Pressure Cooker Beef Stew

My grandmother just moved out of her old apartment and in the process gave me boxes and boxes of kitchen items. Included in these boxes was my grandma’s famous pressure cooker. Famous, mostly, for making grandma’s chicken. I am still working the grandma’s chicken recipe to perfect it before posting, but I wanted to give you a taste of my excitement about the pressure cooker.

It cooks things in minutes! It is amazing! Go get a pressure cooker!

Okay, now that that is out of my system, I can tell you that the first attempt at grandma’s chicken was a success and got me interested in learning more about the pressure cooker. So, while my mother was in town in past weekend visiting, we tried the pressure cooker for a beef stew. It turned out wonderfully and in less than a third of the time for a stew in the oven.

I adapted two recipes, the first from Busy Cooks and the other from the Yankee Pot Roast in Pressure Cooking for Everyone by Rick Rodgers and Arlene Ward. Here is what we did:

Pressure Cooker Beef Stew

What You Need

– 1-1/2 lbs. beef stew meat cut into cubes
– 1/4 cup flour
– 2 Tbsp. oil
– 2 cups beef broth
– 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
– 1 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
– 2 bay leaves
– 5 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
– 4 potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
– 3 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
– 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
– 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
– 1 tsp. salt
– 1/4 tsp. pepper
– 2 Tbsp. butter (unsalted)
– 2 Tbsp. flour

What You Do:
1. Coat meat with flour.
2. Heat oil in pressure cooker over medium heat.
3. Add the meat and cook uncovered until well browned, stirring occasionally.
4. Transfer meat to a plate.
5. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
6. Add the bay leaves.
7. Add beef broth (hot or at room temp), Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and marjoram. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
8. Return meat to the pot.
9. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
10. Close cover and bring to high pressure, then pressure cook for 15 minutes. (High pressure means the button on the pressure cooker pops up! It is very cool to see this happen).
11. Remove from heat, reduce pressure, and remove cover. (I reduced pressure by opening the vent to remove steam, you can also run the pot under cold water).
12. Add the vegetables (including diced tomatoes and their juices), salt, and pepper.
13. Close cover and return to high pressure, then cook 15 more minutes. (The recipes called for 5 minutes but we like the veggies really tender).
14. Remove from heat, reduce pressure, and remove cover. (You could stop here but we wanted to thicken the sauce! For thicker sauce follow the remaining steps:)
15. Remove meat and veggies, leaving the cooking liquid.
16. Remove the bay leaves and let stand for 5 minutes.
17. In a small bowl, work the butter and flour together until smooth.
18. Whisk 1 cup of the cooking liquid into the butter/flour mixture to make a thin paste.
19. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil over medium heat.
20. Whisk in the paste and cook until the liquid reduces slightly and thickens into a light-bodied gravy (6 minutes).
21. Mix the gravy in with the veggies and meat and serve some extra gravy on the side.

We served the stew with egg noodles. It is a wonderful dish for a cold winter day and makes great left overs.

More to come on the pressure cooker! Stay tuned.

Veggie Casserole

Here is a recipe I tried a couple weeks ago from my new vegetarian cookbook The New Moosewood Cookbook. Before I made it, I was nervous about the cottage cheese in the recipe. I don’t really like cottage cheese, and have never used it in a recipe. But, it turned out wonderfully. I had a ton left over after dinner with my friend and it was great throughout the week for lunch. I meant to blog about it at the time, but I was quickly overwhelmed by work and the condition of my kitchen (see recent posts for details). So, now that I’ve been stuck inside for almost a week with the snow (snowMG, snowpocalypse, etc), I have some time to type it up for you.

Broccoli Mushroom Noodle Casserole (from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook)

What You Need:
– 1 1 lb (or 12 oz) package wide flat egg noodles
– 2 tbs butter
– 2 cups chopped onions
– 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
– 1 large bunch fresh broccoli, chopped
– 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
– 1/2 tsp salt
– black pepper to taste
– 1/4 cup dry white wine
– 3 eggs, beaten
– 3 cups cottage cheese
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
– 1 cup grated sharp cheddar

What You Do:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
3. Cook the noodles until half done and drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again and set aside.
4. Melt the butter in a large skillet and add onions and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
5. Add broccoli, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is bright green and just tender.
6. Remove from heat and add white wine.
7. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs with cottage cheese and sour cream.
8. Add noodles, sauted vegetables, and 1 cup breadcrumbs.
9. Mix well!
10. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and top with remaining breadcrumbs and grated cheese.
11. Bake covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes more.

Overloaded Potatoes

Also for the Super Bowl, I made twice baked potatoes. These are a favorite of mine from growing up. They are fun and easy to make, but delicious and very satisfying to eat.

Twice Baked Potatoes

What You Need

-4 large russet potatoes, about a pound each
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup milk
-3 Tbsp butter, softened
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (plus a bit more for topping)
-4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
-2 small heads broccoli, chopped
-1/2 onion, chopped
-4 strips bacon (optional)

What You Do

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Scrub the potatoes clean under running water.
3. Poke each potato in several places with the tines of a fork so that when the potatoes are cooking they don’t explode.
4. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. They should be soft when you poke a folk in them.
5. If you are including bacon in your stuffing, while the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon strips in a frying pan on medium low heat for 10 minutes, or until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Let cool and crumble.
6. Sauté the mushrooms, broccoli, and onion in a little butter until the broccoli is bright green. Use as much or as little as you like. This is where you get to play! Think of other items you want in your potato.
6. When the potatoes are done, allow them to cool to touch (10 minutes min.)
7. Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise.
8. Use a spoon to scoop out the insides. Be careful and make sure to leave the skin in tact.
9. Place the scooped out potato insides, sour cream, milk, and butter into a large bowl.
10. Mix the sautéd veggies and crumbled bacon in with the potatoes. Add in the cheese and mix some more. Reserve some of the cheese and bacon (if you are using it) to sprinkle on the tops of the potatoes.
11. Spoon fillings into the potato shells.
12. Sprinkle with extra toppings.
13. Heat oven to 350°F.
14. Place potatoes on a roasting pan and bake 15 to 20 minutes until heated through.

Next time play around with some of your favorite items to add into the potatoes. They are good no matter what you put in them!

Sweet Treats

After the Jambalaya was simmering, I got started with some chocolate chip cookies. This recipe was fantastic and I think I will be sticking with it for a long time. The cookies turned out soft and sweet! They were a great hit for the Superbowl yesterday as well.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies(from Bittman’s How to Cook Everything)

What You Need

-2 sticks butter
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-2 eggs
-2 cups flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 cups chocolate chips

What You Do

1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars; add the eggs one at a time and beat until well blended. (By the way, I hate using the electric mixer and only do so for a short time and then resorted to working by hand. It gets the butter and sugar everywhere!)
3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and add them to the batter by hand, stirring to blend. Stir in the vanilla and then the chocolate chips.
4. Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets and bake until lightly browned about 10 minutes.

Share with friends, and eat with a glass of milk.

Back in the Game

As you may have noticed, 2010 has not been a great year for the blog so far. Some of this is due to the craziness of the past two months, but it has also been because of some trouble I’ve been having with my apartment. I have been fighting tirelessly against an army of roaches that have made their happy home this winter in my kitchen. I know, it is gross. But, I thought it was about time I blogged about it and got it off my chest. I was finally able to get the exterminator here last Thurs. and so far, things have been looking a lot better. I’m on the “rotation” for pest control in my building and so, hopefully, I will be able to sneak back into my kitchen and get cooking again.

With the two feet of snow we got this weekend, I hardly left my house. Thankfully, the roaches had retreated enough to allow me into the kitchen to try some goodies for the cold weather (and also for the Superbowl).

First was the Jambalaya:

Jambalaya (from epicurious)

What You Need:

– 1 tbsp olive oil
– large onion, chopped
– 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
– 1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
– 2 celery stalks, diced
– 3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, minced
– 4 oz extra-lean smoked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
– 4 precooked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
– 5 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
– 1 large bay leaf
– 1 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
– 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
– 3/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
– 1 1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into bite-sized pieces

What You Do:

1. Add oil to a large nonstick saucepan.
2. Over medium heat, sauté onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery until onion is translucent.
3. Add parsley, ham, chicken, sausage, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper.
4. Cook, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes.
5. Add tomatoes (with juice), tomato sauce, and 1 3/4 cups cold water.
6. Gently simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
7. Pour rice into the pan and stir well.
8. Bring mixture to a boil.
9. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 45 minutes or until rice is cooked and absorbs most of the liquid.
10. Stir in shrimp and cook 5 minutes more.
11. Remove bay leaf.
12. Season to taste with cayenne pepper and salt.
13. Enjoy!

This is great for the cold weather… more weekend treats to come!

Lilly Pancakes

I was up in NJ last weekend helping my grandma move from her home in Queens, NY to a new apartment in an independent living facility in NJ. It was a great success. We also had time to get together as a family to have Sunday brunch. We made a family classic: crepes.

Growing up, my dad used to make us “pancakes” on the weekends. When I went to IHOP for the first time, I was shocked and appalled because they’re pancakes were so fat and dry. And you couldn’t roll them up with fruit inside. It took some time to realize what I had always known as pancakes were actually crepes.
My sister and dad are the experts on these amazing crepes, but I’m learning as well. Here is our family recipe adapted from the 21st printing of the Joy of Cooking from 1980 (the recipe is different in my new Joy). We always double the recipe, but doing the math is part of the fun so I left the original amounts below…you can double it yourself.

Lilly Pancakes (Crepes)
What You Need
– 3/4 cup all purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon double acting baking powder
– 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
– 2 eggs
– 2/3 cup milk
– 1/3 cup water
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (this was always our job growing up..making sure to get a good sniff of the vanilla)
What You Do
1. Sift together dry ingredients.
2. Beat 2 eggs.
3. Mix together liquid ingredients ad eggs.
4. Pour liquid into sifted ingredients and wisk gently (don’t worry if there are some clumps).
5. Heat skillet (the size you want you crepes).
6. Grease skillet (we use pam but oil is good too…this needs to be done before each crepe is put on the skillet).
7. Use 1/3 cup measure to scoop batter into skillet. When adding the batter, tip the skillet to spread the batter evenly over the bottom of the entire skillet.
8. Cook on medium heat.
9. When first side is brown, flip crepe and brown the other size. We like them pretty light, and my sister and dad are the masters of the flipping skills! 10. After all the batter is used up, serve with vanilla yogurt, cut strawberries, other berries, and/or nuts. 11. To prep the perfect crepe, place the crepe on your plate, spread yogurt on the whole thing and then add a fruit topping in the middle. Roll up the crepe and enjoy!
I hope you can get as much pleasure out of this recipe as my family.

Holiday Candies

I made holiday caramel and toffee candies inspired by Food and Wine Magazine over the holiday. It was a fun adventure, as I never made candy before. I wrapped them up and will be giving them out as gifts to help people get through holiday withdrawal over the next week.

Chocolate-Almond Toffee (from Food and Wine)
What You Need:
– 2 sticks unsalted butter
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 2 tablespoons water
– 1 cup salted roasted almonds—3/4 cup coarsely chopped, 1/4 cup finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, crumbled
– 1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

What You Do:
1. Line an 8-by-11-inch baking pan with foil.
2. Spray the foil with vegetable oil.
3. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter.
4. Stir in the sugar and water and bring to a boil.
5. Cook over moderate heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until a deeply golden caramel forms and the temperature reaches 300° on a candy thermometer, 15 minutes. Note: if the sugar and butter separate, stir vigorously to blend (this happened to me, pretty scary and not sure the toffee truly recovered!).
6. Remove from the heat and add the coarsely chopped almonds, vanilla and salt.
7. Scrape the toffee into the prepared pan; let cool for 10 minutes.
8. Sprinkle half of the chocolate over the toffee and let stand until melted.
9. Spread the chocolate over the toffee and sprinkle with half of the finely chopped almonds.
10. Freeze the toffee for 10 minutes.
11. Invert the toffee onto a foil-lined baking sheet and peel off the foil backing.
12. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the remaining chocolate.
13. Spread the melted chocolate over the top of the toffee and sprinkle with the remaining finely chopped almonds.
14. Let the toffee cool, then break into shards.

Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Caramels (from Food and Wine)
What You Need:
– 2 sticks unsalted butter
– 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
– 1 cup light corn syrup
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
– Coarse sea salt, crumbled
– 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, melted (optional)

What You Do:
1. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with foil; spray it with vegetable oil.
2. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter.
3. Add the sugar, corn syrup and cream and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
4. Add the vanilla seeds. (They smell so good!)
5. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until a golden caramel forms and the temperature reaches 245° on a candy thermometer, 1 hour.
6. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt and scrape the caramel into the prepared pan.
7. Let cool and set completely overnight.
8. Lightly oil a sheet of parchment paper and line 2 baking sheets with wax paper.
9. Invert the caramel onto the parchment and peel off the foil. (This is the easy part)
10. Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch-wide strips and then into 1-inch squares. (This is the hard part! It took me awhile to get these cut up!)
11. Dip the squares into the chocolate, tap off the excess and transfer to the wax paper on the baking sheets.
12. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
11. Alternatively, wrap the plain caramel squares in wax paper and tie with thread.

Christmas Dinner!

It has been a long time since I’ve been able to get organized to write a post. I have a backlog of recipes that I want to share. But, instead of going back in time… I’ll write up some recipes I used for our Christmas dinner celebration. It was a wonderful feast with good friends, friendly pups, and lots and lots of fabulous food. On the menu was turkey, gravy, stuffing, green beans, risotto with scallops, stuffed onions, stuffed peppers, butternut squash soup, and butternut squash salad (if you can believe it, I think I may be missing menu items!). I brought over cauliflower gratin and veggie lasagna. Both turned out wonderfully! The lasagna is very time consuming, but work every minute!

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin (from Food Network)
What You Need:
– 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese , coarsely grated
– 2 cups grated Parmesan
– 6 ounces goat cheese, cut into small pieces
– Salt and freshly ground pepper

What You Do:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Layer the cauliflower, heavy cream, and the 3 cheeses in a medium casserole dish.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and the sauce has thickened slightly. 5. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Veggie Lasagna (from Gourmet Today Cookbook! Go out and buy it! I love this book)
Note: This is a complicated recipe. I made the ricotta a day in advance and then worked through the recipe. I organized it by each of its components.

What You Need (Sauce):
– 3 tbl olive oil
– 1 med onion
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– 3 tbl tomato paste
– 2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice, Italian, drained, juice reserved, and finely chopped
– 1 tsp sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp black pepper
– 3 tbl chopped basil

What You Do (Sauce):
1. Heat oil in heavy pot over moderate heat and add onion, cooking for 6 minutes.
2. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
3. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, juice, sugar, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.
4. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 45 minutes.
5. Stir in basil and remove from heat.

What You Need (Ricotta Cheese):
– 3 cups whole milk ricotta (see my post for how to make homemade ricotta)
– 1 large egg
– 1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano
– 1/4 cup chopped parsley (flat leaf)
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp pepper
– Pinch nutmeg

What You Do (Ricotta):
1. Stir together in bowl until combined and refrigerate.

What You Need (Roasted Veggies):
– 1 pound eggplant cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch think slices
– 1 pound zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch think slices
– 3 tbl olive oil
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp pepper

What You Do (Roasted Veggies):
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Oil two large baking sheets.
3. Arrange eggplant slices on one and zucchini slices on the other.
4. Brush veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Bake, turning once, 20 minutes.

What You Need (Creamed Spinach):
– 1 1/2 cup whole milk
– 3 tbl olive oil
– 3 garlic cloves minced
– 3 tbl flour
– 3 tbl parmigiano-reggiano
– 2 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
– Salt and pepper to taste

What You Do (Creamed Spinach):
1. Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm.
2. Heat oil in heavy saucepan over moderate low heat until hot.
3. Add garlic an cook, 4 minutes (or less).
4. Add flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes, to make roux.
5. Add warm milk in a steady stream whisking constantly.
6. Simmer sauce until thick 3-4 minutes.
7. Stir in cheese, spinach, salt and pepper.
8. Cook until heated.

What You Need (Lasagna Assembly):
– 1 pound fresh lasagna noodles (Vace is a great source in Cleveland Park, Washington DC)
– 1 pound mozzarella cheese (fresh, from Vace or check out my post on mozzarella), grated

What You Do (Lasagna Assembly):
1. Oil a 13-9 inch glass baking dish.
2. Spread 2 cups tomato sauce into dish.
3. Cover with lasagna noodle(s).
4. Spread ricotta, then cover with eggplant (overlapping to fit).
5. Top with more lasagna noodle(s).
6. Spread 1 1/2 cup sauce and top with spinach mixture.
7. Top with more lasagna noodle(s).
8. Top with zucchini (overlapping to fit).
9. Top with last of lasagna noodles.
10. Spread remaining sauce and sprinkle top with mozzarella.
11. Cover with well buttered foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375.
12. Remove foil and bake additional 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.

Let rest and enjoy!

Wish I was a food photographer to get some good shots of the meal. But here are samples of our colorful and full plates:

Eggplant Salad

Here is a recipe from Thanksgiving for an eggplant salad/spread. It is delicious and was prepared by a family friend. One of my mother’s friends got the recipe and wrote it down. I’m hoping to see if it turns out as well when I prepare it:

Eggplant Salad

What You Need:
– l large or 2 medium eggplants
– 1 small onion
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 1 Tbs Vinegar
– 1 – 2 Tbs olive oil
– Sea salt

What You Do:
1. Fork your eggplants in a couple of places to put some holes in them.
2. Wrap the eggplant(s) in tin foil.
2. Cook eggplants in oven for about one hour. (Anthony says “Cook for one hour on a low flame directly on the “burner” and keep turning to avoid burning– but I think this can be done in the oven)
3. When it is done (soft) rinse in cold water and scoop out the insides and mix by hand or in a blender and set aside.
4. Take the onion, the cloves of garlic, the vinegar and the olive oil and put in a blender.
5. Blend till smooth.
6. Add the eggplant and salt to taste.

Best served next day.

Still to come… turkey, stuffing, and dessert! Just waiting on some details from my mom!

Thanksgiving Part Two: Sides

For the Thanksgiving sides we served brussels sprouts, sweet potato casserole, cooked carrots, and cranberry sauce. The cranberry sauce was the best surprise of the meal, since it was my first time making homemade sauce. We usually use the Ocean Spray canned jelly. I was determined to find a sauce that would convert many of my friends and family to a homemade variety. And, it was a success!
Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnut Butter (from The Bitten Word)
What You Need (I doubled the recipe):
– 1/3 cup hazelnuts (about 1 oz.)
– 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
– 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
– 1-1/2 tsp. lightly chopped fresh thyme
– 1/2 tsp. honey
– Kosher salt
– 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1-3/4 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered or cut into 6 wedges if very large (about 6 cups)
– Kosher salt
– 1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
What You Do:
1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
2. Put the hazelnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet.
3. Roast in the oven until they are a deep golden-brown (the skins will be visibly splitting), 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Wrap the nuts in a clean kitchen towel, cool for a couple of minutes, and then take the skins off by rubbing the nuts together in the kitchen towel while still warm. (Don’t worry about getting all of the skins off.)
5. Let the nuts cool for about 10 minutes.
6. Finely chop 1/4 cup of the nuts in a small food processor. The nuts should be very finely ground, but not so much that they turn into nut butter.
7. Coarsely chop the remaining nuts and set aside for a garnish.
8. Put the finely chopped nuts, butter, lemon zest, thyme, honey, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl and mix with a spatula until well combined.
9. Set aside or refrigerate if not using right away.

10. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat.

11. Add the Brussels sprouts and 1-1/2 tsp. salt and stir well.
12. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and then more frequently as the sprouts begin to brown, until all of the sprouts are golden-brown on most sides and have lost their raw color (they will still feel firm), 15 to 18 minutes.
13. Add the broth and immediately cover the pan.
14. Cook until the broth has reduced to a few tablespoons, about 2 minutes.
15. Uncover, raise the heat to high, and boil off most of the remaining liquid, 1 to 2 minutes.
16. Take the pan off the heat and add the hazelnut butter in spoonfuls; toss well. Season to taste with salt.
17. Transfer the sprouts to a warm serving dish and garnish with the reserved hazelnuts.

Sweet Potato Casserole (from Southern Food)

What You Need (I triple the recipe and make one batch without the nut topping):
– 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1/2 cup milk
– 1/2 cup melted butter
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/3 cup flour
– 1/3 cup melted butter
– 1 cup chopped pecans
– Marshmallows

What You Do:
1. Combine first 6 ingredients.

2. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish.

3. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top.

4. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.

Here is a look at the carrots while they are cooking. I’ll have to get the recipe from my mom to post.Most important of the sides (although they were all delicious), was the cranberry sauce. A happy new addition to our Thanksgiving dinner.

Honey-and-Spice Cranberry Sauce (from Epicurious)

What You Need:
– 1 12-ounce bag cranberries
– 1 3/4 cups apple cider or juice
– 3/4 cup honey
– 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
– 6 whole cloves (for next year, I’m going to use less cloves for a more mild flavor)
– 1 bay leaf
– Pinch of salt What You Do:

1. Combine all ingredients in heavy large saucepan.

2. Bring to boil over medium heat.

3. Simmer until berries burst and sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. I ended up simmering for a bit longer than this to get the right thickness, maybe 20-30 minutes.

4. Remove cinnamon sticks, cloves and bay leaf.

5. Refrigerate sauce until cold. (Note: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

Stay tuned for the most important part of the meal, stuffing, turkey, and desserts!