Wednesday, November 19, 2008

november 19, 2008: frugal feasts make ahead side dishes for thanksgiving

Photo by Ken Williams of the Concord Monitor

Mashed Potatoes:
These potatoes are an Ellinwood family staple. For some reason (most likely the cream cheese) they stay hot for at least an hour, and they are so creamy and delicious we always make more than we think we could possibly need.
For ten servings:
5 pound bag of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
8 ounces regular cream cheese
8 ounces of butter (2 sticks)
¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons of salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Put the potatoes into a big pot of cold water and bring to a boil on the stove. Cook, stirring infrequently, until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain and return to the pot.
Meanwhile, put the remaining ingredients into a microwave safe bowl and nuke for 1 minute at high power to soften the butter and the cream cheese. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer, mix the potatoes until they are creamy and completely lump free. Add the butter and cream cheese mixture and beat until well mixed and fluffy—5 or 6 minutes to really whip them up. Spoon into an oven safe covered dish. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to cook, place in 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Dot top with more butter to serve.

Make Ahead Gravy
Enough for 10 servings, plus some leftovers
Making gravy on Thanksgiving is a nightmare. Everything else is ready to go, people are wandering through the kitchen picking at the turkey platter and the clock ticks as you frantically try to get the gravy thickened. Forget that. Make this on Tuesday, and as the roasted turkey is resting on the counter, all you’ll need to do is nuke the gravy and put it into the boat. And it is so delicious, you’ll never want to crack open a jar again.
2 turkey wings (the markets are full of them this time of year)
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons softened butter
3 cans turkey broth (or chicken broth in a pinch)
3 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons brandy (optional but really delicious)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Smear the turkey wings with the butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a small pan along with the onions, in a 375 degree oven for an hour or until the wings are dark and cooked through. Remove the wings from the pan and place the pan on the stove top. Remove the wings from the pan and set aside for another use – like turkey salad or soup.
In a small jar with a lid (take one from your recycling) mix together the cornstarch and about a half a cup of cold turkey broth. Shake hard for about 45 seconds until the mixture is smooth and lump free.
Add the remaining broth to the pan and cook on medium heat until it simmers, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the drippings. When the mixture is starting to bubble, add the cornstarch mixture and whisk the gravy until it thickens. Taste and adjust the salt and the pepper to taste. Add the brandy and cook for 1 additional minute. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. To serve, reheat covered in the microwave for about 3 minutes on high. Stir before filling the gravy boat.

New Hampshire Style Sweet Potato Puree
A Broadbent Family Classic!
For 10 servings:
6 large sweet potatoes
8 ounce tub of whipped cream cheese, softened
½ cup real maple syrup
Roast the sweet potatoes at 350 degrees for about one hour, until potatoes are very soft.
Remove from oven and scrape from skins into the bowl of a food processor. Process for about one minute until very smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process for another 30 seconds until well mixed and velvety. Keeps in the fridge for about a week, so make this one today! Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes on high power, stirring once. Dot with butter before serving. If you don’t have a food processor, use a hand mixer and mix for about 3 minutes before adding the other ingredients. Mix for another minute or so, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.

Becky’s Truly Delicious Turnip Casserole

This comes from a good friend. If turnips are a tradition at your house, try this. It is sweet and a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. And since turnips are just the worst things in the world to cut and peel, this is a great one to do ahead!
10 small servings

3 pounds turnips or rutebegas, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

3 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs from 4 slices fresh bread
1 tablespoon melted butter

Put the turnips into a large pot of cold water and sprinkle in ¼ cup sugar. Boil until turnips are tender, and drain well. Mash by hand until pretty well broken up – some lumps are ok. Mix with the eggs, the remaining ¼ cup sugar, salt and pepper. Put into an oven safe dish. Keeps for about a week in the fridge.
When ready to cook, mix the breadcrumbs with the butter and sprinkle on the top of the turnips. Bake for about a half hour until hot and browned.

Jaime’s Apple Cranberry Bake

Have the kids make this. Really!
4 granny smith or other apples, cored and sliced into about 8-10 slices each. (a wheel shaped apple corer/slicer is perfect for this, but if you don’t have one, help the kids with this task.)
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 package oatmeal or sugar cookie mix
1 egg
1 stick of softened butter.
2 tablespoons decorative or sanding sugar, optional
Vanilla ice cream, optional

In a pie plate or other shallow baking dish mix the apples and the can of cranberry sauce. In a medium bowl, sitr together the cookie mix, egg and butter until it forms a sticky dough. Make sure to scrape to the bottom of the bowl to get everything combined.

Use a spoon to drop clumps of the sugar cookie mixture on top of the apples and cranberries. Use all the dough, and don’t worry if there are cracks and spaces in the topping. Sprinkle with the decorative sugar if using.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until the cookie topping is crisp and cooked and the apples have bubbled up. This can sit, uncovered, on the counter for 2 days. Reheat for 15 minutes before serving if desired.

Serve with Vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

november 5, 2008: frugal feasts red state/blue state stews

beef with baby vegetables
Hearty Pork Stew
Pork Stew
Serves 6 at $1.75 per serving

1 ½ lbs pork butt, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
1 teaspoon dried mint, crushed
1/4 cup of butter, divided
8 ounces fresh button mushrooms halved or quartered
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1 14 ounce can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 pound bag frozen crinkle cut carrots
3 tablespoons all -purpose flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

For Serving:

Hot buttered noodles

Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle pork with sage and mint. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 12 inch oven proof skillet with lid or other heavy lidded pot over medium heat. Brown the pork in the butter, turning often. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are tender. Stir in the chicken broth, and add the bay leaf, salt and pepper and the browned pork. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Stir in the carrots and return to the oven for another 20 minutes until the carrots are tender.

Melt the remaining butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and the Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring constantly for one minute and remove from heat.

Transfer the pan from the oven to the stove top and bring the pork to a boil over medium heat. Add the flour mixture and stir well. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for two minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove bay leaf and serve over hot buttered noodles.

Beef Stew with Baby Vegetables
Inspired by our favorite blue state cook, Ina Garten.
6 servings at $2.00 per serving
2 strips uncooked bacon, cut into small dice
2 lb package beef chuck for stew , cut into bite sized pieces, approx ½ inch.
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper,
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
1 bottle red wine, 1 can beef broth or a mixture of both
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, plus more for garnish
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 cup frozen pearl onions thawed and drained
1 cup frozen baby carrots, thawed and drained
For Serving:
1 medium sized loaf of skinny French bread, cut into thin slices
1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
Cook the bacon in a heavy lidded pot over medium heat until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Sprinkle the beef with the salt and the pepper. Working in batches, brown the meat in the bacon fat over medium heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring occasionally until at least one side of each beef piece is brown.
Add the minced garlic and stir around with the meat for one minute. Add the wine and broth if using, and the can of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cover the pot. Keep the meat at a simmer for approximately 1 hour, until the beef is tender when pierced with a fork. Add the thawed vegetables and simmer for another 10 minutes, until the vegetables are warmed through.
Rub the bread slices with garlic. Put two slices in the bottom of each of 6 soup bowls. Ladle the beef and vegetables over the bread. Garnish with some additional rosemary and serve hot.