Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Creamy Turkey Wild Rice Soup

Tomorrow is the big day but I’m already looking forward to the day after. And the day after that. That’s right. Thanksgiving leftovers. I can’t help myself when it comes to leftover turkey anything. Soup, sandwich, casserole, omelet, you name it! I’ve always been a sucker for the Chicken Wild Rice Soup from Panera (or as they call it here in STL, St. Louis Bread Co.) This recipe combines the juicy leftovers (dark meat too!) along with a creamy texture and savory rice to make for the perfect soothing post Thanksgiving Day meal. And if you’re like me and get sick every year around this time, it helps with that as well.


Creamy Turkey Wild Rice Soup
Serves 6-8

1 C wild rice
2 C water
2-3 C leftover turkey
5 C chicken stock (turkey or vegetable work too)
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
3 large celery stalks, chopped
1 C mushrooms (any kind), chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 TBSP unsalted butter
2 TBSP flour
2 C milk

In a medium saucepan, add rice and water. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. The rice will not be fully done. Add rice and any remaining water to chicken stock mixture in large stock pot.

In large stock pot, add chicken stock, turkey, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Bring pot to a simmer and add garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Keep at low simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and whisk until mixture bubbles. Slowly whisk in milk. Whisk continuously until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add to large stock pot. Mix together and stir occasionally at a low heat until soup is thickened.

Ladle and enjoy!


When reheating leftovers, you may want to add a little extra milk to the mixture before reheating. The rice tends to pull in the liquid when saved.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!


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Filed under Cook, Healthy, Quick & Easy, Thanksgiving

With Thankful Hearts…

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our lovely HAP readers! We have been so blessed this year and can never express the gratitude we have for our wonderful families and friends. We are humbly grateful for all of you who keep us chugging on and doing what we love. Haute Apple Pie would not be here if it was not for you! While the aforementioned are most important, we are also grateful for the little things in life that keep us smiling on a daily basis.

In no particular order: pumpkin, Pinterest, Nutella, frozen meals, mason jars, JoAnn Fabrics, Yo Mama, baby wipes, dried cranberries, pretty fonts, Wisconsin cheese, washable markers, warm soup, friends who share recipes, cast iron skillets, and homemade bread.

What are the little things that have warmed your hearts this year?

Warmest Thanksgiving Wishes to all!

Don’t forget to enter to win a FREE REAL Christmas Tree! Giveaway ends at 5 pm CST tomorrow!

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Filed under Thanksgiving

Leftover Turkey Panini

Thanksgiving is great, but leftovers can be even better. To me, there are few things tastier than a sandwich with nice thick cuts of leftover turkey. This year in anticipation of leftovers, I’ve created a panini with a mixture of all the wonderful tastes of Thanksgiving. This leftover turkey panini mixes cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and turkey combined with the smooth texture of brie to make for a fabulous day after Turkey Day meal.

In this recipe, I made a homemade cranberry chutney, but feel free to use any leftover cranberry sauce in its place. Or make this recipe for chutney on Thanksgiving and use it for your post-Turkey Day panini.

Leftover Turkey Panini with Cranberry Chutney
Leftover turkey meat
Sourdough bread
1 sweet potato, thinly sliced (I used my Kitchen Aid Slicer attachment, a mandolin would work great too)
1/4 C olive oil, plus extra for bread
1 small package Brie cheese
Coarse ground black pepper
Sea salt

Cranberry Chutney
12 oz whole fresh cranberries
1 TBSP orange zest
Juice of one orange or 1/4 C orange juice
1 C Sugar
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 small fresh rosemary sprig, or 1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

In a medium sauce pan add cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, sugar, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until cranberries burst and sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. The chutney can be made in advance and kept in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

In a skillet, heat olive oil. Generously season thin slices of sweet potato with salt and pepper and place in skillet. Fry until brown and crispy on both sides, approximately 3 minutes. Pat dry on a paper towel.

Lightly brush olive oil on the outside of bread slices. Layer brie on the bottom of the bread slices. Stack 5 or more sweet potatoes slices, turkey and chutney. Place a few more slices of brie on top. Set the sandwiches in heated panini press or pre-heated grill pan. Grill for 5 minutes, or until heated through.

I like to heat my turkey in the microwave for a just a little bit before placing it on the bread to make sure that the whole sandwich is heated through.

As an aside, I’m in love with these sweet potato chips. They would make a great stand alone side dish to any panini or barbecue meal.

There it is folks! An entire Thanksgiving meal in a sandwich that leaves your waistband feeling the same as when you started (unlike your meal the day before).

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Filed under Cook, Main Dish, Thanksgiving

{Haute Pie} Double Pumpkin Mini Pies with Candied Pecans

Growing up, we skipped the pies and got hooked on my mom’s pumpkin cheesecake as our traditional Thanksgiving dessert.  But since this blog is Haute Apple Pie and not Haute Apple Cheesecake, I wanted to come up with a version of the classic pumpkin pie that still paid homage to our family favorite.  Starting with the traditional pie recipe in a charming mini size, I topped them with a pumpkin “cheesecake” mousse and Stef’s candied pecans.  The little twists made them special enough to  take home the grand prize at my company’s recent cook-off!

While there are several components to this, you can make nearly everything ahead of time. I made my pie crust 3-4 days in advance. The candied pecans can be made up to a week in advance and the pumpkin cheesecake 1-2 days in advance. The grand finale of assembling and baking the pie can even be done the night before, although don’t add the nuts until just before serving to ensure that they stay crunchy.

Double Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans

Double Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans
Makes about 40 mini pies or 1 9″ pie

Pumpkin Pie
2 eggs
1 can pumpkin
3/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 can evaporated milk

In a large bowl, combine ingredients in order with a whisk. Whisk well to combine. Transfer some of mixture into a glass measuring cup with a pour spout if making mini pies.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 pkg french vanilla pudding mix
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 container Cool Whip
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 can pumpkin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

In a medium bowl, whisk together pudding mix, milk and Cool Whip. Next, whisk in pumpkin and pie spice until well combined. Gradually cut in small chunks of cream cheese, continuing to beat well to incorporate.  Transfer to a piping bag during assembly.

Pie Crust
3 C flour
3/4 – 1 C shortening
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1 C ice water (you may not use it all)

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.  Separately, combine vinegar and ice water.  Cut the shortening into the dry mixture in small chunks using a pastry cutter or fork. Begin adding water to the dry mixture, 1-2 Tbsp at a time as you use the pastry cutter or your hands to work the shortening into the flour.  Continue adding water until all the flour is worked in and dough holds together but is not sticky (you may not use all the water).  If dough gets too sticky, dust in more flour.

To freeze dough, form your dough into a 1″ thick disc and wrap it in plastic wrap and a plastic freezer bag. Move it to the fridge about 24 hours before you’ll be baking your pies to thaw.  To use immediately, divide dough into 2 balls and place each ball between 2 sheets of floured waxed or parchment paper.  Roll out each ball with a rolling pin until it is flat and thin.  Use a large biscuit cutter to cut small circles from the dough and push each circle into a mini muffin pan with your fingers.  Crimp edges if desired.

For a full size pie, cut dough ingredients in half.  Form and roll out one dough ball and transfer to a 9″ pie pan.

Candied Pecans
1 egg white
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp salt
1 lb shelled, unsalted pecans
2/3 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250. Whip egg white, salt and water until frothy. Coat pecans in mixture. In a separate bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar. Shake over pecans and mix with hands to coat. Spread on rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 250 for 1 hour, turning pecans every 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Baking & Assembly
Preheat oven to 400. Pour pumpkin pie filling mixture into crust(s) using a glass measuring cup for easier pouring. For mini pies, bake about 28 minutes. For large pie, bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes clean. Allow pie to cool completely.

Next, transfer cheesecake topping to a pastry bag. Pipe one dollop onto mini pies or any pattern you like onto a full pie. For full pie, you could also just spread on with a spatula. Top pie with candied pecans before serving.

Thanksgiving pumpkin pie

Looking for more Thanksgiving ideas? Check out these great dishes from the Communal Table on Food Network’s The Dish!

Cocktails, Appetizers, Soups and Salads:
Sweet Life Bake: Pumpkin Margarita
Easy Peasy Organic: Thanksgiving Ginger Cocktail
Dishin and Dishes: Butternut Squash Bruschetta With Sage Pesto
Mooshu Jenne: Green Salad
Two Peas and Their Pod: Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Apple Salad
Jones is Hungry: Roasted Vegetable Salad
Purple Cook: Pasta and Bean Stew With Tomatoes and Broccoli Rabe
From My Corner of Saratoga: Curried Pumpkin Soup

CIA Dropout: Turkey and Stuffles Roulades With Squash Mash
FN Dish: Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey
My Angel’s Allergies: Cranberry-Glazed Cornish Hens

Cafe Terra Blog: Cranberry Pumpkin Stuffing
Virtually Homemade: Twice-Baked Cheddar and Chive Potatoes
Easy Eats Magazine: Sausage and Dried Cranberry-Walnut Stuffing
The Sensitive Epicure: Oyster Dressing and Gravy
Daily*Dishin: Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes Supreme
What’s Gaby Cooking: Rustic Herb Skillet Stuffing
Family Fresh Cooking: Coconut Brown-Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Silvana’s Kitchen: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Mushroom-Rye Stuffing
The Cultural Dish: Cranberry Sauce

I Am Baker: Pumpkin Cake
Heather Christo: Pumpkin Vanilla Ice Cream Pie
And Love It Too: Pumpkin Custard (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
Ladles and Jelly Spoons: Not Your Same Old Pumpkin Pie
Daydreamer Desserts: Cuban Diplomatic Pudding
Thursday Night Dinner: Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Caramel Apple Pie


Filed under Holidays, Thanksgiving, Treats

{Thanksgiving Potluck} Pear Pie

No Thanksgiving is complete without a little pie, of course!  Today our guest is Emily, who writes for two blogs, Swanky Taco Tuesday, a foodie blog with a few family adventures thrown in and Beauties and the Feast, a virtual recipe club she contributes to along with five girlfriends. A resident of the Pacific Northwest, Emily works in PR and Marketing by day, but her true passions are cooking, baking, wine drinking and cocktail consuming. Read on to meet her and indulge in her tasty family recipe for Pear Pie!

Favorite Thanksgiving Dish or Tradition? Just one!? Thanksgiving isn’t complete without a brined turkey, my Uncle Kevin’s Crème Fresh Sweet Potato and Carrot Puree, Apple Prune Sausage Stuffing, and Shiitake Mushroom Gravy!

Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie? Pumpkin, hands down. My favorites are homemade Praline Pumpkin Chiffon Pie and Costco Pumpkin Pie. Hold the whipped cream please.

Cooking Mantra: Good friends, music and a glass of wine will make every meal a success.

What are you thankful for this year? My awesome family and good health.

Thanks to the HAP ladies for inviting me to be a part of their virtual Thanksgiving! For dessert, I’m including Pear Pie, a family favorite!

Pear Pie
1 unbaked 9”pie crust (plus extra crust for decorative leaves)
3 – 4 medium Bartlett Pears (yellow but firm)
¼ cup butter
1 cup sugar
¼ cup flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the pie crust blind (put foil in the crust and fill with pie weights) for 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and foil and bake 4 more minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.

Peel pears and halve and core them. Place pears in the pie crust with the cut side down, narrow ends of the pear toward the center. I sometimes quarter some of the pears, so they’ll all fit. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add rest of the ingredients and mix (you’ll have thick custard). Pour mixture over pears and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until filling is set and lightly browned.

Because my pie crust always turns out with a bit of a “rustic” look, I like to take a cookie cutter and extra pie crust and make shapes to cover up the imperfections! Cool before cutting.


Filed under Holidays, Thanksgiving, Treats

{Thanksgiving Potluck} Roasted Potatoes & Yams

Today we are happy to have the oh-so-adorable and always entertaining Erin from Hot Dinner Happy Home to share a Thanksgiving potato dish with you! Here are a few fun Thanksgiving tidbits about Erin and her delish dish for Roasted Potatoes and Yams:

Favorite Thanksgiving Dish and/or Tradition? I think Thanksgiving is the one meal of the year where everything tastes better if it’s touching on the plate. A little stuffing with some cranberry sauce, turkey topped with mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes crowned with green bean casserole. Mmmmm… And although I love it all, nothing says “Thanksgiving dinner” to me like stuffing.

Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie? Pumpkin. And can I be specific and request Pumpkin Praline?

What is your cooking mantra? I write a little blog called Hot Dinner Happy Home. My mission there, and in life, really, is “Turning home into a haven, one meal at a time.” My mom, a very wise woman, always taught me that home should be your refuge. Cooking a meal (what my husband and I jokingly refer to as “hot dinner”) is one great way to help create that safe place, where you don’t need to change your shirt if you happen to spill gravy down the front. So, I hope that by sharing with you folks today, I can help you get one little step closer to turning your home into a haven.

What are you thankful for this year? Oh, geez. There are so many things to be grateful for. I know this is going to sound completely cliche, but I am so thankful for the love and support of my family and friends. Knowing that you’re going at life as part of a team, and not as a lone soldier, is so comforting.

Thanksgiving is in two weeks. Have you broken out in a cold sweat thinking about your Butterball? Given over to apple pie anxiety? Mumbled your menu in your sleep?

Well, step back for a moment from the Thanksgiving stress that tends to overwhelm as the end of November nears. Take a deep breath and relax. Your mother-in-law might tisk-tisk if your gravy has lumps, but she’ll forget in time. Are you a bit calmer yet? Good. ‘Cause I’m gonna tell you the story of the best Thanksgiving ever.

Turn back the clock a few years to November 2009. The husband and I are hosting our traditional “Transplant Thanksgiving” for those of us who don’t have immediate family in the area. The air is permeated with the perfume of the holiday: savory stuffing, sugary sweet potatoes, the spice of cranberry sauce and cider.

The men are out in the garage where I relegated them with the turkey fryer and a bunch of beers. (“No, you cannot fry that thing in the house. I don’t care if it’s an electric fryer. It’s not safe. And it smells. No, seriously, take it outside. AND DON’T FORGET YOUR EYE PROTECTION!”) The ladies are in the kitchen, drinking wine and playing oven Tetris to make sure everything stays warm until the bird is carved.

Finally we gather in the dining room. The table is bedazzled with plates and a mish-mash of silverware. The old folding chairs creak as we settle in, and I admire the happy commotion in my home: My sister and brother from out of town, friends we’ve grown to love like family, a co-worker rescued from heat-lamp turkey in the work cafeteria. It is group committed to loving each other, taking care of each other, and, today, feeding each other. This is Thanksgiving, and it is perfect. Tears spring to my eyes, and I’m like my mom during a Hallmark commercial, blinking hard, hoping no one sees me fix my running mascara.

We shoved our faces full of food until everyone was uncomfortable. We circled the table and shared what we were thankful for. We poured each other drinks, even when our cups were full. And then we did the Cupid Shuffle in my living room with the blinds open.

It was the best day of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Roasted Potatoes & Yams
Serves: 6

Can’t decide between white potatoes and sweet potatoes? Why not serve ’em both up this year? Partially cooking your spuds in the microwave will save valuable oven time. Also, this recipe cooks at 375 degrees, so it plays nice with other Thanksgiving favorites.

3-4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 3/4″-1″ chunks
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4″-1″ chunks
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, combine Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes, until potatoes are just barely starting to soften.

Place partially-cooked potatoes on a very large (or two small) baking sheet with the garlic cloves. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with thyme, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix everything together so the potatoes are evenly coated with oil and spices. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the garlic cloves and serve.


Filed under Cook, Sides, Thanksgiving

{Thanksgiving Potluck} Wild Rice and Quinoa Baked Apples with Brie

Nicole from Baby Food Scoops is bringing a wonderful dish to our virtual potluck today.  Nicole is best known for making food that is toddler friendly but still wonderfully delicious for adults.  These Wild Rice and Quinoa Baked Apples with Brie are no exception!  Nicole and her fellow blogger Jess began BabyFoodScoops out of their passion to infuse nutrition, family values, community, sustainability and creativity into their daily lives.  Here is a little bit about Nicole:

Favorite Thanksgiving Dish or Tradition?  Honestly, I think my favorite day of the year is actually the day after Thanksgiving.. and it has nothing at all to do with bargain shopping on Black Friday! The leftovers are plentiful, the spirit of the holiday season is undeniable, and year after year we choose to spend this day in our pajamas and slippers with nothing to do but lounge in front of the fireplace, appreciate one another’s company, and decorate our Christmas tree (oh, and watch news clips showing throngs of shoppers outside of Target at 4am). Does it get any better than that?

Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie?  Oooh.. pulling out the tough questions! I’ll answer with an indecisive “it depends.” I’d generally go with apple pie, however my husband’s aunt tests my loyalties each year with her nearly-famous molasses pumpkin pie (at least I think it’s molasses.. the recipe is top secret)!

Cooking Mantra:  Eat real food! The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ hits a chord with me, I feel strongly that the less processed food the better – I don’t tend to worry so much about calories or coupon bargains. Instead, I focus my energies on wholesome ingredients and avoiding preservatives or additives whenever possible.

What are you thankful for this year?  This one is easy – I am blessed to spend my days and nights with a beautiful newborn, a chatty toddler, and a husband who loves all of his girls enough to do the laundry. I am thankful for this on a daily basis, but especially on laundry day.

Wild Rice and Quinoa Baked Apples with Brie

A holiday all about food! This one has my name all over it. You’ve seen Katie’s Stuffed Squash.. maybe even my Crab-Stuffed Zucchini.. So, why stuff something else from the produce department? You would be forgiven for thinking it was an attempt at being coy–Apples.. Haute Apple Pie.. get it?—but the truth is, for holiday meals I’m drawn to tying traditional staple ingredients into a fresh, new presentation. Cranberries, apples, wild rice and sage are all holiday staples, and here they come together in a glam, single-serving twist without detracting from the traditions of the Thanksgiving table.

For me, there is an added level of appeal when at least a portion of a meal can be made ahead of time. This allows more time and attention on game day for other things, like enjoying the company of those you are cooking or eating with! Most of the filling for these beauties can be made up to two days before baking, but save the apple preparations for the day of. Topping with white cheddar cheese or chopped nuts is an optional last step appreciated by many, however I prefer my baked apple as-is.

Serves 8

1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
1/4 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped shitake mushrooms (dried or fresh)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup brie, cut into small pieces
Salt, to taste
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped*
4 medium Red Delicious apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup grated sharp white Cheddar cheese, optional
¼ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Filling Assembly (can be prepared up to two days ahead of time):

If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute with 1 cup warm water for 20 minutes, then drain water, pat dry, and chop mushrooms. Set aside.

In small saucepan, bring chicken broth and water to a boil. Add wild rice, cover, reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in quinoa, cover, and cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until majority of water is absorbed. Set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion, sauté 7 minutes. Stir in sage and wild rice/quinoa mixture, increasing heat to medium-high. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, and stir in brie and cranberries. Add a dash of salt, to taste.

On Thanksgiving Day:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Halve apples lengthwise, then remove core and seeds. Using a finger, apply lemon juice to cut surface of the apple, to preserve appearance and prevent browning.

Continue to scoop out apple from each halve to create a vessel for wild rice mixture (a melon baller is helpful here). Attempt to leave a 1/4-inch-thick wall of apple around sides. Reserve apple scooped out in this step. Chop and fold into to wild rice mixture.

Fill apple halves with wild rice mixture, gently pressing mixture in to apple to set. Place halves in baking dish. Add 1 cup water to bottom of dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake 45 minutes. Uncover apples, sprinkle with white Cheddar or nuts (if using), and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until apples are soft and tops are beginning to crisp.

Serve warm, and enjoy!

*After many failed attempts at chopping dried cranberries, I found that placing them in the freezer for 20 minutes makes a world of difference when attempting to chop the otherwise sticky fruits. Try it!

Inspiration: Vegetarian Times


Filed under Cook, Sides, Thanksgiving

{Thanksgiving Potluck} Maple Brined Turkey

Today we have Peef and Lo (aka Paul and Lori Fredrich), two Milwaukeeans who share their passion for seasonal cooking, local, sustainably raised, and organic foods, local eating, and entertaining over at their blog Burp! Where Food Happens. Besides being devotees of such wonderful things as farmer’s markets, microbrews, whimsical kids birthday cakes and bacon, Peef and Lo are also leaders in the Milwaukee foodie community, coordinating #MKEFoodies tweet-ups, Cookies for Kids Cancer events and other social activities to bring local foodies together.

When we asked them to participate in our potluck, we were thrilled to hear that they were already planning a Thanksgiving dinner for some fellow foodie friends and would be able to share their turkey secrets with us. Read on to meet Peef and Lo and their tasty bird!

Favorite Thanksgiving Dish or Tradition?
Although we love traditional holiday fare, we can’t help mixing things up a bit each year. Whether it’s serving up our turkey with a Oaxacan mole sauce, or pulling out all the stops with a bourbon infused pumpkin pie with candied espresso spiced walnuts, we’re always interested in trying out new twists with old favorites.

Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie?
Pumpkin is the epitome of autumnal foods. But, that pumpkin pie doesn’t need to be boring. Adding candied pecans, a dollop of whiskey whipped cream, or some candied ginger allows you to reinvent a Thanksgiving classic.

Cooking Mantra:
No fear. Great cooking embraces experimentation and adventure. The most important thing is to have fun and always enter the kitchen with an open mind.

What are you thankful for this year?
It’s going to sound cliché, but we are both so grateful for our family and friends. We are lucky to have so many wonderful people who love us, support us, and help us eat all of that delicious food we make!

Maple Brined Turkey

This is one of our favorite holiday turkey recipes. We discovered brining a few years ago, and have never turned back. This particular maple brine is a natural choice, since it produces a fragrant, flavorful bird with an exceedingly moist interior. We love to smoke the brined bird in our Orion Convection Cooker with a bit of cherry or apple wood. But, it’s also fantastic prepared in a more traditional fashion by roasting it in the oven.
Maple Brined Thanksgiving Turkey

Maple Brined Turkey
12-14 lb turkey
6 quarts water
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Grade B maple syrup
1 1/2 cups Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce
3/4 cup kosher salt
3 heads garlic cloves, unpeeled and smashed with the back of a knife
8 bay leaves
3 T dried thyme
6 T minced fresh ginger
3 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Refrigerate until cold. To prepare turkey, remove and reserve giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Place turkey in large stockpot. Pour cooled brine over the top, adding additional water as necessary. Refrigerate for 24-48 hours, turning bird occasionally. For a crisp skin, remove bird from brine, pat dry, and place in a roasting pan overnight (uncovered).

Thanksgiving turkey brine

For traditional roasted turkey: Preheat oven to 500ºF. Roast turkey for 30-40 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350º and bake until bird reaches an internal temperature of 160º in the deepest part of the thigh. Using this technique, a 14 pound bird should require a total of about 2 hours for roasting.

For smoked turkey: Smoke with Apple or Cherrywood. In a traditional smoker, you should figure you’ll need about 30 minutes per pound when smoking at about 230 degrees F. We use an Orion Convection Cooker with amazing results. Cooking time is about 7 minutes per pound (1 ½ hours for a 12lb bird).

Burp! Tips for a Great Thanksgiving Turkey:
1. Use the best turkey you can afford. Avoid turkeys that are injected with salt solutions or water. If possible, buy a fresh organic Heritage breed turkey. These classic birds are superior in both flavor and texture to traditional grocery store birds.
2. Brining is a fantastic way to add both moisture and flavor to your turkey.
3. Skip the traditional stuffing. A turkey will cook more evenly (and safely) if it is not densely stuffed. In lieu of traditional dressing, consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables and herbs. For this recipe, we like onions and fresh thyme. Or try quartered pieces of fresh orange with a few cloves of smashed garlic.
4. Truss your turkey for best results when baking.
5. Tent the bird with foil and allow it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. This allows the bird to retain its succulent juices, and will result in more tender breast meat.


Filed under Holidays, Main Dish, Thanksgiving

{Thanksgiving Potluck} Maple Bacon Brussel Sprouts

It’s that time of the year again! Thanksgiving Potluck is back and this year we have five new fabulous bloggers to share their savory and scrumptious Thanksgiving dishes with us. So…welcome to our 2nd Annual Haute Apple Pie Thanksgiving Potluck table, we can’t wait for you to dig in!

Sharing our first side dish is Gina of The Tastetress and founder of food focused company, Starting From Scratch. Sometimes brussel sprouts get the short end of the stick, but Gina is here to tempt us with a maple bacon version that even the most finicky of eaters will devour! So let’s learn a little bit more about Gina and the lovely dish she prepared:

Favorite Thanksgiving dish and/or tradition: My favorite dish & tradition at Thanksgiving has & always will be…THE BIRD!  I love Turkey more than most, and so does my family, so much that we always make 2 Birds to ensure we have plenty of leftovers to share!  Of course the day of the Turkey is delicious, but there’s nothing I anticipate more than the late night Turkey Sandwich I make …thick sliced white bread, creamy mayo, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and you can not forget the sides….potato chips & a few dill pickles!  Can’t wait!

Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie? You may as well be asking me to choose a favorite child!  I am and always will be a Pie Girl, in fact, you can keep your Birthday Cake & put my candle in a pie!  Apple Pie a la mode, sweet & creamy Pumpkin Pie…I’ll take one of each & take my chances on a stomach ache.

Cooking Mantra: My mantra is and always….Don’t be scared to Start from Scratch!

What are you most thankful for this year? This year I am most thankful for family.  I just got married to the love of my life this summer, and I must say it has been a year of excitement.  I am thrilled to learn & share new traditions with his wonderful family, as well as start our own.  We have a lot of love to give & are excited for the next step…our own family!  Have a blessed Holiday Season everyone, hope you enjoy my recipe!!

Maple Bacon Brussel Sprouts

Something about nearing Thanksgiving always makes me crave the best flavors of fall…and there is nothing I enjoy more than a big bowl of Brussel Sprouts! These pretty little green veggies have made their way to being the next best thing to Broccoli, and I have a recipe that even the pickiest eaters can’t help themselves but be interested in. Once your guests have a bite of these sweet & savory sprouts, they’ll be ready to make a bee line for the brussels every time!

2 lbs. Brussel Sprouts
4 Slices of Thick Cut Bacon
2 TBS Grade A Maple Syrup
1 TBS Melted Unsalted Butter
1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Start by cleaning your brussel sprouts & slicing a small amount off the ends. Be sure to dry them off well and put aside while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. Slice your bacon into 1/4 inch thick lardons and set aside as well. Next in a small bowl melt your butter, and then add your olive oil, maple syrup, salt & pepper before whisking together. In a large bowl toss your brussel sprouts with the bacon & the remainder of your ingredients from the small bowl.

Line a large sheet pan with heavy-duty foil to save yourself the trouble of scrubbing yet another pan, and carefully spread out your brussel sprout mixture & put them in the oven.

Be sure to check your sprouts after 20 minutes to see how they’re doing & give them a toss, this will assure they cook evenly & don’t get too brown on one side. Depending on the size of your sprouts and the heat of your oven, they take about 30-45 minutes to cook through, create a syrupy coating, as well as get that bacon crisp & candy like. Serve warm with your TDAY spread & be sure to save yourself a little seconds, because sprouts like this don’t last for long! Happy Holidays Haute Apple Pie, ENJOY!


Filed under Cook, Sides, Thanksgiving