Archive for November, 2012

We haven’t been cooking a lot lately because work has kept us so busy — but I am excited about contributing a few items to our family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

First, the menu:

  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • Hot fruit compote
  • Homemade cranberry sauce
  • Sweet potato souffle
  • Squash casserole
  • Turkey
  • Dressing
  • Giblet gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Apple pie
  • Bourbon chocolate pecan pie

We’re taking the squash casserole and the pies.

Squash casserole ingredients:

  • Squash (the common yellow crookneck variety)
  • Vidalia onion
  • Sharp cheddar
  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Salt and pepper

Cut the ends off the squash; dice. Chop some onion.  Add salt and pepper; cover with water in large stock pot and boil until squash is done.  Drain and return to pot — but reserve some of the “squash juice” to add back later as necessary. Add cheese, bread and eggs to cooked squash.  Stir well and add salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture is getting too thick, add back some of the reserved liquid.

Place mixture into glass casserole and bake at 350 until set.

Bourbon chocolate pecan pie

My uncle found this recipe a few years ago and it’s been a family favorite ever since. Super easy, and one of the few pies I will make with a store-bought crust.

Ingredients (makes two pies):

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c karo syrup
  • 1/2 c butter (one stick)
  • 4 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1/4 c bourbon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c chopped pecans (although I usually put in about a cup and a half)
  • 2 9-inch oreo pie shells (and chocolate crust will do — I try to find ones without trans fat)
  • 1 rounded tbsp corn meal (optional)

Combine sugar, karo and butter in small saucepan and cook over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves, stirring constantly (do not bring to a boil — just melt butter and dissolve sugar). Meanwhile, beat eggs, bourbon, vanilla and salt in large bowl.  Slowly add hot sugar mixture, beating with a whisk. Stir in chocolate chips — the hot mixture should begin to melt the chocolate; continue stirring vigorously with a whisk until chocolate chips are melted (or at least mostly melted). Stir in pecans. Optional: stir in a rounded tablespoon of corn meal to give a crispier top (I usually do this).

Pour half of the mixture into each of the two pie shells (making sure that the pecans are evenly distributed, as is any chocolate that may have stuck to the bottom of the mixing bowl) and bake 50-55 minutes at 325 or until set.

I’ll share my apple pie recipe in another post!

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Buttermilk pancakes

My mom found this recipe in Cooking Light years ago — it’s been a favorite ever since.  Just made it this morning — orders of magnitude better than store-bought mix.  I don’t understand why anybody would bother with a mix given how quick and easy these are.


  • 1 c all purpose flour (I use King Arthur flour for everything)
  • 2 tbsp sugar, somewhere between rounded and heaping
  • 1 tsp baking powder (I use the aluminum-free kind)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly scrambled
  • dash salt
  • 1 c nonfat buttermilk (I use the full fat gourmet variety, negating any “light” dietary properties)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • Fresh blueberries (if desired)
  • Maple syrup

Combine first four ingredients in mixing bowl. Combine egg, dash salt, buttermilk and oil in separate container (I just use my 2 cup pyrex). Add wet ingredients to dry; stir only until moistened. It will be quite lumpy, which is fine — if you overstir, the pancakes will come out tough.

Meanwhile, place some vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet or griddle on medium heat.  When hot, spoon the batter into the pan.  Flip when you start to see bubbles appear in the top (or you can discreetly pull up an edge with a spatula to check for brownness underneath).

I like to add blueberries to this recipe, but do NOT add them to the batter or they’ll just make a mess. Immediately after I spoon the batter into the pan, I press 8-10 berries into each pancake.

Also — it’s very important to gently heat your maple syrup before pouring over the pancakes. There’s nothing worse than eating cold pancakes because you doused them with cold syrup! That’s almost as bad as using nasty corn syrup.

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Nick whipped this up tonight and it was delicious!


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 turnips (the root part)
  • 1 golden beet
  • 1 red potato
  • 1 apple, unpeeled, cut into eighths
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper
  • Mixed seasoning
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Butter

Skin and dice turnip and beet. Dice potato. Cut brussels sprouts in half. Season with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, then toss in olive oil. Arrange on baking sheet (place the brussels sprouts flat side down); bake for for 25-30 minutes at 450.

Meanwhile, season some chicken breasts with whatever mixed seasoning you have on hand (Nick used Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning) plus salt and pepper (depending on how much salt your mix uses). Heat some olive oil in oven proof skillet. Brown breasts for three minutes on one side; flip them over, then place chicken in the oven for 9-10 minutes alongside the root vegetables (we continued using separate pans).

When chicken is ready, remove from pan and keep warm. Return pan to stove; put in 4-5 apple slices and let them brown in drippings. Deglaze pan with 3/4 cup chicken broth; reduce for a few minutes. Add a pat of butter and 2 tbsp whole grain mustard.

Add root vegetables until well-coated (and extra broth if it seems dry). Put the chicken on a serving platter and arrange veggies with sauce on and around the breasts.

This would also be good with a carrot and/or parsnip thrown in.

Bon apetit!


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