Tag Archives: #Thanksgivingdinner

Spicy Green Beans

Green bean casserole. Just the mention of it conjures up the specter of Thanksgiving dinner. It also brings up heated debates regarding what is in it, do we really need it, who fixed it well, and heck, why can’t we just have green beans with butter and bacon? Enter Food Network chef Alex Guarnaschelli with her take on green beans. I adapted my recipe from hers, because we all want to copy the best.

3/4 cups green beans (washed, tipped, and cut into 1-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons creamy horseradish sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
zest and juice of one lime
6 sprigs basil, stemmed
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 teaspoon mustard
bacon pieces, to top beans with
salt and pepper

Whisk together the horseradish, olive oil, cider vinegar, mustard, lime juice and zest. Make sure everything is incorporated well. Taste, then add a touch of salt and pepper. Whisk and taste again. Set aside.

Cook green beans in boiling salted water. Make sure to have a bowl of ice water with a colander in it ready. When the beans are cooked but slightly crunchy (about 2-4 minutes), remove from boiling water and put into the colander in the ice water. Stir the beans in the water to cool them quickly.

Once the beans are cool, drain well and put into a medium bowl. Add the dressing and some of the almonds, then toss to coat. Taste again, and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Stir in the basil leaves and sprinkle with remainder of slivered almonds and bacon pieces.

Optional ingredients: bacon (obviously); cocktail onions, cut into quarters; diced peppers; dried cranberries; fried garlic or onions

Easy Poultry Brine

Ok, so while I was writing this recipe I kept humming Grandma Forgot To Brine The Bird by Alton Brown. Those two times on stage (2015 and 2017) still make me smile. This brine is simple and straight forward. Please dispose of properly, as the quantity of salt in the brine will kill plants if you dump it on the lawn.

3 pints water
1 cup salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 lemon, quartered
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons mustard
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (you can add more or less)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (about three cloves)

In a large pot, heat the water until almost boiling. Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat until cool. To prevent food spoilage issues, don’t add the poultry until the brine is cool.

Variations: substitute orange for the lemon; add 1/4 cup soy sauce to the liquid; add rosemary.

Roasted Turkey Leg

I love roasted turkey for dinner. One turkey can provide several meals, and it is a very versatile ingredient. With a smaller household, though, it can fell like too large of an undertaking. By roasting two turkey legs, you can have a manageable amount of protein but still have leftovers the next day.

2 turkey legs, thawed
6 cups brine (see recipe here)
3 stalks celery, large diced
1 cup diced carrots (or 1 cup baby carrots)
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
2 large potatoes, large diced
1 sweet potato, large diced
1/2 medium onion, cut into eighths
2 clove of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 cups water or broth
1 teaspoon ground sage or poultry seasoning
fresh sage leaves (optional)
olive oil
1/4 cup melted butter
salt and pepper to taste

At least 24 hours ahead:
Place thawed turkey legs in large zip bags or other sealable container and add the brine. Put in the lowest area of your refrigerator for 14-48 hours.

Heat oven to 375F.

On the day of:
Remove the turkey legs and brine from the refrigerator. Take the legs out of the liquid and rinse in fresh water. Discard brine.

In a large, heavy baking dish or roaster place the turkey legs and all of the vegetables. Add the water or broth, ground sage or poultry stuffing, and salt and pepper. Lay sage leave across the top of the legs, and drizzle with olive oil.

Cover and roast in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 45 minutes, or until the legs register 175F on a thermometer (measure at the thickest part, not hitting the bone). During the last 30 minutes of cooking, baste with the melted butter every 10 minutes.

When the legs are done, remove from the pan. You can serve at the table, or shred the meat from the bone and gristle. Unless someone calls dibs on a whole leg, I prefer to cut the meat off before serving.

You can serve with the roasted vegetables as a side dish, shred it down and add to make a hearty soup, or save the broth and vegetables to eat the next day as a light meal.

You can also add shredded chicken or turkey, mini meatballs, or cooked pasta or rice to the vegetable and broth mix. Two meals with one stretch in the oven makes this an easy thing to fix.

Roasted Cornish Game Hen

2 Cornish game hens, defrosted
6 cups brine (see recipe here)
3 stalks celery, large diced
1 cup diced carrots (or 1 cup baby carrots)
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
2 large potatoes, large diced
1 sweet potato, large diced
1/2 medium onion, cut into eighths
2 clove of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 cups water or broth
1 teaspoon ground sage or poultry seasoning
fresh sage leaves (optional)
olive oil
1/4 cup melted butter
salt and pepper to taste

At least 24 hours ahead:
Place defrosted game hens in large zip bags or other sealable container and add the brine. Put in the lowest area of your refrigerator for 14-48 hours.

Heat oven to 350F.

On the day of:
Remove the game hens and brine from the refrigerator. Take the birds out of the liquid and rinse in fresh water. Discard brine.

In a large, heavy baking dish or roaster place the game hens and all of the vegetables. Add the water or broth, ground sage or poultry stuffing, and salt and pepper. Lay sage leave across the top of the birds, and drizzle with olive oil.

Cover and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 30 minutes, or until the hens register 165F on a thermometer. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, baste with the melted butter every 10 minutes.

When the birds are done, remove from the pan.

You can serve with the roasted vegetables as a side dish, shred the game hen down and add to make a hearty soup, or save the broth and vegetables to eat the next day as a light meal.

You can also add shredded chicken or turkey, mini meatballs, or cooked pasta or rice to the vegetable and broth mix. Two meals with one stretch in the oven makes this an easy thing to fix.

Quick Cranberry Sauce

I happen to like both types of cranberry sauce (fresh and canned), so I don’t have to take a side in the matter. However, making your own cranberry sauce or relish only takes a few minutes and you can make it to your liking. If you wind up having leftovers, use them on a turkey sandwich spread as an ice cream topping, or swirled into oatmeal the next day.

1 12-oz. bag cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

Reserve 1/2 cup of cranberries and set aside.

Put 1/2 sugar and the rest of the cranberries in a medium, non-reactive pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the berries are soft.

Increase the heat to medium and cook an additional 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the remaining sugar, orange juice, and reserved 1/2 cup of cranberries. Cook 3-5 minutes more, then remove from heat. Stir in the orange zest.

Pour into a heatproof glass dish and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

2 portobello mushroom caps, stems and gills removed
3/4 cup prepared dressing, or enough to fill both (leftover stuffing/dressing works wonderfully)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I love using a colby cheddar mix), plus more for topping
1 green onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional, but recommended)
Salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning, if desired

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine stuffing and cheese in a small bowl. Add additional seasoning if needed. Keep in mind that the cheese will add additional salt as it melts.

Brush the tops (curved side) of mushrooms with olive oil and place in a baking dish, top side down. Lightly brush the bottom edges the cap (now facing up) with the oil.

Fill the caps with the stuffing and cheese mixture, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered for 10-12 minutes until mushroom is tender.

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