Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our First Holiday Menu from a Magazine

Aside from all the shopping, the Holidays also entail a lot of cooking. We hosted thanksgiving this year and I wanted to stay away from the traditional recipes to make our food experience more exciting. I am a digital subscriber of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and I always look at the recipes they feature. It all seems so easy to make and the ingredients are relatively easy to find in your local grocery stores. So, I decided to make their featured recipes in their November 2012 issue with a little modification to a couple of the ingredients.

For appetizers, the BHG menu had chutney cheese balls. Since we did last minute shopping, I could not, of course, find chutney. So I substituted the chutney with orange marmalade (we also used for glazing the turkey)  and the result was still amazing. I paired the cheese balls with Pita chips.

orange marmalade cheeseballs rolled in (1) pecans and apricots and (2) pistachio and parsley (recipe here)

I've never had beets before so I was a little iffy about doing this recipe. It turned out to be so good that this salad was actually one of my favorites. I had to modify the dressing since I forgot to get lemons. Instead of lemons I used Calamondin (also called Calamansi) which is a citrus fruit that has a richer flavor than lemons. I also added a little bit more of the pomegranate seeds than what the recipe called for  ;-)

Roasted Acorn Squash and Beet Salad (recipe here)
Hubby roasted the turkey and he did an amazing job. It was delicious and picture perfect! He used the same orange marmalade I used for the cheese balls to glaze the turkey.
Tip: since the marmalade glaze is made of sugar, be sure to check the turkey often after brushing it over to avoid the turkey skin from burning. Here's another first for us, parsnips. I never had parsnips before but I went ahead and followed the recipe with a substitution of pearl onions for the cipollini onions. This side was very healthy and tasted really good!

Marmalade Glazed Roast Turkey (recipe here) with Garlic Roasted Root Vegetables (recipe here)

This stuffing was a big hit with my dad-in-law. He said "It was like having a prize with every bite" and that "this recipe is a keeper". I agree, it is not your typical boring stuffing. The dried cherries, dried cranberries mmmmm yum!

Herbed Bread and Cherry Cranberry Stuffing (recipe here)
I am not a big fan of anything giblet so the gravy I made is a modified version. I used the drippings from the turkey with the stock from the recipe. It still turned out very good.

modified Homemade Gravy (original recipe here)
This one is my mom-in-law's favorite and the very first one I made since I can prepare it ahead of time.This is not your typical cranberry sauce. It is really, really good. I am planning on making it again for Christmas dinner. I made an extra bottle for my in-laws to take home with them.

New England Cranberry Orange Compote (recipe here)

Everyone loves mashed potatoes with their turkey so hubby was skeptical with this recipe. Until the last minute he was still convincing me to make mashed potatoes. Let's just say that after his first bite, he didn't miss the mashed potatoes LOL

Parmesan Potato Gratin (recipe here)
If you are not a fan of green beans, then wait til you try this one. The saltiness of the pancetta and the rich taste of browned butter with the crisp green beans will probably change your mind. This is a good side year round.

Green Beans with Pancetta with Brown Butter (recipe here)
I mentioned we had out nephews with us too who were 10 and 13 years old. These pop overs were their favorite - chives and all! I don't have a pop over pan so I used a regular pre-heated muffin pan instead. This is another keeper recipe. I figured after thanksgiving, I am investing in a pop over pan since I have been requested by our nephews to bake and bring "dozens and dozens of pop overs" to our family Christmas dinner at my in-laws home.

Cheese and Chives Popovers (recipe here)
What meal would be complete without desserts?
This pie recipe is to-die-for. The tartness of the apples and fresh cherries and fresh cranberries with the sweetness of the caramel- hmmm... need I say more?
Caramel Apple Cherry Pie (recipe here)
And finally, you got to have some pumpkin in the table. Right? Instead of making a pumpkin pie, I made pumpkin creme brulee. Anything creme brulee is my favorite. Anything that has to use the kitchen torch is my hubby's! Ha! Ha!

Pumpkin Spice Creme Brulee (recipe here)
And of course, would you settle for a dinner without a good drink? Of course not! This drink is sooooo refreshing. I am not exaggerating. I have the key ingredients stocked up in my refrigerator now. Btw, I omitted the star anise in our version since I do not like the way it tastes.

Mulled Cider and Pineapple Cocktail (recipe here)
So there you go. A whole run down of what I prepared for our thanksgiving dinner with the recipe straight from my trusted magazine pages. Fairly easy to make, the ingredients are easy to find and not expensive at all and best of all everything was delicious!

From our dining table to yours, I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving!


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