Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

If you’re like most people, you’ll probably be stuck with a lot of leftovers this Thanksgiving holiday season. Do you have a system for managing all the leftovers? Do you send each guest home with a dish, or maybe a little bit of everything? Does the majority of the food get thrown away or shoved down the garbage disposal? Or, do you end up cleaning out the fridge to make room for all the leftovers, but then somehow manage to end up throwing all that food away just a few weeks later?

What if you could plan out your Thanksgiving leftover meals without having to spend extra time in the kitchen or cooking a main-course meal to accompany all those side dishes? Below are some examples of great Thanksgiving leftover recipes that will help you conserve food while also saving yourself some work by enjoying some perfectly good food that is almost as delicious the day after Thanksgiving.

Day-After Turkey Soup
One of the most delicious and easiest recipes to make with your leftovers is turkey soup. Chicken soup and vegetable soup is a national favorite, and turkey is a tradition when it comes to food items on Thanksgiving. Combine both of those these, and turkey soup is the perfect day-after recipe. Cut up the turkey, thrown in some veggies, and you’re on your way to a delicious meal.

Food  Photo Credit: foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:
Carcass of one turkey (about 1½ pounds) without skin
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups diced skinless turkey meat (white or dark meat)
½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-dice
1 cup small dry pasta shape, such as ditalini
¼ cup loosely packed fresh dill spigs, chopped
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt

Instructions:
Put the turkey carcass, broth, garlic, bay leaves and thyme in a large Dutch oven (cut carcass in pieces if necessary so it fits) and add enough water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; lower heat and simmer, uncovered, about 40 minutes. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard the solids. Add all but 2 cups of the broth back to the Dutch oven; reserve the remaining broth for another use (it will keep refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month).

Add the turkey meat, green beans, corn and sweet potatoes to the pot; cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the pasta and continue to cook, uncovered, until the pasta and potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the dill and pepper and season to taste with salt. Serve with the bread.

Recipe via Food Network

Turkey Pot Pie
Everyone loves a good pot pie, and luckily, Thanksgiving leftovers normally provide the perfect ingredients for a delicious pot pie. Have too many sides with a lot of turkey that you’re not sure what to do with? No worries! Just dump everything into a pot pie and enjoy.

Food1

Photo Credit: foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken or turkey stock
2 potatoes, peeled diced
2 cups shredded turkey
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ cup frozen peas, thawed

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter in saucepan and cook chopped onion until tender. Stir in celery and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and simmer until tender. Stir in turkey, parsley and peas. Pour mixture into casserole. Top with pie crust and brush with egg. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is golden.

Recipe via Food Network

After-Thanksgiving Pizza
Pizza is a cornerstone of American food, and what could be better than creating a pizza from Thanksgiving leftovers? As long as you have chicken, turkey or sausage, some veggies, or anything else that could be thrown on top of a pizza, you have just what you need to make the perfect after-Thanksgiving pizza.

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Photo Credit: southernliving.com

Ingredients:
1 (11 ounce) can of refrigerated thin pizza dough
Desired toppings

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 450°. Unroll dough; pat to an even thickness on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutesor until lightly browned. Top and bake as directed in recipes below.

Turkey Club Pizza: Stir together 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 3 Tbsp. refrigerated reduced-fat pesto sauce; spread over crust. Top with 2 cups cubed cooked turkey, 2 thinly sliced plum tomatoes, and 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion. Bake at 450° for 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded colby Jack cheese and 4 cooked and crumbled bacon slices. Bake until cheese melts. Top with chopped fresh avocado.

Mexican Pizza: Sauté 1/2 lb. sliced smoked chorizo sausage and 1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet onion in 2 tsp. hot olive oil until onion is tender; drain. Combine 4 oz. softened cream cheese, 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 tsp. lime zest, and 1 Tbsp. lime juice; spread over crust. Top with sausage mixture and 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels. Bake at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro leaves.

Apple-Goat Cheese Pizza: Sauté 1 thinly sliced Granny Smith apple and 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion in 2 tsp. hot olive oil in a nonstick skillet until tender. Spread 1/3 cup fig preserves over crust. Top with apple mixture and 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese. Bake at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is slightly melted. Top with 1 cup arugula and 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans.

Shrimp-Pesto Pizza: Spread 3 Tbsp. refrigerated pesto sauce over crust. Top crust with 1/2 lb. peeled and cooked, medium-size shrimp (4 1/50 count) and 1 cup halved grape tomatoes. Bake pizza at 450° for 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle pizza with 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.

Recipe via My Recipes

As just a few of the possible recipe ideas that can come from Thanksgiving leftovers, we encourage you to be creative and come up with your own unique recipes to make out of your Thanksgiving leftovers this year. Be sure to let us know what you come up with in the comments below, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Grilled Winter Vegetables

Just because summer is over and all those outdoor barbeques are waiting for the sun to pop its head out and make the weather warm again doesn’t mean that you have to retire the grill completely.  In fact, the fall and winter seasons are a great time to step out of the kitchen and break out the grill to cook up some fresh vegetables in lieu of the holiday festivities. Grilled veggies are a great way to sneak those veggies into your diet without sacrificing taste or flavor. Grilled veggies are often more rich and flavorful than their raw counterparts, and if you’re a fan of that char broiled flavor, grilled veggies might be just the thing for you. Check out the recipes below to see which one might be right for your family.

Sweet Potato Wedges
When you’re in the mood for French fries and tempted to take a trip to the local fast food establishment down the street, consider slicing some sweet potato wedges and grilling them to suit your craving instead. Not only will this eliminate the grease and carbs of your original choice, but you can still use ranch some ranch for dipping sauce or additional seasonings to make them just what you were craving.

Food  Photo Credit: seriouseats.com

Ingredients:
For the Seasoning:
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and each cut into 8 equal wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Type of fire: two-zone indirect

Grill heat: medium-high

 Instructions:
To make the seasoning: Mix together paprika, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl, set aside.

Place potato wedges in a large bowl. Add olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place potatoes on cool side of grill, cover, and let cook until a pair knife can be inserted into middle of wedge with no resistance, about 40 minutes. Move potatoes to hot side of grill and cook until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer potatoes to a serving platter and sprinkle with prepared seasoning to taste. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Recipe via Serious Eats 

Grilled Spiced Cauliflower
Cauliflower veggies are one of those veggies that rarely tastes good on its own. Dipped in a bit of ranch, or thrown on the grill, and it becomes an entirely different vegetable. That’s why we recommend cauliflower as a great choice for a grilled winter season veggie. Add that char broiled flavor to the juicy, grilled veggie and top it off with some of your favorite spices to make it complete.

Food1

Photo Credit: seriouseats.com

Ingredients:
For the Spice Mixture:
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed of green leaves and cut into 3/4-inch slices (see note above)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

Type of fire: two-zone indirect

Grill heat: medium-high

Instructions:  
For the Spice Mixture: In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients.

For the Cauliflower: Brush cauliflower all over with oil and season liberally with spice mixture.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place cauliflower on hot side of grill and cook, turning, until it is charred in spots on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Move cauliflower to cool side of the grill, cover, and continue to cook until tender throughout, 10-15 minutes longer.

Transfer cauliflower to a plate, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

Recipe via Serious Eats

Grilled-Roasted Carrots with Sweet Soy Glaze
For the most part, everyone loves carrots. They’re great for keeping your vision healthy and sharp, and they taste great with a wide variety of toppings, seasonings, and dips. Mix the sweet taste of carrots with your favorite seasonings to make them delicious and appetizing.

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Photo Credit: seriouseats.com

Ingredients:
For the Glaze:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic, about 1 medium clove
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the Carrots:
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch slices on a bias
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt

Type of fire: two-zone indirect

Grill heat: medium-high

Instructions:
For the Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper. Set aside.

For the Carrots: Toss carrot slices with oil in a medium bowl. Season lightly with salt.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place carrot slices on cool side of grill, close to, but not directly over, the coals. Cover and cook until tender all the way through, about 45 minutes, flipping carrots every 15 minutes for even browning.

Brush carrots all over with glaze, cover grill, and continue to cook for 3 minutes longer.

Transfer carrots to serving bowl, drizzle with additional glaze, garnish with scallion, and serve immediately.

Recipe via Serious Eats

Have favorite veggies other than those mentioned here? Feel free to mix and match recipes and veggies and include some of your own secret recipes to make the grilled vegetables as delicious and satisfying as they get. Feel free to comment below and let us know about your own favorite grilled veggies recipes.

Best Exercises for Weight Loss

For most people, the holidays are a time full of fun, food and family and for many folks, it’s the best part of the year. One down side to all that delicious food, however, is that somehow the pounds just seem to creep up on you before you’ve had a chance to think about cutting back or getting more exercise.  Whether you’re doing the cooking yourself or just standing by as a taste tester, those extra calories always seem to creep up around the holidays. So, if you want to be proactive and lose a few pounds before tacking on more, or if you just want to get a game plan in place to tackle those extra holiday calories, we have some ideas that could help. Ultimately, it all comes down to spending less time in the kitchen and more time in the gym.

Stress the Cardio
Getting your heart pumping is essential to getting healthy and dropping those extra pounds.  Studies show that the best way to lose weight quickly is to do interval training. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the most recommended forms of circuit training for weight loss and increasing overall aerobic endurance.  HIIT training can be done in nearly any form, including running, walking, bicycling, elliptical sessions, etc. The basic idea of HITT cardio is to interject small periods of intense effort, followed by a brief rest period. The high-intensity bouts can last anywhere from thirty seconds to one minute, and should leave you breathless, counting down the seconds until the interval is completed. The low-intensity intervals should be two to three times longer than the high-intensity bouts, or at least give you adequate time to fully recover.  Over time, you should be able to increase the distance you can cover during the high intensity intervals, and it should begin to take you less time to recover from each interval.

Exercise Photo Credit: shape.com

Weight Training is Important
When trying to lose weight, people sometimes avoid weight training because of the assumption that cardio will burn more calories and help shed the pounds faster. While this is partially true, and cardio should definitely not be neglected in any workout, strength training also has a lot to offer in terms of overall health and fitness. While your body needs fuel, so do your muscles. As your muscles grow, your body begins to burn more calories at rest, giving you a bigger caloric deficit, increasing your health and allowing for weight loss. Even just 30 minutes of weight training per day can greatly increase both your aerobic and anaerobic capacity and help your body burn up any additional calories for energy before they can be stored as fat.

Weight Training

Photo Credit: teleskyshopping.com

For the best results, try to make regular exercise a routine from which you won’t let yourself deviate. Exercise must be something that is done consistently in order to have an improvement on your health and promote weight loss. Try to exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week or every other day. Once you’re in the habit with a specific workout routine, try to increase it to at least 5 days. It’s much easier to tell yourself you can make up a day later in the week if you are only working out 2 or 3 times a week, but much more difficult to excuse taking a day off when you are attempting to exercise at least 5 or 6 days a week.

Easy Soup Recipes

Winter is upon us, and there’s nothing like a hot meal on a cold winter day. For all the soup lovers out there, you know that a hot bowl of soup on a freezing cold day sounds great, but it’s not always worth the work of getting everything together and making the soup. Of course, you can always purchase premade can of soup, but let’s be honest, those are never the same as the pure stuff made on the range in the comfort of your own kitchen.  So, if you’re looking for some delicious soup recipes with minimal work required, check out these fun and flavorful recipes that will be just what you need on a cold winter’s day.

Spicy Chicken Soup
If you like chicken and you like spicy, this delicious dish should be a no brainer. Add a few drops of your favorite hot sauce to the finished product and your mouth will be watering in no time.

Soup

Photo Credit: realsimple.com

Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
Salt
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 tablespoon chipotles in adobo, chopped
Tortilla chips, for serving

Instructions:
Cook the onion, celery, and garlic in the oil with ½ teaspoon salt in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, chicken, and chipotles. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve the soup with the tortilla chips and salsa.

Recipe via Real Simple

Beefy Corn and Black Bean Chili
Chili is an all-round favorite in most households, and there’s nothing like home-made chili to be that thing you wanted without even knowing exactly what it was before you ate it. Fortunately, this chili takes less than 30 minutes to make and only requires five ingredients from start to finish.

Soup1

Photo Credit: cookinglight.com

Ingredients:
Ground round (1 pound)
Chili powder blend
1 package frozen seasoned corn and black beans
Beef broth (fat-free, less sodium)
1 can seasoned tomato sauce for chili

Instructions:
Combine beef and chili powder blend in a large Dutch oven. Cook 6 minutes over medium-high heat or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain and return to pan.

Stir in frozen corn mixture, broth, and tomato sauce; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle chili into bowls. Top each serving with sour cream and onions, if desired.

Recipe via My Recipes

Corn and Bacon Chowder
Chowder is a universal favorite, and we’re especially fond of this bacon and corn chowder recipe. The delicious sweetness will warm you up on a cold winter’s day and be as satisfying as was the short and easy prep work.

Soup2

Photo Credit: cookinglight.com

Ingredients:
2 bacon slices
½ cup refrigerated pre-chopped celery, onion, and bell pepper mix
2 (16 oz) packages frozen baby gold and white corn, thawed and divided
2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup (3 oz) reduced-fat shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (such as a Cracker Barrel)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Instructions:
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble and set aside. Add celery mixture and 1 package corn to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Place remaining 1 package corn and 1 cup milk in a blender, and process until smooth. Add pureed mixture to vegetables in pan; stir in remaining 1 cup milk, salt, black pepper, and cheese. Cook over medium heat (do not boil), stirring constantly, until cheese melts. Ladle chowder into bowls. Top each serving evenly with reserved crumbled bacon. Sprinkle with additional black pepper, if desired.

Recipe via My Recipes

Cold Avocado Soup
Avocado is a bit of a hot commodity that’s used for everything from guacamole to pasta. Another great way to get your daily dose of avocado in your diet is to include it in a soup recipe. Forget about boiling water or cooking any meats for this recipe. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and it’s immediately ready to serve.
Soup3

Photo Credit: thevegancookiefairy.com

Ingredients:
1 avocado
¾ cups buttermilk
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup + 2 tbsp. scallions

Instructions:
Make the soup: Combine the avocado, 1/2 cup buttermilk, chicken broth, 2 tablespoons scallions, and garlic in a blender and process until very smooth. Transfer the soup to a large bowl and, while stirring, add the rest of the buttermilk, water, lime juice, salt, and cayenne. Divide among 4 bowls and serve immediately or chill for up to eight hours. Garnish with 1 tablespoon each of radish and scallion.

Recipe via Country Living

French Onion Soup
French onion soup is a classic, but it’s not always the first recipe that comes to mind when considering what to make at home, but it’s a delicious recipe to try and only gets easier to make after the first try. If you’re looking for a flavorful bowl of warmth this winter, this is the perfect recipe to give a try.

Soup4

Photo Credit: seriouseats.com

Ingredients:
4 medium onions
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans (10.5 oz each) condensed beef broth
1 ½ cups water
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon tried thyme leaves
1 dried bay leaf
4 oz Gruyere, Swiss or mozzarella cheese
4 slices (3/4 to 1 inch thick) French bread
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
Peel and cut the onions into slices to measure 4 cups. In a 4-quart nonstick Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in onions to coat with butter. Cook uncovered 10 minutes, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered 35 to 40 minutes longer, stirring well every 5 minutes, until onions are deep golden brown (onions will shrink during cooking).

Stir in broth, water, pepper, thyme and bay leaf. Heat to boiling over high heat. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat just enough so mixture bubbles gently. Cover with lid; simmer 15 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the Gruyère cheese by rubbing it across the largest holes of a grater to measure 1 cup; set aside.

You may need to move the oven rack so it is near the broiler. Set the oven control to broil. On a cookie sheet, place the bread slices. Broil with tops about 5 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn bread over; broil 1 to 2 minutes longer until golden brown. Place toasted bread in 4 ovenproof bowls or individual ceramic casseroles (do not use glass, which cannot withstand heat of broiler and may break).

Remove bay leaf from soup. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with Gruyère cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place bowls in pan with shallow sides.

Broil soup bowls with tops about 5 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes or just until cheese is melted and golden brown. Watch carefully so cheese does not burn. Serve with additional French bread if desired.

Recipe via Betty Crocker

These are just some of our favorite soup recipes, and we hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we do. Let us know how the cooking goes, and feel free to share your own favorite soup recipes in the comments below!

Thanksgiving Food Ideas for Kids

Thanksgiving is exactly two weeks away, and if you’re the one hosting the festivities at your house this year, you may be scrambling to do some last minute prep work to make sure that the kitchen is oiled and ready to go and everything is all set for the special day. One thing that can be tricky on Thanksgiving is getting the kids to eat all that delicious food that has adults going back for second and third helpings. Funny how the kids don’t quite seem to appreciate all those home-cooked meals made with love the same way that adults do.  So, if you’re wondering what might be the best dinner options for the kids on Thanksgiving Day, we’ve listed a few suggestions below to get your ideas rolling.

Two-Bite Mac and Cheese Cups
This easy-to-eat finger food is adapted from a regular mac and cheese recipe, and its simplicity and ease will have the kids scooping them up and smiling for the sheer fun of the food itself.
Food

Photo Credit: brit.co

Ingredients
8 oz elbow macaroni
2 tbsp butter
¼ tsp paprika
2 tbsp flour
½ cup milk
8 oz Cracker Barrel aged reserve, grated
4 oz Cracker Barrel sharp cheese, grated

Instructions
Grease a nonstick mini muffin pan very well with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, then cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package says. My elbow macaroni said to cook for 7 minutes, so I drained it after 5. After you’ve cooked and drained the pasta, return the empty pasta pot to the heat and turn the heat down to medium. Melt the butter and add the paprika. Add the flour and stir the mixture around for 2 minutes. While whisking, add the milk. The mixture will be very thick, but that’s intentional. Just make sure you have stirred out any lumps. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cheeses and drained pasta, stirring it all together until the cheese and sauce are well distributed.

Portion your mac and cheese into the muffin cups, either with a spoon or a 3-tbsp cookie scoop. Pack the mac and cheese into the muffin cups with your fingers really well. If you don’t pack the mac and cheese down, they won’t hold their shape when you take them out after baking, and you certainly don’t want them to fall apart.

Bake the mac and cheese cups for 15 minutes until bubbling and gooey. Remove them to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes, then carefully run a plastic knife or toothpick (assuming you need to not destroy the nonstick coating on your pan) around the edges to loosen. Remove the mac and cheese cups from the pan and garnish with chopped chives or scallion greens. Enjoy!

Recipe via Fifteen Spatulas

Cheese & Cracker Tray Turkey
For kids, as for many adults, food is all about presentation, and what looks cute or enticing will be eaten, while that which looks abnormal or unappetizing will probably be left alone. The same is true for this adorable turkey cheese tray that will have the kids laughing as its body slowly starts to become deformed with each cracker bite taken away.

Food1

Photo Credit: alsothatsit.blogspot.com

Ingredients
Salami
Pepperoni (optional)
Cheddar cheese squares
Colby Jack cheese squares
Crackers of choice
2 Toothpicks
1 white chocolate chip

Instructions
Display the body of the turkey in a rainbow-like way, starting with the widest part of the bird (the crackers), and then working inward alternating between the meats and cheeses. The body of the bird should be shaped into an octagon with a longer body as shown above. Insert two small toothpicks for the feet and use a slice of Cheddar cheese for the head and a small piece of salami for the caruncle. The bill can be made from a white chocolate chip and the eyes can be made from olives or black sprinkles.

Recipe via Also That’s It

Thanksgiving Turkey Snack Bags
Great for feeding kids on the go, or for having kids share with their school friends, this little construction is perfect for any child and will definitely have them smiling and asking for more. Easy and simple to put together, this snack might just keep the kids happy for the rest of the day.

Food2

Photo Credit: thatswhatchesaid.net

Ingredients
Clear Plastic Gloves
Popcorn
Colored Goldfish crackers
Red & Orange felt (optional)
Googly eyes (optional, can also draw on eyes with a Sharpie)
Twisty Ties (optional)

Instructions
Insert the Goldfish crackers into the all of the finger slits except for the thumb. Fill the rest of the bag with popcorn and tie the bag shut or seal it with a twisty tie. Color on or glue the eyeballs at the top of the thumb, and use felt or a sharpie to construct the mouth. Watch your kids’ and their friends’ faces light up when they see the delectable little treat!

Recipe via That’s What Che Said

Cinnamon Roll Turkeys
On the dessert side of things, there are also quite a few small treats that will be sure to have the kids jumping off the walls. This recipe is easy to make, requires only a few ingredients, and only takes about 30 minutes in total prep time.

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Photo Credit: Pillsbury.com

Ingredients
1 can (17.5 oz) Pillsbury Grands refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
10 slices bacon
5 candy corns
5 red mini candy-coated chocolate candies
10 candy eyeballs
15 mini pretzel sticks, cut in half   

Instructions
Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper.

Set icing aside. Separate dough into 5 rolls; place about 3 inches apart on cookie sheet. Unroll each roll about 1 inch; tuck dough into roll to create neck of turkey.

Bake 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack; cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towel-lined plate. Cut bacon slices in half. Tuck 4 halves of bacon into back of each cinnamon roll so they stick up and look like tail feathers.

Drizzle tops of rolls with icing. Decorate turkeys with candy eyeballs, candy corn and candy-coated chocolate candies. Before serving, place halved pretzel sticks underneath each turkey to resemble turkey’s feet.

Recipe via Pillsbury

We hope these recipes have given you a head start on planning some meal or snack ideas for the kids this Thanksgiving. There are plenty of snacks and small food items that shouldn’t interfere with the kids’ picky habits, it’s all about finding what they like and/or presenting it in an attractive and fun-filled way. Leave your suggestions and comments in the place below and let us know about your own kids holiday traditions.

5 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving is a time of food, family, and fun, but it might not be so fun if you’re the one doing all the cooking. One way to relieve some of the stress and pressure off of your own back is to ask your dinner guests to contribute to the Thanksgiving feast by bringing side dishes. These can be side dishes that you designate to each guest specifically, or you can give your guests the option to choose which sides they bring.

One problem with allowing your guests to bring whatever they see fit, however, is ending up with too little or too much of one dinner category. Often times, guests tend to bring dessert items, bread, or other “popular” baked items, and then you end up with lots of similar side dishes and not much variety. So, if you’re looking for some great side dishes to ask your guests to bring, here is a list of the five most popular and beloved Thanksgiving side dishes that you can ask your guests to bring, along with recipes, in case they’d like to make their own!

Truffled Cheese Mash Potatoes
Mash potatoes are a must-have when it comes to the holidays, and the best recipes are those that are so delicious on their own, that there’s no need for gravy. This mash potato and cheese recipe is easy to make and promises to be a dinner table favorite this holiday season.

Thanksgiving

Photo Credit: cookingchanneltv.com

Ingredients
2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed
Salt
1 cup cream
4 ounces Sottocenare al Tartufo, grated (about ½ cups)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Freshly ground black pepper 

Instructions
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water by about 1 inch and add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer briskly until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the potatoes. Quarter the potatoes and pass them through a food mill orricer back into the pan. (Peel them first if you are using a ricer).

When the potatoes are almost done, warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat to just under a simmer, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the cheese until melted. Set aside.

Fold the hot cheese and cream into the potatoes. Then, over low heat, fold in the butter bit by bit until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Recipe via Cooking Channel TV

Broccoli Saute
Thanksgiving is certainly not known for being one of the most healthy meals of the year, so whenever a healthy-filled plate can be brought into the picture, it’s a great idea to take it up, especially when flavor doesn’t have to be sacrificed on behalf of health.

Thanksgiving1

Photo Credit: cookingchanneltv.com

Ingredients
12 ounces broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ lemon, zested and juiced

Instructions
Bring some water to a simmer in a medium pot and set a steamer insert over it. Prepare an ice water bath. Add the broccoli to the steamer insert, cover and steam until al dente, about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the broccoli and plunge into the icy water. Let cool completely before removing it from the water. Pat dry and then set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the broccoli, salt, garlic powder and red pepper flakes and saute until the broccoli is soft and brown around the edges, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest and juice.

Recipe via Cooking Channel TV

Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is one of the lesser known holiday side dishes, but for those of us familiar with it, it’s one of the best. Another way to make some less-than-healthy holiday favorites a bit less bad, this dish is absolutely delicious and will have your guests asking for the recipe in no time.

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Photo Credit: cookingchanneltv.com

Ingredients
5 cups sliced green beans
4 ¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 tbsp 2 tsp canola oil
1 ½ cups diced onions
2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
¼ cup garlic powder
¼ cup black pepper

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray.
Boil the green beans in the chicken broth for about 20 minutes, and then drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth. 

Meanwhile, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and 2 teaspoons of the oil in a small bowl. Set aside. 

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes, and then add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. 

Pour the reserved 1 1/2 cups chicken broth back into the pot the green beans boiled in and bring to a boil. Add the green beans to the skillet with the mushrooms and onions. 

While that is coming to a boil, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Slowly pour the slurry into the boiling broth, whisking constantly as it thickens, about 2 minutes. Pour the thickened mixture over the green beans and add the sour cream, House Seasoning and salt. Stir well. 

Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with the panko and cheese mixture. Bake until the casserole is hot, about 10 minutes, and then broil until the breadcrumb topping is slightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Mix together the salt, garlic powder and pepper.

Recipe via Cooking Channel TV

Honey-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
What would the holidays be without a sweet potato recipe? Sweet potatoes are seen in many different forms and styles over the holidays, but this is a recipe that is satisfying and delectable without the hassle and strain of similar recipes.

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Photo Credit: cookingchanneltv.com

Ingredients
2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon slat 

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch pieces and put in a 9 by 13 baking dish. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, honey and lemon juice. Pour mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the salt, and bake, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until potatoes are tender.

Recipe via Cooking Channel TV

Skillet Bacon Mac and Cheese
While mac and cheese may not seem out of the ordinary, the holidays are often a time when mac and cheese becomes a specialized item that is customized and spruced up for the special Thanksgiving feast. We found this recipe to be both alluring and mouth-watering, and we think your guests will, too.

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Photo Credit: cookingchanneltv.com

Ingredients
1 pound dry pasta (recommended: elbow macaroni, shells, penne, etc.)
1 teaspoon dry mustard, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup, plus ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup milk
¼ cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 slices bacon, cooked, reserve ¼ cup rendered bacon fat
Bechamel Sauce:
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup flour
3 cups hot whole milk
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Instructions
Make the bechamel sauce, recipe follows, in a large 12-inch oven-safe skillet. 

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until nearingal dente, but not fully cooked; drain. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Over low heat, stir the dry mustard and cayenne pepper into the bechamel sauce. Gradually add the Cheddar, Gruyere, and 1 cup Parmesan cheese, stirring constantly until all of the cheese has melted into the bechamel sauce. Add an additional cup of milk and cream. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. 

In another large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy and golden brown. Remove the cooked bacon from the skillet, reserving 3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat. 

Add the cooked pasta to the bechamel and stir to coat evenly with the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, chopped parsley, and reserved bacon fat. Coat the bread crumbs and chopped parsley with bacon fat and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the macaroni. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. 

Bake until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Top with crumbled cooked bacon. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

To make the Bechamel: 
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or an oven-safe skillet.
Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, avoid browning, about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring the sauce to a boil. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper, to taste. Reduce the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Recipe via Cooking Channel TV

These are just some of our favorite side dishes, but the list is certainly extensive, and we encourage you to look for some specialized side dishes that match your personal tastes and your specific Thanksgiving feast. Have a recipe of your own? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Stay Lean During the Holidays

ExerciseImage via The Huffington Post

Being a foodie is a heartwarming and rewarding experience in plenty of ways and some of the best times of the year for those of us who love to eat are the holidays! The holidays are filled with food and friends, and this time of year people start breaking out long-lost recipes that have you requesting seconds. If you like to cook or bake, you might be tempted with the need to try your recipes before handing them off to be served. Yet, one problem with the many goodies and treats that start poking their heads up around this time of year is the work to stay fit and keep those extra pounds off during the holidays. Because, as we all know, it doesn’t take much for those extra pounds to sneak up on us throughout the year, but it’s quite an effort of discipline and self-control to work them off once they’re here. So, if you’d like to stay lean throughout this holiday season without sacrificing a world of wonderful goodies, check out the suggestions below, and let us know what you think!

Utilize the 10 Minute Rule
One of the biggest excuses for not working out is not having enough time, but let’s get real – you have at least ten minutes a day to do at least something. Wanted to go for a 20 minute run, but are now pressed for time? That’s fine. Do jumping jacks and other calisthenics for 10 minutes, or if you have a treadmill, run as fast as you can for the ten minutes you do have.

Switch up Your Routine
Believe it or not, sometimes the biggest reason for giving up on an exercise regime is the redundancy of the routine. Like everything, exercise can quickly become just another mundane routine in our lives if we’re not careful. For most, exercising already feels like work, and if the work is boring and repetitive, you might not have the willpower to keep going back to it. Do yourself a favor and switch up your routine so that you’re not doing the same old thing week after week. Mentally, if you know you have something new and exciting to try out each day or week, it will be easier to muster up the motivation to get out there and keep working.

Eat Everything in Moderation
Finally, although exercise is good and necessary, it’s not the only part of staying lean that counts. The types of foods and the quantities you consume can greatly hinder weight loss and/or add to weight gain. The best rule of thumb is to consume everything in moderation. Trying to cut out “bad” foods usually just leads to binge eating followed by a light reprieve, and then that whole cycle all over again. Instead, take into account what you’re eating and choose everything in moderation. Instead of a whole slice of chocolate cake, have a few bites and feel better about yourself afterward. Don’t force yourself to eat nothing but salad and veggies, but don’t go crazy on the sweets either.

 

These are just a few ideas to help you keep off the pounds during this year’s holiday season. There’s no reason why you can’t indulge, but just remember that life is a healthy balance of diet and exercise and letting either of these two important aspects go is usually what leads to weight gain and the added stress, health problems, and personal dissatisfaction that comes with it. While it’s easy to gain weight without realizing or even thinking about it, once those additional pounds are packed on, it can be hard to work them off again. Just remember that the next time that chocolate cake is calling your name!

 

5 Fun Football Snacks

Football season is a time of fun and friends, and what goes better with fun and friends than awesome snacks? Whether you’re already preparing your Super Bowl feast, or you just need some ideas for this season, we have a few ideas that won’t keep you stuck in the kitchen missing out on the fun and games all day. So, if you’re hosting a seasonal football party at your house and wondering what kind of cute and creative snacks you can provide for your guests, look no further!

Artichoke Roasted Garlic Dip
Creamy and delicious, this simple recipe can serve as either an appetizer or a pre-game snack. For those of you who love artichokes as much as we do, this recipe is the perfect solution for a creamy dip that can go with flat bread or any other kind of dip you like best.
Football Food

Photo via spoonforkbacon.com

Ingredients
flatbread sticks:
3 sheets whole wheat flatbread, cut into 1”x4” sticks
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
artichoke dip:
1 head garlic, top sliced off
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces mascarpone, softened
1/3 c light mayonnaise
½ cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded
¼ cup parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 teaspoon dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste
topping:
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon parmesan, grated
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Brush the strips of flatbread with the oil and sprinkle with the smoked paprika.
3. Line the strips onto two baking sheets (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp and golden brown around the edges.
4. Set aside and allow to cool.
5. While the flatbread cools bring the temperature of the oven up to 375°F.
6. Place the head of garlic onto a small piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
7. Loosely wrap the foil around the garlic and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the garlic cloves have softened completely and slightly browned.
8. Carefully squeeze the clove into a bowl and discard the peel.
9. Mash the cloves into a paste and stir in the remaining dip ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Stir the mixture until fully incorporated.
11. Scoop the dip into a 3 cup baking dish of your choice and set aside.
12. In a small bowl toss together the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the dip filled ramekin.
13. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
14. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with whole wheat flatbread crisps.

Recipe via Spoon Fork Bacon

Ham and Swiss Sliders
If you’re a traditional sandwich type of person, this recipe is for you. Not your average cold cut, these mini sandwiches are the perfect solution for an afternoon lunch, and will warm the hearts and tummies of your guests, and keep them smiling for the rest of the day.

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Photo Credit: chef-in-training.com

Ingredients
24 white dinner rolls, I LOVE King’s Hawaiian Rolls
24 pieces honey ham
24 small slices Swiss Cheese
⅓ cup mayonaise
⅓ cup miracle whip
POPPY SEED SAUCE
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1½ Tbsp. mustard
½ cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp. minced onion
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce 

Instructions
1. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and miracle whip.
2. Cut Rolls in halves. Spread mayonaise-miracle whip mixture on each side of the roll. Place a piece of honey ham and Swiss cheese on one half of each roll. Fold back into sandwich form.
3. Place rolls close together in a greased 9×13 pan until pan in completely full.
4. Mix together all ingredients of Poppy Seed Sauce. Spread evenly over the tops of all the rolls. *NOTE* I did not use all the sauce. Let the rolls set until the butter has set up a bit. Cover with aluminum foil and Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.
5. Rolls can be made a day ahead and stored in fridge until ready to bake.

Recipe via Chef-in-Training

Avocado Hummus
Avocados are a national favorite, and there’s hardly a party in sight that doesn’t feature guacamole as one of the main events, but what if we experimented with other types of avocado recipes? One such recipe is hummus, and we’re positive that it will transform your parties and your life! Football Food2

Photo Credit: thedecorfix.com

Ingredients
1 Avocado
½ lime
1 can white beans
½ tsp sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil

Instructions
1. Add all of the required ingredients to your blender or food processor.
2. Blend until smooth… EASY AS THAT!

Recipe via The Décor Fix

Burger-Potato Bites
This recipe is a combines a traditional cheeseburger recipe with waffle fries or potato chips all mixed into one delicious bite. If you want delicious, mouth-watering options with minimal to no work, this is a great solution to the answer for which you’ve been looking.

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Photo Credit: bhg.com

Ingredients
16 large frozen French-fried waffle-cut potatoes
1 pound ground beef or turkey
2 tsp grilling seasoning blend
4 slices cheddar cheese, cut into quarters
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced
Mustard, ketchup, sour cream, and/or dill pickle slices

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Evenly space potatoes on baking sheet. Bake potatoes for 18 to 20 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Adjust oven racks and preheat broiler
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine meat and seasoning. Form into sixteen 1-ounce mini burgers (about 2 tablespoons). In a 12-inch skillet cook burgers, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until temperature registers 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, turning burgers once halfway through cooking. Drain fat. Top each potato with a burger, cheese quarter, and tomato slice. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and tomato begins to brown. Serve with mustard, ketchup, sour cream, and/or pickles. Makes 16 snacks.

Recipe via Better Homes and Gardens

Cookies and Cream Popcorn
Finally, what would a football party be without sweets to make it complete? This salty-sweet snack is quick, easy, and takes almost no effort on your part, but is sure to have your guests asking to take down the recipe before asking for seconds.

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Photo Credit: chef-in-training.com

Ingredients
9 cups popped popcorn
20 Oreos, finely crushed
24 oz white vanilla almond bark

Instructions
1. Melt white vanilla almond bark according to package directions until completely melted and smooth consistency.
2. Drizzle almond bark over popped popcorn.
3. Sprinkle finely crushed oreo crumbs throughout popcorn to evenly distribute.
4. Let almond bark set up and dig in!

Recipe via Chef-in-Training

These are just a few ideas to get your seasonal football festivities off to a great start. With minimal to no cooking, these recipes will keep your kitchen air fresh, and your dishes clean. Football season is a great opportunity for friends and family to gather over shared interests and have some great conversations among some delicious recipes. Please feel free to share your own favorite football season recipes in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!