Saturday, November 21, 2009

Classic Herbed Bread Dressing

This is not the dressing I am making for Thanksgiving, but it is already in my recipe files on my computer, so I'm pasting it here. I'll try to get around to typing up my dressing recipe later, or in the next few days.

8 cups (3/4 inch cubed) french baguette (about 12 oz)
3 tbsp butter, divided
8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms (baby portabellas)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp kosher salt (use less if using canned broth)
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups homemade turkey or chicken broth (or low fat, low sodium canned chicken broth)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 325. Place bread on baking sheet, bake for 25 minutes, stirring once. Place bread in large bowl; increase oven temp to 375. Melt 2 tbsp butter in large skillet over medium heat. Addmushrooms, onion, and celery; cover and cook 5 min. Uncover; cook 17 min. or til tender. Stir in herbs.Add mushroom mixture, salt, and pepper to bread. Bring broth to boil in small saucepan; boil 15 min. or til reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Cool to room temp. Combine broth and egg in medium bowl, stir with whisk.Add to bread mixture, tossing to coat. Spoon bread mixture into a 3 quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 375 for 15 min. Melt 1 tbsp butter. Uncover dressing; brush with butter. Bake uncovered, 25 min. or til top is lightly browned. Makes 12 servings, about 3/4 cup per serving.

Party Ham Sandwiches

2 pkg (17 oz each) attached baked dinner rolls (24 rolls), cut in half
1/2 cup mayo
2 pkg (6 oz each) Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh shaved smoked ham
1 pkg (8 oz) cracker Barrel Cracker Cuts 2% Extra Sharp Cheddar
1/2 small red onion, cut into 24 thin slices
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp poppy seeds

Heat oven to 350. Place bottom halves of rolls in 15x10x1 inch pan; spread with mayo. Top with ham, cheese, onions, and tops of rolls. Mix remaining ingredients; brush onto sandwiches. Cover with foil.Bake 20 minutes or til heated through.

Scalloped Potatoes

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 1/2 lb red potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp pepper, divided
1 cup shredded Gruyere, divided
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a 9 inch round baking dish. Arrange half of onion slices in a circular pattern in dish, overlapping slightly. Repeat with potato, then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper,and 1/2 cup Gruyere. Drizzle with 2 tbsp butter. Repeat with remaining ingredients, finishing with a toplayer of potato slices. Bring milk to boil and carefully pour over potatoes. Bake til tender and golden,45-55 minutes.

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

2 lbs frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 C margarine or butter, melted
1 can Cream Of Chicken Soup
1/2 C onion, chopped
2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

Combine soup, onion, melted butter, and seasonings, stir well. Stir in cheese and frozen hash browns. Place in 9×13 dish and bake at 350 for thirty minutes, or until bubbly. Very similar to Cracker Barrel's hashbrown casserole.

Southern Chess Pie

1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
5 tbsp. cream
1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. lemon juice
9 inch pie shell

Mix sugar and flour together. Beat eggs lightly with cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add this to the sugar and flour. Add melted butter and mix well. Put in a 9 inch pie shell and bake at 325 for 45 minutes or til done.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is the dessert I'll be making for our family this Thanksgiving.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 (8 ounces each) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine crust ingredients; press into bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 325° for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese with cream, pumpkin, sugar, egg yolks, flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla, spices, and salt. Beat until smooth. Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into the pumpkin mixture. Spoon batter into crust. Bake at 325° for 1 hour.
Combine topping ingredients; spread over cheesecake and bake 5 minutes longer. Chill thoroughly before serving, and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pie

1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
2 unbaked pie shells

Place 1 c. each of chocolate chips in unbaked pie shells. Mix remaining ingredients well; pour into pie shells. Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes. Makes two pies. If you only want one pie, then split all ingredients in half.

Caramel-Pecan-Apple Pie

1 box (15 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/3 cup caramel topping
2 to 4 tablespoons chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie using 9-inch glass pie plate. 2. In large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust;seal edges and flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch-wide strips of foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking. 3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Immediately after removing pie from oven, drizzle with caramel topping; sprinkle with pecans. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving.

Caramel Nut Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup cocktail peanuts, chopped, divided
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
6 tbsp butter or marg, melted
4 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

Heat oven to 350. Line 13x9 inch pan with foil, with ends etending over sides. Mix crumbs, 1/2 cup nuts,1/4 cup sugar, and butter; press onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 min. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, remaining sugar and vanilla with mixer til well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time,beating after each just til blended. Pour over crust. Bake 35 min. or til center is almost set; coolcompletely. Refrigerate 4 hours. Top with remaining nuts and caramel topping. Use foil handles to liftcheesecake from pan before cutting to serve. Makes 16 servings.

Buttermilk Congealed Salad

Yes, it sounds disgusting. No, it is not disgusting. Some people call these things jello salads, or jello fluff, or something similar. I try to call it jello fluff around here, coz hubby gets all grossed out by "congealed salad".

1 can crushed pineapple (20 oz, DO NOT DRAIN)
2 C buttermilk
8 oz tub of whipped topping
2 small boxes jello (any flavor, strawberry is my fave)

Heat Pineapple in juice, bring to a boil. Add jello and mix well. Remove from heat and add Buttermilk, stir. Stir in whipped topping. Pour into a sizable container, something around 13x9 sized or a bowl that will hold about the same amount. Refrigerate, preferably overnight so it has enough time to set up, but at least 4-6 hours. Low fat buttermilk and low fat cool whip both work just fine in this recipe.


With Thanksgiving coming up, I figured I'd put up some recipes that could come in handy for that- lots of desserts, and side dishes, and anything else that seems holiday/get-together like, in case anybody actually looks at this thing and can get some good ideas.
My husband has told his single troops/troops without any family that they are welcome in our home for Thanksgiving. He told me there are only about 6, so it wouldn't be too many people. So far, we don't have any takers. And honestly, I'm kind of glad. I really don't think I'm up for cooking for a crowd this year, especially with the problems I've had with my back all week. Now don't get me wrong, I love to cook for people and take care of others- it's what I do. One Thanksgiving in Japan, I had broken a bone in the top of my foot just a few days before Thanksgiving, and had already planned on cooking a full Thanksgiving meal for the cops that were having to work that day, PLUS cooking another full meal for our family. And instead of crapping out on them at the last minute and leaving them hanging with no meal while they were working hard, I hobbled around my kitchen with a giant cast on my leg and I cooked them a feast. A whole turkey, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, dressing, corn, carrots, dumplins, rolls, a few desserts, and I can't even remember what else there might have been. Aaron and I loaded it all up in the car (and I had to navigate up and down a very steep flight of stairs to and from our apartment) and drove it over and set it all up. They were very grateful, Aaron even got a coin from the Commander for it. And I went home and did it all over again for us. And it made me feel good. But I just don't really feel like entertaining a bunch of folks that I don't even know, in my own home, while cooking them a feast. Too much pressure for me right now. We are usually back home with my parents for Thanksgiving, but that didn't work out this year. But so far, here is what I plan on cooking:
-a whole turkey breast (not worth it to me to do a whole turkey this year, GI Joe doesn't care much for turkey and wanted ham instead, but I have to make some turkey)
-a spiral sliced glazed ham
-green bean casserole
-dressing (we don't generally do "stuffing" in the South. You just don't go shoving food up the hind-end of a turkey. You cook it on the side, it usually involves cornbread, and it is delicious)
-dumplins (yes, DUMPLINS, not dumplings with a "G", again with the Southern-ness, you just gotta say it right! And it isn't those long flat things in a box that you cook up, it's biscuit dough boiled in chicken broth. Mmmmm)
-jellied cranberry sauce in a can. The stuff that's shaped like a can. That alone says Thanksgiving!
-glazed carrots
-homemade rolls
-pumpkin cheesecake

And that's what it looks like so far. Probably won't change, unless people decide to join us. Then it will just be larger amounts of that stuff, and I'll probably also add in a big pot of homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, and another dessert. And some appetizers (maybe cheese/crackers/veggies/fruit, and sausage balls).
Now, I'm off to post some recipes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

WW Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

This is part of dinner tonight along with the recipe that is posted after it, Sesame Tofu.

3 cups fat free, less sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
1 (4 oz) package gourmet blend mushrooms (baby bella, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms), sliced (I can find these at Publix with no problem, but haven't seen them anywhere else where I live)
1/2 of a 16 oz. package firm tofu, drained and cubed (if you don't know how to drain tofu, then read through the next recipe for sesame tofu, it tells you how)
1/4 cup drained sliced bamboo shoots, cut into julienne strips
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (I've used both seasoned and unseasoned and both work fine)
1/4 tsp ground white pepper (this isn't something I keep on hand, so I just use black pepper)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp sesame oil
sliced green onions, optional

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add tofu and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to soup. Bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute or til soup begins to thicken. Reduce heat to medium. Pour egg in a slow, steady stream into simmering soup, and stir. Stir in sesame oil. Garnish with green onions, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 5 servings, 1 cup each.

Sesame Tofu

Tonight for dinner is Sesame Tofu and weight watchers Hot and Sour Soup. Each recipe uses a 1/2 block of tofu so it works out well together. If you've never had tofu and it freaks you out, don't let it scare you, give it a try. The irst time I ever had tofu was when we lived in Japan, and I thought it was a very moist and tender chicken for the first several bites when it finally clicked- "hey, I think this is tofu".

1/2 lb. firm tofu
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sherry or marsala
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
6 green onions
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup sliced carrots (thin sliced coins, or shredded, or however you want 'em)
10 mushrooms, cut in thick slices
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (I don't use fresh ginger, and I don't use much of the powdered stuff...just not a ginger fan)
2 cups cooked Chinese vermicelli (I have never actually seen Chinese vermicelli in any store. I either use a couple of packs of Ramen without the seasoning, or a pack of these thin Japanese noodles I can find at the commissary, or even angel hair pasta works)
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Cut the block of tofu into 3/4 inch thick slices. Line a cookie sheet with several paper towels and place the tofu in a single layer on them. Cover with another layer of paper towels, and a second cookie sheet. Recipe now says to press it and slice into matchsticks, but what you really need to do get it drained well is place some heavy stuff on top of the 2nd cookie sheet- a few large canned goods, a few books, a brick if you have those laying around....whatever. Let it sit about 20 minutes or so while you prep all your other stuff. Then proceed to the rest of the recipe as such: Cut your drained tofu into 1/2 inh matchsticks and place in a bowl. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, sherry or marsala, and the garlic together and pour over the tofu. Let marinate for 10 minutes. Drain tofu and set aside 2 tbsp of the marinade. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the butter and sesame oil over medium heat. Finely slice the white ends of the green onions and saute' for 1 minute. Add the broccoli and carrots, and stir-fry til tender. Add the mushrooms and ginger, and stir-fry til tender. Slice the tops of the green onions on an angle and add to the pan along with the tofu. Stir-fry til heated through. Add the vermicelli, the reserved marinade, and the sesame seeds. Stir gently, heat through, and serve.

Apple Cheese Casserole

Sounds disgusting, right? But damn, it's good.

2 cups canned, sliced apples, drained (not apple pie filling, and not sweetened)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
8 oz. grated velveeta
1/2 cup butter, melted (do not use margarine)

Put apples in bottom of 8x9 baking dish, or similar size. Mix together flour, sugar, cheese, and butter to make a "dough". Pat out on top apples and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. If doubling the recipe, use only 12 oz. velveeta instead of 16 oz.