Green Bean Casserole – another Thanksgiving staple

Casseroles seemed so nasty as a kid. It was a hodgepodge of veggies and some meat mixed with cream of something soup and then baked. But that actually sounds delicious. It is an easy one-pot meal that was a staple growing up. I’m not sure who thought up the green bean casserole as a side dish to Thanksgiving but it’s another necessity.

And to help save time on Turkey Day, make this the night before and store it in the refrigerator. Just leave off the onions until you are ready to pop it in the oven.

It also travels really well. So make extra and bring it to the in-laws.

Green Bean Casserole

  • 4 big handfuls of fresh green beans (sorry, I’ve never weighed it), ends trimmed
  • 1 lb of crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • 3 TBS cream (not necessary but come on, it’s the holidays)
  • 1/4 cup or so of milk
  • 1 package of fried onions (6 to 8 oz)

Boil some water in a pot big enough to hold your green beans. Cook the green beans until just fork tender. Then blanch them in cold water to stop the cooking. Set them aside.

In a pan, melt the butter and oil. Add the shallots and mushrooms and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are just tender.

Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Then slowly add the cream then the milk. The mushrooms should be swimming in the scrumptiously rich sauce. Cook a bit more until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Put the green beans in a casserole dish and pour the mushroom sauce over it. Give it a little stir and then shake the fried onions over the top.

Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Gobble, gobble.

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Another post without photos – Pumpkin Pie

Ok, like I mentioned in the cranberry sauce post, I’m trying to get all my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving in here. And this is one of my favorite Pumpkin Pie recipes. WARNING: if you don’t like spicy pies, this recipe isn’t for you. There’s plenty of cinnamon and ginger to make your pumpkin (and your heart) sing the happy holiday song.

Seriously though, can we talk about how quickly Thanksgiving has come? You know what? Nevermind. I’m going to try a new approach to the holidays (no complaints). I’m already giving thanks for all our blessings, family and friends. Wow, I’m so full of love all of a sudden. What a difference a new outlook makes!

Ok, on to the most scrumptious pumpkin pie…Happy Thanksgiving! xoxoox

Spiced Pumpkin Pie (adapted from epicurious.com)

  • 2/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 TBS light molasses
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 pie crust (if you’re motivated pate sucree is a great pie dough but store bought is fine too)

Place baking sheet in oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

Whisk first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl to blend. Whisk in pumpkin, molasses and eggs, then the cream. Pour mixture into frozen pie crust or pre-baked homemade crust.

Place pie on preheated baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake until sides puff and center is just set (about 40 minutes). Cool and serve at room temp with fresh whipped cream. (pie can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)

Happy Turkey Day!!

(late edit) Adding a photo of munchkin making her first pumpkin pie:

stir, stir, stir

stir, stir, stir

IMG_3457

cook, cook, cook

 

Thanksgiving Stuffing

Our family has always called that yummy bread dish that so deliciously compliments the Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing. I don’t recall it ever being actually in the bird, though. And so, technically we are wrong. It should be called dressing. But we aren’t changing and neither is this very basic recipe (with the small exception for our vegetarian sister who gets her own version sans meat and with veggie broth).

If you aren’t a fruits and nuts kinda gal or dude, this is your recipe for Thanksgiving stuffing (I love fruits and nuts, don’t get me wrong – I am a CA native – but they do not belong in the stuffing).

Thanksgiving Stuffing

  • 1 lb of Italian sausage (bulk if you can get it but I usually just squeeze it out of the casing into little dime size balls)
  • 8 oz bag of herb stuffing (lightly seasoned or not at all)
  • 8 oz bag of cornbread stuffing (lightly seasoned or not at all)
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 TB poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

In a large bowl, add the stuffing bags and seasonings.

In a pan, brown the sausage. Remove the sausage from the pan and add it to the stuffing bowl.  Add the butter to the sausage pan (keep the sausage drippings in the pan). Add the onion and celery to the pan and scrape up any brown bits. Once the veggies are cooked to your liking (almost translucent), remove from the pan and add it to the stuffing bowl.

Add the chicken broth in stages just until the stuffing is moist. You might need more or less depending on your stuffing.

Bake at 350 degrees, covered for 30 mins. Then remove the cover and brown the top for 5 mins.

Enjoy!!

 

 

No picture but the BEST cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving

Although the next few posts will be sans photos, they are my most favorite recipes for Thanksgiving. We’re having Thanksgiving in Hawaii this year (I know, poor babies). So, I thought: why not post all my favs here and refer to them when we get to Hawaii when the cooking commences?

Cranberry sauce was ALWAYS a side I avoided. It either came out of a can complete with the tin form rings or it was so tangy and bitter and unappealing that I never let it near my turkey or the other dearly loved sides. That was until last year when I found this recipe. I feel terrible that I don’t know where I found it. I know if was probably somewhere on tastespotting.com but that doesn’t mean much.

It’s a beautiful side and I LOVE it the next day on leftover rolls for breakfast. The hibiscus mellows out the tang and bitterness that often comes with fresh cranberries.

Try it this year. You will be stoked to welcome cranberries!

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup red wine, I used Pinot Noir
¼ cup water
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 clove
1 Tbsp. dried hibiscus leaves
1 Tsp. orange zest
1 12 oz. package of fresh cranberries
cheesecloth

Place hibiscus leaves and clove on a piece of cheesecloth and tie into a tight bundle. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine orange juice, red wine, water and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Add hibiscus clove bundle to the liquid and boil for two minutes.

Stir orange zest into mixture and add cranberries. Bring mixture back to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid reduces. Pour cranberry sauce into a mason jar and let cool uncovered.

Store in the fridge for up to a week before Thanksgiving.

Grilled Steelhead Trout

I’m still learning and experimenting on the Weber Genesis. Well, to be truthful, I haven’t ventured beyond the brined pork chops, steaks and hot dogs. For many reasons, I get nervous cooking other proteins on the grill. Like what if they aren’t fully cooked? And worse, what if they’re overcooked. And if we’re talking fish? The fear escalates. Skin is very sticky and what if it gets stuck to the grates? What if half of it falls to pieces and is forever lost to the grease trap? (I might be divulging a little too much of my nerotic behavior but these are my the thoughts that pop into my noggin when strategizing dinner prep. And maybe you have them too:)

But I had to get over it because this whole Steelhead Trout from Lassen had to be grilled.

This baby was 2lbs. I put some garlic salt in the cavity and on the body (probably about a teaspoon). I had some mandarins so I cut up two of them and put the slices in the cavity with 3 stalks of green onions and 4 slices of cooked bacon. I might have added more bacon if I had it.

I scored the skin on both sides.

Then I heated up the grill to 400 degrees with only two burners going. I then placed the fish on the indirect heat side (over the burner that was turned off). I closed the lid and let it cook for 20 minutes. Then I turned it over and cooked it for 15 more minutes.

The smokiness of the bacon infused in the moist flesh of the fish. It was really, really good. I would serve it next time with an acidic sauce like a mild chimichurry.
We loved it!

Pot Pie (aka Leftover Haven)

Ever since I was a kid, pot pies have graced our dinner table. In the early 80s, they came piping hot out of the oven dressed in silver – doughy bowls wrapped in aluminum tins filled with turkey, carrots, peas and possibly a cube of potato or two swimming in milky gravy and topped with a crusty cap. They were delicious. Especially if we got to eat on our collapsible dinner trays (again aluminum) in front of the TV – probably watching “Gilligan’s Island”. I still remember the twang of the trays when they popped into the legs. I think I need to get us some vintage TV trays…hmmm.

Pot pies now mean something different to me. They are refuge for leftovers. The other night we had roast chicken and saute yellow squash and green beans. We had leftover bacon from breakfast and I had some premade biscuits in the fridge as well. So, the next night when I was looking for something to cook, a family pot pie seemed to be the quickest and most comforting option – sans TV and TV trays unfortunately.

Although, it doesn’t have that uniform cap that we’ve come to associate with pot pies, nor the doughy bowl, this recipe captures all the comfort of TV trays and aluminum trays designed for single serving noshing.

Biscuit Topped Pot Pie

  • 1/4 cup Leftover poultry, shredded into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup Leftover sauted veggies (squashes, beans, roots, etc)
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 large leek, onion or shallot, sliced or diced
  • 4 slices of precooked bacon, sausage or other cured/seasoned pork (leftover from breakfast)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 wine glass of milk
  • 1 wine glass of white wine
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven per the biscuit package instructions.

Saute allium (onion, leek, etc), celery, carrots and garlic in melted butter and olive oil until fragrant over med-low heat. Add thyme and a pinch of salt. Add wine and cook down until nearly evaporated. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Add leftover meats and veggies and saute over med-low heat for 5 mins. Letting the flavors mingle. (If you didn’t have leftover meats and veggies, add them raw to the mixture now and add 1 more wine glass of water. Cook covered for 20 mins).

Pour the mixture into a pie pan.

Pop the biscuit can.

Place the biscuits on the top of the mixture. Pop into the oven and bake per the biscuit package instructions. But keep an eye on it. Don’t let those biscuits burn!

Let it rest for a couple minutes before diving into it. The sauce will thicken a bit and it’ll all cool down so you can properly enjoy it.

Happy comfort food and a little bit of indulgent TV watching.