Monday, November 20, 2023

Dried Cherry and Walnut Stuffing


I love this dressing. I make a lot of different ones but this might be my favorite. The combination of savory and sweet is over the top. The seasonings bring that traditional herbed stuffing flavor with the slight crunch of onions, celery and toasted walnuts. Bake this inside the turkey or in a separate dish. It’s a real crowd pleaser!

Dried Cherry and Walnut Stuffing

10 cups unseasoned cubed bread
1 pound Sage Sausage (I use Jimmy Dean in a roll)
1 cup butter, melted and divided
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 1⁄2 tablespoons of crumbled sage leaves (or 1 tablespoon ground)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons crumbled thyme leaves (or 1 tablespoon ground)
¼ cup parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple (optional)
2 cups toasted and chopped walnuts
1 ½ to 2 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter and set aside. Pour bread cubes in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium skillet, sauté the sausage over medium high heat until brown. Drain grease and transfer sausage to the bowl of bread cubes. Set aside.

Using the same skillet, melt two tablespoons of the butter and sauté onions and celery over medium heat. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently.  Add parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper and mix well. Add celery and onion mixture to bread cubes and toss to combine.

Drizzle just enough chicken broth to moisten the bread mixture. You do not want it too wet. I usually start off with a cup of the broth and continue to add to it as necessary. Allow the bread mixture to soak up the broth and add more if needed.  Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Pour mixture into a grease 9 x 13 baking dish. Drizzle top with remaining butter and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes or until brown and crisp on top.

NOTES:  You can use cherry flavored Craisins but it would be worth your time looking for real dried cherries.

If stuffing the turkey, stuff the neck and cavity loosely with stuffing, folding the neck skin under and fastening with skewer. Roast the turkey at 325 degrees for 15 minutes per pound or until the temperature reaches 170 degrees and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with fork. Let turkey rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

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Sunday, November 19, 2023

Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast with Cornbread Cranberry Nut Dressing

Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast with Cornbread Cranberry Nut Dressing

If you don’t want to roast a whole turkey, or you’re just looking for a new tradition, try a boneless stuffed turkey breast. I asked the meat department of my local grocery store if they could de-bone a turkey breast for me and they just pointed me to the meat case where they are already available!  First make your stuffing.  I made a cornbread cranberry nut stuffing for this one. 

Cornbread Cranberry Nut Dressing

2 tablespoons Butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 cups cubed and day old cornbread
1 cup dried white bread cubes
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth 

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery and sauté until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the fresh herbs, corn bread, bread cubes, pecans, cranberries and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside to cool slightly.
Next prepare the turkey.

One whole 4-5 pound boneless turkey breast of turkey with skin 
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme 
salt and pepper
6 sage leaves, chopped
Arrange turkey breast skin-side down on a clean surface so that it lies open and flat. Cover with plastic wrap, then pound lightly with a meat mallet to flatten and make an even thickness all over. Discard plastic wrap and season turkey with thyme, sage, salt and pepper.
Place stuffing on the breast and fold the edges of the turkey “envelope” over the stuffing. You should have the shape of a football.  Flip to skin side up. Roll and tie turkey with twine. Rub the turkey with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the turkey on a rack fitted into a large pan. 
Next pour cranberry glaze (see recipe below) all over turkey and roast covered at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees, uncover and continue roasting until temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve. 

Cranberry Glaze

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 shallot, finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
2 fresh sage leaves
1 cup fresh or thawed cranberries
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup apple cider, plus more if needed 
1/2 cup red-currant jelly
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallot, and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add sage leaves and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add cranberries, maple syrup, apple cider, jelly, salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium-high, and simmer until cranberries are soft and starting to burst, about 3 minutes. Continue to simmer gently over medium heat until it has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes; you should have about 1 1/4 cups. If glaze seems too thick, thin it with a little apple cider. Keep warm until ready to use.

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Twice Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes

Twice Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes

















You know that sweet potato casserole we all love?  You know the one….you mix up the sweet potato with butter and cream and eggs and then top it with pecan streusel? The one that makes you have to decide if you want streusel or mini marshmallows on top?   Well now you can create the same recipe and give each guest their own mini casserole served in the sweet potato!  How clever is that?  I make these every year and my guests love them.  












 But first, let me give you today’s lesson. Sweet potatoes and yams are NOT the same thing. We often use the words interchangeably, but it’s technically wrong.  Even some grocery stores sell sweet potatoes marked as yams.  And don’t even get me started on those canned things they call yams. While they’re both tubers, sweet potatoes are members of morning glory family and yams are members of the lily family.  Sweet potatoes are much sweeter than yams. Actually, yams are very starchy and not sweet at all. Always go for the orange sweet potato…. The more orange the better because they are usually the sweetest.


Twice Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes


4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed 

1/2 cup heavy cream 

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened 

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup miniature marshmallows 

1/2 cup brown sugar 

1/2 cup pecans, chopped 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake until fork tender, about 45 to 60 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. 











Once cooled, slice each potato in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the flesh into the bowl of a food processor leaving a 1/4" rim of flesh to support the potato skin. Try not to rip or puncture the little boat you have just created.











Add cream, butter, cinnamon, pecans, and salt to the bowl with the sweet potato and mix until smooth. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place empty sweet potato shells onto a baking sheet. Spoon the pumpkin mixture back into each shell. 

















Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans on top. Bake at 400 degrees until potatoes are hot, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and then top each potato with mini marshmallows.   


















Put back into the oven for about 3 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly browned and beginning to melt.

Keep a close watch on them so they don’t burn.  Serve immediately.















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Friday, November 17, 2023

Classic Vanilla Cake


Classic Vanilla Cake













I make this cake often because its so quick and simple to make.  Just a plain classic white cake but you can decorate it and change its personality for all occasions.  Today I just added some sliced strawberries but I have baked it for birthdays and other holidays and added sprinkles or chocolate kisses, or jelly beans for Easter.  The cake is classic. The ideas are limitless.

Classic Vanilla Cake


3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk, room temperature

2 1/4 cups flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans.













Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt then set aside.

To your stand mixer add the butter and sugar and beat them together until light and fluffy on medium speed, 2-3 minutesthen add in the eggs one at a time 15 seconds apart along with the vanilla then lower the speed to low. Add the flour mixture and milk, alternating a little of each at a time.












Pour into the cake pans evenly and baked for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Once cakes are cooled frost them with your buttercream frosting.
















 Buttercream Frosting 

1 cup unsalted butter

6 cups powdered sugar, about 2 pounds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-4 tablespoons heavy cream

To your stand mixer on low speed cream the butter then start adding in the powdered sugar in ½ cup increments until fully combined, then raise the speed to medium-high for 2 additional minutes.












Add in the vanilla and heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy for an additional minute





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Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Southern Pecan Pie

Southern Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie has to be one of the easiest pies to make. There isn’t a whole lot to it. You dump the ingredients in a bowl, stir it all together and bake it. If you want to make it easier, get a frozen pie shell. But I give you the recipe for my buttery crust. This pie is so easy and yet so delicious. Put this on your Thanksgiving table this year for all those oohs and aahs!

 Southern Pecan Pie
1 cup light corn syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) pecans 
In a medium bowl, combine the corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla. Mix until well combined.  Add the pecans. Mix well.
Pour into the unbaked pie crust.

Bake on center rack of the 350 degree preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

NOTE:  Pie is done when you tap on the center surface of pie lightly  it should spring back when done.  Top with whipped cream or ice cream.

Keep in mind, you can use a frozen pie crust for this pie. Just thaw before baking.

 Buttery Homemade Pie Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons frozen butter
3 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
To make the pie crust, whisk together the 1 cup of flour and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add to the flour. If I know I am making a pie, I put my butter in the freezer a few hours before. You want the butter to stay cold so try not to handle it any more than necessary.

Use a pastry blender, fork or 2 knives to cut the butter into the flour until it resembles small crumbs. Add just enough ice cold water to get the dough to form a ball.

Place on a floured surface.  Rub some flour on your rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. Roll the dough out to where it is about 1-inch larger than a 9-inch pie plate.

Turn your pie plate upside down on the rolled out dough to check it.  Carefully roll the dough up onto your rolling pin.  Transfer the dough to your pie plate and unroll it.  You can trim the edges or you can do like I do and fold the edges up under the dough so that it doesn't stick out past the lip of the pie plate.  Dip a fork in some flour and press the tines of the fork into the dough going all around the pie. You'll need to dip your fork in the flour fairly often.   Your crust is ready for your filling.

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