Don't stress about cooking your Thanksgiving turkey this year. Give yourself a trial run by cooking a chicken before the big day. It will help you work out all the kinks and help to calm your nerves. Since I'm going to be cooking my turkey on my Big Green Egg on Thursday I decided to give it a dry run with a chicken.
Let chicken rest.
Letting the chicken rest seems like a simple step and it's easy to skip it but don't underestimate it's importance. Letting the chicken rest allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat instead of spilling out onto the platter once it's sliced.
My mock Thanksgiving meal included chicken, broccoli and a salad.
I feel better about my Thanksgiving turkey now that I practiced by roasting a chicken on my Big Green Egg. Want to try a new turkey recipe this year? Practice on a chicken this weekend - you'll be glad you did.
I find it fascinating that companies can make food more appealing just by changing its size. My daughter is absolutely mesmerized by the "pound plus" chocolate bars that they sell at Trader Joes. 17.6 ounces of pure, sweet chocolate. (Can I really blame her?) Don't get me wrong, chocolate never lost it's appeal for me but somehow, I am more enticed to buy it when it's packaged into a larger than life bar.
When I first discovered the tiny version of the classic Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, I made Reese's cupcakes. They were unbelievably good. If you haven't checked out that recipe yet - you're missing out.
Reese's Rice Crispy Treats
6 cup Rice Crispy cereal
10.5 ounce bag marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
8 ounces mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Slice into squares.
These chocolatey-peanut buttery treats are a huge hit with my family.
My mind is already filled with all kinds of ways that I can incorporate these mini Reese's peanut butter cups into desserts. Stay tuned peanut butter lovers. You haven't seen the last of these little treats.
I could hardly believe it when I first saw this yummy, cheesy, pasta dish - on the weight watchers website! How could this possibly a weight watchers recipe. Could all of that pasta goodness really be included in a healthy dinner? I copied the nutritional facts from weight watchers just to show you. (I needed prove myself.)
Nutritional information per 1 cup:
Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 42 grams
Fiber: 9 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Weight Watchers Points Plus Points: 7
So there you have it - an easy and healthy lasagna recipe that you can make in under 30 minutes. Sign me up.
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
About 6 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into thirds & fully cooked
2 tablespoons parsley (dried or fresh)
Serve immediately with additional basil or parsley.
I thought this was a delicious dinner. Both of my kids picked out the big pieces of tomato. Next time, I may have to chop the tomatoes a little finer to make the dish more "kid-friendly." It was still a yummy dinner and it didn't take me all night to prepare. This ones a keeper.
My daughter's Halloween candy is still looming in the corners of the kitchen cupboards and I've been doing my best to get it out of my sight. (By eating it unfortunately.) Seriously, I think I need an intervention because I can't stop myself from eating those tiny chocolate bars. To counteract the pounds of sugar that I've been consuming this week, I figured that I needed to indulge in a few salads as well. I love this salad because it's loaded with fruit and nuts and drizzled with a tangy/sweet dressing to give me that "sweet fix" that I have been craving. The dressing is really best when it's warm but to be honest, I usually don't go to the trouble of heating it up and it's also good, straight out of the frig.
Spinach Salad with Warm Citrus Dressing
6 ounce can orange juice concentrate 1 pound spinach
½ onion, diced 1 can mandarin oranges
¼ cup red wine vinegar ½ purple onion
½ cup brown sugar 3 ounces feta (optional)
1 Tablespoon orange zest ½ cup dried cranberries
½ teaspoon salt ¼ cup chopped pecans
½ teaspoon hot sauce 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
½ teaspoon dry mustard 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
½ cup oil
Process orange juice, onion and vinegar in blender. Add brown sugar, orange zest, mustard, salt and hot sauce. Blend on high. Add oil.
Bring to a boil and cook on medium for 10 minutes.
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons canola oil
1-1/4 pounds pecan halves (about 5 cups)
Put the salad together and drizzle with warm citrus vinaigrette just before serving.
Eating this salad is not going to make up for the chocolate bars that I keep eating but at least it's a step in the right direction.
Want to shake things up at your Thanksgiving table this year? No, I don't mean by putting glass in your mother-in-laws soup - and yes, I really did that one year. (That's a long story for another blog but believe me when I tell you that it was completely accidental.) What I meant by "Shake things up" was to add something new to your traditional Thanksgiving menu like these stuffed sweet potatoes. Your dinner guests will be impressed and they are really easy to make. You could even make them ahead of time and put them in the freezer to save for Thanksgiving.
I adapted this recipe from one that I found on Pinch Of Yum. I love roasted sweet potatoes and I figured that adding corn and black beans could only make them even better. I altered this recipe to make it Vegan and I've also made a non-vegan version as well. Both ways are delicious.
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
3 medium sweet potatoes
1 can corn, rinsed and patted dry
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon oil
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 ounce light cream cheese (Or vegan cream cheese alternative)
1 teaspoon salt (+ more to taste)
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons shredded cheese (Pepperjack, Cheddar, Colby Jack… anything will work)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes.
While sweet potatoes are baking, place corn in a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with no butter or oil. Sprinkle with salt and other Mexican seasoning (I used paprika). Do not stir! Let corn roast for several minutes before stirring. Let it roast for a few more minutes before stirring again. Continue this for about 10 minutes, until corn is browned and roasted on the outside.
Mix the flesh of the sweet potatoes with the cream cheese and salt. You can use a mixer or just a spoon, depending on how soft the potatoes are.
These sweet potatoes were really good. I heated a couple of them up for lunch the next day and much to my surprise - they were just as delicious as they were the first day. (Gotta love leftovers.) These stuffed sweet potatoes just may end up on my Thanksgiving table this year.
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