Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving: New Side Dishes

Every family has their favorite holiday side dishes. At our table we always have mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and rolls. I like to mix it up each year and add a new side dish to the dinner table too. Below are several recipes that go well with just about any holiday meal.

Spinach Bacon Salad

8 strips bacon
3 tbsp. bacon drippings
4 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. spicy mustard
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp white sugar
1 red onion, very thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 hard boiled eggs
1 pound spinach leaves, washed and dried
Optional: Dried cranberries or cherries

Cook the bacon until crisp; remove from pan, draining on paper towels. When cooled crumble and set aside. Pour off excess bacon drippings, leaving 3-4 tablespoons in pan. Measure out 4 tbsp. of the bacon grease, remove the remainder and return the 4 tbsp. to the pan. Add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, spicy mustard and sugars to the pan, simmering until the sugars are dissolved. In a large bowl place the spinach and red onion. Pour over the warm dressing, tossing very lightly. Top with chopped boiled eggs and the cranberries or cherries.

Bean Salad with Herb Dressing

Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. olive or vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce OR
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 c. wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard

Combine the ingredients and whisk until mixed. Set aside.

Salad Ingredients:
1 (16 oz.) can wax beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 c. diced green bell pepper
1/4 c. diced red onion

Combine the salad ingredients. Whisk the dressing again and mix with the salad ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Broccoli Bacon Salad

1 lg. bunch fresh broccoli
5 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked, drained,crumbled
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise (light or regular)
1 tbsp. sugar

Cut broccoli into small pieces. Mix with the eggs, bacon, peas and cheese. Stir the sugar into the mayonnaise. Add to the salad ingredients and toss gently to mix. Keep refrigerated until serving time.

Dilled Brussel Sprouts

1 lb. fresh brussel sprouts
2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. butter
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Slice off ends of the brussel sprouts and remove any damaged leaves. Cut each brussel sprout into slices,. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the sprouts, cooking until coated with oil and bright green in color. Add the salt, pepper, dill, water and lemon juice; cover and cook 2-4 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat to a serving bowl. Toss with butter and Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

On OFL we have fresh cranberry recipes:


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stocking Up for the Holidays

Thanksgiving is around the corner, so if you haven't stocked up for holiday baking and cooking already, it's time.

Obviously everyone has their own special dishes they love making at the holidays. Get out those recipes and make a list of the ingredients. Divide it into items that can be bought ahead of time to put in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer, and the items that have to be bought fresh. Watch the sales and buy the items that can be stores ahead of time. Put your fresh ingredients list on the bulletin board, or in your organizer.

This list is a general list of items most everyone will need at some point during the holidays.

Baking soda
Baking powder
If you haven't replaced these two items in the last year, then it's time.

It's much cheaper to buy a jar of yeast instead of the small packets. The one I have in my refrigerator is good until April 2013 and cost $4.99 on sale last month.

All Purpose Flour
Buttermilk Baking Mix
I keep both on hand at all times. I buy 10 pound bags of flour, and keep the baking mix on hand (stored in the refrigerator) for biscuits and dumplings.

Granulated White Sugar
Brown Sugar
Confectioners' Sugar
I buy a 1o pound bag of the granulated sugar and 2 pound bags of the others.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Milk Chocolate Chips
White Chocolate Chips
Butterscotch Chips
I buy 4 bags of the semi- sweet chips, plus 2 each of the others.

Ground Ginger
Ground Cloves
These are the spices I use the most for baking during the holidays. I always have vanilla extract and cinnamon on hand, but I just bought small amounts of cloves and allspice.

Sour cream
Cream Cheese
I stock up on all of these items during November and December. The sales have started, and over the years I've found the closer it gets to Christmas the less they put these things on sale. There are exceptions, but I grab them when I see a good sale.

These are a few of the other items I keep on hand during the holidays to make cookies and breads.

Canned Pumpkin
Vanilla and Coconut Pudding
Various Nuts
Assorted Cake Mixes

On OFL we have an article on emergency substitutions: