Christmas Recipes, Tips & Tricks…

xmas table

I know everybody has their favorite recipes for Christmas and here are two of mine. The first one is for pumpkin bread – not to dis pumpkin pie but I’ve been hooked on this stuff since I was a kid and it’s super easy to make and tastes great hot, cold, a la mode or au naturelle. Try it, you’ll love it. And my favorite dressing for roast turkey. The sweet and savory blends quite nicely, especially if you have something like garlic mashed potatoes to go along with. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread – (from Fanny Farmer’s cookbook)

1.5 cups flour (1/2 white 1/2whole wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar (1/2 white 1/2 brown)
1 tsp baking soda
1cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil (1/2 veg oil 1/2 applesauce)
2 eggs
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. Mix pumpkin, oil, eggs, water and spices. Then combine with the dry ingredients but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Pour into a well-buttered loaf pan (9x5x3). Bake 50-60 minutes until straw comes out clean. Turn out of pan and let cool on rack. For muffins, baking time is about 40-45 minutes. You can easily double this recipe and give the extra one away as a gift.

Apple & Raisin Cornbread Stuffing

1 Box (12 ounce) of Mrs. Cubbison’s Cornbread Stuffin’ (I always use this brand but you can use another if you prefer it)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tart green apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup raisins
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup melted butter

Melt butter in heavy bottomed fry pan over medium heat, add onions, celery, garlic and apples – cook until slightly soft, add chicken stock, bring to a boil.

Pour dry stuffing mix into large bowl, add chicken stock mixture to and toss – moisten with orange juice as needed and desired – making it as moist or dry a dressing as you prefer. Stuff your bird and truss her up. If there is any leftover stuffing, turn into buttered loaf pan or casserole dish, moisten with orange juice and bake in over for last 40 minutes of turkey roast time. When removing dressing from turkey cavities mix with baked stuffing to get a nice not too wet, not too dry dressing. Trust me.

Tips and tricks:

First of all, for those of you making your first turkey this year or for those of you who have always had a hard time turning out a good turkey, I highly recommend following the instructions in the Fanny Farmer cookbook. The book is a goldmine of good solid American recipes with very clear and easy to understand instructions.

If on the other hand you are an old hand at roasting turkeys – try this for the juiciest turkey you’ve ever had. For the first 1/2 hour of cook time, set oven at 500 degrees (or highest temp on dial) this quick sears the skin and seals in all the juices as well as evenly browning the turkey. You will have the prettiest turkey in town, I promise. After 1/2 hour turn the temp down to normal cooking instructions and cook based on weight which is generally 15-20 minutes per pound.

My own special basting sauce recipe:

1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup melted butter

Melt butter in heavy bottomed sauce pan, add white wine, chicken stock and orange juice and cook until heated through. Baste turkey every 45 minutes, keeping basting sauce warm on stove top on low temp.

Making gravy is practically effortless, just add water, thickening agent of your choice, a dash of coffee and about 1/2 cup of milk or cream to drippings and scrapings from roasting pan – best if made in the roasting pan itself – whisk until thickened – salt and pepper to taste.

Personally, with this meal I don’t really bother with salads or veggies, since it’s really about the starches and meats for me. So I usually bake both white and sweet potatoes, rather than bother with mashed or casseroles, get some great cranberry sauce at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and we’re good to go.

Those are my favorites, what are yours?

 

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5 thoughts on “Christmas Recipes, Tips & Tricks…

  1. I always make a chocolate cake.

    Step 1: Buy Betty Crocker cake mix.
    Step 2: Follow directions on box.

    😀 Merry Christmas!

    Hey MJ!
    Wow, now there’s a simple recipe! I like it. 😆
    Annie

    Like

  2. Hi Annie,

    Although I’m a white bread man, the stuffing sounds good. If you ever want to guest post on my cooking blog just say the word.

    And speaking of cooking, I’m making chicken pot pie from scratch tonight. If it comes out edible I’ll post the results 🙂

    the Grit

    Hey Grit,
    I had no idea you had a cooking blog – what’s the url? I’d love to guest post, that would be fun. 🙂
    Annie

    Like

  3. Now I’m hungry. 🙂

    I love pumpkin pie, and my recipe is straight out of the Betty Crocker red binder cookbook that I’ve had for 18 years. Delicious!

    I love pumpkin pie too but I have to watch how much I eat of it – too much sugar and creme in it – I like the pumpkin bread because you can do different things with it – cut the oil in half and use applesauce if you want less fat – use whole wheat flour and bran if you want to up the fiber, add more dried fruit and no dried fruit – plus you can eat it with one hand. Now that is one talented food, eh? 😆
    Annie

    Like

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