Category Archives: Holiday/ Thanksgiving Recipes

Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

 

Fully Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

This recipe belongs to my sister, Pamela. She is a great cook, and this is her signature Thanksgiving Dish. We count on it every year as her contribution.  I highly suggest it if you like spicy because it is! It definitley packs some heat, be careful when you buy the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce , just make sure they don’t say Hot or you might be blowing the roof off of your Thanksgiving Dinner! Be prepared for a lot of flavor !  If your family likes spicy this is an awesome recipe, and you all know how much I like spicy by now.  This is certainly a new take on Sweet Potatoes because they aren’t sweet.  I also make a Sweet Potato dish with Marshmallows (* see recipe) and the two are always on my table, one sweet and one spicy.  Thanks Aunt Pammy.

Ingredients:

5 lbs.Yams or Sweet Potatoes

Kosher Salt ( about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

Heavy Cream ( about 1 1/2 quarts)

Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (canned) *look in Mexican Food Aisle in most supermarkets

Directions:

Slice Potatoes thinly and add salt. Place in baking dish you are going to use and cover with kosher salt, start with 1/4 cup and go to the 1/2 cup. Use your clean hands and toss together.

Puree Chipotles in small food processor .* you can keep pureed chipotles in fridge for up to 2 months. So you can do this step ahead.

Put approximately 1 – 2 tsp. of chipotle pepper puree in heavy cream and mix together

Pour Cream Mixture over Potatoes in an ovenproof baking dish ( earthenware is nice for this)

Place in 375 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven.

Potatoes should be somewhat set and browned on top when ready.

Enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving

The Stuffing that Will Be on Our Table

I made this recipe for the first time Thanksgiving 2011 and it is now the only Stuffing I make.  I found it in a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, loved all of the ingredients and thought it was delicious. I know there a lot of stuffings out there and unfortunately they are not vegetarian (I am still on the lookout for a very tasty vegetarian one, so please feel free to send it to me if you have a great veggie one.) I don’t cook my stuffing in the turkey. I make it ahead of time and cook it in a buttered gratin dish the day of. This is the stuffing that won out this year.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup diced dried figs, stems removed

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup Calvados or brandy (I used Calvados, bought the bottle last year)

2  yellow onions, diced (approx. 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 cup (3 stalks) celery, diced about 1/2 inch

1 lb. pork sausage (I do 1/2 sweet and 1/2 hot. Feel free to substitute any kind of sausage you would like. Try to get the butcher to take it out of casing for you. It’s one less thing to do.)

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (please don’t leave this out)

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (put in oven at 400 for about 5 minutes and watch them!)

3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (I use Pepperidge Farm)

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 extra large egg, beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and celery and saute until vegetables are softened and onions are translucent (don’t burn them.) Add the sausage, crumbling it as you go. Continue to saute, stirring frequently and breaking up sausage. Keep cooking for about 10 minutes, until cooked and browned up. Add the figs and cranberries with their liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook until all ingredients come together, for a couple of minutes. Scrape up and remove all the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, beaten egg, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix well. (This can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight, which is what I do. It’s just too much to do the day of.)

I put the stuffing in a well-sprayed, slightly buttered (optional), baking (gratin) dish. If you put this in the preheated over, you will likely cook it for at least 45 minutes and probably more like an hour to two hours if it’s doubled.  I also stir frequently while it is cooking, and then let it go for the last 15 minutes and it browns up. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

obviously if you are doubling this recipe you will need to use a large (very) frying pan. Or you can just do it in batches. You will need a very large pan to cook it up in though. You need to spread it out while it cooks so it cooks through. Once it is cooked you can always put it in a pretty baking dish and as it heats up just mix it through every once in a while so top doesn’t burn and bottom won’t be soggy.

I know everyone thinks that their stuffing is the best, but if made properly this one is absolutely amazing!

*This will probably serve at least 8 as one of many sides, but feel free to double.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Walnut Bread (no butter)

I just love pumpkin and I can’t stop posting about it. Pumpkin Season is here.  I love baking this bread because the smell in the house is beyond. I usually serve pumpkin bread and a banana bread in my bread basket on Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that there is no butter in this moist, delicious bread. I make both of these way ahead of time, because they freeze so well. You can even double the recipe if you have two loaf pans, and eat one now and tuck one away for another day like Thanksgiving. It’s a nice thing to bring to someone’s house as a gift as well if you’re so inspired.  This recipe will make one perfect loaf.

*this bread freezes beautifully for up to 8 weeks. Double wrap it in plastic and put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and put the date on it. Defrost, still wrapped in the plastic to avoid condensation on the bread, at least 2 hours before serving. I take out of freezer the night before I’ll be using it.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (I sift)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (obviously this is optional)

You will need a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, parchment paper, large bowl, medium bowl, whisk, silicone or rubber spatula.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position oven rack in the center of oven.

Lightly coat the loaf pan with melted butter and dust with flour, or spray with Pam. I line my loaf with a piece of parchment paper that extends one inch beyond the edge of the pan (this makes it easy to life the bread out. It is optional , just make sure you grease pan in one way or another first. If you’re not comfortable working with parchment paper, skip it. I like it but it can be tricky in a loaf pan. Just grease well, or give it a good spray.)

In a large bowl, sift the flour. Then, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and blend well. Add the pumpkin moisture to the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended and smooth. Add the walnuts and stir until they are well distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 55 – 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the center of loaf.  I let it cool for about 10 minutes, then I turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. I don’t freeze it until it is completely cool.

Cremini Mushroom Pumpkin Lasagna – Seasonal and Savory for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Roux

My daughter, Kerri, has been a vegetarian (not vegan) since she was about twelve. It is always a challenge, especially on holidays, to make delicious and savory food for her to choose from that she will like. While she loves all the sides, I wanted to give her something that would always be on our table and be a tradition for her. She’s not a huge mushroom eater which is why I use cremini. They are somehow less “mushroomy” for her, and she hates anything like “fake meat.” This lasagna is sort of my own concoction. There are a lot of recipes out there, but I find this one works for me. I also need to explain a basic Bechamel (white) sauce or Roux which is at the heart of this recipe.  It consists of butter, flour, salt, pepper, and milk.  Sometimes it takes nutmeg; and in this recipe I add pumpkin, but the 5 basic ingredients are always present in various amounts, depending on the recipe.  This lasagna is always on our Thanksgiving table. And even the meat eaters enjoy it! All that being said, this is not an “easy peasy” recipe. It has a lot of moving parts, but it’s so worth the effort, as all lasagnas are. Everyone who’s ever made a lasagna and starts with their own sauce, knows how much work goes into it, but it’s so worth it–especially for your family and friends.

* I usually make this early in the week and then cook and refrigerate it. It tastes better like that anyway. Then, I heat it up before serving, which usually takes another 45 minutes on top of what the recipe calls for. I always remove from refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before heating it up. It can also certainly be frozen, as any lasagna can be. I’m a big fan of freezing the leftovers.

Ingredients:

2 boxes of no-boil lasagna noodles (You need about 18 sheets of noodles and I don’t like them all broken so I like to start out with as many as possible. It’s okay if they are broken though. No harm.)

1 1/2 lbs. cremini mushrooms, chopped roughly

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (If you don’t want to use this, you don’t have to. It’s for sauteing the mushrooms, which you can also do using olive oil.)

Bechamel Sauce (Roux):

8 tablespoons (1 stick ) unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon nutmeg (you can use whole or grated)

4 cups whole milk

1 1/2  – 2 cans pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)–I like the organic one and I usually end up putting both cans in because what am I going to do with half a can anyway?

*1 tablespoon minced fresh sage ( optional)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the white sauce (Bechamel/Roux,) bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan (not a full on boil.) Then, set aside the hot milk. Melt the stick of butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for about one minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and sage if you’re adding it, and continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring all the while. I start with a wooden spoon and as it thickens (about 5 minutes,) I switch to a whisk, until it is thick. Then I add the pumpkin and continue stirring but at this point, turn off the flame and remove from heat. Set aside off the heat.

Roughly chop up mushrooms. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with a little kosher salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and release their juices. If they become too dry, add a little more oil. (Toss occasionally to make sure the mushrooms cook evenly and remember that cremini cook pretty quickly.) Repeat with the remaining mushrooms, then set all the mushrooms aside in a bowl.

Lasagna Assembly:

To assemble the lasagna, spray a nice, deep 8 x 12  baking dish, then spread some of the bechamel/pumpkin sauce in the bottom of baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top of this. (No-boil noodles are not soft so it might feel strange to lay them down but just put them down, usually 3 to a layer. No need to overlap because they grow as you cook.) Then add 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. Then, begin to alternate. Start with another layer of noodles with Bechamel /Pumpkin Sauce on top; then noodles with mushroom and parmesan cheese; noodles with pumpkin/bechamel sauce; noodles with mushroom and parmesan cheese. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan Cheese. Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes .

This recipe includes about 6 layers of noodles total, which is about 18 lasagna noodles.

Pumpkin Penne Bake

IMG_9874IMG_9875I love pumpkin as you all well know by now. That’s why it’s odd that I only make it in the fall and mostly only on Thanksgiving. I suppose that’s what keeps the ingredient so special plus it’s hard to find at the supermarket after Thanksgiving. I always buy a few extra cans of pumpkin so when that pumpkin urge hits I am ready.

I like to have a pasta dish every year at my Thanksgiving dinner. Usually I make my cremini mushroom and pumpkin lasagna. This year I am making this delicious baked pumpkin penne. I am going to make it Monday and cook and freeze. I will take out of freezer Wednesday night and Thursday will pop in oven just to re-heat. I will keep aluminum foil on it to re-heat and take off foil for last 10 minutes. To re-heat it will probably be 1/2 hour with aluminum foil on for the first 20 minutes. It should start bubbling and put a fork right in the middle to test for readiness. If it needs more time and is getting too browned put foil back on and continue heating it up. You will cook it at 350 degrees as directions state.

One of the best things about baked pasta dishes is that they freeze so well. Making them some of the easiest dishes to prepare ahead. This whole thing including chopping up sage took maybe 1/2 hour to prep. My kind of dish!

as a side dish it will serve about 10-12, as a main dish figure about 8.

Ingredients:

1 lb. box of penne pasta, cooked and drained well

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling

3 – 4  cups shredded mozzarella, divided , I used about 3 cups in pasta and another 1 cup on top. ( 2 packages 8 oz. shredded cheese) you’ll have a little left over

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried sage

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cooked penne, pumpkin,  2  cup- 3 cups mozzarella, heavy cream, sage, salt and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Taste for salt.

Transfer mixture to a greased or well sprayed 3 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Since I was freezing I pulled it out after 20 minutes, cooled it down and wrapped it tightly and put in freezer.

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

My friend Audrey gave this to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in the Kolen household. Can be doubled easily.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

8 oz. sour cream (lite ok but not fat-free)

8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

8 oz. can creamed corn

8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first.) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Thanksgiving 2016

Fully Baked Cremini Pumpkin Lasagna

Fully Baked Cremini Pumpkin Lasagna

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photo 5 (7)

Fully Cooked Cranberry Crisp

Fully Cooked Cranberry Crisp

Karyn's Cranberry Crisp and Fresh Cranberry Sauce

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Magnolia Banana Pudding

Thanksgiving pictures 013

Sweet and Spicy Nuts

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Hurricane Sandy Cranberry Bread

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Corn Bread Pudding

Set Table

pre marshmallow topping

pre marshmallow topping

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Michele’s White Chocolate Jumbo Macadamia Cookies

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Butternut Squash Soup–No Cream

Rome and Thanksgiving 077 More October 088 More October 082 More October 081 More October 078 DSCN4489 DSCN4470 DSCN4466 photo 2 (9)photo (37)It’s right around the corner and before you know it November 24th is here and happening. It’s my most favorite holiday to celebrate with family and friends. So it’s November 17th and I think it’s time to lay down a few menu guidelines. We have a new baby coming in our family so I will be making my Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house and she may or not be  in the Hospital. We’re winging it this year but I am still going to make a few of our beloved dishes.  If anyone out there has any great suggestions for me please do email me, I’d love to see them. I can’t promise to make them this year but I will certainly try and look them all over. My menu is almost always the same and if you’ve been a faithful fan you’ve probably gotten to taste Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp, Corn bread Pudding, and my favorite stuffing just to name a few “oldies but goodies”. Check out the recipes on my blog: cookingwithcandi.com subscribe for free and fun and get my emails. Once you’ve successfully subscribed just enter a recipe into the search and that’s it! and go through my blog you may find something you want to add to your Thanksgiving Table that isn’t on this post. Hopefully this will be helpful in your planning your Holiday Meal. Look for some new recipes in enough time to try out for this year’s table. I will be posting all weekend for Thanksgiving! So time to put on the fat pants!

Happy Cooking Thanksgiving 2016 and remember Gratitude not Attitude!

Thanksgiving 2016

for starters I always make my Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts. I have a few variations but they are always delicious and I try not to serve too many appetizers because it’s really an overwhelming meal.

I always do a Baked Brie served with Fig Jam and you know what? I buy it at Whole Foods and keep it in the freezer till I bake it, super perfect and you have to budget your time some how. Whole Foods makes a great one and I expend enough energy on the meal without doing this too.

 

Seasonal Salad:   whatever you like and I have to say salad is really not necessary with all of the other sides. So use your judgement here . I love a simple green salad with some pears, nuts and my most favorite Mustard Vinaigrette which tastes just about perfect on any salad. Kale and Brussels Salad is great as well but a little filling. Checkout my new Autumn Salad that is now posted as well– can be made a few hours ahead and is a winner!

Two Soups for Thanksgiving:  Butternut Squash (no cream) always wins out in my family. My Pumpkin Lentil Soup is also super inviting . Both soups can and should be made ahead of time. I usually make it 3 days prior to serving , it can keep in fridge. You can also freeze it and just add some liquid when heating up. I also make a delicious Butternut Squash Soup with Chipotle Cream for a little twist on a standard.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread or Hurricane Sandy Pumpkin Cranberry Bread:

Cremini Mushroom Pumpkin Lasagna ( vegetarian), Ultimate Comfort Food Macaroni and Cheese ( vegetarian) and this year I may make a Roasted Vegetable Lasagna. Obviously you don’t need this choice if everyone is good with eating meat but if you’d like to offer a vegetarian choice one of these is perfect and can all be made ahead of time. Look for the Roasted Vegetable Lasagna which will be coming soon. I always add a pasta , don’t ask my why.

Stuffing that will be on our table: This is my stuffing that I always make. Look for it under this title. This is my tried and true. Worth the work.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes: when I’ve tried to eliminate I always get caught so they will be here again this year.

Candied Yam Souffle: East Peasy. Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes, Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes which are nothing short of A-mazing!!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce, Karyn’s Famous Thanksgiving Cranberry Crisp ( also nothing short of amazing) and Joy’s Cranberry Sauce. If you haven’t made Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp you’re really missing out on something wonderful.

Fresh Green Beans with Lemons and Almonds

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Corn Bread Pudding–this is a must , one of the best Thanksgiving recipes ever!

Roast Whole Turkey and a Turkey Breast: if you’re family prefers white meat a turkey roast is just perfection. We also have dark meat lovers so I do both.

Michele’s White Chocolate Jumbo Macadamia Cookies, Pumpkin Cheesecake The cookies will always make an appearance and I think this year an Apple Crisp is in order because Joel has made a personal request for this. Magnolia Banana Pudding is another strong contender.

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Creamy Mashed Potatoes

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Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

Like I said just a guide line to help with your shopping, menus, and hopefully some new ideas for you. Enjoy and please do reach out if you have some suggestions.

Cranberry Walnut Stuffing–Perfect for Holidays

IMG_9947 IMG_9949 IMG_9963I love watching the Food Network and there are so very many cooking shows on at any given moment. I happened to catch Valerie Bertinelli’s new show “Valerie’s Home Cooking” and she was making this stuffing and it looked so easy and I am always on the look out for new recipes. I was having the family over for Sunday dinner and was making a turkey roast complete with cranberry, gravy and of course stuffing. I tried it and it was delicious and while I love my stuffing that I always make this one was easier and there are so many great recipes out there to try I figured why not? and who better to try it out on than my family who will always be honest with me.  I assembled the complete recipe the day before and left it in refrigerator over-night.  Cooked it before we ate dinner. Family loved it and this one will go into the rotation for sure.  Christmas dinner or any holiday/family/dinner give this a go and thanks to Valerie Bertinelli for this awesome recipe.

*I did take a few liberties with the recipe and you may want to as well.

Have a very Happy Healthy Holiday Season.

*see my other stuffing recipe “The Stuffing that will be on our Table” on cookingwithcandi.com

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1/2 lb. Italian sausage removed from casing–I used 1/2 hot and 1/2 sweet use whichever you prefer

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 medium  onion, chopped

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 cup dried cranberries

One 14 oz. bag cornbread stuffing mix, such as Pepperidge Farm or Arnold. You can use any one you’d like I used the crumbled one because I had it in the house but you can use the cubed one as well.

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

2-3 cups turkey or chicken stock ( you will start out with 2 cups and I added in a little more the next day when I cooked it)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 2 – 3 quart baking dish.

In a dry sauté pan over medium heat, toast the walnuts until lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes but keep an eye on them. Remove from heat and let cool.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon, until brown, about 5-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the celery, onion and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt . Stir occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and onion is translucent , about 10 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and cook to just slightly plump them, about 2 minutes and then remove pan from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, add the dry stuffing mix, sage, thyme and walnuts. Mix together the stock and beaten egg in a large measuring cup, then add it to the mixing bowl along with the sausage-vegetable mixture. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper and stir gently to combine thoroughly. Taste for additional salt and pepper but this was enough for me.

Transfer the stuffing mixture to the baking dish and bake until hot and golden brown on top, 30-40 minutes. Serve Hot.

*I had assembled whole recipe the night before, I removed from fridge and brought it to room temperature about 2 hours before I cooked it. I thought it was a little dry so I added about 1/2 cup of broth . I then added a little bit more during the cooking process. You’ll have to feel this part out for yourself if you do it this way. If cooking right away and serving you should be fine with amount of broth (2 cups). Also if you’re using as left-overs you may want to heat it up with a little broth.

*this recipe would easily serve 8-10 as a side dish but feel free to double

 

 

Carrot Souffle

I was looking for a carrot souffle recipe that would be perfect for the holidays and came across quite a few, I settled on this one and I was very happy I did.  Original recipe comes from Emeril Lagasse, and if you can believe it, it had more butter and more brown sugar than it does, I took a few liberties with the recipe and it was just delicious. The orange flavor is very strong, so if you like you can cut that a bit but I love the fresh flavor of orange so I kept it at a full tablespoon.  It is not difficult to make, just takes some time and a lot of ingredients. I peeled the carrots, and just cut them in thirds to boil, because they were getting thrown in the food processor anyway. You need a food processor for this, and a large one at that. I literally put all ingredients into it and gave it a few whirls. . It is a most perfect  holiday dish, perfect for Christmas, Jewish New Year and Thanksgiving, really any time you are making dinner for a big group. If you’d like you can cut this recipe in 1/2 for a smaller gathering.   I also didn’t use a 9 x 13 but used a deeper casserole dish, which was fine, you can use whatever pretty baking dish you like.  I cooked it for 1/2 the time the day before and then just put in oven again day we were eating it for another 45 minutes or so. The deeper the dish , the longer it will take to fully cook through. It was light like a souffle should be and the topping is crunchy and sweet. This goes to any holiday meal, and really any time. Good news is carrots are always readily available no excuse not to eat them.

*this recipe can easily be cut in half

Ingredients:

3 pounds carrots, I peeled them and cut them into thirds

6 large eggs – beat before adding to processor

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk ( I used skim plus)

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon orange zest ( use the orange that you will juice)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg ( or 1 teaspoon powder)

pinch of salt ( regular table salt)

Topping:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans/walnuts whichever you prefer

1/2 cup all-purpose  flour

4 tablespoon ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter , at room temperature

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole pan ( up to 9 x 13 ) . Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the peeled cut up carrots, and cook until tender, app. 15 minutes and drain. Combine the carrots with the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. I was able to put all ingredients in a large processor, if not you will have to work in batches.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Combine the topping ingredients, brown sugar, pecans, flour and butter in a medium size bowl , stir to blend. Scatter the mixture over the top of the casserole and bake until the topping is lightly browned, 55 minutes to 1 hour. I baked for 35 minutes the day I made it, and will re – heat it for another 45 minutes before serving. You’ll want it a little bubbly around edges.

The Stuffing that Will Be on Our Table

I made this recipe for the first time a few years back for Thanksgiving and it quickly became a fan favorite and my own particular favorite. It’s got some kick to it and some sweetness and delicious herbs and flavors.  I found it in a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, loved all of the ingredients and thought it was delicious. I know there a lot of stuffings out there and unfortunately they are not vegetarian (I am still on the lookout for a very tasty vegetarian one, so please feel free to send it to me if you have a great veggie one.) I don’t cook my stuffing in the turkey. I make it ahead of time and cook it in a buttered gratin dish the day of. This is the stuffing that will be on our table.

There is a little time invested here but totally worth the results. A very memorable stuffing.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup diced dried figs, stems removed

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup Calvados or brandy (I used Calvados, bought the bottle last year)

2  yellow onions, diced (approx. 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 cup (3 stalks) celery, diced about 1/2 inch

1 lb. pork sausage (I do 1/2 sweet and 1/2 hot. Feel free to substitute any kind of sausage you would like. Try to get the butcher to take it out of casing for you. It’s one less thing to do.)

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (please don’t leave this out)

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (put in oven at 400 for about 5 minutes and watch them!)

3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (I use Pepperidge Farm)

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 extra large egg, beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and celery and saute until vegetables are softened and onions are translucent (don’t burn them.) Add the sausage, crumbling it as you go. Continue to saute, stirring frequently and breaking up sausage. Keep cooking for about 10 minutes, until cooked and browned up. Add the figs and cranberries with their liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook until all ingredients come together, for a couple of minutes. Scrape up and remove all the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, beaten egg, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix well. (This can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight, which is what I do. It’s just too much to do the day of.)

I put the stuffing in a well-sprayed, slightly buttered (optional), baking (gratin) dish. If you put this in the preheated over, you will likely cook it for at least 45 minutes and probably more like an hour to two hours if it’s doubled.  I also stir frequently while it is cooking, and then let it go for the last 15 minutes and it browns up. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

obviously if you are doubling this recipe you will need to use a large (very) frying pan. Or you can just do it in batches. You will need a very large pan to cook it up in though. You need to spread it out while it cooks so it cooks through. Once it is cooked you can always put it in a pretty baking dish and as it heats up just mix it through every once in a while so top doesn’t burn and bottom won’t be soggy.

I know everyone thinks that their stuffing is the best, but if made properly this one is absolutely amazing!

*This will probably serve at least 8 as one of many sides, but feel free to double.

Happy Thanksgiving!