Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Dinner

Which, for us, is really Thanksgiving: Part 2.

I found a turkey recipe years ago in a Southern Living cookbook that works.  The turkey always usually comes out perfect and has a really good flavor.  This year I was feeling ambitious.  I've failed at dressing and mac & cheese before, but I planned on trying again.  Eventually I'll get it right...right?

Cornbread Dressing from Southern Living
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 recipe Andrew's Cornbread (see below)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 T fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Melt 2 T butter with oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add mushrooms, celery, and bell pepper, and saute 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Crumble the cornbread into a large mixing bowl. Stir in mushroom mixture, half-and-half, and next 6 ingredients. Add chicken broth, and gently stir until moistened. Spoon into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Bake, covered, at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.

Andrew's Cornbread
  • 1 t vegetable oil
  • 2 cups self-rising yellow cornmeal
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T self-rising flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T mayonnaise
Brush a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with oil, and heat in a 425° oven 5 minutes. Stir together cornmeal and next 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in buttermilk, eggs, and mayonnaise, stirring just until blended. Pour batter into hot skillet. Bake at 425° for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and cornbread pulls away from sides of skillet. Remove to a wire rack, and cool 5 minutes.

My notes: I wasn't fond of the cornbread.  The small amount of oil I used was still too much and it caused the crust to do something strange.  Plus, it didn't crumble ended up chunky and...just weird.  I loved the flavor, though, so I think next time I'll use my own cornbread recipe (the one on the bag of cornmeal with a little brown sugar added).

Creamy Four-Cheese Macaroni from Cooking Light
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 2/3 cups skim milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 ounces light processed cheese (Velveeta) 
  • 6 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 3 cups uncooked)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 T butter or stick margarine, softened
Preheat oven to 375°. Place flour in a large saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 8-10 minutes), stirring constantly. Add cheeses and cook 3 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in macaroni and salt. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Combine bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl; stir until well-blended. Sprinkle over macaroni mixture. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans
  • fresh green beans, trimmed
  • bacon
  • brown sugar
  • butter
The amount of beans needed will depend on how many people you plan to feed.  For 5 adults, I did about 1lb.  Cook green beans - either steam or boil - just until done. Remove from heat and drop into ice water to stop the cooking process.  Wrap 8-10 beans with one piece of bacon, secure with a toothpick.  Melt about 1/2 cup of brown sugar with 1/2 stick of butter (depending on how many you're cooking).  We tossed these on the grill to cook the bacon, but that might not have been the best idea since I looked outside to see flames.  I ended up putting them in a dish and finishing them in the oven after I brushed the butter & brown sugar on them.  A better idea would actually be to brush them with the butter mixture first and cook them in the oven at about 400 for 20 minutes, or until the bacon is done.

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