Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms

Now I wish that I had taken a picture. What began as a way to use up the gorgeous mushrooms the husb. bought at Costco a few days ago before they went slimey turned into a victorious end to the experiment. I wanted to use them for dinner and as we were having potato soup for dinner, sauteed mushrooms didn't seem like they were a suitable accompiament. I couldn't find any sausage in the freezer that wasn't freezer burned, so I switched out hamburger. I decided to use Stove Top stuffing, the pork flavor for the stuffing part.

Stuffed Mushrooms

20-24 or so large button mushrooms
2 T. minced onion
1 pkg. Stove Top stuffing mix
1/2 lb. sausage or ground beef, browned
garlic powder or garlic salt or fresh garlic
Olive Oil

Pull the stems out of the mushrooms. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel or rinse quickly and absorb the water with a paper towel, and set them in an 8x8 pyrex pan. Drizzle some olive oil on them. Chop the mushroom stems up finely. Saute the onion in some olive oil, add the mushroom stems and cook until soft. Add some water to the fry pan, maybe 3/4C.-1 C., add the stuffing mix and stir until the stuffing is a nice consistency, adding more water if you need it. Add the sausage or ground beef and some garlic powder or garlic salt to taste. The mushrooms will give off water when they cook in the oven, so the stuffing can be a little dry before you add them to the mushrooms as it will absorb some mushroom liquid while cooking. It needs to be wet enough to stick to the mushroom however. Stuff the mushrooms, drizzle more olive oil over the tops, cook at 350 for about 20 minutes. It could have been less, I didn't keep track.

Cranberry Slush

Quick Recipe
Cranberry Slush
from Jane Maynard from the blog, This week for dinner

4 cans whole berry cranberry sauce
3 quarts cranberry juice
2 quarts ginger ale

Run 4 cans of cranberry sauce through a collander or sieve. Add 2 quarts of juice. Freeze. When ready to serve, mash up frozn cranberry mix with 1 quart of cranberry juice and 2 quarts of ginger ale.

In a comment post, Jane said that she believed that this would serve 25 six oz. servings.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Apple sausage bread dressing

Apple Sausage bread dressing or stuffing

1 lb. of breakfast sausage or italian sweet sausage, cooked and crumbled
2-3 shallots or a half onion, finely diced
2-3 ribs of celery, diced
2-3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 stick butter
Aproximately 2 cans of vegetable or chicken broth
Sage, if desired
Aproximately 2 boxes of Mrs. Cubbinson's seasoned breadcrumbs or cubes
salt and pepper
melted butter or olive oil

Put the bread cubes in a bowl. You decide by how many people you are having if you use one or two boxes. We like it leftover so I use two boxes. Put the butter or margerine in a skillet and sautee the celery, onion and apple until soft. Pour the vegetables on top on the bread cubes. Add a can of broth and let it sit for a few minutes. Stir to absorb the liquid into the dried bread cubes. Add more broth or water for desired consistency. Put into a greased casserole dish. Top with a little melted butter or some olive oil. Bake, uncovered aproximately 30 minutes at 350 until golden on top.
NOTE: This year, 2010, I was lazy and didn't peel, core and dice apples so I took my kitchen shears and cut up my dried food storage apples, then rehydrated them with hot water for 15 minutes. No one knew the difference in the stuffing.

My family likes it this way, however you could add:
sauteed mushrooms
dried cranberries
cooked diced giblets, ew
wild rice mix, like Uncle Ben's or Rice A Roni
diced cooked bacon or panceta
raisins or other dried fruit like apricots
egg, as a binder
turkey stock from cooking the neck and giblets instead of canned broth

Cranberry fizz

Or as Sooz and her family call it, "Cran-Up". A nice punch to have around the holidays is quite simply, Cranberry juice cocktail with sprite, 7-Up or another brand of lemon-lime soda added to it. Variations could be Raspberry Cranberry juice cocktail or my current favorite, Pomegranate Cranberry juice coctail. Throw in a splash of orange juice if you'd like. You can float some raspberries or cranberries in the pitcher or punch bowl if you'd like to make it look pretty.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pumpkin Gingersnap Ice Cream

Pumpkin Gingersnap Ice Cream
by Pam Anderson, USA Weekend, Nov. 14, 2010

1 can (15 oz.) 100% pure pumpkin
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 quart preminum vanilla ice cream
16 gingersnap cookies, coarsely crumbled

Heat pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a medium saucepan, stirring to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Trasfer to shallow pan; freeze to cool quickly. Soften ice cream (15 seconds to 30 seconds on high power in the microwave). Turn into a large bowl; stir in pumpking puree until nearly incorporated. Crumble 16 gingersnaps into ice cream and continue to fold until incorporated. Freeze until ready to serve. NOTE: The ice cream that I normally buy is not a full quart any more.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Leftovers Post

I know, like the cart before the horse but this will allow you to buy what you need for the leftovers meals while you are buying for the Thanksgiving dinner. There were some great ideas in the USA Weekend magazine yesterday for ideas of what to do with leftovers.

Turkey soup, of course
Turkey pot pie, make up a bechamel sauce ahead of time, add your meat and vegetables to it, heat and put a baked round of puff pastry on top of it
Turkey sliders
Cranberry scones or muffins
Cranberry pancakes
Cranberry cream cheese for toast or sweet breads or bagels.
Pumpkin pie milkshakes. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

My own idea, to make up pie pastry ahead of time for your Thanksgiving pies will also work for the leftovers, in using the pie pastry for turkey pot pie. Just make up or buy extra crusts when you are planning on or making pies.

Turkey and dumplings
turkey/cranberry sandwich with a spread of cream cheese.

And if you cannot take another bite of Thanksgiving food, freeze it and it will taste so good in two weeks when you have a busy day of shopping and haven't planned dinner.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pens and Corn Cob Pen Photo

You'll want to scroll down and click to get to the post that I just recently added pen pictures to, named "Life". Written about a week ago. The hubs and children are making these. Left is a corn cob pen. There are photos of a blue corn cob pen and some wooden pens in the "Life" post. When I went on my recipe copying and writing rampage, it pushed it down to the next page.

Twice-Baked Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes

Twice-Baked Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes
from Soozy

6 medium sweet potatoes (4 lb0, scrubbed
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or pancake syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled
3 Tbsp pecans, toasted and chopped
Garnish: snipped chives or slice scallions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Prick each potato once with a fork. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet 45-55 minutes until soft. 2. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop insides into a medium bowl. Mash with next 4 ingredients until smooth. Spoon back into skin. 3. To serve: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with foil or parchment: coat foil with nonstick spray. Place stuffed potatoes on sheet; sprinkle with bacon and pecans. Bake uncovered 15 minutes or until hot. Garnish. Planning Tip: Pecans can be toasted and chopped up to 1 week ahead. Bag; store at room temperature. Prepare potatoes through Step 2 up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate covered. Bring to room temperature before reheating (Step 3).

Corn Pudding

Corn Pudding
from Soozy

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
1 can whole kernal corn
1 can creamstyle corn
2 eggs beaten
1 cup cream
1 stick butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together (including corn liquid). Put in an 8x8 pan and bake for 1 hr. at 350 degrees F.

I usually double this and put in a 13x9 pan. You can also add diced green chilies if you'd like.

Butternut Squash soup

Butternut Squash Soup
Roast the dices of Butternut Squash at 400 degrees F. for 20-30 minutes
After roasting the squash, put some of the squash into the blender with some chicken broth or vegetable broth and puree being careful not to explode or implode the contents. Don't ask me why I know that this can happen. Luckily it didn't hit the ceiling and the dogs aproved of the flavor as they were licking it off of the floor. Sometimes if you take the plastic handle thingy out of the top and put a thick thickness of paper toweling on top while you whir, it helps. When I made this, I sauteed some diced shallots and ginger first in olive oil and then added it to the mixture to puree. Or add some ground ginger. Be careful with the ginger, I added a small amount, and the heat was intense, it was fine for me, but the flavor intensified the next day also. Puree with broth until desired thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste unless you salt and peppered the squash when you roasted it.

For added richness, add some cream, if you want, although I think that I am a purest when it comes to butternut squash soup. I am quite happy with the uncreamed version.

Eat and enjoy. My family said, "EW, squash soup!" So I got to eat it all by myself and was very happy with my predicament.

Roasted Butternut squash

Roasted Butternut squash
Turn oven on to 400 Degrees FCut in half carefully, don't lose a digit. Cut off the stem end and the bottom end so that you have a steady squash for peeling and slicing. You really do need to be careful here, the squash is quite hard to cut and peel, and you could quite easily lose control. Don't have any small children at the counter when you do this.Peel carefully, I use a Chef's knife. The big intimidating one. You could try using a peeler, but I'm not that patient.DicePut on a sheet pan and drizzle with Olive oil, then add salt and pepper. Don't look at my gross/grody baking sheet. That's why I usually do fuzzy close-ups. Gorgeous color. Toss the dices around so that all are coated in the Olive Oil and are seasoned nicely. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.

It comes out all carmelly, sweet and delish. Yum. My favorite new thing to do.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanksgiving menu

I know, I know that I have been such a slacker lately. So many other things that won't wait have required my attention.

I have been thinking this morning about Thanksgiving and what I will do and some easy ideas that would make someone's dinner table look sensational but require a minimum of effort. I will include them in separate posts so that they can go into the recipe list.

I think that we will have our standard T-giving menu:

Appetizers-Spinach dip from Knorr vegetable soup mix, with french bread chunks, Vegetable or olive/pickle tray. Assorted Juices and soda as everyone assembles together. Ooooooo, and also have to have those Lil smokies. Wouldn't be quite the same without Lil Smokies.

Turkey, possibly a small ham also

Apple, sausage and sage dressing-I cook it separate from the bird so therefore it's called dressing. Something has always freaked me out about putting it in the turkey, plus I like the dressing crusty and crunchy on the top.

Maple pecan yams

Mashed potatoes/gravy-lately I used bottled gravy, don't hate me for this.

Potato salad-HUH? When I ask the family two weeks before t-giving what they want for turkey day, the Hubs alwasy responds with "POTATO SALAD". His mom always served Potato Salad for Thanksgiving. So while it sounds like, to me anyway, that it belongs more on a summer picnic menu, we have potato salad. Except for a couple of years when I was too lazy to make it and one year when I forgot to get it out from the fridge put it on the table.

Homemade cranberry relish/sauce-this is fantastic, just follow the recipe on the package of whole cranberries and you can make it a couple of days ahead. It's easy peezy.

Either that Green Pistachio salad, the fluffy kind with cool whip and pineapple in it or that Pretzel Strawberry salad. Both seem more like dessert than a salad, but, oh well.

Some kind of green vegetable. Which in my family means green beans unless you count the spinach from the appetizer.

Rolls. Sometimes I make homemade and freeze them a couple of weeks ahead. Sometimes I use Pillsbury tube crescent rolls, sometimes I buy them from the bakery at the grocery store.

Pumpkin pie, mincemeat pie and apple pie with whipped cream. Last year, I think for Christmas dinner, I had put a disk of homemade pie crust in the freezer when I had made the pies for Thanksgiving because it was leftover. So I pulled out that pie crust and let it defrost in the fridge, then made a pumpkin pie using it. It worked out great. So make your pie crusts now and freeze them for the day that you make pies or the day of Thanksgiving. Or I make turnovers using the leftover crust. Cherry filling, jam, apple pie filling, mincemeat, all yummy wrapped in pie crust, sprinkled with sugar, with a few tiny slits on top and baked to golder perfection and yumminess.

And I love to have little dishes of nuts and M&Ms throughout the house. With dogs and little kids, they have to be hidden or put up high now.

So now, there you have it. Now I will tell you what I have been doing this past week and this week to prepare for this. The grocery deals are smokin in Nov. You need to get on it. With last week's and this week's Mega 10 sale at Fry's I have been stocking up on baking items, cream soups, chunky soups, canned chili, broths, pumpkin, stuffing mixes, gravy, choc. chips, flour and sugar that I will use throughout the coming year. Take a few minutes to go to and get your coupons together and organize your list. Seriously, every time that I have gone to Fry's the past couple of days, I have saved over $70. For example, 7-Up and A&W root beer are .40 this week with a coupon and with buying ten Mega 10 products. We will either use it for Thanksgiving, or the kids are always asked to bring soda to a party or two around the holidays, or we will give them away as the neighborhood or friend's gifts.

I have also been using the really good buys, like .50 cookie mixes and .75 Stove top stuffings and .75 gravies to contribute to the school's Feed a Family for Thanksgiving drive. It feels good to help plus at these prices I can contribute double or triple or quadruple what I could have for the original prices. Gathering cheap canned goods for the little kids to help you deliver at a food bank is an excellent way to open up a conversation of how blessed we are to live in this country, how there are so many people who need help in the world, other countries standards of living and to discuss gratitude and thankfulness for what we have.

Bashas' and another store have Gold Medal flour for .99 this week. Bashas' price is just for the weekend, so read your ads! Fry's had toothbrushes for .89 last week and with the Colgate coupon doubled they were free. I need to see if the same is true this week. Would make for a very economicle stocking stuffer for Christmas. Also check the coupons for make up for your big girls for stocking stuffers. Or sometimes things like grooming supplies are dirt cheap if they are on sale with a coupon.

Now is also the time to polish the silver, wiped out the good goblets if they haven't been used in awhile and wipe off the china. Also if you're planning activities for visiting children or table favors or special table decorations, get them done now. Also buy any pans, candles or extras that you need now.

So what is your standard t-giving menu? What are YOU planning?