Everyday Mom's Meals: November 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Soul Food Saturday #33

Good Morning! I hope ya'll had a fantastic Thanksgiving filled with family, love, memories made and yummy food! Is your fridge stuffed with leftovers? Want something to use that turkey for besides yet another sandwich? Bekki has just the answer today!

I hope that you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving and all of the wonderful things that surround us during the holidays; our families, friends, and time together. I have a huge soup addiction and the Fall and Winter are the perfect time to make big pots of the bubbly deliciousness. With all the left over turkey we all need new ways to use it up and make it stretch for a few more meals. This is just one more way. Along with my addiction to soup I have a new love for kale. It’s a peppery green leafy vegetable that is perfect in this soup. Add a few more veggies, some pasta, your remaining gobbler and voila dinner! Let’s continue our time of thanks giving, with something to warm you heart and soul. Enjoy!
Turkey and Kale Noodle Soup
6 c. low sodium chicken stock
3 c. carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
3 c. cooked turkey, chopped
3 c. kale, chopped and stemmed
4 c. cooked pasta
1 tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In medium stock pot add olive oil, and onion. Cook until onions are softened. Add bell pepper, and carrots. Stir to combine. Add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until carrots are tender. Add kale, turkey and pasta. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if desired. Soup is ready when kale is tender and turkey is warmed through.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Classic Revisted

Today's recipe has been a staple in our house for a very long time. In fact, it was already blogged back when only maybe five people, including my mom, read EMM. And if you remember, my "foodie resolution" for 2013 was to revisit some of those "back in the day" posts, and re-blog them for everyone to enjoy again. So, since the year is quickly winding down, I had to make sure this was on the list!

The first time I ever had a Greek salad was at one of our favorite restaurants here in Fort Wayne. It's a nicer place, and one we go to for only special occasions, so in my mind this salad option will always be a little on the fancy side, when it reality, it could not be easier to make!

I love entertaining with salad, as a first course; but they also make an incredible light, but still filling, weeknight salad supper. They are a very common star on our dinner table during the warm summer months, but we love them so much I am required to make them year round. Especially now that the little man has also fallen in love with them; and not only does he love them, but he will actually eat the one part of this salad that I won't touch. The anchovies. His father loves them; and when I serve them to others, I always have them as an option, but to me, they just aren't appetizing. So to see my son not only like them, but ask for extra kinda makes me giggle. And proves once again, this child has the most diverse palate of any 9 year old I know!

Greek Salads
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can pitted black olives, drained (see note below)
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 (15 oz.) can sliced beets, drained and chopped
1 small container crumbed feta cheese
1 small tin anchovies in olive oil, optional
Greek Dressing

Divide lettuce, olives, green peppers, pineapple, beets and feta among plates evenly. This amount will make 3 large dinner salads, or 4 small side salads. For those wanting anchovies, add to very top. Serve with dressing on side. *NOTE* I prefer to make these with kalamata olives. They are the most authentic. However, sometimes the budget doesn't allow it, and black olives work just as well.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Party Planning Time

Are you ready for tomorrow? Have you started prepping your meal? Do you still have some last minute additions needed to your party/meal plan? Maybe an appetizer? If so, you've come to the right place. I've got you covered with the most simple, but absolutely delicious "nibbly bit" (as my Monkey calls them) perfect for your party table!

Now to be honest, when I decided to post this, I wasn't even thinking appetizers for your Thanksgiving celebration. I actually tested this recipe a couple weeks ago, already thinking ahead to our annual New Year's Eve appetizer blow out. As many of you know, each year the 3 of us stay in, I make a big spread of appetizers and fun foods, we eat all night, watch movies and ring in the New Year! So about this time of year I begin to look for new things to offer on my table that night, and this will definitely make the list this year!

But then I got to thinking, I shouldn't wait to share this with you. I know many of you need appetizers for your Turkey Day weekend, all of the holiday parties coming our way, Christmas celebrations, so many parties, so little time. So, all of us can always use something quick, simple and yummy to throw together, maybe even at the last minute!

How much better can you get than olives, cream cheese and bacon. Yes, BACON! These are especially nice because you can make batches of them throughout your party, without having to be in the kitchen too long, so your guests always have fresh ones to enjoy.

Party planning time is here people. This time of year we all have so many to attend, and I hope like me, you're looking forward to each and every one. But that doesn't mean we still don't need easy ideas to make the holidays just a little less stressful on ourselves!

Bacon and Olive Toasts
Pumpernickel Cocktail Bread or Large pieces cut into squares
Green olives, sliced
Bacon, cooked crispy
Whipped Cream Cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Lay bread pieces on baking sheet. Toast for 6 minutes. Remove. Spread evenly with cream cheese. Top with bacon and green olives.

Appetizers at Very Good Recipes

Monday, November 25, 2013

Leftover Time

Three days people. That's all the time you have to finish those menus, prep all that food and start the cooking marathon! I can hardly believe Thanksgiving is this week, but luckily I'm only responsible for one dish for our meal, so I'm all set!

So, here is my question. By Friday are you so sick of turkey you don't want to see another piece? Or are you enjoying turkey sandwiches until the last piece of white meat is gone? Or are you searching for the perfect dish to use some of that delicious bird in, turning it into something new? If the last option describes you, then you've come to the right place because I've got a great idea for you. Sure, it's written with chicken, but cooked turkey would make the perfect substitution, especially this time of year.

When I reviews my friend Christy Jordan's new cookbook Come Home to Supper, I featured this recipe and admitted it was the first one I wanted to try. Well, then a couple weeks got away from me, and Alex got sick, and it got put on the back burner for a little bit. But a couple weeks ago I finally had the chance, and I'm telling you what, it was a huge hit at our house. In fact, Mr. Everyday was eating it out of the pan, straight from the pan, before I could even serve it up!!

It truly is comfort food on a plate! I love casseroles all year long, but mostly during the cold winter months. There is just something so warming and homey about them. They make you feel so much better after a long, hard day when you good food, fast! And I will tell you, without a doubt, the one thing inside this one that really gets your attention and makes you say "yum" are the almonds! They are the perfect little crunchy surprise.

If you are looking for a simple weeknight meal, I hope you will give this a try. Or if you just know that leftover turkey is going to take over your life and you're going to need to find ways to use it before you lose it, this may just be your saving grace. Either way, it's one that will become a regular in our home; and I hope it does in yours too!

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole From Come Home To Supper
3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips (see note)
Olive Oil
1 (6 oz.) box wild rice mix
1 (15 oz.) can French green beans, drained
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. sour cream
1 c. slivered almonds
35 Ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Drizzle chicken tenders with oil, season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool. When cool enough to handle, cut into bite size pieces. Prepare rice according to package directions. When done, transfer to a large bowl. Add chicken, soup, beans, sour cream, almonds, salt and pepper. Mix well. Grease a 9x11 or 9x13 pan. Transfer rice mixture to pan and spread evenly. Top with crushed crackers. Drizzle with butter. Reduce oven to 350. Bake for 30 minutes. *NOTE* I like to make the chicken ahead and then prepare casserole at supper time. Also, if using turkey instead of chicken, you will need about 2 cups cooked turkey, chopped.

Casseroles at Very Good Recipes

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Soul Food Saturday #32

Happy (early) Thanksgiving! Since this is the last weekend before we all gather around our huge tables, surrounded by those who we love most, eating until we can't move, Bekki and I wanted to make sure to share something that might just be the perfect last minute addition to your menu!

I found a new favorite salad in my grocery store deli not too long ago, that I call quinoa made AMAZING! It has dried fruits and walnuts with a sweet almost glaze type of dressing. With no recipe, just an idea that I wanted this more often, than having to drive over and hope they have some left for me. I decided to reconstruct it and dress it up for the holiday table. Yes! It has cranberries! Perfect for any dressed up occasion or time you want a beautiful simple salad. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Quinoa Cranberry Salad
1 c. dried quinoa
4 tbs. Maple syrup
½ c. dried cranberries
½ c. dried apricots
1 tbs. orange juice
½ c. cashews, chopped
Cook quinoa according to package directions. In small bowl mix syrup, juice and set aside. Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork and add to a large bowl with fruit and nuts. Stir to combine. Pour dressing over and mix well. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

Meal Plan Nov.24- 29

*New Recipe
Links to Recipe on Blog

Breakfast Casserole*
Hashbrown Cakes

Olive Bruschetta*

Egg Rolls
Easy Peanut Noodles
Mandarin Oranges

Chicken Rice Broccoli Casserole*
Sliced Peaches

Happy Thanksgiving!!
I'm taking Cranberry Sauce to my in laws.

Crock Pot Chili
Cheese n Crackers

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Forgotten Veggie

Are you looking for a new vegetable for your Thanksgiving table? Or maybe you're just trying to introduce your family to new things besides the staples of green beans and corn. Well, today I've got a recipe using one of my family's absolute favorite veggies, and it might just be one you've never tried, and for some, never even heard of.

The parsnip. Now, I will tell you right now, I truly believe your exposure to these root veggies might depend on the area of the country you live in. Growing up, I was well aware of them, but that was because of my family in Pennsylvania. See, they are very popular out there; and my "Popeye" (grandpa) grew the biggest ones around! I wish I had a photo to share, but I'm not kidding you when I say the ones he got out of the garden each year were gigantic! We're talking like something that could have taken a blue ribbon at the state fair, had he entered. And learning from him, my dad started growing them in his garden too, but something about the Indiana soil, they never did get as big as his dad's. And at that time, we couldn't even find them in our grocery stores. Nowadays, I can find them at a few stores around town, so I'm thankful.

One unique thing about getting the best tasting parsnips possible? You have to leave them in the ground until after a good hard freeze, and then dig them up! No joke, there were many Thanksgiving mornings in PA my grandpa would be out digging them up, fresh for Grammy to fix for dinner! It's the key to making sure the have just the right flavor. And what might that flavor be, you ask? Well, I once heard them described as a "carrot with a kick" and I think it's perfect. They have a little bit of a "spice" to them (think ginger) but when cooked, can be sweet like carrots.

This preparation is the only way our family has eaten them for 3 generations now! Grammy taught my dad. He taught me. And now I'm passing it down to my son. They couldn't be easier and would make a great addition to your Turkey Day table! Your family will be so pleased with something new to try, especially after they taste how delicious they are!

Sauteed Parsnips
4-5 large parsnips, peeled and sliced (see note below)
1/4 c. margarine or butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place sliced parsnips in medium saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Cook for 3-5 minutes just until fork tender. Drain well. Melt margarine in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add parsnips. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until golden and browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and adjust seasoning.

*NOTE* To slice parsnips, stand them up. Looking down on the top. you will be able to see a circle in the center. This is the core. Slice down each side of the parsnip, around that core and then julienne.

Shared on The Country Cook Nov. 22, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Family Time During Holiday Chaos

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Netflix for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

The holidays are descending upon us! The hustle and bustle of holiday parties, family get togethers, and all the other fun times that come this time of year is once again knocking on our front doors.
But this year, Netflix is encouraging families to slow down, take some time for ourselves and enjoy some streaming fun! And what better place to start than in the kitchen?!

With this in mind, Netflix partnered with celebrity chef Curtis Stone to create holiday inspired recipes, all of which are the perfect pairings with your favorite television shows and movies on Netflix. (I will show you my favorite of these recipes in just a minute!) 
Netflix allows members to enjoy their favorite movies and television shows anytime, anywhere they want. Plus, with Netflix, you can watch on your iPad (my favorite way!) in the kitchen, or the big screen in the living room or even on your phone on-the-go! And this Thanksgiving, Netflix is making it easier to chose by suggesting TV shows and movies your family can enjoy while the turkey is baking! 

We are big Netflix fans. I love watching some of my favorite tv shows while I'm in the kitchen cooking. And we look forward to movie marathons at least once per week; and during this time of year, we love the holiday titles to choose from. We can sit down with mugs of hot cocoa and really spend some quality time together as a family with a wonderful holiday classic. Rather it's White Christmas with Bing Crosby or Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas for my son, or even the action packed Skyfall for my husband, there is definitely something for everyone. Plus, while I'm busy cooking, cleaning, or even wrapping Christmas presents, I can watch episode after episode of my favorite shows. (Yay for The Walking Dead!!!)
And if you are looking for a new sweet treat to enjoy after dinner, during your movie marathons this holiday season, I've got just the thing for you, courtesy of Curtis Stone!

Up In Flames Drunken Bananas with Spiced Ice Cream
Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Make-Ahead: The spiced ice cream can be made up to 3 days ahead, kept frozen. The flambéed bananas must be served as soon as they are made.

Spiced Ice Cream:
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Large pinch of ground cloves

Flambéed Bananas:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 medium bananas, peeled
1/4 cup golden rum
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

To make the spiced ice cream:
  1. In a medium bowl, break up the ice cream with a spoon, then mix in the nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
  2. Cover the ice cream and return it to the freezer. Keep the ice cream frozen until ready to serve.
To cook the bananas:

  1. In a 12-inch nonstick frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Slice the bananas in half lengthwise and lay the bananas cut side down in the butter mixture. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the bananas are caramelized on the underside and the sugar mixture has melted and become golden brown.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the rum. Using a long match, carefully ignite the rum. Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area and away from any flammable material. Allow the flame to burn out. Turn the bananas over. Return the pan to medium heat and stir in the cream. Baste the bananas with the caramel sauce for about 1 minute.
  3. Divide the bananas between two plates. Spoon some sauce over the bananas. Top each with a scoop of ice cream, and then drizzle the remaining sauce over and around the ice cream and bananas. Serve immediately.

Looks pretty cool, huh? How impressive for guests!

This holiday season, be sure to include Netflix in all your family plans. And to stay up on the latest they have to offer, Like Netflix on FacebookFollow @Netflix and Follow Netflix on Pinterest

So, what movie or show are you looking forward to watching with your family over the next few weeks?
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Meet The Kuehnerts, An Indiana Farming Family {Indiana Dairy Association}

I am so excited to be the Dairy Association's Ambassador chosen to interview an Indiana dairy farm family. 

Supporting our local farms and farmers is one of the things I am most passionate about through this food blog. If you read EMM on a regular basis, you can see this in various posts when my family is out in our community visiting our favorite orchard, pumpkin patch, or fall festival at the farm. 

Farmers are what makes this country go round. Hands down, the hardest working, most dedicated people making sure my family and yours are fed every single day. I truly believe in supporting them any way I can, rather it be buying directly from them, to promoting them any time I get the chance.

Today I'm so happy to introduce you to some local dairy farmers in my hometown! The Kuehnerts. If you remember, Adam, Alex and I visited their Fall Festival back in October and had the BEST time! 

But I actually knew about the Kuehnerts long before then. See, I went to school with one of the Kuehnert girls  and have heard many wonderful things about their farm for years. 

So without further adieu, please welcome Sarah Keuhnert to EMM~

  1. How long has your family farm existed? Is it only a dairy farm, or are other things grown too?
Established in the 1890’s, Kuehnert Dairy Farm is a 6th generation family farm. Today the fourth and fifth generations work here daily, and the sixth generation plays here every day!  
We also are grain farmers.  We farm a total of 850 acres of corn, alfalfa, soybeans, and rye.  The majority of the crops produced go to feeding the cows.
  1. How many family members are involved in the day to day operation of the farm? 

We are really proud that there are currently four generations at the farm on a daily basis. Nathan’s Grandfather Melvin, is at the farm every day and is our “do anything man”.  He performs daily tasks like driving tractors and repairing equipment, however his favorite job is giving his great-grandchildren a ride on his ATV.  My father-in-law Alan and Nathan’s uncle, Stan, manage all of the daily functions on the dairy from feeding the cows to harvesting the crops.  My mother-in-law Cindy feeds all of the baby calves every day, with the help of myself, sister-in-law Brittany, and Allie and Bryar of course! My husband’s main duty is helping to keep the cows healthy and happy by providing the proper care and administering the right medications.  He also manages our cattle reproductive program and makes the genetic decisions. My brother-in-law Andrew, is in charge of the nutrition, ensuring that the cows get a balanced diet every single day.  We are also very lucky to have a couple of young men who work with us that are like family: Austin Bridgewater, Zach VanEvery and Nick Sorg.
In addition to daily chores, I am responsible for farm advertising and social media.

  1. How many cows does the farm have on a regular basis? And how much milk is produced annually?
We milk 300 Registered Holsteins with 275 heifers under 2 years of age.  We currently are bottle feeding 30 heifer calves less than 2 months of age.  
Kuehnert Dairy Farm produces almost 7 million pounds of milk annually!

4. This past fall your farm opened itself up to the community with a Fall Festival. As someone who attended, I thought it was wonderful. Did the family feel like it was successful?

Agriculture is the backbone of America.  We at Kuehnert Dairy, know that we are very privileged to have four generations working together daily to provide consumers with nature’s most perfect food- MILK.  We are honored that God gave us this vision and desire to continue this generational family farm.  It is with this agritourism venue that the 5th generation of Kuehnert Dairy Farm can start making their way back to the farm and do their part in continuing this farming legacy.  It is our responsibility to share what we are doing, how our practice are safe and environmentally conscious and that we are being good stewards of what we have.  

The vision for the Fall Festival is to experience farm life while creating memories.  It is our goal to create a venue for families to build their own family traditions while learning about produce agriculture.  We want consumers to see what life is like as a dairy farmer, how we care for our cows and the land.  It is our passion to educate the general public, so that they know that milk comes from a cow, how a gallon of milk gets to the grocery store, and to know the importance of milk in a healthy diet.  We want to improve consumer confidence in locally grown & produced foods and we are driven to rejuvenate the importance of family time.

  1. I was told you are also a dietitian. How do you like to incorporate your farming world into that?
I work part-time off the farm as a Registered Dietitian at St. Joseph Hospital, in downtown Ft.Wayne, specializing in critical care and burn.  I also use my dietetic degree to help promote agriculture and dairy.  My husband, Nathan, and I have worked closely with MPSI and Prairie Farms in promoting the dairy industry and its nutritional importance to a balanced diet.  We also conduct many school field trips, tours and special events here on the farm where I am able to incorporate nutrition education.  It is so important to me that consumers know where their food comes from, that they know it is safe to eat, and how food nourishes their bodies.  And having grown up on a dairy farm myself, I have a special love for the dairy cow and milk, so here is my motto:

As a dairy farmer, Registered Dietitian, and a mother, I know how important it is to get at least three servings of dairy each and every day.  It all starts with milk! We drink it. We use it as an ingredient and we make a lot of other products from it. I believe it is important for people of all ages to know the importance of milk in their daily lives.  One 8-ounce glass of milk provides these minimum daily allowances:  30% Calcium, 25% Vitamin D, 24% Riboflavin, 16% Protein, 13% Vitamin B12, 11% Potassium, 10% Vitamin A, and 10% Niacin.  That’s just one 8-ounce glass of milk!  And you can get this kind of nutrition from other dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, chocolate milk, and ice cream.  Milk is not just a cool, nutritious, thirst-quenching drink, it is truly one of nature’s purest gifts!

6. What is your favorite dairy product? What about your kids?
My favorite dairy product is yogurt.  It is so versatile and yummy always!
Allie’s is ice cream.
Bryar’s is cottage cheese.

  1. With the upcoming holiday season, what are some of your family traditions on the farm?
You will find the ladies of Kuehnert Dairy Farm in our kitchens baking and cooking holiday goodies.  We provide all our neighbors and landlords with Christmas goodie bags as a token of our appreciation for their friendships and business relationships.  Dairy products are a guarantee in every goodie bag! My mother-in-law, Cindy, is known for her homemade Cow Pies!
On Christmas Eve, we attend the Christmas Eve church service.  We come home to enjoy homemade cheesy potato soup and little ham & cheese sandwiches.  Allie and Bryar open one gift, which is always new Christmas pajamas to sleep in.  We bake fresh chocolate chip cookies for Santa.  Of course, we have a special cookie plate and milk cup for Santa that we place just before heading off to bed.
On Christmas morning, after our morning chores we open presents from Santa. We have brunch which is always homemade quiche and cinnamon rolls!  So yummy!  
This Holiday season, we will be starting a new tradition on the farm!  Follow us on Facebook for the big revelation or drive by the farm and see it for yourself!  

I want to thank Sarah so much for talking with me today. I learned so much about the farm, and look forward to our next visit! I can't wait to see the new Christmas surprise!

If you are lucky enough to have a farm in your community please support them any way you can! Go visit them. Teach your kids where their food comes from! You won't regret it!

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this interview. All questions were my own.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Yep, It's From a Box

I love stuffing. In fact it's one of the things I love most about holiday meals. But I can't even lie, we eat stuffing year round. For any of you that read my meal plans on a weekly basis, you know many times if I serve pork chops or ham steaks, stuffing is one of the side dishes included.

Now, here is something you might not know. Every single time I make stuffing, it's from a box! Yep, it's one of the few things I don't even attempt to make from scratch. And if I'm being completely honest, I actually prefer the boxed variety to any homemade I've ever had! I'm certain it's because what I grew up with both from my mom, and her mom. My other grandma always made homemade, but on my mom's side, it always came from a box, and that was okay with us.

I'm sure many of you enjoy making your own, or maybe you have a tried and true family recipe; and I have all the respect in the world for that. There are so many kinds of stuffing, or dressing, out there, who am I to say which is the best? I just know what our family enjoys the most, and it's what we stick to.

But that doesn't mean we can't make it a little better. Jazz it up a little so to speak. Add some fresh, yummy things, and that dried stuffing mix is brought back to life in a whole new way. And nothing says holiday more than apples and cranberries! The flavor of this version is like nothing I've ever made before, and it really tasted like homemade!

This recipe fantastic because you can take a little help from the store, making one thing on your menu a little easier, and easily adapt it to feed a few or a crowd. Not to mention, it's pretty economical too. This time of year you can usually find the boxed mixes for $1 or less!

If you have a great stuffing recipe and don't really groove on the boxed kind, that's okay. Maybe you can incorporate parts of this recipe into your favorite version and still come up with something new. But if you're like me and willing to take a little pre-made assistance, here is one way to make it just a little more special!

Cran-Apple Pecan Stuffing From Kraft
1 box stuffing mix for turkey
1 1/2 c. apple juice
2 TBS butter
1 small apple, finely chopped
1/2 c. dried cranberries, extra for garnish
1/4 c. chopped pecans, extra for garnish

In a medium saucepan bring apple juice and butter to a boil. Add stuffing mix, apples and cranberries. Stir. Remove from heat. Cover. Let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add pecans. Stir well. Transfer to serving dish. Garnish with extra cranberries and pecans.

Shared on The Country Cook Nov. 22, 2013

Stuffing at Very Good Recipes

Monday, November 18, 2013

First Time In My Kitchen

I am so super excited to share today's recipe with you. One, because it is a first time here on EMM. Two, it is a first in my kitchen whatsoever. Three, it would make a fantastic alternative to the traditional turkey or ham this upcoming holiday season. And most of all, because it is seriously one of the most delicious things I've made in a long time, not to mention gorgeous, making me very proud of it!

Have you ever had duck? I know sometimes it gets a bad wrap of being a greasy meat, but I can attest to the fact, if it is prepared correctly, it is no more greasy than chicken. I have had it a couple times, and loved it; just never prepared it myself. My husband has had it many times, and loves it. So when dear friends, and fellow foodies, treated me with some fresh (frozen) duck legs, I could not wait to get into the kitchen and start cooking!

Now, I realize if you're feeding a huge crowd for Thanksgiving or Christmas, this might not be the most economical choice. But maybe your holiday celebration is a little trimmed back this year, with not everyone being able to make it, and a huge turkey just doesn't make sense. Or maybe you just want to try something different and totally wow your guests. These will definitely do that!

The pre-browning step is a must! Don't skip it. And yes, leave the skin on. It locks all the moisture into the meat, making it juicy, tender and flavorful. Then to slow roast them laying on all those veggies just adds more yumminess! Then the "icing on the cake" per say, is this simple, yet delicious and unique glaze. It really puts them over the top.

If you're looking for something new to try for your family's holiday, or want to maybe have something a little extra special hit your holiday table, these are the perfect idea. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Roasted Duck Legs with Apricot Glaze
6 whole duck legs, trimmed and dried
1 TBS olive oil
1 carrot, cut into large pieces
1 rib celery, cut into large pieces
1 medium white onion, sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. apricot preserves
1 tsp. dried thyme, divided
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
2 TBS water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season duck liberally with salt and pepper, on both sides. Place in skillet, skin side down in pan. Brown for 6-7 minutes. Flip and brown meat side for 3-4 minutes. In a large roasting pan place carrots, celery, and onion. Add broth. Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp. thyme. Lay browned duck, skin side up, over veggies. Cover and roast for 1 hour 15 minutes. Increase heat to 425 and uncover. Roast for another 20 minutes to crisp skin. In a small saucepan combine preserves, vinegar, water, 1/4 tsp. thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When duck is done, transfer to serving platter and liberally baste in apricot glaze. Sprinkle with extra thyme.

Shared on The Country Cook Nov. 22, 2013

Duck at Very Good Recipes

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Church Supper #109

Good Morning and welcome to another Sunday! I hope this finds you enjoying your weekend and ready to share in some good fellowship and great food!
Thanks for stopping by today. I truly appreciate you sharing with our foodie family!
Please link up your favorite recipes from the week. And remember I wish you God's blessings all week long!
 " Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4)

Last Week's Most Viewed Recipe:

Easy Pork Chops with Gravy


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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Soul Food Saturday #31

We have officially made it to the middle of the month! Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away, and the days are flying by. Today Bekki is sharing a great twist on that traditional corn side dish for your holiday table.

As the weather gets cooler the thoughts of this past summer’s bounty comes to mind. Visions of fresh corn on the cob with butter, comes dancing through my head. You can almost smell it can’t you? So why not bring that memory into right now, and make it part of your Thanksgiving table? Or part of that pot luck you were invited to? Whether it’s a celebration with your family or get togethers with friends, your going to need this printed a few times its sure to be one more tradition on your table! Enjoy!
Fried Corn with Tomatoes and Onions
1 tbs. unsalted butter
1 medium onion sliced
3 c. frozen corn kernels
1 10oz. can Hot Rotel tomatoes
1 tsp granulated garlic
½ tsp. salt
Add butter to a medium sized pan and allow to melt. Add sliced onions, cook until clear. Add corn kernels and tomatoes with their juice, salt and garlic. Stir to combine, and cook 15-20 minutes or until juices are nearly gone and corn is cooked through. Stir occasionally. Serve hot with your favorite holiday meal or on a busy weeknight. Either way you choose, it’s sure to be a hit.

Meal Plan Nov. 17-22

*New Recipe
Links to Recipes on Blog

Roast Chicken Thighs*
Apple Cranberry Stuffing*
Cranberry Sauce
Skillet Green Beans*

Shrimp Scampi Pasta*
Bread Sticks

Chili Dog Casserole
Cottage Cheese
Mandarin Oranges


Thursday (Alex's Pick)
Fish Sticks
Mac n Cheese

Crock Pot Irish Stew

Friday, November 15, 2013

Make Ahead Holiday

Sweet Potatoes. It seems folks either love 'em or hate 'em. There doesn't seem to be much wiggle room, or gray area. For our family, they are definitely a love. Any way we can get them! Mashed, baked, roasted, fries, it doesn't matter, we gobble them up.

But one thing we can't stand? The traditional addition of marshmallows to the top! Yep, what most Americans consider the norm, is not allowed on ours. And I when I say I don't enjoy the marshmallows, it's minor to the hatred my husband feels for them. Any time he sees those white clouds sitting atop, he says "Great, now they are ruined." Yeah, he's not really one to mince words. But we realize for many, they are a must, and we respect that, we just can't join in.

So I'm always on the lookout for new ways to serve sweet potatoes, especially around the holidays, and when I can also ease the stress of holiday cooking, it's an added bonus. See, these can actually be made a day or two ahead, refrigerated and then reheated in the oven, right alongside the bird! If you can check a few items off the list before the big day, why not make it a little easier on yourself?

Sweet, buttery and full of flavor, these sweet potatoes are sure to be a star at any holiday table. And if your family digs the marshmallows, by all means, add some on top. Just don't offer them to my husband.

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes
6 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, diced
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, extra for garnish
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375. Lay potatoes on baking sheet, or 2 depending on size. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Roast for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until tender. Remove to a large bowl. In a small sauce pan combine syrup, sugar, butter and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Allow to slightly thicken. Add syrup mixture to potatoes. Mash with potato masher, or whip with electric mixer until desired consistency. (We likes our to have a few small chunks.) Transfer to serving bowl. Top with pecans and extra cinnamon.

*NOTE* To make ahead, prepare through mashing. Put in an air tight container with lid and store in fridge for up to 2 days. When ready, preheat oven to 325. Put potatoes in casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 1 hour until warmed through. Remove and garnish as recipe states.

Shared on The Country Cook Nov. 15, 2013

Sweet Potatoes at Very Good Recipes

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tis The Season

No, not that season. But let's face it, that one is coming quickly too! No, I'm talking about the season of all things pumpkin! It is every where, and on every table. And ours is no exception. From my Pumpkin Fluff to Thanksgiving Day when my we look forward to my mom's pumpkin pie, it's one of the things I love most about autumn. And now I'm bringing to our, and your, breakfast table!

Does your Thanksgiving holiday include a house full of guests? Do you plan ahead what you're going to feed them? Do you concentrate on the huge holiday meal, and then not sweat the other meals over that weekend? Perhaps you would love treating them to something special the day after too, maybe before some of them descend upon the stores for Black Friday. In fact, these would be a great make ahead and then "grab and go" with a cup of coffee for all of that shopping!

If you don't have a doughnut pan for baking them in the oven, might I suggest you go out and buy one right now! Or add it to your wish list for Christmas, because it makes having fresh, homemade doughnuts so incredibly easy! And much less messy than trying to fry batch after batch.

A simple cake doughnut with a simple glaze, but full of pumpkin flavor, these are the perfect fall breakfast or brunch dish. Not to mention the house smells amazing while they are baking, which will only remind your guests what an amazing hostess you are!

Glazed Pumpkin Doughnuts
2 c. flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (see note below)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. butter, room temperature

1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
3 TBS milk

Preheat oven to 325. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir well. Add pumpkin egg, milk and butter, Beat with an electric mixer on low until well combined. Lightly coat doughnut pan with cooking spray. Spoon batter into pan, filling each hole about 1/2 way. Bake for 8-10 minutes until doughnuts spring back when touched. Allow to cool slightly in pan, and then remove to wire rack to finish cooling. Combine powdered sugar and milk in bowl. Dip each doughnut in pan and return to wire rack to set.

*NOTE* You can either pie pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice, or make your own. 

1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

This will give you 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.

Shared on The Country Cook Nov. 15, 2013