Places In The Home For The Holidays: Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes Ideas

Thanksgiving dinner shines the spotlight on Thanksgiving side dish recipe ideas.

ironstone-vegetable-bowl-serving-spoon

Corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, green peas with mushrooms and pearl onions, buttermilk cornbread, and cornbread dressing pleases the Southern faithful.  Pondering Thanksgiving side dish recipes ideas provided me with delicious inspiration for dishing a new holiday side dish.

Cane Syrup-Roasted Carrots with Garlic-Herb Yogurt Sauce

Cane Syrup-Roasted Carrots with Garlic-Herb Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

¼ cup cane syrup

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

2 (16-ounce) packages peeled small rainbow carrots with tops (halved, if large)

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

¾ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint

1 small clove garlic, grated

½ teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

½ teaspoon lemon zest

Garnish: fresh mint leaves, chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°.  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together cane syrup, melted butter, lemon juice, and cumin.  Set aside.

Divide carrots between prepared pans. Toss carrots with ¼ cup oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.  Roast for 15 minutes.

Brush carrots with cane syrup mixture, and roast until tender, about 18
minutes more.

In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, 2 tablespoons water, mint, garlic, parsley, and zest.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, stirring to combine. Drizzle yogurt sauce over carrots.  Garnish with mint and parsley, if desired.

-Louisiana Cookin’

Potato-Apple Gratin

Potato-Apple Gratin

Ingredients

8 medium Yukon gold or other yellow-flesh potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick (8 to 10 cups)

2 cups shredded or finely chopped Granny Smith apples (2 or 3 medium)

2/3 cup sliced green onions (6) or thinly sliced leek

4 slice bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups shredded Gruyere, provolone, Swiss, or Jarslberg cheese (12 ounces)

1 1/3 cups whipping cream

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

Green onion slivers (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Layer half of the potatoes, half of the apples, half of the sliced green onions, and half of the bacon in prepared dish. Sprinkle with half of the salt and half of the pepper. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat layers. In a medium bowl combine the cream, garlic, and, if desired, nutmeg.  Pour cream mixture over layers in baking dish.  Cover with foil.

Bake for 1-1/2 hours. Uncover; bake for 15 minutes more or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork and top is golden.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  If desired, sprinkle with green onion slivers.

-Better Homes & Gardens

field-peas

Classic Fresh Field Peas

Ingredients

2 Smoked Ham Hocks or purchased smoked ham hocks

1 ½ cups finely chopped onion

3 tablespoons bacon drippings

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups shelled fresh field peas (about 1 lb.)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Bring hocks and 2 qt. water to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; simmer 1 ½ to 2 hours or until meat is tender.

Meanwhile, sauté onion in hot drippings in a medium skillet over medium-high heat 6 minutes.  Add garlic; sauté 1 minute.  Add peas and onion mixture to Dutch oven with ham hocks; bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes or until peas are tender.  Remove hocks; drain peas, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Remove and chop ham from hock bones; discard bones.  Stir ham into peas, if desired.

-Southern Living

roasted-acorn-squash-with-maple-bacon-drizzle

Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple-Bacon Drizzle

Ingredients

2 large acorn squash

¼ cup butter

2 tbsp. dark brown sugar

1 tsp. Kosher salt

5 black pepper bacon slices

1 tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves

½ cup maple syrup

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

fresh rosemary leaves

freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine butter and next 2 ingredients.  Coat squash with butter mixture; arrange on baking sheets in a single layer. Bake 20 minutes; turn squash over, and bake 10 more minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, sauté bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon. Drain drippings, reserving 1 tablespoon in skillet.  Cook rosemary in hot drippings 1 minute. Stir in syrup and vinegar and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until reduced by almost half.  Arrange squash on a serving platter and drizzle with warm maple mixture.

Crumble reserved bacon over squash and sprinkle with additional rosemary leaves and pepper.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

-Good Housekeeping

Butterscotch-Pears-taste-of-home

Butterscotch Pears

Ingredients

4  large firm pears

1  tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup packed brown sugar

3  tablespoons butter, softened

2  tablespoons all-purpose flour

½  teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼  teaspoon salt

½  cup chopped pecans

½  cup pear nectar

2  tablespoons honey

Directions

Cut pears in half lengthwise; remove cores. Brush pears with lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon and salt; stir in pecans. Spoon into pears; place in 4-qt. slow cooker.

Combine pear nectar and honey; drizzle over pears. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through. Serve warm.

Taste of Home

Sweet-Potato-roast-recipe

Crispy Sweet Potato Roast

Ingredients

5 tablespoons butter, melted and divided

5 large sweet potatoes, washed

6 cloves garlic, smashed

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Garnish: fresh thyme

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°.  Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray; add
2 tablespoons melted butter to bottom of dish.

Using a mandolin or knife, slice sweet potatoes to 1⁄8-inch-thick rounds. Holding slices together, place in pan. Tuck in garlic among slices. Brush sweet potatoes with remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake until potatoes are tender and crisp, about 1¼ hours. Garnish with thyme, if desired.

-Victoria Magazine

Seasoned Italian Green Beans

Visit the canned good aisle at your favorite grocery store.  There you will hopefully find several cans of Margaret Holmes Seasoned Italian Green Beans.

margaret-Holmes-seasoned-green-beans-canned

Buy them.  We are six for Thanksgiving dinner, so I go with three (3) cans, allowing for leftovers.  I add a heaping tablespoon of bacon grease (a staple of the Southern kitchen) and 1½-2 cups of water.  Pearl onions and/or sliced mushrooms dress up this side dish for the holiday table.

Delicious.

enjoy

 

 

 

Brown Sugar Creole Baked Pork Chops with Apples

Some things just naturally pair well together.

salt-pepperSalt and pepper. 

 

Netflix

rivet-modern-throw-blanket

Netflix and a cuddly throw.

Lennon McCartneyLennon and McCartney.

pork-chops-apples

Brown Sugar Creole Baked Pork Chops with Apples.

Although there’s no hard and fast scientific proof certain foods and food pairings simply taste better in a particular season, my taste buds attest to the fact baked pork chops paired with green apples, brown sugar onions, and sliced sweet potatoes dusted with ground cloves and fresh orange deliver the taste of fall.

baked-pork-chops-baking-pan

Brown Sugar Creole Baked Pork Chops with Apples

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

6-8 thin, boneless pork chops

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon thyme

1 ½ tablespoon chopped parsley

3 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples – peeled, cored and sliced

3/4 cup hot water

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Heat olive oil in large skillet. Brown pork chops on both sides in oil.

pork-chops-browning

Add chopped parsley and sliced apples to skillet.  Cook until apples are slightly tender and parsley darkens.

green-apples

Place pork chops on baking sheet and top with apple slices.

Brown Sugar Creole Baked Pork Chops with Apples

In a small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, Creole seasoning, nutmeg, thyme and hot water.  Pour over pork chops.

brown-sugar-Creole-seasoning

Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chops has reached 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).

cloves-sweet-potatoes

Sweet potatoes grown in South Louisiana bring the taste of home to plate and table.  My mother-in-law always said sweet potatoes and yams taste best after the first frost, but cravings won out over first frost patience.

baked-sweet-potatoes-orange-cloves

Wash and cut six (6) medium sweet potatoes into thirds.  Place potatoes on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with ground cloves and drizzle olive oil over sweet potatoes.  Slice an orange in half and squeeze juice from one orange half over potatoes.   Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until tender.

Cloves and oranges = fall aromatherapy.

peeled-onionA new addition to my taste of fall side dish rotation is brown sugar onions.

Easy.

Delicious.

Did I mention easy?

brown-sugar-onions

Peel and slice 3 large onions.  Place onions in medium saucepan.  Add 1/3 cup brown sugar and ¾ cup water, stirring to combine.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to medium and cover with lid.  Cook until onions are tender.

brown-sugar-onions-1

Sweet, savory, and spicy blend, mix and marinate together to produce a fall dish full of seasonal flavors, comfort, and tradition fit for a crisp fall day or evening meal.

enjoy

 

Creole or Cajun? Louisiana Jambalaya

This post state dinner post is all about the c’est si bon.  I got completely caught up in the design and decorating details of the event, but knew I would be remiss it I did not chime in on the menu choice of jambalaya in the style of Louisiana jambalaya.  Cooked in the flavor traditions of New Orleans, the dish served at the State Dinner was Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya.

The in the tradition of New Orleans seasonings jambalaya reviews are in from Senior Louisiana senator Bill Cassidy who was in attendance.

Rice pilaf.

Now that’s funny.

Anywho, a quick google search provided a recipe from Carolina Rice for Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya.  As delectable as the recipe may cook up to be, if you’ve never tasted Louisiana Creole or Cajun jambalaya, you’re not eating Louisiana jambalaya.

Trust me on this one.  The taste buds don’t lie.

Louisiana chefs of restaurant and at-home test kitchen skill alike master their personal versions of this flavor rich to the core one-pot rice dish.  We’re all about the one-pot dish down here in the boot.  Variety is the spice of life and Louisiana jambalaya recipes.  There is Creole jambalaya and there is Cajun jambalaya.  The main difference boils down to the addition or exclusion of one ingredient- tomato.  Creole jambalaya (red jambalaya) is made with tomato (diced, paste, etc.) whereas Cajun jambalaya (brown jambalaya) is made without.  The holy trinity of chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery is flavor front and center in both, chicken, sausage and/or shrimp serves to further accentuate the flavor, and spice combinations work their seasoning magic. blue dutch oven

The great big blue pot aka dutch oven vs. Magnalite classic round dutch oven boils down to tradition and personal preference.  If Magnalite is the cookware of choice in your granmè, grand-mère, mamé, meme or mamaw’s kitchen, chances are it is in yours too.  Tradition is the key ingredient in regional dishes and the passed down from generation to generation recipes we love to cook.

 

Magnalite-dutch-oven

Magnalite Cookware Classic 5-qt. Round Dutch Oven

I cover all the culinary bases by owning both.  While I am loyal to the Magnalite dutch oven my mother-in-law’s best friend gave us as a wedding gift 35+ years ago however, the big blue pot cooks as pretty as it looks.

the-essentials

Let’s cover the essential c’est si bon that go so well with jambalaya.

Louisiana Hot Sauce

Crystal-hot-sauce-bottle

Southern Buttermilk Cornbread

southern-buttermilk-cornbread-in-black-iron-skillet

Creole Cajun Seasoning

Creole-seasoning

Creole Cajun Seasoning

1/3  cup paprika

3  tablespoons dried oregano

3  tablespoons ground black pepper

2  tablespoons dried basil

1  tablespoon dried thyme

2  tablespoons kosher salt

1  tablespoons cayenne pepper

1  tablespoon granulated onion

4  teaspoons dried thyme

4  teaspoons granulated garlic

In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, dried thyme, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic.  Stir to combine.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.

Louisiana Jambalaya

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya from New Orleans’s Cafe Reconcile

Chicken and sausage is the Places In The Home house favorite for gumbo and Louisiana jambalaya.  Time is not on my side at posting, so I am using the image of the chicken and sausage jambalaya from New Orleans’s Cafe Reconcile as featured on Louisiana Cookin’.

Tried it.

Loved it.

Prepared it.

Sharing it.

Cafe Reconcile Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya 

Ingredients

2 pounds mild smoked pork sausage, sliced ¼-inch-thick

2½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken, chopped

1½ cups onions, finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped celery

1 cup finely chopped bell pepper

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup diced tomato

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2¼ teaspoons fresh thyme

2¼ teaspoons chopped fresh basil

5⅓ cups chicken stock

1½ pounds long-grain rice

Directions

In a large cast-iron Dutch oven, cook sausage on high heat for 3 minutes. Add chicken, and cook until browned on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes.

peppers-onions

Lower heat to medium, and add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic; cook until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes.

chopped celery

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, Creole~Cajun seasoning, parsley, thyme, and basil.  Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

rice

Add chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add rice, and stir. When jambalaya returns to a boil, reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and cook until rice has absorbed all liquid, about 25 minutes.

~ Cafe Reconcile, New Orleans

cest-si-bon

Valentine’s Day Desserts

Show the one you love your decadent side for Valentine’s Day.

Old-Photo-Romantic-Couple-GraphicsFairy

The Graphics Fairy

Oh behave.

Better still, don’t behave.

cooking

Preparing or purchasing Valentine’s Day sweets for the sweet is a scrumptious tradition.  Sweet logic and delicious justification make Cupid’s case for whipping up one of these Valentine’s Day desserts delectably dedicated to the one you love.

Sharing is caring.

Food is love.

Calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day.

Let’s Valentine’s Day Desserts!

Cookie-Dough-Valentines-Hearts-1

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Valentine’s Hearts

Ingredients

¼ cup unsalted butter-softened

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

7 oz. sweetened condensed milk

1 cup mini chocolate chip morsels

For Dipping and Decoration:

10. oz semi sweet baking chocolate

1.5 oz white chocolate for garnish

A few drops of pink or red food colors

Directions

Beat softened butter and brown sugar until fully combined, then add vanilla and peanut butter and beat until fluffy.  Add flour and sweetened condensed milk and beat until combined.  Fold in the mini chocolate chip morsels.

Press the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish lined with parchment paper and set in the fridge to chill.

Pull off the parchment paper to lift the dough from the baking dish. Using heart shaped cookie cutter cut off the truffles and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Set in the freezer while melting chocolate.

Using a fork dip the truffles into melted chocolate ( one at the time), slightly tap the fork against the side of the bowl to trim the excess chocolate and place the truffle back on the parchment paper.  Set them back in the fridge to firm.

Melt white chocolate, stir in a few drops of red food color, transfer into a small bag, cut the corner off and pipe melted chocolate on top of the truffles.

~Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts




 

cake-plate

Valentines-Chocolate-Cherry-Stack-Cake

Chocolate Cherry Stack Cake

Ingredients

¾ cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup sour cream

recipe Cherry or Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)

recipe Chocolate-Dipped Cherries (see recipe below) (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease two 6×2-inch round cake pans or springform pans.  Mix 1 teaspoon each flour and cocoa powder; dust pans. Set pans asideIn bowl combine ¾ cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.  In large bowl with electric mixer beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds.  Add sugar; beat until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth.  Beat in sour cream and flour mixture.  Pour batter in pans; spread evenly.

Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan.  Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool on rack.

Use serrated knife to horizontally cut cakes in half to make 4 layers total.  Place bottom layer on plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting.  Repeat with layers.  Place top layer on cake.  Heap remaining frosting, swirling in peaks.  Refrigerate.

To serve, top with Chocolate-Dipped Cherries.  Serves 8.

cherry

Cherry Frosting

Ingredients

1 ½  cups powdered sugar

1  8 ounce carton sour cream

1  cup whipping cream (do not use ultra-pasteurized whipping cream)

2  tablespoons maraschino cherry juice

Directions

In a chilled large mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, sour cream, whipping cream, and cherry juice.  Beat with the chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until fluffy.

Chocolate-Dipped Cherries

Ingredients

16  maraschino cherries with stems

½  cup semisweet chocolate pieces

1  teaspoon shortening

Directions

Drain cherries; pat dry with paper towels. In small microwave-safe bowl combine semisweet chocolate pieces and shortening.  Cook on 50 percent power (medium) 1½ to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once.  Dip cherries in chocolate; place on waxed paper until set.  Store, covered, up to 24 hours.

~Better Homes and Garden

eat-the-red-velvet-cupcake

The red velvet cupcake, molten lava cakes or cheesecake!

red-velvet-molten-lava-cakes

Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes from Spache the Spatula look absolutely divine.   Click on the link to check out this and other tempting recipes from Spache the Spatula.   Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes

red-velvet-cheesecake

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 pound milk chocolate, chopped

½ cup butter

19 ounce package chocolate wafer cookies (40 to 45 cookies)

1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

1 cup slivered almonds

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup butter, melted

48  ounce packages cream cheese, softened

18 ounce carton dairy sour cream

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup buttermilk

11 ounce bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)

4 eggs

2 egg yolks

Chocolate leaves (optional)

Powdered sugar (optional)

Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

Fresh raspberries and/or small whole strawberries(optional)

Directions

In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and ½ cup butter over low heat; transfer to a bowl and cool completely.

Place wafer cookies, chocolate pieces, almonds and brown sugar in a large food processor.  Cover and process until finely ground.  Add the ½ cup melted butter; cover and process until well combined.  Transfer crumbs to a 10×3-inch springform pan with a removable bottom.  Press crumbs onto bottom and up the sides of the pan, leaving a ½-inch space at the top of the pan.  Set aside.

For Filling:

In a very large mixing bowl, beat the cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, buttermilk and red food coloring with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined.  Add 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks all at once.  Beat on low speed just until combined.

Pour filling into crumb-crust lined springform pan.  Place springform pan in a shallow baking pan on the oven rack.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour, or until 2 inches of outside edge appear set when shaken gently.

Remove springform pan from baking pan.  Cool cheesecake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Use a small metal spatula to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan.  Cool 30 minutes more.  Remove sides of pan.  Cool for 1 hour; cover and chill at least 4 hours.

To serve, use a paper doily to decoratively sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder on the top, if you like.  Garnish the center with chocolate leaves and fresh raspberries, if you like.  Clean knife between each cut.  Makes 20 servings.

Bake and chill up to 24 hours.  Garnish just before serving.

~Better Homes & Gardens

chocolate-sandwich-cookies

Photograph by Ryan Dausch

pink-plate

H&M

Double-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

¾ teaspoon plus a pinch of salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 ounces white chocolate (not chips), chopped

½ cup heavy cream

Directions

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, ¾ teaspoon salt and the baking powder in a medium bowl.  Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the egg
and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the flour mixture until just combined.  Cover the dough and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll out the dough until 1/8 inch thick on  a lightly floured surface, then cut out cookies with a 2-inch heart-shaped cutter.

Arrange about 1 inch apart on the prepared pans.  Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are slightly firm, 8 to 10 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes on the  pans, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Make the filling:

Combine the white chocolate, remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla and
pinch of salt in a large bowl.  Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan, then pour over the white chocolate.  Stir until smooth, then refrigerate until cold, 25 minutes.  Beat with a mixer until creamy. Sandwich the white chocolate mixture between the cookies.

~Food Network Kitchen

strawberries-chocolate-whipped-topping-honey

Chocolate Strawberry Honey Nests

Ingredients

12 sheets phyllo dough

½ cup sugar

1 stick butter, melted

1 cup strawberries, cleaned and sliced

3 squares dark chocolate, shaved

½ cup milk chocolate chips

3 teaspoons honey  or to individual taste

whipped topping

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

For Phyllo Nests 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough on cookie sheet or counter work surface.

Using soft brush, brush over sheet with melted butter. Lightly sprinkle entire sheet with sugar.  Top with another sheet.  Butter, sprinkle and repeat until  6 sheets thick.  Repeat to create another 6 sheets stack. Using a pizza cutter or large knife, make ten vertical slices and one horizontal slice down the middle of each stack.

Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Line each muffin cup with 1 of the phyllo pieces at a time, covering sides and bottom to form a cup.  Repeat making 12 cups.

Using a microplane, shave dark chocolate over each cup to dust.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and immediately place desired amount of chocolate chips in each cup allowing to melt.

Top melted chocolate chips with strawberry slices, drizzled honey and whipped topping.  Dust whip topping clouds with cinnamon.

Valentine's Chocolate Candy Box CakeValentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake from The Cake Blog.  Trust me, this recipe is well worth the time, the effort, and the click on the link to check it out.  Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake

valentines-day-desserts-goods

devil's-food-cake-mix

Easy as the top ingredient!

cupcake-toppers

chocolate-sweetheart-cupcakes

Chocolate Sweetheart Cupcakes

Ingredients

2 sticks butter

1 ½  cup sugar

2/3  cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

½  tsp. baking soda

¼  tsp. salt

2  large eggs

1  cup milk

2  tsp. vanilla extract

2 ½  cups all-purpose flour

Ganache

¾  cup heavy cream

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Lettering

3 oz. white chocolate

Directions

Heat oven to 350ºF.   Line 12 regular-size (2 1⁄2-in. diam) muffin cups with paper liners.  Beat butter, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl with mixer on low speed 1 minute or until well blended.  Add eggs; beat 2 minutes or until fluffy.   Beat in milk and vanilla (batter may look curdled), then flour just until blended.

Spoon scant 1⁄4 cup batter into each muffin cup, filling each about 2⁄3 full.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in centers of cupcakes comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pan to rack.  Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining batter.   Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting and decorating.   Each recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

For the ganache:

Gently heat ¾ cup heavy cream over medium heat, then pour over 8 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate.  Let sit for 1 minute; stir until melted and smooth.  Evenly spoon ganache on top of 12 large or 24 small chocolate cupcakes.  Let set for 30 minutes.

For the lettering:

Microwave 3 ounces white chocolate on 50% power in 20-second intervals until melted and smooth.   Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1.5 tip, then get creative!

~Woman’s Day

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

enjoy

Homemade Potato Soup

The flu is raging with a vengeance.  Dave the Builder has informed me seven of his coworkers are currently out with the flu, and the office air is thick with the scent of  Lysol.  We believe in doing everything you can to prevent catching the flu.  My one and only time to have the flu was an ugly, ugly experience.  I was out of commission for 6+ weeks with flu that turned to pneumonia quicker than I could say I don’t feel good.  Remembering that experience like it was yesterday, the Places In The Home household is in take charge mode to ward off the flu, including, but not limited to, brimming bowls of homemade potato soup.  Dave the Builder’s mom spoke of the healing powers of homemade potato soup, and who am I to argue with the wisdom of my mother-in-law?

potato-soup-bowl

I developed this rather uncomplicated to prepare and quite tasty recipe for homemade potato soup years ago when our son was in elementary school.  Sports, scouts and study schedules tend to dominate after school time, and the dinnertime hour gets pushed later and later more nights than not.  The kid, husband and mother-in-law loved it, instantly making it a classic family recipe.  Both cream of chicken soup and chicken broth hit the flavor notes with a little help from seasoning friends salt, pepper, onion powder and fresh parsley.  I have been known on occasion to add a heaping tablespoon of heavy cream to each bowl, and the crowd goes yum.




 

Homemade Potato Soup

Ingredients

6 medium to large russet potatoes

1 family size can cream of chicken soup

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup chicken broth

5 cups 2% milk

Fresh parsley, chopped

Heavy cream (optional)

potatoes

Directions

Bake the potatoes at 400°F  for 1 hour OR microwave potatoes on full power  until tender.  Microwave cooking times will vary according to size and heating variance.  Let baked potatoes stand until cool.  Using a fork, press each potato in center, splitting potato in half.  Mash out the pulp and discard potato skins.

mashed-potato

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stir together the cream of chicken soup, potato pulp, salt, pepper, and onion powder.

potatoes-soup-pepper

Stir in the chicken broth and milk, stirring to incorporate flavors.  Bring to a gentle boil.

fresh-parsley-potato-soup

Lower heat to simmer, add chopped parsley, and simmer uncovered until soup is creamy thick, about 10-15 minutes.

pot-of-soupThis Dutch oven is 65 years old – a wedding gift from my aunt to my parents.  

If the soup becomes too thick,  simply add more milk until desired consistency is reached.

homemade potato soup

Enjoy and stay well.

enjoy

Southern Sweet Potato Puffs

Culinary contemplation over how I could up my holiday side dish game brought me to a delicious conclusion.  How ’bout pairing the highly holiday requested Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with the OMG as in oh my goodness of puff pastry.   Southern Sweet Potato Puffs it is!

southern sweet potato puffs

Impressing the palates of those who gather together is a part of the holiday dinner and entertaining equation.   As someone who puts stock in the you eat with your eyes first approach to dining, the looks so good has to match up to the tastes so good.  Let’s begin with the recipe for Southern Sweet Potato Casserole.

sweet-potatoes-pecans-flour-brown-sugar

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ cup milk

¼ cup Southern Comfort whiskey

1/3 cup butter, melted

For Topping:

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup butter, melted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.   Lightly spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Boil  sweet potatoes under tender.  Carefully remove from heat, drain, peel and mash sweet potatoes. 

sweet-potatoes-vanilla

In mixing bowl, mix together the mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, Southern Comfort, ground cloves and ground nutmeg.  Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish. 

stirring-sweet-potatoesIn a separate mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour, and melted butter.  

sweet-potato-toppings

Spoon over sweet potato mixture.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  

Southern-sweet-potato-casserole

Southern Sweet Potato Puffs

Ingredients

southern sweet potato casserole for filling

1 box puff pastry sheets

1 egg

flour

Directions

Allow the casserole to cool before using as the filling for the puffs.  The reason I elect to fill the puff pastry with cooked sweet potato casserole is to work with a dryer filling.  Baking off the casserole absorbs the liquids into the baked casserole, and makes it easier to work with a firmer filling.  The next step in the making of Southern Sweet Potatoes Puffs brings puff pastry into the mix.  I used the defrost in the refrigerator overnight method of thawing the puff pastry sheets.  Unfold 1 puff pastry sheet and place on  lightly floured countertop or large baking sheet.  Roll puff pastry out using a lightly floured rolling pin.  Lightly dust pastry sheet with flour.  Using a knife, cut the pastry sheet into six (6) squares.

sweet-potato-puff-pastry

Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Southern Sweet Potato Casserole mixture in the center of each pastry square.

floured-puff-pastry

Pull corners of each square up over the filling and twist at top to seal.  Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet.  Place the pastry squares onto a large baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

sweet-potato-twist-puff-pastry

Beat 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water together in a small bowl with a fork.  Brush each puff with the egg mixture.

southern-sweet-potato-puffsBake for 20 minutes or until puffs are golden brown.

Note:  Southern Sweet Potato Puffs make an excellent small bite appetizer for the holiday cocktail hour.

enjoy

Kick Up The Fall Flavor Spiced Apples

Ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves sprinkled over peeled and chopped apples kick up the fall flavor in this recipe for spiced apples.  It most certainly is beginning to look, smell and taste a lot like fall and yes, even the holidays.  Earlier and earlier we see holiday articles and postings in our inboxes and social pages, and who can blame those of us who find fall and holiday decorating, cooking and baking news so shareworthy.  October through December is the most wonderful and delicious time of the year.

fall-leaf-rain-waterflickr

Into every unseasonably warm fall day some rain must fall for the cold front to move through that’s bringing highs in the low 60s and lows in the low 40s.

fall-blankets-throws-temps

Hanging out in the kitchen cooking is oddly relaxing and a great way to spend a rainy day afternoon.  The Home for the Holidays season is right around the corner (can you believe it?), and the sweet and savory recipes to holiday impress by aren’t going to develop themselves.  Do you know what a bowl of softening apples is called?

Recipe inspiration.

bowl-green-gala-apples

A local grocery store sells bags of day old produce for $1.00. My mother, the produce whisperer, hit the market at the precise moment the produce manager was putting out the marked down bags.  She got the price pick of the day, and the deal dished this recipe for spiced apples.  I washed and peeled six apples of assorted variety and color, searched the spice inventory and refrigerator for what’s on hand ingredients, and proceeded to recipe develop.  This recipe is really a no-brainer based on the natural connection between the fruits, flavors and spices we associate with the taste of fall.  Here’s what I came up with.

Spiced Apples

Ingredients

6 apples, peeled and chopped

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 generous Tablespoon fig preserves

2 generous Tablespoons orange marmalade

1 Tablespoon molasses

2 Tablespoons butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 300°.  Lightly butter baking dish and set aside.  Wash, peel and chop six medium size apples.

apple-bowl

Place apples in baking dish.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the apples.  Sprinkle ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg over apples.

apples=brown=sugar

Add the brown sugar and stir gently to coat apples.

coated-apples

Stir in 1 generous Tablespoon fig preserves and 2 generous Tablespoons orange marmalade.  Spread apples in single layer in baking dish.

apples-butter-molasses

Lightly drizzle molasses over apples.  Cut butter into small pieces and place on top of the apple mixture.  Bake uncovered at 300° for 45 minutes.

chopped-apples-butter-molasses

Spiced apples pair deliciously with pork tenderloin or spiral ham.

foodie-gift

Spiced apples scrumptiously complement a slice or two of toasted pecan-pumpkin bread.

pumpkin-bread-loavesPecan-Pumpkin Bread Recipe from Southern Living

Spiced apples lend the perfect taste of fall to a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with honey.

spiced applesHungry yet?

enjoy

Fall Traditions of Kitchen Style, Spice and Seasoning

Spending time in the Places In The Home kitchen on a fall afternoon coincides with traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning rooted in memories dating back to the little kitchen in our first home where my love of developing recipes inspired by the tastes of the fall ~autumn season all began.

first-house

Designing, decorating and stocking the kitchen, pantry and cupboard with personal style, staples and spices became an adventure in discovery of taste and tastes.  When fall comes around each year, the memories flood my mind reminding me these are special times for making fall traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning.

copper-bundt-pan

The crimson and gold Anjou and Bosc pears from the produce section of our local Kroger colorfully complemented my fall dining room decorating scheme, but as it goes with fresh fruit and shelf life, nothing lasts forever.

pears-cake-plate

Once photographed and admired, it’s time to give thought to delicious ways of putting a seasonal spin on it.

figs-honey-sour-cream-pears

Tradition is the key ingredient of my recipes.  The recipes and kitchen philosophies of my great grandmother, my darling Mama Two, inspire and influence the salads, entrees and desserts developed and prepared in the Places In The Home test kitchen.

Mason-Cash-mixing-bowlsMason Cash Mixing Bowls

I leave myself a mixing bowl full of wiggle room by referring to the Places In The Home kitchen as a test kitchen.  If a recipe exceeds taste expectations, my kitchen is the culinary kingdom in which I rule over complete with crown roast and wooden spoon scepter.  If a recipe fails, then my kitchen is simply a test kitchen where taste perfection is not an absolute and I remind the family that Domino’s delivers.

domino's

A jar of Mrs. Bridges fig preserves is my autumn jam.  Fig and pear preserves were a Mama Two staple, especially in her baked goods that I associate with fall traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning.  Isn’t it funny the things that play traditional fall favorites with our memory?   It’s a question asked and deliciously answered by the fresh pear salad with sour cream, fig preserves and honey I came up with.

Fresh.

Delicious.

The taste of fall on an vintage porcelain dessert plate.

Slice a fresh pair of your flavor choice in two.  Using a spoon, gently spoon out the center of each pear half.  Place each pear halves core side up on a plate.  Spoon ½-1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice over pear halves.  Spoon a generous dollop of sour cream into center of each pear half.  Top sour cream with 1 heaping teaspoon of fig preserves.  Lightly drizzle honey over pear halves.

A perfect union of flavors for a fresh fall salad option, and a gathering of ideas for fall kitchen style, spice and seasoning.

kitchen style

pears || cake~bundt pan ||  cookbook ||  fig preserves ||  cake plate || dessert plates  || marmalade crock ||  autumn wreath || sugar bowl  ||  lazy susan   ||  hand soap  ||  pumpkin spice candle

enjoy