Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cranberry Chutney

Perfect for Christmas dinner as a compliment to your meat dish or put on a cracker with some cream cheese for a cocktail party.

1 red apple, unpeeled
1 orange, unpeeled
1 c. seedless grapes
1 pound cranberries
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. cranberry juice
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1 t. allspice
3 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 c. walnuts. chopped
1 c. cocktail onions, drained

1. Cube apple; seed and chop the orange; quarter grapes; set all aside
2. Wash the cranberries, remove stems, and place in a saucepan.  Stir in sugar, cranberry juice, orange juice, vinegar, allspice, and cinnamon sticks.
3. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and cook 15 minutes or until berries pop.
4. Add the fruits, nuts, and onions.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens ( about 10 minutes.)
5. Discard cinnamon sticks and cool . Can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks.  Serve cold.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gingerbread Oranments

Does it seem too early to talk about decorating your tree?  Or are you like me and it's fully decorated already?  We usually light our tree the day after Thanksgiving, but this year we were anxious to see how it would look in the new house and turned on its full glory on Thanksgiving night.
As with all things Christmas, you need to plan in advance.  Most crafts take a while to complete.  These festive ornaments are made with gingerbread and are a delight to most children and adults alike. Make sure the icing has plenty of time to firm up before attempting to place on the tree.

1/2 c. butter
6 T sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. molasses
1 egg
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 1/2t. ginger
1 4-inch Christmas cookie cutters

With an electric mixer, cream the butter with both sugars, molasses, and egg yolk.
Mix the remaining ingredients, except the egg white, together.  Stir into the butter mixture to form a stiff dough.
Chill the dough 1 hour, then roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into traditional Christmas shapes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. and butter cookie sheets. Lift cookies onto the sheets and brush lightly with egg white.
Bake 8 minutes until crisp.  Make a hole 1 inch from the top of each cookie, then cool.  Pipe edges with icing of your choice.  Thread holes with gold cord.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Soup

Plan ahead and get ready for turkey soup after Thanksgiving is over.  This is a nice twist, made with tortellini and watercress.

4 quarts ( 16 cups) water
The carcass of a turkey, broken into large pieces
1 carrot, sliced
2 ribs celery
1 bay leaf
1 onion, quartered
1/2 dried thyme
3 sprigs parsley
1 t. fennel seeds
1/2 lb. fresh cheese tortellini
salt & pepper to taste
4 cups coarsely chopped and rinsed watercress

In a large pot, combine the water, turkey carcass, carrot, celery, bay leaf, onion, thyme, parsley, and fennel seeds and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Strain the stock through a sieve into a large bowl, then transfer meat to a cutting board, discarding the bones and remaining solids.
Chop the meat fine. Return the strained stock to the pot; add turkey meat, and bring to  a boil.
Add tortellini; salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the tortellini are just tender.
Add watercress and simmer the soup for 1 minute.  Serve hot. 
Makes about 12 cups.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Easy Stuffing

This is a real easy stove-top stuffing recipe for cooks who want to make their own but don't want to take the time to cube and dry the bread. No need to actually stuff the turkey, either. It's so easy you can have it any time of the year.

8 T (1 stick of butter)
1 yellow onion, diced ( about 2 cups)
4 ribs celery, sliced on the diagonal (about 2 cups)
15 oz. seasoned croutons
2 T. parsley flakes (or 1/2 c. chopped fresh)
1 T. poultry seasoning
4 c. low-sodium chicken stock
1 c. mixed fried fruit (cranberries, apples, apricots)
1 c. toasted nuts ( walnuts or pecans work well)

Heat large cast iron skillet on medium-high.  Melt butter; add onion and celery.  Cook stirring occasionally until soft -  6 to7 minutes.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl but do not clean skillet.  Add croutons and remaining ingredients (including optional ones of your choice) to mixture in the bowl and toss very gently.
Return stuffing to skillet.  Let rest, uncovered, until cool.; then cover with foil and refrigerate until 2 hours before serving.
If you prefer, warm it slightly in the microwave.  Do not overcook.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cranberry Bread

2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
2 T. liquid sweetener or 1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. cranberries, halved
1/2 c. walnuts
3/4 c. unsweetened orange juice
1 egg
2 T. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
Stir in sweetener, cranberries, and walnuts.
Combine orange juice, egg, and vegetable oil;  add to dry mixture and stir only until moistened.
Pour into greased 9x5x3xinch pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes.
Remove from pan to cool.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Potato Ham Soup

3 c. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1.2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 c. water
1 T. minced garlic
1 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 t. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 c. cooked ham, cubed

Ina  large saucepan or soup pot, and potatoes, celery, onion, chicken bouillon, water, garlic, and parsley; season with salt and pepper.
Simmer until vegetables are tender.
In a separate bowl, mix flour and milk.
Once it is well blended, slowly add to soup and cook until soup thickens.
Stir in cheese and ham and simmer until cheese is melted and ham is heated through.
(My husband declares this soup to be perfection!)

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sweet Potato Chili Cakes with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Cilantro Lime Sauce -- make ahead:
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 c. cilantro, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced
pinch of salt

Combine sour cream, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve

Sweet Potato Chili Cakes:
4 c. sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3/4 c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chipotle chili powder
1/4 t. black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. milk
Oil ( for frying)

In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, jalapeno, flour, baking powder, kosher salt, cumin, chipotle chili powder, black pepper.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and milk.
Add egg/milk mixture to sweet potato mixture and mix until well blended.
Heat large skillet over medium high heat; add oil to cover bottom.
Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls into hot oil; press lightly to flatten to size of half dollar (If you rememebr what that is :)
Cook until golden brown (1-2 minutes, each side)
Transfer to platter; top each with Cilantro Lime Sauce
Garnish with fresh cilantro

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Butternut Squash Harvest Stew

Peel and dice into 1 1/2 inch pieces:
1 medium rutabaga,
2 medium parsnips,
6 medium carrots,
6 red potatoes
2 c. cubed butternut squash
2 T. butter
1.5 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/3 c. flour
1/4 t. pepper
2 large leeks, chopped
4 c. chicken stock (broth)
2 T. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 T. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 t. nutmeg

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil,
Add rutabaga, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, and butternut squash. Cover and cook 10-15 min or until tender. Drain and set aside.
While vegetables are cooking, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Dust chicken with flour seasoned with pepper, reserving any leftover flour; brown chicken half at a time in a pot with butter.
Remove chicken when browned.
Add leeks to pot. Saute for 3 minutes or until tender.
Add 1 T. reserved flour to pot. Stir to form paste.
Stir in chicken stock, parsley, basil, and nutmeg.
Bring to a boil, stirring frquently.
Return chicken to pot; add vegetables, reduce heat to low.
Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Serves: 6-8

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