Thanksgiving treats…

It’s been a while since the last post and that’s mainly because I’ve been back in Hawaii.  So naturally I felt like having fun everyday outside.  I’m going to discuss three things I made for the Thanksgiving week.  The first is an apple-cranberry crisp, another dessert made in my effort to rid my freezer of cranberries.  I love any kind of fruity crisp.  It’s not as heavy as a pie and yet there’s the crunch you want from the streusel topping.  The apples and cranberries blended beautifully in balance with cinnamon and pecans.

When cutting in the butter for the streusel topping, make sure it’s cold.  I dice up my butter and leave it in the fridge until it’s time to combine it into the mixture.  Otherwise the streusel won’t be crumbly.  It’ll be a mushy mess.

As for the pecans, if you have a nut grinder, I highly recommend using it on the coarse setting.  I don’t right now, so I chopped it as small as I could without making pecan dust.  You don’t want it too small or too large.

After the bake, you get this masterpiece…

The next dessert is a crustless pumpkin pie.  I like to experiment with crustless pies because sometimes the crust overpowers the pie filling’s flavor.  This is a very easy recipe.  I made it before without a streusel topping, but this time I added that on top.  Bacon makes everything non-dessert better.  As such, streusel makes every dessert better (well, maybe not every one, but you get the point).

This will be delicious as is, but better like…

this!!!

With a nice creamy filling and a crunchy topping, this pie is sure to please and not make you feel too bloated for the holidays.

Lastly, I made an entree somewhat atypical of Thanksgiving, Jambalaya.  Then again, last Christmas I made BBQ pulled pork.  So while we did have the turkey, ham, buns, potato salad, ambrosia, fruit salad, veggies, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc, I like making a dish that stands out at family gatherings.  Jambalaya is a rice dish with vegetables and meat cooked all together, similar to cajun dirty rice or even fried rice.

Here is the rice and veggies cooking up and the rice is soaking up all those juices from the chicken and sausage.

I’ve added the chicken and sausage back to the pot.  All the flavors here melt together and creates a very savory dish.

My bountiful dinner (in counter clockwise direction) with turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, jambalaya, fruit salad, dinner roll (made by yours truly), asparagus and green beans with cauliflower and bacon.

It’s safe to say that I was stuffed.  I can’t eat like I could when I was younger (damn that makes me sound old).  Hope everyone had a happy thanksgiving.

Otis did…

aww he wants more turkey.

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

2 lbs granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup white sugar
3 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/3 cup quick oats
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces (cold)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 F and butter an 8 inch square baking dish.

In a bowl, mix apples, cranberries, white sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Lay evenly into the dish.

In the same bowl, mix oats, flour, and brown sugar.  Cut butter into mixture with fork or pastry blender until crumbly.  Add pecans and sprinkle over the apples.

Bake 40-50 minutes until topping is browned and apples are tender.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup white sugar
3 T butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 t allspice
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg

Streusel:

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 T butter
2 T flour

Preheat oven to 350 F and butter a 9 inch pie pan.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg.

In a bowl, beat sugar, butter, and eggs together.  Mix in pumpkin, milk, and vanilla.  Add the sifted ingredients and beat until smooth.  Pour into pan.

Mix the dry streusel ingredients together.  Cut butter into mixture until crumbly.  Top pie with mixture.

Bake 50 – 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

1 medium sweet onion, quartered or coarsely chopped
1 rib of celery, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 t olive oil
6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
12 oz andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and in 1/4 slices
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t fresh thyme, minced
1/4 t cayenne pepper (or more if you like a kick)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained with 1/4 cup juice reserved
1 cup clam juice
1 can chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 T fresh chopped parsley

In a food processor, pulse onion, garlic, celery, pepper until fine, but not pureed.

Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add chicken skin side down and brown for about 5 minutes.  turn chicken over and brown the other side about 3 minutes.  Set chicken aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add andouille, stirring frequently until browned, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove sausage and set aside to drain over paper towels.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add vegetables.  Cook until softened about 4 minutes.  Scrape the bottom of the pot to prevent things from sticking.  Add rice, salt, thyme, cayenne.  Cook, stirring often until rice is coated with fat, about a minute.  Add tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, clam juice, chicken broth, bay leaves, and browned sausage to the pot.  Stir to combine it all.  Meanwhile, remove skin from chicken and place back into pot on top of the rice skinned side down.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot.   Set chicken aside and shred.  Add back into the pot for another 5-10 minutes.  If the chicken is pink while shredding, it’ll continue to cook here.  Stir in parsley and serve hot.

*next up…chicken florentine casserole…*

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