We are in the last stretch of Thanksgiving planning and shopping! Where has this month gone? One of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes is this cranberry relish dish. It was passed along to me from a dear friend and I’ve tweaked it over the years. It’s a fun addition to your Thanksgiving menu, and adds beautiful color to your table. You can costomize it to your to your taste by adding more sugar to make it sweeter or less sugar for a nice tart relish. You can make it in advance and freeze it as well for your convenience.
1 bag of fresh cranberries (finely chopped in food processor)
1 small can crushed pineapple
3 TBS honey
1/3 C – 1/2 C Sugar (depending on your preference)
I’m always looking for quick but tasty ideas for dinner during the busy work week. This taco recipe is hands down the easiest one I have in my dinner rotations. There are literally only three ingredients. Not only is is simple and inexpensive, it’s one of my boys’ favorites! I will usually double the recipe so that we will have great leftovers, a lot of times I’ll use the leftover chicken to make chicken tortilla soup the next night. I simply put all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning before I leave for work. When I get home later in the afternoon, the house smells so good!!! Serve the chicken tacos with all your favorite fixings, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, cilantro and refried beans. Add some chips and salsa and it’s a great family meal!
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (1.25-ounce) packet taco seasoning
1 (16-ounce) jar of your favorite salsa, (I like to use Herdez mild Salsa)
Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken.
Pour salsa on top.
Cook on low (for 6-8 hours) or high (for 4 hours).
Just before serving, use two forks to shred the chicken.
Stir to evenly distribute salsa throughout chicken.
My husband and I recently went to a local Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar tasting room. It’s called “Savor the Olive”. I’ve seen it a few times when we’ve eaten at a nearby restaurant and was very curious to find out what this place was all about. As soon as we entered the store, I knew I was going to enjoy our visit. It was a quaint but beautifully designed space with a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. There were several isles of deliciously fresh olive oil and Balsamic vinegar dispensers filled with the wonderful flavors from all around the world. The lady working in the store spent quite a bit of time with us and was extremely helpful and enjoyable to talk to. She was very patient and helped us make the most of our tasting experience.
Savor the Olive uses only the highest quality olive oils that go through a two part process; a chemical analysis comparison for its extra virgin status and it must pass a taste analysis being scored on fruitiness, bitterness and pungency. Savor the Olive carries Extra Virginia Oils as well as fused and infused options. One of the things I love is that their Balsamic Vinegars are free from added sugars, thickening agents and caramel coloring.
They use Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena which is a recipe using grapes that must be aged for either a minimum of 12 years or a minimum of 25 years giving it a red quality seal or gold quality seal. The vinegar must be approved by a master taster to assure it’s rich quality. Savor the Olive carries the white and dark balsamic vinegars.
We tasted several flavors of both the olive oils and vinegars. I felt like a kid in a candy store with so many selections to choose from. They had every kind of flavor you could think of, but some of my favorite oils were lemon, blood orange, Thai Lemongrass, Herbs de Province and Tuscan Herb. There were many rich balsamic vinegars to taste as well. So many flavors such as chocolate, coffee, fig, strawberry and Vermont maple tempted our palates.
The lady working with us explained how to pair the olive oils and balsamic vinegars together to get the most of their flavors and how each one complimented the other for cooking. Each infused oil and vinegar also came with an explanation of what part of the world it is from and what it can be used for in cooking or even for mixed drink recipes.
The store also offers a variety of blended salts and gourmet gifts.
They provide an assortment of pre selected gift box options or you can choose your favorite oils and vinegars to package together for a more personalized gift. I can’t think of a better Christmas gift for that foodie family member or friend!
Ultimately we chose a bottle of the Organic Tuscan Herb infused Olive Oil and the Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar. It was very challenging to try and pick from all the amazing selections, but we will most certainly be back for ourselves as well as some holiday shopping!
Visit one of their three locations in the Southeastern Virginia area or check out their website at savortheolive.com, you will love it!
This is the time of year when I would read one of my favorite books, Cranberry Thanksgiving, to my boys when they were little. I love this 1971 vintage book from my childhood, it’s a fun story with some lovable characters. Grandmother’s cranberry bread recipe is included at the end of the book and has become a Thanksgiving staple at our table every year. I love making this bread and it is absolutely delicious with just the right sweetness of the orange and slight tart flavor of the fresh cranberries. It’s the perfect buttery Thanksgiving bread!
Grandmother and Maggie live at the edge of the cold and windy cranberry bog. The story begins as Grandmother is baking her delightful cranberry bread and preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. Grandmother’s cranberry bread recipe was so famous and special that bakers from all over the countryside were trying to get her secret recipe, even offering money. Grandmother kept the recipe safe and hidden behind a loose brick in her dining room fireplace.
Maggie and Grandmother were excited to each invite a guest to their home for Thanksgiving dinner. Grandmother is not happy to find out that Maggie has invited Mr. Whiskers, a scruffy old sea captain that Grandmother is sure is trying to steal her secret recipe. Grandmother’s guest, Mr. Horace is much more refined, well dressed and smells of lavender. Grandmother is much more pleased with her guest and welcomes him in.
After enjoying a delightful Thanksgiving feast complete with turkey, corn pudding, turnips, peas, pumpkin pie and of course the coveted cranberry bread, there is a tussle between Mr. Whiskers and Mr. Horace. Surprisingly it was the well mannered Mr. Horace who was trying to get his hands on Grandmother’s hidden secret recipe. Mr. Whiskers catches Mr. Horace trying to steal the recipe and saves Thanksgiving.
Here is Grandmother’s wonderful secret recipe….wink wink!!
2 cups flour, sifted
1 cup sugar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon orange rind, grated
3⁄4 cup orange juice
1 1⁄2 cups raisins, (optional)
2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda together.
Cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture is crumbly.
Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice and mix until mixture is evenly moist.
Fold in raisins and cranberries.
Spoon into a greased 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan.
Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.
Cool out of pan on a wire rack. keep stored in aluminum foil.
You can get your own copy of this children’s classic, Cranberry Thanksgiving at Amazon.com
If you are looking for a quick recipe during the weeknights when your schedule is busy, try this skillet recipe. It’s a great addition to your weeknight rotation and is very simple and versatile. I was first introduced to the potato skillet years ago when my family visited Silver Dollar City, a theme park in Branson Mo. They have a wide variety of skillets options cooking in outdoor kitchens all day throughout the park in massively enormous cast iron skillets. The smell is incredible! We tried one and have been eating them ever since, it’s one of our “must do’s” when at Silver Dollar City. I started making them myself at home, you can really just add what you like and try different ingredients. I like to use chicken sausage but kielbasa would be great, or just do a veggie skillet to make it more healthy. I also prefer to buy frozen diced potatoes…it saves so much prep time and still tastes great. This recipe is what I typically do for my family:
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 C cubed frozen potatoes
1 sweet potato, cubed
2 TBS McCormick Montreal Chicken seasoning
1 TBS seasoning salt
1 garlic clove, minced
3 chicken sausages, browned in a separate pan (I use Aidells Italian Style)
1/4 C chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
Add cooking oil to large pan, add red peppers, green peppers and onion. Cook on medium heat until tender. Add the frozen potatoes and sweet potato and continue to cook on medium heat. Add the chicken seasoning, salt and garlic. Let that cook on low while stirring often.
Brown the chicken sausage in a separate pan. Once sausage is browned, add it to vegetable and seasoning mixture. Add chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste, continue to cook on medium heat until potatoes are browned and nice and crisp.