Why Yes, it IS Thanksgiving time again. Is it your turn to host this year?

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving in My Sister's Kitchen

Yes, it’s that time of year again. I think that Thanksgiving Day is probably the biggest food holiday of the year for me and this year will be no different. I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner here this week and I’m already feeling a little bit behind. Thankfully, I’ve got my Thanksgiving menu down to a science (or as much of a science as luscious food CAN be!) and I’ll be drawing from our old favorite, traditional recipes. We haven’t added much to our repertoire here for awhile because we really have settled in to our favorite holiday foods.

Therefore, I STILL can recommend all the recipes that we’ve posted over the last 8 years. If you click on the Thanksgiving tag, you’ll find every post that relates to this holiday of thankfulness. Please enjoy! As always, if you find links that are broken or recipes that are unclear, please let us know and we’ll fix those right away!

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving this year!

Barb and Laura

 

Planning Ahead for Thanksgiving Dinner, 2013

If you haven’t started planning for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s time to get going! We’ve majored in the very best traditional Thanksgiving dishes we can find and this is one holiday when we stick with the classics. For a couple of reasons it really helps to start planning early. First, planning well saves my sanity. Second, planning well saves my relationships with all the people that I love and count on to help out with this big food event. Third, planning well allows me to start shopping a couple of weeks in advance. When I do that, I don’t feel quite as shocked by a lot of extra cost all on one day of shopping. Fourth, planning ahead means that when someone asks me that question, “What can I bring?” I actually have an answer for them! © 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

So this weekend, I’m planning and I’ll be shopping throughout the week ahead for most of the food I’ll need for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Next week is when the plan rolls into action around here. Here’s what I’m tentatively thinking.

2013 Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Note that I haven’t listed any appetizers on this menu plan. That’s because I always answer that question, “What can I bring?” with one word: APPETIZERS!

Saturday, 11/23:

  • Take the turkey out of the freezer and put it into the fridge to defrost slowly
  • Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven until they’re fork tender. Refrigerate them until next week.
  • Go shopping
  • Make sure the tablecloth is clean and ironed

Sunday, 11/24:

Monday, 11/25:

  • Cook white potatoes. Refrigerate in tightly covered container.
  • Bake fresh pumpkin until fork tender. Clean and process and refrigerate
  • Bake dinner rolls and freeze, tightly wrapped

Tuesday, 11/26:

Wednesday, 11/27 :

Thursday, 11/28 AM:

  • Remove dinner rolls from freezer
  • Set table (Just for kicks and giggles, this post on Simple Thanksgiving Decorations is from before the days of Pinterest. In spite of Pinterest, this is STILL how I decorate!)
  • Make dressing/stuffing
  • Plate salads

Thursday, 11/28 PM:

  • Heat two potato casseroles in oven
  • Take turkey out of oven
  • Heat two potato casseroles in oven
  • Heat green bean casserole in oven
  • Put cranberry relish into serving bowl
  • Carve turkey (Here’s our new how-to)
  • Make gravy
  • Heat dinner rolls
  • Put everything on the table with serving utensils

Eat dinner!!!

  • Clean up leftovers
  • Clean up kitchen
  • Start turkey stock
  • Go for a long walk or take a long nap

Thanksgiving evening:

  • Heat pies
  • Make whipped cream
  • Make coffee
  • Serve dessert

It’s entirely possible that I’ve forgotten steps, so if I think of anything else, I’ll come back and edit this post. For me, one of the most important steps of planning is shopping. Almost every year, I come up with something critical that I’ve forgotten to buy. Finding stores open on Thanksgiving Day isn’t easy. Writing everything out ahead of time really helps me avoid that last minute panic and dash to the store for whipping cream, candles, and cornstarch.

For a slightly different style of planning, another foodie, my friend Lori Hubert, shared HER plan for Thanksgiving prep with me. Here’s a photo of her 1-page plan. Note that Lori has only one oven so it’s important for her to plan the sequences of her dinner prep with that in mind.

© 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

Perhaps the biggest benefit for me of taking some time NOW to plan for Thanksgiving Dinner is that I really will be free to spend some time reflecting on all the many reasons I have to be VERY thankful!

Barb  IMG_5388

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Thirty Days of Fabulous Food (for which we are thankful!) 2013

For the last several years, we’ve taken the month of November to remember all the things that we say THANK YOU for and usually we post each day on Facebook about those things. This year, we’re doing something just a little bit different. We will continue to count our blessings on our own time. On Facebook, we’re counting some of our very favorite recipes for our very favorite homemade foods. We’ve been writing about good food and feeding the ones we love for about 7.5 years now. If you weren’t following our journey back in 2006, you probably missed some of our favorite recipes. We’re taking this opportunity to direct you back to a few of those must have/must try faves.

This post will be a sticky on the top of the website for the month of November. We’ll update it each day with our favorite recipe that we’d like to remind you of.

Now’s a good time to mention that following My Sister’s Kitchen on Facebook is also a great way to keep up with our daily thankfulness this month. Visit us and LIKE…then we’ll start showing up in your feed.

We’d also really love to hear from you what YOUR favorite foods are, so please share with us in the comments below. Feel free to share often, as you think of fabulous foods for which YOU are thankful!

Day 1: It’s not an old recipe; it’s our new favorite! Candied Bacon is taking all the awards this fall.

Day 2: Also a new favorite, Pumpkin Pork Chili. Yummmmmmmmmm.

Day 3: This one is from 2006 and is a staple in our kitchen. Baked Oatmeal. We even had it for dinner last night!

Day 4: Still thinking about breakfast, Baked French Toast Turtle Style. (This could just about be dessert.)

Day 5: All things Pesto. Homemade Fresh Pesto makes life good.

Day 6: Fresh Apple Cake, still our all time favorite dessert.

Day 7: Homemade Power Granola

Day 8: Homemade Grapenuts

Day 9: Pull-apart Sticky Buns

Day 10: Black Bean Salad

Day 11: Broccoli Salad with bacon, grapes and lots of seedy things

Day 12: Sweet Potato Soup or its Curry Sweet Potato version

Day 13: White Chicken Chili–comfort food for the next generation. This is probably our very favorite food on the planet.

Day 14: Perfect Pumpkin Bread — possibly my favorite recipe of all time.

Day 15: Hearty Pumpkin Soup

Day 16: Spicy Homemade Cole Slaw

Day 17: Homemade Chicken Pot Pie (or its cousin, Pot Roast Pot Pie)

Day 18: Tuna Noodle Casserole

Day 19: Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Day 20: Golden Pepper Soup

Day 21: Cranberry Pudding with Butter Sauce

Barb  IMG_5388

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Set-your-hair-on-fire Habañero Salsa

A couple of days ago, I promised to write up a proper recipe for the HOTTEST homemade salsa that we make. I think I’ve already mentioned earlier that we are serious Rick Bayless groupies. This salsa is totally inspired by his habañero salsa. (And if you ever get to eat at one of his restaurants in Chicago, Xoco’s, Frontera, or Topolo Bampo, do it!)  © 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

This recipe couldn’t be easier.

Fresh Habañero Salsa

  • 40 fresh habañero chilis
  • 10 large cloves of garlic, roasted
  • 10 T. freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • salt
  • water

Roast your chilis on a dry skillet until they just start to blacken. Don’t stand right over the chilis as they roast. Some of the hotness aerosolizes and it can make you cough and choke. You’ll start to smell the peppery goodness as the chilis heat up and start to brown. Using tongs and a paring knife, remove the stems.

Put the chilis, the garlic cloves, and the lime juice in the blender and blend until smooth. Add a little water to bring it to a texture that lends itself to being spooned into a bowl. Add salt to taste–usually about a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.

I can’t say this often enough. Be EXTREMELY careful with the habañero chilis. Try to avoid skin contact with them as you prepare this salsa. These are really, really hot little peppers.

© 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

This was the best photo but I could never eat that much salsa on one chip. This stuff is WAY too hot!

We love this salsa because the flavor of it is just amazing, but a little goes a long way. When we serve this to someone who hasn’t tried it before, Dave usually recommends just touching the chip to the salsa and trying that much–really no more than about the head of a pin. This isn’t for everyone but if you like spicy food, it’s worth a try. We freeze small portions of it because we eat it very slowly.

If you missed it earlier be sure to check out how we use this awesome salsa in making our new favorite food, Candied Bacon. The flavors of the bacon and the Habañero Salsa are a whole new kind of amazing².

Barb  IMG_5388

– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. You can also sign up to get emails every time we post something new here in the Kitchen. Look on the sidebar the link to subscribe.

Set-your-hair-on-fire Habañero Salsa

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: approx. 8 ounces

Ingredients

  • 40 fresh habañero chilis
  • 10 large cloves of garlic, roasted
  • 10 T. freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • salt
  • water

Instructions

Roast your chilis on a dry skillet until they just start to blacken. Don't stand right over the chilis as they roast. Some of the hotness aerosolizes and it can make you cough and choke. You'll start to smell the peppery goodness as the chilis heat up and start to brown. Using tongs and a paring knife, remove the stems.

Put the chilis, the garlic cloves, and the lime juice in the blender and blend until it's smooth. Add a little water to bring it to a texture that lends itself to being spooned into a bowl. Add salt to taste--usually about a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.

I can't say this often enough. Be EXTREMELY careful with the habañero chilis. Try to avoid skin contact with them as you prepare this salsa. These are really, really hot little peppers.

http://www.mysisterskitchenonline.com/2013/11/04/set-your-hair-on-fire-habanero-salsa/

 

Candied Bacon: Halloween Treats for the Adults

First we took something that almost everyone loves: bacon. Then we made it so delicious that it’ll set your hair on end. THEN we did something to it that will set your hair on FIRE  and then you’ll THANK us for that! Just wait. This is the best Halloween treat ever and is definitely not for the costumed crowds that will come knocking at your door on Halloween.

It all started with Michael, my son-who-is-probably-a-better-cook-than-I-am. He’s been baking with Bruce at Owl Creek Breadworks (Bruce ships his bread, by the way) for several years now and boy howdy can those two guys get into delicious trouble over there! They’ve been making bacon-cheddar-red onion croissants to sell at the local farmers market so they were always working with bacon.

All that working with bacon led to lots of conversations about bacon and all its various iterations. Very dangerous. A few weeks ago, they made candied or caramelized bacon. Michael came home and immediately demonstrated for us. It was easy and AMAZING. And as we brainstormed some more, it just kept getting better.

© 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

As we approach that day when every household has a bowl of individually packaged Halloween treats to hand out at the front door, consider what treats the ADULTS around the house really need. I submit that we need bacon.

First the basic caramelized bacon recipe and then a variation that has rocked our bacon world.

Candied Bacon

  • 1 pound package of thick-sliced bacon
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • Optional: cayenne pepper flakes, coarsely ground black pepper, sea salt

Using thick-sliced bacon is very important. We favor Smithfield butcher’s cut but use whatever is your favorite brand.

© 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 350°. After some experimenting, we’ve found that the best set-up is to use a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan. You’ll need a pan that has edges or you’ll end up with grease all over your oven and big, cozy kitchen fire. Not good. Use a non-stick spray on the rack before you put bacon on it.

Put the brown sugar into a bowl and start scrumbling the bacon slices around in it. Once they’re liberally coated, lay the slices out carefully on the wire rack. If you need to use more brown sugar, go for it.

© 2013 My Sister's Kitchen© 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

At this point, you can also sprinkle ground pepper or cayenne pepper flakes on the tops of the slices. Or not. This bacon will be amazing either way.

Bake for ten minutes. Turn each slice over and bake for another ten minutes. The bacon should be close to being done. If it seems like it needs a little bit more time, turn it over again and bake it for a couple more minutes. Keep a very close watch on it. All that sugar will start burning quickly if left unattended.

© 2013 My Sister's Kitchen © 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

After taking the bacon out of the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes (if you can), cut each piece in half and start doling it out like you would precious gold. It’s amazing. See? I told you!

© 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

Now….to take it up a notch, consider making ……

Caramelized Habanero Bacon. Oh my. The first time Michael tasted this, his eyes rolled back in his head with sheer delight.

The very, VERY, VERY important thing to remember when working with Habaneros is to always wear gloves, especially if you’re massaging habanero salsa into a slice of bacon.

Stir a tablespoon of Habañero salsa into the cup of brown sugar and then proceed as before. Put your gloves on before handling the salsified bacon. All the other directions remain the same.

The very best thing about this variation on Candied Bacon is that the bacon and salsa together work perfectly. The bacon backs off the heat of the Habaneros and still retains the incredible flavor. (And just in the interest of science, we tried baking bacon with habañero salsa on it WITHOUT the brown sugar…yummy but extremely hot! The sugar mellowed the habañeros but without the sugar…wow. Hair on fire.)

© 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

See, you have to wear gloves or the habaneros will haunt you for a long time

Actually, the most dangerous thing about this candied bacon is all the practice-until-it’s-perfect that we’re going to have to do between now and October 31!

This caramelized bacon makes a really tasty appetizer too.

Barb  IMG_5388

– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. You can also sign up to get emails every time we post something new here in the Kitchen. Look on the sidebar the link to subscribe.

 

Candied Bacon: Halloween Treats for the Adults

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 10-12 strips of candied bacon

1/2 strip of bacon

Candied/Caramelized Bacon--a Halloween Treat for the grown ups.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound package of thick-sliced bacon
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • Optional: cayenne pepper flakes, coarsely ground black pepper, sea salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°. After some experimenting, we've found that the best set-up is to use a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan. You'll need a pan that has edges or you'll end up with grease all over your oven and big, cozy kitchen fire. Not good. Use a non-stick spray on the rack before you put bacon on it.

Put the brown sugar into a bowl and start scrumbling the bacon slices around in it. Once they're liberally coated, lay the slices out carefully on the wire rack. If you need to use more brown sugar, go for it.

At this point, you can also sprinkle ground pepper or cayenne pepper flakes on the tops of the slices. Or not. This bacon will be amazing either way.

Bake for ten minutes. Turn each slice over and bake for another ten minutes. The bacon should be close to being done. If it seems like it needs a little bit more time, turn it over again and bake it for a couple more minutes. Keep a very close watch on it. All that sugar will start burning quickly if left unattended.

After taking the bacon out of the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes.

© 2013 My Sister's Kitchen

http://www.mysisterskitchenonline.com/2013/10/24/candied-bacon-halloween-treats-for-the-adults/