Monday, November 26, 2012

Cashew Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of

Prep Time  15 minutes
Total Time  45 minutes
Serves 6

Fried chicken bits with crisp vegetables and cashews in a delicious oyster sauce.  Yummy!

2lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” chunks)
2 cups flour
5 teaspoons cornstarch (divided)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 eggs (beaten)
oil (for frying)

2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
1 large green pepper (sliced)
1 large onion  (sliced)
2 cups cashews
1/3 cup green onions (chopped)


Step 1: In a bowl mix flour, baking soda and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. In another bowl beat the eggs. Dip chicken pieces first then the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture and then again in the flour mixture.

Step 2: Fry in oil in a wok or in a deep fryer at 350 degrees in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Step 3: Heat a tiny bit of oil in the wok and stir fry green pepper and onions for 2-3 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside

Step 4: To make the sauce- in a bowl mix chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, pepper, and 4 tablespoons of cornstarch.

Step 5: Pour sauce into wok and cook over medium heat stirring until well blended and sauce thickens. In a bowl pour sauce over chicken pieces, add green peppers and onions. Mix well and garnish with cashews and green onions. Serve with white rice.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

This is one of my all-time favorite desserts.  It's really easy to make and it is absolutely delicious!   If you haven't already decided on your Thanksgiving dessert, consider this one!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Recipe Courtesy of Paula Deen

Prep Time   20 minutes
Total Time  60 minutes
Serves  8

Oh yeah.... it's as good as it sounds!

1 (21-ounce) can apple pie filling
1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup caramel topping
12 pecan halves, plus 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Reserve 3/4 cup of the apple filling; set aside. Spoon the remaining filling into the crust. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs and mix well. Pour this over the pie filling.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the center of the cake is set. Cool to room temperature.
Mix the reserved pie filling and caramel topping in a small saucepan and heat for about 1 minute, or until spreadable. Spoon the apple-caramel mixture over the top of the cheesecake and spread evenly.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cheddar-Chive Mashed Potatoes

Recipe Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serves 10-12

I wanted to find something different from standard mashed potatoes.  I found this recipe several years ago and it was a winner.  It now graces my Thanksgiving table every year.


  • 4 lb. large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


Put the potatoes in a large stockpot, add water to cover by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain well in a colander and let stand for 5 minutes. Set a potato ricer over a large bowl and pass the potatoes through in batches.

(don't worry if you don't have a potato ricer.  Just smash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher).

Preheat an oven to 450°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the half-and-half and butter until the butter melts and small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat.

Add the half-and-half mixture to the potatoes and stir until just combined. Add 1 cup of the cheese and 3 Tbs. of the chives and stir until just combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the potatoes into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese.
(To get extra creamy potatoes, use your electric mixer on medium to blend the half-and-half mixture).

Bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbs. chives. Serve immediately. Serves 10 to 12.

Make-Ahead Tip: Peel and quarter the potatoes 1 day in advance; place them in a bowl, add cold water to cover and refrigerate. If desired, cook and mash the potatoes up to 2 hours before serving, but do not add the cheese and chives. Cover the potatoes tightly with plastic wrap and keep warm in a bain-marie (hot water bath). Just before serving, fold in the cheese and chives and bake as directed

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe Courtesy of Seasons Greetings cookbook

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Makes approximately 18 mushrooms

I make these every Thanksgiving and after 6 years, they are not only still requested but they are still the first appetizer eaten first.  

18 medium-sized mushrooms (about 1 pound)
7 ounces crab meat, cartilage removed
5 green onions with tops, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried savory
Black pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise
Grated Parmesan cheese, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wipe the mushrooms clean with damp towel.  Remove the stems and discard them.  Scrape the gills and any remaining stem with a spoon, making deep cups.

Stir the crab meat, green onions, thyme, oregano, savory and pepper together in a small bowl.  Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and the mayonnaise, mixing with a fork until combined.  Fill the mushroom caps with rounded teaspoonfuls of the filling, and place them in an ungreased shallow baking dish.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle tops with additional Parmesan cheese.  Place mushrooms under broiler for 2 minutes or until lightly browned.

Make Ahead Tip:  The mushrooms may be covered and refrigerated overnight.  Reheat them at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes, or until hot.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ruths Chris Sweet Potato Casserole

Original Recipe

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Total Time:  60 minutes
Serves 10-12

I absolutely love the sweet potatoes at Ruths Chris and I was determined to figure out the recipe and make them myself.  After several tries, this recipe is pretty darn close.   If you like pecan pie, you MUST make these!

3 cups peeled, mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
1/3 cup half and half or heavy cream
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup pecans, finely crushed

In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, light and dark corn syrups, brown sugar, butter, salt and finely crushed pecans.  Add to cooked sweet potatoes.  Place hand-mixer on medium  and slowly add cream until thoroughly mixed and creamy.

Spoon into 8-in. baking dish, lightly coated with butter.


¼ cup brown sugar
¼ flour
2 T. chilled butter
1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Place topping on potato mixture and cook at 350 for 30 min.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Broccoli with Pine Nuts and Cranberry Relish

It's almost Thanksgiving!  The Super Bowl of Cooking - it's one of my favorite times of the year.
Over the next week, I'll be posting some of my favorite recipes from Thanksgiving dinners past.    Enjoy!

Recipe Courtesy of Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook

Prep Time  10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds broccoli florets, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons pine nuts or slivered almonds

Heat one inch water to boiling in 3-quart saucepan.  Add broccoli; reduce heat to low.  Simmer uncovered 7-12 minutes or until tender; drain. Stir in salt.

Heat remaining ingredients except pine nuts to boiling in 1-quart saucepan; reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer 10-13 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the cranberries have popped and sauce has thickened.

Spread pine nuts in single layer in 8 or 10-inch skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 4-7 minutes or until lightly browned.  Just before serving, spoon warm relish over broccoli and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Creole Shrimp and Sausage

Recipe Courtesy of Taste of Home
Modified Slightly

Prep Time  10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves 8

I've never been to New Orleans but I think any Cajun would love this recipe!  Smoky sausage, sweet shrimp and cajun spices make this a sure hit!

1/2 cup water
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups instant brown rice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, divided
1/2 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 pound uncooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Add water and chicken broth to saucepan.  Bring to boil.   Stir in rice, chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon cajun seasoning.   Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until rice is tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage in 1 teaspoon oil. Remove and keep warm.

In the same skillet, saute onion and green pepper in remaining oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, sausage and remaining Creole seasoning. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Fluff rice with a fork; serve with sausage mixture.