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. πŸ˜›

Let’s start with entrees. Because…turkey…ham. Yummy. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜›Β  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 πŸ˜€ ) 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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Sweet & Tangy Strawberry-Vanilla-Banana Jam

Sweet & Tangy Strawberry-Vanilla-Banana Jam



I remember when I first started canning about 15 years ago. I thought I owned the world. To be able to create jams, jellies and preserves in flavors no store would ever have; to feel so danged “Earth Mother-ish”. It was empowering in its own weird way. The first thing I ever made was orange marmalade. It was, yet again with me, a case of not even realizing I had picked something that experienced cooks/canners don’t like to do and that the inexperienced canners balk at. I have a habit of that. Same thing happened the first time I made croissants not long after I started baking with yeast. I found out later that many experienced home bakers don’t like to attempt croissants because they can be touchy. I’ve always been like, “This sounds good… I want to make it” and I give it a try. Usually things go well. I suppose ignorance really is bliss, ehh? This particular jam is a favorite in my family. My son Jordan has to be stopped from just eating it out of the jar as dessert and my husband, who is diabetic, loves it even though it’s so NOT good for him. If you like the classic mix of strawberry banana, you will love this jam. And contrary to what you may think, home canning isn’t difficult at all. If you can mix, stir, ladle into jars and then boil sealed cans, you’ve got this. I will say what I say every time I post a canning recipe, however. Steer clear of recipes/web sites/blogs that tell you it is just fine and dandy to do things like seal your jars by turning them upside down or just putting a lid on and letting the inner heat seal them, etc. These methods are NOT safe. You’ll run into people who will say, “Oh, my gramma/great gramma/gramma 35 generations ago did it this way and everyone was just fine.” They’re wrong, plain and simple. We have no way of knowing how many illnesses, “Oh, she has a stomach virus” or even deaths back in the day were from food poisoning. Seal your cans the correct way and you’ll have tasty food that is safe. Here’s a wonderful site to check out if you’re new to canning- Fresh Preserving . It will guide you along in easy terms and make you see how simple this really is! You know the drill…. git to cooking. Erhmmm, canning. This makes about 8 half pint jars.

Sweet & Tangy Strawberry-Vanilla-Banana Jam

  • 4 3/3 cups prepared fruit (about 2 1/2 containers strawberries and 3 to 4 medium bananas)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (bottles is fine)
  • 1 box pectin (the powdered kind, not the liquid)
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter to help prevent excessive foaming
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 6 3/4 cups sugar (yes, this is the correct amount; jams take a fair amount of sugar to set properly and are NOT diet food πŸ˜› )
  1. Prepare your jars as directed in the above link and set your lids in a bowl of bowling water to sterilize them.
  2. Stem your strawberries. Crush them and measure out exactly 3 1/4 cups of the mashed berries (if there is any left over, which is doubtful, just find another use for them). Mash the bananas and add exactly 1 1/2 cups of them in a large pot along with the mashed strawberries. Stir in the lemon juice and the vanilla.
  3. Stir the powdered pectin into the pot with the fruit. Make sure you have your sugar measured and at hand.
  4. Add the butter and bring the fruit/pectin mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that can’t be stirred away), stirring constantly.
  5. Pour in the sugar all at once. Still stirring constantly, bring the mixture back to a full rolling boil Once it gets there, boil for a full minute. Immediately remove form the heat and skim off any foam that has collected on top. Let the pot sit for five minutes, stirring about once every minute to help make sure the fruit doesn’t settle, but stays suspended throughout the mixture.
  6. Ladle into the prepared jars; wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean hot, wet cloth. Cover with the lids and process in boiling water for ten minutes. Remove form the water and let cool, set on a clean towel. You’ll hear a satisfying “ping!” as each jar seals.
  7. Label and store in a dark, cool place.

Sweet & Tangy Strawberry-Vanilla-Banana Jam 2 Β  Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Spicy Mango Chutney

Spicy Mango Chutney

Spicy Mango Chutney



Being brought up in the Midwest in the 60’s and 70’s (yes, I’m old. Just shush.), there wasn’t much in the way of “exotic” foods. There was a lot of sausage, a lot of pork, which was horrid back then for the record- really fatty and just nasty. I honestly stopped eating pork as a young adult because I thought it was horrible. Now I absolutely love pork. There was also a lot of chicken, etc etc. All the homey Eastern European foods that had been brought to the heartland and foods that were made by a depression era parent were part of our upbringing. But Indian foods? Thai Curries? Fiery spice blends? Nahhhh…. not in the Chicago of that time period. When I got into my early thirties, I wanted to branch out some in my cooking. I’m not even sure why. There was nothing in me that said, “oooo, that sounds delicious and I want to try to make it!” It was more like just cooking curiosity. I have always been very interested in reading about different cultures and when you combine that in a book with their food culture, you’ll have me hooked. I had no idea that once I started down that road, I would become a quick addict.

But I have. I could happily eat foods of that part of the world daily and not get bored with them. The problem is that it is difficult still to get good ingredients in my neck of the woods for the actual dishes and there are very few restaurants serving good Indian or Thai foods. So most of the time I settle for the condiments- mainly the chutneys. Some of what I make is Americanized because I want it to appeal to my not as adventurous family. I buy the “real” stuff from stores with good ethnic food selections and enjoy them myself. But I have made so many different chutneys it’s ridiculous- that tomato one up there, peach, cranberry, blueberry cranberry, pear ginger and so one and so forth. But my favorite will always be this spicy mango one I keep coming back to. It is a total amalgamation of a handful of different ones I have tried over the years until I finally got it to where I wanted it to be. It’s sweet, tangy from the vinegar, fruity and has a mild bite that adds so much to foods. I don’t just use chutneys with curries. I love them with baked chicken, fried chicken, any sort of pork. You name it, I’ll try it with chutney πŸ˜€ This doesn’t need to be canned, though you can do so if you’re feeling froggy. Just store it in the fridge in a covered container. It will keep well in there for months due to the high vinegar content.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Mrs. Cupcake, who is now craving a good Indian curry.

Spicy Mango Chutney

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vinegar, cider or white (white makes it a bit sharper in taste, but I rather enjoy that)
  • 4 ripe mangoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (use more or less depending on how much you like spiciness. This amounts puts it at about a 5 on a 1-10 scale)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (NOT ground mustard)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine the sugar and vinegar in a medium pot (I use a 3 quart pot to help contain any bubbling). Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then add all the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Stir well, then cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down if it seems to be sticking. It will take longer to cook down, but it will get there. Cook until the chutney has reduced by about 1/3, is no longer watery, but looks thick and syrupy. It should take about an hour and a half or so.
  3. Let cool, then store in the fridge in a covered container. This can also be canned via water bath if preferred.

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Spicy Mango Chutney

Spicy Mango Chutney

Blood Orange Curd

Blood Orange Curd

Blood Orange Curd




I may have mentioned once or twice that I absolutely love citrus fruits. The plethora of lemon posts on the blog shows how much I love them, but my heart really lies with oranges. Back when I was young, eating an orange if you lived in most of the U.S. meant a navel orange. While those are good and I still love them, now, with the world so much smaller in many ways thanks to good methods of transportation, they are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Now, this time of year, you can get in season citrus of so many varieties it boggles the mind. Cara Cara, navel, Sweet lemons, Myer lemons, Mandarins. Tangelos, Pummelos, Kumquats, Clementines and so many others. But my favorite, one that is only around for a couple of short months, is the Blood Orange. Such an ick name for such a tasty fruit. In case you don’t know what it is, a blood orange is a somewhat smallish variety of orange with a reddish-orange rind and a medium to dark red flesh. The flavor is similar to a “regular” orange, but with a bit of a raspberry or even a somewhat winey flavor to it. The scent is intense and a bit more floral. They are absolutely delicious oranges. You can usually find them at any decently stocked grocery store these days.

Since they are in season for such a short time, after I get my fill of eating them, I like to do things with them that keeps around the house for a while longer. This curd is one of those things. It’s made like a basic lemon curd, but obviously subbing in the blood oranges. I personally add in the zest and juice form one lemon because otherwise, the flavor can be a bit one dimensional and flat since oranges are sweeter than a lemon. I also add in a few drops of orange oil at the end of cooking, but that is entirely optional, though I DO recommend it. It adds just a but more of that orange zest flavor and brings it out in the curd itself.

As yummy as this is, hold on to a good portion of it because we’ll be using it in something else that will be utterly delicious in a few days. So resist the temptation to just stand in front of the fridge with the bowl and a spoon. Or just make two batches. πŸ˜€

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Blood Orange Curd

  • Zest from 3 Blood Oranges (about 3 to 4 tablespoons. If there is more, use it)
  • Zest from one lemon (about 1 tablespoon. Again, use it all)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 6 eggs
  • juice from the oranges and the lemon (you should end up with just about 2/3 a cup of juice)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon Boyajian Orange Oil (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Blend in the citrus zest and the sugar.
  2. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until combined.
  3. Add in the blood orange/lemon juices, the vanilla and the salt. Blend well.
  4. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepot. Over medium heat, cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a temp between 170 and 175. Do NOT let this boil. It should take about ten minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of all the zest and any lumps of eggs that may have cooked too fast.
  6. Pour into a container and store in the fridge. The curd will keep for about a month or so. But we’ll be using some of it up here this week. πŸ˜€

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Oops, I Did It Again

Apple Pie Jam

I have a handful of canning recipes here on the blog. I have been an avid canner for about a decade or so now. I’m one of those people who is really picky on the canning rules/guidelines as well. When I see other sites/blogs where they are showing the results of their canning session and it has a jar only half filled or they have said something to the effect of “don’t worry about water bathing it; just invert the jars and it will seal just fine”, I shudder. Most of them, when inevitably lambasted about that (I am not the only picky canner in the world lol), they say something like “well, I’ve always done it that way and we haven’t died yet.” I always feel like saying “and therein lies the key word…. YET”. Like I have told my kids a bazillion times, you can do something stupid 1000 times and get away with it and it’s the very next time that gets you. I’ve often wondered how many “natural” deaths back in the day were from things like food poisoning/botulism.

My long winded rambling point there was practice safe canning. No, that doesn’t mean put a condom on your jars or make sure your apples have been monogamous πŸ˜›Β  It means, if you haven’t canned before or you have but you’re not sure you’re doing it quite right, go to the following site- Getting Started On Safe Canning and read it first.

Making sure you read the recipe correctly is always smart too. I know this for a good reason. Today, upon making this recipe; one that I have made quite a few times before actually- I wasn’t paying attention. Where it says to have 4 cups of apples, about 1 pound, I saw as have 4 pounds of apples. So there I was, looking down into a pot with 4 times the amount of apples I needed for a batch of jam. So what did I do? I went into frantic automaton mode. I divvied up the ingredients into separate batchs and made more than one batch of jam. Problem was, I only have one pot large enough to hold jars as I sterilize them or after canning so I was there for quite a while, making the jam, canning it, sterilizing more jars, making more jam, canning it… ey yi yi.Use me as your example of don’t get distracted while making jam. Thank God my family loves Apple Pie Jam cause we have a ton of it now hehe

So if you like apples, like jam and love the flavors inherent in apple pie ( apples, spices, raisins) you’ll love this. It makes a fantastic PB&J sandwich, i (and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m not a huge PB fan so that’s saying something), is Heaven on a buttermilk biscuit, is wonderful spooned liberally over vanilla ice cream, great in thumbprint cookies, awesome on a spoon and then shoveled into your mouth. Erhmmmm, I’ve just heard about that last way… I’d never do that myself. Honest.

If you’ve never canned before but want to try it, this is a good recipe to try. It’s easy and the results are delicious. I promise you, if you can read and follow directions, you can can. It is NOT hard, contrary to what you may have heard. Just promise me to not listen to the people who say “just invert your jars; don’t worry about a water bath” or show photos of jars only half filled yet processed. There are reason for the canning rules. It’s to keep you and your family safe…and breathing.

Apple Pie Jam

  • 4 cups prepared fruit (about 1 lb granny smith or other tart apples)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use a touch more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 box powdered fruit pectin
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  1. Sterilize jars in a boiling water bath. Keep at a low simmer while you prepare the jam. Pour boiling water over the lids and screw bands and let sit. Measure out your sugar and have it right next to where you’re cooking.
  2. Peel and core apples/ Finely chop. Add the water and raisins. Measure 4 cups into a large pot. Add spices and lemon juice.
  3. Stir the powdered pectin into the mixture. Add the butter. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (one that can’t be stirred away), stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in all the sugar. Return to a full rolling boil and let boil for one minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.
  5. Ladle quickly into your prepared sterilized jars. Leave a 1/8 inch headspace. Do NOT leave a large headspace. It causes the vacuum seal to not be as strong because there is too much oxygen left in the jar for it to draw out. Do not leave too little of a headspace because the jam can boil up into under the lid thus also causing a poor seal. Wipe down the rims of the jars with a clean damp hot washcloth to get any drips. Drips can cause bacteria to grow under the lid, thus possibly ruining all the jam inside. Put the lids and screw bands on the jars, finger tight. Don’t over tighten.
  6. Place jars in pot of boiling water (please buy some canning supplies including the thingamajigger (hope that’s not too technical of a term πŸ˜€ ) that lowers the cans down for you. Return water to a boil and process jars for a full ten minutes.
  7. Let jars cool, then check seals. If any of the lids didn’t seal, refrigerate them. Those that did seal can be stored in the pantry, same as any jars of jam you buy at the store.
  8. Eat. Enjoy. Thank me later. Or now.

Apple Pie jam…yummy! I know; boring photos but I was too tired to make them purty hehe

 

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Cranberry Fun, Part two (Pithiest Title I Can Think Of Right Now)

Nothing to put with this to make it decorative *sobs*

November 22nd and it is 59 degrees out right now. What’s wrong with this picture? I know I live in Kentucky and all but even for here this is weird. I want cold weather, mannnnnn!!! Snow!! Avalanches! Blizzards! The need to use my wood stove and make a blazing “omg, this makes the pyromaniac in me happy” sort of fire.

But noooo, it’s 59 degrees and it’s supposed to get up to 67 today and 60ish on Thanksgiving. Mind you, it doesn’t seem that warm because it is also raining the proverbial cats and dogs and very dreary and depressing outside. At times actually, I am pretty sure it was raining Mastodons and Hippos it was coming down so hard. My driveway is totally flooded out. One of the joys of country living I guess hehe. Maybe I can conserve water and go out in my front yard nakkie butt, shampoo in hand and take my shower. Nahhhhh, the neighbors would be traumatized. Heck, I’D be traumatized. I close my eyes when looking at myself in the mirror. Makes it a bit hard to see what I’m doing, but I figure it’s safer for my mental and emotional health.

I. Need. Caffeine. Now.

Seven in the morning comes too darn early. Someone needs to pass a law saying that seven am can’t get here until say, noon. Better yet, that we are not allowed to do ANYTHING but sleep until noon and society as a whole doesn’t function until then. Who wants to go petition congress with me?!

In case it’s not obvious, I’m not in top form today πŸ˜› Two nights of a whiny toddler and about 5 hours sleep between the two nights is taking a toll. My wit, such as it is, has taken a vacation. It’s in Bali right now… enjoying a warm breeze and a tropical drink ogling the shirtless men. I mean… um, darlin, if you’re reading this, it’s turning away from the shirtless men in abject horror that they would dare show me their naked rippling abs. Honest!

Hmm, might be time to move on now to the recipe for today.

I’m still in cranberry mode here and will be for one (maybe two) more recipe(s) after this. I mentioned yesterday my love for the cranberry sauce part of Thanksgiving dinner & thatΒ  carries over into other forms of cranberry adoration. The following is one of my favorites.

Have you ever had cranberry mustard? Maybe you bought some from the store and thought it was ok. If you’re like me, you did, thought it was decent but kind of…boring. Little too sweet but ok. Years back, that was me. I had tried I believe it was the cranberry mustard from Hickory Farms. It was ok. I liked it on turkey sandwiches but that was really all it was good for. The texture was rather thick and gelatinous. So when I ran across a recipe on Epicurious years back for home made cranberry mustard, I knew I had to try it. I am SO glad I did! This mustard is fantastic. Sweet with a definite cranberry flavor and DEFINITE mustard bite. This mustard has cojones! It is amazing on sandwiches made from leftover turkey, it is great as a pretzel dip, it’s pretty darn good just to stick your fingers into… not that I do that of course. Just know that YOU might want to.

This takes a little watching; it’s rather like making a fruit curd in how it’s done. Eggs, double boiler, yada yada yada. But it’s still easy so long as you don’t go walking away because even though the recipe says to stir (only) occasionally, if you don’t stir often…pretty much nonstop, it sticks. It UN sticks easily and I may just be paranoid but I just have never wanted to take the chance of it burning and going to waste.

If you like fruity mustards or have just wanted to try them, MAKE THIS! Set it out in a pretty bowl when you make Thanksgiving dinner. This is very rustic and hearty looking because it has whole mustard seeds and bits of cranberry in it. If you wanted it smoother, I don’t think pureeing it in the food processor after cooking it would be a problem, but I’ve always liked it as is. Have this with pretty much any meat, pretzels, as a glaze… so many ways.

Home Made Slightly Spicy Cranberry Mustard

  • 1 cup (3 ounces) dry mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
  • 1 cup raspberry vinegar (this recipe is why I had leftover raspberry vinegar to use in yesterdays cranberry sauce)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I have subbed bottled before and it’s fine)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (I have actually never used the pepper)
  1. Mix dry mustard and mustard seeds in a bowl. Whisk in the raspberry vinegar. Cover and let mixture sit overnight. I have let it sit only about 4 hours when I’ve been in a hurry & it works fine. You just need to give the mustard seeds time to soften up is all.
  2. Blend cranberries in a food processor until finely chopped.
  3. Whisk sugar and eggs in a medium metal bowl to blend.
  4. Whisk in mustard mixture, cranberries, lemon juice, honey and salt (and pepper if using).
  5. Set bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook until thick and temperature is 180 degrees, about 45 minutes (at least according to the original recipe. It’s never taken longer than 20 to 23 minutes or so when I’ve done it.)
  6. Cool mustard to room temp. Cover and chill at least one day to allow flavors to blend. If you taste it fresh, it’s going to taste good but VERY intense. The resting time mellows it quite nicely.

Not Yo Momma’s Cranberry Sauce

When it comes to holiday meals, especially Thanksgiving, I have a hard time choosing what I like best. I’m one of those people who, while I normally have the worlds worst appetite and usually have to be forced to eat (go figure… a food blogger who likes to cook but not to eat), loves Thanksgiving dinner and all the different parts of it. Mind you, I don’t actually EAT much of it the day I cook it because I’m too burnt out from cooking the food. But leftovers and I? We’re BFF’s big time.

When it comes to the poultry, I love all of them…. as I am eating them. I eat roast chicken, it’s my favorite. When I eat roast duck, IT’S my favorite. When I am gnawing on the tail of the turkey (don’t judge… it’s tasty. Plus it makes me smile when I eat it and remember how every year my dad would ask for the tail saying “Hon, save that for me. I’m wanting a little bit of tail right now” followed by a lewd snicker. πŸ˜› ), it becomes my favorite.

When I eat stuffing, I love that even though I don’t eat it much the rest of the year. Stove Top and I are NOT BFF’s and I’m too lazy to make homemade except on Thanksgiving.

I mentioned last post my love for sweet taters buried under a pound or five of mini marshmallows.

Mashed potatoes with approximately 37 sticks of butter in them? Yep… love them too.

But I think my favorite part of the meal may just be the cranberry sauce. I love the stuff. Canned and gelatinous with the ridge marks from the can on it, canned and with whole berries in it, home made and prepared with just berries, sugar and water, turned into chutney (one of my favorite ways of making it)… you name it, I’ll eat it… all of it… growling if you get too close and smacking any appendages that venture too near to my bowl of saucy Heaven.

Though I love it plain, I rarely make it plain. It’s too much fun to play around with the basic recipe. Cranberry sauce takes so well to other flavors. Add different fruits, add spices, extracts, booze, trees, raw offal (just making sure you’re paying attention again) and it tastes delicious. So, being me, aka the woman who can never ever follow a recipe, I never make it the same way twice.

I like to make it a few days ahead of time because it just gets better as the flavors have time to meld. So here’s the one we will be having this Thursday. If you’re wanting something a little different, give it a try. It’s sweet, tart, a little boozy :-P, spicy and just flat out delicious!

Brandy Spiked Spiced Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 12 ounce package fresh cranberries
  • 1 small tangerine, finely ground up in a food processor (peel and all)
  • 1/4 cup (give or take; however much you want to add ) orange marmalade
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brandy (you could sub whiskey or Grand Marnier)
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar (cider vinegar would work but I’m doing something tomorrow with raspberry vinegar so just go buy some πŸ˜› )
  • 1 5 ounce bag dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat when it boils and continue cooking until the berries pop. If you want a thicker sauce (I like it a little juicy so that when I serve it with turkey, the liquids run into and flavor everything else but I’m weird that way), cook longer until the liquid reduces down some
  3. Chill for at least 4 hours.
  4. Store tightly covered in the fridge until ready to serve. It can be stored for up to 2 weeks or so.

Basil Basil Everywhere And Lots Of Drops For Me (Crisco Oil Review)

Yum, yum yum... and yes, that's the bottle of basil Oil next to it. Such a purty green color.

I don’t have a garden. Yet. I have a small back porch that I use for potted herbs and such. I plant them and as of recently I dream about what it will be like when we move to the new house and I can have a garden about 1/2 acre large. Me… that much land… plants… equals scary. I have a bad habit of thinking “Oooo, I LOVE such and such and need to plant lots and lots of it!!”. I kinda did that this season with potted basil. I bought five plants. Now I love basil, but there are only so many times one can make Caprese pasta or Caprese Salad or add 72 cups of basil to spaghetti sauce before you start watching your skin turn a funny shade of green and have people ask why they smell basil every time you are in the room.

So when I was lucky enough to be chosen through the FoodBuzz Tastemakers Program to receive some of the new Crisco Olive Oils, I was tickled green pink. I knew what I wanted to use it for the second I opened the box. On a side note, is it just me or is it like Christmas when you receive an unexpected box of something yummy in the mail? πŸ˜€

Moving on, I knew what I wanted to use it for. The only oil I use when it comes to vegetable or canola is Crisco because I trust the brand (no, I’m not just saying that because I received the olive oil; it’s the truth πŸ™‚ ) so I knew that their olive oil would be good. I received one of each of the three types they market- Extra Virgin, Light and Pure-

So with all the basil I have (I am thinking of trying to spin it all into Basil yarn or maybe make a Basil Pillow; possibly sell it on the Basil Black market for those addicts who can’t get enough of it.) I decided to make Basil Oil. I absolutely LOVE flavored oils and have used Crisco Vegetable Oil before to make other flavored oils (yes, I will post those recipes too). I used the Extra Virgin because I wanted to add a nice fruity olive flavor along with the basil flavor and extra virgin olive oil has the strongest flavor, not to mention a wonderful aroma. If you’ve never made basil Oil before don’t be nervous and don’t listen to all the scare stories about botulism from home flavored oils. Yes, that can happen if you use unsafe practices or leave the oil sitting out but if you make it and keep it refrigerated all will be fine. This is extremely easy. You just need a pot, a strainer, basil, a cooking thermometer and some yummy olive oil. So c’mon… stop spinning that Basil pillow and get out a pot and go buy some Crisco Olive Oil. This makes about 2 cups of oil.

Bottom line? I loved this oil. It was just as good, if not better in some cases, than many of the more expensive olive oils I have used. It had a wonderful aroma, a mellow yet nice flavor and while it may be a small thing, I liked that this comes in a plastic bottle rather than a glass one. Glass is always an issue when you have kids around. So will I get this again? Definitely.

Home Made Basil Oil Using Crisco Olive Oil

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups Crisco Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Rinse your basil leaves. Dry them well by rolling them around in a wad of paper towels. Don’t be afraid to use some pressure. You actually WANT to bruise the leaves anyway because that releases some oils.
  2. Take them out of the towels and just wad them up in your hands. Same reasoning applies; releasing the oils.
  3. In a large pot, combine the Crisco oil and the basil.
  4. Put over low heat and slowly heat up to 165 degrees. Keep it at that temp for about 4 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat and let the basil sit in the oil for at least one hour.
  6. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the oil into a two cup capacity container. Store in the fridge. This will solidify some in the refrigerator but will liquify again when heated.Β  Keep refrigerated when not using.
  7. This can be used soooo many ways. Use to drizzle over meats or veggie; use as a dipping oil for bread (you can use as is or add herbs and spices to it), drizzle over pasta (the picture at the top is my dinner tonight- Cheese ravioli with Asiago and Mozzarella cheeses, Some Sopresseto salami, Heirloom tomatoes & drizzled with some of my basil oil. So so yummy and oh so simple!)

 

*I received Crisco Olive Oils as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program (Crisco Olive Oil). The opinions posted here are my own.*

I Always Loved Count Chocula

Yes, that is a used jar with an old label there. I was too lazy to peel it all off. πŸ˜€

 

Though thinking about it and posting in all honesty, I’m not sure why I used past tense in that title; I STILL love Count Chocula the best. He’s my man. Don’t even try telling me he isn’t real and the relationship can never work. It’s fate that we stay together even when I am 96 years old and gumming oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ll just have to let the yummy chocolatey goodness sit in the milk a little longer is all. I’m also a sad portrait of a Cap’n Crunch addict but don’t tell the Count; he’s a jealous sort.

What are your favorite cereals. If you say you are madly in love with say, Shredded Wheat in soy milk I am going to worry about you. Same if you answer Grape Nuts. I mean c’mon, we’re all friends here… let’s quit trying to be all adult and pretend we really eat that crap for any other reason that it’s good for us and we know we need to take care of ourselves πŸ˜€ What cereal do you want when a cereal craving hits or you want something sweet and reminiscent of childhood?

Calvin is my hero btw.

While I like Count Chocula, I never cared for his friends, Boo-Berry and Franken Berry (that was today’s poor attempt at a lead in by the way. I wanted to make sure you caught it πŸ˜› ). Even as a kid, I knew the flavors were completely fake. They were like settling for a Tootsie Roll when what you really wanted was a Hershey bar but you only had a nickel (ok, a penny back in MY childhood but I’m hedging on that here. Shhh.). As an adult, I’m no different. I want real flavors when I’m eating not something made from chemicals and red dye number 4,328. Well, other than that Twinkie, Cheeto, Grape Laffy Taffy and Lemonheads issue. Those don’t count. Really. They don’t. Quit rolling your eyes at me youngun or I’ll put you to bed without dinner!

Going on the “I want real flavors” idea, today I made some homemade chutney. This is a canning recipe but it can be put into refrigerator or freezer containers too. It’s won’t keep forever but it will last about 2 months it kept refrigerated and longer in the freezer. Canning it however gives you the lovely sweet tart berry flavor for a year or twelve. I had some blueberries I needed to use as well as cranberries in the freezer (in case you didn’t know, you can buy a ton of them in season and they will keep for up to a year in the freezer. Just an FYI.) that I wanted to tell you.)Β  It is sweet and also quite tart as well as spicy and savory. It would be great with a nice salty piece of ham or a rich fatty pork chop or a piece of roast chicken. I can also see using it with ye olde block of cream cheese and crackers. Let me know what you think.

Spicy Sweet Blueberry Cranberry Chutney

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups raspberry vinegar
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (adjust to personal taste)
  • 7 cups blueberries (about 4 containers)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (NOT canned sauce)
  1. In a large non stick saucepan, stir together sugar, vinegar, onion, ginger, cinnamon, red pepper and salt. Stir well to mix. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the fruits. Return to boiling, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Stir frequently because this WILL stick to the bottom if you don’t. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes or until desired consistency. It will thicken up some as it cools so don’t let it get too thick while cooking. You want it thickened but still syrupy.
  4. Ladle the chutney into hot sterilized jars, leaving a 1/2 inch head space.. Make sure to wipe the rims well because anything left on the rims now can be future germ territory later. Process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes. Let cool and store in a cool dark place. It’s like Count Chocula; it likes the dark. πŸ˜›

I know; not the worlds most exciting photography today. It's hard to really showcase a dark colored condiment. Just make it and eat it πŸ˜›

Doin’ The Salsa

 

When I was a kid, you didn’t see salsa on the store shelves in Chicago. At least not that I remember in my doddering old age.Β  There also wasn’t a variety of chips to serve the non-existent salsa with. You had Jays potato chips (yes Jays; not Lays. Jays was/is regional to the Midwest), Doritos in two flavors- Nacho Cheese and Taco (I HATED the Taco ones; still do and wish they had never made a comeback) and bagged popcorn. Yes, yes I AM old. Why do you mention it? I am also old enough to remember when frozen meals were called TV dinners and came in foil trays like this *points down*

I prefer not to think about what the parts that weren’t white meat consisted of. Do Turkeys have lips? These wonderful dinners had school paste masquerading as mashed potatoes and veggies that were so mushy you could feed them to the seniors at the nursing home with no problem.

On the subject of “omg, I’m old and nobody else remembers this”, does ANYBODY other than me remember the pop (soda for those born elsewhere) named “Anna Banana”? I have asked others and no one else seems to remember it.

 

Moving back to the subject of salsa. Yes, that was the original subject… I just got distracted by shiny things. Imagine that huh? When I was a kid, I had never heard of salsa. I imagine it was available in certain areas of the country but not mine. Then came the taco sauces. Thin uninspired mild stuff with very little flavor. Then we started coming into the time when people were branching out in their food tastes and from what I saw, salsas were one of the first things that became something everyone was eating. You name the flavor, there was/is a salsa with that taste. Want some pineapple salsa, no problem! Habanaro Peach Salsa… get it here!Β  Turkey Lip/Orange flavored salsa? Yep; we have it! Fine, so I’ve never REALLY seen that one but I bet somewhere, someone tried to make something with turkey lips!

My favorites have always been the fruit flavored salsas. There is something about the sweet taste of the fruit mixed with the bite of peppers and onions that I just love. That’s also why I love chutneys. Same fruit to heat thing going on there.

In Spring and Summer, I tend to make Salsas even more. they are a great way to get some fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. And generally speaking, kids tend to love them too which is always good when it comes to the fruit and veggie idea. So today I kind of cleaned out my fridge of the fruits I needed to use. Add some vegetables, some spice, some sweet and I ended up with a great fruity salsa. It is so good with chips but I can also see it making a fantastic cover for some grilled chicken or fish. I was really pleased with how this turned out so I hope you enjoy it. πŸ™‚ This really needs to be eaten the day it’s made to maintain the fresh taste and texture of the fruits.

SPICY THREE FRUIT SALSA

  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 10 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 jalapeno, very finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder (can omit this if you prefer more mild but it adds a nice smokey flavor and aroma)
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Mix everything together in a large bowl. Taste for personal preferences. I added a bit more chipotle and a touch more lime but that’s cause I love them both.
  2. Eat.
  3. Comment here telling me how easy and how tasty this was. πŸ˜›