28 Delicious Thanksgiving (and Thanksgiving Leftovers) Recipes for 2016

Thanksgiving 2016 2

It’s that time again; time for the annual Thanksgiving post. After almost 6 years of blogging, I have accumulated quite a few recipes that work in this category, so I have to cull some out so as to not end up with a post with 50 different additions. 😛

Let’s start with entrees. Because…turkey…ham. Yummy. 😀

This Orange Marmalade Brown Sugar Glazed Ham is my absolute favorite way to make a ham. The ham turns out so moist and tender with such a delicious sweet/salty flavor you’ll keep coming back for.Orange Marmalade Brown Sugar Ham-001This Sesame Soy Turkey Breast is fantastic if you’re a cook who’s willing to leave the traditional box a bit on Thanksgiving. This glaze can also be used on a whole turkey, a chicken, game hen, you name it.

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

Sesame Soy Turkey Breast

I know that a lot of families like to serve a pasta dish as one of the main dishes so I’m including our favorite, this Cheesy Sausage And Meatball Pasta Bake. This makes a LOT, so it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, when a lot of people are there, with everyone getting as little bit of each dish.Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta BakeLet’s move on to appetizers; those little bits you put out to keep everyone from storming the kitchen begging for food. 😛  One of my favorite easy dips (and when I say easy, I mean it) is my White Trash Dip. I know; such a classy name, lol. But it is great for appeasing the hungry mongrel hordes and quick to throw together, which is always a plus on Thanksgiving.
White Trash Dip
I have adored Boursin Cheese for years, but man, that stuff is expensive for the small amount you get. So I started making my own years ago. This is soooo good and always a hit. It’s creamy, great with veggies like celery sticks as well as crackers. If you have any left over, it also makes a great stuffing for chicken breasts.

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Creamy Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Ahhhh, side dishes. What would Thanksgiving be without 50 side dishes to serve with the turkey and ham? One of my all time most popular posts here at From Cupcakes To Caviar is my Insanely Cheesy And Creamy Mac And Cheese. This makes a HUGE pan of mac and cheese, so it’s perfect for the holidays.Insanely Cheesy And Creamy Mac & CheeseYou can’t have turkey without mashed potatoes, right?
I was never a mashed potato fan until I made up these Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes. I totally love these. They are creamy, buttery (boy, are they buttery) and with a subtle tang from the cream cheese.

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ultimate Buttery Sour Cream And Onion Mashed Potatoes

If you want to go a little different, you can’t beat these Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables. The potatoes and veggies get all crispy on the outside and all soft and tender inside. So, so good.

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

I was never a cold pasta salad sort of a person until I made up this Chilled Caprese Tortellini Salad a few years ago. It’s great during the holidays for people who may want something a little lighter (and with no meat in it, lol) but still full of flavor.Chilled Caprese Tortellini Salad
I have a major thing for Winter squashes. To me, they stand so far above the ubiquitous Summer squashes. I took one of my favorites here and stuffed it to come up with Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries. This is a fantastic addition to the holiday meal or a great light entree on it’s own.

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

Squash Stuffed With Sausage, Pears And Cranberries

You can’t have Thanksgiving dinner without cranberry sauce, right? While I admit to a secret love for the kind that slithers out of the can with a loud plop, I also love homemade cranberry sauce and make a large batch every year. My Spiced Spiked Cranberry Sauce is a perfect foil for all the rich dishes you’ll be serving. The brandy is completely optional so don’t let that turn you away from it. Spiced Spiked Cranberry Sauce

Now we come to the breads. I’m not normally a big one for breads, but hot and fresh on the holidays? I tend to go for them more at that time. And these Angel Biscuits have become a family favorite. Since they have baking powder in them as well as yeast, they are fairly foolproof, which is great for the less experienced cooks out there.

Angel Biscuits

Angel Biscuits

The rolls I have been making for years are these Oatmeal Yeast Rolls. They are so fluffy and soft; perfect hot spread with butter or later as a mini turkey sandwich (Yes, I know this is a bad photo. The post is an old one, when my photography skills were sub-par, to say the least. The rolls however, are amazingly good)

Oatmeal Rolls

Oatmeal Rolls

I love to make a few loaves of bread for Thanksgiving as well as rolls. They are so good with dinner and make fantastic sandwiches the next day. I particularly love to make my Loaded Baked Potato Bread, The flavors in it go wonderfully with a turkey sandwich!

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

Here in the south, a lot of people like to make cornbread to go with dinner, even on the holidays. My Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread is a favorite. It’s fluffy, not at all dry like so many cornbreads can be, with just a touch of sweetness.

Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread

Sweet Cream And Honey Cornbread

Then, of course, we have the part of dinner that everyone looks forward to; dessert! And man, you know I have some desserts to share with you! I have to start with the classics, of course, so here is my favorite- my Decadent Extra Creamy Pumpkin Pie. This one is posted with a really good cornmeal crust, but you can use your favorite crust. Just make sure it’s a deep dish one. Decadent Extra Creamy Pumpkin Pie In A Cornmeal Crust
That pumpkin pie tends to be my husbands favorite. Mine however will always be Pecan Pie. I love it slightly warmed with heavy cream poured over it. So bad for me, but so delicious!Deep Dish Pecan Pie

The last few years, my favorite pecan pie has had to vie with this Cranberry Apple Cake. I can’t say enough good things about this cake. It’s absolutely delicious and I can’t imagine the Thanksgiving meal without it now. It’s sweet, tangy, crispy, just a wonderful dessert that I look forward to all year.

Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake

If you want a classic (not to mention, heavenly chocolate goodness 😀 ) you’ll want to make this wonderful Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing This is a favorite with pretty much all age groups, and even those people who say Thanksgiving should be all about the pies. I’m not even normally a cake person and I love it!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

If you want to do a different apple dessert, my Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce would be a great choice. It’s easy to throw together the day before you need it and then just warm up the sauce when ready to cut and serve. Again, I’m not huge on cakes, which is why if you see me posting one, you know it MUST be good.

Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce

Worlds Best Apple Spice Cake With Creamy Vanilla Butter Sauce

Or maybe you prefer a classic apple dessert? I find myself going for this Old Fashioned Apple Crisp all year round, but it’s a delicious choice on Thanksgiving!Old Fashioned Apple Crisp 2

I have a couple of desserts for you that are a bit more elegant, plus not as heavy. The first is one I love; my Elegant And Easy Lemon Almond Cake. This cake is light and filled with the flavor of almond and lemon; perfect for the family members who want a little something for dessert, but don’t want the heavier sweets.

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

Elegant & Easy Lemon Almond Cake

The other one is one of my more recent creations- these Skillet Pears With Autumn Spiced Caramel Sauce. These are wonderful if you have a smaller gathering. The pears end up tender and juicy and the caramel sauce is fantastic.Skillet Pears With An Autumn Spiced Caramel Sauce 9

So, what to do with leftovers once Thanksgiving is over? When you tire of just making a plate of leftovers, I have some things you can do with some of them. If the title says chicken, obviously you can sub in that leftover turkey staring you in the face.

We love Mexican food in my house. Yes, I know that much of what we all call Mexican food has been totally Americanized, but it’s still delicious, so who cares? One of my family’s favorites are these Cheesy Chicken (Turkey) And Chorizo Enchiladas. They have the perfect mix of creamy, spicy and cheesy. I make them all year round, but they are a perfect way to use up leftovers.Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas 2

Everyone makes soup after Thanksgiving. But I have one here that doesn’t need to have you simmering stock for hours on end. I can eat a boatload of my Quick And Easy Turkey, Bacon And Cheese Chowder. This is comfort food at its best and it doesn’t have to cook for hours.Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder

Along the Mexican lines again, I almost always make a pan of White Chicken (Turkey) Enchiladas in the week after Thanksgiving. These are soooo darn good and everyone scarfs them down.

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

You may still have some turkey left even after those (I know I will; I always buy too much!) so my Cheaters Easy Chicken (Turkey) And Dumplings never fails me. It’s warming, comforting and filling and tastes great!

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

If you have leftover cranberry sauce (and you know you will), make a loaf of my Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. It’s an easy way to use up some of those leftovers and it makes a yummy breakfast or light snack.Easy Pumpkin Cranberry Breadthanksgiving

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Bacon, Cheddar & Apple Scones With A Maple Drizzle

Bacon, Cheddar & Apple Scones With A Maple Drizzle

Bacon, Cheddar & Apple Scones With A Maple Drizzle



The idea for these scones came into my head around the beginning of June. But I knew if I put up this combo of flavors in the middle of what turned out to be an unbearably hot Summer in many places, no one would give them a second glance. And these deserve to be glanced at. Well, they deserve to be eaten, but it’s ok to look at them first. They aren’t the worlds prettiest baked good, but what scone is?

So I waited until the weather cooled to make them. They are a perfect breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee or a great afternoon snack when the “hangry’s” are making you growl. 😛 All the flavors in here meld so well into the flaky, buttery scone.

When I first thought of them, I had no plans for a glaze. But they looked naked. So it occurred to me what goes well with both apples and bacon? Maple, of course. I was a little worried about the cheddar part, but it actually works great. I mean, everyone loves maple and apples, and who doesn’t smear their bacon through the syrup on their plate, right? Well, the cheddar can be our new secret cause it’s darn good!

These go together quickly. Mix it up and pat it out. You can do the typical wedge cut with these or, as I did, just use a biscuit cutter.

You know the drill…. 😀

Mrs. Cupcake, who just finished a lovely lunch of a scone and some tea.

Bacon, Cheddar & Apple Scones With A Maple Drizzle

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons chilled salted butter, sliced thin (yes, salted. I know I usually use unsalted, but I wanted to try the salted with this being a savory scone.)
  • 8 ounces bacon, fried until crisp, cooled and crumbled
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped apple, about 2 small apples (peels on or off, your choice. I left them on)
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Glaze-
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cream or half and half
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (plain old table syrup like Mrs. Butterworth or Log Cabin is fine)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets or line with silicone mats.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the cold butter; just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Whisk together the heavy cream and the egg. Pour this all at once into the center of the flour/butter mixture. Use a wooden spoon to mix it, getting all the dry flour off of the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Dump the bacon, apple and cheddar into the dough. Stir well to combine. Dump it all onto a lightly floured board or counter and gently knead it a handful of times, just to incorporate the add ins. It may seem dry, but the moisture from the apple and the bacon will soften it up within just a minute or so.
  6. Pat the dough into a large circle of about 3/4 inch thick. Then either use a sharp knife to cut it into wedges or use a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds. Cut as closely together as possible if doing that, because when you reroll the scraps to make more, they can get tough. I got ten scones using a biscuit cutter.
  7. Bake at 375 until golden brown and firm, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on the pan for a minute, then let finish cooling on a rack.
  8. For the glaze, simply combine the powdered sugar, syrup and cream. Whisk until creamy and relatively lump free. Either drizzle over the scones or dip the tops of each scone in the glaze, depending on whether you want a light or heavy coating.

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Bacon, Cheddar & Apple Scones With A Maple Drizzle

Bacon, Cheddar & Apple Scones With A Maple Drizzle

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu



One of the things I loved when I lived in Germany many moons ago was the food. Lots of pastries and beer everywhere; what’s not to love, right? But they had excellent “real” food also. There was one restaurant my ex husband and I used to go to that served an amazing cordon bleu. This sucker was so thin and tender and filled up the entire plate with cheesy, hammy goodness. But know what? I’m rarely that ambitious 😛 I’ve made the real thing before as well as it’s cousin, Chicken Kiev and maybe at some point I will actually post those delicious recipes.

But the other night, I was tired and just wanted something a bit quicker, but still tasty. So I took the boneless skinless chicken thighs I had, schmeared them (gosh, I love the word schmeared. It’s so fun to say! Lol) with horseradish mustard (use your favorite flavor of mustard), shoved ham and cheese inside, folded them in half, then wrapped them in bacon. Then I sprinkled them with some Parmesan and baked them up. There you go. You don’t even need a recipe. 😛 I pretty much just gave it to you. Yes, it’s that easy.

But, since I love you all (not you…go away), I will make it an official recipe. Then, I feel all professional and all that rot and you all have something to print out besides my rambling. Cool with you? Alrighty then. Lets get to it.

When I made this, I used a full 9 chicken thighs because I live with pigs… I mean males. But I’ll cut this down to six for the recipe. Thing is, this is so easy, it’s simple to make it with however many you have on hand. Just increase or decrease the amounts of cheese, bacon and ham to go with the thighs.

You know the drill… get to cooking! Well, go…shoo!

And yes, I know the last thing I did was bacon wrapped, but c’mon…bacon!

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed off
  • 1/4 cup horseradish mustard
  • 6 slices good quality deli ham (please don’t use cheap crap.I’ll cry.)
  • 6 slices Swiss, Provolone or Mozzarella Cheese (just use your favorite. I thought about using Muenster which is a favorite, but mine had molded *sobs)
  • 12 ounces good quality bacon
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or at least decent store grated)
  • Toothpicks to hold meat closed
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking dish with non stick foil.
  2. Take a chicken thigh and lay it open and flat. Drizzle the desired amount of mustard on top of the thigh. Take a slice of deli ham and lay a slice of cheese on it, then fold it in half.
  3. Lay the ham and cheese on top of the chicken thigh. Fold the chicken thigh in half and wrap it in bacon so the open side of the meat is sealed off with bacon. Secure with toothpicks if needed.  Set in the prepared pan.
  4. Repeat with each chicken thigh.
  5. Bake at 375 until the bacon is browned and the chicken thigh is fully cooked, about 35 to 40 minutes. You can run the dish under the broiler for a minute if the bacon doesn’t get crispy enough. Thighs are a bit more forgiving than breasts when it comes to overcooking.
  6. Let sit in the pan for about five minutes so they aren’t so oozy that you have no cheese left inside the chicken when you cut it. Serve.
  7. These are also really good later, when cold, sliced thin and arranged on an onion bun with some mayo!

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Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

 

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Stuffed With Bacon Jam & Provolone Cheese

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Stuffed With Bacon Jam & Provolone Cheese

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Stuffed With Bacon Jam & Provolone Cheese



I have decided that what the world needs is more bacon. Bacon would prevent wars, save marriages, clear up acne, cause massive weight loss, stop global warming, prevent tornadoes, and make everyone too darn happy to fuss over the little things.

So I have done my part here to encourage world peace. How, you ask? Did you even look at the photo and title, for Heavens sake!? Look at all that bacon! It’s pork, wrapped in pork, then stuffed with more pork! What else can one woman do to stop wars…and tornadoes?!! I’m a doctor, not a soldier, Jim!!! Sorry; Star Trek moment there.

This takes a bit more time than my usual cookies or brownies, but there is nothing here that you can’t manage. You just need a sharp knife for cutting the pork and laying it out flat. And bacon. Lots of bacon.  Did I mention bacon?

I roasted this in the oven, but if you’re a grill guru, I would imagine it could be done that way, too. Either way though, this is delicious! A juicy pork loin, cut to lay flat, rolled around a delicious bacon jam* and provolone cheese, then smothered in a stone ground mustard and honey topping and wrapped in even more bacon. What more do you need in this life? Except maybe a good beer to have with it?

You know the drill…..

Mrs. Cupcake, who needs more bacon.

                   Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Stuffed With Bacon Jam & Provolone Cheese

  • Bacon Jam- (You can make this days ahead of time if you prefer)
  • 1 1/4 pounds good quality thick cut bacon (make extra- you know well you’ll eat some)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of either maple sugar or real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Pork-
  • 5 lb pork loin (approximately; the world won’t collapse if it’s somewhat bigger or smaller; just change your cooking time and the amount of the filling ingredients you use, accordingly)
  • 1/2 cup stone ground mustard
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (or to taste) McCormicks Smoked Sea Salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups bacon jam
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked long enough to soften it and render out some of the fat
  1. Make the bacon jam-In a large shallow pan, fry the bacon until crisp and brown but not overly crunchy, Remove from the pan, crumble it up (don’t eat too much!) and set aside on a plate.
  2. Drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the onions and garlic to the fat left in the pan and saute over medium heat until limp and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the jam ingredients along with the bacon and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has cooked down and thickened somewhat, about ten minutes. Hold back the 1 to 11/2 cups and put the rest in a covered container in the fridge. It will keep for about 2 weeks.
  3. First thing to do after the jam is made is to slice the pork loin open. I will do my best to describe the method. It’s easy as can be, but I stink at describing stuff like this, lol.  Get a large cutting board and a sharp knife. About 1 inch up on the long side of the loin, cut almost all the way through, stopping short of the other side. Open the loin and do the same thing again. That cut should open the loin up, but if not, do it one more time. You should end up with a flat rectangular piece of meat. If it bulges and is too thick in any spots, carefully slice those parts off to make the meat an even thickness.
  4. Spread the open loin with the bacon jam. Then top that with the provolone cheese. Carefully roll up the loin and use kitchen twine to tie it up so it won’t open up while cooking. Place in a large foil lined baking pan.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the stone ground mustard, honey and cayenne pepper. Spread this over the top of the loin. Sprinkle with the smoked sea salt.
  6. Take the slightly cooked bacon and wrap it around the loin from end to end, folding pieces under if needed to secure them.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375. Roast the pork loin until it reaches an internal temp of 145 degrees, about an hour for a five pound loin. Since it’s sliced thinner and rolled, it doesn’t take as long to roast as a typical loin would, so check the internal temp often. Cover the pork with foil if at any point the bacon is getting too brown.
  8. When done, let it rest in the pan for at least ten minutes and up to half an hour before slicing.
Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Stuffed With Bacon Jam & Provolone Cheese

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Stuffed With Bacon Jam & Provolone Cheese

 

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Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks



I think if it were left up to the guys in my house, every day would be a day devoted to seeing how many carbs and how much cheese they could stuff into their bodies, veggies be damned. I on the other hand would happily live on veggies and meat, with dessert afterward of course. I love cheese, but I’ve said before I prefer my carbs in sweet form usually. Thus why this blog is overwhelmingly sweets and not non-sweets.

The rare times we can manage to go out for dinner, they love places that have pizza, with Gatti-Town being a favorite…unlimited pizza, pasta, breadsticks and then games. What more does any male need, right? I am pretty sure that when the cooks see them go up for their 14th plate of cheesy carbs, they groan and wish they worked somewhere else. I’m never worth the price of the buffet myself. I usually manage two slices of pizza and a salad  and that’s about it.

Right now, it’s a rough patch financially, so I wanted to give the guys a treat I knew they’d love that we can’t afford to get out. What better way than one of their favorite buffet foods, made fresh at home?

Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

I think they were happy with these. I mean, really… cheese…bacon. Bacon is one of Gods gifts to mankind 😀 I managed to eat one and it was quite yummy. I hid one for myself for later too, hehe. They inhaled the rest of them for an early dinner. Not traditional, not even particularly nutritious, but my guys enjoyed the treat.

These are extremely easy to make. it’s a SIMPLE yeast dough you can do in a stand mixer (or even by hand if you want). Then you roll it out into a rough rectangle, cut it, let it rise, sprinkle with the goodies, then bake and eat the cheesy, carby goodness. Nuthin’ to it. You can add a bit of thinly sliced red onion to this or a bit of green pepper… just use your imagination and put what makes you happy.

You know the drill….

Mrs. Cupcake… who feels the need for a fresh salad now

Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (about 112 to 117 degrees)
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • olive oil (or just use some of the bacon drippings)
  • 8 ounces bacon, cooked to chewy crispness and crumbled
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces mild cheddar, shredded
  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the 1/4 cup warm water in a bowl; stir to mix then let it sit for about five minutes. The mixture should start to get foamy.
  2. Place 4 cups of the flour, the butter, sugar, salt and 1 1/4 cups water in the bowl of a stand mixer (again, you can mix by hand. It will take longer, but it’s definitely doable). Pour the yeast mix in and beat on low speed, with the dough hook, for about five minutes, until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball.  If it is too sticky to work with, add in another 1/4 cup of flour, then mix again until the dough comes together in a ball.
  3. Grease a large baking sheet or cookie sheet. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter and give it a few quick kneads just to bring it together well. Roll it out into a more or less rectangular size (it doesn’t have to be perfect- you’ll just be laying it out on a baking sheet) of about 15 x 11. Carefully roll it up halfway over the rolling pin or your hand and transfer it to the baking sheet. Stretch out any wrinkles you may have made in it during the transfer.
  4. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to score the dough into long strips, then again down the middle to cut the strips in half. Don’t separate them, just leave it like that. Let rise in a warm place until puffy and almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees while it rises.
  5. Brush dough lightly with either olive oil or bacon drippings. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Sprinkle the cheese on top of that, then the bacon.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
  7. Let rest for about 5 minutes, then use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the breadsticks through the score lines you made earlier.
  8. Serve to hungry males with pizza sauce. Take in the accolades and cheese scented kisses.

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Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks 3

Mini Baked Turkey Bacon Club Sandwiches

Mini Baked Turkey Bacon Club Sandwiches

Mini Baked Turkey Bacon Club Sandwiches



I have yet another confession to make. I don’t like sports. Well, I DO watch maybe one or two Chicago Cubs games a year, but only home games. It’s a nostalgia thing for me. After one or two, watching them lose gets depressing and even nostalgia isn’t enough to stop the facepalm from happening. But even being from Chicago (if I ever call it “Chi-Town”, please smack me upside the head), they are the only team I like and watch. No Bears, no Sox, no whateverelsetheymayhave. And other teams and sports from far away lands like California or New York? Fuhgeddaboutit!

I DO however like this time of year for the snacks like these upscale potato skins . I tend to be a grazer when it comes to eating so foods like this bruschetta are also perfect for me. Sit me in front of the game with a book or my kindle hidden in my lap with some snacks, rouse me when it’s time for the fun commercials and I’m perfectly content to pretend to cheer for the home team… or whatever team it is we’re supposed to be cheering for.

This type of mini sandwich has been all over the web for the last few years. I have absolutely no idea at this point who started the trend, but I love them. They are usually a ham and cheese version with a simple mustard, butter and poppy seed sauce poured over them. I wanted to pump up the flavor some though. And what is one way to pump up flavor? ADD BACON!!!  Bacon is my reason for living. I know many of you will agree.

I made this into a club version of that sandwich. Turkey, ham, cheese and bacon. BUT…yes, there is a but… then I added a lovely garlic/Parmesan sauce over the top. I am pretty sure that one of these sandwiches meets your daily caloric needs for about 3 weeks. But they are totally worth it. My husband ate about 6 of them. So now I don’t have to feed him for like 4.5 months, right?

These are delightfully messy and buttery- in other words, perfect guy and kid food as well as perfect game food. But you could probably go down a bit on the butter and still be fine.

You know the drill…. 🙂

Mrs. Cupcake, who is going to smell like garlic butter for a week.

Mini Baked Turkey Bacon Club Sandwiches

  • 16 dinner rolls (I used potato rolls- I’ve found them at Wal-mart, Aldis, Meijer, Kroger… most big chains)
  • 1 lb good quality bacon, cooked until just crisp
  • 1/2 lb thin sliced deli ham
  • 1/2 lb thin sliced deli turkey
  • 1 lb of your favorite sliced cheese (I used 1/2 lb each of Havarti and Muenster)
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 finely minced garlic cloves (or sub 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (while I usually use fresh, the powdery jarred version is fine for these)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13×9 inch pan. Place the bottom half of the rolls in the pan. I squish 6 down each side then place 4 all snuggled up down the middle of the pan in between the two lines.
  2. Layer the rolls with the bacon, turkey, ham and cheese. Place the top half of the rolls on the sandwiches
  3. Add the garlic (or garlic powder) , Parmesan, onion powder and Worcestershire to the melted butter. Stir well to combine. Pour the butter mixture evenly over the tops  of the sandwiches, spreading it around if needed. The Parmesan makes this clump a little, so just spoon it around.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the sandwiches are lightly browned on top and the cheese is bubbly. let cool for about 3 minutes, then slice in between the sandwiches and serve

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Loaded Baked Potato Bread

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

Loaded Baked Potato Bread



I love fresh yeast breads. Store bought, not so much. I’ll see one that sounds good; some “Artisan” type (also known as “we slapped the artisan label on this so we could charge you more”), bring it home, eat half a slice, say “meh”, then forget about it and the kids eat it. But most homemade breads I can eat my weight in… and trust me, that’s a LOT of bread. Russ decided to try his hand at bread baking the other day and I have to say, he did well for a first timer. He made whole wheat, which can be tricky for an experienced baker and he did fine.  And this is a man for whom cooking means throwing a frozen burrito into the microwave. Seriously. When I met the man, he was practically living on frozen burritos and Doritos. It was a sad sad state of affairs. But I’ve since fattened him up and spoiled him for crap foods like that.

So, since he made his whole wheat bread, I had to follow up; he got me craving fresh bread. I wasn’t sure what to make; obviously not whole wheat. So I went the decadent direction. Go figure…. me…making something not so healthy. Whoda thunk it?

I have made potato bread for years. I have always loved that it’s a slightly softer bread, not as crusty as some others.  But even there, I wanted to play some. So I finally decided I wanted to load this bread up the same way I load up a baked potato. So I threw bacon, sliced green onions and cheddar cheese in it, as well as replacing some of the potato water I usually use with milk and with sour cream. And know what? This bread is outstanding! This is one of those times when I’m like, “YES! Janet, you knocked this one out of the park!” This has a nice tight crumb, a tender crust that doesn’t turn into a pile of crumbs when you slice it and it has a enough “holdability” (yes, that is now a word.) to slice thinly enough to use for sandwiches. I mean; imagine this- a BLT on homemade bread that has bacon and cheese in it. Need I say more?

This makes three loaves of bread, so either plan on sharing or freezing or if you’re better at math than I am, cut the recipe. I would estimate that if one were to cut this in half, you would get two 8 inch loaves. As it stands, you get 9 inch loaves. But it holds up well thanks to the potato. That helps it stay fresher longer. And like I said, this is amazing as a sandwich bread. This bread takes longer to rise than some, so don’t stress if it hasn’t risen a mile in ten minutes after you get it into the pans. Mine took a full two hours to rise enough to bake.  But keep in mind that as it sits and rises slowly, it is also getting a better texture and flavor. Also, made during the warmer months, it may rise quicker. My house is rather nippy.

You know the drill…. 🙂

Mrs. Cupcake- whose blood has now been replaced with yeast. And bacon.

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 7 1/2 to 8 cups flour
  • 1 lb good quality bacon, cooked until just crisp and crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons of the the bacon drippings
  • 2 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get out three 9 inch bread pans.Add the cut up potatoes and one teaspoon salt to the 4 cups of water in a medium pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender then remove the potatoes from the water, reserving two cups of the cooking water (just dump any extra or if it isn’t a full two cups, add water to get up to two cups). Mash the potatoes well to make lump free, then let cool for about ten minutes. You should have about one cup of mashed potatoes.
  2. Add the one cup of milk and half a cup of sour cream to the reserved potato water. Whisk until smooth. Warm in the microwave in 20 second increments until it has reached a temp between 105 and 112. Sprinkle the packet of yeast over the top of it and give it a light stir. Let sit for about 5 minutes. It should be looking somewhat foamy by then.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached (you can do this by hand with a wooden spoon, but it will be an arm workout), combine the yeast mixture, the mashed potatoes, the butter, the tablespoon salt, the sugar, the softened butter and one cup of the flour. Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.
  4. When combined, add in 5 more cups of the flour and mix on fairly low speed (I used 2 on my mixer) until it has come together into a sticky dough. Add more flour, half a cup at a time, until you have a slightly sticky and tacky dough. It shouldn’t leave dough all your fingers if you lightly push a finger into it, but it should feel pretty sticky to the touch. This took about 7 3/4 cups of flour for me.
  5. Let the mixer continue to knead the dough for five to seven minutes, scraping it down when needed if it crawls up the hook. Pour in the bacon, cheese and green onions and let the mixer combine them into the dough.
  6. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter and give the dough a couple of quick kneads.
  7. Using the reserved bacon drippings, lightly grease the loaf pans; don’t use all of it- you’ll be brushing the tops of the loaves with it, too.Divide the dough into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a loaf and put into the prepared pans. Brush the tops with more of the reserved bacon drippings. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk. Since this uses just one pack of yeast for three loaves, it’s NOT a quick riser. So don’t worry if it hasn’t risen in like half an hour or so. It will get there. Mine took a full two hours to rise.
  8. When ready, put the loaves in the 350 degree oven. Bake for 25 minutes, then if desired, open the oven and quickly sprinkle some shredded cheese on top of the loaves. Continue to bake for about another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown on top. If you’re not sure, poke an instant read thermometer into the center of a loaf. It should read at about 190 degrees.
  9. Let cool in the pan for five minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

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Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder

Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder 2


I have never been a big soup person.  I like it and even keep a stockpile of chunky soups in case the zombie apocalypse occurs, but it’s not generally something I crave. So when a recipe title (with no ideas attached btw,…just a title, because this is how my brain works.) popped into my head last night while I was trying to sleep, I knew I had to run with it.

Why does that happen, anyway!? Lalalalaa, I’m laying here all drowsy…ahhh, beautiful sleep is upon me…wait for it… CRAP… I forgot to check the kids…I need to sew that button on…I forgot to buy eggs…the cat is impeding my breathing by laying on my neck…I need to pee…and oh yeah, here’s a recipe title with no further info. You have fun trying to sleep now!  Signed- your brain.

Sorry. I’m done now. Where was I? Soup…

I, like 4,356,982 other Americans, had a bunch of turkey left over from Thanksgiving. When one buys a 20 pound turkey for 5 people, this is bound to happen. But do I ever learn? Nooooooo… not me. I continue to cook as if I have five children living with us, or like when my daughter, son in law and three kids lived with us. Mind you, two teens, a 51 year old man, myself and a six year old can eat a fair amount, but still. A 20 pound turkey?! Am I insane?!! Forget I asked that.

I’m going to move past all the tangents. I am obviously not capable of writing a coherent post today. Call it turkey tuckered…cranberry coma, potato pooped, stuffing somnolence, pecan pie peaked…sorry. I’ll stop now.

This was one of my throw together ideas. All I had was a name that came at 2am. My husband is fond of saying that my best recipes are the ones I just throw together. The problem being that, half the time, I then forget what I used and you never see these delightful recipes because I am over here foaming at the mouth trying to recall ingredients. Thus why I’m typing this out with a bowl of this yummy chowder in front of me. This really is a delightful chowder…or “chowdah” as my sister in law would say, being the proud Bostonian she is. This is thick and hearty and warming and soothing and any other cozy adjectives that come to mind. It is chock full of turkey, bacon and two cheeses. Since you use leftover turkey and already made mashed potatoes, this comes together quickly. A 30 minute or so simmer and there you go… nice hot, creamy chowder. Erhmmm, chowdah.

You know the drill… btw…. I love you guys!

Quick & Easy Turkey, Bacon & Cheese Chowder

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 lb sliced mushrooms (optional- most of us loved them, but my husband whined. If you have a mushroom hater, omit them if you desire)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 4 cups chopped cooked turkey (I used all breast meat; use what pleases you)
  • 3 cups half and half or whole milk, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (homemade, store bought form the refrigerated section, whatever)
  • 12 ounces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled, 1 tablespoon drippings reserved
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded, plus more for garnish
  • 4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 green onions, sliced, plus more for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste (I would usually give measurements, but bacon varies in it’s saltiness and pepper love varies. I used about a teaspoon of each)
  1. Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. I use my purty blue 4 qt dutch oven because…purty.
  2. Add in the chopped onions, chopped celery, garlic and mushrooms (if using). Stir to combine, cover then saute over medium heat until softened and the onion is lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add in the chopped turkey. Stir,and heat just long enough to thoroughly warm up the turkey, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add in 2 1/2 cups of the half and half (or milk) and the mashed potatoes. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Do not let this boil.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the last 1/2 cup half and half and the 2 tablespoons flour. Pour the slurry into the chowder and stir to combine. Continue stirring until mixture thickens up somewhat, about 3 minutes. If it’s too thick for your taste, add a wee bit more milk or cream.
  6. Add in about 3/4 of the bacon and the reserved one tablespoon of drippings. Add in the cheese and 2 green onions. Stir constantly until the cheese is melted and completely incorporated in the chowder. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes just to meld the flavors, stirring frequently
  7. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining bacon, cheese and green onions. Serve with crusty bread and a salad and you have a perfect meal.

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Creamy Cajun Shrimp & Bacon Alfredo

Creamy Cajun Shrimp & Bacon Alfredo

Creamy Cajun Shrimp & Bacon Alfredo


I think we’ve all learned how bad I am at following recipes, right? Well, today, I just threw the cookbooks out the window. Sorry, darlin… I’ll call a glass repair guy tomorrow.

I had a pound of very rare in our household (both because of cost and because my husband hates it so I rarely make it) jumbo shrimp. I had spent two days trying to figure out what to do with them. Batter fried? Tasty, but it doesn’t stretch far and since this is a rare treat, I wanted it to seem like more. Heck, give me an hour and I can finish a pound of fried shrimp myself. Gumbo? Too much trouble and I always use Andouille in my gumbo which I don’t have right now. So I started looking at recipes for Shrimp Alfredo. I didn’t like any of them lol. So I just went into the kitchen and started throwing Cajunish and Alfredoish (yes, those are now both official words) ingredients together. Those and bacon. Bacon makes everything better. I mean… it’s BACON!

I must say; this sauce turned out wonderfully. Spicy, creamy, shrimpy :-p Seriously, it’s quite good. Not too spicy but has a nice bite for the heat seekers like myself. The green peppers and onions and garlic make their presence known. Add in the bacon and shrimp and oh my… seafood (bacony) Heaven on a plate. Ok, so the pic is of it in a bowl. Work with me here.

Note… I had no fettuccine , linguine or other traditional pastas here so I used Penne. I actually think I prefer it now. The shape helps it catch more sauce then you can on a flat noodle shape. But use what makes YOU happy.

You know the drill…

Creamy Cajun Shrimp & Bacon Alfredo

  • 1 pound shrimp (I used jumbo but you could use large or extra large too. Just don’t go smaller or you could end up with overcooked shrimp. Save the smaller shrimp for something where it’s not sitting in a hot sauce)
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled, 4 tablespoons of drippings reserved
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons salt free Cajun seasoning (it can be hard to find but it’s worth it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 cups half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese (if you use that canned dried stuff, I’ll cry)
  • 8 ounces of Mascarpone cheese (could sub cream cheese)
  1. Start a large pot of water boiling. When water comes to a boil, cook your pasta to desired doneness. Drain and set aside in a covered bowl.
  2. While it heats, pour your reserved bacon droppings in a large skillet. Add in the green pepper, onion and garlic. Saute over medium heat until the veggies are soft and tender.
  3. Pat your shrimp dry then add into the veggie mix. Also add in the Cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes Saute just until the shrimp start firming up and turning pink. They will finish cooking as the sauce heats.
  4. Pour the cream into the shrimp mixture. Pour in the hot sauce also if using.
  5. Turn heat down to low and simmer for five minutes or until sauce starts to simmer (don’t boil it), stirring frequently. Add in the mascarpone and stir until smooth and melted Add in the crumbled bacon and serve the sauce over the warm pasta.
  6. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese. Because you can never have too much cheese.

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Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Mascarpone Risotto

Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Mascarpone Risotto

Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Mascarpone Risotto


Rice is one of my best friends. If this were 150 years ago, I would have been the wife of a rice planter in say, South Carolina. We would of course, be stone broke because I would eat all of our profits. Ok, so maybe not, but I remember reading once that it was common back in the day on the plantations for rice to be served with every meal, including breakfast. It was just a difference in HOW it was served.

I am pretty sure risotto was not on the menu back then though. It is, for Americans at least, a fairly recent dish. But I am willing to bet that if you could go back in time (wouldn’t that be a blast btw? I vacillate constantly over what time period I would go to first. Yes, that is how my mind works and these are the things that keep me awake at night.) and offer risotto to rice planters, they would love you. They would also realize what could be done with their crop, increase prices substantially and rice would now be right up there price wise with foie gras, caviar and Dom Perignon champagne… all things that do NOT fit into my budget, meaning that I would never be able to afford rice, would go through life depressed and probably would have been committed at a young age.

On that note, in case it wasn’t obvious, I made risotto tonight. But not plain old boring risotto. Me?? Make something normally??? Surely you jest? Nope. I put bacon, caramelized onions, mascarpone cheese and a butt ton of other assorted Italian cheeses in there. Creamy? definitely. Meaty? Check. Needing anything else with it to make it a meal. Oh heck no. This WAS the meal… and the dessert… and dinner for tomorrow. It makes a lot. I’d say that I’ll make less next time, but I’d be lying. I’m looking forward to leftovers.

Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Mascarpone Risotto

  • 1/2 pound bacon (preferably low sodium), cooked crisp and crumbled, then set aside (make extra because you KNOW you’ll pick at it)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 onions, cut in half lengthwise then thinly sliced into half moons
  • 5 to 6 cups of good quality chicken broth, heated to close to boiling (keep warm by either reheating in the microwave or keeping it simmering in a pot on the stove)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (plus more to smother the finished rice in)
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 4 to 8 ounces shredded Italian cheeses (Kraft makes it, plus most groceries have a store brand)
  1. In a large saucepot, over low heat, saute the onions in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, stirring constantly for the first three or 4 minutes. Cover the pan, keep the heat at low and cook the onions, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown and tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Put the onions in a bowl and clean the pot.
  2. In the same pot, put the rest of the olive oil. Add in the garlic and over medium heat, cook for about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 to 4 minutes. You want the rice to have a nice coating of garlicky oil on it.
  3. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of the hot broth into the rice. You want it to just barely cover the rice. Make sure you have a drink and something to do next to you, because you’re not leaving the stove for a while now 😛 .
  4. Stirring constantly, continue to cook the rice until practically all of the broth is absorbed. Add in another 1/ 1/2 cups and do it all over again. Then do it one last time. The rice is done when it is tender and creamy.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and add in all the cheeses. Stir well to melt them, then add in the bacon and the caramelized onions.
  6. Place the rice in a large serving bowl to serve family style or individual bowls to make sure that no one eats your portion. Sprinkle each serving with a healthy portion of grated Parmesan.

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