemade Christmas cookies added to this and you have your desserts.

The point is to enjoy yourself with as little hassle as possible. And if anyone offers to bring something, suggest a colorful pasta salad, or a bread bowl full of dip with bread cubes around it.

About the Author: Lois Mead is an Editor for The 1001Recipes2Send.com Recipes Database. Become a member to receive the weekly newsletter alert: http://www.1001Recipes2Send.com Download FREE eBooks at: http://www.1001Recipes2Send.com/Free

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Easy Does It Christmas Food

Since both my husband and I have family to see at Christmas time, we spend time with his family at our house on Christmas Eve and my family at their house on Christmas day. Since my mom always makes a big beautiful dinner and we have so much going on at the time, I usually make a snack buffet table for the Christmas Eve celebration at our house.

It is very simple and helps keep my stress level down. I can make all of it ahead of time and just set the table up later. I don’t get fancy with the table decorations, but do include a pretty poinsettia tablecloth and pretty holiday paper plates and napkins. It’s now a tradition that everyone looks forward to because it’s easy and provides delicious snacks all day long. The best part is that by using paper plates, there are no dishes or pots and pans to wash! The only clean up involved is putting away any leftovers, that is, if there is any!

Here are a few tips to plan your own snack buffet. When you have time, take out a piece of paper and start writing down some possibilities.

Write down any recipes that come to mind as you read the following:

  • Trays of things to dip is always popular. I like to put out a veggie platter with ranch dip (I use the packet of `Uncle Dans’ found in the grocery store to make the dip) and an assortment of crackers with my popular recipe `clam dip’.
  • A tray of sandwich makings. I load a tray with deli meats and cheeses, and other sandwich makings such as onion, tomato, pickles, mayonnaise, and mustard. You might try a tray of club sandwich makings or Reuben sandwich makings. You can also experiment with different breads such as party rye or sourdough.
  • Cookies and Candies. Each year I make two or three of our family’s favorite recipes which are included below. What’s your family’s favorite cookie and candy recipes?
  • Beverages. The Irish Cream recipe below served over ice is wonderful and a special treat. We also buy pop and beer and this seems to make everyone happy. You might have a favorite punch, eggnog or hot buttered rum recipe you’d like to serve.
  • Crunchy things. I always have the Chex mix out. Don’t forget that you can have family members or other guests contribute! This will give you more variety and less work! Just tell them to bring a snack type item.

Recipes

Clam Dip

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (6-ounce) can minced clams, save juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Combine cream cheese and clams. Stir in just enough clam juice to make a nice consistency for dipping. Add remaining ingredients and thoroughly combine. Serve or cover and chill. Serve with crackers or chips.

Toffee Treats

1/4 Box Saltine Crackers
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Butter or Margarine
1 large bag Chocolate Chips
Chopped Walnuts-Opt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Grease with butter. Cover with saltine crackers. Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup butter to a boil & continue to boil for 2 1/2 minutes. Pour over crackers & spread fast. Bake 5-7 minutes. Spread a large bag of chocolate chips over, like icing. Top with chopped walnuts if desired.

Irish Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 2/3 c. Whiskey
1 tsp. instant coffee
2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
1 tsp Vanilla

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix on high for 30 seconds. Refrigerate. Shake well before serving over ice. Should keep for at least 2 months.

Peanut Butter Bon Bons

1 – 1 Lb Box Powdered Sugar
2 Cubes Margarine (1 cup)
1 Cup Peanut Butter
Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Almond Bark

Mix all ingredients except chocolate or almond bark. Shape into round balls. Chill. Insert toothpick & dip into melted chocolate. Chill until set.

I know the recipes aren’t for the health conscious, but it’s only once a year. Here’s to hoping you have an ‘easy does it’ Christmas celebration this year.
About the Author: Monica Resinger publishes an e-mail newsletter Mon-Fri for homemakers that poses fun questions to readers about organizing, crafting, gardening, frugal living and other homemaking subjects; readers can respond to the questions and receive the resulting, very informative ‘tip sheet’. If you’d like to join the fun, send a blank e-mail to: HomemakersJournal-subscribe@yahoogroups.com to subscribe.

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A Tasty Holiday Tradition

Every year, right after Thanksgiving, I fill my grocery cart with delectable goodies that will fill my kitchen with wonderful smells. It’s the time of year when I bake, and bake, and bake some more.

Every Christmas for the past 8 years I have made several types of homemade goodies, wrapped them carefully and sent them on their merry way. Some go to relatives, others to neighbours and some to friends.

Start with cookie tins that you saved from last year. What? You didn’t save them? Never fear, most discount department stores carry these items and they are reasonably priced. You can also get them at thrift stores and from garage sales throughout the year.

What you will need:
Cookie tins, varied sizes and shapes are fine
Color plastic wrap (red, green, yellow or clear)
Tissue paper (white is fine, or use green or red if you chose clear plastic wrap)
Satin ribbon or bows

After making each recipe and your kitchen is stacked full of goodies (completely cooled of course), then start wrapping bundles of treats. Using the color plastic wrap, place 2-3 treats in the center and gather the ends at the top. Finish it by securing each bundle with a ribbon. Line each cookie tin with tissue paper, flare out the edges for a decorative look. Then carefully place the goodies into the cookie tins, fold the edges of the tissue paper carefully over the top of the treats and secure with cookie tin lid. Adorn the top with a colorful bow.

The Recipes

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup all vegetable shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place sheets of foil on countertop for cooling cookies.

Combine shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add egg. Beat just until blended. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with tines of fork. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely.

Super Easy Chocolate Fudge Brownies

1 2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 tbsp water
2 bars (4 oz) unsweetened baking chocolate, broken up
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Microwave sugar, butter and water in large, microwave-safe bowl on high (100%) power for 4-5 minutes or until mixture bubbles, stirring once. (Or heat sugar, butter and water in medium saucepan just to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.) Add baking bars; stir until melted. Stir in eggs once at a time until incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt; stir well. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 13×9 inch baking pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool in pan. Cut into squares.

Foolproof Dark Chocolate Fudge

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
dash salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

In heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt. Remove from heat; stir in walnuts and vanilla. Spread evenly into aluminum foil lined 8 or 9 inch square pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off foil and cut into squares. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)*

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place sheets of foil on countertop for cooling cookies. Combine butter flavored shortening, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat egg into creamed mixture. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and pecan pieces. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake one baking sheet at a time for 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 3 minutes for crisp cookies.

DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely. * If nuts are omitted, ad an additional 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips.

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 egg yolk

NOTE: This makes a LOT of cookies! You can cut this dough in half, use one half, and freeze the other for another time.

Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Press thumb into centers of cookies, making deep indentations. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and with 1/3 cup red raspberry preserves* fill indentations. Bake 5 minutes; immediately remove and cool cookies on racks.

*You can vary this recipe by using different flavored preserves. I have used blackberry, strawberry, mixed berry and boysenberry all with excellent results.

Mom’s Peanut Brittle

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup shelled raw peanuts
2 tbsp butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp baking soda

HINT: Have all the ingredients for this recipe measured out and ready. This recipe requires that react quickly and you do not have time to be measuring in between.

Grease large cookie sheet. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, heat to boiling sugar, corn syrup, salt and water, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until temperature reaches 300 degrees F or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads. Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter or margarine and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With 2 forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14″ by 12″; cool. With hands, snap candy into small pieces.

Amanda Formaro is the mother of four children. She and her husband live in southeastern Wisconsin. She is the owner of The Family Corner.com website at http://www.thefamilycorner.com mailto:WebMom@thefamilycorner.com

coffee

Gifts for Coffee Lovers

Do you have a friend or relative who is hard to shop for but loves coffee? Give them a gift basket full of goodies that will keep them happy for months. If they don’t like coffee, substitute tea or hot chocolate. Here are some inexpensive ideas and recipes for a Coffee Lover’s Gift Basket.

The Basket

Find these at yard sales or thrift shops (or recycle your own). You can spray paint them and/or spruce them up with ribbons, paint pens, fabric paints, or rubber stamps.

Customized Mugs

You can now get mugs at craft stores that are designed so you can insert cross stitched or printed decorations underneath the outside plastic covering. The result is a customized mug that looks laminated. You can also paint old mugs with Delta Ceramcoat paints. Delta also makes easy rub-on designs if you want something nice, but are not artistic. Paint pens are another option. Go wild!

Coffees

I’ve tried the cheap, homemade mixes and I don’t like any of them. They all call for instant coffee granules and come out tasting terrible. Instead, I like to buy small samples of various kinds of coffee. Put 2 or 3 in each basket. Or, put in regular coffee and add a nice creamer. You can also substitute hot chocolate for coffee. If you are dividing up loose coffee or creamer, make it look festive by putting in a decorated brown bag or wrap in colored plastic wrap, tie off with ribbon and set inside the coffee mug. Those cheap Ziploc plastic food containers work well too.

Flavored Coffee Stirs

Make some delicious, flavored coffee stirs (recipe below) to go in your basket. If you don’t have the time to make them, why not use those old-fashioned stick candies that you see in gift shops? They come in a variety of flavors, including butter rum, berry, and other interesting flavors. Just remember that some flavors don’t go too well with coffee- such as blueberry or green apple. However, these flavors would go great with tea. Peppermint sticks would go great with hot chocolate.

Coffeehouse Spoons

6 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces
4 ounces milk chocolate pieces (or white, mint, etc. chocolate) flavorings of your choice (extracts, such as rum, almond, mint, etc, or spices such as cinnamon)
20 plastic spoons

1. Place a piece of waxed paper on a cookie sheet large enough to hold 20 to 24 of your plastic spoons. Place semisweet chocolate pieces in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate begins to melt.

2. Immediately remove from heat; stir until smooth. Dip spoons into chocolate, tapping the handle of the spoon against the side of the pan to remove excess chocolate. Place spoons on waxed paper; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.

3. Place milk chocolate (or chocolate of your choice) in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate begins to melt.

4. Immediately remove from heat; stir until smooth. Place the melted chocolate in a small, heavy self-sealing bag. Using scissors, make a small cut in the corner of the bag; drizzle on or both sides of the covered spoons, making a decorative pattern. (Small dots, zigzag lines, circles, etc.) Note: The above 2 steps can be reversed if you like! Get 6 ozs. of white chocolate to cover the spoons and 4 ozs. of chocolate of your choice to use to decorate the spoons. Also, don’t rule out various flavored chips- raspberry, butterscotch, etc.

5. Refrigerate spoons for 30 minutes to allow chocolate to set. Wrap each spoon separately in clear or colored plastic wrap. Use ribbon to tie off plastic wrap. Store in a cool dry place until ready to give as gifts.

6. Place chocolate covered spoons in a new coffee mug and give along with other homemade goodies.

Biscotti

To cap off a wonderful gift basket, make some biscotti in various flavors! You can really make it look fancy by dipping part of the biscotti slices in melted chocolate, just like the coffee houses do. You can make wonder flavors that blend well with the flavor of the coffee. Whatever you do, these Italian dunking sticks are a wonderful treat!

Note: You’ll notice that most of the steps are the same, making it very easy to make batches of various flavored biscotti all at the same time.

Cappucino Biscotti

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 egg white
Vegetable cooking spray

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine coffee granules and hot water in a small bowl. Stir in vanilla and next 2 ingredients, and add to flour mixture, stirring until well blended.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 7 or 8 times. Shape dough into a 16-inch long roll. Place roll on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and flatten roll to 1-inch thickness.

3. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the roll from the baking sheet to a wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut the roll diagonally into 30 (1/2-inch) slices. Place, cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 more minutes.

4. Turn cookies over and bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in the center but will harden as they cool). Remove cookies from the baking sheet and let cool completely. Yields 2 ½ dozen.

Note: Biscotti looks beautiful fanned out in baskets or wrapped in plastic wrap and tied off with ribbon.

Almond Biscotti

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup slivered almonds, chopped and toasted
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
1 egg white
Vegetable cooking spray

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine vanilla and next 3 ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring until well blended (dough will be dry).

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 7 or 8 times. Shape dough into a 16-inch long roll. Place roll on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and flatten roll to 1-inch thickness.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the roll from the baking sheet to a wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut the roll diagonally into 30 (1/2-inch) slices. Place, cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 more minutes.

4. Turn cookies over and bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in the center but will harden as they cool). Remove cookies from the baking sheet and let cool completely. Yields 2 ½ dozen.

Gingered White Chocolate Biscotti

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons minced crystallised ginger (found in spice section of grocery store)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 (4 oz) bar premium white chocolate, finely chopped (about ¾ cup- you could also use white almond bark)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 egg white
Vegetable cooking spray

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the vanilla and next 2 ingredients, and add to the flour mixture. Stir until well blended (dough will be dry).

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 7 or 8 times. Shape dough into a 16-inch long roll. Place roll on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and flatten roll to 1-inch thickness.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the roll from the baking sheet to a wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut the roll diagonally into 24 (1/2-inch) slices. Place, cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 more minutes.

4. Turn cookies over and bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in the center but will harden as they cool). Remove cookies from the baking sheet and let cool completely. Yields 2 dozen.

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup semisweet chocolate mini morsels
1/3 cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg white Vegetable cooking spray

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine water and next 3 ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring until well blended (dough will be dry)

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 7 or 8 times. Shape dough into a 16-inch long roll. Place roll on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and flatten roll to 1-inch thickness.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the roll from the baking sheet to a wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut the roll diagonally into 24 (1/2-inch) slices. Place, cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 more minutes.

4. Turn cookies over and bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in the center but will harden as they cool). Remove cookies from the baking sheet and let cool completely. Yields 2 dozen.

Kim Tilley is the mother of three boys, ages 9,6 and 2. She is also a tightwad at heart. Her interests include cooking, crafts, gardening, computers, and saving money! When not typing away at the computer, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something out of nothing! Visit Kim’s website at http://frugal-moms.com

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White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Shortbread

This recipe is quickly becoming a family favourite for Christmas. If you like shortbread, I bet you will add this delicious variation to your annual Christmas baking!

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup icing (powdered) sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1   1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (chopped)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter in a mixer. Add icing sugar and cornstarch and beat until fluffy.  Slowly add flour. When blended, add the vanilla, white chocolate, and cranberries and mix until just blended.  Form into about 1 inch balls, and then flatten them to about 1/2 inch thick on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 – 17 minutes (until the bottom of the cookie is just lightly browned). Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a rack or paper towel.

 

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Little-known Tips for Easy Holiday Baking

Are you wondering if you have the time to bake homemade Christmas cookies this year? Every year at about this time we all start to get a little panicked that the holidays are coming up fast and we’re not really ready yet. Here are a few little-known tips and tricks, for almost every type of cookie, to help you get the most out of the time you spend baking.

Cutout Cookies

Don’t struggle with dough sticking to your rolling pin. Instead, roll out your dough between two sheets of waxed paper. This will eliminate the sticking problem.
Do your cutout cookies always seem to turn out dry, tough, and tasteless? The trick with the waxed paper will help with this. Assuming that you started with a good recipe, the problem is that you are overworking your dough and working too much flour into it. Using the waxed paper will help you to manipulate the dough less, and the dough won’t pick up any extra flour.

Refrigerator (Icebox) Cookies and Pinwheels

Ever notice how your roll of icebox or pinwheel cookies gets flat on one side from sitting on the refrigerator shelf? Keep them nice and round by standing them upright in a tall drinking glass
while they’re chilling.
Do your cookies flatten further when you try to slice them? Try rotating the log 1/4 turn after each slice.
Having trouble with the cookies crumbling as you try to slice them? Start with a log that has been frozen for several hours. Then use a very a very sharp to slice through.

Cookie Press Cookies (Spritz)

Having trouble getting your cookies to form properly? When your dough doesn’t seem to stick properly, put your baking sheet in the freezer for an hour or two, while keeping the dough at room temperature. Then when you press out your cookies onto the frozen sheet, the dough will stick to it just like your tongue sticks to a frozen metal pole when you lick it (assuming you’ve ever been silly enough to try this).
Don’t forget you can pick up your mistakes and put them back into the press.

Bar Cookies

When making bar cookies, create a liner for your baking pan by turning the pan upside-down and covering it with aluminium foil, making sure to form the corners and leaving an overhang of an inch or two. Then, remove the foil, turn the pan right side up, turn the foil over and place it inside the pan. It will make a perfect liner for your pan. If required by your recipe, grease the liner. Then continue baking your bar cookies as directed. Once baked, you can lift out the entire batch of bars and place it on a cooling rack to cool completely. You can then immediately re-use your baking pan for another batch without having to wait for the previous batch to cool, and you won’t have to wash the pan.

All Cookies

Eliminate the need to grease your baking sheets and wash them later by lining them with parchment paper. Parchment paper can be re-used several times and gives excellent results.
Do your cookies seem to brown too much, or cook too fast? Buy a dependable oven thermometer and check your oven temperature. Your oven’s internal thermometer may not be accurate. Or, perhaps you are using a non-stick baking sheet or pan. The dark color of the non-stick coating can make your baked goods brown too fast. Try a shiny metal pan instead or lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees.

Are your cookies not browned enough, or take too long to cook? Again, verify the oven temperature. Or, perhaps you’re using an insulated baking sheet or pan. Insulated bakeware can prevent your cookies from reaching the desired temperature in the right amount of time. Try using a non-insulated pan, or raise your oven temperature by 25 degrees.

A pinch of know-how combined with a dash of preparation can make for successful, easy, and stress-free cookie baking every Christmas!

Check out some great recipes!

About the Author
Mimi Cummins is co-author of the book “Christmas Cookies are for Giving: Recipes, Stories, and Tips for Making Heartwarming Gifts.” This book, “enthusiastically recommended” by Midwest Book Review, is full of baking tips and hints, including nearly 50 recipes each with a full-color photo.

christmas-bread

Christmas Finnish Coffee Bread

This moist and flavorful bread has been served in our home on Christmas morning for many years, and our grown sons consider “Christmas bread” one of our important family traditions. The origins of this particular recipe are obscure – it is hand written in the back of a cook book published by, oddly enough, Vincent Price in 1965 and is on the next page after my grandmother’s recipe for fruit cake.

I’ve seen similar Scandinavian recipes over the years, all of which include cardamom seeds. It is made only at Christmas in our home, but certainly would be a welcome at any breakfast. This recipe is for six loaves. The baked loaves freeze well and when wrapped in foil and heated in a 325 degree oven are almost as good as when freshly baked. We enjoy giving the extras to neighbours on Christmas morning, but the recipe can easily be halved.

9 cups all purpose flour
2 cups warm milk (not low fat)
2 packages dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (90 – 110 degrees)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups sugar, plus extra for sprinkling loaves before baking
2 teaspoons salt
¾ cup softened butter
Seeds from 20 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cup sliced almonds
Egg wash (1 egg white whisked with ½ teaspoon water)

Dissolve yeast in the water and cover with a dish towel until bubbles appear. Mix sugar, eggs, salt, milk, butter, cardamom seeds and approximately 1 cup of flour and beat until soft. Add yeast and the remainder of the flour and knead until firm and smooth (Joanne uses the dough hook on her mixer, but certainly it can be done by hand).

In a bowl covered with a towel, let dough rise until doubled in size. Turning your oven on for a minute or two will warm it slightly and the dough will rise well in the oven. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.

To shape, divide dough in half and divide each half into thirds, providing dough for six loaves. Divide each loaf’s dough into thirds, and roll each third on the work surface into “ropes” of equal length (they will be about 12 inches long). Place the three ropes together and braid into a single loaf. Place each loaf onto a buttered baking sheet, cover and let rise until doubled. The bread can be baked at this time or the dough can be covered with towels, refrigerated overnight and baked the next day.

To bake, pre heat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush each loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar and almond slices. Bake 25 – 35 minutes until they are nicely colored. The bread tastes best warm and can be reheated in foil. Although several steps are required in this recipe, it is not difficult. Sharing the rolling out of the dough and the braiding of the loaves with children is fun and may start a new holiday tradition in your family.

About the author:
An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice president of the New Hampshire Farmer’s Market Association (www.nhfma.org). His column & recipes appear weekly in The Heart of New England’s newsletter… get a free subscription by visiting www.TheHeartofNewEngland.com

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Ginger Cookie Recipes

One of my favorite cookie flavors – ginger. When we think of ginger cookies we usually think of the traditional dark gingersnaps. Here’s some other great ginger cookies you can try:

Soft Ginger Cookies

1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup hot water

Blend shortening, brown sugar and egg. Beat. Stir in molasses. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, & cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to shortening mixture alternately with hot water. Chill thoroughly. Drop by teaspoonful on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 – 9 minutes at 400F.

Gingerbread Cookies

Not as dark or hard as the traditional gingersnaps
1 1/4 cups margarine
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cloves
1/2 cups molasses

Cream margarine, eggs, molasses and sugar. Sift dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients. Roll into balls and dip in sugar or roll and cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. Bake 10 minutes for round balls and 8 minutes for rolled cookies at 350F. Let stand before taking out of pan. Cookies will be soft but will harden as they cool.

Ginger Crinkles

1 cup butter or hard margarine, softened
1½ cups sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp. dark corn syrup
½ cup mild molasses
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
¼ cup granulated sugar, for coating

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Put the first 5 ingredients into the bowl. Beat with blender until smooth. Add the next 6 ingredients. Stir with a spoon until moistened. Roll into 1½” balls. Roll the balls in sugar. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 12 – 14 minutes. Makes 3 ½ dozen.

 

applecranberry

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Go get some fresh apples and cranberries and enjoy this easy and delicious crisp!

1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh cranberries
3 cups diced tart apples
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soft butter/margarine
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix the apples, cranberries & sugar and put in the bottom of a 9×13″ greased pan. Mix the butter & sugar. Add the oats and pecans. Mix and spread on top of fruit mixture. Bake @ 325 degrees F for 1 hour.

pumpkin-bread

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

This quick bread is a yummy way to use some of your pumpkin harvest and is a great addition to any meal or just to eat on it’s own.

2 eggs, beaten slightly
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned or prepared pumpkin
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped cranberries
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and pumpkin, mixing well. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda and mix until just blended. Stir in cranberries. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

 

 

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Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread is a yummy way to use some of your pumpkin harvest and is a great addition to any meal or just to eat on it’s own.

5 cups flour
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 large can pumpkin or pumpkin puree
2 cups nuts (optional)

In a large bowl, mix together vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs. In another bowl, mix together flour and baking soda. Add flour and pumpkin alternately to the egg mixture. Add nuts. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Easy Shortbread Cookies

1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups sifted flour

Preheat oven to 300F. Thoroughly mix butter and sugar. Stir in sifted flour (set 1/2 cup aside & add if needed). Mix thoroughly with hands. Roll into two logs, cover with wax paper and chill for 2 hours. Cut into slices and place on cookie sheets. You can also roll out and cut with cookie cutters (before chilling), place on cookie sheets, cover and chill for 2 hours. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 20 – 25 minutes. Yields 2 dozen.

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Leftover Turkey Casserole

Turkey Casserole is a delicious way to use those turkey leftovers!

2 cups uncooked rice
3 ½ cups water
¼ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped onion
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp sage
2 cups chopped turkey
2 cups turkey gravy

Cook rice with water, celery, onion, salt, pepper & sage. Add turkey & gravy. Put in an open casserole & bake for ½ hour at 375F until top is browned. You can add cooked vegetables if you like to make it a complete meal.

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Benefits of Making your Own Homemade Baby Food

by Bridget Mwape

Making your own homemade baby food will ensure that what your child is eating is fresh, nutritious and free of additives. By making your own baby food, you’ll be saving money. Also, you will have total control over what is put into your baby’s food. You can therefore take the extra steps to ensure that only high quality foods are selected and used. You will be able to feed your baby according to his or her needs because you will know what foods are best suited for your baby from experience.

Making your own baby food also ensures that your baby is exposed to a greater variety of tastes and textures. This will help your baby when making the transition to table foods and also help him or her develop healthy eating habits.

Baby Food Preparation Tips
1. As babies are susceptible to digestive upsets, always work with clean hands and use clean cooking utensils, preparation surfaces, pots and pans etc., when making home made baby food. Prepare foods immediately upon removing them from the refrigerator and freeze immediately after cooking any foods you want to store.
2. Steaming vegetables is the best method of preparation. This softens them, makes them easier to chew, and preserves more of the vitamins and minerals than boiling. A steamer basket is cheap and by cooking fruits and vegetables in it, you’ll be sure of keeping the nutrients in the food, instead of in the cooking water.

3. To puree your foods, you can use a fork, a food mill or blender. A blender quickly purees almost anything into the finest consistency. When your baby first starts on solids, you’ll be pureeing things to a very fine consistency and, as baby gets a little older, you will make foods a little coarser. You may wish to buy a food mill which comes in large and small sizes. It is very handy and inexpensive. The food mill strains most cooked foods to a very smooth consistency, although meats can be a problem as they will have a coarser texture. Remember all the tools you need to make baby food are probably already in your kitchen.

4. You can prepare large amounts of foods at once and freeze them.
Take your prepared foods and plop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Freeze the plops right away and then take them off the sheet when they are frozen and put them into plastic bags. You can also freeze the food in plastic “pop out” ice cube trays. Small tupperware jars with lids serve the same purpose and stack easily. Special Baby Food Cubes are also available. Label and date the packages rotate them putting the most recently frozen foods behind the previously frozen ones. Frozen baby foods can be stored for up to two months.

5. When you take frozen foods out for baby, warm the food in a cup placed in a saucepan of boiling water with a lid on. If you use a microwave to thaw or warm baby food, be sure to stir the food well to avoid hot pockets.

6. Cereals are typically the first foods given to a baby because they contain lots of iron. You can prepare your own, by running oatmeal through your blender. Fruits are generally given next. Except for raw, mashed banana, you will need to cook all other fruits till they are soft.

7. Try making your own apple sauce and pear sauce; don’t add any sugar, as these fruits are sweet enough on their own. You can also peel peaches, plums and apricots and boil or steam them.

8. Buy and use organic fruits and vegetables. Use fresh and organic vegetables whenever possible in order to provide the best nutrition and flavor for your baby. Your baby deserves pesticide-free foods. Frozen vegetables are better to use than canned.

9. Yogurt, mashed cottage cheese, mashed pumpkin, baked potato, avocado and tofu (oriental soy bean curd) are all popular with babies. One good idea is to blend together cottage cheese, banana and fresh orange juice – delicious!

10. Meats should be added slowly. They can be boiled or broiled, then put in the blender with a little milk and perhaps banana or cream of rice to get the right consistency. Chicken is generally the first meat baby is introduced to and usually goes down fairly well.

11. There is no rush to start your baby on solid foods. Milk is his most important food. Your doctor’s recommendations and your own intuition will help you to know when to begin introducing solids to your baby’s diet. Introducing solids prepares the baby for the transition to adult food and offers further vitamins and minerals as the baby grows. Always remember to be patient with your baby and allow at least a few days between newly added foods to make sure the baby doesn’t suffer any reactions.

Copyright © 2005, Bridget Mwape writes for the Baby Shop UK: http://www.baby-shop.org.uk/ which features baby information including articles and discounts on baby products, gifts and advice from other parents.

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Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkins are abundant in the autumn – and are a delicious ingredient in many recipes. You can prepare pumpkin for baking at home rather than buying canned pumpkin and save the seeds to dry and roast too! Smaller pumpkins  (sugar pie pumpkins, or other smaller varieties) are typically better than their larger ‘jack-o-lantern’ counterparts.

There are three ways to transform an uncooked pumpkin into the puree used in baking:

Boiling

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides.
  • Peel the pumpkin and cut it into chunks.
  • Place in a saucepan and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until the pumpkin chunks are tender.
  • Let the chunks cool, then purée the flesh in a food processor or mash it with a potato masher or food mill.

BAKING

  • Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp.
  • In a shallow baking dish, place the two halves face down and cover with foil.
  • Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, or until tender.
  • Once the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it.
  • For silky smooth custards or soups, press the pumpkin puree through a sieve.

Microwave

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides.
  • Microwave on high power for seven minutes per pound, turning pieces every few minutes to promote even cooking. Process as above.
  • You can refrigerate your fresh pumpkin purée for up to three days, or store it in the freezer up to six months, so you can enjoy fall pumpkins for months to come.
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Cranberry Chutney

1- 16 oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 – 8.25 oz. can crushed pineapple, unsweetened, drained
1 – 5 oz. bottle prepared horseradish

Yield: approximately 2-1/2 cups

Combine ingredients in medium bowl. Transfer to serving bowl, serve immediately, or cover and chill until serving time. Serve chutney alongside ham.

More Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Molded Cranberry Sauce
Tangerine Apricot Cranberry Sauce
Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce
Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Raisin Sauce
Cranberry Chutney
Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com

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Cranberry Raisin Sauce

Note from Cheri: Here’s a spicy cranberry sauce that goes equally well with ham and pork roasts, as it does with turkey.

1 C orange juice
1/2 C fresh cranberries
1 T cornstarch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 C raisins

Makes about 1 Cup

Combine the juice and cranberries in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until the berries “pop.” Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the mixture is thick. Serve hot over ham, pork roasts, or turkey.

More Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Molded Cranberry Sauce
Tangerine Apricot Cranberry Sauce
Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce
Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Raisin Sauce
Cranberry Chutney
Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com

jalapeno

Jalapeño Cranberry Sauce

Note from Cheri: Tart cranberries and sweet orange pair beautifully with a little bit of jalapeno heat, in this unique cranberry sauce recipe.

This recipe can be prepared up to 4 days ahead of time. Refrigerate until use.

12 oz fresh cranberries
zest of 1 orange, finely grated
juice of 2 oranges
2 T tequila
1/2 C sugar
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Makes about 1 1/2 Cups

Add enough water to the orange juice to make one cup of liquid. Combine cranberries, orange zest, juice and water, tequila, and sugar in a large pot. Bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally. When the cranberries begin to pop, add the chopped jalapeño cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If the sauce seems a little thick, add a bit more water. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and chill.

More Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Molded Cranberry Sauce
Tangerine Apricot Cranberry Sauce
Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce
Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Raisin Sauce
Cranberry Chutney
Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com

cranberry5

Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce

Note from Cheri: Dried cherries and fresh cranberries pair beautifully. Cloves are a festive touch and some spice for a complex cranberry sauce that will have your Thanksgiving dinner guests talking.

This recipe can be prepared up to 4 days ahead of time. Refrigerate until use.

2 1/2 C cranberry juice cocktail
2 C tart dried cherries
1 C sugar
1 package, 12 oz., fresh cranberries
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Makes about 4 cups

Bring cranberry juice to a simmer in heavy, large saucepan. Remove from heat. Add dried cherries and let stand 10 minutes. Mix in sugar, cranberries and cloves. Cook over medium-high heat until cranberries pop – about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chill until cold. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

More Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Molded Cranberry Sauce
Tangerine Apricot Cranberry Sauce
Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce
Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Raisin Sauce
Cranberry Chutney
Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com

apricot

Tangerine Apricot Cranberry Sauce

Note from Cheri: I love the taste of tangerines – all the goodness of oranges with an extra special “bite”. Combine them with sweet dried apricots and cranberries, and you’ve got a fabulous flavor medley.

1 12 oz. package cranberries (about 3 cups)
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 1/2 T tangerine zest
1 2/3 cups tangerine juice
1 3/4 cups sugar 1 tsp. dried ginger

Makes about 3 cups

Stir all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Cover pan and increase the heat. Boil until the cranberries “pop” (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Keep refrigerated. Can be made up to 4 days ahead of time.

More Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Molded Cranberry Sauce
Tangerine Apricot Cranberry Sauce
Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce
Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Raisin Sauce
Cranberry Chutney

Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com

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Molded Cranberry Sauce

Note from Cheri: Here’s a serving idea for cranberry sauce — make it in a decorative mold. This recipe combines the best of jelled and whole cranberry sauce in a beautiful way.

3 C fresh cranberries
3 1/2 C cranberry juice cocktail (you can also use blends like cran-apple or cran-raspberry juice)
4 (1/2 oz.) envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 1/3 C sugar
2 T lemon juice

Serves 12 – 14

Pour 1 cup cranberry juice in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes. Combine cranberries and sugar in a food processor. Process with short pulses until the cranberry are finely chopped.

In a large saucepan, combine berry/sugar mixture with remaining cranberry juice and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered and stirring frequently, until cranberry bits are tender, about 8 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until gelatin dissolves. Cool slightly and pour into an 8 or 9 cup mold. Cover and refrigerate until firm — at least 8 hours. Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.

To unmold, turn mold over onto a plate. Soak a kitchen towel in hot water and wrap it around the inverted mold. Let stand for a few minutes, them remove towel. Holding plate and mold together, gently shake until cranberry sauce falls from mold onto plate. If your mold is being stubborn, repeat the process with another hot towel.

More Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Molded Cranberry Sauce
Tangerine Apricot Cranberry Sauce
Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce
Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Raisin Sauce
Cranberry Chutney

Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com

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Classic Cranberry Sauce

Note from Cheri: Here’s a classic cranberry sauce recipe that would be at home at any Christmas dinner.

This recipe can be prepared up to 4 days ahead of time. Refrigerate until use.

3/4 C water
1/2 C sugar
2 1/2 C fresh cranberries
1 T brandy
1 T orange juice, 1 tsp. orange zest

Makes about 4 cups

Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and stir in sugar until dissolved, then add the cranberries and bring to the boil. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the berries begin to pop. Remove from heat and stir in the brandy. Chill until serving time.
More Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Molded Cranberry Sauce
Tangerine Apricot Cranberry Sauce
Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce
Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Raisin Sauce
Cranberry Chutney
Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com

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Crazy for Cranberries

Long before the Pilgrims arrived in America in 1620, native Americans were mixing mashed cranberries with deer meat to make pemmican — a convenience food that kept for long periods of time. Cranberries were also used for medicinal purposes and their juice was a natural dye for rugs, blankets and clothing.

The cranberry is one of only a handful of fruits native to North America – the Concord grape and blueberry being the others. As documented by the Pilgrims, cranberries were found in abundance in Massachusetts in 1620, and rumor has it that they may have been served at the first Thanksgiving dinner, although we have no way of knowing for sure. Written recipes using cranberries date back to the 1700s, and the first recorded cranberry crop in history dates back to 1816 in Dennis, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. Cranberries soon cemented their place in New England life by serving as a vital source of vitamin C for whalers, and a valuable natural resource to residents.

While the Pilgrims may have been the first westerners to use the berry, it was Dutch and German settlers who gave it its name; calling the tart fruit “crane berries” because of the resemblance of the blooming cranberry flowers to the head and bill of a crane.

The hearty cranberry vine thrives in conditions that would not support most other crops: acidic soil, few nutrients and low temperatures, even in summer. Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water, but in sandy bogs or marshes. Because berries float, some bogs are flooded when the fruit is ready for harvesting, giving the illusion that the fruit grows in water. Growers then use water-reel harvesting machines to loosen the cranberries from their vine. They are then corralled onto conveyer belts, and into waiting trucks, which take them to receiving stations and eventually processing plants.

About 10 percent of the cranberries grown in Massachusetts are dry harvested and sold as fresh fruit. To dry harvest, growers use mechanical pickers with comb-shaped conveyer belts that pick the berries and carry them to attached burlap bags. These bags are emptied into bins and delivered to fresh fruit receiving stations where they are graded and screened, based on color and the ability to bounce — soft berries do not bounce.

Cranberries are primarily grown in five states — Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. Another 5,500 acres are cultivated in Chile, Quebec, and British Columbia. There are nearly 1,000 cranberry growers in America. Normally, growers do not have to replant since an undamaged cranberry vine will survive indefinitely. In fact, some vines on Cape Cod are more than 150 years old!

Cranberry Tips

Look for bright, plump cranberries, avoid soft, crushed, or shriveled berries.
Peak season is September through December.
Fresh cranberries will keep in the refrigerator for 4-8 weeks.
You can freeze fresh cranberries for longer storage.
You can substitute frozen cranberries in most recipes calling for fresh.
Do not wash cranberries until ready for use, as moisture will cause quicker spoilage.
When a recipe says “cook until the cranberries pop,” don’t expect popcorn. This simply mean the berry’s outer skin will expand until it bursts.

Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Molded Cranberry Sauce
Tangerine Apricot Cranberry Sauce
Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce
Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Raisin Sauce
Cranberry Chutney

Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com

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How to Roast a Perfect Turkey

Turkey Time & Temperature Requirements

Since so many folks are intimidated by the prospect of cooking a turkey, we went to the experts for the lowdown.

Sherrie Rosenblatt of the National Turkey Federation says the Open Pan dry heat method of roasting a turkey is the easiest and most reliable way to insure turkey success. This method results in a juicy, tender, flavorful, golden brown turkey.

The National Turkey Federation also offers these safety recommendations:

1. Do not roast the turkey in a oven temperature lower than 325° F. Poultry should be roasted at 325° F. or higher to avoid potential food safety problems.

2. Do not roast the turkey in a brown paper grocery bag. Present day grocery bags may be made of recycled materials and are not considered safe for food preparation.

3. Do use a meat thermometer (available at most grocery stores and kitchen shops) to determine the correct degree of doneness. Turkey is done when meat in the thigh reaches 180°F or (meat in the breast is finished at 170°F).

That said, here is an approximate turkey roasting timetable.

 

Unstuffed Turkey Stuffed Turkey
8 to 12 pounds — 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds — 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds — 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds — 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds — 4 1/2 to 5 hours
8 to 12 pounds — 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds — 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds — 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds — 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds — 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours
  Heat Method Oven Temperature Appearance Flavor Results Suitable For Stuffing?
Oven Pan
Conventional Oven
Dry Heat Meathod 325° F. results in minimum bird shrinkage and oven clean-up. Golden brown color; crisp skin; juicy Full roasted flavor; pan drippings are most concentrated to produce a great gravy; tender Yes
Wrapped in foil, high temperature Moist heat method with turkey encased in foil 450° F. May have bare bones on drumsticks; split skin; uneven browning; foil must be opened to produce a golden brown color May have a stewed or steamed flavor; a dry texture is possible No
Oven cooking bag Moist heat method with turkey enclosed in a cooking bag 350° F. May have bare bones on drumsticks; split skin; uneven color and browning; skin may be torn if it sticks to the bag May have a stewed or steamed flavor; a dry texture is possible Yes
Covered charcoal grill Dry heat method Try to maintain temperature between 325-350° F. Varies with outside temperature, humidity and briquettes; extra briquettes must be added each hour. Red-brown skin color; crisp skin; the charcoal combustion may result in a rosy band of meat just under the skin and slightly pink meat. Mild to moderate smoky flavor; tender No

Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com

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The Art of Gravy Making

The art of gravy making can be a challenge to those who only prepare the robust sauce on special holiday occasions, but in fact, making great gravy isn’t difficult.

To make the gravy, remove the cooked turkey and roasting rack from the roasting pan. Pour the poultry drippings through a sieve into a container or cup. Add 1 cup stock to the roasting pan and stir until crusty brown bits are loosened: pour the deglazed liquid/stock into the container with the pan drippings. Let the mixture stand a few minutes until the fat rises to the top.

Skim and discard any fat that remains on top of the poultry drippings, reserving 3-4 tablespoons.

Over medium heat, spoon the reserved fat into a 2 quart or larger saucepan. Whisk an equal amount of flour into heated fat, and continue to cook and stir until the flour turns golden. To produce a full flavored gravy, it is critical to cook the flour in about an equal portion of fat until the flour has lost its raw taste. A rather common problem is the temptation to use too much flour, which decreases the flavor.

Gradually whisk in warm poultry drippings/stock mixture. Cook and stir, until gravy boils and is slightly thick. Remember the gravy will continue to thicken after it has been removed from the heat. A good rule is to use between 1 and 2 tablespoons of flour for each cup of liquid and then give the mixture time to thicken.

If a shortage of turkey gravy is a common problem at your house, use a little melted butter and extra warmed poultry stock to increase the volume of the pan drippings.

The following chart lists several common gravy problems, and ways to eliminate them, so the grand feast will be complete.

Optional Ingredients:
You can dress up your gravy by adding optional ingredients. Try some fresh or dried herbs (use whatever you used to make your turkey). A little wine ( 3/4 cup or less) or brandy (a few tablespoons) will add a complex flavor. For an extra rich gravy, try adding a little cream (1/4 – 1/2 cup). You can also add vegetables like cooked onion or mushrooms for variety. Use your imagination!

GRAVY PROBLEMS GRAVY SOLUTIONS
Gravy is lumpy. With a whisk rotary beater, beat the gravy until smooth. If all other attempts fail, use a food processor, strainer or blender. Reheat, stirring constantly. Serve.
Gravy is too salty. If the over salting is slight:

  • Add several raw potato slices and cook until the potato slices are translucent. Remove and discard the potato prior to serving.
  • Add a few pinches of light brown sugar. DON’T ADD TOO MUCH or your gravy will turn sweet.

If the over salting is severe, the gravy must be repaired by increasing the quantity. Prepare another batch of gravy, omitting all salt. Blend the two batches together.

Gravy is too light in color. Add 1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee.
Gravy is not thick. If time permits, allow the gravy to continue to simmer on the stovetop. If time does not allow, mix the following thickening agents as indicated:

  • Cornstarch – Blend 1 teaspoon per cup of liquid in cold water. Stir until dissolved then mix into gravy. Continue to cook and stir to eliminate the cornstarch flavor.
  • Make a thin paste of flour and cold water, stir into gravy and continue to cook to eliminate the raw flour flavor.
  • Arrowroot – Blend 1 tablespoon per cup liquid in cold water. Stir until dissolved, then mix into gravy. Can be served as soon as the gravy thickens due to arrowroot’s lack of taste.

NOTE: Mixing starch with cold water before adding it to a hot mixture prevents lumping.

Gravy is too thick. Slowly whisk in more broth, until the desired thickness is achieved.
Gravy is greasy/fatty. For an immediate fix, the fat can be skimmed off the top or soaked up with a fresh bread slice. If more time allows, chill the gravy, skim off the fat and reheat the gravy until it bubbles.

Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com

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Grilling a Turkey

Grilling a turkey makes good sense for busy cooks, especially if you’re dealing with a small space kitchen. With the turkey cooking merrily away on the grill, the oven is free for other chores, such as cooking large pans of dressing, side dishes or even home baked pies. And, as always, grilling cuts down on clean-up time, so you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy the day.

Whether you have a gas or a charcoal grill, you can use it to prepare a moist, delicious turkey, if you keep a few tips in mind.

After removing the plastic wrapping, prepare the turkey by freeing the legs from tucked position and removing the neck and giblets from neck and body cavities. Rinse the turkey, and drain well. Turn wings back to hold neck skin in place. Return legs to tucked position. It’s not necessary to truss a turkey for the grill.
You can marinate the turkey by using a fork to make random holes over the entire bird. Place the turkey in a large, plastic cooking bag or clean plastic trash bag and pour in the marinade. Close the bag securely and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Before cooking, scrape off excess marinade and discard. Do not re-use marinade to baste the turkey.
Do not stuff a turkey that’s to be grilled as it can take too long for the temperature of the stuffing to reach the required temperature of 165 F degrees.

Grilling

Use indirect heat to grill the turkey. Prepare the grill by removing top grill rack and opening all vents. Mound 50 to 60 briquettes in center of the lower grill rack or the bottom of grill and ignite briquettes. When coals become ash-gray — about 20 to 40 minutes — divide them into two equal parts, positioned on the outside edges of lower grill rack or bottom of grill.

Place a foil drip , or a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil, between the two piles of coals.

Lightly grease the top grill rack before repositioning it on the hot coals. Place the prepared turkey in the middle of the grill rack, directly over drip pan, and replace the lid on the grill.

You can figure roughly 12 minutes cooking time per pound of turkey. Be sure to check turkey’s doneness by using a meat thermometer. Breast meat is ready at 170 F degrees, thigh meat at 180 F degrees. Maintain grill heat during cooking by adding 5 to 8 briquettes to both sides of hot coals every hour or as needed. Keep the lid on the grill closed as much as possible to prevent heat loss.

Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com