Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce

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Thanksgiving week continues! I think one of the most underrated parts of the Thanksgiving meal is the cranberry sauce. It’s definitely not the star, but it’s the part that ties everything together. It goes well with everything and it adds a bit of sweet to all the savory (I love that!). It isn’t overly sweet like the store bought variety, and it has a nice tart and tangy flavor.

This recipe is almost as easy as opening a can of that cranberry jelly you buy in the store. The ingredients in Ocean Spray’s cranberry jelly are: cranberries, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and water.  According to Google corn syrup is “made from cornstarch, consisting of dextrose, maltose, and dextrins.” 

I’m no expert, but I did a little research because this area interests me. I found this interesting article about high fructose corn syrup and how it is chemically modified and therefore different than pure cane sugar. It’s an intriguing and eye opening read if you have the time.

You’ll be glad you took the extra 5-10 minutes to make this fresh and yummy sauce!

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Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce

  • 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed (about 3 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a medium sauce pot. Cook on medium-high for about 10-15 minutes or until most of the liquid is reduced. Note: the cranberries will pop open while cooking, don’t be alarmed.
  2. Remove from heat and cool. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.

Makes about 2 cups (plenty for a Thanksgiving meal for 8 people).

Recipe adapted from Savory Sweet Life

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Thanksgiving Stuffing

FullSizeRender (6)In case you’re still working on your Thanksgiving dinner menu, here’s a killer stuffing recipe. Stuffing has always been one of my favorite Thanksgiving fixings. Maybe it’s because I love bread and butter and those are the two main ingredients, but who doesn’t? 😉 Here’s a sneak peak of how great it will look on your dinner plate:

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Thanksgiving Stuffing

  • 1 whole pan of cornbread, cubed (I make the cornbread recipe on the corn meal jar)
  • 1 loaf french bread, cubed
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups celery, chopped (about 6 stalks)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Spread the cubed bread out on a baking sheet and let them dry overnight (at least 12 hours). Note: If you don’t have time for this step just toast them in the oven for a bit.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add butter. When it’s melted add the onion and celery and cook for about 5 minutes until they are softened.
  3. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add sage, thyme, and salt. Stir until combined. Cook for a few more minutes after it has begun to boil.
  4. Place all of the dried bread cubes into a large bowl. Gradually ladle the broth mixture onto the bread, tossing lightly after each addition. Keep gradually adding the broth mixture. If the mixture is not quite moist enough add a bit more chicken broth and stir. I added an extra 1/2 to 3/4 cup.
  5. Place in a buttered 9×13 baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it begins to brown.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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Vegetable Minestrone Soup

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When the winter months come around my favorite thing to make is soup! I’m obsessed with soup and trying new soup recipes. I love to make a huge pot and have leftovers all week long.

This recipe is loaded with veggies and is super tasty. The thyme and pesto add great herb flavor. If you want to add meat, I’ve also made it with diced pancetta. Feel free to change up the ingredients to suit your tastes, enjoy!

Vegetable Minestrone Soup

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 28 oz.  can of diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz. reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-3 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 tablespoons pesto
  • 10 oz. fresh spinach

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and squash. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the diced tomatoes (including the juice), chicken broth, water, thyme and bay leaves. Season with pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Simmer about 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir in the couscous and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Discard the bay leaves. Stir in the cannellini beans, pesto and spinach. Serve and enjoy!

Makes a TON! (8-10 servings)

Recipe adapted from Crave by Random House

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Pumpkin Butter

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Are you tired of seeing pumpkin things everywhere yet? I’m not, and I don’t think I could ever be! This stuff is excellent on toast, muffins, and my personal favorite… corn bread. I’ve also whisked it in with half and half or vanilla coffee cream to make a homemade pumpkin creamer. No need to stop at Starbucks for a pumpkin spice whatever, just have it at home!

On another note, only two more weeks until Thanksgiving. Which means only two more weeks and a day until the most wonderful time of year is here! 🙂

Pumpkin Butter

  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pot combine the pumpkin, vanilla, cider, sugar, spices and cinnamon sticks.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened, stiring frequently. Remove cinnamon sticks.
  3. Pour butter into glass jars and cool before refrigerating. It keeps well in the fridge for at least a few weeks.

Makes  enough to fill two glass jam jars.

Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

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Man Food: BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

This is Aaron, Leeann’s hubby. This is my first post to the blog, and I am pumped!

My guest posts will have the “Man Food” intro. This means it’s food that fits two requirements:

  1. Man can eat
  2. Man can make

And women will enjoy as well, naturally! This recipe is simple and shouldn’t be too hard to make.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Directions

  • Bake or poach chicken (Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees)
    • When the chicken is done, cut into small chunks to your preference
  • Pan fry the bacon strips
    • When the bacon is done, cut into small chunks as well
  • Dice 1/4 red onion
  • Shred the 8 oz mozzarella cheese (you could get pre shredded, but it’s not as fresh or good)

At this point everything should be prepared; now you’ll just need to put it all together.

  • Spray the pizza baking pan lightly with cooking spray so the dough doesn’t stick and put the dough on it
  • Squirt the BBQ sauce on the dough and use a spoon/spatula to spread evenly
  • Add chicken pieces, diced onions, bacon bits and top with mozzarella cheese
  • Toss it in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees

Makes 6-9 servings

Enjoy!

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Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits

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We can’t deny the inevitable… winter is right around the corner, eeeek! Although I absolutely LOVE the holiday season (what’s better than lots of family gatherings and lots of good food!?) – I don’t adore the three months that follow.

One great way to get through the winter is by making warm and cozy comfort food like this.  I’ve been making this pot pie recipe for years. It’s thick, bubbly and down right comforting! This however was the first time I made this biscuit recipe. Next time I would bake the biscuits on their own rather than on top of the casserole. I’m all about avoiding dirtying more pans, but if you like a crunchier biscuit bake them separately. If you prefer a softer biscuit, just plop them right on top of the casserole like pictured below!

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Biscuits:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter cut the butter into the flour mixture. Slowly add the buttermilk and stir until combined and no longer crumbly. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot cook onions and carrots until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add mushrooms. Stir in flour, sage, thyme and pepper. Cook for a minute and add water, milk and chicken bouillon. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas and parsley, heat until bubbly
  3. Pour pot pie mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Top with biscuits. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until biscuits are cooked through and golden.

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Makes 8-10 servings.

 

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