Two Holiday Classics

FOUR pies: Chocolate Icebox, Pumpkin, Apple, and Pecan

Normally, I don't do anything for Thanksgiving but when Chris invited me to go with him to Atlanta to have Thanksgiving with his family--I couldn't resist. I hadn't had a true Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, dressing, and FOUR pieces of pie. Among the feast, I made two family favorites: Squash Casserole and Pecan Pie.

If you add in extra cheese, I promise not to tell!

A Pain in my Side Squash Casserole
So even though I hated squash as a child, this recipe is amazing. It's got a ton of cheese in it and the eggs make it more of a custard. The name comes from the first time I had the dish—I was in middle school, and after eating squash for the first time (a lot of it!) my appendix ruptured and I spent the next 48 hours in pretty horrible pain. I blamed the casserole at the time, but luckily, I got over it and this has been a staple at holiday dinners every since! Originally from Minette Son, additions by Alicia Weaver

3 eggs
1/3 cup half and half
(mix together and refrigerate)
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
Dice onion and garlic and saute in olive oil or butter until translucent
6 squash
Thinly sliced, using a food processor or mandolin blade. Add squash in batches until it is cooked through. Move the squash to a pan, siphoning off as much water as possible. 
1-2 t. salt to taste (if you don't use low sodium crackers, you can skip the extra salt)
Add in egg mixture slowly, so it does not scramble. 
1 packet low-sodium crackers, crushed
1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
Add crackers and cheese and mix together with squash, reserving enough to top the casserole at the end. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees until bubbly.

My pecan pie!
Jackson Family Pecan Pie
An old recipe from my grandfather---surprisingly easy to make too!

3 eggs, beaten
1 c. light brown sugar
1 c. white Karo corn syrup
1. 5 c. pecans, chopped
3 T. melted butter
Mix all ingredients together and pour into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, until consistency becomes less shaky and pie crust is cooked. (The middle should still be a little loose).

My Grandfather's Pecan Pies!


A Chili day....

What a better use for a brand new french oven than a big pot of turkey chili on a cold day. I made the following for myself and Chris before Thanksgiving came over us and it turned out fantastic. The recipe was originally from my sister's friend Robin, and the ground turkey substituting for beef really takes a lot of grease out of the mix. You're left with a lot of flavor, and bacon bits to top it!

Turkey Chili by a warm fire!
Turkey Chile
Courtesy Robin Benson

2 strips bacon
1 16 oz. package ground turkey
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 T. chili powder
1 T cumin
2 t. paprika
1 t. oregano
1 t. cayenne pepper
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
14 oz. water
12 oz. beer--amber or darker brew preferred
1 c. frozen okra (optional)
1/2 c. frozen corn (optional)
2 T. molasses
1 T. dark chocolate
Garnishes: cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, Fritos (if you don't want to make corn bread), and bacon from the first step.
  1. In a dutch oven, cook two strips of bacon, cubed into small slices, and remove when cooked. Leave the bacon grease in the pot to use to cook the rest of the chili---the flavor you get out of it will really make this dish!
  2. Dice 1 medium onion and 2 cloves of garlic and add to pot. Cook until translucent
  3. Add in ground turkey-cook for 5 minutes (should only be partially cooked)--then add in your spices (more cayenne if you want a spicier finish) and then your beer, tomotoes, and water. Keep the mixture at a simmer for about an hour. 
  4. After an hour, add in your molasses, chocolate, and optional frozen veggies as needed.  Cook additional 10-15 minutes until chili thickens to your likening. Season with salt and pepper---garnish with cheese, bacon bits, sour cream. Serve with corn bread.


My pretty Le creuset!

So the Le Creuset arrived, and of couse it's awesome. Here's some pictures I took as soon as it came:

Beauty Shot

See? Super Pretty!

Even the box is awesome

I've already used it twice---first to make some cashew brittle, and again for some delicious Turkey Chili (those recipes later this week, still recovering from too much blogging).


A Case of the Can't Cook

Sorry I've been MIA, I think all the promotion to get people to vote for my recipe last week has given me a serious case of the 'Can't Cook Right Now'.

I want to make this but I don't have the energy or inclination to grocery shop at the moment, so I'm content stopping at El Charrito and buying a veggie burrito for $3. I even got the Le Creuset in the mail Friday...and all I did was watch my sister make cashew brittle with it. Chile night to come for everyone who voted....as soon as I pull myself together and face the kitchen again.

Wow adding those two links above really took a lot out of me. I'm gonna rest up, but I'll be back soon as we prep for holiday craziness.
If I stare at this picture long enough, do you think the calories will seep in through my thoughts?


The Winner of a Brand New Le Creuset is....


Just found out from Amanda over at Metrocurean. I won with 30% of the vote---so thanks to everyone for voting and putting up with an annoying amount of Facebook, blog, and twitter posts last week.

Here are the final stats:


One more day of voting!

Vote for my Braised Short Ribs!



It's been fun getting everyone behind my recipe all week. I promise to use my power for GOOD and will cook for everyone--all you have to do is ask. Even if I don't win the Le Creuset, I'm happy that I was able to share the Braised Short Ribs recipe with everyone.


Drunken Pasta

Did you vote for me today? Braised Short Ribs! And now back to your regularly scheduled recipes...

Pasta's always more fun in bright colors
Give me an excuse to add alcohol to my cooking and I'm there. This Drunken Pasta recipe from Tasting Table was both delicious, fun to make, and relatively easy considering it's from a professional chef. The pasta turns this really bright purple in the red wine and when you add colorful veggies to the mix, the colors pop even more! (Sorry, my phone camera is not up to the proper color standards)

I used brocolini and red peppers, because I had them, but I think you could toss in anything you had around--just blanch them first to keep them bright and crisp.


Show Your Support!

A few weeks ago I entered my Braised Short Ribs recipe on Metrocurean to be entered into a giveaway for a free Le Creuset dutch oven...and I've been named a finalist!

Please vote for my Braised Short Ribs recipe (the last one on the list) here

You can vote all week--once per day!