Mmm… Pork Chops

One of my fave comfort foods is a pork chop browned in a  skillet and then simmered in mushroom soup.  The soup makes the perfect gravy for mashed potatoes.  Good on wild rice, too.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Files

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Is this thing on? I know it’s been forever – the house, work and puppies have taken most of my time. Cooking lately is mostly just for sustanance, nothing terribly creative. But Thanksgiving is almost here! Time to get cookin’.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, next to 4th of July. Food, family, friends…and leftovers. I’m going to have a house full this year and I’m excited to host. Although I wasn’t expecting to have a puppy thrown in the mix, but that just makes it more interesting. I have compiled some of my most requested holiday recipes for tonight’s exchange.

JefferyW makes Cornbread Stuffing, (pictured above) part 1 here and part 2 here.

Roasted Butternut Apple Soup makes a great starter, recipe here.

Hearty Garlic Mashed Potatoes, click here – my family loves these, though the first time I made them they mocked me until they were served because the cooking method is so unusual. I cook them early and keep them warm in a slow-cooker while everything else cooks and stove top space is at a premium.

Two Brussels Sprout dishes: Pan Roasted with Pancetta and Onions (recipe here) and JeffreyW’s Brussels Sprout and Potato Au Gratin (click here)

Yum. What do you mean I have to take a bunch of pictures before I can even try it?

There will be a variety of pies this year, but instead of the traditional Pumpkin Pie, I’m making Pumpkin Cream Pie (above), the recipe is here, plus there are additional pumpkin dessert ideas at the link.

For the main course, we’ve made turkeys a bunch of ways here, including a Spatchcock Turkey, recipe here. For something more traditional, here are some ideas from people smarter than I am: turkey four different ways, good stuff here.

What’s on the menu for your Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a must-have recipe for your holiday dinner?

I’m not a fan of traditional candied sweet potatoes, so tonight’s featured recipes are some non-traditional styles for sweet potatoes.

Cajun Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter,  melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

Covered casserole dish, well-greased

Steamer and saucepan

In saucepan, add water, steamer and sweet potatoes. Steam until you can easily stick a fork in them. They don’t need to be completely soft. About 10-15 minutes. Add sweet potatoes to casserole dish. Combine oil, butter and spices. Pour evenly over potatoes. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft. You can adjust cooking time if you prefer your firmer or softer potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes w/Apples

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 apples, cored & sliced
  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple (including liquid)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

2 qt casserole dish, greased

Add ingredients to casserole dish. Stir gently and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, uncovered, until apples and potatoes are very soft. Cover if it begins to brown too much

That’s it for this week. I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.   – TaMara



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Cabbage Rolls

DSC_1876 (1600x1060)This is my first try at cabbage rolls and they came out well enough that I’ll probably add them to the rotation.  My first notion was to do these in the pressure cooker and the recipe I used was written for that method but I ended up with so many I decided to just use the oven.20160228_105028 (1600x1060)I’m sure the folks who eat these regularly will giggle at my ham handed rolling skills but these aren’t all that bad!  I used ground beef and hot Italian sausage in the filling, along with the rice.  The recipe made 12 rolls, with the last one a jumbo in order to use all the meat mixture up.  They used about 1/4 cup each.20160228_125838 (1600x1060)After pouring the tomato sauce mixture over the rolls they were covered in foil and cooked for 2 hours at 350 degrees.  I used a can of tomato bits with green chilies and a can of roasted garlic tomato bits along with the tomato sauce.  I’m pretty sure these are hard to overcook.20160228_130625 (1600x1060)Yum!  I wasn’t sure what sides would work but a scan of a few forums saw many mentions of mashed potatoes so we went that way.  Good call, they worked well.

Salisbury Steaks

DSC_0958 (1600x1060)I remember seeing my Mom molding patties for these when I was just a tyke.  I asked her what she was making and she said “Bear Steaks”.  To this day that’s what I think of when I see them anywhere.  These are from  Ree Drummond’s recipe from her show The Pioneer Woman.

I looked at Wikipedia to see what they had, hoping to find out how it came to be named named as it is.  It seems to have been invented by  Dr. J. H. Salisbury (1823–1905).

Mmm… Meatloaf!

DSC_0930 (1600x1060)It’s a crapshoot to enter “best” as a search term but I’m a gambling sort – if the stakes are low enough.  “Best meatloaf” took me to a serious eats/food lab recipe that looked good enough for me to print the recipe out and follow along.DSC_0924 (1600x1060)The loaf was pretty loose but they managed that by cooking it for a half hour under an inverted loaf pan, pulling the pan after a half hour.DSC_0925 (1600x1060)It continues to bake at 350 until an instant read thermometer hits 140 degrees.  Let it rest as the oven temperature increases to 500, brush on the first layer of glaze.  Give it three coats, letting the hot oven set the coat for a few minutes after each layer.DSC_0926 (1600x1060)Here’s mine after the last coat.  Looks good!  Smells great!DSC_0928 (1600x1060)I made a few alterations to the recipe, skipping entirely the gelatin.  Also the marmite and the mushrooms – I didn’t have those and wasn’t in the mood to run after them. I used a mild store blend Italian sausage for the pork, and went with shredded Monterey jack cheese.  I did have anchovy paste so that went in instead of fillets.  It turned out rather well without those few things, I’m not sure adding them would have substantially changed things.  Two thumbs up!

Mashed Potato Pr0n – Chicken Marsala

DSC_9929 (1600x1060)I usually make a batch of wild rice mix from a box but was persuaded to make mashed potatoes for this dish after seeing it done that way over at r/tonightsdinner.  These potatoes have a lot of sour cream and a couple garlic cloves and are pretty good all by themselves but the Marsala gravy is really killer on them.DSC_9931 (1600x1060)Tyler Florence has a recipe that calls for prosciutto so I gave it a shot.  It’s good but I’m not seeing much benefit from it being in there.  I may have not done it right.  Anyway, if you don’t have it you can leave it out and you will still have a very good result.

Christmas Eve: Turkey Dinner with Traditional Side Dishes

Bald Eagle 1 5 12

Bald Eagle from my hike the other day. Wish I had my camera, not just my cell phone

Would we still have turkey if it had become our national bird  instead of the Bald Eagle?

The menu is set for Saturday.  I’m doing an Orange Glazed Turkey.  The sides will be Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Oven Baked Stuffing, Green Beans with Bacon and Onions, Spinach-Raspberry-Walnut Salad and Homemade Cranberry Sauce.  Appetizers will be Tomato-Basil Crostini, Chips w/Dip and a Raw Vegetable tray.  Dessert will be a Dark Chocolate Torte with a Dark Chocolate Ganache (this recipe with a chocolate ganache* instead of confectioner’s sugar) and Fruit Pie Cookies.

I’m still trying to decide if  I’m going to mull cider or not.

I’ll add more recipes as I go along.

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*Chocolate Ganache

  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 6 oz heavy cream

Double boiler (I use a metal bowl over a saucepan with about an 1 inch of water)

Place chocolate and cream in top of boiler, bring water in bottom half to a boil, reduce heat to med-high and let chocolate melt, stirring occasionally. When completely melted, remove from heat and stir until cream and chocolate are completely mixed. Let cool and pour over cooled cake.