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.

I like sweet potatoes cooked 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. We made them in class last night.

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 also 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.

Leftover Turkey Recipes

Turkey Reuben

It is that time of year, when we find ourselves waking up to leftover turkey. Sometimes quite a lot of leftover turkey.

Of course, be sure to make stock from the carcass. Turkey sandwiches are always a favorite in my family.

There is a lot more you can make with the rest of the bird, though. Here are 10 fun and tasty ways to make the most of all that turkey.

I never get tired of turkey, but if your family does not feel the same way, these recipes could come in handy. Enjoy!!

Turkey Reuben Loaf

3 ¼ c. flour

1 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1 package quick-rising yeast

1 c. hot water

1 T. oil

¼ c. thousand island dressing*

8-10 oz. thin sliced turkey

4 oz. sliced Swiss cheese

1 c. sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed dry

1 egg white, beaten

Caraway seeds

Set aside 1 cup of the flour. Combine remaining flour with the other dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir in water and oil and gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Roll dough into a rectangle about 16 x 8. Spread dressing down center middle of dough. Top with meat slices, cheese and sauerkraut. Cut one-inch wide strips of dough from filling to edge on both sides. It will sort of look like fringe. Alternating sides, fold strips up and over the filling at an angle. Carefully lift loaf onto greased baking sheet and place at an angle. Cover with a towel and place sheet on top of a roasting pan half-filled with simmering water for 15 minutes. Brush with egg white and top with seeds. Bake in a preheated 400-degree for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before slicing. Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers.

* You can make your own Thousand Island Dressing by combining equal parts of ketchup, mayo and sweet pickle relish.

Note: The variations for this bread are almost endless. Some favorite combinations are ham and Swiss with mustard, roast beef and cheddar, chicken, broccoli and cheese, Spinach with ricotta or feta and onions, pizza, assorted fillings. You get the idea. Use your imagination and have fun. Just be careful not to overfill, or the bread will be hard to move, use fillings that aren’t too runny and always use cold fillings.

If you want to use regular yeast use warm, rather than hot water. Also, don’t let dough rise over boiling water. After kneading cover dough and let rise 45 minutes. Punch down and assemble as in original recipe. Cover with a towel and let rise until dough looks puffy, about 40 minutes. Bake as directed above. These breads can also be frozen.

Turkey Tetrazzini

2 T. butter or oil

1 c. chopped celery

4 oz. sliced mushrooms

4 T. flour

1 1/2 c. chicken or turkey stock

1 c. half and half or milk

1/4 c. sherry

2 c. cooked turkey, cubed

4-6 oz. broken spaghetti, cooked

salt and pepper to taste

bread crumbs

butter

Parmesan cheese- optional

Heat butter or oil in pot and add celery and cook 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 3 minutes more. Stir in flour and mix well. Add stock, half and half and sherry bring to a simmer- stirring often. Stir in turkey and pasta. Adjust seasonings. Place mixture in oiled casserole and sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and drizzle a little melted butter over the top. Add Parmesan cheese, if you like. Place in a 350 degree oven and bake until bubbly- about 25 minutes. Serves 4.

 Turkey Noodle Soup

Oil*
2 onions, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 ribs celery, sliced
4 qts. Turkey stock
4-5 c. turkey meat, cubed
1 c. chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot pepper sauce to taste
1 lb. wide egg noodles, cooked

Heat oil in soup pot and cook onions until starting to brown. Add carrots and celery and cook a few minutes more. Add stock and meat and simmer, covered, until veggies are tender. Add parsley and simmer 15 minutes longer. Adjust seasonings. Warm noodles and serve on the side so everyone can add as many noodles to their soup as they like. Serves 8.
* Since I had freshly made stock I used a little fat from the stock to cook the onions.

Turkey Won Ton Soup

1½ lbs. cooked turkey, about
1 head bok choy
3 T. hoisin sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
24 won ton wrappers
2 qts. Turkey stock
1 t. ginger
1 t. hot pepper sauce
Chopped green onions
Sesame oil

I used dark meat from the turkey, mostly. I minced enough to give me a cup of meat. The rest I cut into thin strips. I then took stems from the bok choy and minced enough of them to make 1 cup. Combine the minced turkey with minced bok choy, the hoisin and the garlic. This is the filling for your won tons. Slice more of the bok choy- using mainly the leaves, into thin shreds. This will go into the soup later, along with the strips of turkey. You should have at least a couple of cups of the shredded bok choy, but more is OK, too. To make the won tons place one on your work surface and spoon a rounded teaspoon of the filling into the middle of it. Moisten edge with water, fold in half and press to seal. I used round wrappers, but square wrappers are fine, too. I like the round ones, labelled for dumplings, because they are a little thicker. I get them at a local Asian grocery store. Repeat with remaining won tons and fillings until done. Bring stock to a boil and add the ginger and hot sauce. Add the won tons to the simmering stock. Simmer gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the strips of turkey and the shredded bok choy greens. Cook about 5-6 minutes longer. Finish soup with chopped green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil. Serves 6-8.

Turkey Chili

1 large onion, chopped
2 T. oil
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 sweet pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans lima beans, drained and rinsed
1 can ( 4 oz.) chopped green chilies
3-4 c. cubed turkey
2-3 c. stock- turkey or chicken
3 T. chili powder, or to taste
1 T. cumin, or to taste
Generous dash of hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chopped cilantro

Toppings: Pick what you like. Some good toppers are shredded cheese, chopped green onions, salsa, sour cream or tortilla chips

.
In soup pot cook onion in oil until golden brown. Add the celery, peppers and chilies and cook 5 more minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, except cilantro and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and simmer until flavors blend, about 30 minutes but longer is fine. I usually cook it covered for 15 to 20 minutes and then remove the lid so it can thicken. Add the cilantro right before serving. Ladle into soup bowls add add toppings of your choice. Serves 6.

Turkey Florentine

2 T. oil or butter
1 large leek, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
4 T. flour
1½ c. stock – turkey or chicken
24 oz. fresh spinach, washed
¾ c. half and half- you could use milk instead
3 c. cubed cooked turkey
Salt and pepper to taste
2 t. hot sauce- or to taste
1 c. shredded Pecorino/ Romano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling on top
Hot cooked pasta

In large skillet cook leeks in oil or butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in flour and cook until smooth, but not brown. Add the stock and cook until mixture starts to thicken. Add the spinach and continue cooking, stirring often until the spinach is wilted. The spinach cooks down a lot- you might have to add it a little at a time to have room in the pan for all of it. As soon as the spinach is wilted add the half and half and the turkey and cook until heated through and bubbly. You might need a little more stock or half and half if the sauce is too thick for your taste. Season with the salt and pepper and the hot sauce. Stir in the cheese. Serve over hot pasta. Serves 4-6.

Turkey with Herb Dumplings

1 turkey thigh, cut off the bone and cubed

1 large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

4 c. turkey stock

4 T. flour

salt and pepper to taste

1 c. baking mix- like Bisquick- I make my own

1/2 c. milk

2 T. chopped green onion

1 T. chopped parsley

1 t. dried basil

In Dutch oven or large pot, brown turkey thigh. Add the vegetables and brown them, too, turning to prevent burning. Add stock, cover pot, and simmer until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Combine flour with some cold water or more stock until smooth. Add to the pot and stir well. Mixture will thicken. Meanwhile combine baking mix with milk and herbs. Drop dumpling batter by tablespoonfuls over the turkey mixture in pot. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and cook until dumplings are cooked, about 20 minutes. To serve place some of the turkey and vegetables with sauce in serving bowls and top with dumplings. Serves 6.

Turkey Vegetable Soup

1 onion, chopped

oil

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 small potatoes. peeled and cubed

1 c. corn- cut from 1-2 ears

1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped

2 c. shredded cooked turkey *

3-4 cups turkey stock- or whatever you have and like

Fresh parsley and basil

salt and pepper to taste

dash of hot sauce

Heat oil in pot and cook onion until golden. Add carrots and cook a few more minutes. Add remaining vegetables, turkey and stock and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes- or until veggies are tender. Add herbs and simmer a few more minutes. Adjust seasoning and add hot sauce. Serves 2-3 for dinner.

*If you want to turn this into a vegetarian soup add vegetable stock  and add a couple of cups of cooked beans. Kidney beans would work well.

Turkey Lo Mein

1 onion, chopped

2 T. oil

1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1/2 c. green peas- you could also use green beans

2 c. diced cooked turkey

8 oz. angel hair pasta -I use a very fine noodle I get at the Asian market

soy sauce to taste

Hoisen sauce or oyster sauce to taste- you could also use stir-fry sauce

sesame oil

chopped green onions

Heat water for pasta. Heat oil in skillet and cook onion until browned.  Add water chestnuts and cook 1 minute longer. While onion is cooking cook pasta. Add peas to onion mixture and stir to combine. Add the turkey and heat through.  Drain pasta and toss into turkey mixture. Season with soy sauce and what ever Asian sauce you have on hand. Drizzle with sesame oil and top with green onions. Serves 4.

Turkey With Tortellini

1 lb. cheese tortellini, cooked and drained

2-3 c. cubed cooked turkey

2-3 c. cooked broccoli, chopped

2 T. butter or oil

2 T. flour

1 c. half and half or milk, warmed

2 c. stewed tomatoes- I used my canned tomatoes- you could substitute a 14 oz. can of tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

fresh chopped parsley

In bowl combine tortellini with turkey and broccoli and place and a lightly greased casserole. In saucepan melt butter and add flour whisking until smooth. If using oil just combine oil and flour in pan and whisk until smooth. Add  half and half and cook, stirring often until thickened and bubbly. Add tomatoes and heat through. Season to taste. Puree sauce and pour over the turkey mixture. Sprinkle with the parsley. Bake in a 350 degree oven until heated through and lightly browned around the edges- about 40 minutes.

Turkey Florentine

Turkey Florentine

Turkey with Herb Dumplings

Turkey with Herb Dumplings

Turkey Lo Mein

Turkey Lo Mein

Turkey with Tortellini

Turkey with Tortellini

Maple Syrup Leaf Cookies

Maple Syrup Cookies

The addition of maple syrup makes these cookies really special. They make a nice dessert for any Autumn dinner. They make a nice dessert for Thanksgiving, too.

Crisp and mildly sweet, they can be eaten plain, or you can coat them with a maple glaze, after they have cooled. Cookies are crisp but will soften slightly, if glazed. Either way, they are really tasty. You could also dust with powdered sugar.

A friend suggested making sandwich cookies with them. I used some of the glaze to sandwich two cookies together. I could see using a maple buttercream, too.

I used leaf-shaped cookie cutters, but cut them out in any shape you like. I am guessing I’ll be hearing from a couple of friends who will want to borrow my cookie cutters.

Maple syrup is one of my favorite natural sweeteners.  Love the stuff. I even went to high school in a city that had a maple festival every Spring.

You can do a lot more with maple syrup than just a topping for pancakes and waffles. Maple syrup can be used in sauces, salad dressings and marinades. You can also use maple syrup in baking, like in these yummy cookies.

Maple Cookies

1 c. butter

1 c. sugar

½ c. maple syrup

1 egg yolk

3 c. flour

3/4 t. salt

Glaze:

2 c. powdered sugar

½ c. maple syrup

To make glaze: Beat sugar and syrup together until smooth.

Beat together butter, sugar and syrup. Beat in yolk. Combine flour and salt and add to butter mixture. Mix well.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill. Roll chilled dough 1/8 inch thick and cut out with assorted cutters. Leaves and other autumnal cutter shapes are best. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 12 minutes. Cookies should be lightly browned around the edges. Cool and decorate with glaze. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Leaf cookie cutters
Coat with maple glaze, if you like
Glazed cookie

Mashed Potatoes Three Ways

A trio of mashed potatoes

I am perfectly happy just mashing up potatoes and adding warm milk or cream and butter to them along with salt and pepper. Still, sometimes it is nice to switch things up a little. There are certainly countless variations for what you could add to mashed potatoes. If you are making mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, and want to try something new, you might consider one of these recipes.

They are three of my favorites.

I can remember the first time my Mother added roasted garlic to mashed potatoes.  They were so good. I think she added roasted garlic to them all the time after that.

Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes

6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ c. milk, warmed
¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
½ t. salt
¼ t. ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a small baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, cover, and bake 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender but firm. Drain, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Place roasted garlic, milk, Parmesan cheese, and butter into the bowl with the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Mash to desired consistency.

Cheesy Bacon Smashed Potatoes

3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ c. milk or half and half, warmed
2 c. shredded cheese- I like cheddar
3 T. butter
12 oz. bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender but firm. Drain, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Place milk, cheese, and butter into the bowl with the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Mash to desired consistency. Stir in bacon, reserving some for the top.

Sour Cream and Green Onion Smashed Potatoes

3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 c. sour cream
3 T. butter
½ c. chopped green onions or chives
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender but firm. Drain, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Place sour cream and butter into the bowl with the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Mash to desired consistency. Stir in green onions, reserving some for the top.

One more thing: A note about peeling. I still mostly peel potatoes that I am going to mash. My sister, Cindy, does not. She likes the flavor and texture the peel adds. Either is fine by me.

Gravy 101

Mashed Potatoes with Gravy

I had a conversation with a friend recently about making gravy. She said she often buys canned gravy because hers doesn’t always work out. I found that kind of sad. Gravy is so easy to make. I thought with so many people planning turkey dinners it might be a good time to post some tips for making really good gravy- every time. I’ve also included some ideas for gluten free gravy and ways to de-fat your gravy, too. For those of you who have trouble making gravy I hope this helps.

Gravy 101

1. Make a stock using wing tips and the neck and giblets, other than the liver. Use onions, carrots and some celery to add flavor and you might even use a paste-type soup base (chicken or turkey) in place of the salt and to add flavor. Just place everything in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Simmer a couple of hours and strain. I also add some herbs like parsley, thyme and a little marjoram. Don’t make too salty. I use an organic reduced sodium soup base.
2. De-glaze the roasting pan after removing the turkey. Just place the pan on a burner and add the strained stock. Turn on the burner and stir around the stock to loosen and brown bits in the bottom of the pan. This is where the gravy really gets its flavor. Strain this mixture back into the saucepan you were using to make the stock.
3. Thicken with flour and water or flour and milk, depending on your taste. I like using milk. Place flour in a jar with a tight fitting lid and cover with cold milk or water. Screw on lid and shake until mixture is smooth. You’ll need about 2 tablespoons of flour for each cup of liquid, depending on how thick or thin you like your gravy.
4. Add to the strained mixture in the saucepan and cook, stirring until thickened. Adjust seasonings and serve. If it’s too thin for your taste, just add more flour and milk or water. It is easier to add a little more flour if the gravy is too thin than to thin gravy that is too thick. Make at least ¼ cup per person plus extra for leftovers the next day.

Note: You can also thicken the gravy while it is still in the roasting pan and then strain it into a saucepan.

Gluten Free Gravy

If you want gluten free gravy you have the option of thickening it with cornstarch. I know a lot of people that swear by cornstarch. My only problem with cornstarch is that it will break and get watery when you want to reheat the gravy. I have made gluten free gravy by just saving the veggies I used to make the stock with the giblets. Usually it’s a mixture of carrots, onions and celery. After simmering in the stock they are very soft. I place the veggies in with the drippings and the stock in the roasting pan and stir it all around. I place in a saucepan and use an immersion blender to smooth it all up. The veggies thicken the gravy with no added flour.

De-fatting Gravy

There will be fat in the gravy. I remember my Mother’s gravy boat with a spout that came from the bottom- so you poured the gravy out from the bottom- leaving the fat behind. You can get rid of most of the fat quickly a couple of different ways. You can get a de-fatting cup. It looks like a measuring cup with a spout that comes up from the bottom. Ladle the gravy into the cup and pour it out into a saucepan or gravy boat. You can also take your freshly made gravy and let it sit for a few minutes in the pot, off the heat. Use a metal spoon to skim off the fat then grab a handful of ice cubes and place them on the top of the gravy. The ice will freeze the fat. Move them around the surface very gently. The fat will harden on the ice cubes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ice cubes with most of the fat stuck to them. Do this quickly, so you don’t dilute your gravy.

Candy Turkeys

Candy Turkey

Every year, I spend the day before Thanksgiving making some special treat or craft with my niece, Elia. One year we made these cookie “turkeys”. She liked making them so much we are making them again this year. They are really easy to make, and since there is no baking involved, you don’t tie up the oven if you need it for other things, like maybe a real turkey. Here are the ingredients you will need.  We did them sort of assembly line fashion, because Elia wanted one for each person’s place at the table.

Candy Turkeys

chocolate sandwich cookies

candy corn

mini peanut butter cup

malted milk balls

candy pumpkins

melted chocolate

To start, place a cookie on your work surface. Affix a peanut butter cup, for the body. with a little melted chocolate. Place a malted milk ball on top of the peanut butter cup, using a little more melted chocolate to make the head. Once the chocolate hardens a little break off the tip of a candy corn and affix with chocolate to make the beak. Stick a few candy corn between the cookies- into the frosting layer- for the tail. Open up a cookie and use a little more chocolate to stand up your turkey on the frosting surface- Elia wanted them to be standing on snow. Or you can use a whole cookie, if you prefer. Place it off center, so you have room for your pumpkin. Let it harden for a minute, then add a candy pumpkin, using another drop of melted chocolate.

Elia hard at work

Elia hard at work

She made quite a few

She made quite a few

My place at the table

My place at the table

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.

Honey-Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Honey Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes

I will admit it – I am not a fan of really sweet,  sweet potato dishes. Not unless it is a dessert. My Mom never served sweet potatoes with marshmallows, but they were still served “candied”. Sweet potatoes, sometimes canned, cooked in a glaze of brown sugar and butter. It was just what we did.

Then, one year,  I grew my own sweet potatoes. Everything changed after that. I can still remember the joy of digging that first plant up.  There they were, a cluster of beautiful sweet potatoes. I grew a lot of them that first year. I steamed them, baked them, made soup with them. Even had them for breakfast a few times.

My Mom was so pleased when I told her I was supplying them for her Thanksgiving dinner that year. I suggested we just cook them with a little butter, salt and pepper. They were so naturally sweet, that they surely, did not need to be candied.

Not everyone was so pleased with that choice. Clearly, how to prepare sweet potatoes evokes some of the same passion as how to cook the turkey. So for awhile, there were two competing dishes of sweet potatoes on the Thanksgiving table. As if there weren’t enough dishes to worry about- we now had to have 2 types of sweet potatoes.

I hope this dish might just bridge the gap between the two camps. A little sweet, but not overly sweet. The orange juice and honey enhance the sweet potatoes nicely. The sugared nuts are a fun addition, too.

Honey Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes

4 T. butter
4-5 c. peeled and sliced sweet potatoes
1 c. fresh orange juice
Zest of 2 oranges
¼ c. honey
2 t. hot sauce, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh grated nutmeg
Sugared nuts- optional* recipe follows

Melt butter in large skillet. Add sweet potatoes and cook over medium heat, for 5- 8 minutes. Potatoes should start to turn a little golden. Add orange juice, honey and seasonings and turn heat down to low. Cook, uncovered,  until potatoes are tender and liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes. If you want more color on the sweet potatoes, turn the heat up a little once they are tender, and liquid is mostly gone. Serve with sugared nuts sprinkled on top, if you like. These can be made a day ahead and reheated.

*Sugared Nuts

4-5 c. nuts, I like walnuts or pecans
2 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. orange peel
1 t. salt, optional
Place all ingredients in heavy skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until all the water disappears. Whatever liquid in the pan will be clinging to the nuts and syrupy. Dump nuts onto a large cookie sheet and break apart with a wooden spoon to prevent clumping. As nuts cool, stir once or twice to remove any remaining clumps, and to cool faster. Nuts will lose their glossy appearance and attain a sugary crust. If it looks like nut soup, you didn’t cook them long enough, and you must return all to the skillet and cook longer. As the nuts start to get drier during cooking, you can turn down the heat a little to prevent burning. Once you’ve made a few batches, though, you will get good at judging when to stop cooking. You can also make a spicy version by adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper along with the other ingredients. Store in cool, dry place to keep nuts fresh longer.

Mushroom Dressing and Gravy – Vegan

Mushroom Dressing and Gravy

Not everyone at the Thanksgiving table will be eating turkey. If you are like me, you have friends and family who are vegetarians. That was the inspiration for this dish. Just because a person doesn’t eat meat, does not mean they can’t enjoy the other traditional foods of the holiday.

I’m not a fan of “fake meats”, so a simulation of turkey was not what I was going for.  I wanted to make a dish that was normally part of the regular menu, but minus the meat.

This is a dish everyone can enjoy together. Thanksgiving is about bringing us together, after all. I used mushrooms as the base for both the dressing and the gravy. The end result is rich and very tasty.

Mushroom Dressing and Gravy – Vegan

The Gravy:
3 T. oil
2 onions, diced
1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and chopped- try to use a couple of different types
¾ c. diced celery
¼ c. chopped parsley
1 t. oregano
½ t. thyme
4 T. flour
2 c. vegetable broth
2 T. balsamic vinegar
Hot sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

In skillet, heat oil and cook onions until golden. Add mushrooms and celery and continue cooking until mushrooms also start to turn golden. Toss in the parsley and herbs. Remove about ¾ of the onion mixture and set aside- it will go in the dressing. In skillet, with the remaining onion mixture, add the flour and stir in. Cook over medium heat for a minute or two. Add the broth and bring to a low boil, stirring often, until thickened and bubbly. Add vinegar and hot sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can let it simmer a few minutes longer, if you like it thicker. It cooks down quickly. Makes 2 cups.

The Dressing:

6 c. bread cubes, toasted
Reserved veggies from the gravy
½- 1 cup vegetable broth
2 T. oil
Extra parsley, if desired
Salt and pepper to taste
½ t. crumbled sage, optional

In medium bowl, combine the bread cubes with the veggies and stir to mix well. Pour the broth over the bread cubes, tossing to coat. Use more or less broth, depending on how moist you like the dressing. Drizzle in the oil and season to taste. Place in a casserole dish, cover and bake until heated through- about 30 minutes. Remove cover after 20 minutes if you like a crisper dressing.

Cranberry Raspberry Sauce

Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce

If you are looking for a fun and tasty variation for the usual cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving, I might suggest this cranberry and raspberry version.

The raspberries add a great flavor to the dish along with the cranberries and orange juice. My family has enjoyed versions of this sauce every Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember.

The real secret however, is the dressing. It is a creamy, slightly sweet topping, made with a fruit juice custard and whipped cream. It really changes the whole dish into something special.

This might be the first time people ask for seconds on cranberry sauce.

Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce

12 oz. cranberries, rinsed and picked over

1 c. orange juice

1 T. grated orange peel

½ c. sugar, or to taste

12 oz. raspberries, fresh or frozen ( thawed, if frozen)

Combine all ingredients, (except the raspberries)  in a saucepan and cook, stirring often, over medium heat. Cook until the cranberries burst and mixture thickens, about 25 minutes, stirring more often as mixture thickens. Reduce heat as mixture thickens, to prevent scorching. Stir in the raspberries. Cool and chill. Makes about 3 cups. Serve with the dressing on the side.

Dressing

2 eggs
½ c. sugar
½ c orange juice
½ c. pineapple juice
2 T. flour
juice of half a lemon
1 c. whipping cream, whipped

Combine all ingredients, except whipped cream, in a saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Mixture should coat a spoon. Cool and chill. Fold cooled mixture into whipped cream.  Serves 6-8.

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