Autumn Gingerbread Muffins

Celebrate Fall and the Holidays by serving these adorable gingerbread muffins. These molasses and ginger treats are easy to make and add a festive look to any table. Serve them alone or with lemon curd. Trader Joe’s offers a great gingerbread mix that makes serving these cuties a snap.

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Autumn Gingerbread Cakelets

Yield: 16 Cakelets (144 calories each)

Ingredients
1 box Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Baking Mix
1 large egg
1/3 cup canola oil
¾ cup water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray cakelet pan with Trader Joe’s Canola Oil spray and sprinkle lightly with a few pinches of flour.
  3. Combine egg, oil and water in a bowl and then add mix. Fold together gently until ingredients are moistened. (don’t over-stir as the cakelets will become more dense).
  4. Fill the molds of the cakelet pan no more than ¾ full to avoid overflow. I use a tablespoon and then spread mixture to level tops and fill corners of each shape. Tap the pan firmly a few times on countertop to remove air bubbles.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of a cakelet comes out clean.

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  1. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack.
  2. Serve with lemon curd if you wish.   Yummy!

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Note: My cakelet pan is made by Nordic Ware.  Any muffin or cakelet pan works well too.

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Goat Cheese with Lemon Garlic and Rosemary

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Fresh and light, this Goat Cheese with Lemon and Rosemary is an easy and tasty appetizer you can serve in both in the summer and winter.  I first enjoyed this when my sister served this before a holiday meal.  Bring it to a potluck or a party.  Your guests will Ooo and Ahh!

The secret is fresh rosemary.  I have it growing in my garden and I love the aroma as well as the flavor it brings to so many dishes.

Goat Cheese with Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary

6 ingredients
1 5 oz. log of goat cheese
zest of one lemon
1/8- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients but the goat cheese together. Place the goat cheese on a small dish with a lip and pour the mixture over the cheese. Marinate for 4 hours to allow the flavors to mingle. Sprinkle with a little more rosemary to taste and garnish with a sprig. Serve with water crackers. Enjoy!

St Patrick’s Day Faux-Tatoes

St. Patrick’s Day Faux-Tatoes

Go green on St. Patrick’s Day with a creative and healthy twist on the classic irish-inspired recipe.

The secret ingredient is green cauliflower! It’s actually a hybrid version of broccoli and cauliflower and is sometimes referred to a broccoflower. It’s flavor is sweet, mild and nutty.

Cauliflower is a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family of vegetables. It is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and provides your body with vitamin C, Vitamin K, beta-carotene while also boosting healthy digestion and detoxification. Try it on March 17th and you will make it again and again! 
Faux-Tatoes 
Serves 4


Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower (try it green or traditional white, about 1 ½ pounds)
½ cup butter or ghee
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch thyme, dried
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Break up the cauliflower stems and stalk and place in a steamer basket or a small amount of water in a saucepan. Steam it until tender (approx. 10-15 minutes). Drain.
  • In a food processor or blender, blend the cauliflower, butter, garlic, thyme, sea salt and pepper until smooth.
  • Plate your dish immediately or transfer to a small casserole dish for family style eating.

Enjoy!

Holiday Pomegranate Martinis

This festive variation of Oprah’s Pomegranate  Martini is sure to be a hit at your next holiday party.

SERVINGS- MAKES 12 DRINKS

Ingredients

4 cups (32 ounces) vodka
2 cups (16 ounces) orange liqueur such as Cointreau
2 cups (16 ounces) pomegranate juice
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Juice of 2 lemons
Lemon twists from lemon peel
Rosemary sprigs
1 large bottle of Sparling water (optional)

1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

1. Combine the vodka, orange liqueur, pomegranate juice, and lemon juice in a pitcher and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Dip rims of the martini glasses in a shallow bowl with ¼ inch of water then dip rims again into sugar ( I just put sugar on a small plate)
3. Fill martini glasses with pomegranate mixture, a tablespoon of pomegranate seeds, lemon twists and garnish with rosemary sprigs.
4. Serve over ice. You can add a splash if sparling water if desired.

Grandma’s Make-ahead Mashed Potatoes


Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Makes 12 to 15 servings

 

Ingredients:

15 medium (5 pounds) potatoes peeled and quartered
6-8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup  light sour cream
2 teaspoons onion powder
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 egg whites slightly beaten (or one whole egg)
2-4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped chives (optional)

Instructions:

Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes:

In a large pot, add cut-up potatoes and just enough cold water until potatoes are covered; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.   Overcooking can cause the potatoes to become gummy.

Remove from heat and immediately drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander.  Return to saucepan; heat over medium-low heat approximately 1 to 2 minutes to dry potatoes, stirring occasionally.  NOTE: Boiled potatoes left in water will start to jellify and may even increase in volume (becoming swollen and watery).  That is why it is important to let the potatoes drain for a couple of minutes in a colander immediately after they are cooked.

In the same cooking pan, mash potatoes with a potato masher or potato ricer until there are no lumps.

TIP: NEVER use a blender, electric mixer, or food processor to make mashed potatoes.Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over mashing, When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell.  If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.

Add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper, egg whites, and chopped chives (if desired); blend well.

Spray a large casserole dish with vegetable-oil cooking spray. Add potato mixture and dot with butter.

Cool mashed potatoes slightly, cover, and then refrigerate.

The prepared mashed potatoes may be made up to 7 days ahead of time.  If preparing ahead, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Place in an ovenproof baking dish if not already stored in this dish.


When ready to heat the potatoes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Take potatoes out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Bake, loosely covered, 40 minutes or until steaming hot in center.

Crock Pot – Slow Cooker Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Recipe:

Mashed Potatoes in slow cookerYou can use this crock pot/slow cooker version, if you need to free up your oven for other dishes when making my holiday meals.

Take the prepared mashed potatoes out of refrigerator about 3 1/2 hours before serving time.  See Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes above.  Place the mashed potatoes in the crock-pot/slow cooker.  Cover and use low heat for approximately 3 hours, stirring once or twice.

When you are ready to serve the mashed potatoes, stir, and then add some additional dollops of butter.

Grandma’s Do-ahead Thanksgiving Gravy


Grandma Peggy’s Do-ahead Gravy

Yield: about 4 cups

Ingredients:

6 T. flour
6 T. butter
4 cups chicken broth or stock
salt and pepper
Turkey pan drippings

Instructions:

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook over medium high heat until flour is incorporated and white bubbles begin to form on the top. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Gradually add broth, whisking constantly. Stir until gravy is thickened and mixture boils. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cool and refrigerate for up to three days.

To serve:

On Thanksgiving day, heat the gravy. When turkey is done, pour off drippings into a jar or fat separator. Skim or spoon off all the fat and stir the drippings into the gray.

Thanksgiving Planning

How much per person?

These are approximate amounts. For young children, cut amounts in half.

Turkey ½-3/4 pound of meat*
Stuffing: ½ cup to ¾ cup
Gravy: 1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces)
Cranberry Sauce ¼ -1/2 cup (2-4 ounces)
Potatoes ½-3/4 cup
Vegetables ½-3/4 cup
Pie/Dessert 1 ½ pieces

Per Person                                                        for Eight People     for Ten People    for 12 People

Turkey ½-3/4 pound of meat*                       10-16 lb. bird        12-16 lb. bird        18-20 lb. bird

Stuffing: ½ cup to ¾ cup                                        4-6 cups            5-7 cups               6-9 cups

Gravy: 1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces)                                       20 oz                     25 oz                    30 oz

Cranberry Sauce ¼ -1/2 cup (2-4 ounces)         2-4 cups               2 1/2-5 cups          3-6 cups

Potatoes ½-3/4 cup                                                      4-6 cups           5- 8 cups                 6-9 cups

Vegetables ½-3/4 cup                                                   4-6 cups          5-8 cups                 6-9 cups

Pie/Dessert 1 piece                                                         1 pie                   2 pies                        2 pies

* keep in mind that the smaller the bird, the smaller meat-to-bone ratio so you might want to get up to 2 lbs./person for smaller gatherings.  The larger the bird, the more you will have for leftovers.

Advice thanks to the Butterball hotline 800-288-8372