Saturday, November 29, 2008


Everyone has a different idea of what makes a good Thanksgiving dinner. For our family it's Dad's stuffing, Aunt Robin's broccoli casserole, Grand mom's candied sweet potatoes and Carrie's cranberry sauce. There just isn't any room for experimenting when you are competing with the memories of generations.

Now don't get me wrong, I look forward to those same dishes every year and enjoy the memories that those familiar flavors conjure. It's after Thanksgiving that I really begin to have fun. We always get a bird that is absolutely too big for our family, just so I am sure to have plenty of leftovers for experimenting.

When I heard about the blogger recipe contest sponsored by POM Wonderful, I knew I was going to enter. Not only are fresh pomegranates a delicious treat, the health benefits are amazing. Although fresh pomegranates are only available for a few months, POM Wonderful has a wide variety of juices available year round. If you aren't familiar with all of the benefits of fresh pomegranates, visit their website and you'll understand why you can't live without this amazing fruit.

I've had a hard time waiting to enter this tempting sandwich. It has become a favorite in our house and we look forward to it as much as we do Thanksgiving dinner itself. We call it the Nut-N-Fancy, because the day after Thanksgiving when my family asks: "What's for dinner?", I say Nut-N-Fancy!

The recipe is written using leftover turkey, but we have grown to love this sandwich so much that I roast turkey thighs year round just to make this sandwich. If you want to use it as an appetizer, substitute English muffins for the Italian bread and you'll have a unique addition to your holiday table.

Pomegranate Pepper Turkey Sandwiches on Grilled Italian Bread with Walnut Butter and Pomegranate Apple Walnut Slaw

Turkey in Pomegranate Pepper Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced thin
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
4 to 5 whole pomegranates
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons (Asian) red chili garlic sauce (more if you like things hot)
2 cups cooked and shredded dark turkey meat

Walnut Butter:
1 1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup cashews
3 tablespoons honey
3 or 4 tablespoons softened butter

Pomegranate Apple Walnut Slaw:
1 medium red apple
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup chopped roasted walnuts
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons softened butter
8 thick slices bakery Italian bread
(optional) Pomegranate arils and parsley for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Juice the pomegranates, reserving about 1/4 cup of the arils. Add 1 cup of pomegranate juice to the onion and peppers. Stir in sugar, a little at a time, until the sauce is slightly sweet. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the chili garlic sauce, stir in the turkey and heat through.

Meanwhile, in a large non stick pan over medium high heat, roast the walnuts and cashews 6-8 minutes until they become fragrant. Add the roasted nuts and honey to the bowl of a food processor. Puree on high until very fine. Add the softened butter a little at a time and purée until a "peanut-buttery" consistency. If the mixture seems too thick add a tablespoon or two of warm water.

Peel, core and slice the apple into thin matchsticks. Place in a medium bowl, add the reserved pomegranate arils, walnuts, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Mix well.

Lighlty spread the softened butter on both sides of each slice of bread. On a stovetop grill pan over medium high heat, grill the bread on each side until toasted but not too dark. Spread some of the walnut butter onto four slices of bread. Top with some of the turkey mixture and some of the pomegranate apple, walnut slaw. Top with the remaining slice of grilled bread. Garnish with pomegranate arils and parsley. Serve warm and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Amaretto Peach Cobbler

Thanksgiving is here and that means that Christmas and New Years are not far behind. I love this time of year! When we were kids it seemed that Thanksgiving and Christmas would never get here, and when the time did finally come it never seemed to last long enough.

I don't think it is any accident that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's come so close together. I think the holiday's give us the opportunity to remember the things that are truly important in life.

Thanksgiving is the time for gratitude. It is the time for us to remember everything that we have to be grateful for. It's when we remember and give thanks for those things that we realize how wonderful life can be.

At Christmas, we honor family. Christmas is the time that families get together, some for the only time in the year. It is a time to catch up with each other and remember that no matter what, family is the most important things in our life.

Then comes the New Year. For me it is a time of renewal, and second chances. If we remember all that we have to be grateful for, honor our family and resolve to do better, the new year holds hope and promise.

This holiday season take them time to remember what you have to be grateful for, celebrate and honor your family and resolve to do better

From now until the beginning of the New Year, we will all have too little time and too much to do. People stop by, often unannouced, and being from the south I always have the makings for a fruit cobbler on hand. Most any kind of fruit will work and this easy basic recipe can be dressed up any way you like.

The next time you have unexpected company, try this delicious fruit cobbler. It is a really quick treat that is best served right out of the oven and can be ready before you finish catching up with your friends.

Amaretto Peach Cobbler

4 Tablespoons Butter
2 ounces amaretto
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 can peaches in syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 8x8 pan. Mix in amaretto.

In a medium bowl mix together flour, sugar, milk and baking powder. Pour over butter mixture. Pour peaches ( including syrup), over flour mixture. Bake in preheated over 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with icecream if desired.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Apple Cider Tea Cup Triffle

My sister and I recieved an easy bake oven one year for Christmas and I think that was the beginning of my cooking obsession. We used the oven all the time and did a lot of experimenting.

We tried everything we could think of in that little oven and much to our surprise alot of what we tried came out pretty good. Well at least in the minds of 2 little girls.

The best of our creations made it to the family dinner table and some, like this triffle, I still serve today. I don't know if it is the cake itself, or the unique way that we came up to serve it, but this cake has remained one of my favorites. Of course back then the tea cups weren't as fancy, but the possiblities are endless. The Fly Rod Gawd remembers an apple cake that his Grandmother used to make him and he thinks that this one comes really close.

Try these tea cup triffles at one of your family gatherings this holiday season and see if they don't become a staple in your house.


1 spice Cake Mix
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup applesauce
3 eggs
1 large apple, peeled cored and diced
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup prepared vanilla pudding
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350, spray a 9 X 13 pan with non-fat vegetable spray and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.

Place the cake mix, cider, applesauce, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on low, beat until ingredients are just combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and set the pan aside.

Place the apple slices, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine. Spoon the apple mixture on top of the batter in the pan. Stir a few times to swirl the apple mixuture into the batter. Place the pan in the oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed with your fingertips. Remove to a wire rack and cool.

When the cake is cool, cut into small squares. Add 2 tablespoons of prepared pudding to the bottom of teacups. Top with equal amounts of cake squares. Mix the marmalade and the rasins in a microwve proof dish and microwave on high until thinned. Spoon the mixture evenly on top of each tea cup.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

15 minute Ham Steak Dinner

When things get really hectic and you think that you don't have time to have a sit down family dinner, take a little help from your local market and try this tasty 15 minute Ham Steak Dinner.

We have all seen those Ham steaks and if you are like me you pass them up as a dinner item because you always think of them as a breakfast dish. I think they are perfect for a quick weeknight meal. They are fully cooked so all you really have to do is heat them up. Saute them with some frozen broccoli and fresh carrots, add a tasty sauce and some rice or Orzo and you have a quick and delicious dinner.

The next time you are ready to order take out or get some fast food, try this Korean style ham steak recipe and treat yourself to some tasty family time.

Cola-rean Ham Steak Dinner

1 12 ounce can cola
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 pinch crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
1 Ham steak, cut into bite sized chunks
2 (10 ounce) boxes broccoli florets
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins

In a small saucepan over medium heat add the first 7 ingriedints. Stir to combine and simmer to combine, reduce sauce (about 10 minutes).

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the Ham, broccoli and carrots, continue cooking until vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes). Pour the sauce over the ham mixture, toss to combine and serve over orzo or rice.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Rigatoni Divan

Thank goodness the election is finally over! I am always filled with pride when I cast my vote. I think about all the people who came before me, about all the people who had to fight for the right to vote. There are times when we take our right to vote for granted, and I think that we should all take a little time to remember the people who have struggled and died for our right to vote.

We made history this year and it is one of those days in our collective lives that we will always remember as a nation. We are fortunate to live in such interesting times.

It has been almost 2 years since this campaign season started and now that it is over it is time for us all to come together. What better place to start than at our own dinner tables?

When I was a kid, the dinner table was the place where the whole family got together and talked and laughed and even sometimes argued, but it was a place that we came together as a family.

This dinner is sure to please every member of the family. It comes together quick, you can even make it ahead of time and pop it in to the oven and have a comforting family friendly dinner ready in no time. I used canned chicken, but I have also made it with leftover chicken. And, hey, with Thanksgiving coming Turkey would be great in it too!

Rigatoni Divan

1 1lb. box Rigatoni
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (13 ounce) can chunk chicken breast, drained
2 Tablespoon flour
2 cups milk
2 eggs, lighly beaten
1 cup low fat mayonnaise
1 (10 ounce) box Broccoli Florets, thawed and drained
1 pinch fresh ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded parmesean cheese
2 cups plain bread crumbs

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x13 casserole dish, set aside

Cook the Rigatoni to al dente according to package directions

heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and chicken, saute about 2 minutes or until onion is translucent. Sprinkle the flour evenly into the pan and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the milk, eggs and mayonnaise. Add the broccoli, nutmeg and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the cooked Rigatoni and pour mixure into the prepared dish.

Mix the remaining cheese with the bread crumbs and spread evenly over the rigatoni mixture. Place in the hot oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or unitl the topping has browned. Serve with a green salad and some good conversation!