It’s always fun to see friends and family at Thanksgiving and have a big get together, but sometimes the meal prep can be overwhelming! I’m here to help with a few tricks and tips to give you a head start on your holiday feast.
First, plan your menu in advance. This way you’ll be able to shop for ingredients, pick out cooking dishes, and delegate tasks before it is the last minute. Write out your menu and a game plan. And for those looking to REALLY get ahead, try making a few dishes in advance, then finish them off on the big day.
I like to get a head start on the gravy, because you can never have enough gravy! Purchase some turkey legs, make a stock, and then make my recipe for my Old-Fashioned Turkey Mushroom Gravy THAT MAKES A LOT. Then on Thanksgiving day you can just finish it off the turkey roasting pan. All those pan drippings will add great flavor! Stuffing can also be made up to two days in advance and refrigerated until its ready to bake.
And how about an alternative to pumpkin pie? Try making my d’lish individual Pumpkin Panna Cottas topped with some Ale Spiked Salted Caramel. I like to serve them in mini martini glasses so everyone can have a taste! Make these ahead for an easy d’lish crowd pleaser.
For those looking to plan a signature cocktail for the get together, make a batch of my Holiday Cheers for a Crowd. Fresh citrus juices, vodka, and cranberry combine for an easy to make ahead party cocktail – cheers!
So de-stress the big feast and get cooking in advance! Gobble Gobble! –Kathy
Old-Fashioned Turkey Mushroom Gravy THAT MAKES A LOT!
You can make this a few days ahead and then re-heat in your turkey roasting pan for extra turkey flavor goodness! Read through the entire recipe before starting.
Makes 10 cups, or about 20 generous 1/2-cup servings
12 Tbsps. (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary – or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
8 ounces (4 cups) thinly sliced mushrooms, or chopped wild mushrooms (optional)
1 cup flour
10 cups Rich Turkey Stock (recipe follows)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the rosemary and mushrooms and sauté over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir vigorously until combined and smooth. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock all at once and whisk vigorously so as to eliminate any lumps. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the gravy is nicely thickened. Season with salt and white pepper.
You can make the gravy a couple of days ahead to save yourself some precious holiday time!
Then right before serving- and while your turkey is set aside to rest – ready your turkey roasting pan full of turkey goodness: remove excess fat from your turkey roasting pan. Place the pan over a burner – add a big splash of white wine, champagne, potato cooking water, chicken broth or water. Using a metal spatula – scrape up all the goodies in the bottom of the pan… this is the turkey goodness. Then add your prepared Turkey Mushroom gravy – whisk well and heat till hot. Serve up and enjoy – you’ll have lots of gravy for all!
Rich Turkey Stock
Makes about 10 cups
2 large turkey legs or thighs, about 2 pounds total
1 yellow onion, unpeeled, coarsely chopped
1 large or 2 medium carrots, cut into large chunks
Up to 2 cups mushroom stems, optional
4 stalks celery, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
12 cups water
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Roast the turkey pieces in a baking pan for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the skin is golden brown. Place them in an 8-quart pot and add the vegetables and seasonings. Deglaze the roasting pan with the wine, scraping the pan well to loosen browned bits, and add to the pot. Add the water.
Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a rapid simmer. Reduce the heat to low and lightly simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Strain the stock and skim off any fat. Discard the vegetables. (Most of the flavor will have cooked out of the turkey; however, the meat can be removed from the bones and saved for another use.)
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com
Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Ale Caramel & Sea Salt
You can make the panna cotta up to 5 days in advance—just keep tightly wrapped with plastic. The caramel sauce can also be prepared up to a week beforehand, making it the perfect dessert for a busy holiday schedule.
Makes 8 regular (4-oz) servings or 16 mini (2-oz) servings
1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsps. water
1 cup cream
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mascarpone
1 cup pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin, not pre-seasoned pie filling)
1 1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup Holiday Ale Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
Sea salt for sprinkling (sea salt)
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Soak until the gelatin is soft, then microwave on high power for only about 2 seconds, or until the gelatin is melted but not foaming up.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream, sugar, sour cream, mascarpone, pumpkin, vanilla, and spices. Add the gelatin and whisk together well.
Place the mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, being sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until smooth and hot (150 to 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer).
Remove from the heat and divide the mixture evenly among 8 regular or 16 mini martini glasses (or 8 custard or 16 espresso cups). Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic does not touch the panna cotta. Refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours to set.
To serve: Drizzle each panna cotta with ale caramel sauce (1 tablespoon for the minis or 2 for the larger portions), and then sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
Chef’s note: If making the ale caramel sauce is too much for your schedule, then substitute with a speed scratch sea salt caramel sauce; mix 1/2 cup purchased high-quality caramel sauce with 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, depending upon how salty you like it.
Holiday Ale Caramel Sauce
If made ahead, cool completely and store refrigerated. Bring to room temperature to serve. The recipe makes more than you’ll need for the panna cotta; extra sauce can be drizzled on ice cream, pound cake or other desserts.
Makes 2 cups
1 (12-ounce) bottle pumpkin ale or other seasonal beer, such as Pike Brewing Co. Auld Acquaintance Hoppy Holiday Ale
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsps. salted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a medium-large saucepan, bring the ale to a low boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat, add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve.
Bring mixture to a boil and cook without stirring (stir or swirl the pan only if necessary to prevent boiling over) for about 10 to 15 minutes, until thick and syrupy (about 230 degrees F on a candy thermometer).
Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream and butter (it may splatter!), and then cook for 5 to 6 minutes more, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. If serving right away, cool until just warm; it will thicken up more as it cools. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com
Holiday Cheers for a Crowd
Who wants to be tied to the bar during their party? Making a pre-mix for your signature holiday cocktail gives you more time to mingle with your guests and enjoy the festivities! Try shaking in fresh rosemary to add an herbal note.
Makes 1 drink
1/2 cup (4 ounces) Cocktail Pre-Mix (recipe follows)
Garnish: small sprig of rosemary and fresh or frozen cranberry
Measure the pre-mix into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a large martini glass. Garnish with rosemary and float cranberry in drink.
Mixture can be made up to 4 days in advance and kept refrigerated.
Makes 4 cups – enough for about 8 drinks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 cup white cranberry juice
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a quick simmer and remove from heat. (Do not reduce.) Cool to room temperature.
Combine cooled sugar mixture and remaining ingredients in a pretty glass bottle. Refrigerate until ready to use.
*Non-Alcoholic Version: instead of the vodka increase the cranberry juice to 1 1/2 cups and the grapefruit juice to 1 3/4 cups.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® – www.LiquidKitchen.com
Fall means football season and no one loves their football more than all the 12s of Seahawk Nation. And we all know that Skittles are a fave treat among all the Seahawk die-hards, especially when Beast Mode plows into the end-zone – TOUCHDOWN!
Personally, I am a BIG Skittles lover so let’s get creative. Start first with a toast with my Skittles-infused boozy shots. Yes, I have a recipe for this – don’t judge!
Who’s ready for a shot at the end zone? Vodka – Skittles – Jäger…
Now let’s talk game day recipes with some Pacific Northwest flair! Start with some tasty appetizers like my Warm Alaskan Crab, Mushroom & Brie Dip, perfect served up on easy to make thyme crostini. Next on the line up are Mini Scallion Biscuits with Smoked Salmon Spread and Bacon Tillamook Cheddar Deviled Eggs to nibble on between downs.
Who’s ready for my Warm Alaskan Crab, Mushroom & Brie Dip?
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.
My Bacon Tillamook Cheddar Deviled Eggs!
Photo from D’Lish Deviled Eggs.
For something heartier, look no farther than a bowl of my Stadium Apple Chili made with Washington apples and some local beer of course!
Make your next game day d’ish and don’t forget to let me know some of your favorite game day bites. Go hawks! –Kathy
This recipe easily doubles. ….. don’t judge, just laugh!
Makes 8 shots
1 package (2.17 oz) original Skittles
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup Jägermeister
In a mason jar, add the Skittles then measure in vodka and Jägermeister. Stir vigorously then cover. Let sit for at least 1 hour or overnight depending on how much you love Skittles.
When ready to serve, pour 2 ounces into a shaker tin, add ice and shake. Strain into 2 shot glasss and add a Skittle for garnish.
Created by Kathy Casey Food Liquid Kitchen®.
Warm Crab, Mushroom & Brie Dip with Fresh Thyme & Sea Salt Crostini
Dungeness crab meat is tasty but also pricy. Try purchasing Alaska King Crab legs and picking the meat out. It’s easy to do by using a pair of clean scissors to open up the legs. Then just give the meat a very coarse chop to cut it into 1/2 inch pieces.
Dip can be prepared up to 2 days in advance if using very fresh crab and baked when your guests are just starting to arrive. Easy to make Fresh Thyme & Sea Salt Crostini bake at the same oven temperature to make things easy!
Makes about 6 cups — serves about 12 – 24 people
1 small (8 oz wt.) wheel brie cheese
2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 cups thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (Note: do not use reduced-fat or fat-free, I like to use Best Foods in this recipe)
3 cups (about 10 oz. wt.) shredded, high-quality parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. Tabasco
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup minced sweet red bell pepper (optional)
1/2 cup minced celery
3/4 lb crab meat, drained well (about 2 1/2 cups drained), see note above
Garnish: Minced fresh parsley
Fresh Thyme & Sea Salt Crostini, (recipe follows)
Cut the brie cheese into 1/2” pieces, set aside and then let come to room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook stirring often till half cooked, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until the onions are very soft and the mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and sherry and continue cooking until the sherry is completely reduced about 8 minutes. (There should not be any liquid left.) Set aside to cool.
Place the room temperature brie in a mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed for about 1 minute or until the cheese softened. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add half of the mayonnaise. Mix for 3 more minutes on medium-high speed. Add the remaining mayonnaise, parmesan, Tabasco and lemon juice. Mix together on medium speed until well mixed, about 1 minute.
Remove bowl from mixer and fold-in the cooled mushroom mixture, green onion, pepper, celery and crab meat – being careful not to break up the crab meat. Do not over mix.
Place dip in a 7-inch x 11-inch baking dish, or 2 quart or ovenproof serving dish. Smooth out but do not compact it. (Dip can be covered and refrigerated up to 1 day at this point.)
When ready to serve dip, place in a 400-degree F. pre-heated oven. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until dip just starts to bubble around the edges, is heated through and the cheese is melted. (Be careful not to overcook) If desired, sprinkle with minced fresh parsley. Serve immediately with Fresh Thyme & Sea Salt Crostini, or rustic flat bread or crackers.
Fresh Thyme & Sea Salt Crostini
Crostini are the must-have party basic. Use as a base for assorted toppers, such as creamy cheeses, tapenade, or spreads.
Makes 24 – 32 pieces
3 Tbsps. olive oil
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Pre-heat an oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the baguette with a serrated knife into 1/4-inch diagonal slices. Lay out on a baking sheet pan.
In a small bowl, mix together the oil, thyme and garlic. Lightly brush the baguette slices with the herb oil, then sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until just crispy.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com
Mini Scallion Biscuits with Smoked Salmon Spread & Pickled Onions
The trick to these tiny fluffy biscuits is not to overhandle the dough: the more you touch it the less fluff you will get. The salmon spread and onions can be made up to two days in advance.
Makes 24 to 28
3/4 cup thinly sliced 1 1/2-inch-long pieces red onion
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
Smoked Salmon Spread
1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
3 oz thinly sliced cold-smoked salmon
1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh dill
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp.freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbsps. cold salted butter, cut into chunks
2 large green onions, white and green parts, minced (about 1/3 cup)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
3/4 cup milk, plus more as needed
Garnish: 24 to 28 small fresh dill sprigs
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small bowl, toss the onion and vinegar together. Cover and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Drain the onions before using.
To make the salmon spread: In a food processor, combine the cream cheese and half of the salmon and process until smooth. Add the horseradish and lemon juice, and process, scraping down the sides as necessary, until smooth. Add the dill and process until incorporated.
Transfer the spread to a small bowl. Finely chop the remaining salmon and stir it into the spread until evenly distributed. The salmon spread can be made up to 2 days in advance, and refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.
To make the biscuits: In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, dry mustard, and pepper. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter, or rub it in with your fingers, until the size of small peas. Stir in the green onions and parsley. With a fork, lightly stir in enough milk to make a soft dough. (Start with 3/4 cup milk, then add more only as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time.) Take care not to overmix the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly pat out to 3/4-inch thickness, handling the dough as little as possible. Sprinkle the dough lightly with flour. Cut into 24 to 28 rounds with a 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. (Do not twist the cutter when cutting the dough.) Place the biscuits, with sides touching, on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for about 10 minutes.
To assemble: Split the biscuits in half horizontally. Spread the biscuit bottoms with about 1 rounded teaspoonful of the salmon spread, and top the spread with a little of the drained pickled onion and a dill sprig. Arrange the biscuits on a serving platter, replace the top halves of the biscuits, slightly askew, and serve immediately.
Recipe from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books.
Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs
Eggs, bacon, cheese … they go hand in hand. I like to use local Northwest Tillamook cheddar for some local flair.
1 dozen hard-cooked eggs
3 Tbsps. mayonnaise
3 Tbsps. sour cream
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard (optional)
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese, such as Tillamook
1/4 cup finely chopped crisp-cooked bacon
2 Tbsps. very thinly sliced green onion
Freshly ground black pepper
Halve the eggs lengthwise and transfer the yolks to a mixing bowl. Set the egg white halves on a platter, cover, and refrigerate.
With a fork, mash the yolks to a smooth consistency. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, if using, garlic, salt, and pepper, and mix until smooth. (You can also do this in a mixing bowl with a whip attachment.) Stir in the cheddar until evenly mixed in.
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, then pipe the mixture evenly into the egg white halves. Or fill the eggs with a spoon, dividing the filling evenly.
To make the topping, in a small bowl, mix the bacon and green onion. Top each egg half with about 3/4 teaspoon of the mixture, and then sprinkle with black pepper.
Recipe from D’Lish Deviled Eggs by Kathy Casey, Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Stadium Apple Chili
Fuji apples are incredible. Not only do they have a wonderfully clean, sweet flavor, but their cooked texture is amazingly firm. A great shape-holder! You’ll be a true Fuji fan when you try this recipe!
Vegetarian Friendly Version: Substitute 1 pound peeled, 1″ cubed winter squash (such as Hubbard or pumpkin) for meats and an apple juice and vegetable broth mixture for beef broth.
Makes 7 cups
2 Fuji apples or other firm cooking apple
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
8 oz wt. coarse ground beef (chili grind)
4 oz wt. hot pork sausage
12 oz wt. boneless pork butt, cut in 3/4″ – 1″ cubes
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp. dry whole oregano
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 – 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes, (optional)
1 cup beef broth
1 cup beer
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes in puree
2 cans (15 oz ea.) pinto beans, drained
1 cans (15 oz) kidney beans, drained
1/2 – 1 tsp. salt, more or less to taste
grated cheddar cheese
thinly sliced green onion
Peel, core and dice the apples into 1/2″ cubes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Add the meats, stir occasionally and cook till meats are browned and no juice remains.
Add onions, peppers, garlic, chili powder and spices. Stir in well, and cook stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to scorch chili powder.
Add beef broth, beer and tomatoes. Combine well and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.
Add apples and beans and return to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until meat and apples are tender. Season with salt to taste. (Note: If chili gets too thick, add water as needed during cooking.)
Serve with Chili Toppers of your choice.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com
What hits the spot after a long wintery day outside? How about a warm mug of mulled wine as soon as you come in from the cold?
I know red wine is the classic choice for mulling, but don’t forget about the white! White wine is delicious warmed with apples, pears, clementines and lots of delicious “warming” spices.
For mulled red wine, try adding a touch of honey, some orange slices, cinnamon sticks and cloves.
And for an extra spike of flavor, add a splash of liqueur – like Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Tuaca!
You can mix your mulled wine ingredients together and refrigerate the day before serving to get the flavors mingling. Just warm it up the next day before serving.
The most important tip to remember is to NEVER boil your wine. It cooks out the alcohol! Just heat it gently until it’s warm. I love using a crock pot on low is perfect to keep it at an ideal temperature.
So warm up with a mug of my Winter Spiced White Wine for your next get-together. Cheers! -Kathy
Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.
Winter Spiced White Wine
Makes 7 cups, or about 8 servings
2 (750 ml) bottles light, dry white wine, such as chenin blanc
1 pear, cut crosswise in 1/4-inch slices
1 apple, cut crosswise in 1/4-inch slices
1 orange, poked with 12 whole cloves, then cut in 1/4-inch slices
5 allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 ounces (1/2 cup) Grand Marnier or Cointreau
Orange peel twists for garnish
Place all the ingredients in a stainless steel or flameproof glass pan and stir well to incorporate the brown sugar. Place over low heat and warm. Do not boil! Let the flavors steep for at least 30 minutes before serving.
At this point you can keep warm and serve, or chill it for later. To reheat, warm each portion in a microwave until just hot but not boiling. Garnish each serving with a twist of orange peel.
Recipe from Dishing with Kathy Casey.
Some foods just have a way to remind us of the season and pomegranates do just that. I always know winter has arrived when I start seeing those lovely garnet fruits piled high in the produce section.
Juicy pomegranate seeds!
I remember eating my very first pomegranate as a kid, sitting in a chair with a TV tray. It occupied my little hands for hours…turning them bright pink but only for a day! Take note moms & dads!
Pomegranates’ tart-sweet seeds are prized for their distinctive flavor and are high in antioxidants. Whether muddled into a cocktail or sprinkled on salads, they are d’lish! And I have a great tip to make de-seeding simple!
Cut the pomegranate in half, then holding a half firmly over a large bowl hit it with a heavy wooden spoon and watch the seeds come tumbling out. Repeat – then eat! Side note: this is also a great stress reliever!
For a quick and easy appetizer, add pomegranate seeds to hummus. It adds great texture to the already creamy hummus and helps the flavor jump at you with it’s tartness.
In my Tender Greens with Tangerine Vinaigrette, pomegranate seeds add a very colorful and tart addition to this healthy, citrusy salad and plays well with the sweetness of the tangerine.
So pick up some pomegranates and enjoy their tangy addition to a very delicious winter! -Kathy
Photo from Dishing with Kathy Casey.
Tender Greens with Tangerine Vinaigrette & Pomegranate Seeds
Makes 4-6 servings
1 1/2 tsp very finely minced tangerine zest *
3 Tbsps fresh tangerine juice
3 Tbsps fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 Tbsps very light olive oil
4 cups gourmet greens mix
1 head Bibb or Boston lettuce
1/2 cup (about 3 medium) diced or segmented tangerines (peeled and seeded)
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
To prepare the vinaigrette:
* To make the tangerine zest, peel the tangerine with a potato peeler then mince zest until very fine.
In a small bowl whisk together the tangerine zest, tangerine and lemon juices, dijon mustard, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper. Whisking continuously, drizzle in olive oil slowly to emulsify the dressing. Cover tightly and refrigerate until needed.
To prepare the salad:
Wash gourmet greens, if necessary, and spin dry. Tear the Bibb lettuce into bite-sized pieces; rinse, if necessary, and spin dry. Toss greens together in a bowl and cover tightly. Refrigerate until needed.
Right before serving, in a large bowl toss the greens with the dressing until well coated. Divide salad between 4 – 6 chilled salad plates. Garnish each one with some of the diced tangerines and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®
What says October more vividly than a big, beautiful orange pumpkin? Whether nestled amongst bales of hay and colorful corn for a harvest celebration, or decked out in full Halloween regalia, pumpkins are one of the most recognizable mascots of the Fall season.
Pumpkins come in many different shades from deep amber-orange to buttery yellow as well as ghostly white and even blue! Their variety of color, size and quirky shapes, along with their shelf life make them the perfect seasonal decoration.
What could be more fun than packing the family into the car and spending a crisp autumn afternoon on a U-Pick farm? The variety is endless and everyone has their own idea of what makes the perfect pumpkin… finding it amongst all the others is the best part!
Once you’ve found The Best Pumpkin Ever, it’s time to decide what to do with it! Will you gather around the kitchen table, hollow it out and carve it into a grinning Jack-o’-lantern; break out the acrylics and paint it into a Halloween masterpiece; or leave it au natural? Whatever you decide, pumpkin decorating is such a great way to get the whole family involved.
I love those little tiny pumpkins called Jack Be Little. Wondering what to do with them? Just cut the top off and scoop out the seeds, then rub them down with olive oil, season them and bake ‘til tender. And the whole thing is edible – skin and all!! They are also fun to fill … with your favorite stuffing, custard or bread pudding too!
And don’t forget the seeds! Spice up some Cha Cha Pumpkin Seeds with some olive oil and a little chipotle seasoning and you have the perfect afternoon treat or scary movie snacker!
So get ready for fall with the biggest (or smallest!) pumpkin you can find! – Kathy
Cha Cha Pumpkin Seeds
Makes 2 cups
2 cups seeds from pumpkin
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 tsp Dish D’Lish Cha Cha Chipotle Lime Seasoning™
Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse the seeds under cold water to remove any pumpkin flesh or strings. Drain well and measure. Place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the seasoning, a tablespoon or so at a time, tossing between additions. Toss well until evenly coated, then spread the seeds on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crispy and toasted.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.
Fall days make us hungrier for dishes that are hearty, warm, and satisfying. And shepherd’s pie can sure hit the spot!
The British are known to put almost anything in a pie. To “pie” actually means to jumble together and shepherd’s pie is just that.
Also known as cottage pie, this dish is believed to have been developed in Scotland or northern England and was probably brought to the Pacific Northwest by settlers in British Columbia and Oregon.
I love the presentation photo on Chez Us Blog for their Greek Shepard’s Pie in Individual Servings and the Eggplant in the recipe sounds D’Lish!
Originated as a meal for shepherds using the ingredients they could easily obtain (sheep and potatoes), today it’s typically a mixture of leftover cooked lamb or beef, gravy and vegetables, placed in a casserole or deep pie dish, then topped with whipped potatoes and baked until golden.
It’s a great dish to get creative with. There are vegetarian versions, venison versions, and some swanky restaurants even serve lobster pot pie! It can basically be made with almost anything and is perfect for using up leftovers.
My favorite Shepherd’s Pie recipe combines both lamb and beef and has red wine and rosemary added to the filling, and then topped with Chevre & Chive Mashed Potatoes. Now that’s a hearty fall d’lish dish! -Kathy
Shepherd’s Pie with Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
4 large carrots, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 large turnip, diced (about 2 cups)
1 leek, white part only, sliced, rinsed well, and diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground beef
1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups lamb, beef, or chicken stock or low-sodium beef broth
First, prepare the Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes, and set aside. Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, carrots, turnip, and leek for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
To the same pan, add the meats and break up with a spoon. Cook the meat for about 5 minutes, or until browned. Carefully drain off any excess fat and return the pan to the heat. Stir in the rosemary, wine, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan as you bring the mixture to a boil.
Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch into the stock and stir this mixture into the boiling meat mixture. Stirring constantly, cook for about 1 minute to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top, covering the meat mixture evenly and making the top peaky-pretty. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and the top is lightly golden.
Chèvre & Chive Mashed Potatoes
2 1/2 lbs. unpeeled medium red potatoes, washed well and halved
1 cup milk or half-and-half
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. white pepper
4 oz wt. fresh goat cheese (chèvre), torn or cut into about 8 pieces
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh chives or very thinly sliced green onion tops
Put the potatoes in a very large pot and cover with water by at least 3 inches. Add a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook on a low boil until fork-tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Test the potatoes to be sure they’re tender all the way through.
Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted and the milk is warm. Do not boil. Keep warm.
When the potatoes are cooked, quickly drain them well in a large colander, then return them to the pot. Shake the pot over low heat for about 30 seconds to dry out any remaining water. Remove from the heat and add the milk mixture. (Both the potatoes and the liquid must be hot.) With a heavy-duty whisk or masher, mash the potatoes. Then add 1 tsp. of salt, the white pepper, and cheese, and whip or mash the potatoes until they are fluffy. Mix in the chives and cover the potatoes to keep warm.
Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.