Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up

Alright friends, the countdown is on- A mere 1 1/2 days until Thanksgiving!

Despite the fact that it’ll just be Tall Guy and I celebrating in my teeeeensy tiny apartment, I am, of course, making a full feast.

 

As is tradition, Thanksgiving day pre-meal is all about trying to eat as little as possible, aka snacking on cranberry bread & cream cheese. In keeping with that, I’ll be making my mom’s cranberry bread.

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Tall Guy was in charge of the turkey this year, which we both decided had to be cooked somewhere other than my tiny oven. So he’s getting turkey from the restaurant where he works, Paris Bistro, and I’m in charge of pretty much everything else!

I’m all about the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. You know the ones- sweet potato casserole (I’m team-mini marshmallows!), green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce (from a can!)… And Tall Guy loves corn. Like, LOVES corn. I never remember corn being a huge part of my Thanksgiving meal, but I make exceptions for Tall Guy just because he’s so darn cute.

But what specific recipes am I making? I thought you’d never ask!

Believe it or not I don’t think I’ve ever had a sweet potato casserole with pecans, so I’m making this recipe, which has pecans AND marshmallows.

I’m going out on a limb and making green bean casserole from SCRATCH this year! And it’s all Sally’s fault!

My mom taught me how to make mashed potatoes. You can find her recipe over on a recipe round-up I did for Broke Girls Go Out a couple years ago.

I bought the Pepperidge Farm cubed stuffing bag mix. It calls for onion and celery (which a lot of the bag mixes do), but I’m leaving out the celery because we’re not huge fans of it. Instead, I’m going to add in cranberries, pecans and apples.

And now everyone’s favorite part- dessert! Is it any surprise I couldn’t resist making more than 1 dish?

For my token pumpkin dish, I’ll be making a version of these pumpkin cream cheese trifles.

In addition to that, and because Thanksgiving is nothing without pie, I’m making this sour cream apple pie. What? Yes, SOUR CREAM in a pie. Since we all know I’ll use anything as an excuse to eat sour cream, this pie has my name written all over it.

If you’re looking for other dessert recipes, check out some I’ve made in the past:
Bourbon Apple Oatmeal Pie – This pie turned me on to apple pies with crumble topping instead of crust on top- a lot easier and so delicious!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles – These are a great addition to any dessert spread, and oh so addictive!
Pumpkin Cream Pie – This is my go-to Thanksgiving pie recipe. It’s so simple, doesn’t require any oven space and can be done the night before.

And I HIGHLY recommend checking out Sally’s Baking Addiction Thanksgiving recipe roundup. All of her recipes are amazing and as a bonus she has make-ahead tips for them! If I could make them all, I totally would!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? What are you making this year? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great holiday and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! x

My Blog Turns 2! (A Birthday Cake Recipe)

In honor of my blog’s birthday, I made this delicious s’mores cake! I have to admit that cakes aren’t really my “thing.” When I make them, usually come out fine, but I don’t love how they can look perfect one minute and melty and awful the next. Does everyone else have that problem, or is it just me? While this one did end up looking super melty (and messy), it was a fairly simple recipe and easy to put together. Plus, it tasted great, which is all that really matters anyway, right?!

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S’mores Cake (recipe originally found in the Baking Bites cookbook, also available on their website here)

For the Cake: 
1/2 c butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c graham cracker crumbs *Baking Bites tip: If you grind your own, use about 20 graham crackers
2 tsp baking powder
1 c milk
3 egg whites, room temperature

For the Filling and Frosting:
7 oz jar marshmallow creme (or a little less than 1 c marshmallow fluff) *I used Fluff
8 oz milk chocolate chips
1/4 c half & half *Can use cream instead
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp corn syrup

1. Preheat oven to 375º. Lightly grease 2 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light.
3. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract
4. In a small bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs and baking powder.
5. Working in 2 or 3 additions, alternate stirring the graham cracker mixture and the milk into the butter mixture.
6. Beat egg whites to soft peaks in a clean, medium sized bowl. Working in 2 or 3 additions, fold egg whites in graham cracker mixture, mixing until no streaks of white remain.
7. Divide evenly into prepared pans.
8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched and it passes the toothpick test.
9. Let cakes cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then invert onto wire racks. Cool completely before filling and frosting.

For the frosting:
1. In a medium, microwave safe bowl, heat chocolate chips, half & half, butter and corn syrup until melted.
2. Stir with a fork (or small whisk) to ensure that everything comes together smoothly.

To Assemble:
1. Place 1 layer of cake on a cake stand or plate. Spread marshmallow fluff into an even layer.
2. Top marshmallow layer with second cake round.
3. Pour all but half a cup of the frosting onto the top of the cakes, spreading it into an even layer, and allowing it to drip slightly down the sides of the cake.
Note: Cake should be stored in the refrigerator if not being served shortly after assembly.

 

Looks a little messy, but cut clean and was so yummy! Definitely an easy cake for you beginners, and a crowd pleaser!

 

Hot Chocolate Cheesecake Dip

I made my signature Christmas cookies and brought them into work (where they got rave reviews, of course), but I was looking for something a little different to make for holiday parties. This recipe was just what I was looking for. There’s no baking involved, and it only takes a few minutes to come together, which makes it a perfect last-minute dessert. It’s not Christmas themed, so feel free to make this all Winter long!

hot choc cheesecake dip

Hot Chocolate Cheesecake Dip (recipe originally from Inside BruCrew Life)

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff (or Kraft’s marshmallow creme)
1 c powdered Swiss Miss Dark Sensation hot chocolate mix *I’m sure any kind of powdered mix would work in this recipe
3/4 c Cool Whip
Optional for garnish: mini marshmallows, crushed candy canes, peppermints

1. Beat cream cheese until creamy.
2. Add the yogurt, fluff and hot chocolate mix and beat until light and fluffy.
3. Fold in 1/2 cup Cool Whip (gently) until completely mixed in.
4. Top with remaining Cool Whip and garnish as desired.
5. Keep refrigerated (and covered) until serving.

Serving suggestion: Serve with graham crackers, pretzels, cookies or “dunker” cookies from Trader Joe’s.

This might as well be called Hot Chocolate Crack Dip. It is SO good. You will be tempted to eat it with a spoon (no judgments). You have been warned.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Finally, a Fall-themed recipe that isn’t pumpkin! These muffins will satisfy all of those cranberry cravings that you never knew you had.

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Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins (recipe originally from Julie’s Eats & Treats)

1 c butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 c flours
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 c cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease or line muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. In another bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
5. Slowly mix dry into wet batter until combined.
6. Fold in cranberries.
7. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
8. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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These were easy to make and came out looking great! And I loved the flavor- just sweet enough to balance out the tartness of the cranberries. They would make a great snack for Christmas morning!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Milkshake

I’ve had a few pumpkin spice lattes thus far this season and they all lived up to the hype, so I decided to try my hand at one! In milkshake form. Yes, I said milkshake.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Milkshake (recipe originally from Elle’s New England Kitchen)

1 1/2 c cold black coffee
1 1/4 c pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c coffee ice cream
1 c ice cube
honey or another sweetener of your choice

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend to desired thickness. Add honey to taste. Garnish with cinnamon or whipped cream!

4th of July American Flag Fruit Platter

I posted a few simple 4th of July themed dish ideas on Broke Girls Go Out last week and decided to make one of the dishes on the list for my holiday celebration. Sometimes themed dishes can get so complicated, but this dish only has a few ingredients and came together in minutes. Plus, it looked great and got a ton of compliments from guests at the party I brought it to.

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American Flag Fruit Platter (recipe originally found here via Pinterest)

1 pint blueberries, washed and dried
1 quart strawberries, washed and dried
1 box yogurt covered pretzels
Small square container, preferably white
Wax paper
Cookie pan or rectangular cake dish

1. Line dish with wax paper.
2. Put blueberries in square container and set in upper left corner of dish.
3. Cut stems off of strawberries. Cut strawberries in half, if desired.
4. Put strawberries in a row at the top of the dish. Follow with a row of pretzels and repeat until the dish is filled. If you have extra of either item and you’re using a deeper dish, you can double the layers of each row to fill the dish.
5. Serve with a fruit dip, if desired, or serve as is.

I served this dish with a brown sugar and sour cream fruit dip and put toothpicks on the side. This was such a crowd pleaser! And it’s healthy, so feel free to eat the whole thing!

Did you make a themed dish for the holiday? Tell me the recipe in the comments!

Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Salad- 2 Ways!

I’m a big fan of mozzarella, tomato and basil individually, but put them all together and I basically can’t get enough.

One of the best parts about these ingredients is they’re so versatile. You can chop them, slice them, dice them, whatever- and they still make a kickass salad.

Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Stacked Salad

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Buffalo-style mozzarella cheese
1 or 2 whole tomatoes, washed and dried
3-5 large basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar

1. Slice mozzarella and tomatoes, about 1/4″ thick.
2. Stack: tomato, basil leaf, mozzarella, basil leaf. Repeat.
3. Top with a half slice of tomato. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

I made these for Tall Guy and I to accompany chicken we were grilling. It was a great little side salad and super easy to make! Perfect to whip up for a small group.

Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Skewers

skewers

Buffalo-style mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
Cherry tomatoes, washed, dried and cut in half
Basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar, optionalSkewers or extra-long toothpicks

1. Put tomato, basil leaves (if large, use 1 leaf folded in half, if small use 2 or more, depending on preference) and mozzarella cubes on skewers or long toothpicks. If using skewers, repeat order until skewer is covered.
2. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, if desired.

I used some long “olive” toothpicks that I’ve had forever. They were a good size for just 1 of each item. Since I didn’t have a ton of toothpicks, I served them on a plate with extra ingredients so people could use their toothpick to get seconds. I chose to serve them without any dressing, which I think works fine for this dish. These ingredients go so well together, you don’t really need anything on them! Definitely would recommend this dish for a BBQ or larger Summer gathering. Easy to make and perfect as an appetizer or side dish!

Homemade White Pizza with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil

Tall Guy and I had pretty much given up on having a real dinner last night, but at the last minute decided to make a pizza. And thank God we did because it was so delicious! We’re starting to work pretty well together in the kitchen, and our recipes are definitely benefiting from that!

White Pizza with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil

1 ball store-bought dough *Feel free to make your own dough!
2 T olive oil
1/4 c Goat Cheese
Buffalo Mozzarella
Sun-dried tomatoes
Basil
1/2 c balsamic vinegar
minced garlic, garlic powder, oregano, etc. *Any spices you want, really.

1. Preheat oven to 425º.
2. Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil. Simmer until thickened. Set aside.
3. Roll dough into desired shape and place on pan.
4. Brush dough with olive oil.
5. Sprinkle with garlic, oregano, etc. I usually use minced garlic or garlic powder (whatever I have on hand) and a few dashes of Sicilian seasoning.
6. Cover pizza with sun-dried tomatoes, basil leaves and goat cheese. Use as much or as little of these ingredients as you want.
7. Slice mozzarella cheese and put slices on top of the pizza. I usually make sure most areas of the pizza are covered with cheese, but you can use as much as you want.
8. Sprinkle with balsamic reduction.
9. Bake until cheese is melted and edges of the crust are golden brown.

pizzaHave you tried making your own pizza? What are your favorite toppings? Let me know in the comments!

Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria

I’ve been wanting to make sangria for a while now, but it always seemed like so much work. You have to buy all this fruit and booze and mix it together days ahead of time.. I just never quite got my act together enough to make it for any gatherings… Until last weekend!

My roommate and I were originally going to have a Memorial Day BBQ, but since all but two of our friends weren’t going to be around, we canceled it at the last minute. I already had 90% of the sangria ingredients, so I decided to just make it anyway. It turned out awesome and totally changed my mind about the whole sangria making process.

Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria (recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is)

1 bottle (750 mL) Riesling
1 bottle Prosecco
1 grapefruit, sliced or cut into chunks
Juice of 2 grapefruits (or 1 c store-bought grapefruit juice) *fresh-squeezed is worth it though!!
1/2 c simple syrup
1/2 c club soda
2 c strawberries, sliced

For the simple syrup: Combine equal parts water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring water to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.

1. Put the sliced fruit in a large pitcher.
2. Combine Riesling, grapefruit juice, simple syrup and club soda.
3. Pour over fruit in pitcher. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.
4. Just before serving, pour in Prosecco and stir to combine. Serve over ice. Garnish with strawberries or grapefruit slices, if desired.

sangria

This sangria was so easy to make! I chose it partially because it didn’t require sitting for an exorbitant amount of time, but also because it only had a couple different kinds of fruit. I feel like a lot of sangria recipes I see have four or five different kinds of fruit in them and I just don’t want to spend that much money on fruit that’s going into an alcoholic drink, you know? This recipe was simple, cheap and so delicious. Definitely great for your next Summer gathering!

Homemade S’mores (Winter Edition)

I have had the worst dessert cravings lately! So when a craving hit me last night, I scoured the apartment for something that would satisfy it and ended up getting pretty creative!

My roommate and I completely overbought s’mores ingredients last Summer. So much so that we still have a couple bags of marshmallows and about a box and a half of graham crackers. While s’mores are traditionally a Summer campfire dessert, I decided to make a couple for Tall Guy and I last night and they turned out so great! S’mores are a perfect portion controlled dessert, for those of you who, like me, are trying to eat less junk. Why have I never tried to do this before?

Winter S’mores

1 graham cracker, split in half1 jumbo marshmallow (or 2 small ones)
chocolate chips, chunks or a piece of a Hershey’s bar *I used chocolate chips because they were all I had

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1. Turn your oven broiler on.
2. Put graham crackers on a small cookie sheet, brownie pan or oven safe plate. I used a brownie pan.
3. Top one of the graham cracker halves with chocolate and then marshmallow.
4. Place under broiler for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Keep an eye on it as the marshmallows and untouched graham cracker half will burn quickly.
5. Remove from broiler and cover immediately (using tin foil, pan cover, etc.). Let sit for 5 minutes, or until chocolate melts.
6. Put the untouched graham cracker half on top of the marshmallow, smush and enjoy!

smores 2

I’m sure there are a lot of different ways to melt the chocolate and soften the marshmallow. You could try microwaving the marshmallow for about 10 seconds before constructing the s’more or maybe throwing everything in the oven for a minute or two before you stick it under the broiler. Whatever you do, make sure you put the marshmallow under the broiler at some point, because that gives it the scorched, campfire taste and feel. No campfire necessary!