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Archive for November, 2011

by Caitlin Saniga

I found this recipe while I was home in Ohio. Apparently I had interviewed my Baboo (grandma) and written up this recipe as part of a high school assignment on family history. Boy am I glad I did! This recipe comes from my great, great grandma Kucyk, and when I wrote this report, that was the first time this recipe was even written down.

I found this recipe while I was home in Ohio. Apparently I had interviewed my Baboo (grandma) and written up this recipe as part of a high school assignment on family history. Boy am I glad I did! This recipe comes from my great, great grandma, and when I wrote the report, that was the first time the recipe was ever written down.

  • 1 pound stew beef (cut into chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 12 cups warm water
  • 4 tablespoons beef bullion (Baboo would add more like 6 tablespoons, which made for a salty broth that we loved.)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can green beans, cut into sections
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 medium Idaho potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • salt, to taste

    Baboo would make vats of this soup and can it. Any time I stayed home sick from middle school or high school, we'd open a jar and heat up some soup. The saltiness is very soothing for a sore throat, the vegetables provide a number of nutrients and the beef adds protein. It's a power soup!

    Baboo would make vats of this soup and can it. Any time I stayed home sick from middle school or high school, we would open a jar and heat up some soup. The saltiness is very soothing for a sore throat, the vegetables provide a number of nutrients and the beef adds protein. It's a power soup!

In a large soup pot, season the beef with onion powder, and cook it until it browns. Add the water and bullion, and bring to a boil.

Add the vegetables, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Give the soup a good stir, set the lid on top of the pot, and let cook 30-35 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Season to taste with salt (if any!).

Makes 12 servings.

Recipe: Katherine Saniga (Baboo), passed down from her grandma.

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by Sarah Steimer

A cup of coffee (or in Anna's case, the whole pot) plus a couple of these guys is not a bad start to the day.

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter or other nut butter (if you keep it refrigerated, give it some time on the counter so it can get soft)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup flax seed
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (dark chocolate is healthiest)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries

Combine all ingredients and roll into small balls – although for me it was more like pressing them into small balls. Refrigerate and grab for breakfast.

Makes about 16 golf ball-sized energy nuggets.

Recipe: Anna Carney

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by Caitlin Saniga

This gratin was a nice alternative to mashed potatoes at Aunt Karen's Thanksgiving feast.

This gratin was a nice alternative to mashed potatoes at Aunt Karen's Thanksgiving feast.

  • salt
  • 3 pounds small potatoes (such as red or Yukon gold), sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering dish
  • 10 medium leeks, washed thoroughly, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, for garnish
Overlap the potatoes in a spiral or ring pattern in the dish.

Overlap the potatoes in a spiral or ring pattern in the dish.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot of salted boiling water, parboil potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes well and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Saute the leeks and garlic until the leeks are tender, about 7 minutes. Set aside.

In a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish or a large casserole dish, arrange half of the reserved potatoes in an overlapping pattern. Pour 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk over top and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Top with the reserved leeks and arrange remaining potatoes. Pour remaining cream and milk over potatoes and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake until the potatoes are tender, the top of the gratin is golden brown, and most of the cream and milk have been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Garnish with chives.

Recipe adapted from: Country Living (and prepared by Aunt Karen)

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by Sarah Steimer

Not only do you get to use leftovers for this smoothie - but it's also a healthy change of pace to the nonstop parade of stuffing, potatoes, turkey and so on.

  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup yogurt – I used French vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat or low-fat milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and serve. Makes two glasses.

In case you’re wondering, cranberries have lots of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases. They’re also known to help with urinary tract infections, gum disease and stomach ulcers. For more information, check out the Cranberry Institute’s website.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Part pot pie, part hot pastry pocket, this is the best way I've found to serve leftovers yet!

  • 1 prepackaged refrigerated pie crust dough (or Sarah’s crust dough recipe)
  • 1/2 cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup shredded turkey
  • 2 tablespoons gravy
  • 1/2 cup broccoli (or another green vegetable such as spinach, kale, green beans or asparagus)
  • 1/2 cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make as many substitutions as you want in this recipe. Use what you have! But make sure to include at least one moist ingredient (cranberry sauce, gravy, Italian dressing, etc.).

Preheat the oven to to 425 degrees.

Use a pizza cutter to slice the chilled, flattened dough into halves, and use the cutter to lightly score each half in half again.

Divide the sweet potatoes between each piece of dough, using a spoon to spread them  over half of the piece, avoiding about 3/4″ of dough around the edges and the scored line. Divide the turkey, gravy, broccoli, and cheese between the dough pieces, and lightly season each with salt and pepper.

Carefully lift the unused half of dough over the fillings, and use your fingers to press the edges of dough layers together. Reinforce this by pressing the prongs of a fork along the edges. Use the fork to poke holes in the top layer of dough.

Place the pocket pies on an baking sheet and bake 15-18 minutes, or until crust is golden-brown.

Serve hot.

Makes 2.

Other filling ideas:

  • pumpkin pie filling with chocolate chips, pecans and toasted coconut flakes
  • stuffing, turkey and gravy
  • cranberry sauce with mandarin orange slices
  • roasted potatoes with green beans and carrots

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Breakfast is usually not what you’re concentrating on Thanksgiving morning — but that doesn’t mean you have to skip it. We found two great recipes for you — a little savory, a little sweet — that store well so they can be made in advance. Since many of us are putting in the extra effort and making this or that from scratch for dinner, go ahead and allow yourself a shortcut for breakfast.

Spinach mini-quiches

by Caitlin Saniga

Any time I go home to Mom’s, she always welcomes me with a nice, warm breakfast. And she’s the master of eggs. She loves to improvise with eggs, adding cheese and any vegetables from the fridge. Whether it’s scrambled eggs or a frittata, she knows how to cook and season eggs to perfection — a skill I hope I’ve picked up. For Thanksgiving this year, I’d love to surprise her with some of these mini-quiches for breakfast.

Each mini-quiche is one or two bites, and I love that you don't have to sit down with a fork and knife to eat them. Keep them in the kitchen while you're assembling the Thanksgiving dinner so guests (and you, duh) can have something to snack on. They'll disappear in no time!

  • 2 circles of  chilled prepared pie crust dough (from a package)
  • 8 cups spinach (or 2 medium zucchini roughly grated)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus 1/2 teaspoon salt if using zucchini instead of spinach)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the cups of 2 12-cup mini muffin pans with cooking spray, or rub cups lightly with butter.

Use a 2-inch-diameter glass to cut circles from the pie crust dough. (Try to squeeze 12 circles from each pie crust dough circle.) Place each small circle of dough in the cup of a muffin pan, and use your fingers to press the dough into the corners at the bottom of the cup. (Toward the opening of the cups, the dough might bunch a little, but that’s OK.) Place prepared muffin pans in the fridge until filling is ready.

If using zucchini for this recipe, place the grated zucchini in a colander in the sink and sprinkle it with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let sit 30 minutes. Wrap zucchini in a towel, and squeeze out liquid.

Heat butter and olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until it turns translucent and starts to brown slightly on the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add the spinach, and cook until it wilts, 1-2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the feta, Parmesan, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and lime juice. Add the spinach mixture, and stir to combine.

Remove the muffin pans from the fridge, and divide the egg mixture between the pastry cups. Sprinkle a little grated Parmesan over each cup.

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until egg is cooked through and the cheese on top turns golden brown.

Makes 24 mini-quiches.

———————————————————————————

Sticky rolls

by Sarah Steimer

Sticky rolls are a given on our Thanksgiving mornings. We either make them in advance or at least have the dough thawed out to make quickly in the morning. When you’re trying your hardest to make Thanksgiving dinner from scratch (or close to it), give yourself a break and use this frozen dough — OR — next time you’re making bread, make extra dough and freeze it for these rolls. Either way, cut out a step or two. It’ll pay off when your feet are up instead of hustling through the kitchen.

How good would these be with little flecks of bacon...

  • Rhodes frozen white bread — 1 roll (comes in packs of three)
  • vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and divided in half, plus more butter for brushing
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided in half
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Coat the frozen roll in vegetable oil and wrap in plastic wrap (this way it won’t stick to the plastic). Refrigerate for about 12 hours or until it has thawed.

Click to enlarge for a better look at what the pan and dough should look like (whoops - product placement).

Use the end of a stick of butter to grease a 9-by-11-inch glass or metal baking dish OR a 9-inch round pan. In bowl, combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, water and syrup. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle with the nuts.

Roll out the thawed dough on a lightly greased or flour surface to make a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 2 remaining tablespoons melted butter, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar, along with cinnamon (however much you prefer) and raisins. Try to distribute everything as evenly as possible.

Roll the dough up width-wise (as in rolling along the longer side so the roll is longer than fatter). Cut into 12 equal pieces (I fail at this each time, don’t worry. I always mean to measure). Place the rolls in your pan, so the spiral is facing you.

Let the rolls rise, covered with a towel, for 30-60 minutes, or until they have doubled in size. It’s best to pop them in the oven to rise, putting the oven on its lowest setting. When ready, bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes then flip the rolls out of the pan (upsidedown) onto a rack. Drizzle any remaining brown sugar mixture from the pan onto the rolls.

These rolls can be frozen a few days ahead of time. Just let thaw or microwave for maybe 20-30 seconds.

Makes 12 rolls.

Recipe: Martha Steimer (the recipe used to be on the back of the Rhode’s Sweet Bread bags — but those apparently don’t exist anymore)

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by Sarah Steimer

My boyfriend Bill told me he could eat this every day. Probably a lie but awwww.

  • 3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half (1 pound of tomatoes is equal to about 5 medium tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed loosely
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in one layer on a baking sheet or glass baking dish and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Finish out the rest of your basil and tomatoes with this - because the season has ended, folks.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the canned tomatoes, basil and stock. Add the roasted tomatoes, including the liquid from the sheet, along with the heavy cream and cheese. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.

Pour a few cups of the soup into a blender at a time, so the blender is half full. Puree and transfer to a serving bowl. Continue until you have pureed all the soup.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: The Barefoot Contessa

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by Sarah Steimer

I like the crisp edges you get with baked mac and cheese - like any other human - but sometimes I'd rather have a mac that's nice and creamy.

  • 8 ounces Fusilli pasta (spirals)
  • 1 heaping cup smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 1/3 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup skim milk, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 packed cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, saute the onion in a pan with olive oil until translucent. When both are ready, drain the pasta and add it, along with the onions, into a slow-cooker.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour, mixing with a whisk until you’ve made a rue. Add 1/2 cup milk and continue whisking until it thickens to the consistency of cream. Add the cheeses, eggs, Greek yogurt, broth and salt and pepper. Mix until the cheese has melted then add to the slow cooker. Add remaining 1/2 cup milk.

Fold in the spinach. Cook on low for about an hour.

Serves four.

Recipe adapted (very loosely) from: a recipe my sister, Jess Sweeney, sent me – she made a different crock pot mac & cheese once and it stayed way more moist than what you usually pop in the oven.

*Throughout November, “Out of the Box” will guide you away from prepackaged mac and cheese and will feature oodles of our favorite recipes   -  all of which can be found here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Don’t even bother trying to cut this turkey with a knife. By the time it had cooked and I tried to lift it out of the slow cooker, the meat I was holding on to was so moist and soft that it fell away from the bone. I ended up using my hands to dismantle the turkey and pull it into thick, meaty shreds.

  • 1 6-pound bone-in turkey breast
  • 1 (1-ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix

I served this turkey for a small Thanksgiving gathering, and it was perfect for the group. There were three of us, and this made enough for dinner and lots of leftovers.

Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels. Cut off any excess skin, but leave the skin covering the breast. Rub onion soup mix all over the exterior the turkey and under the skin.

In the bowl of a slow cooker, pour just enough water to cover the base. Place the turkey in the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on High for 1 hour, then set to Low, and cook for 7 hours.

Save the liquid from the bottom of the slow cooker! Use it to moisten up the turkey when you reheat it later or use it to make gravy.

Recipe adapted from: AllRecipes.com

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by Sarah Steimer

I definitely talked this pie up to my family, so let's all hope I don't ruin it for Thanksgiving. Trying to maintain the "best daughter" image I've created.

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree,* or canned
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg for glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • pate brisee pie dough (recipe here)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream (can use the rest of the carton for whipped topping – just add a little cinnamon!)

*For the pumpkin puree

Use a pie pumpkin – such as a sugar pumpkin or long pie pumpkin – that is about 1 1/2 pounds. Do not use just any pumpkin, as some are stringier than others.

Using a sharp knife, pierce the skin of the pumpkin, going all the way through. Place in a glass baking dish and fill with about 1 inch of water.

Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until a butter knife can be easily inserted into the pumpkin.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Slice in half and remove the seeds. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a blender or food processor. Make sure there are no stringy bits and the puree is the same consistency throughout. Keep refrigerated.

Using my excess dough, I cut out leaf shapes with a cookie cutter. I brushed the leaves with the same egg wash used on the crust, sprinkled them with a little cinnamon and baked them on a cookie sheet for about 10 or so minutes.

For the pie

In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin puree and 3 eggs. Beat well. Add evaporated milk and combine.

Once your pate brisee has set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (hope you followed directions), roll it out into a 12-inch circle or so. The crust should be about 1/8 of an inch thick. Place the crust in a 9-inch glass pie dish and cut off the excess edges, leaving about 1/2-inch overhang. Pinch edges to form a decorative edge, if you so please.

Beat the remaining egg together with the tablespoon of cream and brush the crust, being sure to get into all the nooks. Fill with the pie mixture.

Place the pie on a baking sheet in the oven (not sure why, but I was afraid to find out). Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 minutes more. When I switched the heat, I took the pie out to let the oven lower its temperature and put foil over the crust edges – because you can never be too safe.

When the pie is done, the very center should still be a bit wiggly. Let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour.

Serve with whipped cream.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

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