Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (no cream)

I decided to re-post this amazing soup as it is one of my most favorite recipes and one of my most popular recipes. So very easy to make with pre-cut butternut squash readily available almost everywhere now. If you’d like a little different flavor you can roast the squash first.

It’s definitely fall and my first soup of the season  is almost always butternut squash soup. I’ve simplified the recipe along the way so that now it is just the way Joel and I like it. it’s pretty easy as long as you buy the squash pre – cut (available in every supermarket, and corner produce store). I just made my first batch of the season, and the squash is sweet and delicious. I always add a little butter to it, but you can totally leave it out. It tastes so creamy you’ll swear there’s cream in it, but really, there is none.  I love a little freshly grated nutmeg in it too, but you can certainly just sprinkle in a very little bit of grated nutmeg.  I hope your family and friends enjoy this as much as my family does! It’s always on my table for Thanksgiving. A delightful way to start a dinner, or a delicious main dish served alongside  a beautiful salad and bread. This can easily be made vegetarian by substituting chicken broth for vegetable broth, which is how I make it on Thanksgiving for our daughter Kerri , who is a vegetarian.

Ingredients:

4 pkgs. (approx. 4 lbs.) butternut squash (it’s doesn’t have to be exact)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large spanish onion, chopped

8 – 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth

*1 -2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for this serving size, I use 2 but it’s totally optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*use whole nutmeg – you just grate a little in for flavor. I always tend to use whole, but grated will do. It’s just a touch of it–if I had to guess, I’d say 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon depending on your taste

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed Le Creuset (or any other ample size large pot), I heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is heated, put in onion and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Sweat out the onions until they are translucent (approx. 5 – 8 minutes). If you’re using the butter, add it now too. I then add all of the butternut squash and mix the onions, oil and butter as best I can all over the squash. Next, add enough broth to cover the squash (I used approx. 10 cups of chicken broth to cover). I keep the remaining half a box of broth in case I need it later. Return to a low boil, then bring to a simmer. I let it cook a very long time–at least an hour until soft–and then I turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. I like to make it early and let it sit for as long as possible, because the squash gets very soft. Then right before I am about to serve, I use an immersion blender and blend it into a beautiful smooth soup. If you need more broth, add it as you blend. This is also your salt, pepper and nutmeg moment. Season to taste and blend just until smooth. I leave it in the pot until I need it and then gently warm it up. This soup will keep in the fridge for a few days. It can be frozen as well. Upon defrosting you may need to add more broth. Sometimes I serve this soup with beautiful croutons if I can find them in specialty stores, but it is delicious and beautiful on its own, and very good for you! My family loves it , and I hope yours does too.

*should serve 10 – 12 as appetizer

Candied Yam Souffle (Easy Peasy)

sweet potatoes pre marshmallows

I just found this recipe. I’ve made this souffle in the past. It is easy and I just felt I owed it to all of you to pass it along. It is especially good for those of you who need to bring something to someone’s house, and don’t have time for fuss and muss.  I am still not 100% sure which yam dish I am going to make, but will make a decision soon. So here you go. And those darn mini marshmallows which you just gotta have.

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 large cans of yams or app. 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, drained

1 small can (I like 8 oz.) crushed pineapple (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

mini-marshmallows (1 bag will more than cover it) or one jar of marshmallow topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and pecans. Simmer for a  few minutes. In the meantime, place drained yams in a large bowl and mash them (you can leave a few chunked pieces.) If you’re cooking your sweet potatoes , peel and cut into quarters (cubes) fill a large pot of water to cover potatoes , add a little salt to water and bring water to boil. Boil for about 12 minutes till you can pierce potato with a fork easily. Remove and drain potatoes. I always place my potatoes back in pot to steam off excess water.

Pour sugar/pecan and pineapple mixture over the yams. Stir until combined thoroughly. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a pie pan, actually any baking dish will do. Oven to Table is perfect here. Bake for about 15 minutes. Then remove, put mini marshmallows on top to cover, and raise the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes to brown the marshmallows. Don’t let it burn.

Cremini Mushroom Pumpkin Lasagna – Seasonal and Savory for Thanksgiving

Fully Baked Cremini Pumpkin Lasagna

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.

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 definitely 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

Thanksgiving Menu

I am going to share my Thanksgiving Menu with you.  It is always my holiday to do, I love doing Thanksgiving and a few years back decided that it will always be my holiday to do. I will be writing all recipes for Thanksgiving as well. I would love to hear from all of you and hopefully get some new inspiration. I am big on traditions, and it’s nice to have your own and continue to do it year after year, it’s something everyone looks forward to as much as they bitch and moan. We go around the table and everyone has to say something they’re thankful for, not everyone wants to do it, but everyone does to keep me happy. It’s good to have traditions but good to be flexible and up for something new as well.  Please feel free to write me and offer up some great recipes or great traditions that you may have. Of course there are certain items on my menu that I absolutely have to serve because my family insists upon it. I always make my own cranberry sauce, and I have a couple of soups , a couple of salads to choose from, but I will share all my recipes. My sister makes the most awesome Chipotle Sweet Potatoes, and of course we always have some with mini marshmallow.  Hope to hear from you on this one. I am going to do a little bit each week, try and get your food shopping in , do your soup, bread, and anything else you can ahead of time and freeze. Hope to hear from you all.

Appetizers:

Baked Salami * look for recipe on here (Oldie but Goodie) will post soon

Crudite and Dip fresh cut up veggies and usually a spinach dip( Corinnes is delicious)

Sweet and Spicy Nuts* recipe is already posted on my blog

Baked Brie which I buy at Whole Foods ( it is delicious and super easy , and doesn’t make sense to futz with) and crackers