Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Trials

Hello! This weekend I did a lot of hanging around the house and COOKING. I got the latest issue of Bon Appetit and it was a Thanksgiving special. It had tons of choices of menus for the big day and since I'm cooking for 16, I couldn't wait to try some out. But first lets start from the beginning. Thursday night I was going to make Deep Dish Pizza but Dave was in the mood to go out to eat so I saved the pizza for Friday night. By Friday, my dough (which I purchased on Sunday) was pretty flat so it was hard to get it into a cake pan... so I just made a regular pizza. I basically put whatever vegetable was left in my fridge on this pizza.
A layer of sauce, hot pepper cheese, kale, tomatoes, banana peppers, mozzerela and feta cheese...mmmm. I had about three pieces.
Saturday, I woke up to a beautiful view in my backyard. Tons of folliage.
It was a pretty lazy day. The highlight of my day was going through Bon Appetit and picking out what dinners I was going to make for the week and what Thanksgiving recipes I was going to try. Dave says I look like I'm studying for a test when I look through the magazines and watch cooking shows while making my list : ) I went grocery shopping in the early afternoon and got going preparing dinner by 5 pm. I skipped a workout because my leg was feeling pretty sore from all the electric stim I got on Thursday in Physical Therapy.

Saturday's dinner was NY Strip Steak with a Bacon, Tomato and Argula Salad along with Corn Pudding from Bon Appetit. In addition, I also made Goat Cheese Bruschetta.

Goat Cheese Bruschetta


Spreadable Goat Cheese with herbs
Cherry Tomatoes (Diced)
Balsamic Vinegar

First I diced the tomatoes and the basil and put them in a bowl and seasoned with EVOO, Balsamic Vinegar and S&P. Then I spread the cheese on the bagette and topped it with the tomatoes.
Next I took the reminder of the cherry tomatoes, and threw it in a bowl with Argula, bacon and a dressing of Balsamic Vinegar, EVOO and Salt and Pepper. This salad went over my NY Strip which I pan-seared with EVOO, garlic and S &P. Cooked for 4 minutes on each side then let it rest and it was the perfect Medium Rare.

I also made Corn Pudding which was sooo tasty and so different. It looked exactly like scrambeled eggs, but tasted like sweet, delicious fresh corn. Here is the recipe- definitely check it out. This will definitely be used for Thanksgiving dinner!
Dave and I liked this a lot, but we thought it could use a little something extra. Maybe bacon or chipotles? I may have to try it out again before the big dinner.

Here's our dinner spread:

And the highlights on my plate:

What a meal! For dessert, I made something simple. I made a Graham Cracker crust by mixing food processed graham crackers with butter in a pie dish at 350 in the oven for 10 minutes. Then I made chocolate mousse from a package and topped that with cool whip. Perfect light(er) dessert.
Tonight, I made Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding from Bon Appetit, Grilled Chicken with Silky Squash Gravy, and Creamed Sweet Potatoes. The best part about the pudding was that it included some of my favorite things: crusty bread, kale AND cheese! This recipe was delicious. Another definite menu item for Thanksgiving.


  • 2 pounds peeled seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups half and half
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 day-old baguette (do not remove crust), torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), ribs removed, kale coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake until squash is tender, turning with spatula occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.

  • Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add half and half, wine, mustard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add kale; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until kale is wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes (kale will be a bit crunchy).

  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using slotted spoon, transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arranging to cover most of dish. Spoon half of kale over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash, and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread pudding.

  • Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to touch, about 20 minutes longer.

  • Preheat broiler; broil pudding until cheese browns slightly, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.
The creamed sweet potatoes were made by boiling 1 inch pieces of sweet potato, straining them and mashing them with cream and butter, lime juice and S&P. I don't really like Sweet Potatoes so this is a hard judge for me. Dave seemed like he thought they were just okay.
What Dave really loved was the Chicken and the sauce I made up on the fly to go along with it. I sauteed chicken in a hot skillet with EVOO, S&P. Once browned on both sides, I combined some mashed squash with chicken stock, a little cream and S&P. Pretty tasty.
And out dinner table:

Now I'm on the couch still digesting. Lots of leftovers for lunch for the week!

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