Thursday, November 8, 2012

11/8/12: Guest Post on Thanksgiving Menu Suggestions

With Thanksgiving coming up I wanted to share a guest post with you on:

5 Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make This Year's Thanksgiving Menu One to Remember by Jennifer Williams

More than all the other holidays Thanksgiving is about the food, which means you may feel pressure to get every recipe on your Thanksgiving menu just right. With all the great Thanksgiving recipes available today, you have plenty of resources to help you craft the perfect meal, from start to finish.

From the appetizers all the way down to the finishing Thanksgiving dessert recipes, choose memorable dishes that will really wow your guests, all without requiring too much time and energy on your part. This Thanksgiving menu can stand on its own, or you can work just one or two of the recipes into the menu you had in mind.

Creamy Vidalia Onion Dip
Start off your Thanksgiving meal the right way with a gooey and decadent Vidalia onion dip. The sweet onions and rich cheese seem to melt together as you bake them. The dip is super simple to prepare and can be served on any type of crackers, bread, or chips.

What You Need:
1 large Vidalia or Walla Walla onion, coarsely chopped
1 pkg. (7 oz.) shredded Italian three cheese blend
1 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Make It:
HEAT oven to 325ºF.
MIX first 3 ingredients.
SPREAD onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate; sprinkle with Parmesan.
BAKE 45 min. or until golden brown.

Cranberry-Glazed Ham
Whether you want to try something different from turkey this year or want to add another meat to your Thanksgiving menu, a glazed ham is a delicious choice. This incredibly simple recipe lets you combine a rich, juicy ham with tart cranberry sauce to make a perfect main dish that will have guests coming back for seconds.
What You Need:
1 skinless bone-in ham (shank or butt-end portion) (7 lb.)
1 can (14 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1 tbsp. zest and 3 Tbsp. juice from 1 orange

Make It:
HEAT oven to 325ºF.
PLACE ham in shallow pan. Score ham; cover with foil. Bake 1-1/2 hours. Meanwhile, microwave remaining ingredients in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 30 to 45 sec. or until cranberry sauce is melted. Reserve 1-3/4 cups cranberry mixture.
REMOVE foil from ham. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour or until ham is heated through (140ºF), brushing with remaining cranberry mixture every 20 min.
TRANSFER ham to cutting board; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 15 min. Slice ham; serve with reserved cranberry mixture.

Sweet Butternut Squash Bake
You have endless options to choose from with Thanksgiving side dish recipes, but a good rule of thumb is to include at least one starchy vegetable and at least one heartier vegetable. For your starchy vegetable, consider ditching the sweet potato casserole for a smooth and rich butternut squash bake.

What You Need:
3 butternut squash (7 lb.)
1 cup water
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)
3 cups miniature marshmallows

Make It:
HEAT oven to 375ºF.
CUT squash in half; remove seeds. Place squash halves, cut-sides down, in 15x10x1-inch pan. Add water. Bake 40 min. or until tender.
SCOOP squash flesh into medium bowl; mash well. Add cream cheese, sugar and pepper; mix well. Spoon into 3-qt. casserole.
HEAT broiler. Top squash mixture with marshmallows; broil, 6 inches from heat, 1 to 2 min. or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Sweet and Tart Carrots
While the oven is packed full of meat, you can still use the stove top to toss together a simple side dish. The balsamic reduction drizzled over these carrots makes them both sweet and tart, and definitely decadent. Plus, this side dish is really simple, requiring only 10 minutes of active prep time.

What You Need:
10 carrots (1-1/4 lb.), peeled, quartered lengthwise
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Make It:
COOK carrots in boiling water in large saucepan on medium heat 4 to 6 min. or until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, cook dressing, sugar and butter in small saucepan on low heat 3 to 5 min. or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
DRAIN carrots; return to saucepan. Add sauce; stir. Cook 2 to 3 min. or until carrots are heated through and evenly coated with sauce.
SPRINKLE with parsley.

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
If you think your guests will let you get away with it, toss out your usual pumpkin pie recipe in favor of this rich and flavorful pumpkin cheesecake. You'll especially love the sharp and sweet gingersnap crumb crust. Plus, you can bake it the day before or in the morning and forget about it until it's time for dessert.

What You Need:
1-1/2 cups finely crushed ginger snaps
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs

Make It:
HEAT oven to 325°F.
MIX crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch spring form pan.
BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add pumpkin, spice and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour into crust.
BAKE 1 hour 20 min. to 1 hour 30 min. or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake 4 hours.

Jennifer's Bio:
While not working part-time as a bank teller, Jennifer Williams fills her time kayaking, writing, cooking and spending time with her 3 beautiful daughters. She looks forward to the weekends when all of her hobbies can finally come together.
Disclosure: This post was written by Jennifer Williams.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Spiced pumpkin cheesecake sounds great! I cannot wait to try it.