Home for the Holidays

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One of the biggest things I miss about being home is the smell of my house. I am pretty sure my mom has something baking or on the stove at all hours of the day, because that is just who she is. She has a knack for cooking and baking, and someday I hope I am as talented as she is.

My favorite is when I come home and I smell cookies baking in the oven, especially around the holidays.

So for this post, here is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe found on pinterest!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (use cream cheese in a block or spreadable, don’t use fat-free, light or whipped)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used 1 cup chips and 1 1/4 cups chunks)

DIRECTIONS:

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese (measure it by smooshing it into a 1/4-cup measure), sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use an electric hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).

Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
Add chocolate chips and chunks, and beat momentarily to incorporate, or fold in by hand.

Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds (I made 28). Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly with your palm, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.

Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or spray with cooking spray and place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet). Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 10 minutes as cookies will firm up as they cool (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 15 minutes, and were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark. They have chewy edges with soft, pillowy centers). Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

This is not an original recipe, although I wish it was.

ENJOY

THANKSGIVING FESTIVITIES!!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I have lots on my mind, but specifically, FOOD. I know that there is the typical food that is included in the dinner festivities, like the turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. This year, why not try mixing things up a bit and trying different types of foods, and starting new traditions. I know for me and my family, holidays have always been really important to us. Not only was it a time for everyone to finally be together for a night, but we could also participate in something we all know and love so much, eating. LOL.

This year I will not be with my family because I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family, but I am sure my mom will have something extravagant up her sleeves for the dinner portion of the night. No surprise there.

I am not that good at cooking unless I have a very specific recipe and a right hand man there to help out, but earlier today while I was on Pinterest I noticed so many different foods that looked so amazing, and especially on a holiday like Thanksgiving.

Here are a couple pictures of what could potentially be some wonderful dishes for Thanksgiving night. Your bellies sure will be HAPPY!

Start with a nice salad to begin the dishes.

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

Ingredients
  • 6 cups salad (I used a combination of arugula and baby spinach, any spring green mix will do)
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (such as Diamond of California)
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
dressing (see note)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar in a pinch)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • scant ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup oil

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UGHHH so delicious…

Next we have some Crunchy Holiday Stuffing

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups celery
1 1/2 cups carrots
1 (14 oz.) pkg. stuffing
2 cups FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup Water

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease 3-quart baking dish; set aside. Melt butter in large pot; stir in vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes.
ADD stuffing, broth and water and stir until moistened. Gently stir in French Fried Onions. Spoon stuffing into 3-quart baking dish.
COVER and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Onions. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until Onions are golden.

The results come out to an amazing looking dish, and what I love is that it is crunchier than all the stuffing I have ever had.

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And lastly, but could never forget, THE TURKEY!

Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter & Roasted Shallots

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15-to-16 pound turkey
  • Salt and pepper to season cavity
  • 1 1/4 lb. shallots, peeled and cut in half through the root
  • 1 carrot, unpeeled
  • 1 large celery stalk, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cups (approximately) chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together softened butter, sage, thyme and parsley until well combined.
  3. Remove the neck and other innards from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the carrot, celery and onion quarters into the cavity of the turkey.
  4. Tie the turkey legs together and tuck the wings underneath the turkey, using small skewers to secure, if necessary.
  5. Starting at the neck end, slide your hands under the breast skin to loosen. Smear 3 tablespoons of the herb butter underneath the breast skin. Smear another 4 tablespoons of the herb butter over the entire topside of the turkey.
  6. Place the turkey in the roasting pan, breast side up. Scatter the shallots around the turkey, on the bottom of the roasting pan.
  7. Cover the breasts with foil and place the turkey in the oven. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting it with 1/2 cup chicken broth every 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil from the breast. If you find that the legs are browning too much, cover each drumstick with foil. Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh (be sure not to hit the bone) registers 170 degrees F, basting every 30 minutes with the pan drippings, about 1 hour total.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  10. Remove the carrot, celery and onion from the cavity and discard.
  11. Remove the shallots from the pan and serve with the gravy. Use the remaining brown bits on the bottom of the pan and the remaining herb butter to make the gravy.

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And wow, is that a good lookin turkey!

Ps: These recipes and and directions are found from sites on Pinterest, and are just some of the wonderful dishes I have tried before. Pinterest always has some great pins for the Holiday seasons especially when it has to do with food!

Hope you all enjoy, and potentially use these recipes!