Make Thanksgiving 2014 the Best Yet With My Favorite Recipes

If you're lucky, you have been invited to someones home for Thanksgiving.  If everyone else is lucky, then you're preparing these fabulous recipes for your celebration.  I'm not going to lie, these recipes will push your meal right over the top!

This recipe for Southern Yams is probably my favorite Thanksgiving dish.  This dish is made even better with some healthy substitutions from my daughter.  Definitely my fav.

If you haven't tried to brine your turkey, this is the year.  Hopefully your bird is in the process of thawing or if you purchased a fresh turkey, because tomorrow is the day to start the brining process.

You will love his recipe for Roasted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy is amazing.

Turkey Brine makes turkey moist and flavorful.  If you have never brined a turkey, you are missing out.

I you only make one item from my Thanksgiving menu it has to be this Fresh Cranberry Relish!

I can eat this with a spoon right from the bowl.

Crescent Dinner Rolls are made with a refrigerated dough.  It's nice to have the dough made in advance.  The  morning of Thanksgiving you can just simply roll out the rolls and let them rise.

One recipe two different varieties.  Orange rolls are a must on our table.

Heavenly Orange Rolls

These can be made a week in advance and frozen.  Thaw the morning of Thanksgiving, uncovered. Reheat in a 300 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes.

You can't have rolls without Raspberry Honey Butter

This is a start.  Check out my blog for pies, sides and salads.


My Favorite Oatmeal After a Cold Morning Run with Apples and Cranberries

A few of my favorite things (besides the obvious):
  1. Gray wool - I love it as much as George Costanza loves velvet
  2. I love cats. I love every kind of cat
  3. Dark Chocolate 70% or higher - I've been devouring two 70% Theo bars a week
  4. Oatmeal - with an exclusion of instant and quick cooking
What would be my perfect day?  Home alone sitting in my favorite chair wearing gray wool with a kitty on my lap eating a bowl of Irish Oats with broken up Theo bars and a drizzle of cream. 

With that said...

It was 12 degrees this morning when I laced up my running shoes.  The running gals and I had decided years ago that our cut off temperature for running is 8 degrees (I have no idea where we came up with that number)  Hooray!  The run is on and the ladies will be knocking at my door at 7:00 a.m. My favorite oatmeal is waiting to warm me up approximately 6 miles from now.

One of the best mornings of my life.

I make this oatmeal in one form or another pretty much every morning during the cold winter months.  I use whatever fruit I have on hand and whatever nut I feel like that day.

Recipe of the day:
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 teaspoon butter (optional)
1 1/2 cups water
healthy pinch of salt

1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Apple pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves)
Almond milk

I like to start my steel cut oats the night before.  I use 1/2 cup oats to 1 1/2 cups water with a pinch of salt.

I like to toast my oats first in 1 teaspoon butter.  I love the butter flavor, but you can dry pan roast the oats.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.

Add 1/2 cups steet cut oats.

Stir over medium heat until the oats begin to toast.  You will begin to smell the toasting.  I love the smell.

Add 1 1/2 cups hot water.

And a healthy pinch of salt.

Bring to a simmer.  Cover and remove from the heat.  Let stand overnight.

The next morning, remove the lid and the oats will just need to be reheated then they are ready to eat.

I like to add 1/4 cup almond milk.

Let the oats simmer over low heat while making the compote topping, which will make your mouth water.

This is what I'm using this morning.

1 golden delicious apple
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, sorted through to take out the shriveled nasty ones.
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, which I just happen to have on hand.

Peel and core the apple.


Melt 1 teaspoon butter in a small skillet.

Add the apples and cranberries.

Stir to coat the fruit.

Add apple pie spices.

Add 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup.

Bring to a simmer and cover for about 5 minutes.

After about 5 minutes the juices will start to flow.

Add the walnuts.

Stir to coat the walnuts. Done!

Pour half of the oats in a bowl and top with the hot apple cranberry compote.

I like to drizzle a bit more almond milk over top.


Now where's my kitty?

Steel Cut Oats with Apples and Cranberries

1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 teaspoon butter (optional)
1 1/2 cups hot water
healthy pinch of salt

1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Apple pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves)
1/4 cup Almond milk

The night before serving:
Melt 1 teaspoon butter in a saucepan.  Add oats.  Stir to toast.  Pour in 1 1/2 cups hot water and salt. Bring to a simmer.  Cover with a lid and remove from heat.  Allow to sit overnight.

When ready to serve, Add 1/4 cup almond milk and reheat over low heat.  In a small skillet melt 1 teaspoon butter and add apples, cranberries and maple syrup.  Stir to coat.  Add spices stir to coat the fruit.  Cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Uncover.  Add nuts stir to coat the nuts.  Serve hot with reheated oatmeal.  Serves 2

Print this recipe


Autumn and Apples

 I woke up this morning to a skimming of snow on the ground.  I looked out the window sadly at the snow and thought "and so it begins".  The air was crisp on my morning run.  I came home just a bit chilled and made myself a big bowl of old fashioned oatmeal topped with sauteed apples, walnuts and maple syrup.  My comfort food.

Over the years I have posted some of my favorite apple comfort desserts.  I would hate for these wonderful desserts to be forgotten.  Here is just a little reminder of what makes my heart happy.

Apple Crepes.  Breakfast or dessert?  Yes.

Sour Cream Apple Pie.  This should be on everyone's Thanksgiving dessert list.  My dad always says that his two favorite pies are hot or cold apple.

Slab Apple Pie.  This should be in everyone's lunch box.

Karen's Fresh Apple Cake served with luscious fat sauce.

I'm still fond of eating a plain crisp apple.  Don't you just love biting into a crisp apple and the juices run down the palm of your hand all the way to your elbow?  That's the best way to eat an apple.

Enjoy the season.


Slab Pizza Pie

I have a dream.  I actually have so many dreams that my husband can't keep up. I think it's pretty reasonable to ask for a wood fired pizza oven in my back yard.  I'm married to a General Contractor. You would think he could make this happen.  

I feel lucky enough to have a couple of pizza stones. I can pretend I have a wood fired oven.  I have to admit when I start to crank the heat up in my oven to achieve that perfect crisp crust, there may have been a few small fires sparked.  The smoke alarm generally goes off and it scares the living h*** out of my Maine Coon cats.  I generally hear the comment, "what's mom burning now".  


When I was growing up the only pizza I had came from a packaged box mix by Apian Way. Inside the box was a package of crust mix and a small can of pizza sauce.  My mom would mix the crust with water a push it into a baking sheet.  We didn't own a round pizza pan only a rectangular baking sheet.  The canned sauce was spread over the dough.  We generally only had mild cheddar cheese, so that was used and my mom would fry up some ground beef and sprinkle on top.

Pizza was not my favorite food as a child.

If you don't own a pizza stone or a wood fired oven, this recipe is a great alternative for a crisp crust pizza that will feed a herd.

I decided to use the Crusty Bread dough recipe for the crust.  I added 1/2 cup more flour so the dough would be easier to work with and not so sticky.

For this recipe you will need:

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water

You can follow step-by-step instructions to mix the crust dough here.  Allow dough to sit overnight at room temperature.

Once the dough has risen overnight, I am ready to build the pizza.

Pour 1/3 cup olive oil onto a baking sheet.

This is the crusty bread dough with an additional 1/2 cup flour that I mixed the night before.  It has been raising for approximately 14 hours.  You don't have to let your dough raise that long and it can raise as long as 18 hours.

Drop the dough onto the oiled baking sheet.

Carefully press the dough to the edges of the baking sheet.

This won't happen the first attempt.  The dough will need to rest off and on while to get it to reach the sides of the pan without putting holes in it.  Be patient it could take up to an hour.  Prepare in advance.  I have covered the dough with plastic wrap and let it set for up to 2 hours until I was ready to bake the pizza.  It's ok for it to sit for a while.

I like the fact that I can leave the dough ready to go for a couple of hours.  This way when everyone is ready to eat, all I have to do is add the toppings and bake. I love anything that can be prepared in advance.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap while preparing the other ingredients.

Sauce and toppings:

1/3 cup olive oil
1 28-oz can plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup olive oil (in addition to the 1/3 cup above)
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup kalamata olives
8 slices prosciutto 

Before you begin to assemble the ingredients preheat oven to 525 degrees Fahrenheit or as hot as your oven will go.

I personally love a chunky tomato sauce.

Crush the tomatoes with your hands.  It's pretty messy and I squirt seeds everywhere.

To the crushed tomatoes, add 2 cloves garlic, chopped.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add 1/4 cup olive oil.

Chop 1/4 cup fresh basil.

Stir ingredients together and set aside.

My local grocery store just happened to be pulling fresh mozzarella today.  Lucky me!

Fresh mozzarella can be difficult to shred, so I'm going to dice it.

I have about 2 cups.  You can use more or less.

Halve the olives, if you desire.

Cut the onion in half leaving the root in tact.

I just barely trimmed off the roots.  I want to keep the ends intact.

Cut thin slices.

Set aside.

I'm making one last attempt to pull the dough to the corners of the baking sheet.

Layer is this order.  Mozzarella first.

Spoon on 1 1/2 cups of crushed tomatoes. You will have left over sauce.

Add sliced onions.  I like to fan them out a bit because it looks cool.

Add the sliced olives.

Top with prosciutto.

Place in a preheated 525 degree Fahrenheit oven on the lowest rack.

Bake for about 15 minutes or so.  I like the edges to get crisp and brown.

Remove from oven.  Let cool for about 5 minutes.  At this point the pizza can be carefully lifted out of the baking sheet onto a large cutting board, if desired for easy cutting.  You can always just leave it in the pan for serving as well.

There you have it Slab Pizza.  Of course you can choose your own toppings.  May I suggest thin sliced sandwich pepperoni and jalapenos.  Just remember not to overload the pizza, it can make the crust a bit soggy and the goal is a nice crisp crust.

Slab Pizza Pie

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water

Sauce and toppings:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 28-oz can plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup olive oil (in addition to the 1/3 cup above)
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded or cubed.
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half
8 slices prosciutto 

For the crust:  Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set at room temperature overnight or at least 8-10 hours.

When ready to prepare pizza:
Preheat oven to 525 degrees or as hot as your oven can get.  Coat a baking sheet with 1/3 cup olive oil.  Scrape the dough from the bowl into the baking sheet and gently press the dough toward the edges and corners of the pan.  Let the dough rest until it can be eased into the corners.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.  Dough can set for at least 2 hours before topping.

For the sauce: Crush tomatoes with your hands into a bowl.  Add minced garlic, salt, chopped basil and olive oil.  Stir.  

To assemble:  First, spread mozzarella cheese on the dough.  Second, carefully spoon sauce over top of the cheese.  Third, add onions, olives and prosciutto.  Place in preheated oven on the lowest rack and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serves 6

Inspiration:  Mom and Bon Appetite Magazine