Best of 2015: The Perfect Holiday Meal

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Cranberry and Pomegranate Bruschetta

Ingredients

For the cranberry-pomegranate relish:

1 pound fresh (or frozen) cranberries, washed

2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger, don’t worry about chopping it too fine at this point

1 cup sugar

¼ cup honey

2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce

½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

zest from one orange, reserve a bit for garnish

¾-1 cup pomegranate arils or seeds*, reserve a few for garnish

finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish

For the crostini:

1 thin, good quality baguette, sliced about ¼ inch thick

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place the cranberries, ginger, sugar, honey and Sriracha in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off several times till cranberries are coarsely chopped. Don’t process too much. Add cilantro and pulse a few more times. Not too much, you want cilantro bits to be visible and mixture to be a bit chunky. Transfer to a storage container and add pomegranate arils* and orange zest. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or till ready to use. For the crostini, preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 sheet pans with foil or parchment paper, if desired for easy clean up. Place baguette slices on prepared pans. Brush lightly with oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and a grind of pepper. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden, rotating pans halfway through baking time. Assemble bruschetta by topping with a scoop of the relish. Garnish with a bit of orange zest, if desired.


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Asparagus Casserole

Ingredients

1 cup crushed Ritz crackers

2 bunches of fresh asparagus, steamed

1 cup grated sharp cheese

¾ cup butter, diced

1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 cup milk

Directions

Line a casserole dish with a few cracker crumbs. Layer the ingredients in this order:  asparagus, cheese, cracker crumbs, butter and almonds. Carefully pour the milk into the side of the casserole dish, so not to disturb the cracker crumbs and butter on top. Prepare the night before or at least two hours in advance. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serves 6.  (From the Southern Sideboards cookbook)


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Cornbread Dressing:

The Cornbread: Make the night before.

Ingredients

3 cups Self rising white cornmeal mix

1 cup all purpose flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

3 cups buttermilk

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup butter, melted

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Mix first 3 ingredients (cornmeal, flour, sugar) in a large bowl. Whisk in the butter milk, eggs and melted butter. Pour into a lightly greased 13×9″ pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool the night before out on the counter to allow for the bread to become dry.

Dressing

Ingredients

½ cups butter

2 cups diced celery

2 cups diced sweet onion

Stale Cornbread crumbles (from above)

3 cups soft fresh bread crumbs (2-3 biscuits)

4 large eggs

2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

6 cups chicken broth

3 cups of shredded cooked chicken

Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Melt the butter over med-high heat, add the diced celery and onions and sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until onions are tender. Stir together the cornbread crumbles and bread crumbs in a large bowl. Stir in eggs, poultry seasoning and chicken celery and onion mixture. Slowly add the chicken broth stirring as you go to incorporate and blend all the ingredients evenly. Divide the cornbread mixture between 1 lightly greased 13×9” pan and 1 lightly greased 8” square baking dish. Bake at 400 for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown.


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Fried Turkey

Ingredients

1 whole turkey

3 gallons peanut oil

butter

Cavender’s Greek seasoning

salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oil  in a 30-quart aluminum turkey fryer with lid and adjustable propane heat) to 350 degrees and maintain this temperature throughout the cook time. Cook time is 3 minutes per pound of the bird plus 5 minutes. Coat turkey with seasoning, salt and pepper and butter before cooking. Let stand on platter at least 30 minutes before carving. Oil will drain at this time.


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Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust

15 Graham crackers crumbled

2 tbsp melted butter

2 tbsp sugar

Filling

4-8 8oz cream cheese, this recipe is for 4 8oz packs of cream cheese, room

tempature

1 1/2 sugar

3/4 cup milk

4 whole eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup flour, self rising or regular

Apples

1-2 tbsp butter

2-3 Granny Smith Apples

2 tbsp Flour

2 tbsp Cinnamon and sugar, pre mixed

Desired amount of Pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice apples into small chunks.  In a bowl mix apples, flour and cinnamon and sugar (flour should come first when mixing) until well coated (the amount of flour and cinnamon and sugar may need to be adjusted depending on how juicy your apples are.  The mixture should just coat the apples). Melt butter over medium heat. Add a little over half the coated apples to the butter and cook just until soft but still kind of crunchy inside, about 10-15 mins.  Set aside both cooked and uncooked apples to the side.

For Crust- Melt butter in a microwavable bowl.  Once melted mix in all the graham cracker crumbs and sugar until well moistened.  Press mixture into the bottom of a  greased 9″ spring form pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl mix, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add in sour cream, milk, flour and vanilla until well combined.  Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each but not to much. The more you mix after adding eggs, the more air that enters the mixture and will cause your cheese cake to crack.  Add in lemon juice and mix just until combined.  Take the cooked apples and fold into filling.  Pour into over crust.  Cook in preheated, moist oven on middle oven rack for 1.5-2 hours.  Just until center is no longer gooey but not quite set. For best result chill overnight.

*To create a moist oven, put a casserole dish full of water on bottom oven rack when you turn your oven on to preheat.  Leave casserole dish in oven while your cheese cake is cooking.


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Roasted Vegetable Medley

Ingredients

1/3 cup olive oil

3 medium carrots, cut into circles

1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved

4 cups red bliss potatoes, diced

3 medium parsnips, diced

1 cup sweet potatoes, diced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together olive oil, vegetables and herbs and salt and pepper in a bowl so the vegetables are evenly coated with herbs and oil. Grease an 11×17-inch cookie sheet with olive oil and place vegetables evenly on sheet. Place on the middle rack and bake for 40 minutes.

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