Monthly Archives: November 2011

Low-key Thanksgiving redux.

So yes, it’s been a little while since I last posted. My time was occupied with caring for a sick Munchkin, many trips to & phone calls with doctors, not sleeping, & changing about a month’s worth of diapers in less than a week.

Oh, & my birthday happened in there somewhere… My Husband The Pyromaniac made a candle bonfire on my birthday pie.

Between all that & the fact that it was 85 stinkin’ degrees outside, Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on me this year. Fortunately it was just us & 2 homesick missionaries from our church who’ll eat anything, so I didn’t have to worry about impressing anyone.

For starters, I nixed the whole turkey in favor of a turkey breast that weighed roughly what The Munchkin did at birth. (For the record, with just 4 adults & a Munchkin, we still had leftovers.) Thanks to this little miracle I discovered last year, all I needed to do was rub the turkey the night before for the most moist & flavorful turkey (breast) I’ve ever made. Additionally, cooking less bird meant less time in the oven, which meant less chance of the juices scorching. This made for the easiest gravy I’ve ever made: no tweaking or seasoning necessary!

I was able to get away without cooking anything until nearly 2pm that day, thanks to My Husband The Pie Man, who baked 2 of his best pies to date — pumpkin & berry – while we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade & The Munchkin sobbed that she wanted to go again this year.

We maximized space & oven time in The Tiniest Kitchen Ever by making bread in the breadmaker. Cardinal sin? Maybe. But it was easy & tasted good.

For stuffing, we used a closely-guarded family recipe: doctored-up Pepperidge Farm. (Why do you think it’s so closely guarded?) All I did was follow the directions on the package & add a few shakes each dried basil & thyme to the onion & celery.

Finally, the one new recipe I did try this year. I made these mashed potatoes. I didn’t bother to read the “don’t use lowfat milk” part of the recipe until the stores were closed & we were ready to start, so I went ahead with the 2% — I rationalized that most people boil their potatoes in water anyway, so any added flavor would be a bonus — & they did just fine. But I think The Munchkin’s favorite part was using one of my birthday presents, matching mommy- & Munchkin-sized potato scrubber gloves, to prep them.

The end result? A low-key, delicious Thanksgiving dinner with almost ZERO stress! Best. Holiday. Ever.

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Not Your Grandmother’s Pumpkin Pie.

Why? Because it’s my grandmother’s!

This is her “Milkless Pumpkin Pie,” but if I called it that you would think it was just some gross substitution for people with milk intolerances. The truth is, because it is milk-free, it’s undiluted — full of spice & flavor. Makes normal pumpkin pie taste bland by comparison.

My grandmother got this recipe from a short mid-morning program on channel 5 in Utah years ago that offered tips for housewives. One day the featured guest demonstrated this recipe, saying it was unique because this recipe required no milk. Then they cut to a break; the hostess began to introduce the sponsor, an evaporated milk company, saying how delicious this recipe would be with that company’s milk. The guest sputtered that it was a milkless pumpkin pie; she talked over him & they went to commercial.

I had never made a pie on my own in my life before attempting this one — hence the “interesting”-looking crust. I’ve never needed to because My Husband is The Pie Man. Every Thanksgiving he makes a pumpkin & a boysenberry pie, & they’re always delicious. I’ve included his perfect crust recipe below.

Milkless Pumpkin Pie (makes 1 pie)

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • optional: add a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin
  1. Make My Husband The Pie Man’s Perfect Flaky Crust, below, & lay it in a 9-inch pie plate.
  2. Preheat oven to 450. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs as long as your arm will let you so that they’re light & frothy. Add margarine & pumpkin; mix until well blended.
  4. Add the dry ingredients & mix well.
  5. Pour into prepared unbaked pie shell. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 350 & continue baking 30-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Perfect Flaky Crust (makes 1 crust; double it for a double-crust pie)

  • 1 cup flour (plus more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cold water
  1. Combine flour, salt, & oil in a medium bowl with a fork. The dough should ball up nicely.
  2. Add water continue kneading with fork until fully incorporated.
  3. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time, if needed, until dough is the right consistency: not too sticky, not too dry.
  4. Place dough ball between 2 sheets of wax paper. Roll out until it’s really really thin & larger than the pie plate.
  5. Use a butter knife to gently free the dough from one of the sheets of wax paper.
  6. Place it, dough side down, into the pie plate & use the knife again to remove the other sheet.
  7. Make it look pretty around the outside. Nope, can’t help you there.

Come join Love the Pie with TidyMom  sponsored by Cherokee USA, Le Creuset, Wilton, Bags by Bloom and  Harvard Common Press

works for me wednesday at we are that family

36th Avenue

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Taking a sick day.

Today I’m taking care of a sick Munchkin.

But I’ll be back Wednesday having (hopefully) conquered my irrational fear of pie!

(Making, not eating.)

(DEFINITELY not eating.)

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Thanksgiving leftover makeover: Giada’s Curried Chicken (or Turkey) Sandwiches

These sandwiches are amazing.

Versatile. With chicken: great for summer picnics. With turkey: the most delicious day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich you’ve ever had.

A hit with everyone who’s tried them. Even professed curry haters have come back for more!

Still not convinced? They have bacon in them.

Now that I have your attention, I sincerely hope you give these a try this November 25th. Your family won’t give those cold-turkey-&-cranberry sandwiches a second thought.

They come from Giada de Laurentiis’ cookbook Giada’s Kitchen. My version makes a few of the ingredients a little more pantry-friendly (like subbing bacon for pancetta & ground ginger for fresh), because we have to buy enough crazy ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner!

  • 8 oz. thinly sliced bacon
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. yellow curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • about 4 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
  • up to 8 ciabatta rolls (or, if you keep forgetting you’re not in New York anymore & they don’t sell ciabatta on every corner in Florida, these delightful French hamburber buns!)
  1. Cook bacon until crispy & set aside. I nuke mine between double layers of paper towels for a minute a slice.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the mayo, curry powder, lime juice, honey, & ginger.
  3. Add chicken; stir to coat.
  4. Just before serving, crumble bacon into the mixture & stir just until incorporated.
  5. Slice rolls in half & spoon chicken mixture onto rolls.
Tidy Mom

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap   up           party!

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Savory Chicken Rolls.

I have a confession to make: I have had the hardest time getting inspired in the kitchen lately. Even though the morningsickness is pretty much gone, nothing sounds good to me, & none of the meals I cook myself have tasted good to me. (Anyone else have this problem?)

A few notable exceptions: this barbecue chicken, some stellar alfredo I found here, &…

These.

My good friend Mandy gave me her grandmother’s recipe, & it was so perfect, warm, & comforting — exactly what I was craving that day.

  • 1-2 pkgs. refrigerated crescent roll dough (depending on how full you want your crescents to be… I always use 1 & end up with a little extra filling at the end, no matter how full I fill them)
  • 3 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. (or more, to taste) chopped green onions
  • about 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1-2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese & butter until smooth. Add salt, pepper, green onions, & milk. Mix well.
  3. Mix in chicken.
  4. Unroll crescents & separate into triangles. Spoon 1-2 Tbsp. of the chicken mixture onto the center of each triangle, then fold ends in. Pinch to seal.
  5. Brush each with a little butter, then sprinkle with parmesan.
  6. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Her grandma — & my mother-in-law, I might add — serve this with a sort of gravy made from cream of chicken soup, but I think the texture is perfect eaten as-is.

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Cast Party Wednesday

36th Avenue

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{Secret Recipe Club} Big Soft Ginger Cookies

I’m so excited to be a new member of the Secret Recipe Club! To be honest, Amanda accepted me last month, but I was still feeling so nauseous that she gave me a pass. But I’m so glad I got to participate this month, because let me tell you, these cookies are goooood.

They are Country Woman magazine’s Big Soft Ginger Cookies, & they come from No Reason Needed. The Munchkin devoured them — so did we – & one of the missionaries we had over for dinner mentioned that they made him feel like home: his mom makes them all the time & he loves dipping them in milk.

To me, ginger cookies just feel cozy, like the holidays. So what better time to make them than while your husband’s at Target buying you (okay, himself too) the Michael Buble Christmas album?

I didn’t need to change anything in the recipe for them to turn out perfect. I just rewrote the step order for you below so you dirty fewer measuring cups.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • additional sugar (sanding sugar would be great) for rolling
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together butter & sugar until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat in egg & molasses.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually mix in the flour mixture until well combined.
  4. With clean, slightly damp hands (this was the only way I could keep half the dough from sticking to them), roll dough into 1- to 1.5-inch balls, then roll in sugar. Place a few inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets, then flatten with your palm.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until just beginning to brown around the edges.
  6. Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. (Though I must say they are deeelicious warm & gooey straight out of the oven!)

Thanks again to No Reason Needed for such a tasty treat!

Secret Recipe Club 

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Easy Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

I printed this recipe off a long time ago, while I was getting paid to stare at a computer screen 40 hours a week, from an online community that I don’t think exists anymore. The date on the bottom of the printout says 3/28/2008. And I never made it! It sat neglected in my recipe binder for one reason:

Molasses.

So I finally broke down & bought the $1.28 bottle & made these. Can you believe that it took me three & a half years?

(Note: This smells very vinegar-y while it’s in the slow cooker, so I expected a Carolina-type sauce, but it’s actually quite mild.)

From the Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Slow Cooker cookbook

  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder cut into 3 equal pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light molasses
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottom pan. Brown both sides of the pork & transfer to the slow cooker. Saute the onion in the oil until golden.
  2. Add vinegar & deglaze the pan, then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring it just to a boil.
  3. Pour sauce over pork. Cover; cook on high 4-5 hours or low 8-10 hours.
  4. Shred the pork on a separate plate & discard any pieces of fat. Skim grease from the sauce, then return the pork to the sauce, stir to combine, & serve on rolls.
Tidy Mom

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap   up           party!

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