Monday, November 17, 2008

Looking for Thanksgiving inspiration? Read on!

This past week, I was thrilled to have my parents in town for a pre-Thanksgiving visit, and we opted to have our little Thanksgiving meal last night since we won't be able to be together during the holidays. With Thanksgiving day just a little over a week away (wow!) and menu planning probably in full swing for many of us, I thought I would share the recipes for our side items and tasty pumpkin pie from last night to help get you going! We opted to leave Tom for next Thursday, choosing instead to have a pork prime rib roast. Thanksgiving dinner really can be centered around your likes and dislikes, so don't feel hemmed in when it comes to your food options. The sky is really the limit!

Many of these recipes are old family favorites, but a couple are ones I've discovered over the course of the last few years and incorporated into my repertoire. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Braised Green Beans
My husband came up with this recipe, his own brand of green beans. Delish!

2 slices thick-sliced peppered bacon, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. pepper

Place bacon in large saute pan (or dutch oven) over medium-high heat and saute until fat is rendered. Saute shallots and garlic in rendered fat until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute, then add trimmed green beans and saute for about 3 minutes more. Add white wine, using a spoon to scrape up browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. Add chicken stock and next three ingredients, stirring to incorporate. Reduce heat to low, cover and braise until desired doneness (time will vary depending on how firm or soft you prefer your green beans).

Cornbread Dressing
I have discovered few recipes are more endearing to a cook than his or her personal dressing recipe. So often, these are recipes that have been passed down through generations, with a dash of this and a smidgen of that serving as a guide for preparation. This is dressing as my mother has always made it, and it is by far my favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast. Yummy and moist! You can easily adjust the cornbread-to-biscuit ratio here to fit your preference.

6 cups cornbread crumbs
5 cups crumbled canned biscuits (cooked according to package)
4 cups boiling water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. fresh sage, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 eggs, beaten

Combine cornbread and biscuit crumbs in a LARGE bowl. Dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water; pour over crumb mixture, and stir well. Saute celery and onion in butter until tender; add to crumb mixture, stirring well. Stir in remaining ingredients and spoon mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. (I use my lasagna pan for this, as I find the extra size accommodates the amount of dressing better than a typical 9x13 pan.) Bake at 350 for about an hour.

Note: This dressing is too moist to bake in a turkey.

Sweet Potato Hash
I found this little jewel of a recipe on last year, and from the moment I took the first bite, I knew it was a keeper! I really prefer savory sweet potato preparations, so if you are looking for a change-up for your typical sweet recipe, this might be just the ticket. Even my mother-in-law, not a fan of sweet potatoes, conceded last year that this was downright tasty!

1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Cook bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels, reserving fat in skillet.
Add onions, bell pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened. Stir in potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and starting to brown, 10 to 14 minutes. Stir in thyme, bacon, and salt and pepper to taste.

Pumpkin Eggnog Pie
This delicious recipe has been part of Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. It is so easy, yet so tasty!

1 package refrigerated pie crust (or your own recipe for a single-crust pie)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup eggnog
2 Tbsp. amaretto

Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes; cool. Combine eggs and next 3 ingredients; stir in amaretto. Pour into prepared pastry shell. Bake at 375 for 55-60 minutes, shielding the edges with strips of aluminum foil after 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool pie completely on a wire rack. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a touch of finely chopped crystallized ginger.


Jayne said...

Yum! I will be adding the sweet poatoes for sure (I also like them savory!) And the green beans will be printed for use this summer when fresh are plentiful here! Thanks Amy!

Daisymeh said...

Awesome recipes Amy! They all look so good. I think I a going to need to give the cornbread stuffing a try!

Lisa said...

Yum! Printing the pie recipe now :)