Thanksgiving recipe

Sweet Potato and Herb Biscuits

Sweet Potato and Herb Biscuits

These biscuits are a favorite of mine. They go great with a bowl of chili. They also would make a nice addition to your Thanksgiving table.

I like sweet potatoes any number of ways. Steamed, roasted, mashed. In this biscuit recipe, raw sweet potatoes are grated and added to the dough, along with some herbs. The biscuits come out tender, with great flavor and texture. They are also quite pretty.

I enjoy them with a bit of butter, warm from the oven.

When you mix the dough, don’t be worried if it seems too dry. It takes a little bit of kneading to get the moisture out of the potatoes. The extra effort is worth it.

I cut them into triangles, but you can just form the dough into a log shape. Then, slice the dough for round biscuits. They taste wonderful, no matter the shape.

 Sweet Potato and Herb Biscuits

2 1/4 c. flour

1 T. baking powder

1/2 t. grated lemon peel

1/4 t. each baking soda, dried basil and dried thyme

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 c. shredded sweet potato, about 1 large

1/2 c. fine chopped green onions

1/2 c. sour cream

2T. butter, melted or olive oil

Stir together dry ingredients in large bowl and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients and add to flour mixture mixing until just blended. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead a few times until dough just stays together. Dough will look too dry- but it will come together after you knead it. Press into an 8-inch square and cut into four squares.* Cross cut each square into four triangles. Place on greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Makes 16.

* I press the dough into a lightly floured 8×8-inch baking pan and then flip it out onto the work surface, before cutting. That way you’ll get nice, even edges.

Pumpkin Pancakes

“Pumpkin” Pancakes

These pancakes make a wonderful breakfast for Thanksgiving morning- or any morning for that matter.

I want to be honest with you from the start. I made these pancakes with cooked butternut squash and not pumpkin. They were terrific. Many winter squash can be used just like pumpkin in cooking. The problem is that when I post a recipe as “squash” instead of pumpkin, people get confused. Perhaps they are thinking summer squash, like zucchini.  Maybe the word pumpkin just conjures up a clearer image.

The pancakes were really good, and isn’t that what matters?

I make my own baking mix, and that is what I used as the base for the pancakes. You can just buy a mix, like Jiffy or Bisquick, if you prefer. The pancakes are light and fluffy, with a nice “pumpkin” flavor. I had them with warmed maple syrup, but they would also be nice served with powdered sugar or perhaps a fresh berry syrup.

“Pumpkin” Pancakes

2 c. baking mix – like Bisquick or Jiffy Mix – I make my own*
3 T. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 c. pureed pumpkin or winter squash
2 eggs, beaten
2 t. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl and set aside. Whisk together wet ingredients and stir into dry ingredients. Lightly grease a skillet and cook over moderate heat. Use about 1/3 c. of batter per pancake. Turn when edges appear dry. Makes 16.

*Chef Pastry Mix/ Biscuit Mix

8 cups sifted, all-purpose flour
1 c. powdered milk
1 c. powdered buttermilk
¼ c. baking powder
1 T. salt
2 c. shortening, butter or coconut oil*
Sift dry ingredients together 3 times. Cut in shortening, butter or coconut oil  to resemble cornmeal. Keep in an airtight container. Store in a cool dry place and use within six months.

* I use coconut oil and store in the fridge. If you use butter or coconut oil- you have to keep in the fridge.

Pumpkin Cheese Dip

“Pumpkin” Cheese Dip

This is a pretty way to serve dips this time of year. The dip bakes inside the pumpkin- and the pumpkin bakes, too. It is served hot. Fun for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or just movie night with the family.

It really is simple and could be filled with any number of combinations of cheesy goodness. I have included the recipe I used in the picture. I also included my recipe for Spinach and Artichoke Dip, to give you another option.

You could also add a hot cheese sauce and serve like fondue, with long forks and pieces of bread.

You just get a pie pumpkin, about 2-3 lbs. Cut off the top to make a lid and scoop out the seeds, like you would if you were making a Jack-o-Lantern. Wipe off the outside and then just fill it up with the dip mixture. Put the lid back on, bake for an hour, and you are good to go. The fun part is scraping some of the cooked pumpkin in with the cheese dip. More detailed directions follow.

So here is the recipe for making the cheesy filled pumpkin. I think it is simple enough to serve anytime, not just on a holiday. Enjoy!!

“Pumpkin” Cheese Dip

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut off top of pumpkin. Cut in at an angle, so top will fit like a lid and not fall in.  Set top aside. Scoop out seeds and clean out any stringy bits*.  Set pumpkin on a baking sheet. Combine cheese filling of your choice and place inside the pumpkin.  Place the top of the pumpkin back on the pumpkin, and place in oven. Bake for 1 hour. Remove pumpkin and place on heat proof dish. I used a glass pie plate. Remove lid. Serve with crusty bread or crackers.

Smoky Cheese Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, cubed

4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

8 oz. bacon, cooked and crumbled

½ c. sour cream

¼ c. mayo

¼ c. chopped parsley

½ t. each cumin and smoked paprika

Pinch of nutmeg

½ c. hulled pumpkin seeds

In medium bowl, stir together all ingredients, except the seeds. Place this mixture in the pumpkin when ready to bake. Don’t add the pumpkin seeds until right before serving. Stir them in a little, if you like.

Another nice choice…….

Spinach  and Artichoke Dip

1 (12-14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped

10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

8 oz. cream cheese, cubed

4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

½ c. diced onion

¼ c. Italian dressing

Dash of hot sauce

In medium bowl, combine dip ingredients, stirring to combine. Place in pumpkin when ready to bake.

* You can rinse off the seeds, lightly salt them and toast them, if you like. Then serve with the pumpkin dip. If you aren’t interested in eating them- please put them outside for the birds to eat.

Stuffing or Dressing?

Mushroom Dressing

This time of year, everyone seems to be planning for Thanksgiving. Most of that planning is around the dinner. There are people who make stuffing and those who make dressing. The difference between the two, is where you cook it.

When you stuff the bird, it is stuffing. Cooked outside of the turkey, it is dressing. Over the years I’ve had a lot of variations on both. My Mom always bought Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix as a base. The she added onions, celery, sausage and sometimes mushrooms. She also made a pretty darn good cornbread stuffing. I tend to use a good quality bread, often homemade, that I toast and combine with veggies and stock and then bake as dressing.

I love stuffing, too. The only problem is that by stuffing the bird you must increase the cooking time to be sure the stuffing has reached a safe internal temperature ( 165 degrees).  I prefer to stuff smaller birds, like chicken, where the cooking time isn’t as long. We always had stuffing when I was little. Eventually Mom switched over to dressing to make it faster to cook the bird. Keep in mind, my family normally had turkeys that weighed over 25 pounds. The cooking time for a stuffed bird of that size is pretty long.

There are also people who add eggs to their stuffing/dressing. That wasn’t something I’ve done. It is something I need to try at some point. They swear by the moistness and texture of their recipe. I will admit to being intrigued. It reminds me of making bread pudding. I love the texture of bread pudding.

So how do you make your stuffing/dressing? Eggs, no eggs? In the bird or out? I love to hear what others are doing. I have my recipe, which I will share with you, but I am open to trying something new.

Dressing/Stuffing

Basic Bread Stuffing/ Dressing
1 c. sliced mushrooms
¾ c. diced celery
3 T. minced onions
2 T. chopped parsley
4 T. butter or margarine
4-5 c. bread cubes
salt and pepper to taste
¼ – ½ c. turkey or chicken broth if making dressing

Sauté vegetables in butter until tender. Add bread and seasonings and toss to coat. Stuff into turkey just before cooking or add broth and place in covered casserole, cooking for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees. When making stuffing allow ¾ c. per pound of turkey. You may want to stuff the bird and still make extra dressing for the next day. When making dressing be sure to cover the pan well to keep the dressing from drying out.

Variations:

Oyster dressing: Add 12 ounces of oysters, cooked in their own liquid for 3 minutes and drained to the stuffing. For the dressing you may want to reserve some of the cooking liquid and add it in place of turkey broth.

Cornbread Stuffing: Omit bread cubes and add 4-5 cups of cornbread crumbs.

Fruit Stuffing: Omit parsley and add 1 ½ c. chopped tart apples and ½ c. chopped prunes.

Sausage: Add 1 cup cooked and crumbled sausage

Of course there is always the prepared stuffing mixes on shelves everywhere. I make no judgements. Time is a precious commodity. If you are going to use Pepperidge Farm or any of the other dry mixes watch what liquid you use as the mixes tend to be saltier and adding broth could make them too salty. Also when you use pre-seasoned mixes, add the same vegetables you would have added to homemade for a better taste. My mom always uses the Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix and by the time she adds all of her little touches it tastes great.

Butternut Squash Saute

Butternut Squash Saute

Winter squash season is here, and I could not be happier. I love the variety of squash (and pumpkin) at the markets this time of year. They are both beautiful and tasty.

This dish is a saute of butternut squash with onions, garlic, carrots and finished off with black sesame seeds. It makes a great, seasonal side dish.

I used butternut squash, but you could use any number of hard squashes, or even pumpkin. If you are looking for a different way to cook some of those squash- try this dish. I think you might be surprised at just how good it is.

When cutting up hard squashes, you have to be careful not to cut yourself. A round, hard  squash, with a tough outer skin can be a recipe for disaster. I trim a small slice off one end of my squash, creating a flat side. Then I lay it down on that side, to make it more stable for cutting. With the butternut, once it was sliced on one side, I was able to cut in in half pretty easily.

To peel a hard squash, so you can cut it into cubes, and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. You will need to run the peeler over the skin a few times to get off all of it. Then cut into cubes.

 

Butternut Squash Sauté

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 cups cubed fresh butternut, acorn or Hubbard squash or pumpkin

1/2 cup grated carrot

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onions begin to brown. Stir in the squash, carrot, soy sauce, salt, and pepper; cook, covered, another 5 to 7 minutes, until squash is tender. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Sweet Potato Puffs

Sweet Potato Puffs

Sweet Potato Puffs

If you are looking for a new way to serve sweet potatoes, you might just want to try this recipe. Sweet potatoes are mashed, mixed with butter, eggs and spices, rolled in bread crumbs and fried. The end result is a delicate morsel that has a crunch on the outside- and creamy mashed sweet potatoes on the inside. They are addictive!!! They make a great side dish, or can be served as an appetizer. While they are good hot, they maintain their crunch even after cooling down.

 

 

I first had a version of this recipe many years a go when a coworker made them and brought them to work. I found her original recipe and added more seasonings to it. I love them as much now as I did then.

The mixture, even after chilling, is soft. I placed spoonfuls of the mix in the breadcrumbs and rolled them gently into balls. The puffs are soft, even after frying, so remove carefully from the oil. You can fry up a batch in a few minutes, and serve right away. You can also cook them ahead of time, then reheat them before serving.

So here is the recipe.

Sweet Potato Puffs

 

2 c. mashed, cooked sweet potatoes

3 T. softened butter

1 egg

3 T. chopped parsley, or 1 T. dried

½ t. salt

½ t. paprika

½ t. cumin

½ t. nutmeg

Hot sauce to taste

Dash of fresh ground pepper

Bread crumbs for rolling

Oil for frying

 

Combine sweet potatoes with butter and egg, stirring to mix well. Add seasonings and stir well. Chill mixture at least a couple of hours. Heat oil to 350 degrees. You should have at least a couple of inches of oil in the pan.  Shape sweet potato mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll in crumbs and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve. You can make a head of time, then just warm in the oven when ready to serve. They can also be fried and frozen for later use. These make a nice side dish or even can be served as an appetizer. They are very soft, even after frying, so remove from hot oil carefully.

Crunchy outside, soft and creamy inside

Crunchy outside, soft and creamy inside

 

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