Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gearing Up for Thanksgiving...and Beyond: Some of My Favorite Holiday Recipes

It’s hard to believe that this time next week, we’ll be hitting the road to spend Thanksgiving with our families back home in Houston. That will be a bit of a departure from the past two years, when we hosted Michael’s family at our place. However, my crazy work schedule has left me so tired that I just don’t have the energy to cook a full holiday feast this year. Besides...we really want to get out of town for a couple of days. So…off we go! We’ll have Thanksgiving lunch with Michael’s extended family, then we’ll go have dinner with my parents and brother that evening. Good food and time spent with loved ones…that’s the makings of a perfect Thanksgiving to me!!

I’ll be contributing something to both Thanksgiving meals, but am still trying to decide what to make. Since we arrive late Wednesday night, it’ll have to be something that’s either portable OR quick to whip up Thanksgiving morning. Michael is lobbying for more bread pudding, so that’s a strong contender. But..I may try something new this year. I need to do some perusing of blogs while I’m on my own at Casa Garcia the next couple of evenings and see what fun stuff all of y’all are planning for your menus. In case any of you are doing the same thing, I thought I’d share some links to a few of my favorite Thanksgiving/holiday recipes from last year. Perhaps one of them will grab your attention and make an appearance on your table next week.

My favorite holiday appetizer are these Filo Cups with Whipped Brie, POM Molasses, Pistachios, and Pom Arils. I created them for my POM Wonderful Dinner Party last year. They are so simple to make and totally delish…and they have a lot of WOW factor when you put them out on the table! They're so pretty on a serving plate...

Ina Garten’s Italian Roasted Broccoli is a fantastic side dish any time of year, but I think it would be especially nice Thanksgiving side dish. Roasted broccoli seasoned with olive oil, lemon zest, and pine nuts is a fantastic flavor combo. If your Thanksgiving menu is anything like mine, it’s easy for it to get carb-heavy. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s good to mix in a green veggie or two. I figure any calories saved means extra dessert for me, so there’s a method to the madness.

I grew up eating cranberry sauce from a can, which is sort of gelatinous and gross. I decided to try my hand at making homemade Cranberry Compote last year, and we all loved it! This riff on a Paula Deen recipe combines fresh cranberries, orange juice, apples, currants, pecans, and spices. Boy, is it ever delish!! 

Since cranberries are on sale this year, buy an extra bag and make this amazing Sweet & Tangy Cranberry Upside-Down Cake. I know that pumpkin pie is the traditional Thanksgiving dessert...or perhaps sweet potato pie if you live in the south...but why not try something a little bit out of the ordinary? Sweet cake and tart cranberries combine to make a great flavor combination.

Finally, here's my suggestion for what to do with at least some of the inevitable leftover turkey you're going to have. Make a big pot of Comforting Chicken and Dumpling Soup. By using leftover turkey breast, you'll save time...and get to eat a bowl of this delicious, filling soup that much quicker. This is a meal in a bowl, full of chicken (or turkey), lots of healthy veggies, and homemade herb-flecked dumplings.

So...that's my suggestions for some of my favorite Thanksgiving/holiday recipes! I can't believe that the holiday season is nearly upon us...this year has gone by so quickly. I think it's snuck up on me more than usual this year because of my hectic work schedule combined with our little New York getaway last month. It seems like it was just Labor Day. My parents always told me that the years go by quickly the older you get. I never quite believed them...but now I totally get it!!

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