My annual Pre-Thanksgiving Soiree will be featuring a menu that includes Crunchy Cranberry Waldorf Salad, Spiced Pecans, Pumpkin Soup, Popovers, Sage Roasted Turkey, Vegetable Casserole, and Asparagus with Mushrooms and Cheese. For dessert, I will be serving a choice of Pumpkin Brulee Cheesecake and/or Caramel Apple Pie! I will be featuring the entire line of Carletto Estate Wines and Hot Buttered Rum. I am setting the tables with Brown tablecloths, White Candles and cinnamon/nutmeg scented silver and gold pine cones that I made myself! I look forward to seeing you all at the party! 🙂
Crunchy Cranberry Waldorf Salad
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon organic Indian White Honey
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 medium golden apples
2 medium red apples
juice of 1/2 lemon
6 oz pre-diced celery (1 3/4 cups)
1 (5-oz) package dried lower sugar/light cranberries
1. Whisk together in salad bowl, yogurt, honey, and pepper. Cut apples into small bite-size pieces; add to dressing. Squeeze juice of one-half lemon over apples; stir until evenly coated.
2. Stir in celery and cranberries. Chill until ready to serve. Yield = 6 Servings
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups diced (3/4-inch) raw pumpkin (or 3 cups of pumpkin puree)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion (1/4-inch)
1/4 cup diced celery (1/4-inch)
1/4 cup diced carrot (1/4-inch)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon clove
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 carton (32 oz) Progresso™ chicken broth (4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground toasted coriander, if desired
1 1/2 cups Roasted Pumpkin (above)
1/2 cup light cream
toasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas for garnish
low fat greek yogurt for garnish
Heat oven to 375°F. Heat butter over medium-high heat in an ovenproof sauté pan; add diced pumpkin, salt and pepper. When pumpkin begins to brown, place pan in oven. Roast 15 minutes or until medium-brown on all sides. Remove and cool slightly. Puree in food processor, or mash with potato masher or ricer. Measure 3 cups pumpkin; reserve. (Another great option for this step is to cut a small pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, season with salt and pepper and brush with oil, and then roast, cut side down, on a baking sheet for about an hour. After roasting, just scoop the flesh right into the blender or food processor and puree.)
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 450°. Generously grease 6-cup popover pan with shortening. Place pan in oven 5 minutes to heat.
Meanwhile, place milk in 1-cup microwavable measuring cup. Microwave uncovered on High 40 to 50 seconds or until warm. Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl with fork or wire whisk. Stir in flour, milk and salt with fork or wire whisk just until smooth (do not overbeat). Fill popover pan cups half full. Bake 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until deep golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Serve warm.
Sage Roasted Turkey Breast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2 tablespoons canola oil
6 lb frozen turkey breast, thawed
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine, salt, sage, zest, and oil. Place turkey in roasting pan; coat with sage mixture.
2. Bake 1 1/2-2 hours or until 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness. Let turkey stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 medium baking potatoes
2 large carrots
2 large parsnips
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut butter into small cubes; place in small bowl to soften.
2. Peel potatoes, carrots, and parsnips; cut all into 1-inch cubes and place in medium bowl. Toss vegetables with oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Transfer to 13- x 9-inch baking dish; bake 10 minutes.
3. Bake 20-25 more minutes or until vegetables are tender and topping has browned. Serve.
Asparagus with Mushrooms and Cheese
1 lb fresh asparagus
1 tsp. water
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. of Reserve Cheddar Cheese
8 oz. of pre-sliced baby portabellas
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 oz. Lemon Herb Finishing Butter (Look for this item in your local seafood dept.)
Remove tough ends from asparagus. Combine asparagus and water; microwave on High 3-4 mins. or until tender. Drain asparagus. Meanwhile, slice onion (1 cup); grate cheese or cut into small pieces.
Preheat large saute’ pan on medium-high for 2-3 mins. Add asparagus, onions, mushrooms, and pepper; cook and stir 2-3 mins. or until onions begin to soften.
Stir in herb butter and cheese until melted. Serve.
Pumpkin Brulee Cheesecake
8 sheets honey graham crackers
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
12 -ounces 1/3rd less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup low-fat (2%) Greek style plain yogurt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 15 -ounce can pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Position the oven racks in center and lower third of your oven. Fill a roasting pan about half full of water and place on the lower rack. This will create a moist environment for the cheesecake and help prevent cracking. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Put the graham crackers and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until fine. Add the butter and two tablespoons of water and pulse until moistened. Press into the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Bake until set and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl. Beat, with an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth and fluffy. Add the yogurt, egg and egg whites, reduce the mixer speed to low, and continue to beat until blended. Add the pumpkin, flour, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat until just combined. Stir with a spatula a few times to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated and to release any air bubbles in the batter that could cause the cheesecake to crack.
Pour the batter over the crust and rap the pan against the countertop a few times to bring any trapped air bubbles to the surface. Place the cheesecake on the center rack in the oven. Bake until just set and the center wiggles slightly, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and crack the door open. Let sit in the oven for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Run a thin sharp knife between the cheesecake and then pan to release the sides. Cool completely and then chill until cold, at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Before serving, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and release the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the top of the cheesecake and brulee the sugar with a kitchen torch or under the broiler for a few seconds.
Caramel Apple Pie
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 medium crisp, sweet apples
15 caramel squares, halved
1 frozen deep dish pie crust
1 (24-oz) jar chunky applesauce
1 (9-oz) package apple crisp bake mix
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut butter into small pieces; place in medium bowl to soften.
– Cut (dice) apples into 3/4-inch-square pieces. Cut caramels in half.
1. Bake pie crust 10 minutes or until golden.
2. Combine applesauce, apples, and caramels; transfer mixture to pie crust.
3. Combine apple crisp mix with butter following package instructions; sprinkle over apple mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden and apples are tender. Serve. (Makes 8 servings.)
Harry Connick Jr. – (It must’ve been ‘ol) Santa Claus