Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Non-Traditional Side Dishes

JeffreyW's Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

JeffreyW’s Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

This is the time of year when we get a lot of blog visits from people looking for side dishes. And I have a lot of recipes for the traditional holiday sides, desserts and instructions on the various ways to cook your turkey. JeffreyW has a ton of mouthwatering photos. All of that can be found at at this link.

I thought it would be nice though, to focus on some non-traditional sides for tonight’s recipe exchange. In case you were looking for something different to showcase this year.

Soups make a nice starter at for any meal and tonight’s featured recipe is a savory winter soup. I also have a nice Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, (click here)

JefferyW favors brussels sprouts and came up with this wonderful recipe, Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin pictured above. (click here)

Roasted Brussels sprouts are pretty easy, and leave it to Emeril Lagasse to “kick it up a notch” with his Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Grilled Onions. (click here)

I’m not big on the whole candied sweet potatoes, so I went looking for alternatives and found three I like,  African Sweet Potato Salad, Cajun Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes and Apples, click here for all the recipes. You can also just roast them in the oven, and I found two really good recipes here (honey roasted) and here (thyme roasted).

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you doing the cooking or does someone else have the honors? And most importantly, what are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

The Thanksgiving featured recipe is one that works great as an appetizer:

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Chopped chives (for garnish)

Large sauce pan

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Puree the vegetables until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in the food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.

***Soup can be made to this point 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.***

Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, sour cream and nutmeg until well combined. Place soup into large soup tureen and garnish with chives. Place on appetizer table with small bowls & spoons and let everyone help themselves.

That’s everything this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next Friday, but next week I’ll be featuring more recipes for the holiday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. – TaMara

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Dinner Menu: Buffalo Burgers and Stuffed Acorn Squash

Buffalo became the topic of conversation a few weeks ago. I use buffalo burger frequently but have never delved into roasts or steak. The idea appeals to me and I’ll let you know how it goes. Until then, I do have a nice buffalo burger recipe…

Tonight’s menu came to be as one of my kids’ night menus, but don’t let that fool you, it’s tasty. If you haven’t had buffalo before, this is your chance to try it. If you want to start out slowly, mix it half and half with a ground beef (I’d go with an 80/20 grind, because the buffalo is so lean), or mix in ¼ lb of spicy sausage. The stuffed acorn squash is a quick, easy recipe, but let it inspire you, because you can stuff acorn squash with any number of wonderful things, from rice to couscous to fruits and nuts. It can make for a fun, decorative holiday side. For the dessert, you can usually find frozen huckleberries, but if not, you can easily substitute with blueberries or even a selection of mixed berries like blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.

On the board tonight:

  1. Buffalo Burgers
  2. Whole Grain Rolls
  3. Stuffed Acorn Squash
  4. Cherokee Huckleberry Bread

Buffalo Burgers

  • 4 oz tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¼ tsp ea: thyme, rosemary, marjoram
  • 1 lb ground buffalo
  • 1 tbsp oil (skip if using hamburger)

large deep skillet w/lid

Mix ingredients, except oil, together well. Divide into 4. Create patties. Heat oil in skillet, add patties. Sear for 2 minutes, each side, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for 10 minutes. Buffalo is a very lean meat, so you want to cook it slowly and avoid over cooking it. Makes 4 large burgers.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 2 acorn squash, halved and cleaned
  • 1 box wild rice mix, prepared according to directions
  • 4-6 button mushrooms, washed and diced
  • 1 tbsp butter, quartered

9×12 Baking dish

Pour about ¼ to ½ cup broth into baking dish. Place acorn squash, cut-side down, and bake at 375 degrees until fork tender (a fork easily pierces the skin) – about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add mushroom pieces to rice mixture.Turn squash cut-side up, put a pat of butter in each half, then mound with stuffing, leaving just a rim of squash showing. Bake for additional 15 minutes, until stuffing is browned.

Cherokee Huckleberry Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup berries (huckleberries or blueberries)
  • ½ cup butter

Loaf pan, greased

Cream eggs, butter and sugar together. Add flour, milk, and vanilla. Toss berries with a bit of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom. Fold berries gently into mixture. Put in loaf pan, sprinkle top with a bit of sugar and bake in oven at 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until done, when a knife comes out clean. Makes 1 loaf.

Shopping List:

  • 4 whole grain sandwich rolls
  • 4 oz can of tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 lb ground buffalo
  • 2 large acorn squash
  • 1 box wild rice mix
  • 4-6 button mushrooms
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 oz milk
  • 1 stick + 2 tbsp butter
  • 16 oz huckleberries, or equivalent

Also: oil, vanilla, baking powder, egg, thyme, rosemary, marjoram

Originally posted November 2010

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Thursday Night Menu: Pre-Holiday Edition

Happy Thursday before Thanksgiving! A little housekeeping. First there will be no Thursday Night Menu next week. Hopefully most of you will be too full by that time to even think about food. For my Canadian, Australian and Thai friends (how cool is the internet) I sincerely apologize. Second, I usually spend the week before Thanksgiving posting all kinds of holiday recipes, but I’m travelling this year, and won’t be able to do that. If you click on Thanksgiving in the categories, it will bring up 6 or 7  holiday recipes, including a great Apple-Cranberry-Walnut Crisp.

Tonight’s menu came to be as one of my kids’ night menus, but don’t let that fool you, it’s tasty. If you haven’t had buffalo before, this is your chance to try it. If you want to start out slowly, mix it half and half with a ground beef (I’d go with an 80/20 grind, because the buffalo is so lean), or mix in ¼ lb of spicy sausage. The stuffed acorn squash is a quick, easy recipe, but let it inspire you, because you can stuff acorn squash with any number of wonderful things, from rice to couscous to fruits and nuts. It can make for a fun, decorative holiday side. For the dessert, you can usually find frozen huckleberries, but if not, you can easily substitute with blueberries or even a selection of mixed berries like blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.

On the board tonight:

  1. Buffalo Burgers
  2. Whole Grain Rolls
  3. Stuffed Acorn Squash
  4. Cherokee Huckleberry Bread

Buffalo Burgers

  • 4 oz tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¼ tsp ea: thyme, rosemary, marjoram
  • 1 lb ground buffalo
  • 1 tbsp oil (skip if using hamburger)

large deep skillet w/lid

Mix ingredients, except oil, together well. Divide into 4. Create patties. Heat oil in skillet, add patties. Sear for 2 minutes, each side, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for 10 minutes. Buffalo is a very lean meat, so you want to cook it slowly and avoid over cooking it. Makes 4 large burgers.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 2 acorn squash, halved and cleaned
  • 1 box stuffing mix
  • 4-6 button mushrooms, washed and diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp butter, quartered

9×12 Baking dish

Pour about ¼ to ½ cup broth into baking dish. Place acorn squash, cut-side down, and bake at 375 degrees until fork tender (a fork easily pierces the skin) – about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Prepare stuffing according to package directions, substituting broth for water, add mushroom pieces. Turn squash cut-side up, put a pat of butter in each half, then mound with stuffing, leaving just a rim of squash showing. Bake for additional 15 minutes, until stuffing is browned.

Cherokee Huckleberry Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup berries (huckleberries or blueberries)
  • ½ cup butter

Loaf pan, greased

    Cream eggs, butter and sugar together. Add flour, milk, and vanilla. Toss berries with a bit of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom. Fold berries gently into mixture. Put in loaf pan, sprinkle top with a bit of sugar and bake in oven at 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until done, when a knife comes out clean. Makes 1 loaf.

    Shopping List:

    • 4 whole grain sandwich rolls
    • 4 oz can of tomato sauce
    • ¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
    • 1 small onion
    • 1 lb ground buffalo
    • 2 large acorn squash
    • 1 box stuffing mix
    • 4-6 button mushrooms
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 8 oz milk
    • 1 stick + 2 tbsp butter
    • 16 oz huckleberries, or equivalent

    Also: oil, vanilla, baking powder, egg, thyme, rosemary, marjoram

    Stuffed Acorn Squash

    This is one of my favorite squash recipes.  It is hearty enough to be an entrée with a nice salad.

    Stuffed Acorn Squash

    • 2 Acorn Squash, halved and cleaned
    • 4 green onions, chopped
    • 4-6 mushrooms, washed and chopped
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/4 lb spicy sausage (you can omit or substitute ground turkey or tofu)
    • 3 cups stuffing bread cubes
    • 1 tbsp red wine
    • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth (more as needed to moisten)
    • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
    • 1/4 cup raisins
    • pinch of thyme
    • pinch of sage
    • pinch of marjoram
    • salt & pepper to taste

    baking dish and saucepan

    Place squash, cut side down, in an oiled baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, until tender.  While they are cooking, sauté onions and mushrooms in olive oil, remove and set aside.  Brown sausage and drain, then add all ingredients to sausage mixing well.  Add more chicken broth as needed to completely moisten stuffing.  Fill each acorn half with stuffing mix (covering the top of the squash completely), cover with foil and bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Thanksgiving Table: Squash Soup

    Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

    Winter Squash Soup

    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
    • 1 small onion, quartered
    • 1 carrot, quartered
    • 1 celery stalk, quartered
    • 1 tsp crushed garlic
    • 4 cups chicken broth*
    • 1 cup apple cider
    • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tsp dried sage
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    =====

    • 1/2 cup dry sherry
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • Chopped chives (for garnish)

    Large sauce pan

    Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Puree the vegetables until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in the food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.

    ***Soup can be made to this point 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.***

    Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, sour cream and nutmeg until well combined. Place soup into large soup tureen and garnish with chives. Place on appetizer table with small bowls & spoons and let everyone help themselves.

    *or substitute 4 cups water and 4 tsp (4 cubes) chicken bouillon.