Archive for the ‘Holiday Food’ Category


February 14, 2015

Here’s what we did in 2014. It worked well, but the turkey needed to cook a bit more and the gravy was AMAZING.

This makes turkey, stuffing and gravy for 25 people.
22 lb turkey
2 c salt
2 c sugar
4 oranges, quartered
4 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs thyme
6 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs sage
4 gallons water
4 cups ice
1/2 c canola oil
2 c milk
2 c flour
1 half pound loaf of stuffing bread (half white and half sourdough or all sourdough is preferred), cubed and dried out from the air or oven
1 stick butter
2 onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 granny smith apples, diced
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
3/4 lb Italian sausage, browned
1 c chicken stock
1 c Craisins

lots of S+P on hand

Day before Thanksgiving
Turkey 22lbs for about 25 people.
The night before, put the turkey in a brine. Use the blue cooler and keep ice in it as well as keeping it in the garage.
2 c salt
2 c sugar
4 oranges, quartered
4 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
4 gallons of water
4 cups ice

Dissolve the salt and sugar in hot water over the stove. Add to the cooler and put outside to get cold. Add the rest of the water cold into the cooler. Tie up the herbs in twine so you can place them in the turkey when cooking.

Once the brine is ready in the cooler, remove the giblets and stuff. Rinse the turkey in cold water and submerge the turkey breast up until you go to bed. Just before bed, turn it breast down. Make sure it’s as submerged as you can get it.

Chop the bread and toast in the oven and leave it out.
Chop the rest of the veggies, herbs for tomorrow. Brown the sausage for the stuffing.

Thanksgiving Day!
1. 8am Remove the center rack in the oven & preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
2. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse in cold water.
3. Pat dry with paper towels while still in the sink.
4. Insert the herbs and a couple lemons and oranges into the cavity from the brine.
5. Take out a triangle of aluminum foil and fit it to the breast of the turkey for later. Grease with canola oil and set aside. 6. Grease the outside of the turkey liberally with canola oil and tuck the wings underneath.
7. 8:30am Roast the turkey at 500 degrees for 20 minutes to crisp the skin.
8. 9am Insert probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set to 165 degrees. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and put on the aluminum breast plate.
— DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN OR TOUCH THE TURKEY until the alarm goes off–
> 12:30pm Make the stuffing: (turkey should be around 130 degrees)
Melt the stick of butter in a large pan with tall sides. Add 2 c chopped onion, celery, apples, parsley, 1 T salt and 1 t pepper. Sauté until soft, then pour that over the dried bread cubes already in a bowl. Add the sausage browned, 1 c chicken stock and 1 c craisins and mix in the bowl. Pour into a 9×13″ baking dish. Ready to go into the oven!

> Get ready for gravy time: 2 c Flour, 1 c Milk, salt, pepper, 3-4 c chicken stock and 2 stems chopped sage and 1 stem chopped rosemary ready to go.

2pm people start arriving (turkey is at about 155 degrees)

9. About 2:15pm When the turkey hits the 165 degree mark remove from the pan onto a cutting board and cover with a large aluminum foil tent for 15-20 minutes before carving.

–> 2:15pm This is when you can put in the stuffing and any other dishes that need to be warmed. Stuffing is 30 minutes at 300.

10. Take the pan drippings and put them into the gravy maker to separate. Pour the drippings with only a little fat back into the large pan over low heat (2 burners). You don’t need that much.
11. Stir in the herbs first, then thicken with flour until it’s a paste. Add the milk and stock until it’s the desired consistency and taste. S+P as necessary.

2:45pm Carve turkey, take other dishes out of oven
3pm EAT!



Sugar Cookies & Frosting

December 28, 2014

Cookies by Adrienne and Frosting by Sarah 🙂

– 1 c salted butter, room temperature
– 2 c white sugar
– 2 eggs, well beaten
– 1 t cream of tartar (I didn’t have this so I used 3 t baking powder and no soda)
– 1 t baking soda
– 1 t vanilla
– 3 c flour, preferably bleached

If you have a hand mixer, make one batch at a time. Combine the butter and sugar until creamed with hand mixer. Add eggs. Add everything else. Then add a cup of flour at a time.

Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Rollout and cut shapes! Bake at 375 for 6-8 min on UNGREASED cookie sheets. DON’T LET THE COOKIES GET BROWN!

1 c UNSALTED butter, room temperature
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
4 c powdered sugar
2 T milk

Mix the butter, vanilla and almond. Slowly add the powdered sugar and milk until desired consistency.

Makes enough to frost one cake or 2 dozen cookies


October 31, 2014

For those rare occasions when we cook lobster, here’s the preferred way! Buy lobster tails that are not frozen. Previously frozen is fine. Get the females and the ones with meat coming out of the tail – super tasty (says the local Costco fishmonger).

Preheat the oven to 375. If your lobsters are not defrosted in the fridge, put them in cold water for 30 min.

Use kitchen scissors to cut the top of the shell in half all the way to the tail. Crack the shell open so the meat is exposed. Separate the meat from the shell on the bottom so it lifts out easily once cooked.

Season with S+P and butter. I would also spray with a misto (EVOO) next time to make sure there are no dry edges that are missed with butter. Cook 12-18 minutes. They’re done when they’re not translucent anymore.

One of ours was pink and the other white – either way – they’re cooked! Serve with melted salted butter for dipping.

Photos and lots more to learn here:

Paula Dean’s Wild Rice & Mushroom Side

January 25, 2013

This is so good! I lightened it up w bit because PD is ridiculous (in a good way).

1.5 sticks butter
1 16 oz package of baby Bella’s chopped roughly
3 cups (or so) of cooked wild rice (I could see this blended with quinoa – try next time)
1 med white onion, chopped
2 T all purpose flour
1 c milk
1/2 cup sherry (I used dry white wine and it was fine)
S + P
1/2 c buttered breadcrumbs (honestly I think this is optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Melt the butter and cook the onion and mushrooms in it. After a few minutes push them to the side and add the flour, then combine with the pan. The milk stirring constantly. Then add the sherry, S+P. then fold in the rice.

Pour into your greased baking dish and add breadcrumbs on top. Bake for 15 min or until the top is brown.

French Toast

November 23, 2012

6 eggs
1/2 cup milk (or cream or eggnog)
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 one Nutmeg ground
1 t vanilla extract
One loaf French bread

Preheat the oven to 200 to keep the batches warm.

Mix up the batter and let it sit in a few plates. Put the bread to soak it up on the plates for a few minutes. Melt butter in a large pan (a generous amount) and cook the toast for a couple minutes on each side. Once browned put in the oven. Serve with whatever special syrup you like! For me it’s banana syrup 🙂

Green Bean Casserole

November 22, 2012

As traditional as you can get.

2 cans (16 oz) of green beans, drained (or 4 cups frozen and thawed)
1 can (10 oz) of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c milk
1/8 t pepper
1 t soy sauce
1 1/3 c Frenchs onions, divided in half

Use a 1.5-2 quart baking dish. Preheat oven to 350. Serves 6.

Combine all but the last half of the onions and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Top with the rest of the onions and bake for 5 more minutes.

Baked Brie

November 24, 2011

From my friend Sara’s blog – this is always a hit at her parties. If you need anything sweet – go here:

1 8 oz wheel of Brie
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c Chopped walnuts
1 Puff pastry sheet, unthawed
Egg wash

Trim rind off Brie and cut in half length wise. Fill the middle with the brown sugar and walnuts and put back together like a sandwich. Put the pastry on a lightly floured surface and pat it out with your hands. Place the Brie sandwich in the middle and fold the Brie until its covered. Brush with Egg wash and place on parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Serve with granny smith green apples, bread or crackers. Also good with warm cranberry and apple chutney. Recipe to come later!

Butternut Squash Soup

November 2, 2011


4 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large shallots, peeled and halved
1 (1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons (1-inch) slices fresh chives
Cracked black pepper (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a roasting pan; toss well. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool 10 minutes.
3. Place half of squash mixture and half of broth in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture and broth. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with chives and pepper, if desired.

Mark Scarbrough, Cooking Light


Mini Quiches

April 1, 2011

These delicious mini quiches are a wonderful party dish because they can be made in advance and then simply reheated before serving.
Martha Stewart Living Television
Makes 24
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1 bunch pencil asparagus, trimmed
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
All-purpose flour, for work surface
1/2 recipe Pate Brisee
3 ounces finely shredded Gruyere cheese
2 ounces cooked ham, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cut 3 inches from the tip-ends of the asparagus; reserving remaining stalks for another use. Generously add salt to boiling water. Add asparagus and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes; Drain. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, heavy cream, eggs, yolk, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Strain through a sieve into a medium bowl; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pate brisee to slightly less than 1/8-inch thick. Using a 2 3/4-inch round cutter, cut out 24 rounds. Fit rounds into a 24-cup nonstick mini muffin tin. If the pate brisee becomes too soft to work with, place in refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes. Divide half of the cheese, evenly between the lined cups. Top with ham. Divide milk mixture evenly between cups. Top each with 3 to 4 pieces of asparagus. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately remove quiches from muffin tin and transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Homemade Mac and Cheese

January 16, 2011

OMG this is good stuff.  I added chicken to make it at least a little healthy, becuase without it it’s one indulgent side dish!


1 lb pasta

4 cups cheese (I used a mix of what I had leftover from the holiday cheese trays: sharp white cheddar, regular cheddar, parmesan and gouda)

3 cups milk? I typed this in wrong – feel this out next time

1/2 cup butter

1 cup breadcrumbs

paprika for sprinkling

Directions: cook macaroni according to package directions and drain. While cooking, shred your cheese.  In a saucepan, melt butter and stir in enouch flour to make a roux.  Add milk in slowly, stirring constantly.  Stir in cheeses and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened.  Put macarni in a large casserole dish and pour sauce over macaroni, stir well (this is where I added 4 shredded chicken breasts to the mix, already cooked). 

Melt butter in a skillet over med heat and add the breadcrumbs to brown, add a little paprika to this as well.  Spread over the macaroni to cover and bake uncovered for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.