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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Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

I can hear it now- “here she goes with another damn apple recipe!”. Yep. Sue Me. Another apple recipe πŸ˜› Actually, please don’t sue me. It would lead to a long drawn out court battle that the media would pick up on and things would come to light that would embarrass us both like my bad habit of eating ice cream in bed and then letting the partially eaten pint melt when I fall asleep and that habit of yours where…well, let’s just leave it as you really need to start closing your window shades at night. Just sayin.

I promise; I’ll move past apple recipes here soon (then I’ll annoy you with cranberry and/or citrus ones πŸ˜› ). But when this one popped into my mind after trying to use up some cranberry sauce, I knew I had to share it. You’ll thank me for this the weekend after Thanksgiving when you have a huge bowl of cranberry sauce in the fridge and you’ve already eaten 12 “day after Thanksgiving” sandwiches covered in that same sauce.

I love the way this turned out. It is rather like fruitcake, in that there is just enough batter to hold the fruits together and man, is it ever full of fruit, but without the dried and candied fruit peel. Not that I personally have any issue with those. I’m a fruitcake fan from way back. I can eat my weight in fruitcake, be it homemade or store bought.

This is wonderfully moist, full of both cranberry sauce and dried cranberries as well as a ton of diced apples. Add in some orange zest and warm spices and this is such a quintessential Fall and Winter style quick bread. It’s easy to throw together, with the most “difficult” part being dicing the apples (I’ll add a tip for how I do that quickly in the recipe instructions). And it makes your house smell SO good while it’s baking. This is the typical quick bread, in that it is even better the second and third days than it was when freshly baked.

You know the drill! <3

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange oil or orange extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 14 ounce can cranberry sauce (or 1 3/4 cup homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced, cored apple (about 2 mediumish apples; don’t worry about peeling) *note at bottom
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped, toasted pecans
  • Glaze-
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 inch loaf pan. If you don’t have a ten inch, use a 9 inch and a mini loaf pan or a couple of spots in a muffin tin. Just don’t try to load all of the batter into a 9 inch pan or it will overflow.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, spices and orange zest in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer on low speed, beat together the butter, sugar and extracts until light and creamy. Add in the eggs and beat until just mixed. Add in the cranberry sauce and beat just until mixed.
  4. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, add in the flour mixture all at once. Without stirring, dump theΒ  apples and pecans on top, then mix the batter (use a wooden spoon or spatula, not the mixer) together just until mixed and there are no flourly streaks in it. I say again, as I have before, do NOT overmix quick breads of muffins of you end up with tough bread with tunnels in it.
  5. Bake at 350 until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, with no moist batter, just a few crumbs, about 45 to 55 minutes, depending on what pan(s) you used. If you put some in a muffin tin or mini loaf pan, make sure to check those sooner, at about the 30 minute mark.
  6. Let cool in the pan for five minutes or so, then use a butter knife to loosen from the sides and invert onto a rack to finish cooling. When cool, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the loaf.

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Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

*Note- I’ve found that the easiest way to get a nice dice on fruit is to simply not try so hard. I used to stand over them and painstakingly finely dice each piece of apple. Now, I core them, give them a rough chop, then lay a large knife horizontally over the fruit and rock it back and forth, using the knife to scoot the pieces back into the pile as needed. It gets them diced in a minute or so and no backache from bending over a counter trying to make each piece perfect.

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Easy Cranberry Balsamic Chicken

Easy Cranberry Balsamic Chicken

Easy Cranberry Balsamic Chicken

We all have a mental bucket list. There are some who are organized enough to actually have one written down, but not I. I prefer to keep mine buried in my brain with the cobwebs, the monsters with four heads and 8 inch fangs who come out on nights that I’m stupid enough to stay up alone and watch horror movies, the bad memories of my brother pulling the heads off my barbie dolls, the good memory of the taste of my mothers chili and all the mental post it notes that eventually yellow and disintegrate, leaving me constantly feeling as if I forgot to do something.

Weird thing though? While my bucket list has the typical things on it; go sky diving, hike the Camino De Santiago with my husband in Spain, actually fully clean my house…. mine is made up of a butt ton of cooking goals- learn to make Kouign Amman, make my own wine, finally figure out how to cook so that we don’t eat leftovers of each meal for a week. I have about 900,000 recipes (you think I jest? You should see both my cookbook collection with tabbed pages as well as all my printed out recipes) that I want to try someday. I obviously need to live to be 310. And while making many of these recipes can’t really be called difficult goals, many are ones I’ve had for YEARS and just never gotten to. This recipe was one of those. It’s so simple, sounds like it might be too easy to be interesting in fact. But trust me. It you enjoy tangy, fruity main dishes, you’re going to love this one. It was originally in an old Southern Living cookbook and was just called cranberry chicken. I changed it up a fair amount (it had celery and I dislike celery, it used less cranberry sauce, less onion, it was oven cooked and I wanted stovetop so I could cook this any time of year and not heat the house, etc etc) and with the addition of the balsamic vinegar (God, I love balsamic! You?), it made it into practically an entirely new dish. This has become a family favorite and one of those rare dishes that you can see serving once a week without everyone getting sick of it.

I used bone in, skin on thighs in this, but you could sub in any part you prefer, but watch your cooking time. Breasts will cook quicker and you don’t want to dry them out. This is tender, tangy, sweet, juicy; just an all around winner. We serve this over brown rice. You could use noodles also, I’m sure, if that’s your preference, but serve it with something to use the sauce on!

You know the drill…. πŸ™‚

Easy Cranberry Balsamic Chicken

  • 4 to 6 nice meaty chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • one medium onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (I have to recommend Ocean Spray here. Many of the off brands are far too sweet with fewer actual berries)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses (optional, but it adds some depth to this)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (bottled is fine)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Pour the oil in a large skillet. Salt and pepper the chicken, then add it to the pan and cook over medium high heat until it is nicely browned on one side. Flip and brown the other side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to drain and pour off all but about 2 tablespoons or so of the drippings.
  2. In that same skillet, cook the onion over medium heat until it is limp and just starting to brown. Whisk in the remaining ingredients (other than the chicken) until well combined. Add the chicken, making sure to nestle each piece in there and flipping it once to get sauce on both sides at the start.
  3. Cover your skillet and turn the heat to low. Let the chicken simmer, turning frequently, for about 45 minutes to an hour, until nice and tender. Serve this with ample sauce on the chicken and the side dish.
  4. While it cooks, make your rice or noodles or what have you.
  5. Enjoy! You’re going to love this!

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Easy Cranberry Balsamic Chicken 2

Easy Pumpkin Cranberry Bread (Recipe Redo)

Easy Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Easy Pumpkin Cranberry Bread



Both times I posted this, I debated for weeks, WEEKS I say, as to whether it should be called pumpkin cranberry bread or cranberry pumpkin bread. I walked the floors, I lost weight from not being able to eat, I didn’t sleep for days at a time! Why, you ask!? (Pretend you asked) All for YOU! Yes, YOU, dear and faithful reader! All two of you. For this show of love, I believe I should have multiple boxes of Godiva truffles sent to me, along with large cars, house and land deeds and cold, hard cash.

I am redoing this recipe for two reasons- 1) because the original photo I took sucked donkey toes. I mean, we’re talking really really bad. Then, there is 2) which is that as good as the bread was back then, it could still be better. Now however? It’s awesome. It can’t be better. It is pumpkin cranberry (cranberry pumpkin?) nirvana. You eat this and angels weep, but only because they don’t have any. It has the perfect blend of squashy pumpkin flavor and tart sweet cranberry flavor, all mixed up in a perfectly moist bread redolent of warm Autumn spices and a touch of orange for zing.
This is a very easy bread to make. No chopping of this ingredient, dicing of this one. It uses canned pumpkin and canned cranberry sauce. Both of which also add incredible moistness as well as flavor to this.

You know the drill… git to cooking.

Easy Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce (use a good quality brand; I have found over the years that the cheap store brand ones use more sugar then fruit and it shows in the taste. I prefer Ocean Spray )
  • 1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling; just pureed pumpkin)
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or use cooking spray on one 8 inch and one 9 inch loaf pan. You can use both 9 inch pans if that is all you have, but you will have much flatter loaves and you’ll need to adjust your cooking time. Over the years, I have found this to be the best combination.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Whisk well. Set aside for now.
  3. In another bowl, combine the vanilla extract, orange zest and juice, cranberry sauce, pumpkin puree, oil and egg yolk. Mix well until it is relative smooth. You’ll have lumps from the cranberries of course.
  4. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ones all at once. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine them together JUST until mixed. You don’t want a bunch of flour of the bottom of the bowl, but don’t over mix it. That causes tough bread.
  5. Divide between the two prepared pans. Smooth the tops and bake at 350 until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out with just a few moist crumbs, no loose batter, about 45 to 60 minutes. The 8 inch pan will probably finish before the 9 inch.
  6. Let cool in the pan on a rack for ten minutes, then carefully invert it into your protected hand and then re-invert it onto the rack. Let cool for about an hour before attempting to cut.

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Easy Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Easy Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

 

 

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

 

I can never do anything normally, can I? Nooooo, not me. Other bloggers post lovely recipes for cranberry orange this and cranberry orange that and make us all run to the store to grab 78 more bags of cranberries to add to the 312 we already have in the freezer because what they create looks so enticing. But not me… I just HAVE to change it up some. Why, you ask? You did ask, didn’t you? I heard someone mumbling out there. Why? I don’t know. I just have to be different. I’m a rebel like that. Or something.

Mind you, I love cranberry orange anything and I may post something a wee bit more “normal” before the holidays are over, but not today.

Tidbit- when my 17 year old son Zach got home from church last night, one of the first things he did was snag a slice (like half the loaf…he’s 17, after all) of this bread. He then wandered to where Russ and I were watching TV and said “Now that’s just weird. This TASTES like Christmas. What the … I took a bite and it just tastes like Christmas.” My reaction was a pleased smile and a “that’s what i was aiming for so I’ll call this recipe a success”. Coming from a young man whose usual response to food is “Snarf….gobble…snort, slurp, kjgJfJfg, more…”Β  I consider this a great reaction.

And he’s right. This really does taste like Christmas. You have a moist bread with a lovely dark chocolate flavor first, then you are hit with the background of orange and cranberry. The bread itself isn’t overly sweet, so the pieces of chocolate are a pleasant surprise when you get them as are the cranberries. Then the glaze just takes this over the top to complete yumminess.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

I love you guys!

Mrs. Cupcake, who has eaten far more of this than I should have

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons orange extract
  • zest from one orange (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT drink mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda
  • 2/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract and orange extract. Beat until combined then add in the sour cream and beat just until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, orange zest, baking powder and baking soda. Dump the chocolate chips and cranberries into the same bowl and give it a quick stir to combine and get all the pieces dusted with the flour. This helps prevent them all from settling down to the bottom of the loaf.
  4. Pour/spoon into the prepared loaf pan (this is a thick batter). Smooth the top. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
  5. Let cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to finish cooling.
  6. When cool, make you glaze. Combine the powdered sugar and orange zest in a small bowl. Add one tablespoon of the orange juice to it and stir. If it’s still too thick to drizzle, add the other tablespoon of o.j. Drizzle over the cooled loaf and sprinkle with some dried cranberries.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Bread

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Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake

Cranberry Apple Cake



I have always loved cranberries in anything. When I was a kid, my mom always got the canned cranberry sauce during the holidays. You know the kind…. it slithers out of the can with a juicy plopping noise and has ridges on it from the can. I loved it and would eat all of it when no one was looking (sorry, Steve) Know what? I still love it. But even more than that, I love other cranberry filled treats. Every year, I make homemade cranberry sauce (as well as having the plopping canned kind). I love to spice it up with orange zest and spices and use brown sugar instead of (or in conjunction with) white sugar. All of that adds so much depth to the sauce. So, years back, when I saw a recipe for Ina Gartens Easy Cranberry Apple Cake; a saucy fruit bottom covered by a dense cake, in a November issue of “Womans World” (I admit to a strange liking for that magazine even still), I cut that page out and knew I would make it someday.Well, it took me about 6 years or so, but I have finally made it. And, oh…..my…gosh…. I am totally in love!

You all know I don’t rhapsodize over foods that often. I’ll say, “this was wonderful” or even “this was amazing”, but then I leave it at that. But not this time.. This time I am telling you that you have got to make this cake. It looks so simple when you read the recipe and when you see the finished cake…. just a homey little cake. But once you try it, if you have any love for cranberries, you will find yourself planning out how to store many extra bags of cranberries this season so you can continue to have this year round. It is sooooo good! I’ll be making this for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for groundhog day, for Herbert Hoovers birthday, when the groundhog sees his shadow (or when he doesn’t)Β  I changed this enough to make it more to my families liking. Not enough to warrant saying it’s no longer Inas recipe, but as uppity as it may sound to some, I honestly feel that what I did only made this better. The original recipe only called for cinnamon (and a fairly scant amount) in the fruit part. I added extra cinnamon, extra orange zest, some cloves and used dark brown sugar. I also used about 1/2 cup more of chopped apples. The cake part was also fairly plain, not that that’s a bad thing. But I added some extra cinnamon to it as well as some orange oil (you could use orange zest if you don’t have orange oil) and extra vanilla and that was enough to make it go from good to “yum!”. The cake is unleavened, so it’s dense like a pound cake. Ina always calls for extra large eggs, which I never have, so when I use one of her baking recipes, I sub in an extra yolk for every two extra large eggs. The sweet, moist cake combined with the sweet tart fruit is amazing. Throw some lightly sweetened whipped cream on it and it takes it totally over the top.

You know the drill…. but I really stress it this time! GIT TO COOKIN’!

Cranberry Apple Cake

  • 1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped tart apple (it called for peeled, I didn’t bother peeling.)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled somewhat
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange oil (or 1 tablespoon orange zest)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup flour combined with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a ten inch pie plate, if, like me, you don’t have that, use a DEEP 9 inch cake pan. Not the typical shallow kind but one at least 1 inch deep. Wilton makes them for a good price. You could also probably sub a 13×9 pan, but watch your bake time.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cranberries, apples, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice,Β  cinnamon and cloves. Let sit while you make the batter.
  3. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer on medium, beat the eggs for two minutes. Add in the sugar, butter, vanilla, orange oil (or zest), and sour cream. Beat just until combined.
  4. On low speed, add in the flour mixture. Beat just until combined.
  5. Pour the fruit mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top, then pour the batter over the top of the fruit. Smooth again.
  6. Bake at 325 for 55 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and the fruit is bubbly at the edges. Serve warm or at room temp. Then plan on making another. And another.

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Some Things Are Just Meant To Be Together.

It's really hard to make aslice of bread pudding look pretty. Sorry. πŸ™

The best of them of course being my husband and I but that’s another story. πŸ˜›

But think peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, Abbott and Costello, duck and orange sauce, gin and tonic, Scarlett and Rhett (though he put up with her crap, I’ll never know), Luke and Laura (even if she did go totally insane and he moved on), apples and caramel and on and on and on. I bet you could name quite a few classic pairs that are rarely seen one without the other. As a matter of fact, why not let me know ones you thought of here in the comments? I like getting recipe inspirations from where ever I can get them πŸ˜€

One of my favorite combos is cranberries and orange. I’m not sure what makes them pair up so well but they do. It’s like the fruit equivalent of Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner. They can make it alone but oh my, when they’re together, it’s magic. Then if you add cinnamon to them, they make a fantastic mΓ©nage Γ  trois *blushes at having seen the cranberries, oranges and cinnamon in such a compromising situation*

So yesterday I made the bread pudding that converted me to bread pudding. Well, other than those dry tasteless things that call themselves bread pudding the same way Milli Vanilli called themselves singers… they are sheer imposters. A GOOD bread pudding should be moist and creamy, almost like a dense custard and overflowing with the flavors of whatever was used in it; in this, that would be cranberries and oranges… and that cinnamon I mentioned *blushes again* This is my all time favorite bread pudding and it meets all of the criteria above. It’s great still warm but it really shines when chilled. It firms up and gets oh so creamy. So go get out one of those bags of cranberries you shoved in the freezer… I have a recipe that you can use them in w/out waiting until next Thanksgiving to make cranberry sauce. You can thank me later.

Warning- this is not diet food. I repeat; this is NOT diet food. Please back away from this recipe if you don’t want to gain 17 pounds in one sitting.

Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding

  • 6 extra large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cupsheavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milkΒ  (I have also used eggnog)
  • 1/4 cup butter , melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate , non diluted
  • 1/4 teaspoonsalt
  • 1 1/2 loaves Kings Hawaiian Bread , all crusts removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (24 ounces, I just tear it into small pieces after i take the crusts off it makes for much less work)
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar
  2. Add the milk and cream, melted butter, vanilla, o.j.,,orange zest, cinnamon and salt and whisk until well blended Add bread cubes and stir extremely well with a spoon
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge.
  4. After it has soaked 1 1/2 hours, remove from fridge & stir it well.
  5. Spray a 13 X 9 inch pan with cooking spray.
  6. Take pudding out of the fridge, stir well.
  7. Add cranberries and stir, mixing well.
  8. Pour half of the pudding into the prepared pan.
  9. With a spoon, put globs of the marmalade in rows up and down the pudding. (If you like marmalade, feel free to put extra; if you don’ like it at all, feel free to omit it).
  10. Carefully spoon rest of pudding into pan; it will be very full so be careful.
  11. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for approximately 50 to 70 minutes.
  12. Test for doneness by inserting a knife into the center of the pudding. If, when pulled out, there is no liquidy custard clinging to it and the pudding only has a very slight jiggle in the middle, it is done.
  13. Serve warm or chilled, but like I mentioned, chilled seems to be best with this particular bread pudding
  14. Since you’re going for broke with calories with this ANYWAY, I can attest to the fact that this is fantastic served in a puddle of cream.

Baking Therapy

Ever have one of “THOSE” days? Maybe you know the kind I mean.

You get up with a headache… keep forgetting to make yourself a cup of tea or take pain meds (coffee maybe for you strange people) because every time you think of it, something distracts you…like the washer refusing to spin for the 679th time in a week, one of the kittens you kindly let in from the cold last night has pooped all over the floor… twice, the spider your husband kindly killed for you this morning left parts of it’s guts on a book… that you just picked up.

Then you get a call from the garbage company. You are informed that they can no longer do household service for your garbage because your neighbor, from whom you have legal easement to get to your own property, has decided she is going to refuse to let the garbage truck go on the road to get to our property. This means that rain or shine, hot or cold, you will have to cart your garbage 1/4 mile to the road every Thursday night. When asked politely later in the day (honest… I was polite; it’s the only way I COULD be and not hate myself. I even brought her muffins) why she didn’t just talk to you first before calling the garbage company and complaining, you find out that she basically holds a grudge against you because you aren’t family. They were the ones you bought your home from a few months ago and she is resentful that they moved and that SHE didn’t get the house.

Then, to add a little insult to injury, you bite your tongue…drinking that tea you finally made. Which makes you spill it on your shirt and teaches your three year old a new swear word… which he uses when the mail lady is kindly bringing your mail to your front door.

THEN… what; you thought that was it?? Silly you. THEN…. when you check online to see when the package you were expecting from Foodbuzz that was supposed to get delivered today is on it’s way, only to have them tell you that they delivered it at 12:52 this afternoon. While you were here … with a perfect view of the front porch they ostensibly left it on.

So what’s left to do after a day like that?

Baking therapy.

The only thing other than valium and a few stiff drinks that is going to calm you down and give you a few moments of peace. Well, that and Vivaldi playing in the background.

So I baked. Just for you, dear reader. Ok, so it was for me, but it makes me feel better if I tell you that it was all for your pleasure. I made muffins. Two batches, because the first gotten eaten up by the kids and the neighbor you brought them to. They are quite yummy if I do say so myself. Though a little tip if somehow you were in my brain and were going to try something that I tried. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT, drizzle said muffins with honey BEFORE baking. It makes them spread in a very unattractive way and they get glued to the pan. Yeah, even the baking was part of “the day”. Thank God I made some of them without putting the topping on before baking them. They may not look exciting but they also don’t look like spread out cookies.

These are Cranberry Orange Marmalade. Not cranberry/orange but made with cranberry sauce and orange marmalade as well as juice and zest. They have a depth of flavor that regulr cranberry orange ones don’t have thanks to the sauce and the jam. These would be a perfect extra bread for Thanksgiving or to give to neighbors you don’t really care for but want to keep decent relations with because you know it’s the right thing to do (even if she DID keep my plate) if you have someone who doesn’t like the normal yeast roll. Or just because they are fitting for the season and rather festive tasting. Yes, something can taste festive. Don’t judge me. Just go make muffins. And… she says while smiling like a Wal Mart Door Greeter … have a nice day.

Cranberry Orange Marmalade Muffins

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2/3 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce (home made or canned)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds for sprinkling on muffins
  • honey for drizzling (AFTER baking πŸ˜› )
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 16 muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and the orange zest.
  3. In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ones in all at once. Stir with a fork just until combined. Don’t over beat.
  5. Fill muffin cup 3/4 full. Sprinkle with almonds
  6. Bake at 350 until tops are firm and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes depending on how temperamental your oven is.
  7. Let cool in pan for a minute then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.
  8. When you put them on the rack, drizzle them with the honey.
  9. Eat. Enjoy. Give some to your neighbors
  10. Smile like the Wal Mart Greeter.

 

Mary Had A Little Lamb (And It Was Good On Bread)

Before I even get to today’s post, I want to say thank you to everybody who commented on yesterdays post or sent me emails. You have no idea how much your support means to me… to US. We still don’t know what will happen but after talking to Jordans therapist yesterday, I am still scared but not AS scared. He was charged with assault when he was 12 in a very similar situation (over reacting school administration in that case) & was eventually found to be incompetent to stand trial and she (his therapist) feels that this one will end the same way. When he gets violent, he is so not aware of his surroundings or his own mind. So all we can do now is wait and see. And pray. I will keep you all updated. Again; thank you so so much. I adore you all!

Moving on…Β  When I was a kid, up until I was about 13, I thought meat consisted of hot dogs, my mothers garbage soup (don’t ask… it is something I prefer to forget), chicken and dumplings (that was one she cooked wonderfully!) and hamburgers. Then, a magical day occurred. One weekend, I went to visit my dad as usual. He had lamb chops for dinner and he convinced me to take a bite (not sure what I had been having for dinner). Well, it was love at first bite. My dad spoiled me rotten so even though I can’t remember it as fact, I am willing to bet that he didn’t get anymore of his lamb chops hehe. Medium rare… juicy… seasoned perfectly. My dad wasn’t a major cook but oh man could he do meat right! He is the one who taught me that meat shouldn’t be leather…aka well done.

We don’t have lamb often because it costs more than a mortgage payment but every once in a while, I can find ground lamb in the reduced bin. It’s not very popular in this part of Kentucky I guess (lamb in general isn’t except around the holidays) but the stores keep buying it. That’s fine with me cause then I get it when it’s cheap. πŸ˜€

Now we all know my love for curry… and spice…and cheese. Add in my love for lamb and some cranberry sauce (yes, I know that last part sounds weird; just trust me on this one. I promise… delicious!) and I had one fantastic burger for dinner tonight! And it was easy as could be. Mix everything together, toss it on the grill or fry pan (ok, so maybe don’t toss… if you miss, it could be messy. Make that set it gently on the grill πŸ˜› ), cook to medium well (I like my whole lamb, like chops, leg of lamb, etc, medium rare but ground lamb does better if cooked more well done.), shove it into a pita (see instructions for tossing onto the grill πŸ˜› ) garnish and eat. Easy huh? So if you like lamb or have just been wanting to broaden your horizons, give this a try. You’ll love it! The mix of the Greek Seasoning with it’s flavors with the subtle flavor of the curry is interesting.

Curried Lamb, Feta & Parmesan Burger In A Pita

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta (I used the garlic and herb kind)
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese)
  • 2 teaspoons McCormicks Greek Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (will be far too wet to grill if you don’t use this)
  • 3 pita halves
  • Romaine or butter lettuce (I used red leaf butter lettuce)
  • half of a medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Get your charcoal grill going to medium high heat. If you have a gas grill, you would know better than I what temp to cook burgers at because I’ve never used a gas grill before.
  2. Mix the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Don’t over mix because 1) you’ll have tougher burgers and 2) it breaks up the feta too much & the nice pieces of cheese in this is one of the yummy things about it)
  3. Shape into 3 large patties. Don’t over handle.
  4. Grill over medium hot coals until the meat is medium well;Β  150 – 155 degrees F. When grilling, please please please refrain from flipping burgers every two minutes. You really only want to flip ONCE. Get the first side done and when the meat releases easily, it’s ready to flip. If it sticks, leave it for a few more minutes.
  5. Take some of your lettuce and push it down into the pitas. Add a burger to each pita then add a few slices of onion. Red onion tastes best but I also know that’s subjective. Either way, I had to use yellow because my red one had gone bad. Grrr… grrr I say.
  6. Mix your cranberry sauce with the 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes then spoon about 1/4 cup of it onto each burger. Again; trust me on this. The fruity sauce with the burgers is outstanding. But you could also sub mango chutney if you want.
  7. Eat. Enjoy. πŸ™‚

 

Still Craving Autumn

I don’t like Summer. There. My shameful secret is out. I don’t like tank tops (if you had my body, you wouldn’t either πŸ˜› ) or shorts, I don’t like laying in the sun (I prefer no wrinkles and no invasive surgeries to cut out skin cancer) dripping sweat to obtain a skin color that isn’t what I was born with. I don’t like mosquitoes and I don’t like opening my back door on a Summer night only to have 3,897 bugs fly in the house and into my hair while I screech like a three year old who has just been shown a clown picture.

I DO however like beaches or pools and I love to grill out. But then I do that in January because I’m weird that way and unfortunately, until I can win the lottery and build a house with a very very large heated pool, I can only swim during those hot months. Darn it all anyway.

I like Autumn. I also like Winter but I KNOW that’s strange so I won’t ruin my rep too much here.Β  I like shorter days and longer nights. I like the smell of a wood burning fireplaces (gas logs are the devil and should be banned from the face of the earth). I like sweaters and cozy blankets to cover up with as I sit with my family in the nice warm house watching TV; preferably Christmas specials like The Grinch or Charlie Brown. I like soups and stews and fresh baked breads. I love anything made with pumpkin or cranberries and anything that smells spicy and…well… Autumnish.

I like this bread. I found the original recipe somewhere on line years back and when I made it, it was dry and heavy and just not a lot of flavor. So I played with it. Because that’s what I do. πŸ˜› And now it is sweet and moist and bursting with the flavors of Autumn. Pumpkin and cranberry sauce and spices all meld together into a bread that tastes of Fall and football games; fireplaces and steaming cups of hot cocoa shared with those you love. It’s one of my favorite quick breads and it is oh so easy and gives you something that tastes amazing. So give this a try and then close your eyes and imagine that it’s NOT 90 degrees outside. And yes; this really IS the worlds most awesome. I took a poll. πŸ˜› No, btw, it’s not a typo. There are no eggs in this. Yet it is still incredibly moist.

Worlds Most Awesome Pumpkin Cranberry Quick Bread

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling; just pureed pumpkin)
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease two 9 inch loaf pans.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients thoroughly.
  4. In second large bowl combine all wet ingredients; mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients. Mix just until thoroughly combined. Do not over mix as this will cause tough bread with lots of little peek a boo holes all throughout it.
  6. Bake at 350 for approximately 60 minutes or until sharp knife inserted in center comes out clean. If necessary, cover lightly with foil during the last 20 minutes to prevent the edges from burning.
  7. Let cool in pans for ten minutes then turn out onto racks to finish cooling.
  8. This is yummy spread with cream cheese or, like I like it, with a ton of butter. But it’s also so good that leftover a couple of days later, at room temp is still pretty awesome.