It’s time for one of my favorite after-Thanksgiving recipes. This Turkey, Cranberry and Dressing Panini is easy to make and uses all of your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers. Just take a few slices of turkey, some dressing (stuffing), cold gravy, and cranberry sauce stacked on some hearty bread and grill it into a golden brown piece of heaven. You don’t even have to heat up the ingredients before hand — they all cook up together in the pan. This panini is like a mini-holiday feast in your mouth. We upped the ante here by using Pumpkin Bread. Yum!
TURKEY, CRANBERRY & DRESSING PANINI
- 2 thick slices of day old bread
- turkey breast, sliced
- turkey dressing
- cranberry sauce
- cold gravy
- 3 sage leaves, finely chopped
- kosher salt
- butter, softened
- Spread one slice of bread with a thin layer of cold gravy.
- Layer the sandwich with slices of turkey, dressing, and more gravy. Season with salt and pepper and top with sage.
- Spread a thick layer of cranberry sauce on the other slice of bread.
- Butter each side of the sandwich. Toast in cast iron skillet until brown and crisp on both sides.
I can’t even begin tell you how delicious this recipe is. I have two guys at my house that just love eggnog, so it was clear that we had to give this a try. The substitution of eggnog for the milk in the French Toast batter is an absolutely brilliant idea. It provides a delicious, rich upgrade to the flavor without overpowering the palate. Fantastic for Holiday Breakfasts and Brunches . . .
EGGNOG FRENCH TOAST (Serves 8-10)
- 2 cups eggnog
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or rum extract
- 20 to 26 slices bread English muffin bread
- Confectioners’ sugar, optional
- Maple syrup
- In a bowl, beat eggs, eggnog, sugar and extract; soak bread for 2 minutes per side. Cook on a greased hot griddle until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Serve with syrup.
Cooking low and slow improves the texture of meat and produces a juicy and more flavorful final product. It is essential to sear the meat quickly over a high heat on each side to brown the surface, seal in the juices and enhance the flavor. The heat is then reduced to medium or low to finish the cooking process. This recipe braises the chops in a rich tomato sauce allowing the flavors to intermingle as the food is cooked. Trust me when I say that there will be a LOT of tomato sauce left over after cooking. I had a quart remaining that I used a couple of days later over some sausage stuffed tortellini. Served here with Carrot Coins with Dill Butter.
TOMATO CHOPS (Serves 4)
4 pork chops
- 1 pinch garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 stalks chopped celery, with leaves
- 12 ounces tomato paste
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 3 cups water
- Season pork chops with garlic salt to taste. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add chops and brown in oil for about 4 to 6 minutes each side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, saute onion and celery until translucent. Add tomato paste and heat through, stirring, until liquid is bubbling. Add tomato sauce and heat through, stirring, until bubbling. Add water to thin sauce. Return chops to skillet, reduce heat to very low and let simmer until meat is very tender and sauce thickens (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours), adding water as needed.
As it turns out, beans are actually good for your heart. They are proteins that are high in minerals and fiber without the saturated fat of most meats. They are also said that they have the added benefit of improving blood cholesterol levels. I chose this recipe not only because of the mix of beans and veggies, but also because of the fantastic dressing that gives it so much flavor. It begins with a basic vinaigrette base, but adds fresh citrus juices, garlic and a nice selection of spices to the mix. Make this ahead and let the salad chill in the fridge while the flavors marry for a bit. Serve it as a side or just have a nice big serving as a meal as we did here.
MEXICAN BEAN SALAD (Serves 8)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn kernels
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 dash hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- In a large bowl, combine beans, bell peppers, frozen corn, and red onion.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, salt, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and black pepper. Season to taste with hot sauce and chili powder.
- Pour olive oil dressing over vegetables; mix well. Chill thoroughly, and serve cold.
Carrots are one of the healthiest vegetables around. They are high in beta-carotene, have tremendous antioxidant benefits, and a new study shows that they also inhibit the development of cardiovascular diseases. Although this recipe suggests that you boil your carrots, I prefer to steam them to allow for nutrient retention and better flavor. Just a coating with butter and a dash of dill and you have a beautiful, simple side for your fall table. And, yes . . . they are also good for your eyesight!!
CARROT COINS WITH DILL BUTTER (Serves 4)
- 2 pounds carrots
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley
1. Peel the carrots and cut them diagonally in 1/4-inch slices. You should have about 6 cups of carrots.
2. Place the carrots, 1/3 cup water, the salt, and pepper in a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through.
3. Add the butter and saute for another minute, until the water evaporates and the carrots are coated with butter.
4. Turn off the heat, toss with the dill or parsley. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.
Folks in the South L-O-V-E their biscuits. Sadly, this is something that escapes me entirely (such blasphemy!). I have only made biscuits a handful of times in my life, but this recipe inspired me to try, try again. I saved a bit of mashed sweet potatoes from our Maple-Pecan Sweet Potato Mash the other night to add flavor and serve as a natural sweetener. Remember that when handling bread and pastry the rule is always ‘Less is More’. You should cut in the butter and shortening until the pieces are about the size of a pebbles. If you work the mixture too much the biscuits will become dense and lose their light, fluffy texture. Make sure that you turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Too much flour will cause the dough to become too dry, and your biscuits will crumble and break apart. These biscuits come out a beautiful golden color with a delicious, slightly sweet flavor — a perfect compliment for country ham, homemade jelly or maybe just a drizzle of honey. Served here with ham and Pimento Cheese.
SWEET POTATO BISCUITS (Serves 4)
- 5 cups self-rising flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
- Parchment paper
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Stir together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter cubes and shortening into flour mixture with pastry blender or fork just until mixture resembles coarse meal. Cover and chill 10 minutes.
- Whisk together buttermilk and sweet potato. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
- Turn dough out onto a well floured surface, and knead lightly 3 or 4 times. Pat or roll dough to 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a 2-inch round cutter, reshaping scraps once. (Do not twist cutter.) Place rounds on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 425° for 18 to 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Remove from oven, and brush tops of biscuits with melted butter. Serve immediately.
Constructing the perfect pimento cheese — all thanks to The Pioneer Woman! There are three different cheeses blended with mayonnaise, Dijon, and some seasonings. But the Adobo sauce — a little bit spicy – a little bit smoky — is the real secret to this recipe. Buy a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and scoop down deep to get a good tablespoonful of the sauce (although I recommend a bit more) and save those chipotle peppers in the fridge for another recipe during the week. We enjoyed this as a late supper while we watched Thursday night football — served with ham on Sweet Potato Biscuits, veggies and crackers.
PIMENTO CHEESE (Serves 12)
- Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon, adobo, and black pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix it until totally combined (if you have a few lumps from the cream cheese, no problem; you won’t see them later!)
- Add the cheddar and Monterey jack and mix gently until combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl and make sure all the ingredients are mixed together. Stir in the pimentos and dill. Taste and mix in more of whatever you think it needs. Add more cheese if you like the pimento cheese to be less creamy; add less if you like it to be more creamy.
- Refrigerate pimento cheese for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Serve with crackers, small hollowed-out peppers, carrot and celery sticks, and olives. (Or make small sandwiches or even a grilled cheese with it!)
***Note: For best results, make sure the cheddar and jack cheeses are nice and cold when you mix them in.