Posts tagged Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Pie Bars with Maple Icing

Pumpkin Pie Bars with Maple

Does your pumpkin pie recipe need an update? Try making these instead – they pack all the flavor of pie in a bar.

I’m all for a few shortcuts on making these so I use a boxed spice cake mix to make the crust and I don’t need to add much extra spice, it’s already in there. To make a smooth, spreadable filling I lightened the pumpkin puree with softened cream cheese. Streusel topping? I included that, too, to add crunchiness. The final touch is a drizzle of maple icing.

Pumpkin Pie Bars with bite

Recipe

Servings: 1, 9×13 pan

Prep time: 15-20 minutes plus baking

Ingredients

Crust

1 box spice cake mix (or keep it mild and use a white or butter cake mix)

1/2 cup butter, melted

 

Filling

1, 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup canned pumpkin

1/8 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

 

Topping

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

2/3 cup flour

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 tsp. salt

 

Icing (opt.)

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp. milk

1/4-1/2 tsp. maple flavoring

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare a 9×13″ baking dish by spraying it and then put down a piece of parchment and spray again.
  3. In a bowl, combine the boxed cake mix and the butter. Stir until the mixture becomes a dough.
  4. Press the dough into the bottom of the casserole dish.
  5. Place the crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the other ingredients.
  6. In another bowl, use a hand-held mixer to whip the cream cheese and sugar together until fluffy. Add in the pumpkin puree and the egg and mix until combined.
  7. One more bowl – mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it becomes crumbly.
  8. Take the crust out of the refrigerator and pour the pumpkin mixture on it. Top with the streusel.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes – be careful the bottom can brown quickly.
  10. Allow the bars to cool, cut.
  11. In a small bowl (ok, one more bowl) whisk together the icing ingredients. Drizzle over the slices. Allow time for the icing to set and harden on the slices before serving.

Pumpkin Pie Bars stacked

 

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Caribbean Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving buffet pic

Maybe it’s the dip in temperatures but this year we decided on a Caribbean theme for Thanksgiving. Each year we try a new spin on Thanksgiving, last year it was all Mexican fare but today it was plantain time!

Kids in the snow

Snow outside…Caribbean food inside

Here’s what we had on the menu…

Grilled turkey breast marinated with jerk seasoning.

Jerk turkey pic

Ropa vieja, a Cuban style shredded beef dish

Ropa vieja pic

Mofongo, a traditional Caribbean dish made with fried plantains, bacon, and heaps of garlic

Mofongo pic

Jerk-spiked rice with anise, cinnamon, cumin, and red beans

Jerk rice pic

Dinner rolls with pineapple juice in the mix

Hawaiian rolls pic

Dessert….coconut pumpkin pie, chocolate pecan coconut tart with orange essence, and flourless chocolate cookies

Thanksgiving desserts pic

And yes, I’m headed to the gym tomorrow.

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Cowboy Thanksgiving

Photo credit: TheBlaze.com

This year’s Thanksgiving theme–cowboy style!

While we’re keeping our meal fairly low-key, each year we try to do a little bit of a twist on traditional recipes. So this year we’re trying to infuse each dish with some Southwest flavor.

Here’s what’s on the list so far:

Grilled turkey–We’re marinating a boneless turkey breast in chipolte mojo sauce (courtesy of Goya) and then grilling it outside.

Yummy potatoes–Also called “funeral potatoes,” I’m mixing in sliced jalapenos and sharp cheddar cheese

Smokin’ gravy–As long as the we’re turning up the heat on the barbecue and the smoker, the plan is to make the gravy and then put it in the smoker to infuse it with hickory

Bacon green beans–Instead of fried onions, I’m topping my green beans with chopped up bacon (and a dash of cayenne pepper)

Chorizo cornbread stuffing–Spicy sausage called chorizo melds perfectly with cornbread

Your turn–are you making any new recipes for Thanksgiving this year or tweaking traditional favorites?

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Mexican Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. Around here I happily spent very little time in the kitchen. Mr. Squid took over and made a Mexican feast. I wanted to pass along a few pictures, but I’m saving the recipes for 2012–after all, it’s time to start baking holiday cookies!

Our meal–Mole is a complex, hearty sauce that melds dozens of spices with chiles, chocolate, and nuts. The red mole (mole poblano) we make is traditionally made with turkey. Mr. Squid seared a bone-in turkey breast and then cooked it all day in a mole sauce in the crockpot. After cooking for hours the meat literally fell off the bone–no worries on how to carve the bird! To finish off the meal, he served it with whipped mashed potatoes (my job), fried white and blue corn tortilla strips, ranchero beans and garnished the dish with Mexican crema and fresh cilantro. I wish there were still leftovers!

Mr. Squid used the mole sauce as gravy for the potatoes--yummy

The sauce-soaked meat fell off the bone

Pinto beans roasting with epazote, onions, bacon, tomatoes, and cilantro

For dessert I made a streusel apple pie

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Thanksgiving recipe round-up

What about pumpkin pie...and cheesecake?

Gearing up for the big Thanksgiving holiday?  Here are some recipes to make quick appetizers, yummy sides, and desserts for the big day. Also, if you’re looking to learn a little bit more about the first Thanksgiving, check out my post at WanderingEducators.

Appetizers

Forget the crackers and cheese tray: These appetizers will impress your guests, without you spending hours in the kitchen.

Veggie quesadillas

Throw together these quesadillas for a quick pre-meal munchie for guests.

Edamame Spread

Maggie Long of the Ann Arbor’s Jolly Pumpkin Café & Brewery serves this edamame spread with pizza pieces, you could use sourdough bread slices.

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Hummus

Crisp pita chips to go along with this hummus that uses peanut butter in place of tahini sauce.

Sides

Add dried cranberries to give the bistro green beans a holiday flare

Looking to tweak your stand-by holiday sides just a little? These recipes will give you some ideas.

Whipped mashed potatoes

Use your hand-held blender and extra milk to make your potatoes extra creamy.

Bistro green beans

Update your green bean dish with this recipe. Bonus: it won’t take up oven space.

Butter crescent rolls

Looking for a no-fail roll recipe? This IS it.

Dessert

Along with pumpkin pie, why not try some of these tempting sweets too?

Achatz apple pie

Michigan’s premiere pie maker, Wendy Achatz, passed along this simple recipe. Start peeling the apples…

Raspberry tart

Use a pre-made piecrust in a tart pan for something a little fancier than pie. And don’t worry, this dessert only looks hard to make.

Pumpkin cookies

Why not put the pumpkin in cookies instead of pie this year? Just Baked’ s Pam Turkin shares her recipe.

Chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake

Usually, I save this for Christmas, but my teen has been begging for us to have this on Thanksgiving too.

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Whipped mashed potatoes

Growing up my Thanksgiving assignment was always potato duty. I’d use the potato masher to work out all of the lumps, then make it creamy by adding melted butter and milk at the end. But it never seemed like the butter really worked its way into the potatoes using the masher. Not any more! I use my handheld mixer instead of the masher to turn out creamier potatoes.

Whipping your potatoes takes a lot less time and it gives them an airy consistency that just soaks up gravy. I add butter for flavor and milk as the liquid but you can play around with both ingredients to make your potatoes healthier—or more decadent.

To lighten this recipe you can use nonfat sour cream (or nonfat cream cheese) and nonfat milk to give the whipped mashed potatoes their smooth texture. But if you’re not worried about the calories (and hey, if this is for Thanksgiving, who is?!), you can add both the butter, sour cream and use half and half or heavy cream in place of the milk. I’ve included a balanced version here—just enough butter so that you can taste it but not so much dairy that it overwhelms the potato flavor.

That brings me to potatoes. For mashing, I usually use whatever is on sale at the grocery store, which means I get the big bag marked ‘Idaho potatoes.’ But if you’re looking for something different, Yukon Gold potatoes have a yellow flesh that’s sweeter than the Idaho variety, when I want to splurge, I buy Yukons.

Recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

5-8 medium potatoes

2 Tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

¼-1/3 cup milk

¼ cup sour cream (optional)

Salt

pepper

Directions

  1. Peel and dice the potatoes into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Bring a large cooking pot filled with water to a boil. Add ½ teaspoon salt to the water.
  3. Carefully place the potatoes into the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the potatoes and add them to a large mixing bowl, place the butter on top immediately.
  5. Using a handheld mixer, start on the lowest setting, mixing the butter into the potatoes for 2 minutes.
  6. Add half of the milk and mix on medium high. Add more milk until you reach your desired consistency.
  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

*This recipe can be doubled—or tripled…

More Thanksgiving recipes to come! I have a winner in the Hardwood Oak Cutting Board Giveaway. It was lucky #16 this time. Congrats to TeresaR.

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Making Thanksgiving Fun for Kids

Trouble board gameTrouble. Sorry. Whoonu. Don’t worry–I’m not expecting any problems on Thanksgiving, other than maybe a little indigestion. These are the games I’m going to bring over to a friend’s house where we’re spending the day.

See, sometimes Thanksgiving can seem like more of a grown-up holiday. So this year I’m trying to look for ways to keep my kids involved (and to win at least a round or two of Uno—seriously, when did my 7 year-old become such a card master?!).

Plus I’m really looking forward to spending some time with my girls without having to worry about homework getting done, being late for basketball practice, or even keeping up with my email.

Here’s what I’m planning so far–I’d love to hear your ideas too!

Board games.

Classics like Checkers and Monopoly can be fun, but since we’ll be with friends, I’m bringing along games that encourage conversation.

  • Whoonu lets players rank items on cards according to how much they like them. You rank “macaroni and cheese” above “petting zoos”? Cue: Whoonu?
  • Apples to Apples Junior is another favorite, giggle-inducing, didn’t-know-that-about-you game. Players take turns being the “judge.” The judge puts down a green apple card that has a word on it, say “dangerous,” and from the other players’ stash of 5 cards, they put down what they think best matches. The judge then picks the winner–and at least at our house–has to justify why she chose “doing the dishes” over “pirates” as the best match with “dangerous.”
  • For more board games your family might enjoy, click through this round-up of games from Parents.com. I’ve been checking out their site as part of the Motherboard team.

Napkin animals.

My 9-year-old has become an origami machine. She’s already filled two shoe boxes (and we’re talking winter boot boxes here!) full of paper-fashioned frogs and snakes dragons. I asked if she wouldn’t mind trying out some of her skills with napkins and her eyes went two shades brighter blue. She went and grabbed her origami book and read the Table of Contents asking what requests I had. So along with bringing rolls, a dessert, and some games, we’re bringing napkin animals.

Baking art.

Lately, when I’m making batches of goodies to give to friends, I save a little dough for my kids. I just let them create whatever shape comes to mind. Last week my 9 year-old crafted a volcano sugar cookie oozing with raspberry jam lava. And before that my 7 year-old built snowmen out of coconut truffle dough, complete with M&M eyes. So along with making one regular batch of dinner rolls, I’m going to let my three kids roll out the second batch. My guess is some will end up crescent shaped, some frogs (a current fascination) and others snakes–because it’s just fun to roll the dough out with two hands and then add a couple raisins for eyes.

Do you remember anything fun that you did as a child at Thanksgiving to make it memorable? Are you planning on doing anything different this year to keep your kids involved?

*Reminder: If you haven’t already, make sure to enter the King Arthur $60 Giveaway. The deadline for the contest is next Monday.

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Pumpkin potato gratin & mushroom swiss chard from Chef Joseph George

From Chef Joseph George, the executive chef at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Acme, Michigan.

Pumpkin Potato Gratin & Mushroom Braised Swiss Chard

Recipe
Pumpkin Potato Gratin
Ingredients
1 quart heavy cream
1 16oz. can pumpkin puree
8 peeled Idaho potatoes
1 T. nutmeg mixed with 1 T. cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1 pound grated parmesan Reggiano
Directions

Grease a 9×13 baking pan.  In a small container, mix pumpkin puree, cream and cinnamon mixture.  On a mandolin, slice potatoes very thin, layer potato, cream mixture, salt and pepper then parmesan.  Continue again until pan is full to the top.  Bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (or until soft all the way through), bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes until golden brown.  Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before cutting.

Mushroom Braised Swiss Chard
Ingredients
8 stalks Swiss chard – julienned
4 pints button mushrooms – sliced
3 peeled shallots – diced
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 head garlic cut in half
Salt and pepper
12 oz. white wine
½ pound butter
Juice of 2 lemons

Directions
In a medium rondo pan, place mushrooms, shallots, thyme, garlic, wine, butter and lemon cook on medium heat covered for approx. 15 minutes.  The mushrooms should release a good amount of liquid, at this time, add the Swiss chard and simmer for 5-7 minutes covered.  Strain and serve.

Assembly

Cut potato gratin into squares, place over braised Swiss chard/mushroom mixture.  Garnish with fried onions, shaved Reggiano or fresh vegetables.

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Rich Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake

Raspberry chocolate cheesecake

Wanna slice?

Growing up, we never had pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Ever. Our holiday dessert was usually a tart with a mosaic of macadamia nuts, pecans and chocolate chips. I’m not sure how pumpkin pie got taken out of our holiday mix, but I liked that our family didn’t have the usual spread of stuffing and cranberry sauce.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I fully realized the appeal of traditional favorites–and that I was the only one who thought that buttered egg noodles with poppy seeds was Thanksgiving staple. Who knows how certain family food traditions get started!

We now have a holiday tradition for ending our turkey-day meal with cheesecake, chocolate raspberry cheesecake. I’ve included the recipe below, but I don’t want to make you nervous about trying this because the directions go on and on. See, I want you to have the best, crack-free, dense cheesecake possible so I’ve included ever little trick along the way.

Remember, making a good cheesecake is all about patience, not talent (this is from someone who’s never mastered souffles). Even better, cheesecakes are best made a day or two ahead, meaning you won’t have to figure out how to have enough oven space for your turkey, rolls, and, of course, green bean casserole.

Pssst: Don’t forget the $60 King Arthur Giveaway going on now until November 29th.

Recipe

Ingredients
Crust
9 ounces chocolate wafers
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Cheesecake
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chips are fine
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup raspberry jam
2 packages cream cheese
*Make sure the cheese is at room temperature
¾ cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions
For the crust: In a food processor, grind up the chocolate wafers (I also add just a touch of salt). I use Pepperidge Farms chocolate goldfish as the base for my crust—they’re not overly sweet like Oreos with cream filling. Add the melted butter to the crushed cookies. Here’s the tricky part. You’ll need a 9-inch springform pan. Surround the outside of the pan with aluminum foil (I’ll explain more on this later.) Cut a round piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom part of the pan. Spray the pan with cooking spray then insert the paper and spray again. Press the cookie crumbs into the pan and half way up the sides with your fingers (I’ve tried this with spoons, but frankly fingers are best). Put the crust into the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Yes, beat for ALL 7 minutes

Yes, beat for ALL 7 minutes

For the filling: Preheat the over to 325 degrees. In a large, glass measuring bowl, melt the chocolate and the heavy cream together in the microwave. Melt the two slowly. I usually start at half the power level for around two minutes. When the chips start to lose their shape, I finish the melting process by stirring the mixture vigorously. Add the jam to the chocolate mixture, stir and let it cool about 10 minutes.

In another large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and the sugar. As I noted in the directions, it’s key to have the cream cheese at room temperature. (Eggs, too!) Beat the sugar and cream cheese for at least 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Now, add the vanilla and the chocolate-raspberry mixture. Beat all the ingredients together for at least 5 minutes (I set a timer).

Constructing a waterbath

Constructing a waterbath

Here’s another tricky part—creating a water bath for your cheesecake. water bath keeps your cheesecake dense and smooth instead of dry. You’ll need a large, glass baking dish. I wish I had a larger one, but my biggest is 9×11” so I have to improvise. (I also add a larger, cookie baking pan under the casserole dish to make it easier to get it into and out of the oven.) make several aluminum balls and place them in the center of the baking dish because the casserole dish isn’t wide enough. Next, gently press the springform pan into the casserole dish. Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust, making surethat your aluminum balls stay in place and keep your pan level. Add about a half an inch of water to the bottom of the casserole dish (not into your cheesecake!). Carefully put the whole contraption into the preheated oven.

Make sure the foil comes all the way up

Make sure the foil comes all the way up

Bake for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours or until the cheesecake just jiggles in the center. Once the cheesecake is set, turn off

Place your pan/s carefully in the oven

Place your pan/s carefully in the oven

the oven and leave the door open. Wait one hour and then remove the cheesecake. Carefully pull it out of the water bath. Gently release the springform mechanism, but don’t remove it. Use a butter knife to separate the crust from the pan (this will ensure that the top doesn’t crack). Put your cheesecake into the fridge for at least one day before serving.

If you’re taking this dessert to a party, make sure you cut it at home in thin slices—there’s nothing worse than your cheesecake getting hacked to pieces in the rush to serve dessert. Make your job—or your host’s—easier by cutting it beforehand. If I’m serving the cheesecake at home, I put one slice on the plate, add a dollop of fresh whipped cream and then sprinkle with cocoa. If I have fresh raspberries or mangos, I’ll add a few of those too. Enjoy!

Note: I’ve had this recipe for years, it comes from an old recipe book called 365 Great Chocolate Desserts by Natalie Haughton

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Reinventing Thanksgiving Classics–King Arthur Giveaway

Butter crescent rolls

Pretty cresecent rolls, but how to tweak?

From simple tweaks like orange-zested cranberry relish to curiosities like turducken (you know, the chicken stuffed into a duck tucked inside a turkey creation invention that peaked in popularity a few years ago), there’s been a trend toward mixing up classic Thanksgiving fare.

I like it.

Seems like reworking dishes is the tradition—I mean, someone thought, “Hey, I bet these yams would taste better with marshmallows on them.” And now in kitchens everywhere come November 25th there’s grandmother’s lonely yam dish on the corner of the buffet, untouched.

Or, there’s the brilliant baker who thought to throw some crisp-friend onions on top of the green beans. Bless her!

So what tweaks are you planning this year?

I’ve been thumbing through ideas at the Mixing Bowl, a cooking forum sponsored by Better Homes Gardens. I found this recipe for the green bean bake using one of my favorite ingredients, bacon. And a whole group discussion dedicated to stuffing.

Basil roll

I wish I could have gotten a better photo--but check out the buttery basil roll

Here’s what I’m thinking:

-Instead of just my regular dinner rolls, I’m adding fresh herbs into the roll for parsley and basil-infused crescents. They’re beautiful and make the buttery rolls stand out more on the buffet spread.

-Mashed potatoes—how about in lilac? I’m stocking up on purple potatoes to whip up with plenty of real butter. I’m saving the pumpkin for cookies and making a chocolate-raspberry truffle cheesecake for dessert (recipe to come Thursday:).

-Forget iceberg or even romaine lettuce, what about a Southern-style inspired kumquat salad? That sounds good too.

Now I want to help you get baking this season so I’m offering my own giveaway

A $60 Gift Certificate to King Arthur Flour (my favorite baking company)

To enter:

leave a comment below with your Thanksgiving tweak

To increase your chances of winning:

  • “like” MyKidsEatSquid on Facebook
  • follow MyKidsEatSquid on Twitter
  • subscribe to MyKidsEatSquid (you can use the email box, if you prefer–top left:)
  • announce the giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with the link here

Each time you comment, subscribe, like and follow, I’ll add another entry with your name on it. Contest ends, November 29th midnight EST. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on November 30th.

Looking for more chances to win this holiday season? Check out this list of recipe contests. I’ve been looking through the site as part of the Motherboard team. Once a week, I’ll be posting about the exciting things not to miss on the their site, and their affiliates.

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