Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap (It's About Time)

So, returning to the office from Thanksgiving is not the easiest thing to do. Especially when your office/university is anticipating the announcement of a bowl game. And then gets a bowl bid. Allz I know is that working for a university alumni association and foundation who is going to a New Year's Day bowl game can be quite busy. But I'm super excited about spending New Year's in Jacksonville!

Thanksgiving was just as busy as work is right now. Thanksgiving Day I made a trip to south Mississippi to visit my dad's family. Then headed back up north/central to the family compound. Friday was grocery shopped, cooked, and I visited with my long-time friends to see their new baby. Saturday we hosted my mom's family at my parents' house, and an Egg Bowl party at my brother's new (and gorgeous) home. (I spent a lot of time bonding with J&L's dog that weekend.) Sunday was back north to my house for the outdoor Christmas decorating. And Monday back to the was a doozy!

Thanksgiving brought some new and old favorites to the table. Wednesday night I made the largest and most beautiful apple pie ever! It was amazing! And it tasted good too! Friday night I made a chocolate chip pecan pie, per the brother's request. I also made tamale dressing with cranberry salsa, three loaves of homemade bread and jalepeno popper dip on Saturday. (I told you it was busy!)

All in all, it was a very good Thanksgiving. I spent lots of time with my family, and enjoy way too much food. Can't wait for our Mexican Christmas to roll around!

Here are recipes from my Thanksgiving table:

For both pies, here's a link to The Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pie Crust. (I recommend using regular or butter flavored shortening. Tried both. Both taste great!)

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

1/2 pie dough from above recipe, rolled out thin and laid in pie plate
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 to 2 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup (I only had light, and it was fine.)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle chocolate chips over bottom of pie crust lined pan; top with pecan halves. In small bowl, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and vanilla; beat well. Pour over pecans. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream. Store in refrigerator.

Dulce de Leche Apple Pie

6 cups of apples (cored, peeled and sliced)
1/2 cup dulce de leche
2 tablespoons apple cider
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 pie crusts (One full recipe from Pioneer Woman's link above)
1 egg white mixed with 1 teaspoon of water

1. Toss the apples in the dulce de leche, cider and vanilla,
2. Mix the sugars, cornstarch, spices and salt in a large bowl.
3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients.
4. Fit one of the pie crusts into a 9 inch pie plate and pour the apples in.
5. Fit the remaining pie crust on top and brush with the egg white mixture.
6. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 40 minutes.
7. Reduce to 375F, remove the foil and bake until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.
8. Let cool completely before serving. (Alton Brown suggests at least 4 hours so all the apple juices and sugars can meld together.)

Jalapeño Popper Dip

2 (8 oz.) packages fat free cream cheese, softened
1 cup light or fat free mayonnaise
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (4 oz.) can diced jalapeño peppers, drained
½ cup shredded Mexican style cheese
½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green chiles, jalapeños, and shredded cheeses. Mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula until smooth and evenly combined. Spread the mixture into a baking dish (approximately 9 x 9-inches).

In a second bowl, combine the Panko and Parmesan and stir with a fork until combined. Sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture in the baking dish. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the topping is golden. Serve warm with Fritos Scoops, baguette slices, vegetables, etc. as desired.

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