Yum Yum Lobster Tails

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This was my first time making lobster tails and it DEFINITELY  wont be my last. It is easy peasy and oh so yummy. You can make these for a special occasion or to make an ordinary occasion special.

BAKED LOBSTER TAILS WITH GARLIC BUTTER

INGREDIENTS

4 lobster tails
5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
4 tbsp. Butter

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix together garlic, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, and melted butter and season with salt.
2. Using kitchen scissors, cut the the clear skin off the lobster and brush the lobster tails with the garlic butter seasoning.
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3. Place the lobster tails on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake the lobster tails for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Spiced Lentils & Collard Greens

img_1843Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup black lentils
1 bunch of collared greens
1 yellow onion
1 lemon (including 2 tsp of lemon zest)
2 tsp. Ras El Hanout ( I like the one from William Sonoma)
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Cook the lentils:
Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. (discard any pebbles you see in the lentils;   Rinse the lentils and drain thoroughly. Add the lentils to the pot of boiling water and cook, uncovered, 24 to 26 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.

4. Prepare the ingredients:
While the lentils cook, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and thinly slice the onion.
Remove and throw out the collard green stems and roughly chop the leaves.   Use a zester to get 2 tsps. of lemon zest from the lemon.  Cut the lemon in  quarters and take out the seeds.

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3. Cook the collard greens:
While the lentils continue to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion and ras el hanout; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the collard greens; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Add ½ cup of water and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the collard greens have wilted and the water has cooked off. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Finish the lentils & plate your dish:
To the pot of cooked lentils, add the cooked collard greens, lemon zest and the juice of 2 lemon wedges (just 1/2 of the lemon); stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with your favorite fish or chicken dish.

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

Savory Sweet Potato Fries

img_7430Savory Sweet Potato Fries

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
2 ½ Tablespoons fresh thyme (rough chopped)

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Wash and prepare the fresh ingredients:
– Cut the sweet potatoes in 3rds and then cut each “wheel” in 8ths to make wedges
– Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves.
– Chop the fresh thyme.
3. Prepare the Fries:
– Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat the potatoes.
– Place the potato wedges on a Teflon coated jelly roll pan (or lightly greased cookie sheet) and spread in one layer on the pan.
4.Cook the Fries:
Cook for 20 -25 minutes on until nicely browned turning once with a spatula after about 10 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!