Friday, November 1, 2013

Thanksgiving Sides

Cooking Club: October 2013
Theme: Thanksgiving Side Dishes

I've been attending a local Cooking Club for three years now and our October cooking soiree was one of the most fun and tastiest ones I've been to! Sometimes with cooking clubs, you never know what array of dishes will show up, but this time everyone brought something different and delicious and we had a full Thanksgiving spread. It was hard to choose a winner as all the dishes were really good and tasted great together. In the end, a traditional Thanksgiving vegetable beat out the competition.

Winning Dish
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions

A lot of ladies weren't big fans of Brussels sprouts, so they were very pleasantly surprised when they tasted these and really liked them. Of course bacon makes everything taste better, but these didn't have an overwhelming bacon flavor. I think what made these special was the splash of red wine vinegar at the end that balanced out all the flavors and gave them a nice zing.

2nd Place
Green Beans with Ham

This was just a really tasty pairing. Green beans are pretty mild so the bits of salty, succulent ham made them stand out.

3rd Place
Brie En Croute

It's hard not to love soft, melty brie cheese topped with jam and wrapped up in a buttery pastry. Served with crackers and you've got a great appetizer or side.

Spinach and Cheese Casserole

This casserole was a family tradition for one of the ladies and their Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be complete without it. This could become one of your family favorites too!

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

I loved this dish. The crispy tender broccoli covered in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce and top with a crunchy bread topping, I went back for seconds. 

Bacon Macaroni and Cheese w/ Herb Topping

Bacon...Mac N' Cheese...Crispy Bread Crumb Topping...Nough' said.

Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries and Walnuts

This wasn't your typical pumpkin bread. It had loads of spices and a great pumpkin flavor. The cranberries and walnuts made it really something special and had you going back for more.

2-Ingredient Pumpkin Brownies

Beside the vanilla frosting, the brownies actually contained only two ingredient, pumpkin puree and brownie mix.  No eggs or water or oil. Just pumpkin puree and brownie mix, mixed together. They were moist with hint of pumpkin flavor. A little cinnamon and nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice sprinkled on the frosting would be perfect.

And what Thanksgiving feast would be complete without turkey? We had that too. The only 'traditional' thing I can think of that was missing was sweet potatoes, but really, we didn't miss them.

Happy November and Happy Cooking!

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions 

2 ½ lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 sprigs thyme or savory, plus 2 tsp leaves, divided
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If sprouts are very small, cut in half; otherwise cut into quarters. Cook the sprouts until barely tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until brown but not crisp, 3-6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel. Pour out all but about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan.

Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, reducing the heat if necessary, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme (or savory) sprigs, salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, add the Brussels sprouts, and cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until tender and warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove the herb sprigs. Add the bacon, thyme (or savory) leaves and lemon juice, if using, and toss.

Spinach Cheese Casserole 

2 (10-oz) packages frozen chopped spinach, drained dry 
1 (16-oz) tub of sour cream 
1 small onion, chopped 
8 oz Chicuahua cheese, grated 
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated 
2 T butter 
Parmesan cheese 
cracker crumbs 

Cook spinach and drain very dry. Mix with sour cream, onion, and Chicuahua and cheddar cheeses. Pour into 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dot with butter. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes. 

Brie en Croute 
1 puff pastry sheet 
5- or 6-inch brie 
about ¼ - 1/3 of a jar of good preserves 
toasted almonds, pecans, or walnuts (optional) 
1 egg 

Thaw pastry sheet about 30-45 minutes. Roll out sheet on a lightly floured surface. Place the brie wheel (with rind on) 2-3 inches from the top of the sheet and 2-3 inches from the side of the sheet. Generously spread preserves over the top of the brie. Sprinkle toasted nuts over top of preserves, if desired. Then trim the other two sides 2-3 inches from the edge of the wheel so the brie wheel is in the middle of a square. Fold the edges of the pastry onto the top of the brie; press edges to seal. Brush a lightly beaten egg over all the pastry (except bottom). Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Serve alone, with crostini, crackers, etc. 

Pumpkin Brownies 
1 box (family size) brownie mix 
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree 

Combine the dry brownie mix with the pumpkin puree and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Adorn each brownie with a dolop of cream cheese topping if you like 

Bacon Mac N' Cheese
Recipe Inspired by America's Test Kitchen

Bread Crumb Topping:
6 Slices Bread, torn in pieces
3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder 
Pinch Paprika

Pulse bread, butter, and garlic powder and paprika together in a food processor until a fine crumb forms.

Noodles, Cheese and Bacon
1 pound elbow macaroni
5 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablesppons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (opt)
5 Cups milk
8 ounces Monterey cheese, shredded (2 cups)
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

For the bread-crumb topping: Pulse bread and butter in food processor until crumbs are about 1/8 inch, ten to fifteen 1-second pulses. Set aside.

For the pasta and cheese: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler.
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook until pasta is tender. Drain pasta and set aside in colander.

In now-empty Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken).

Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt until cheeses are fully melted. Stir in bacon. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes. This allows the noodles to absorb all the yummy cheese flavor.

Transfer mixture to broiler-safe 13x9 inch baking dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating pan if necessary for even browning.

Cool about 5 minutes, then serve.

Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

2 bunches of broccoli (chopped)
1 stick of butter, divided
8 oz Velveeta
22 Ritz crackers

1) Steam chopped broccoli
2) Melt 4 oz (1/2 stick) of butter with velveeta in microwave until fully melted
3) Mix broccoli with cheese mixture
4) Crush Ritz crackers
5) Melt remaining 1/2 stick of butter and mix with crackers
6) Pour broccoli cheese mixture into casserole dish and top with crackers
7) Bake at 350 for 30 minutes

This recipe can easily be doubled for Thanksgiving.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails