Happy Thanksgiving

I've been cooking nonstop since Tuesday morning. This is the price I pay for being home this year. This is my first year in 20+ years I've spent in my own home. The holidays usually take me away, but I'm glad to be here.

Tuesday

My sister and her friends descended upon my house asking for breakfast late Monday night. Against my better judgement I got and made them breakfast. But I decided to keep it simple knowing that this was only the first day of cooking. Pumpkin streusel muffins with veggie sausages, sour cream cheese eggs and fresh fruit. I totally made up this egg recipe, but it made the eggs so fluffy. Definitely a keeper.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

1 can of pumpkin

1 cup of white sugar

1/4 cup of brown sugar

6 tablespoons of butter, melted or oil

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons pumpkin spice or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 of ground cloves

Topping

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

6 tablespoons flour

Cream together eggs and sugar, then add butter and pumpkin. Mix together dry ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Place batter in muffin or loaf pan. Place softened butter in a bowl and mix in sugar, cinnamon and flour until you get sandy crumbles. Place crumbles on top of batter and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. You can use a knife to check doneness. Just insert knife into muffins and when it comes out clean, it's done.

Sour cream cheese eggs

6 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup of sour cream

2/3 cups of cheese 

Beat together 6 eggs, add in sour cream and cheese. Scramble on medium to low heat. 

Wednesday

We had friends stay with us, plus my sister's boyfriend. And I knew we would stay up late talking, so I made breakfast at night before going to bed. All I had to do on Wednesday morning was pop it in the oven. I also made my homemade cranberry sauce because I had cranberries. It was my first time and I might never buy cranberry sauce in a can again.

French Toast Casserole

1 loaf of French bread (leftover bread is also fine, anything crusty), roughly chopped or cubed

6 eggs

2 cups of cream or milk

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

6 tablespoons flour

Rough chop and cube french loaf. Place in a baking dish. Mix eggs, milk and spices and pour over french bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning add topping and bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until done. Use knife test. 

Egg Casserole

2 potatoes, parboiled and shredded

8 eggs

5 MorningStar meat patties

1 red pepper, diced

2 cups of cheese (a good melty kind: fontina, harvarti, jack)

Salt and Pepper to taste (optional)

Beat eggs, add pepper, shredded potatoes, cheese, and patties. Refrigerate overnight or bake immediately at 350 for 45 minutes or until bake through completely. Use the knife test.

Homemade Cranberry SAuce

1 cup of Orange Juice

1 cup of sugar

1 bag of cranberries

Bring OJ, sugar and cranberries to a boil then reduce to a simmer for an hour. Chill for at least 5 hours and serve.

Thursday

This was the big one. I was only suppose to make vegan mac and cheez. Then I decided to make regular mac and cheese because it wouldn't be thanksgiving without it. But I decided last moment to make also make a pumpkin lava cake (I cut sugar in half and it still tasted great) because my mom said we didn't have any dessert.

And finally, a chicken. Yes, a real chicken. Yes, I'm vegetarian. No, I didn't taste it (but my sources say it was delicious). My dad was given a chicken (no he doesn't eat meat), but he got a chicken. And I wanted to try and cook it. Because why not?! My goals were 1.) to cook chicken throughly 2.) not to dry out chicken 3.) make chicken tasty.

Thanksgiving Butter Chicken

8 tablespoons of salted butter, softened

2 tablespoons of herbs (1/2 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon oregano)

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 garlic cloves

2 carrots

1/2 onion

2 Rosemary sprigs

1 lemon

1 full bulb of garlic

Thaw out the chicken, takes about 1 and a half. Or half a day in cold water. Clean the chicken. Cut some of the fat off (It's the fatty white stuff that hangs of the chicken). Rinse off chicken with cold water and pat dry. Generously salt inside cavity of chicken. Place aromatics inside chicken. I used rosemary sprigs, 1 carrot, 1 lemon, 1/2 onion, and a whole garlic bulb with the top cut off. You can use whatever you choose (apple, shallots, bay leaves). Mix herbs and garlic into softened butter. Rub herbed butter all over chicken, in all the nooks and crannies. Bake chicken at 425 degrees for 20 minutes and then lower heat to 350 degrees for 3 hours. I didn't have thermometer, so I just used the juice test. I wiggled the leg and checked for clear juices. Any twinge of pink or red means it's not done. I suggest not even checking until after at least 2 hours. Let chicken sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut and Serve.

**Tips: Keep area clean, raw chicken is no joke especially for a vegetarian kitchen. I was careful not to use my cutting boards for raw chicken. And sanitize everything after I was done. Pour salt into a bowl and use salt from there for inside of the chicken in order to not cross contaminate salt.

Friday

Even though Thanksgiving was over, my cooking was not. Our sweet little guy was being dedicated the next day at church, and we were having a dinner after to celebrate. I cooked everything but dessert. My MIL asked to make a sweet potato cheesecake that she didn't get to make for thanksgiving. I try to make everything myself when I have dinners because I want to ensure taste, portions (I hate running out of stuff), and timeliness (I hate waiting for food to arrive). I tried to keep the menu light, but there were 2 requests from Thanksgiving that I repeated (mac and cheese and pumpkin cake). The rest of the fare was simple: sage butternut squash lasagna, pomegranate butternut squash quinoa,  BBQ meatballs, salad, rolls, and dessert. I usually make my meatballs from scratch, but I wasn't feeling it, so I cheated with some Trader Joe Meatless Meatballs. They are the best vegetarian meatballs I've tasted, that aren't homemade.

Sage Butternut Squash Lasagna

1 butternut squash, roasted

1 small container sage, about 20 sprigs, chopped

6 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh lasagna noodles (dry will work also)

2 cups of frozen spinach, optional

4 cups of Shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, fontina)

Roast butternut squash for 40 minutes at 425 degrees or until tender. Let it cool, peel off skin, place in blender. In a pan melt butter, add chopped sage; cook sage and butter on low for about 5 minutes. Add mixture into blender and along with butternut squash and mixture until smooth. Place butternut squash at the bottom of baking dish then layer on lasagna noddles. Sauté spinach in oil and garlic with salt and pepper to taste. Once spinach is cooled, wring out access water. Get out as much water as you can. If not you'll have a soupy mess on your hands. Layer squash, noddles, spinach and cheese until you reach the top. Bake lasagna at 375 degrees for 40 mins. Uncover half way through crisp off the top.

Pomegranate Butternut Squash Quinoa

1 cup quinoa

2 cups of water or stock

1/2 to 2/3 cup of pomegranate seeds

2 cups butternut squash, diced

1 tablespoon of oil

1 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Sauté butternut squash in 1 tablespoon of oil, then toss and simmer with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring 2 cups of salted water and 1 cup quinoa to a boil. Then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes or until water is gone. Fluff quinoa and add in butternut squash. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

All in all it was a good week, and I got to do so much of what I love cooking, hanging, and eating :). I left thanksgiving feeling full and thankful.

 Leftovers! 

Leftovers! 

 My brother's plate with his chicken on top of his vegan mac and cheez. Ha!

My brother's plate with his chicken on top of his vegan mac and cheez. Ha!

Jailyn NicholsonComment