Thanksgiving Roundup

Turkey is the standard fare for a Thanksgiving table, but whether you roast a bird or make something else the center of your meal, you’re going to need side dishes and desserts. Some people stick with the traditional dishes like mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. But if you’re looking for some new ideas, check out this roundup.

side collage

1. Thyme and Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

2. Pesto Parmesan Green Beans

3. Carrot Mash Bake

4. Cheesy Pesto Bread

5. Parmesan Tomatoes

6. Spinach Squares

7. Oven Roasted Okra

8. Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

9. Bacon & Spinach Mashed Potatoes

10. Butternut Squash Pasta Bake

11. Caprese Quinoa Bake

dessert collage

1. Mini Apple Tart Tatins

2. Pots au Chocolate de Creme

3. Caramel Praline Tart

4. Butternut Cake

5. Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies with Pie Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

6. Apple Butterscotch Cake

7. Carrot Cake Roulade

8. Vanilla Coconut Rice Pudding

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Spanish Style Red Snapper

This fish dish (aha, that rhymed) was such a hit right off the bat that none of us can wait until I make it again. Even Number Two had two servings! Similar to a Veracruz-Style fish but without any jalapenos or raisins, but you could easily add what flavorings you think you’d like. I wasn’t too keen on the raisins, but if I’d had any pepper I probably would have added them. Either way, this came out awesome.

redsnapper

Spanish Style Red Snapper

4 lbs red snapper fillets

1/4 cup EVOO

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced

1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes

1/3 cup chicken broth, divided

1/4 cup sliced green olives, pitted

2 T drained capers

1 tsp oregano

2 bay leaves

1. Preheat oven to 425*. Grease baking dish and pour 1/3 cup of chicken broth into the bottom. Arrange fish in pan (skin side down) and set aside.

2. Drain tomatoes but reserve the juice. Using a masher or fork, crush tomatoes to a coarse puree (is ok if it’s still a little chunky). Drain again and reserve all the juices together.

3. Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir for a minute. Add garlic and stir another 30 seconds. Add tomato puree, bay leaves, oregano, and reserved juice. Combine and cook for a few minutes.

4. Add broth, capers and olives. Salt & pepper to taste. Cook a few more minutes until thickened or mixture is heated through.

5. Spoon over fish and bake for about 18 minutes, or until fish is just opaque in the center.

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Oven Baked Potato Wedges

These potato wedges were easy and a perfect starchy side to just about any meal. I made these last night to go with some grilled Sirloin steaks and roasted brussles sprouts- and it was a hit. All you need is a little bit of prep time and you can enjoy these wedges any time.

*I buy the 5 lb bags of smaller russets. These are typically the size of your hand. I think these are better than full-sized baking potatoes because you get a smaller, crispier wedge.

pot wedges

Oven Baked Potato Wedges

6 russet potatoes

1/4 cup EVOO

1/4 tsp each: sea salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and parsley*

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1. Wash and cut potatoes into wedges. Place potatoes in a bowl of water with about 2 cups ice cubes. Let soak 30 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.

2. Place the salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder into a large ziplock bag. Add the potato wedges and shake until coated.

3. Add the EVOO to the bag now and shake again.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 450*. Place potatoes on baking sheet and bake for 30 -35 minutes, until cooked through and brown and crispy.

5. In a small bowl combine the parsley (*fresh parsley is best. Use about 2 T) and parmesan. Toss the cooked potatoes in the cheese and herb mixture before serving.

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FEATURED ON THRIVING ON THURSDAYS #92!

Chicken Dumplings (Pot Stickers)

These were fun to put into the boys’ lunches and not particularly difficult to make either. It only took a little bit of patience. I left out some of the ingredients because I knew they’d prefer it plain, but the entire recipe is here for you to customize it as you’d like.

chixdumplings

Chicken Dumplings

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 lb cooked chicken, chopped fine

1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage

1/2 tsp sesame oil

20 wonton wrappers

1. Mix soy sauce, ginger, and 1 T water.

2. Pulse chicken in food processor if you have one, until ground.

3. Mix cabbage, chicken, soy sauce mixture, sesame oil, and up to 2T extra water if needed.

4. Divide mixture among the wrappers.  Brush edges of wonton wrappers with water and press the four corners at the top, creating a seal.

5. Steam 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with extra soy sauce.

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Chicken Enchilada Soup #2

Yes, it’s another recipe for chicken enchilada soup. This one has fewer steps than the other one, but I still must clarify that both are delicious and worth the effort!

chix enchilada soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup (#2)

1 15-oz. can black beans, drained

10-oz. package frozen corn

1 T EVOO

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 4-oz. can chopped green chiles

1 10-oz. jar enchilada sauce

1 can cream of chicken soup (healthy alternative)

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup chicken broth

2 chicken breasts, poached and shredded

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1) In large skillet over medium, heat oil and add onion and garlic. Add in chiles.

2) In bowl whisk together milk, broth, enchilada sauce, and cream soup. Pour into skillet and combine well with veggies.

3) Add in beans, corn and chicken. Set on low and simmer for as long as possible (it will be ready in 10 minutes if you can’t wait).

4) Stir in cheese and let melt.

5) Serve with tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, or whatever you desire. *I made simple cheese quesadillas and served them on the side as dippers.

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Bacon & Gorgonzola Cornbread Sliders with Chipotle-Adobo Mayo

I have this thing for sliders.  I don’t really know why a mini-burger is so much tastier than a regular-sized one, but they are definitely more fun. I’ve done a few other sliders (check out my Bourbon BBQ Sliders with Garlic Aioli and these great little General Tso’s Chicken Sliders with Cole Slaw), and these are definitely joining the other recipes on my remake list.

The corn muffins are great on their own, which is what the original recipe is for, but then I thought making it into a slider would be cool.  And it was :)  Just mix together a little mayo and seasonings for a yummy aioli and you’ve got yourself something pretty awesome.

gorgonzola slider

Bacon & Gorgonzola Cornbread Sliders

11 oz. cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup pastry flour*

1 1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup mayo

1 large egg

3 T chopped chives

8 turkey bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled

1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles

1 lb. ground meat (I used turkey)

1 pkg. onion soup mix

sliced cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400*.  Grease muffin tins or line with foil cupcake liners.

2. Make the muffins, or “buns”, by combining the cornmeal, sugar, flour (*if you don’t have pastry flour you can remove 1/2 tsp from the regular flour and replace it with 1/2 tsp cornstarch- sift well), milk, mayo (sour cream works, too), and egg in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in the chives, bacon, and cheese.

3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

4. Make the sliders by combining the meat with the onion soup  mix. Form into patties, about 2 oz. each, and grill or cook in pan (I use my counter-top Foreman grill).

5. When muffins are done and slightly cooled, cut lengthwise through the middle to create a bun with a top and a bottom half.

Chipotle-Adobo Mayo

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 tsp chipotle seasoning

1/2 tsp Adobo seasoning

6. Combine these ingredients well and refrigerate until ready to use.

7. When assembling the sliders place a small square of cheddar cheese on  the bottom portion of the muffin or on the meat patty, add a dollop of the aioli, place over it all the top portion of the muffin, and enjoy!

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FEATURED AT FEED ME FRIDAY #6!

Caprese Style Quinoa Bake

This was soooooo yummy.  Hubby and I like to eat meatless so this was actually great by itself for a meal, but it makes an awesome side dish as well for those who want a more rounded-out dinner.  The boys liked it, too, though they aren’t crazy about chunks of tomato.  A regular caprese uses fresh, delicious mozzarella, so by all means use it if you’ve got it.  However, I didn’t have any so I used goat cheese instead.  It was awesome!  This dish came out tasting like warm, comforting, creamy tomato soup with some chew.  Delicious.

caprese quinoa

Caprese Style Quinoa Bake

3 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup pasta sauce

2 T tomato paste

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup Mozzarella (or 4 oz. goat cheese)

2/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved*

1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons

salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Cook the quinoa- 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups chicken broth.

2. In a saucepan heat up the pasta sauce and tomato paste. Once warm, stir in the cream, parmesan, salt & pepper, half the tomatoes, half the basil, and half the mozzarella or goat cheese. Stir until heated through and everything is melted and smooth. *I didn’t have grape tomatoes so I diced up a large one.

3. Spray a baking dish (I used a 4×7 but you can go up to an 8×8 or 9×9). Pour in quinoa mixture and top with remaining tomato and mozz/goat cheese.

4. Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for an additional 2 or 3, until cheese is gold and bubbly.

5. Remove from oven and top with the remaining basil ribbons.  Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

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FEATURED ON FRIDAY FLASH BLOG #38!

Pan-Seared Salmon with Basil Cream Sauce

We like to eat a lot of fish around here but sometimes it gets boring. Eating fish two times a week is highly recommended for anyone wanting a healthier diet and lifestyle, and since we primarily eat only salmon and tilapia as our main sources of fish, we like to try new ways to prepare them. This sauce has a little fattening-boost to an otherwise healthy dish, but man, does it make it good! If I’d had any fresh spinach this dish would have been excellent on a bed of wilted greens. However, as it turned out it was just as good served with roasted brussels sprouts (see this post for a great recipe) and parmesan cous cous.

basil cream sauce & salmon

Pan-Seared Salmon in Browned Butter with Basil Cream Sauce

3 or 4 salmon fillets, or a 1.5 lb cut

3 T butter

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup cream cheese, room temp.

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp lemon zest

salt & pepper

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped, divided

1. In large skillet heat the butter until it is lightly sizzling. Season salmon with salt & pepper and cook both sides until lightly browned. Set aside.

2. In small bowl combine sour cream, cream cheese, lemon zest, and 1/2 cup of the basil.

3. Deglaze pan with the wine. Simmer a few moments to reduce the liquid by half. Add in garlic and let cook 1 minute.

4. Stir in cream cheese mixture and heat through.

5. Serve salmon with a spoonful of cream sauce and a sprinkle of fresh basil.

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FEATURED ON THURSDAY’S TREASURES #106!!

Skillet Ratatouille and Chicken

Back in late July-early August when we were on our family vacation on the Crystal Coast, we stayed in a friend’s condo complete with deck-side pool and an awesome view of the ocean. I love this particular beach because it was where I met Hubby over 17 years ago. We could even see the pier where we first met from our location just a quarter of a mile away down the beach. Even better was that both the boys wanted to see where their parents first met.

While we were there we ate some great food, including local seafood (boy, have we missed that since moving off the island!) and other wonderfully prepared culinary delights at a few of the local hotspots. But there were times that I cooked, too. I kept it simple for the most part; tacos and pasta, baked herbed chicken, roasted veggies, salads, etc.

At one point as Number Two and I were wandering around the grocery store trying to decide what to make, he suggested Ratatouille. I was a little surprised at first because I’m not so sure he realized what he was asking for. So I told him. And he still seemed totally up for it. So I was like, heck yeah! But alas, there were no yellow squash in stock and I really wasn’t feeling particularly creative, so needless to say we had to pass on the ratatouille.

Since then I have come across this awesome recipe for a one-skillet meal incorporating ratatouille. How can this go wrong? I am so excited to share this with you guys because I do love me some Ratatouille. Click the link for my previous post on Millefeuille Ratatouille, which is the layered kind seen in Disney’s movie Ratatouille. This recipe was adapted from Rachael Ray.

skillet ratatouiile

Skillet Ratatouille and Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 T EVOO

1 small eggplant

1 yellow bell pepper

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 small zucchini

1 large yellow squash

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup chicken broth

2 T butter

1/3 cup chopped parsley

salt & pepper

Parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Prep your veggies. Peel eggplant and cut into 34-inch pieces. De-stem and seed the bell pepper, cutting it into 1/2-inch pieces.  Trim the zucchini and squash, quartering it lengthwise and again crosswise in 1/2-inch thick pieces.

2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat large skillet over medium heat and add 1 T of EVOO. Cook the chicken about 10 minutes, turning over once, and remove from skillet.

3. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Let it simmer a few minutes. Add the butter and broth and simmer a few minutes more. Set aside.

4. Put in some EVOO and add the eggplant to the skillet and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Ladle in some of the wine/broth as needed. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

5. Add the remaining  EVOO and cook the bell pepper and onion, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add in the zucchini and squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes; Stirring often. Ladle in wine/broth as needed. Season with salt & pepper.

6. Add the tomatoes and reserved eggplant, then the chicken and remaining wine/broth. Cover and bring to a brisk simmer.

7. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered, until the vegetables are very soft and the meat pulls apart easily using two forks; 30 minutes.

8. Serve over rice or noodles with grated cheese.

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Oven-Roasted Okra

I love oven roasted veggies. It is my favorite way to enjoy all vegetables in a fresh and delicious way. I want to know that when I’m eating vegetables that I haven’t cooked all their nutrients away, and by roasting them in the oven you have limitless options for flavoring to boot.

My favorite veggies prepared this way are brussel sprouts and asparagus, but I’ve been known to enjoy fresh green beans and squash and zucchini as well. Now it’s time for okra to take a step in the spotlight. If you’ve only eaten it breaded and fried, or in a slimy soup, then you may not know how awesome okra really is.

Now, you can easily cut these babies length-wise for the same delicious flavor, but for more even cooking and the best taste results, I cut them into 1/2-inch bites sized pieces. Seasonings are truly limitless (think garlic powder, parmesan cheese, thyme, rosemary, smoked paprika, the list goes on and on…) but my mainstay is to toss everything in EVOO and salt & pepper. It’s just that easy.

oven roasted okra

Oven-Roasted Okra

8 oz. fresh okra, washed and dried

EVOO

Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400*

Cut tops and tips off the okra and discard. Slice okra into 1/2-inch bite-sized pieces.

Line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place okra pieces on it.

Drizzle EVOO and salt and pepper over the okra and toss with your hands to get everything covered evenly.

(Wash hands) …then place sheet in oven for about 20 minutes, or until okra is done to your liking. You may want to use a spatula to stir things up (gently) a bit.

*Sometimes I crank the oven up to 450* depending on the veggie and the thickness of the pieces and how much oil I used. I like my asparagus tips almost crunchy, while the stalks of all the veggies should be tender and fresh but not mushy. You may have to experiment a few times to get it the way you like it. Just keep your eye on it so nothing overcooks and it’ll be fabulous.

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