Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Pressure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanksgiving is the one holiday I have never cooked for.... What I mean is that I have never hosted an official American Thanksgiving Dinner- remember, I am Canadian after all! That's not to say I don't love the holiday. The first time I attended a Thanksgiving dinner,  I felt like I was in a sitcom or something..all I could think was: this is SO American. The turkey, the stuffing, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, the fire going, the table set in orange the brown!! Well, I love it. And I love not having to cook for it! But for those of you who do, I will offer a few makeshift quick and fun recipes...Mini Pumpkin Pie Muffins with Tart Lemon Glaze and Sweet & Sour Turkey Cranberry Meatballs.

Mini Pumpkin Pie Muffins with Tart Lemon Glaze 
These are great because they are delicious, easy to prepare and everyone loves them. You can serve them as a Thanksgiving side dish, or even as a dessert. I make a ton of them, wrap them up in cellophane bags, and give them away to family and friends...Always a hit! The glaze, which uses fresh squeezed lemon juice and zest is really what takes these little treats to the next level. The combination of tart and sweet on a soft, crumbly, adorable mini muffin, combined with the cinnamon and nutmeg aromas just scream "thanksgiving!!"

 2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
3 eggs plus 1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Tart Lemon Glaze:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
juice and zest from 11/2 lemons

Preheat oven 350. Grease 2 mini muffin tins and line with paper liners. (If you only have one muffin tin, do one batch at a time. Once cooled, the muffins will pop out easily, just grease, line with paper liners and refill with the remaining batter. Alternatively, you may grease 2 loaf pans) In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth. Fill the muffin liners almost to the top with the batter ( I use a small measuring cup to make this easy and prevent dripping). Bake, for 20 minutes until golden. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze:
In a small bowl, stir the confectioner's sugar and the lemon juice and zest until smooth, set aside.
Once the muffins are cool, use a spoon to drizzle the glaze all over them...Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for one week...
 Grease and line mini-muffin tin
 Fresh pumpkin puree, but you can use store bought!
 Whisk all the ingredients in a large bowl
 Bake the muffins- as you can see, one muffin was sampled here!
 Zest the lemons
 Fresh lemon juice
Drizzle the glaze using a spoon

Beautiful and delicious

Sweet and Sour Turkey Cranberry Meatballs
Makes about 2 dozen meatballs
If you are going to skip out on cooking a whole turkey for the holiday, this is the recipe for you. If you are always looking for the next great meatball recipe, then this recipe is also for you! Look, not everyone is going to have the time, patience, or the crowd large enough to make it worthwhile to cook an entire bird. I totally get that. It's 2011, I am all about keeping up the traditions, but once in a while, it's fun to change it up a bit! In this clever recipe, the turkey and cranberry flavors are combined to create a sweet and sour meatball (who doesn't love that?) and I make this recipe all year round, because it's really the perfect meatball recipe. I love that the recipe uses rolled oats rather than breadcrumbs to hold the ground meat together. It is a light recipe, with robust flavors...not too sweet or too sour, just right. My sister gave me a version of this recipe years ago, and I have adapted it over time, though neither of us can remember where the recipe originated from.

For the meatballs:
2 pounds ground turkey meat (you can use all white, all dark or a combination)
11/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
For the sauce:
3- 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
1- 14 ounce can or jar whole berry cranberry sauce ( you can also make your own fresh version, I use this easy recipe
juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, salt, pepper and rolled oats. Use your hand to combine all the ingredients together. In a large pot, stir the tomato sauce, cranberry sauce, lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar over medium-high heat. Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning according to your liking. Wet your hands with cold water, and roll the turkey meat into tablespoon-sized balls and drop into the bubbling sauce. Once you have rolled all of the meatballs, cover the pan and lower the heat to a Medium temperature. Cook for about 40 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are firm.
That's it! You can serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for several days. This recipe also freezes wonderfully, so you can make ahead.

 Combine turkey and rolled oats
 Use your hands to combine
 Roll into meatballs
 Drop into the prepared sauce
Cook the meatballs over the stove top

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