Grits Dressing

I saw this recipe in this month’s issue of Bon Appetit and was immediately intrigued – no bread in dressing? However, grits are one of my favorite things – I simply love them. Yes, I know I was born (and live) a little farther north than the normal grit suspects. 🙂 If you want a traditional, stuff-in-the bird dressing than this probably isn’t for you. If you want something new or want a unique and delicious side dish (maybe instead of corn?) than I definitely recommend  it.

As for me, I’m sitting in the kitchen hoarding the dish and wishing I hadn’t made only half of the recipe. Do I really have to share? The thing about this rich and creamy side is that I would actually make it for brunch or for a holiday side. While my waistline may not approve of frequent feasting on this dish, it is a wonderful treat. Mmmm, I love the holidays.   


GRITS DRESSING

(adapted very slightly from Bon Appetit, November 2011)
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Unsalted butter (for dish)
1 c. coarse stone-ground grits (I used Bob’s Red Mill Yellow Corn Grits)
1 c. (about 10 ounces) chopped bacon
6 large eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 c. coarsely grated cheddar (about 8 ounces), divided
2 Tb. chopped fresh chives
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika (I only had smoky and since there was bacon in it, I went with it)
Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Butter a 2-qt. baking dish. Bring 4 cups water (or chicken stock would be really great) to a simmer in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low; gently simmer, stirring often, until grits begin to thicken. Continue cooking, stirring often and adding water by 1/4 cupfuls it too thick, until tender and very thick* (about 5 cups), about 1 hour. (The amount of water and cooking time will vary depending on the type of grits used – mine took 1/2 hour or a little less.) Remove pan from heat and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 5–7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk eggs and cream in a medium bowl; whisk into grits in 3 additions. Stir in 1 3/4 cups cheese, chives, paprika, and bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer grits mixture to prepared dish and smooth top with a spoon. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over.

Transfer baking dish to oven and bake until puffed, golden, and just set in the middle, about 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

*When they say VERY THICK, they really mean it. Mine were not thick enough – I did not need to smooth the top with a spoon (it was thin enough to settle out on it’s own). 🙂 They still worked out great!

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Sweet Potato Maple Bacon Pie

Deliciouness abounds in this pie. I absolutely love the combination of sweet and salty. The candied bacon and maple cream kind of stole the show – as in, I could eat a whole bowl of just those two combined. 🙂 Seriously though, this pie was good! I served it to my parents and husband and they all proclaimed it delicious and they were all surprised at how much they LOVED the bacon.

Personally, I still like pumpkin pie better than sweet potato (it’s a texture thing) but I would totally make this again and serve it to guests and especially find more uses for that bacon. This is really an awesome twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. I’m already dreaming of the leftovers for breakfast. [Just a small note – the bacon looks dark in the picture but it was not burned I assure you!]

There are a few steps to this pie but it is not difficult and the steps do not need to be completed all at once.

SWEET POTATO MAPLE BACON PIE
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1 pie crust in a pie pan (you can make your own or buy a prepared one)
2 c. pureed sweet potato
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 c. evaporated milk
2 Tb. maple syrup
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the sweet potato, milk, egg, and maple syrup in the blender. Add the spices. Pour into the crust. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes.  Then decrease oven to 350° and bake for 35-45 minutes until set.

CANDIED BACON
3 strips bacon, roughly chopped (mine was fairly thick)
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. brown sugar

Toss the bacon with brown sugar and maple syrup. Cook until crisp stirring and moving continually. It cooks fairly quickly and you need to keep an eye on it. Drain and cool completely.

MAPLE CREAM
1 c. whipped cream
2 Tb. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Just before serving, whip the cream for 1 minute. Add maple syrup and vanilla. Whip until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of pie. Top with candied bacon pieces.

Nantucket Cranberry Pie

Cranberries are in abundance this time of year and this dessert is a perfect way to capture the beauty and flavor of the cranberry. This is really more like an upside down cake, but for whatever reason, it’s called a pie. It’s super simple, so if you aren’t a lover of all things pie, you might just enjoy adding this sweet treat to your Thanksgiving Day dessert spread. I ate the entire pan myself, (granted, it was just a half a recipe, I didn’t eat it all in one day, and my husband apparently doesn’t like cranberries, but still…) and enjoyed every bite!

I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman blog. But I did decrease the sugar from her recipe. I like my cranberries to retain a little bit of their tartness. If I make this again, I think I’ll add a bit of orange zest to the cranberries and maybe a squeeze or two of fresh orange juice. Or, you could do as I did here and add the orange zest to your whipped cream! Also, if you don’t care for the flavor of almond extract, you might try substituting vanilla extract.

I made this gluten-free by subbing in my gluten-free all-purpose blend and it worked out great.

NANTUCKET CRANBERRY PIE
(slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
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2 heaping cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 c. sugar
orange zest (opt.)
1 c. flour (or gluten-free flour blend)
3/4-1 c. sugar (depending on how tart/sweet you want it)
1 stick of butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp coarse sugar for sprinkling (opt.)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Liberally butter a cake or pie pan. Pour in the cranberries. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans, orange zest, and 1/2 c. sugar.

In a bowl, combine flour, 3/4-1 c. sugar, melted butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Stir gently to combine the ingredients.

Slowly pour the batter over the cranberries, making sure to cover the surface. Spread gently, if needed.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. If using coarse sugar, 5 minutes before removing from the oven, sprinkle the surface with 1 Tbsp of coarse sugar.

Serve with freshly whipped cream or ice cream.

Pumpkin Dutch Apple Pie

Pie is probably my favorite dessert. And I love that the typical Thanksgiving dessert is an array of pies. I always want a sliver of each kind, which likely works out to be at least two slices! 🙂 However, if your Thanksgiving celebration is on the small side and you don’t need to make more than one kind, how do you decide which flavor makes the cut? Well, here’s a pie that does double duty as both pumpkin and apple pie. This just might be your solution for Thanksgiving this year.

While browsing online, I found a recipe for this pie, but I didn’t stick with the original, instead I decreased the sugar and increased the spices. The original version lacked the pumpkin pie spice element.

I tried this pie both warm from the oven and then cold the next morning. The chilled slice was definitely my preferred  way as the chilling time allowed the complexity of the spices and flavors to develop. So, if you decide to make this for your celebration, make it Wednesday and pop the pie into the fridge for your next day festivities.

This pie can easily be made gluten-free by substituting your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour blend for the regular all-purpose flour. And by making a gluten-free pie crust. The version you see below is 100% gluten-free, so it works out quite well!

PUMPKIN DUTCH APPLE PIE
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1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell (use your favorite gluten-free recipe for a gf version)

Apple Layer
2 c. peeled, cored, thinly sliced apples
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Pumpkin Layer
1 1/2 c. pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Crumb Topping
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. sugar
3 Tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Roll out pie crust and place into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate.

In a bowl, combine all of the apple layer ingredients. Pour into the pie shell. In another bowl, combine all of the pumpkin layer ingredients. Pour over the apple mixture in the pie shell.

For the crumb topping, combine the flour, pecans, and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two butter knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Before adding the crumb topping, bake for 30 minutes. Then remove from the oven and sprinkle with the crumb topping. Lower the oven to 325°F and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes until the custard sets. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Enjoy cold with whipped cream!

Sweet Potato Biscuits

These were so quick to put together! They were very simple and went perfectly with the soup and salad I had made for dinner. They were light and fluffy and had terrific flavor.

I think these would be wonderful for Thanksgiving. You could change them up by adding maple syrup instead of sugar or by adding a little cinnamon. They bake for less than 15 minutes which makes them ideal to pop in right as people are gathering (and the oven is finally empty) and then pull them out warm as everyone is filling their plate. I served them with just butter but a maple butter or orange butter would also be good or a drizzle of honey.  

SWEET POTATO BISCUITS
(Food Network Magazine, November 2011, Paula Deen)
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3/4 c. cooked mashed sweet potato (about 1 large sweet potato)
1/3 to 1/2 c. whole milk, as needed
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 Tb. sugar (I think maple syrup would be delish – you would not need quite as much milk)
1 Tb. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 Tb. cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet (with butter, oil or cooking spray).

In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet potato and 1/3 cup milk. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter with your hands, a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the sweet potato mixture and fold gently to combine. Add the remaining milk a little at a time until all the flour is moistened. The amount of milk you will need will depend on the moisture of the sweet potato.

Sprinkle a small handful of flour on a work surface. Turn the dough out onto the surface and knead lightly 2 to 3 times with the palm of your hand until the mixture comes together. Pat the dough out into a 1/2-inch-thick round.

Using a biscuit cutter, cut the dough into biscuits. Gently reroll the scraps and cut out more biscuits. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and bake until light golden brown and firm to the touch, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve these fluffy biscuits warm or at room temperature. Makes 9-12.

Baker’s Delight: Pie

(Alaina) This past week, my November Martha Stewart Living arrived – it’s a new subscription for me. The cover had delicious looking pies. So when I wanted to try a new pie to suggest for the blog, I turned to this issue. I selected the Pear Streusel which is actually a pear and cranberry pie. It is fabulous. Perfect balance of flavors – sweet and tart.

PEAR STREUSEL PIE
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, November 2010)
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1 recipe single pie crust

FOR THE CRANBERRY SAUCE
6 oz. fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (1 1/2 cups )
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. packed light-brown sugar (I did a little less)
3/4 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Coarse salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

FOR THE FILLING
1 1/2 lb. firm, ripe pears, such as Bosc or Bartlett, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/4 c. granulated sugar
Coarse salt
2 Tb. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Make the crust: Roll out dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edges. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cranberry sauce: Bring cranberries, granulated sugar, water, and cinnamon to a simmer in a pot. Cook until cranberries are tender and start to burst and sauce is thick, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the streusel: Whisk together flour, brown sugar, oats, ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until combined and mixture resembles coarse meal with some large pieces remaining. Refrigerate.

Make the filling: Mix together pears, granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the flour, and lemon juice. Stir in cooled cranberry sauce.

Transfer filling to crust; top with streusel. Bake until filling is bubbling in the center and top is golden, about 1 hour and 10-20 minutes. Let cool.

(Stephanie) As requested, I’m sharing my pumpkin pie recipe,which is actually my mom’s recipe. When I made this pie, I made a gluten-free pie crust. This was my first venture into gluten-free pies and I was happy with the recipe I found in The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook by Annalise Roberts.

MOM’S PUMPKIN PIE
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1 9-inch pie crust (unbaked)
16-oz can pumpkin
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4-1/2 tsp cloves
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 c. evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425°. Prepare pie crust and set aside.

Thoroughly combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices. Blend the eggs and evaporated milk into the pumpkin mixture.

Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes.  Then decrease oven to 350° and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

TRADITIONAL PIE CRUST
(from The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook)
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1 c. + 2 Tbsp Brown Rice Flour Mix*
2 Tbsp sweet rice flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (don’t use margarine)
1 large egg
2 tsp orange juice or lemon juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flours, sugar, xanthan gum and salt. Add the butter and mix until the mixture is crumbly and resembles a coarse meal.

Add the egg and orange juice. Mix on low speed until the dough holds together; it should not be sticky. Form the dough into a ball using your hands and place on a sheet of wax paper. Top with a second sheet of wax paper and flatten the dough into a 1-inch thickness. Roll out the dough (if it seems tacky, refrigerate for 15 minutes). Remove top wax paper and invert into 9-inch pie pan. Remove second sheet of wax paper and crimp the edges. Fill with desired filling.

Makes 1 9-inch pie crust.

*Brown Rice Flour Mix: 2 c. Brown rice flour; 2/3 c. Potato starch (not potato flour!); 1/3 c. Tapioca flour.

Here are some previous ideas!
Rustic Apple Tart
Cranberry Blueberry Pie
French Silk Pie
Cranberry Chess Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake

Gluten-free Walnut & Pecan Tart

Thanksgiving Sides: Part 2

(Alaina) This potato side dish is decadent and rich. Definitely a recipe that is reserved for special occasions and holidays but totally worth the caloric splurge! This is also adapted from Bon Appetit (can you see a theme this week – AWESOME recipes in the November issue!). Mmmm, delicious.

POTATO GRATIN w/MUSHROOMS
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1/4 c. olive oil
2 c. finely chopped leeks (white and green parts only; about 2 large)
1  lb. 1/2-inch cubes assorted mushrooms (I used shitake and baby bellas)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 c. coarsely grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks; sauté until soft and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and liquid evaporates, 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pat potato slices dry with kitchen towel. Combine cream, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large pot. Add potatoes. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid; simmer until cream is reduced by about half and potatoes are partially cooked, stirring often and watching closely to prevent mixture from burning, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with oil. Transfer half of potato mixture to dish, spreading out in even layer. Spoon mushroom mixture over in even layer. Spoon remaining potato mixture over, spreading in even layer. Sprinkle cheese over. Cover with foil, tenting in center to prevent cheese from sticking to foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until potatoes are tender and top is brown, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

(Stephanie) I had a half a loaf of gluten-free bread on hand, so I decided to try out a stuffing recipe from the November issue of Everyday Food. The nuts and mushrooms added a subtle, but pleasing taste and texture.

MUSHROOM AND WALNUT STUFFING
(from Everyday Food, November 2010)
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2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large yellow onions, diced small
3 celery stalks, diced medium (about 2 c.)
salt and pepper
10 oz cremini or button mushrooms, diced small
2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 c. toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (I used pecans)
1 loaf crusty white bread, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (8 c.), left uncovered overnight or toasted (can use gf bread)
1- 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5-7 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 Tbsp oil, mushrooms, and sage to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until wine is almost evaporated. Transfer to bowl with vegetables; add walnuts, cubed bread, and enough chicken broth to moisten (stuffing should feel moist, not soggy). Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Add eggs to bread mixture and toss well to combine. Reserve up to 4 c. for stuffing turkey, if desired.  Spoon mixture into lightly oiled baking dish.  Preheat oven to 400°, with rack in upper third. Bake uncovered, until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Here are some ideas from previous posts!
Sweet Potato & Cranberry Stuffing
Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish
Cranberry Sauce
Gluten-free Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

Market Fresh: Sweet Potatoes

Well, this post will kick-off a week full of Thanksgiving recipes. We will be providing a couple of new recipes each day as well as linking back to other great ideas from last year! All of the posts will be collaborative. We are so excited!

Sweet Potatoes are so versatile. They have good nutritional value and our whole family enjoys them! We eat them all fall and winter but we especially like them around the holidays. Today we are offering three different types of recipes.

Both of my (Alaina) recipes are from this month’s Bon Appetit. They were both fabulous. The first is Sweet Potato Biscuits. These were only sweetened with maple syrup and the recipe is actually gluten free. I did not have gluten free flour so I used regular which worked just fine. The pecans were a wonderful addition – the texture and the flavor.

GLUTEN-FREE SWEET POTATO BISCUITS
(Bon Appetit, November 2010)
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1 large red-skinned sweet potato (yam; about 1 1/4 pounds), pierced with fork
1 1/3 cups gluten-free flour plus additional
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Microwave potato until tender, about 6 minutes per side. Halve; scoop out 1 cup flesh. Cool. Blend 1 1/3 cups flour and next 3 ingredients in processor. Add butter; pulse to coarse meal. Add potato, buttermilk, and syrup; process to blend. Add nuts; pulse to blend.

Sprinkle dough with flour. Pat into 8 1/2-inch square. Cut into 16 biscuits. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes.

This next recipe is a Sweet Potato Pudding – perfect for your Thanksgiving celebration! The gingersnap, pecan topping provides a wonderful balance of crunch and sweet. I would have added just a little more half and half or milk to make this slightly creamier. Overall, we loved this!

SWEET POTATO PUDDING w/GINGERSNAP & PECAN TOPPING
(Bon Appetit, November 2010)
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Topping:
3/4 cup coarsely chopped gingersnaps
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Pudding:
3 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 3 large), scrubbed
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Toss first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Add butter; using fingertips, rub in until well blended. Cover; chill. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast potatoes on baking sheet until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop flesh into bowl; mash. Transfer 4 cups potatoes to large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Add half and half and next 5 ingredients to potatoes. Using mixer, beat on low speed until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Add yolks 1 at a time, blending after each addition. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Beat until peaks form. Fold whites into potatoes; spoon into dish. Sprinkle with topping.

Bake pudding until puffed and brown, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

The other evening I (Stephanie) realized I needed to make something for Jeremy to take to work the next day and I need to use ingredients I had on hand, chicken and sweet potatoes.  Browsing online I found a chicken and sweet potato stew recipe from a blog.  I adapted the recipe significantly, but the result was a deliciously spiced and warming stew.  Jeremy, not always a sweet potato lover, happily ate leftovers the following day.

CHICKEN SWEET POTATO STEW
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1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-in. cubes
2 slices bacon
1 Tbsp butter
olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 bay leaf
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in cubes
3 carrots sliced in 1/4-in rounds
2 ribs of celery, diced
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
3 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat and brown the chicken with the bacon. Remove the chicken and set aside. Remove the bacon and dice.

Add a little more olive oil along with the onion, celery, thyme, sage, and diced bacon. Saute until the onion and celery are tender. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.

Add the chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, chicken broth, milk, bay leaf, salt and pepper.

Simmer for 20-25 minutes until vegetables are cooked and fork tender. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf. Enjoy.

Holiday Feast: Stuffing and Cranberries

Stuffing and cranberries are two of the side dishes essential to most Thanksgiving feasts. Stuffing has always been one of my (Heather) favorite parts of the meal. Over the years I’ve tried a number of different kinds and there are many more I’d still like to try (like Nigella Lawson’s Gingerbread Stuffing). This Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stuffing is a winner, incorporating so many of the tastes we love on Thanksgiving with the addition of sweet potatoes and cranberries to the normal onion and herb bread stuffing. The colors are beautiful and festive and the taste is lovely. If you wanted to, you could also add a few stalks of celery with the potatoes.

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SWEET POTATO AND CRANBERRY STUFFING
(adapted from Country Living 2008)

4 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 c. dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped sage
1 tsp. salt
ground black pepper to taste
8 c. white bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 3/4 c. chicken broth

Heat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium, add potatoes, and cook until soft and onion is browned, about 15-20 minutes. Add maple syrup, cranberries, and 2 Tbsp. water. Cook until cranberries plump, about 3 minutes. Add sage, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more.

Remove from heat and toss in bread and broth.

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Transfer to prepared baking dish and dot with remaining butter. Bake until heated through and top is golden (30-40 minutes).

Serves 10.

relish

This is my favorite way to have cranberries on Thanksgiving. This relish is fresh and tangy with just enough sugar to take away the sourness of the cranberries. I always have seconds and am always happy for leftovers (which go well in a fruit salad).

FRESH CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH
(Heather)

1 whole orange (peel included), washed, seeded, quartered
1 12-oz. bag fresh cranberries, washed
1/3-1/2 c. sugar

Place the quartered orange and cranberries in your food processor or blender. Pulse until evenly chopped in fine pieces. Add sugar to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

Serves 12.

cr2

CRANBERRY SAUCE
(Alaina)
It should be noted that this is adapted from a recipe that my brother came up with!

1 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 – 12 oz. bag of cranberries, washed and sorted
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. orange zest
1 oz. brandy

Cook water, sugar, and cranberries together until cranberries begin to pop – about 10 minutes. Add zests and brandy and cook for 3 minutes more. Cool and chill.

Can be made ahead and served at any temperature.

Gluten-Free Goodness: Thanksgiving Stuffing and Desserts

We are joining in the carnival at The Gluten-Free Homemaker!

It’s not necessary for those following a gluten-free diet to miss out on any of the flavors of Thanksgiving Day. With a little creativity, almost any Thanksgiving dish can be re-created to be gluten-free. Today we have a stuffing recipe (that can be adapted to be made for non-gluten-free eaters too), and two dessert options: Pecan-Walnut Tart and Pumpkin Creme Brulee.

If you are hosting someone with a gluten-free allergy, you’ll want to think through your menu to see how much can be gluten-free. Check the turkey you are buying to make sure there are not gluten additives. Make your gravy with cornstarch instead of flour. Mashed potatoes are almost always gluten-free. Choose to make a gluten-free stuffing (or serve it as a second option). Vegetable and sweet potato side dishes can often be gluten-free. Dinner rolls are a hard conversion, but you can buy gluten-free flour mix and make biscuits, or try our pumpkin muffins made with rice flour instead of wheat flour.

We have two wonderful options for dessert in today’s post and you can use the crust recipe from the Pecan Tart to make a gluten-free crust for pumpkin pie (the filling of which is often gluten-free). In fact, you could make our Blueberry-Cranberry Pie using the gluten-free pie crust since the filling for that pie is made with cornstarch and thus gluten-free. Options for a gluten-free Thanksgiving abound!

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GF CORNBREAD SAUSAGE STUFFING
(Heather and Christina W.)

3 c. 1/2-inch cubes brown (or white) rice bread
3 c. 1/2-inch cubes GF cornbread (make from a basic recipe, substituting rice flour for wheat flour)
1 1/2 c. GF chicken stock (or water if you don’t have stock)
1 lb. turkey sausage, sauteed
1 tsp. salt
ground pepper to taste
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. fresh chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped sage (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried)
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp. dried)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 eggs, beaten

In a large bowl combine the bread cubes, corn bread, and enough stock to make a fairly moist mixture (I used 1 1/2 cups). Season with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in a pan. Add celery, onion, and garlic. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Tip in the fresh herbs for the last minute. Add the onion mixture to the bread mixture along with the sausage and apples. Let cool slightly. Add the eggs and gently combine (you may add a 3rd egg if you feel the mixture is too dry).

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Spread in a buttered 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 350F until golden browned and warmed through, about 45-60 minutes. If you want a crispy topping, leave uncovered. Otherwise, cover with foil halfway through cooking.

Note: If you want to make this recipe for gluten-eaters, just use regular wheat bread and regular corn bread.

Serves 9-12.

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GF PECAN-WALNUT TART
(adapted from Martha Stewart)

GF pie crust to line tart pan (recipe below)

2 eggs
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. maple syrup (I used dark corn syrup)
1 1/2 c. pecans (I left mine whole)
1 1/2 c. walnuts (chopped or whole)

Line the tart pan with the GF crust. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt. Add the nuts and syrup. Pour filling into tart shell. Bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes or until set. Cool in pan.

GF SWEET PASTRY
(Healthy Gluten Free Cooking)

3/4 c. rice flour
3/4 c. fine cornmeal (polenta or masa)
3/4 c. potato flour (if you don’t have this, use more masa or polenta)
1 heaped tsp. xanthan gum (optional)
pinch of salt
10 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 egg mixed with 2 Tbsp. cold water

Sift the flours, xanthan gum and salt together. Cut butter into cubes and gently rub into the flour mixture. Stir in the sugar. Make a well in the center and gently add the egg and water mixture. It should just bring the flour together using a fork. Collect the dough together with your hands to judge accurately if you need more water. It is tempting to add extra liquid but try not to as it will make the pastry too wet. Damp pastry is easier to handle but will make the crust tough and will shrink when baked.

On a lightly rice-floured board, gently knead dough for a few minutes to form a silky dough. Flatten slightly, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. This will make the pastry easier to roll.

When chilled, roll pastry between parchment paper and use as required.

Makes 2 crusts.

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GF PUMPKIN CREME BRULEE
(A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash)

6 egg yolks
1/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
3/4 c. pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. demerara sugar (or whatever you have)

Preheat the oven to 275F. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until lightened in color. Add the brown sugar and whisk until dissolved. Add the cream, pumpkin, ginger, and cinnamon and whisk until blended. (I used a hand mixer.)

Place six (or eight if you want to make smaller portions) ovenproof ramekins in a large baking pan. Divide the cream mixture among them. Pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until almost set and the center still has a slight jiggle (mine took closer to an hour).

Remove the pan from the oven and lift the ramekins from the hot water. Let cool briefly; refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day to chill thoroughly. (I recommend making these a day ahead so they can chill properly.)

When ready to serve, place the dishes on a baking sheet and sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp. demerara sugar over each one. Use a handheld torch to carmelize the sugar, or, if you don’t have a torch, place the pan under a preheated broiler and, watching carefully to prevent burning, broil until the sugar melts and turns a light golden color. Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8.

One more recipe I’d like to recommend is Pumpkin Pie Bars. I made them this past weekend for a shower and couldn’t believe how delicious they were, despite being gluten-free. In fact, I fed them to all my gluten-eaters and they loved them too! You’ll find the recipe here.