Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

In no particular order, some photos from the ghost of Thanksgivings past:

Now onto Thanksgiving future (aka next week):

Here are some of my picks for what you should make for Thanksgiving.  I'm making an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, and a pecan pie - probably the traditional recipes.  But, this sour cream apple pie and pumpkin gingerbread pie have never disappointed me.  We're not a big "appetizers on Thanksgiving" family but if you are, these two are always a big hit.  And, make a pitcher of sangria . . . because, why not?

Cranberry Jalapeno Salsa
Pumpkin Fondue

Pecan Pie
Sour Cream Apple Pie
Pumpkin Gingerbread Pie

Other Sweets
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce
Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Ice Cream

Side Dishes
Country Bread Stuffing with Goat Cheese & Cranberries
Wild Rice Pilaf 
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry Chipotle Dressing 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Snacking: Fall edition

These kids . . . they keep changing and growing up so fast.  And you know why?  Because they are constantly hungry and eating me out of house and home.  One of the things I hear the most from my kids is "Mom, I'm hungry.  I want a snack."  In my pantry, I have a "snack box" - a clear plastic bin in which I keep all the pre-portioned non-perishable snacks that I buy.  It takes up way less space than all the boxes of cereal bars, fruit snacks, pretzels, etc. and when I'm packing lunches or snacks, I grab from there.  One of our rules is that those snacks are for when we're out of the house.  At home, we eat fruit, yogurt, veggies, toast, or crackers and snacks from the big boxes, not the pouches.  If you're a mom, you already know the next part of this - the constant asking and negotiating for something from the snack box.  It's a never ending cycle.

But, here are two snacks I made this fall that were a big hit.  We ate them at home and I put them in baggies to take to school & the gym. The Fall Chex mix with more ingredients actually took less time to make and the apple chips, well, they were a lesson in patience.  We finished off both batches pretty quickly. 
Apple Chips

Slice the apples really, really thin.  I used a mandolin slicer on the thinnest setting.  Because they were that thin, I didn't bother to core or peel the apples.

Place the apples in a single layer on a silicon baking mat (or parchment paper) and sprinkle with a little bit of cinnamon.  Bake in a 200 degree oven for 2-3 hours, flipping them over after the first hour.  Mine weren't crispy enough until at least the 3 hour mark. 

Fall Chex Mix (makes about 10 cups)

adapted from

4 cups Vanilla Chex
4 cups Golden Grahams
1.5 cups mini salted pretzel twists
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp. pumpkin spice
1 cup candy corn (if you don't like candy corn, you could do m&ms or yogurt covered raisins)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the cereals, pretzels, and raisins.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the honey, stirring until smooth and combined.  Add the pumpkin spice and stir.

Pour the honey mixture over the cereal mixture and stir until coated.  Spread on a large rimmed baking skeet and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.  Let it cool for one hour.  Add the candy corn and serve.  Will keep in a covered container for about a week (unless your kids eat it all first).

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Autumn Chicken Bake

Let me start by saying that Thanksgiving is two weeks from today!  I absolutely can't believe that - this month has just flown by.  When I put this on the table last night, my husband said that it looked and smelled like fall.  I couldn't agree more and that was exactly what I was going for!  I happened to have most of the ingredients in my kitchen and it all cooks in one pan so this dinner came together easily.  The bonus was that my family loved it.  Okay, my girls ate a bite of each vegetable (one half brussels sprout each) but they loved the chicken and asked for seconds - that's a success around here!

You might be tempted to substitute chicken breasts (and you can) but the thighs were just delicious and don't get as dried out when you bake this.  The original recipe called for bone-in skin-on thighs and a little broiling at the end to crisp it up but I went with boneless skinless.

Trust me - this is what you want for dinner tonight!  Did I mention it has bacon?

Autumn Chicken Bake (serves 4-6)
from Cooking Classy blog

4-5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 cups  butternut squash (peeled and cut into cubes)
2 cups brussels sprouts (trimmed and halved)
1-2 Fuji apples, sliced
4 slices hickory smoked bacon, cut into 1 in. pieces
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
4 T olive oil, divided
1.5 T red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T each chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Pour 2 T olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and herbs in a large ziplock bag and add the chicken.  Add some salt and pepper, close the bag, and massage the chicken.  Leave this on the counter while you get the vegetables ready.

Spray a 9x13 pan with olive oil spray and add the squash, brussels sprouts, apples, and shallots.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil (or spray with more olive oil spray) and season with salt and pepper.  Set the chicken thighs on top of the vegetable/fruit mixture and sprinkle everything with the bacon pieces.

Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is done and the brussels sprouts are tender.