Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas - Let's Talk Turkey!

Happy Day after Thanksgiving!  I hope you all have a day filled with food, fun, family, friends...and a good movie!

Turkey leftovers?  I sure hope so!  Ending up with a bunch of Thanksgiving leftovers is the best!  You can do so much with them...even have another Thanksgiving plate. 

But the fun part is turning those ingredients into a different dish.  I have some delicious recipes that will fix you right up.  Today we'll concentrate on turkey since that is usually what we have most of!

Just click on the links below to take you to the detailed recipes.

Turkey Guacamole Wraps
These are a great way to use leftover turkey and serve a light lunch for the family or a crowd watching football games. 

Turkey Havarti Hot Sandwich
One of my favorite "hot" sandwiches.  The flavors are outstanding, and you'll just love it!

Turkey Salad Sandwich
Everyone just loves chicken salad.  Switch it up a bit and try it with turkey.  It really rocks!  And if you have home crescent rolls all the better.  A fresh croissant will do too!

Some other ideas:
Beth's Favorite Enchiladas - made with turkey


Turkey and Wild Rice Soup- yummy in your tummy!

Turkey Tetrazzini  -  a classic...

Enjoy Black Friday!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A wish for you...

Tomorrow is the big day..
a day filled with love,
and good food!

I wish you all a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!

I leave you with this cute Thanksgiving poem...

Twas the night of Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't sleep.
I tried counting backwards, I tried counting sheep
The leftovers beckoned--The dark meat and white,
But I fought the temptation with all of my might.
Tossing and turning with anticipation,
The thought of a snack became infatuation,
So I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door,
And gazed at the fridge full of goodies galore.

I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,
Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.

I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,
Till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground!

I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky,
With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie,
But I managed to yell as I soared past the trees,


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Creamy Cranberry Relish Spread


Every holiday needs a good appetizer.

I love to munch and I'm sure you all do to.  So there is no doubt that I love to serve a good appetizer for friends and family to eat while the dinner is be prepared.  It wets the appetite.

So today I wanted to share with you a new unique appetizer that I made the other day with my friends along with our desert marathon.  

They had wanted a fresh cranberry sauce.  So we made a relish, but I'm not really into tart cranberries all that much.  By themselves they are just too tart and all I do is pucker!

So we made the relish and yes, it was too tart for my liking.  So I decided to turn this into a spread and add something creamy to cut the tartness.  I used goat cheese which also has tang but enough creaminess to create a foil for the tart cranberries.  Perfect for a spread.

It was a winner!  Creamy, yet tart...perfect with crostini.

This relish would equally be good mixed with marscapone or ricotta, or even cream cheese.  Choose what you like, I'm sure they would all be delishh!

So a new appetizer was born and everyone loved it.  Try it this Thanksgiving and let me know how it turns out.

Creamy Cranberry Relish Spread

serves 12-15

1 orange, unpeeled and preferably
organic, scrubbed
2 bags (12 oz. each) fresh cranberries
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1⁄3 cup peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger

2 logs of goat cheese

Cut the orange (with its peel on) into 16 chunks and discard any seeds. Working in batches, combine the orange chunks, cranberries, sugar and ginger in a food processor. Pulse to chop fine, stopping once or twice
with each batch to scrape down the sides of the work bowl.

Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.  Remove from the refrigerator and add back to the food processor along with the goat cheese.  Pulse until well incorporated.  Serve with crostini.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

The other day I brought you a new take on pumpkin pie.  Today’s entry is all about pumpkin and dessert, but it’s not pie…
Today’s dessert is what I consider an elegant dessert.  A pumpkin brulee’, and it’s perfect for Thanksgiving entertaining!
Let me tell you that you can’t beat the flavor of this dish.  A rich, decadent custard that’s distinctly pumpkin flavored with a nice crusty caramelized sugar coating on top. 
My friends and I were experimenting with new desserts for the holidays and wanted to add a more delicate, elegant touch for those serving formal dinners.  This one fits the bill.
You'll notice on my pics that the top is not caramelized.  Well, funny thing my blow torch ran out of butane so I used the pics before that happened.  You can even see that I was sprinkling the sugar on top!  So long story short I had to go get more butane, and fixed them right up the next day.
This photo is what it looks like with the caramelization as it should look.  (Photo from Williams-Sonoma) 

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
If you love regular creme brulee then you will be so pleased with this dessert.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee


  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 Tbs. pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup plus 4 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar


Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready.
Pour the cream into a small saucepan and whisk in the cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg. Set over medium-low heat and warm the cream mixture until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise from the surface, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla, salt, pumpkin puree, the 1/3 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar until smooth and blended. Slowly pour in the cream mixture, stirring until blended. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Divide the mixture among four 8-fl.-oz. ramekins and place in a large baking pan. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are just set around the edges, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tsp. granulated sugar evenly over the surface of each custard. Using a kitchen torch according to the manufacturer's instructions, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar melts and lightly browns. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pumpkin Pie with Orange Marmalade

Thanksgiving is around the corner.

But I don't want to talk turkey.  Not today.
I want to start with dessert!

Who says you can't have dessert first? Well today I wanted to share with you a fabulous pumpkin pie.  Almost everyone makes pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dessert.  I have my favorite pie I make every year.  This year, however, some friends and I decided to get together and cook a few desserts worthy of the holiday.

First up is this fabulous, slightly different, pumpkin pie.  What makes it different?  It has orange marmalade and molasses in it AND no ginger!  The pie was a hit with everyone.  Slightly sweeter but still every bit a pumpkin pie that stands up to the traditional one.

I have all my standard dishes that I make every year, as I'm sure you do.  Traditions are good.

However, new is good too. 

This pie is new...a little updated so to speak.  I like to try adding at least one new dish each year which widens the palate and the interest in the meal.

Hope you enjoy this, and try a new dessert this year!

Pumpkin Pie with Orange Marmalade


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. plus 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. ice water
  • 1 2/3 cups pumpkin puree (see related tip at left)
  • 2 Tbs. orange marmalade
  • 3 Tbs. molasses
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Whipped cream for serving


In a food processor, combine the flour, the 1/4 tsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. of the salt and pulse once to blend. Add the butter and process in short pulses until pea-size crumbs form, 20 to 25 seconds. While pulsing, gradually add the water until large, moist crumbs form, about 10 seconds more.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together to form a 5-inch disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 425°F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish and fit the dough into the dish. Trim the edges, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold under the excess dough and, using your thumb, decoratively flute the edges. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Line the pie shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer the pie shell to a wire rack and let cool.

In a large bowl, stir together the pumpkin, marmalade, molasses, the 1 cup sugar, the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the eggs and cream and stir until smooth. Pour the filling into the pie shell and smooth the top.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool. Top each slice with a dollop of whipped cream.
Serves 8 to 10.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Decorations!

I can't believe the year has gone by so fast and it's already time for Thanksgiving.

I know that you all are planning your menu and getting ready to prepare tried and true favorites for that special dinner.  Me included!

But, before I share a few new recipes to try this Thanksgiving Day I wanted to share with you something just as important.  Thanksgiving decorations and tips!  I love to dress a table.  I do it often even for casual dinners.  The tablescape to me is a creative expression that sets the tone for the food.  

Let's have some fun and take a look at some of my favorite Thanksgiving tablescapes.


(terrible picture...sorry!)

A large hurricane sleeve filled with fresh gourds, pumpkins, squashes, and fall leaves.  Perfect for the season.

Birch tree candles from Pier One top clear glasses pillar holders of varying heights.  The pillar holders are from Pottery Barn.  A nice fall runner and some pine boughs and white pumpkins help keep this seasonal and elegant.

Place Settings:

Each place setting holds a wonderful stoneware leaf salad/dessert plate and is topped with a bottle brush turkey that can also be used as a place card holder.  A bit of whimsy.

A more rustic yet elegant styled table.  Antique silver charges topped with grey dinner plats and topped with a wonderful pumpkin salad/dessert plate are all wrapped in linen napkins.  Rustic wood flatware add a cozy touch.  Serving dishes are a joy when shaped in fall pumpkins.  Serving dishes and dessert plates from Williams-Sonoma.

Serving Tips:


I've posted this cute way to serve finger foods before.  I just love the idea for olives or pickles so much that I had to share it again.


Carry the harvest theme one step further with bowls made from fresh squash.
What you need:
  • Winter squash such as butternut or acorn
  • Olives
Make it
  1. Cut squash so you are left with the ”bowl” of the vegetable to carve into a container.
  2. Scoop seeds and stringy flesh from the inside of each squash.
  3. Wash and dry well.
  4. Slice a small piece off the bottom of each so they sit flat.
  5. Place on a platter or tray and fill with olives.

I hope I've brought you some inspiration and that you have fun decorating for this very special day!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce + GIVEAWAY


Congratulations to Janine A "I just love the Barefoot Contessa, she makes everything look easy!" on being the winner of Michael Symon's cookbook.  
Contact to claim your cookbook.

It's my 500th post, and my Blog is going on 3 years!

I wanted to say a BIG "Thank You!" to all that have supported me over these wonderful three years.  It could not be done without all of you.

What better to celebrate than a great recipe and a fun giveaway.

First, let's talk about today's recipe.  

I've been on a roll with Michael Symon this week and today's post is the third chicken dish that I've made from his book Michael Symon's 5 in 5: 5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners.  (Lovin' the chicken!)

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce is from the section titled "on a stick".  I love a good kabob, and when it can be a meal or an appetizer it's even better.  The flavors of Thai are prominent but this dish is not blazing hot, which is good for most of us!

Again this was made very quickly as promised.  I used chicken breasts instead of thighs cause that's my preference. You could either cook these on an outdoor grill or use your indoor grill pan.  The results were they were fabulous.  The sauce is excellent, the perfect foil for the chicken.

We loved this dish! 

Now for the giveaway...
Since I was so impressed with Michael Symon's cookbook I wanted to share a copy with one lucky person.  Not sponsored, but just cause I appreciate you all so much!

So I will be giving away 1 copy of Michael's :
5 in 5: 5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners.

To enter please leave me a comment below answering the following question.

"Who is your favorite celebrity chef and why?"

The winner will be picked randomly next Friday 11/22/13 and the results will be posted on the blog.

Good luck and thanks for coming along with me on this journey!

Other Michael Symon dishes:
Chicken Amandine
Breaded Chicken & Mozzarella with Basil

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

slightly adapted from Michael Symon's 5 in 5: 5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners

makes 8 skewers
serves 4 for dinner, 6-8 as appetizers

2 T peanut butter
grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips (Michael used chicken thighs)
salt and pepper
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat your grill pan to medium high heat.

In a small bowl whisk together the peanut butter, orange zest and juice, jalapeno, soy sauce and olive oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a medium bowl toss the chicken with half the peanut sauce, mixing well to coat the meat.

Thread chicken onto 8 skewers.  Place skewers on the grill and cook for 3 minutes.  Flip the meat over and cook for another 2 minutes or until done.  

Remove skewers and place them on a platter.  Drizzle with remaining peanut sauce and top with Cilantro.  Serve with remaining sauce. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Breaded Chicken & Mozzarella with Basil

It's Michael Symon week!

I just bought Michael Symon's cookbook, 5 in 5; 5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners and posted my first recipe from the book the other day.  Chicken Amandine was a quick, easy, and a totally flavorful dish!  

So today I decided to make my second recipe.  Breaded Chicken & Mozzarella with Basil.  This one comes from the section titled Between Bread.  I love my sandwiches, and if it's a hot sandwich I'm in heaven!  This one is a take on chicken Parmesan.  How great is that?

Again the ingredients are minimal, and pack a flavor punch.  I'm in love with this book because for the second time I had all the ingredients on hand, with one exception.  So I stopped by the store for some fresh hoagie rolls. Done and ready to cook!

Michael doesn't disappoint with the recipe.  The dish is easy to make.  Again you will be done in about 15-20 minutes with prep and all.  The end result is a wonderfully tasty sandwich.  Perfect for a weeknight meal with a salad on the side.

I will say that Michael really likes chicken thighs for flavor.  Me, not so much.  So I have been substituting chicken breasts (always pounded thin as he recommends) and have found them to work perfectly!  Use what piece calls to you most. 

Hope you enjoy this, and stay tuned for another Michael Symon recipe coming up!

Breaded Chicken & Mozzarella with Basil

serves 4

1/2 c all purpose flour
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 large eggs
2 c plain dry bread crumbs
2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4" thickness (he used chicken thighs)
1/2 c olive oil
1 c fresh shredded mozzarella cheese
4 hoagie rolls, split and toasted
1/2 c torn fresh basil leaves

Put the flour in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Put the eggs in another shallow bowl and beat them lightly.  In a third shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan and season well with salt and pepper.  

Put a large skillet over medium high heat.

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.  Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, coating each side well.  Shake of the excess.  Dip the chicken into the beaten eggs, allowing excess to drip off.  Finally coat the chicken in the bread crumbs.

Pour the oil into the pan.  Add all 4 pieces of chicken and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Flip and cook until the other side is browned and the chicken is almost cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Top each piece with mozzarella, cover, and cook until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Put the chicken on the buns, top with basil and serve.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chicken Amandine

I'm so excited to bring you this recipe today!

The reason being is that I got a new cookbook...woohoo!

On a whim I picked up a copy of Michael Symon's 5 in 5:  5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners.  Of course I'm familiar with his cooking from the Food Network however, I've really come to like his style watching him on The Chew.  I mean, who can resist that laugh?  He has such a great sense of humor, and breaks down cooking so that the home cook can easily prepare delicious fresh meals.

I was so excited to get his book and try out his dishes.  I eagerly thumbed through it picking my first dish, Chicken Amandine.  A quick yet scrumptious dish great during the week but elegant enough for company.  

Plus...I had every ingredient on hand.  Love that!

This dish blew me away...

I had no idea it was this easy to make something so elegant and that tastes so darn good.  It just goes to show you that you don't need a lot of fancy just need a few that pack a lot of flavor.  

One trick to this dish is that you need to pound the chicken to 1/4" thickness as he says in order to cook this quickly.  Otherwise you will add on quite a bit of cooking time in order to fully cook a thicker chicken breast.

Here's what Michael says about this dish in his book:  "This elegant and classic dish looks and tastes like it's more difficult and time-consuming to prepare than it really is.  What makes this so appealing are the buttery, crunchy, toasty almonds.  Browning the almonds in butter really gives the nuts and the entire dish incredible depth and richness".  

So true.  

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did.  Stay tuned for another Michael Symon's 5 in 5 dish coming this week.

Chicken Amandine

slightly adapted from Michael Symon's 5 in 5:  5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners

serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4' thickness (he uses skin on breasts)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 T olive oil
2 T unsalted butter
1/2 c sliced almonds
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1/4 c roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Put a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.  Add the olive oil to the preheated pan.  Arrange all 4 pieces of chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook 1 minute.  

Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter and almonds and cook until they begin to brown about 30 seconds.  Add 1/2 cup of water, the orange zest and juice and cook until slightly reduced about 30 seconds.  Taste and adjust the seasoning adding salt and pepper as needed.  

Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the parsley and serve. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ravioli Florentine

Happy Weekend!

MGG and I were fortunate enough to get a head start on our weekend, so we decided to go and have some fun!  So we were off to the races.  The horse races that is.  Oh the memories of going to the races with my mom and dad are still fresh.  Both my parents loved going to the races and passed their love on to me.

I hadn't been to the races in quite some time and this was MGG's first time ever.  Sometimes it's just hard to fit things in to your daily life that you find exciting.  So it was great to go again, and to share his first time watching the ponies.

We went to Santa Anita Race Track, purchased box seats right in front of the finish line, and ate a wonderful lunch at the Clubhouse.  So far so good.  MGG was having a great time.  The real excitement began when the races started and MGG was winning almost every race.  How did he do that?  Beginners luck I guess!  So after a full day of races we were tired and ready to go home.

Once home we found ourselves happy, tired, and hungry.  So I decided to satisfy our appetite by making a quick pasta dish.  You can have this one on the table in under 30 minutes.  The best part is this is a one pot meal as well.  I'm just loving those, and the clean up is a breeze!

This pasta dish is full of good things.  Spinach, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes make for a hearty yet tasty sauce to which you cook the ravioli in.  Using frozen spinach makes the dish quick.  I also used a new item I found in the store.  It's a sun dried tomato pesto.  Not the green kind, but a deep red pesto.  A perfect addition to the sauce, giving it more depth.  For the ravioli you could use fresh or frozen.  I chose a fresh ravioli made of chicken and spinach.  Make sure to use your favorite flavor.  It all comes together easy and everyone will flip over it!

So, sleepy, full, and satisfied we ended our day.  A great way to start the weekend!

Ravioli Florentine

Serves 4-6

3 T olive oil
1 (8oz) package fresh mushrooms, sliced
¾ c onion, finely diced
1 T garlic, minced
1 (16 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
2 c water
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
1 (8.1 oz) jar sun-dried tomato pesto
1 (25oz) family size pkg ravioli – any variety

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, onion and garlic. Cook for 8-10 minutes stirring frequently until mushrooms are tender. Stir in spinach, water, tomatoes, and pesto. Stir to combine. Cook 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and add ravioli. Try and push ravioli under the liquid if possible. Cover with a lid and cook 8-10 minutes until soft and fully cooked. Serve.

adapted from Good Cents Cooking Magazine


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