Thursday, October 30, 2008

Festive Cranberry Pineapple Salad

And oh yes it is festive just ask it and it will tell you . . . festive all deck out in yummeeeness!!!!!

1 can 20 oz crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
2 pkgs (4-serving size each) JELL-O Raspberry flavored gelatin
1 can (16-oz) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 med dole apple, chopped
2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Add enough cold water to pineapple juice to measure 3 cups. Pour into large sauce pan. Bring to boil; remove from heat. Add gelatin. Stir at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add cranberry sauce. Stir until well blended.

Pour into large bowl and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites). Stir in pineapple, apple and walnuts. Pour into serving bowl. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.

This is even better the next day ~~ if it lasts that long ~~ oh yes it is THAT GOOD!!!!!

Sweet Potato Casserole ~~ MMMM Dak's Fav

3 cups mashed sweet potato
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter

TOPPING: (Isn't everything better with a little topping :o)

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 - 2 quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until hot and browned. Serves 6-8

And that's it ~~ see that was easy and oh so delish!!

Cornbread Stuffin

12 cups stale cornbread, chunked
6 slices stale, dry white bread cubed (I use Panera Bread wholegrain white thick cut ~~ YUM)
1 1/2 - 2 cups coarsely chopped, toasted pecans
1 pound center-cut bacon (the center-cut is leaner)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter melted (yay like a leaner cut of bacon helps with 2 sticks of butter just saying :o)
2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
4 large celery ribs, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 Tbl rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. dried leaf thyme, crumbled
6 cups chicken broth or stock (Rachael Ray's stock is delish and no MSG ~~ YAY)
3 extra-large eggs, well-beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper


It is very important to make corn bread a day or two before you use it. And leave it out, it really needs to be dry to soak up all the yummmy goodness going along side it :-)

Toast the pecans. (don't skip this step ~~ yummee roasted pecans are sooooooo worth it!!!) Spread on a baking sheet then set on middle shelf of oven and toast at 350 degrees for 10 mins stirring well at half-time (while the girls dance ~~ oh yeah that's football - anyway)

Keep oven on at 350 degrees and Grease two 13x9x2" pans. (Yes 2 delicious pans of dressin' uhhh stuffin' does it get any better?!? I ask you, MMMMMMMMM)

Place the two breads and pecans in a very large mixing bowl and set aside.

Brown the bacon in a very large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring often, for 12 - 14 minutes until all drippings render out. Drain the bacon.

Heat 1/2 cup of the melted butter in the same skillet for about one minute. Add onions and celery. Cook and stir for 1 - 2 minutes.

Scoop the skillet mixture into mixing bowl along with melted butter, toss and smell, oh it smells delish. Add 3 cups chicken broth, eggs, salt and pepper and toss well again.

Transfer the dressin' to the baking pan, spreading to the edges, then drizzle the remaining three cups chicken broth evenly on top.

Cover snugly with heavy-duty foil and bake on the middle oven rack for 25 mins. Stir the dressing well and cover again with foil. Bake 20 minutes more or until steaming.

And then sit down and take in the goodness of that loveliness ~~ MMMMMMMMMM

Enjoy with family and friends.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Brine that Turkey . . . go ahead you can do it!!!!!

Okay, don't turn away it's okay ~~ lots of directions, but SO worth it!!!!!

Brine Method

Brining is a pretreatment in which the whole turkey is placed in a salt and water solution known as brine. This pretreatment produces a wonderfully moist and well-seasoned bird. Brining should be done in the refrigerator or in a cooler with 5 to 6 ice packs to keep the turkey and brine at 40 degrees or below during the entire brining process. Brining is more manageable with a rather small turkey from 12 to 14 pounds.

Table salt or kosher salt can be used to make the brine. Crystal kosher salt is recommended since table salt contains additives such as anti-caking ingredients, iodine and other additives. Table salt is also very finely ground and more is required to produce good results.

1. Start the brining method the day before you plan to cook the turkey. Start with a fresh or completely thawed turkey. Wash the bird inside and out and remove the giblet bag and neck.

2. In a large stockpot, plastic tub or cooler dissolve 4 cups kosher salt or 2 cups table salt in 2 gallons cold water. Add 1 cup sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Water will look clear, not cloudy.

3. Herbs and spices may be added to brine to enhance the flavor. Add several crushed bay leaves, several sprigs of dried thyme and rosemary or other dried herbs, if desired.

4. Place the turkey in the brine solution, breast down. Cover and chill for 6 to 8 hours. Or use the overnight method by reducing the salt and sugar amounts by 1/2 so the turkey does not retain too much salt. (This is the method I used.)

5. Remove the turkey from brine, rinse inside and out under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Place on a shallow pan and refrigerate overnight. This allows the skin to dry out so it becomes crisp during roasting. This step may be omitted if desired. (I didn’t do this because I brined overnight and the turkey was still good and crispy.)

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place turkey on shallow roasting pan. Tie legs together and tuck wings underneath the bird. Coat the skin with butter or olive oil. I put an apple and rosemary and herbs in the cavity of the turkey. You can also put a lemon (cut in half) and an onion if you prefer. Cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. Add 1 cup water to bottom of pan.

7. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the turkey. Check the wrapper and cook according to weight. Cooking time will vary. Roast turkey until temperature in the thickest innermost part of the thigh reaches 165 °F or higher as measured with a food thermometer. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast and the wing. The internal temperature in all parts should read 165 °F or higher. The thigh juices will run clear when pricked with a long tined fork or leg wiggles freely in the joint. A 12-pound turkey will take about 3 hours and 15 minutes to roast. Add 15 minutes for each additional pound.

8. During the last 1 to 1 1/2 hours of cooking time remove the aluminum foil from the breast and baste with pan juices or butter to encourage browning. Add more water to the pan if necessary. Remove items from cavity before cutting. And ENJOY!!!!!