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Tag Archives: holiday

Hearty Turkey/Chicken Noodle Soup

21 Nov Turkey/Chicken Noodle Soup

Every year, the festive holiday season makes it easier to make peace with the fact that the days are getting much shorter and nippier.  Despite being a cold weather wimp, I still love the holiday season.  From the pretty lights popping up on neighbors’ homes and in stores, to the beckoning aroma of warm spices everywhere…this time of year is truly beautiful.

Turkey/Chicken Noodle Soup

This Thanksgiving and Christmas also marks the first year our youngest child, now age 3, comprehends the meaning behind the holidays and participates wholly in the festivities.  He can join his older siblings in counting his own blessings this Thanksgiving, no prompts needed.  In fact, he may try to present a lengthy monologue at the dinner table.  In which case, some prompting will be needed.

Turkey/Chicken Noodle Soup

With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, Hubby has a very big bird resting in a savory brine at this very moment.  The kids are excited for the hourly countdown to their favorite kind of turkey feast with all the trimmings (and for their 4-day weekend off school.)    I am thankful to have the opportunity to make a delicious mess in the kitchen with my favorite people in the whole world.

Turkey/Chicken Noodle Soup

One of our favorite things to do with leftover turkey (or chicken) and its great carcass is to save it!  Keep that turkey carcass after your holiday meal, even if you aren’t planning to do anything with it for a few days.  You can wrap it up and freeze it until you’re ready to use it.  Then, on a chilly, stay-home kind of day, take those poultry bones out and make the best broth ever.  Ever.

Turkey/Chicken Noodle Soup

All the flavor from the carcass and turkey/chicken meat get super concentrated into the broth with a long, slow simmer.  It does take time to get that deeply flavorful broth.  Once the broth has reduced enough, your patience will be rewarded with the tastiest broth you’ve had.   From there, it’s all game.  😉  Add your favorite veggies, favorite noodles, and throw in the leftover turkey or chicken meat.

This is one of those healthy meals my kids devour faster than french fries.  They gobble this up with such comical speed that I have videotaped their noodle-soup-eating-frenzy for future viewing.

Enjoy this most comforting of comfort foods.  Happy Thanksgiving!  🙂

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RECIPE
(This recipe is one of approximates, so the amounts given are flexible.  Just don’t skimp on simmer time.)

INGREDIENTS

For the broth:
1 TB olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and coined
4 stalks celery, washed and sliced thin
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 roasted turkey/chicken carcass, with leftover meat attached

For the noodle soup:
leftover cooked turkey or chicken meat, shredded
1 lb carrots, peeled and coined
5-6 stalks celery, washed and sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
noodles of your choice
fine salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

For the Broth:  Put olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a very large stock pot. Saute on medium high until vegetables are soft.  Add turkey/chicken carcass, bay leaves, and peppercorns.  Add enough water to just cover entire carcass.  (Broth will be reduced down to half.  If you are using a chicken and want more broth, just add more water to begin with, knowing you’ll end up with half that amount.)

Bring stock pot to boil.  Turn heat to low, and simmer uncovered until liquid is reduced to half its original amount (approx. 2-3 hours, or however long it takes to reduce to half)  Once liquid is reduced to half, set aside carcass and skim oil or impurities off top of broth.  Strain the broth into the pot you want to use for the noodle soup.

For the Noodle Soup: Season strained broth with salt and pepper to taste.  Add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic.  Bring to boil. Cook until veggies are very tender.  Meanwhile, cook noodles in well-salted water in separate pot.  Drain noodles (do not rinse), and add to broth.  Add all leftover shredded meat, including meat collected from the carcass.

If needed, season with more salt/pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud

* Note:  This recipe is written for utilizing leftover roasted chicken or turkey.  If you want to make chicken noodle soup with an uncooked chicken, just make the broth with the whole chicken instead of the carcass only.  Remove giblets first.  When the chicken meat is cooked through, remove the chicken and separate the meat from the carcass.  Return the carcass to the broth and finish simmering.  Shred the meat and continue with recipe.

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Sweet Corn Muffins, Moist ‘n Tender

16 Nov Sweet Corn Muffins

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’ve all been thinking about the dishes that we hope will grace our family dinner table for the eagerly anticipated holidays.  Though sweet corn muffins are a treat our family savors year-round, these moist ‘n tender muffins would be a fabulous addition to either breakfast, lunch, or dinner for the holidays.

Sweet Corn Muffins

We’ve been using this perfect corn muffin recipe for years.  Ten years, to be exact, as my tattered old Cooks Illustrated subscription reminds me.  There has never been another corn muffin (or cornbread or any sort) that has rivaled this recipe.  These muffins will be loved by both grown ups and kiddos, who will beg you to make them again and again.  They aren’t overly dry/crumbly, like so many corn bread/muffin recipes I’ve tried in the past, which is what made these muffins a keeper.

Sweet Corn Muffins

Not only are these sweet corn muffins easy to whip up, they are hearty and stay moist for days, as long as they aren’t overbaked.  They are tender and sweet, yet not at all cakey.  These muffins retain a wholesome cornmeal flavor and rustic quality to them, due to the whole-grain cornmeal and corn kernels, replacing the usual degerminated cornmeal.

Sweet Corn Muffins

Pat on some whipped honey butter, plain butter, or eat em’ just as they are… they are perfectly satisfying with any meal – breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Sweet Corn Muffins

…or go a bit unconventional and call it dessert 🙂

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RECIPE (12 large muffins)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup (4.5 oz) fine ground, whole grain yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup white sugar
8 TB regular butter, melted
3/4 cup whole sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

DIRECTIONS

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position.  Heat oven to 400F.  Grease a standard muffin tin.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda in a bowl to combine well.  Set aside.

Whisk eggs in second bowl until well combined and pale light yellow, about 20 seconds.  Add sugar and whisk vigorously until homogenous, about 30 seconds.  Add melted butter in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition.  Add half of the sour cream and half of the milk.  Whisk to combine.  Whisk in remaining sour cream and milk until combined.

Combine wet and dry ingredients together, mixing gently with rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened; do not over mix. Gently fold in frozen corn kernels.

Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping to form mounds.  Do not level or flatten tops of mounds.

Bake until muffins are light golden and toothpick comes out almost clean (few tender crumbs are perfect.)  Bake about 18-19 minutes, rotating tin halfway through baking time.  Actual baking time varies with each oven, but watch closely not to over bake.

Cool muffins in tin for a bit.  Serve warm.

Leftovers keep well in airtight container and can be reheated in microwave or oven.

By chewoutloud, adapted from Cooks Illustrated

*Note:  Whole grain cornmeal has a fuller flavor than regular cornmeal milled from degerminated corn.  To determine what kind of cornmeal a package contains, look at the label.

Pumpkin Bars with Biscoff Crumble

13 Nov Biscoff Pumpkin Bars

There’s no denying it … ‘Tis the season for pumpkins galore.  Gone with the carving variety, in with the baking ones.  Actually, you won’t find my baking pumpkin inside these particular pumpkin bars, since my cute little orange gourd is awaiting its transformation into our Thanksgiving pie.  But, back to the bars.

Biscoff Pumpkin Bars

If you’re looking for something scrumptiously pumpkin, that’s not followed by the word “pie,” and that’s a fool proof crowd-pleaser, search no further.

Biscoff Pumpkin Bars

“YUM!!”  That’s exactly what I scribbled on my recipe notes after taking a bite into these.  I am fond of baking dessert bars, as they are pretty fuss free and generally turn out well.  I’ve wanted to make pumpkin bars for awhile, and decided to try out these Biscoff ones because they sounded exceptionally delish.

Biscoff Pumpkin Bars

Can you capture the delightfully tempting aroma and taste of these little squares, just a little teensy bit?  Imagine something in between a pumpkin pie and a pumpkin bread.  Sink your sweet tooth into a chewy, moist, flavorful filling – sandwiched between a crisp bottom crust and a crunchy cookie topping.

Biscoff Pumpkin Bars

The bottom crust stays nicely crisp with the inclusion of oats and pecans.  The crumb topping is heavenly, with lots of Biscoff cookie goodness.

I must credit my father-in-law for his hand in my Biscoff cookie addiction, as he has a knack for bringing us packages of it when he visits.  After I realized they aren’t studded with artificial anything, I started looking for them at stores, and noticed how quickly they flew off shelves.  Now I keep some in my pantry just in case someone needs a natural pick-me-up 🙂

Bake a batch and watch them disappear.

RECIPE (one 9×13 pan)

INGREDIENTS

Bottom Crust
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/2 cup pecans, diced

Crumb Topping
1 cup of the above crust mixture
1 cup crushed Biscoff cookies
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Filling
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups white sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/8 cup olive oil
2 cups pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F.

Crust:  In a large bowl, combine both flours, oats, sugar, butter, baking soda, and salt.  Beat at low speed until mixture is crumbly.  Stir in nuts.  Reserve 1 cup for crumb topping.  Press remaining mixture on bottom of a greased and floured 13×9 baking pan.  Bake 15 minutes on middle rack.  Set aside to cool a bit while you make the filling.

Filling:  In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, butter, oil, and pumpkin until well mixed.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and ginger.  Fold dry and wet ingredients together until well incorporated.  Pour filling onto pre-baked crust.

Topping:  Mix together 1 cup of reserved crust mixture, 1 cup Biscoff cookies, and cinnamon.  Sprinkle on top of pumpkin filling.  Bake 30-33 minutes on middle-lower rack.  It’s done when toothpick comes out mostly clean.  (A few tender crumbs attached is perfect.)

Cool and chill before cutting.  Once that first piece is out, the rest should be easy.  Cut into bars and store in fridge until ready to serve.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

By chewoutloud, adapted from Biscoff Recipes

Spiced Pumpkin Souffle with Molasses Bourbon

15 Oct Pumpkin Souffle with Molasses Bourbon

At this time of year, all our favorite pumpkin desserts are on the brain.  Many of us are dreaming about what we’ll be baking up, whether it’s for a dinner party or a casual date night.  Most of my classic favorites are undoubtedly rich, with pumpkin cheesecake topping my list (more on that soon!)  To balance out all those classic yet dense offerings, we were instantly intrigued with the idea of a lighter pumpkin dessert.

Pumpkin Souffle with Molasses Bourbon

Hello, Pumpkin Souffle.  Wow, this is a good one!  This spiced pumpkin souffle is heavenly, reaching up and away as it puffs beautifully in your oven.  The result is an airy, fluffy, light dessert that is immensely satisfying.  Your sweet tooth will be absolutely fulfilled, without feeling stuffed. Even if you’ve just finished off a full meal, you’ll happily polish off this lively treat.

Pumpkin Souffle with Molasses Bourbon

The earthy pumpkin and spice flavors complement each other perfectly.  Make this easy Molasses Bourbon sauce for an unbelievably impressive finale.  This decadent sauce was born to go hand in hand with its souffle partner.  The souffle just wouldn’t be the same without the sauce; it’s scrumptious together.

Pumpkin Souffle with Molasses Bourbon

The Pumpkin Souffle will likely deflate as it cools, but it doesn’t change the yum-factor in any way.  Mine  actually rose comically high while baking in the oven, so I took them out.  They shrunk upon cooling and still tasted delicious, but my extra large ramekins could have used an extra minute or so.  If you have 6-ounce ramekins, you won’t have to play with the bake time much.   To ensure a nice big puff for presentation, serve these immediately out of the oven.  Oh, and keep leftover Molasses Bourbon sauce on the table, because someone just might want a second drizzle.  Your guests will be wowed.  Enjoy!

RECIPE (8 six-ounce servings)

INGREDIENTS

Pumpkin Souffle:
1/2 cup whole milk
1 TB cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp grouind cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup, plus 1 TB white sugar, divided
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
10 large egg whites
1/4 tsp fine salt

Molasses Bourbon Sauce*
1/4 cup sugar
1 TB salted butter
1 TB pure molasses
3 TB water
2 TB Bourbon

DIRECTIONS

Make the Molasses Bourbon Sauce (can be done ahead of time):
Stir all sauce ingredients, except for Bourbon, in a heavy small saucepan.  Cook on medium, stirring frequently, until sauce bubbles.  Turn heat down to simmer.  Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add Bourbon, continuing to stir.  About 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool at room temp.  Sauce will thicken upon standing.  If desired, warm up sauce a bit before serving.

Make the Souffle:
Whisk together the milk, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and 1 TB sugar in a small, heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil at medium heat, whisking.  Lower heat to simmer.  Whisk on simmer another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.  Whisk in pumpkin and let cool to room temp.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Put rack on lower third.  Butter ramekins and coat with granulated sugar, shaking off excess.  Place prepared ramekins in a large shallow baking pan.

Beat egg whites with salt in a large bowl, using electric mixer.  Beat until soft peaks.  Add remaining 3/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating.  Beat until stiff and glossy peaks.

Very gently fold one third of egg whites into cooled pumpkin mixture.  Fold in remaining whites very gently but thoroughly.  Divide mixture among ramekins, mounding if needed.

Bake souffles until puffed and golden brown.  About 18-20 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.  Serve immediately with yummy sauce.

by chewoutloud, adapted from Gourmet

*Note:  A little of the Molasses Bourbon sauce goes a long way, but if you’d like more sauce, double the amount.  It’s great for pancakes, waffles, on ice cream, etc. too!

Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar Crumble – Side dish, or dessert?

12 Oct Sweet Potatoe Casserole with Brown Sugar Crumble

Ooh, it is almost time!  Not much longer until this most favorite holiday side dish gets to make its yearly and highly anticipated appearance.  This is one of those best-est recipes that gets requests every year.  Even people who don’t typically like sweet potato or mashed potato anything become a fan of this one.

Sweet Potatoe Casserole with Brown Sugar Crumble

I wasn’t a huge sweet potato casserole kind of gal until I met this recipe.  Instantly converted.  This sweet side dish has graced both potluck tables and formal tables alike every year in our family ever since.

Sweet Potatoe Casserole with Brown Sugar Crumble

I would be remiss not to give Hubby credit here.  He’s the guy that brought this sweet potato dish over for a holiday gathering many years ago.  Hubby’s been making this dessert-like side dish since his post-college days (that would be eons ago.)  He first saw it in one of his Bon Appetit mags, and I’m glad he kept the recipe.  Yeah, he really did subscribe to food magazines on his own.  And wine ones.  And food + wine ones.  But we’re talking about sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potatoe Casserole with Brown Sugar Crumble

None of us can agree – is this actually a side dish or a dessert?  We know it’s labeled as a side dish and deserves a place next to the turkey or roast.  I think it’s a dessert in disguise, with its smooth, maple-sweet interior and crisp streusel topping.  The brown sugar and pecan topping is the star of this yummy dish.

My favorite thing about this?  Once again, here’s something that can totally be prepped the night before.  It’s true.  We all have enough going on the day of a major holiday.  This sweet potato dish is one less thing to worry about.  I always assemble the casserole the night before, with streusel in a separate container.  The day you want to serve it, just throw the prepared streusel on top and bake!  How easy is that?  If you haven’t yet tried making sweet potato casserole this way, you’ve gotta give it a go.

RECIPE (one 9×13 dish)

INGREDIENTS

5 lb red-skinned sweet potatoes (or yams)
4 large eggs
3 T pure maple syrup
2 T vanilla extract
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 tsp table salt

For Streusel Topping:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Mix together brown sugar, chopped pecans, and cold butter in a small bowl until mixture is grainy and comes together.  Cover and chill until ready to use.

Wrap each sweet potato in foil and bake at 400F for about 1 hour, or until potatoes are easily pierced by fork and very soft.  Actual bake time depends on size of potatoes.  Let cool enough to handle.  Remove sweet potato skins, and mash potatoes well in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt.  Mix in the mashed sweet potatoes until smooth and incorporated.  Transfer sweet potato mixture to a buttered 9×13 dish.  At this point, you can wrap tightly with cling wrap and put in fridge until ready to use.

Sprinkle pecan topping evenly over casserole.  Bake at 350F until casserole is set and topping bubbles.  About 1 hour.  Serve warm, and enjoy!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by Bon Appetit

Notes:

*I always choose to cook sweet potatoes in the oven because I really like the deep roasted flavor it creates.  You can also cook peeled, cubed potatoes in boiling water until very tender.

* If you want, you can make extra crumble topping, for a thicker layer of crunch on top.  Up to you!

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