Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!
May friends, family, fabulous food, and good cheer fill your day.
With potlucks, work luncheons, and Thanksgiving on the horizon, I thought I had best get busy baking up some goodies ahead of time, most of them stocked in the freezer.
I have Sweet and Salty Butterscotch Pecan cookie dough in the freezer, ready for baking. These cookies receive the most rave reactions every time I share them.
Pecan Tassies, bite-sized pecan pies, will grace a potluck at the gym. These freeze well in an airtight container, but that means I can easily sneak a tassie or two each night. I hope they last until the potluck later this week!! By the way, this time I added about 5 chocolate chips to the bottom of each crust before adding the filling. Extra yum!
A scrumptious Pumpkin Buttermilk Pound Cake with Caramel Icing, sans icing but tightly enveloped in plastic wrap and housed in the freezer, awaits Thanksgiving festivities, returning for a repeat performance after its highly successful debut last year.
I baked Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes recently, falling in love with their espresso and pumpkin combo. Truth be told, it’s the frosting that stole my heart. I knew these would grace the table at the next salad club lunch at work, taking place this week.
Although these aren’t stocked in the freezer, I just have to share about these Apple Fritters I made recently for a book club meeting. Oh my goodness, this recipe makes the heavens sing. Check out Nicole’s post at Galley Gourmet for pics and recipe. I modified her recipe slightly, using grated apples rather than diced. I made it both ways, actually, and prefer the grated version. These are best eaten shortly after frying.
Finally, I tried my hand yet again at caramels, only to add another tale to my list of caramel woes. However, this time the caramels almost set properly. They are a bit too soft and every time I cut them, they morph back into one large blob after a few minutes. Sigh…
Since the Apple Cider Caramels still tasted yummy despite their blobby status, I decided to give the Browned Butter Caramel Stuffed Cookies a try and rescue the caramel. Failure. Sort of. I must have made the cookie balls too small and/or the caramel pieces too big; the caramel simply oozed out the bottoms of the cookies. Bummer because the browned butter cookies bake up outta-this-world-crazy-divinely-delicious and the apple cider caramel pairs perfectly with it.
As I held the tray of ruined cookies in my hand, about to toss them into the trash bin, I had a rescue idea flash into my brain: crumble the cookies and toss them into a batch of vanilla ice cream. So I did. Truthfully, I think it’s just a so-so combo, but my hubby loves it.
I tried another vanilla ice cream recipe for this, though, that hubby claims is better than his beloved Hagen Daaz. At Galley Gourmet, Nicole used the French Vanilla Ice Cream from David Liebovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop, but she modified it by adding some corn syrup and vodka. It certainly does create a soft, creamy, rich, and easy-to-scoop ice cream.
Oh, and if you ever have a ruined cake, you can try a trifle for a rescue mission. I had to do that with a burnt chocolate bundt cake a couple years ago, but I successfully turned that disaster into Chocolate Berry Trifles. I got the idea from Michelle at Brown-Eyed Baker and her carrot cake disaster rescue: Carrot Cake Trifle.
With all this baking, I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite of the holidays because it’s all about family, friends, and food. And I look forward to making Turkey Tetrazzini again from the broth I’ll make from the leftover carcass and all the meat I’ll get from those bones. It ranks as one of the most delicious savory recipes, I think, to come out of my oven.
What’s your favorite food at Thanksgiving? Try asking that at the dinner table. Not one person said turkey the year someone posed that question! My favorite: my mom’s sauerkraut. Or maybe Ladera’s stuffing.
Okay, only 11 more days until Turkey Day!! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday filled with gratitude.
I roasted a chicken the other night, which always leaves us with leftovers, so I decided to make chicken pot pies and realized I hadn’t shared a recipe for those yet. I make them about once a year because the recipe makes six pies, which carries us through the chilly season with only two of us to feed.
The chicken pot pies at some of the chain restaurants used to be my staple order until I began making my own. Nothing beats the flavor of homemade chicken pot pies, though, so no more mass-produced chain restaurant pies for me.
These homemade pies do take a bit of work but not excessively so. You can certainly cut corners by purchasing a rotisserie chicken and precut and/or frozen veggies. However, don’t skimp corners on the crust. This crust contains tangy cream cheese and is spiced up with some pepper. Fantastic flavor. So easy to work with, too: not too sticky and you can handle it without having to first refrigerate it.
The first time I made these, I pressed the dough on the rims of the bowls to make sure it would stick. Bad idea. I guess I pressed so hard that during baking the sides just slipped off! Looked like the pot pies decided to drop their skirts ; ) I’ve since learned, thanks to Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cooking show, to brush both sides of the dough with an egg wash. The inside brushing helps the dough adhere to the bowl while the outside wash gives a sheen to the cooked crust. Thank you, Ina, for that handy dandy tip.
Once cooked, these freeze beautifully. Just double wrap snugly in plastic wrap followed by an aluminum foil wrap, and you can then bake them straight from the freezer. Love the ease of that.
Chicken Pot Pies
Pardon my blogging hiatus. Lots of life interferences. First, I got buried under a pile of English essays to correct, promptly followed by a nasty cold that stressed me out because I needed to get ready for a trip to Cabo San Lucas for my brother’s wedding. Thankfully the cold eased up and we had a blast celebrating in Cabo. Upon my return, the cold monster reared its vicious phlegm again! Still dealing with that two weeks later as well as a persistent cough. And teaching all the while. With another stack of essays to arrive tomorrow.
Suffice it to say, my motivation has been stymied by work, fun in the sun, and illness.
In the meantime, I’ve had several new subscribers to the blog, which totally blows my mind considering I haven’t posted in several weeks. How did that happen? Welcome all! And I hope you find many recipes to enjoy from the site.
Despite all this craziness, I have managed to find my way into the kitchen, with these Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes stealing the show. Although I’ve never ordered a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, you can certainly taste the espresso flavor in this cupcake along with the pumpkin. Heck, with 4 1/2 teaspoons of espresso in the batter, you bet you can taste that strong coffee flavor! I think I might actually dial it down to 4 teaspoons next time, and I think I will also omit brushing liquid coffee on after they bake.
I accidentally put in 1 cup rather than 3/4 cup of pumpkin. Luckily, they baked up just fine. Ultra moist due to the pumpkin, actually.
But the true star? The whipped cream and cream cheese frosting. Oh. My. Goodness. I literally ate the leftover frosting with a spoon right outta the bowl. So freakin’ delightfully light and fluffy and just plain ol’ scrumptious. The recipe makes loads of frosting. If you pile it on high, you’ll use it up. If you prefer less frosting, I suggest cutting the frosting recipe in half.
Final word of advice on these: get them outta the house ASAP!!!! Their addictive quality makes them ultra dangerous to have around. Plus, it’s fun to share.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
Greetings blog readers! I have missed writing posts this past week, but daily life got a bit hectic. I had two weeks of 4:00 a.m. wake ups in order to finish grading my students’ first round of essays, several meetings and workshops after my teaching day, and the nerve-wracking Back to School Night in which I inform parents about my curriculum. I tell ya, my body doesn’t respond well when I have too many late nights. Anyhow, all that craziness prevented me from having energy to share some of my kitchen escapades. Today is Saturday, though, and I got a long night of sleep and feel refreshed and ready to share.
As the weather begins to slightly chill here in Southern California (although today we still have temps in the low 80’s!), I thought I’d share a belly-warming soup that mimics the flavors of enchilada. I actually made this a couple of weeks ago as the sun was still blasting us with its heat, but I couldn’t resist testing this after I saw the recipe. I love enchiladas and I love soup. How perfect to combine the two!
The original recipe calls for cooking the soup in the crock pot and using uncooked bone-on chicken thighs. I’m sure the use of thighs provides tons of flavor to the soup. However, I used the shortcut of some shredded chicken I had in the freezer. I also skipped the sauteing onions and jalapenos; instead, I just blended those with a few other ingredients, similar to the recipe I use for enchilada sauce. Even with my shortcuts, this soup stunned our taste buds. One of these days I’ll actually follow the recipe and I’m sure the original will taste even better than my adapted quick version.
For now, though, if you want a quick and tasty soup, this one’s in the winner’s circle at our home.
Chicken Enchilada Soup
SOURCE: adapted from The Kitchn
My friend Sara of My Imperfect Kitchen, who I met at Camp Blogaway, asked me to guest post on her blog. I absolutely love Sara’s enthusiastic approach to life. Not only could I see this when I met her in person, but her blog posts ooze excitement and energy and a zest for life. Of course, I happily agreed to guest post for her.
She asked me to share one of my favorite recipes. Now that just left the choices too wide open for me! I have so many favorites. My mind whirled for days, but it kept returning to chocolate–chocolate cupcakes with chocolate fudge frosting in particular, a recipe shared with me by my husband’s stepmom. However, I didn’t want to write about something I’d already posted on my blog.
But chocolate thoughts kept saturating my brain. Then I had the opportunity to make dessert for a summer visit, so I made this chocolate bundt cake I had bookmarked to bake. Perfect choice for both the visit and to share with Sara’s readers. So my dear readers, if you want to find the recipe, which is well worth the baking, head on over to Sara’s blog.
The other day I posted a recipe for tartar sauce that I quickly whipped up to accompany the light white breaded fish we prepared for dinner. Lest I forget, I better get around to sharing that recipe for the fish. It’s actually hubby’s recipe since he is the Fish Master around these parts.
Before I get to the recipe, though, I want to share a cute story about my hubby and the igniting of his passion (a.k.a. obsession) for fishing. Every summer in his youth when he visited family in Ohio, his grandpa would take him fishing. At two years old, they ventured out on their first fishing trip together to a local lake. Well, rambunctious toddlers in their terrible two’s don’t know how to sit still at all, least of all whilst fishing. In his excitement, he kept disrupting the fish by running into the water. Finally, his grandpa looped a rope around his waist with the other end around a tree, a safe distance from the water’s edge yet close enough to fish. That venture to the lake hooked him on fishing, and the love has never waned, not one bit.
Most of his adult fishing years have found him on the open seas, but lately he has given lake fishing more attention. And when he travels to Texas to hunt, he sometimes finds time to fish local waters. A couple years ago in Texas, he caught loads and loads of crappie (pronounced “krop-ee”), a freshwater fish of the light white-fleshed variety. Surprisingly, it has held up well in our freezers, and we have pursued attacking the supply of fish with gusto in recent weeks.
Our favorite method of preparation for the crappie involves a simple dredging of the fillets in egg, flour, and basic spices followed by a bit of frying in oil. Sometimes simplicity makes the best meals. We’ve tried a few fancy recipes I found for crappie, but this is the method we return to time and time again.
SOURCE: my hub