Fall

Recipe: Your Complete Thanksgiving Guide

Thanksgiving dinner menus will help you plan a fabulous meal. Build your menu around your traditional favourites or try a new Thanksgiving recipe, having a plan will make your meal prepping run smoothly. 

Question: Where do I begin?

Create Your Menu

Hosting Thanksgiving means you need a plan, and that means a menu. I want you to start planning now, go through your recipes, do a quick head count of how many people are going to attend. Next, start building a list of dishes you plan to make and then eliminate 1/2 of the list. You don’t need hassle back potatoes and mashed potatoes - pick one.

As the host you will always think you don’t have enough food. I’ve always said I would rather have more than not enough, I don’t want my guests to leave hungry. 

I guarantee your guests will only take a bit of each dish so no need for 2 pounds of peas and mushrooms. 

ONE WEEK Prior To The Event

Gather all your serving dishes; or make a list of all the dishes you need for that day and where to find them in your home. If you are missing something it gives you enough time to borrow or pick it up. You don’t want to be scrambling the day of when you have guests over.

Create your checklist; of tasks to be accomplished prior to your event and input them as events in your calendar.

Grocery Shopping; Create 2 grocery lists: 5 days before the meal buy Turkey (if buying frozen) and non-non-perishables, and 3 days before the meal for perishable items and any last minute things you need.

Question: How long does it take to defrost a Turkey? 

For every 5 pounds the turkey will take 24 hours to defrost in the refrigerator.

Example: A 20 pound frozen turkey will need 4 days of thawing in the refrigerator

Question: When should I buy a fresh Turkey?

If buying fresh, purchase your Turkey the day prior to the event.


TWO DAYS Prior To The Event Date

Prepare as much as you can before the big day.

Make your cranberry sauce and cut veggies. wash trim and halve Brussels sprouts, peel and slice carrots, snap green beans, celery, etc. Make salad dressings and wash and dry lettuce/greens for salad.

ONE DAY Prior To The Event

Peel, wash and cut potatoes into cubes. Soak in cold water, cover and place in the refrigerator over night. This eliminates some of the starch in the potatoes and crisp up nicely in the oven or place them in a slow cooker the day of and make mashed potatoes.

Prep your Turkey (step by step instructions below)

Set your table, take out your serving dishes, prepare your stuffing. You can also make your mashed potatoes and reheat them in the slow cooker/crock pot the day of. If you are roasting veggies you can cook them the night before and heat through just before you are serving the meal.

Question: Can I make dessert in advance?

Bake your pies the night before and refrigerate overnight. On the day of, remove the pie from the refrigerator, place on the counter to bring the pie to room temperature. Place the room temperature pie in the oven on low and heat through while you are enjoying your meal.

  • Frozen - ready in an hour, bake while you are having lunch or dinner. hot fresh out of the oven. top with ice cream

  • If you prefer homemade. Make the pie dough and roll out into pie plates 1 week before and freeze them.

  • A few cheats: Williams Sonoma has pre-made stuffing, add your liquid and it’s done. They also have pecan pie filling in a jar. Buy the ready made small tartlet crust from the grocery store and scoop the filing into each one and bake.

 

How long does it take to cook a Turkey?

Cooking times can vary

Calculate 13 minutes cooking time per pound would be a good estimate. Let me break it down a bit more, It should take a 14 lb. turkey 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook.

Question: How do I cook a Turkey?

 Prep your turkey the night before

There is always an ongoing debate “do you wash raw meat” and when preparing your Turkey i’ll leave that up to you. I don’t and this is why; washing the turkey can contaminate your kitchen, the water can spray on your back splash, all over your sink. Cooking the Turkey to the right temperature will kill any bacteria that may be lingering in your turkey - you can’t wash that away.

To brine or not to brine? There are people who stand strongly on both sides of this question. So if you brine your turkey go ahead, but for me I don’t bother with the extra step. I get great tasting and moist turkey without.

Stuffing or no Stuffing? I can take it or leave it, I’m not big on stuffing but I do make it in a separate dish. I find the Turkey cooks faster without the stuffing but the stuffing is not as moist as it would be if it were in the turkey. So for this I say do as you want.


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Recipe: Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Soup season has arrived and I’m here for all of the delicious bowls of heart warming meals. Every time I hear someone say Broccoli I think of Dana Carvey’s SNL Choppin' Broccoli song. If you haven’t heard it or have no idea what I’m talking about Google it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

So, naturally I was singing it while making this Cheese and Broccoli Soup! Hey Dana, can you add Soup to the song? It could go something like this “she’s Choppin' Broccoli - AND MAKING SOUP”

Well I’m sure that won’t happen but I can tell you this did happen. Probably one of the creamiest Cheese and Broccoli Soups I’ve ever made and I’m sharing it with you today. Enjoy my friends!

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: A rich yellow soup with shredded cheddar cheese as a garnish on a white plate with a silver spoon laying beside the plate over a white and tan linen place mat.

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: A rich yellow soup with shredded cheddar cheese as a garnish on a white plate with a silver spoon laying beside the plate over a white and tan linen place mat.

Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
AUTHOR: Mary Mammoliti / Kitchen Confession

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups fat-free half-and-half (regular half-and-half may be substituted; whole milk or 2% milk will work but soup won’t be as creamy)
3 cups broccoli florets, diced into bite-size pieces + 1 cups stems
2 large carrots, peeled, and sliced into very thin rounds
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
pinch cayenne pepper, optional
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese, with a small amount reserved for garnishing bowls

NOTE: Do not use pre-grated cheese in ziptop bags because that cheese is resistant to melting and won’t incorporate well. ⁣

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.

  2. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set the pan aside.

  3. In a large stock pot over medium heat add 4 tablespoons butter, flour, and whisk continuously for 3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. This is your roux.

  4. Slowly whisk the vegetable stock into the roux (flour mixture), add the cream to your pot and whisk to combine.

  5. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened. TIP: Whisk intermittently to keep a creamy constancy.

  6. While the mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli and carrots and add the to the soup at the end of your simmering time of 15 minutes and add the onion and garlic you previously set aside to the pot.

  7. Add the salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard powder, and cayenne and stir to combine, and continue to simmer over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Stirring occasionally to avoid burning the soup.

  8. While your soup simmers, grate the cheese and add most of the cheese at the very end of your cooking time, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir the cheese into the soup until melted and incorporated.

  9. Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and enjoy.

    NOTE: Soup will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 5 to 7 days.

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Recipe: Pasta é Fagioli

Today’s plans include serving up a bowl of this Pasta é Fagioli. I haven’t made this in years and to be honest I’m disappointed that I waited so long. I almost forgot how much this dish reminded me of my Dad - or did I? My Dad passed 9 years ago and up until this past year I haven’t been able to think of him without my eyes welling up. Maybe that’s why I haven’t made this dish, hmmm, was I avoiding feeling all the feels that come with losing him? Have I truly accepted the loss? Ugh! Maybe I’m over analyzing this. Whatever the reasons are I’m glad I finally made this dish. It was like a giant hug from my dad, warm and comforting.

The pot simmered as the aromas filled my kitchen and memories folding my thoughts. He was a man of very few words with a sense of humour that would make even the darkest of days brighter. It’s funny how a simple meal can trigger a rush of emotions and even help put unresolved feelings to rest. I guess it’s okay to feel the feels, mourn the loss of a loved one, friend, pet, illness whatever your struggling with at your own pace and don’t avoid feeling it because you may just miss out on the simplest joys of what life has to offer.

I know it’s a pretty deep post for Pasta é Fagioli but it’s amazing how healing food can really be. I hope you read this and find solace in knowing you are not alone and find strength in any struggle you my be facing today. It’s okay to feel all the feels, and take it easy on yourself. Life has a sweet way of surprising you. SMILE and Tag, call or text someone today and let them know you care. I’M TAGGING ALL OF YOU! ❤️

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 Pasta é Fagioli

PREP TIME: 20 min
COOK TIME: 30 min
TOTAL TIME: 50 min
SERVES: 6 - 8
AUTHOR: Mary Mammoliti / Kitchen Confession

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup pancetta, diced
1 medium onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes, diced
4 cups tomato purée, preferably San Marzano tomatoes if you can get them)
1 cup Ditalini or elbow pasta
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1 teaspoon dry rosemary
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5-ounce) cans 1 can red kidney beans and 1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup elbow macaroni
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano to sprinkle on top just before serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, pancetta, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add diced carrots, potatoes and continue cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes.

  2. Add the broth, tomato purée, beans, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

  3. Scoop out 1 cup of the bean mixture from the pot and 1/2 cup of the liquid and pour into a blender until smooth and set aside.

  4. Add the pasta to the pot and boil with the already cooked veggie mixture for 8 minutes until tender. Return the puree to the pot of soup and stir well. Season the soup with red pepper flakes for an added kick of heat.

  5. Serve warm with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

 

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Recipe: Crunchy Honey Almond Granola

Good morning from the KC kitchen!

I hope you are all having a great start to your day. 

My morning began with this bowl of Greek Yogurt and a handful (or 2, who’s really counting) of this CRUNCHY HONEY ALMOND GRANOLA followed by an interesting chat with the inspiring founder of The Grange of Prince Edward Winery Caroline Granger - get ready KC Podcasters for a new episode coming your way. It’s going to be

In the mean time scoop out a few spoonfuls of vanilla creamy greek yogurt and a handful of this Honey Almond Granola. Sit back and enjoy every scoop :)

Photo Description: a bowl filled with vanilla greek yogurt topped with crunchy honey almond granola, a gold spoon, and a glass storage container filled with the freshly made granola

Photo Description: a bowl filled with vanilla greek yogurt topped with crunchy honey almond granola, a gold spoon, and a glass storage container filled with the freshly made granola

Did I mention if you subscribe to the Kitchen Confession Podcast on any podcast platform the episode will automatically download and ready for you to listen to at any time. It’s that easy! SUBSCRIBE and help us keep doing what we love to do and bring you more of what’s going on in the world of FOOD & BEVERAGE ~ sending you all xoxoxo ❤️


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CRUNCHY HONEY ALMOND GRANOLA

Only 6 ingredients and easy to make. It’s gluten free, healthy and crazy delicious! Pinch me, I think I’m dreaming - NOPE THIS IS THE REAL DEAL! 

Photo Description: a bowl filled with vanilla greek yogurt topped with crunchy honey almond granola, a gold spoon, and a glass storage container filled with the freshly made granola

Photo Description: a bowl filled with vanilla greek yogurt topped with crunchy honey almond granola, a gold spoon, and a glass storage container filled with the freshly made granola

PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 22 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 32 minutes
SERVINGS: As many bowls as you see fit :)
AUTHOR: Mary Mammoliti | Kitchen Confession

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups rolled oats (use gluten free if you have a gluten sensitivity)
1 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pure honey
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (any neutral oil will work like canola)
3 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Roughly chop the whole almonds.

  3. In a large mixing bowl add the rolled oats and almonds and stir to combine.

  4. In a smaller microwave-safe bowl add the honey, oil, vanilla and salt and microwave for about 30 seconds until just warm and the honey and oil mix easily.

  5. Pour the warm honey mixture over the oats and stir until the mixture is coated.

  6. Transfer the oat mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown being sure to stir the granola after 15 minutes and again at 20 minutes. If you need the extra 2 minutes stir again before placing the tray back in the oven.

  7. Allow granola to cool completely on the baking sheet before storing in an airtight container. This granola keeps for about a week - if it lasts that long :)

  8. Do NOT refrigerate


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Recipe: Potato Cauliflower Leek Soup

Recipe: Potato Cauliflower Leek Soup

Let me begin by saying, I am THAT person. You know the one, who lives for every Fall Cliche. It's that time of year when Pumpkin Spice is sprinkled on everything.

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