Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving food review

When my family said we were all going to get together again this year, I was beyond thrilled!!! First, I haven’t seen my cousins since we were together 2 years ago and I always have fun with them! Second, I was excited to try out some new recipes! Truth be told, I could cook for everyone all the time if I just had the money!! I have really grown to love cooking and I enjoy my time in the kitchen! (Provided I give myself adequate time to prepare everything. Made that mistake more than once, let me tell you!)

Anyway, as I signed up to bring a dessert (or 2 or 3 – because I couldn’t decide), I began searching through my Pinterest board to find some great options. After getting the “approval” of my husband, I set out to make 4 desserts, 2 green bean casseroles, homemade dinner rolls, Ramen noodle salad while my husband made the turkey & dressing. Time ran short and I only got 3 desserts made (I made the other this week for our small group, so its review will be up in a few days). So…here are my reviews on the food we made.

Turkey & Dressing

A couple years ago, my husband found a turkey recipe (Maple-Butter Turkey) he wanted to try. It was A-MA-ZING!!! He found it in a Taste of Home magazine. You can find the recipe here. After trying the turkey, he decided he wanted to make dressing. But, not just any dressing – my grandma’s dressing! (You can imagine the brownie points that earned him!) So, 2 years ago my grandma came over to show him how to make the dressing. I have submitted my recipe to be posted on, but its still awaiting approval. I will post it immediately following this post so you all can have it if you like. When it asks for the drippings & broth – you’ll pour in the Maple Butter drippings, which make it absolutely YUMMY!!!! Our family has requested we bring this dressing on several different occasions! Even if we don’t bring the turkey, they want the dressing. So, we make a small turkey just for the broth & drippings and then we’re able to have TONS of turkey leftovers!! Find some great leftover recipes here.

Pioneer Woman’s No Knead Dinner Rolls

This is only the 3rd time I’ve made these rolls. They are SUPER easy – just time consuming. However, since the rolls take a while to rise, you can do other things in between. Here are a few tips I’ve discovered when making these.

1) If you’re not cooking other things, turn your oven on low (2000) while the dough is rising. It will help it rise quicker (& better, in my opinion).

2) We use a large stock pot to mix our ingredients & it seems to work VERY well for all steps (including the rising process).

3) When mixing in the flour, don’t be afraid to use your hands! GET DIRTY!!! It helps get it really worked in there. Although, its true you don’t have to knead the dough, I find it rises better and makes fluffier rolls if you just use your hands a tiny bit.

4) Absolutely brush some butter on the tops of them when they come out of the oven!!

Pioneer Woman’s Green Bean Casserole

The hubster REALLY liked this casserole. We had a TON of it leftover though. And, here’s why (at least why I think…):

1) we did not cut the green beans – I recommend doing this. The long green beans were a little difficult to spoon out of the pan.

2) It was different – not the “usual” green bean casserole. I know that’s probably a given, but I thought I should write it anyway. Their loss I guess!

3) Also, you don’t have to use the brand of bread crumbs she mentions. I have found them at Aldi’s for waaaay cheaper!! Speaking of bread crumbs – make sure you get them nice and golden brown. Ours were a little whitish & I think that contributed to the skidishness also.

Chocolate Coma Brownies

OH. MY. YUM!!!! These were absolutely DE-LI-CIOUS!!!! Very chocolate-y as you can imagine. In fact, be forewarned that you may go into a chocolate coma just reading the ingredients!! But, seriously, these were ooey-gooey yummy!!! I would make these again! They were super easy too! Don’t be afraid to give ‘em a try!

Creamy Almond Bars

These were/are my absolute FAVORITE dessert of the day!!!! They take a little bit more time to make, seeing as you have to bake the crust for 20 min, then the filling for another 15 – but trust me, if you like Almond flavored things…these are totally worth the wait!!! Here are a few tips:

1) Make sure your crust doesn’t get too done. You want it lightly golden, not brown!!

2) When you bake the filling, make sure it is firm before you take it out. You don’t want it too stiff, but it can’t be runny either. We made this for a 2nd time yesterday & actually had to cook it about 7-8 min longer than suggested. Not sure why, but we just watched it & checked it every couple minutes. The edges were a little bubbly & over-done, but it was/is still YUMMY!!!!

White Chocolate S’mores Gooey Cake bars

These were a HUGE hit!! They were SUPER easy (yes, I keep saying that, but these REALLY are!). A little bit of mixing and some layering and you’ve got it! Of course, if you love White Chocolate and S’mores, you are most definitely going to LOVE these!!! The only thing that’s a little tricky is the layering on the top. Be sure not to push too hard or you’ll squish the marshmallows & make an even BIGGER ooey-gooey mess!

Ramen Noodle Salad

This is by far my most favorite salad (other than just a nice green salad). It’s also SUPER simple and fun to make! You get to take out your anger/frustration by smashing the noodles, plus do a fun science experiment of sorts when you mix sugar, vinegar & oil together!!! Oh my…I’m revealing my nerdiness aren’t I? Anyway, you can find the recipe for the salad here. I prefer the cole slaw recipe, only I use chicken flavor packets/noodles instead of the beef. Also, I don’t heat together the dressing, I just put them in a container that I can shake well and go for it! Also, I’ve never put the carrots in there, but it might add some additional crunchy-ness!!

So, those are my reviews for our Thanksgiving feast. I hope you enjoyed reading and will give some of them a try!!! I would LOVE to hear if you try these too!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

Are you carrying on any family traditions that used to be your mom or grandma’s responsibility?

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