Move over sweet potato casserole (but not too far 'cause I like you too), there's a new side dish in town- Butternut Squash Souffle. This recipe of sweet, cinnamony, warm goodness is derived from one that a family friend used to make years ago for Thanksgiving. Since then, I have made it a number of times and tweaked it to the point where it has minimal fat, but still gets the rave reviews. Add this sweet side to your holiday table and they'll be sure to ask for it every year- and you won't have to worry because a simple list of ingredients, including frozen squash, along with the 4 step directions, makes this recipe so easy to replicate.
Sweet mushrooms. When I first heard that such a thing existed, I was in disbelief. How could fungi be sweet, let alone have the scent of maple syrup? I was so intrigued that I actually entered a recipe contest where Marx Foods would send out a bagful of Dried Candy Cap Mushrooms to participants to see who could come up with the best recipe.
I'll be honest, once I received my shrooms, I perused the web to learn a bit more about them and some applications done by others. I even consulted with my brother (former culinary student) to see what he would suggest- the obvious being a dessert. I'm not a dessert fanatic (don't get me wrong, I love a good after dinner treat every now and again), so I wanted to steer clear of the already done cookies, cakes, and ice creams. I just had to figure out something that I could incorporate a maple-like flavor into. Being that we're close to the holidays, I wanted something relevant to the season too. Then it clicked, Cornbread. And then it clicked once more, Candy Cap cornbread Stuffing! The key was making a syrup out of the Candy Caps to get out the flavor and aroma. It played out well and the results were interestingly enjoyable. My taste testers and I were pleased with the subtle sweetness mixed with the savory combination of the stuffing. Even the cornbread itself was great, tasting like a cornmeal pancake with built in syrup.
So, you've asked the question, "Is there anything I can bring?" and she tells you, "Sure, how about a dessert?" Before you run to the bakery and grab from their stash, check out this Oreo Pudding Pie.
Cookies & cream is a combination of flavors that can't be denied and with a recipe that's so easy, yet looks and tastes impressive, you can serve it with pride. There's no baking required and it takes about the same amount of effort as transferring a store bought cake to your own plate (don't act like you've never done that), so give it a go this holiday season.
This post's main intention is to share a beloved Drunkenly Sweet Ham Glaze recipe with you, but I feel guilty leaving anyone out there stranded that isn't well versed at preparing a ham (flashback of me a couple years ago). This is why I will give you my two cents on the hams of the world. Cooked or not cooked? That is the question.
I gotta say that getting a fully cooked (spiral) ham seems like the most logical and convenient thing to do. Let's face it, there ain't much YOU are actually doing to the flavor of the meat regardless if it comes cooked or not! That being said, here's my take on the options out there:
I'll start by saying that the USDA may not love my way of prepping a turkey for its roasting, but the method I use (and my mom uses, and her mom used, etc) dates back years before the government stepped in to tell us about "safe food handling." If you use common sense and are careful about how and where you handle the raw meat, you will be fine. So there was my disclaimer. Now onto the process of getting Tom ready for Thanksgiving...
Thick & creamy, comforting, tasty, simple, pretty.... I could go on about how great this Loaded Baked Potato Soup is. Did I mention how easy it is to make (once you get passed the potato peeling part)? Inspired by the Crockin' Girls, I decided to give this soup a shot, but of course I had to lighten it up. No butter, no cream, yet it still had a richness that made super satisfying. If I was having one of my more obsessive calorie counting moments of life, I would have taken the "lightness" a bit further and used fat free cheese and turkey bacon, but since we were having company, I opted for the reduced fat cheddar and real bacon pieces. Believe it or not, the packaged bacon pieces only have 25 calories and a couple grams of fat per tablespoon- not too bad when you consider the flavor it adds (I don't think the soup would be complete without it).
The version is much lower in fat and calories than most of the other Loaded Baked Potato Soups out there, but I promise you all of the flavor is there. It tastes even better on day two!
My mom and I take turns making our family's various holiday dishes and one that often ends up on my list is the mashed potatoes. Many people dread preparing this popular side dish (perhaps it's because of the peeling), but I have a simple Mashed Potato recipe, which requires no peeling, and can be done in less than an hour. This recipe is lower in fat than more traditional recipes, but still makes the perfect addition to any feast.
One of the things I look most forward to on our Thanksgiving table is Mom's Cranberry Sauce. Growing up with this sweet sauce that is bursting with flavor, I could never understand why people would say they don't like cranberry sauce. Then I saw the canned stuff...
Thankfully mom made a (ginormous) batch of her sauce last night and took pictures so that I could share the recipe with you. She always makes a ton of it, but that's ok with us because I incorporate the leftovers into other dishes. It goes great with just about any meat, especially poultry. Now that you have this simple and delicious cranberry sauce recipe, you will never have to serve your the cranberry blob again!