Monday, November 19, 2012

Beginning Of Festivus: Thanksgiving

Well, we have finally arrived to my favorite time of year: Festivus! And that includes up coming Thanksgiving. We will be visiting my husband's family in just a few short days. But we decided to have a small Thanksgiving meal with one of our second families in Western Kentucky.

The Bargers & The Appels
You've probably seen the two a few times through out this blog. We decided to have a little feast this weekend. But since there's only four of us, we came up with an inexpensive way to have a portion-appropriate feast.

Here's what we featured:
- Lemon-Thyme Chicken
- Skillet Cream Corn with Bacon
- Homemade Canned Green Beans (from our good friend, Dillon)

What can I say? My man knows how to cook
My husband was in charge of this feast (we'll get to what I was up to in a moment). Here's how our recipes went:

Lemon-Thyme Chicken (which we found in the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook)
1 lemon, cut half
1/2 medium onion
1 (5-pound) whole roast chicken (ours was actually quartered, but we still made it work)
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 t chopped thyme
1 t coarse salt
1 t ground pepper
1 cup chick broth
1/2 c dry white wine (we had a pinot grigio)
2 T all-purpose flour

First you normally shove the lemon into the chicken cavity. We ended up squeezing lemon juice over the quartered pieces.

Then stir together butter, garlic, and 2 t of thyme. Loosen the skin on the chicken by gently pushing your fingers in between the skin and meat. Do not totally detach the skin. Pour the butter mixture under the skin. Pour the rest over the skin. If you have a whole chicken, tie the legs together.

Place the chick, breast side up, on a lightly greased rack in a lightly greased shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Then reduce heat to 400 degrees and bake for 55 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thigh registers 180 degrees. Baste occasionally with drippings and turn pan for even browning.

For the gravy, add broth to reserved drippings in pan and stir to loosen browned bits from bottom. Whisk together pan drippings, wine, and flour in a small saucepan for 5 minutes.

Skillet Cream Corn:
6 bacon slices
1/2 Vidalia onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 cups fresh corn kernels (if your ambitious, that's about 6 ears)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
A dash of salt
A dash of pepper
1 T butter
1 T basil

Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Then do the typical drain on a paper towel. Reserve 2 Tablespoons of drippings in skillet. After it drains, crumble bacon and set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in hot drippings skillet for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the corn and cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat.

Cook the flour in a large clean skillet over medium. Bake & stir occasionally for 5 minutes or until golden. Slowly whisk half-and-half until smooth. Add corn mixture along with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes of until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter and basil. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.

Homemade Canned Green Beans:
We obviously just heated the green beans in a pot. But we added a bit of rosemary to spice it up. We are so grateful to our friend who sold us the chicken & threw in a couple goodies like the canned green beans. He also gave us deliciously canned apples, black eyed peas, and salsa!

Our little feast turned out perfectly, but alas, my photos did not. You have to trust that it was delicious. And even better, it filled up four tummies without over doing the table. If you need to have a smaller holiday feast, this is the way to go. It was also very thrifty. The whole thing was maybe $40 at the most? Probably less.

Oh, and what was I doing while my amazing husband was cooking? Starting up the Christmas decore of course!
This is just a preview of Ashley's & my work. There is much more ahead. But that's for another day. I hope you all have a delicious Thanksgiving. And be sure to take the time to count your blessing and express thanks for a wonderful things you have in your life. I have too many to count. But a loving husband, great friends, a good family, a roof over my head are just to name a few. What are you thankful for this year?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wild Card Recipe: Cheeseburger Pasta

Sorry for another delay my friends. Alas, work always seems to overwhelm me at times. But I guess that's why it's called work right? Last week we held our 2012 election coverage. Needless to say it took a bit out of me.

Anyways, to make it up to you, I'm going to share a recipe for one of my favorite dishes. And it's been awhile since I've done a wild card recipe. It's a tasty comfort food: cheeseburger pasta. It's a staple at our home and even better- it is incredibly easy & cheap to make! I did make a few changes to original recipe I found.

All you need:
- 1 lb of ground beef
- 3 cloves of garlic diced
- 1 Tablespoon of onion power
- 1 can of condensed tomato soup
- 1 can of condensed cheese soup
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 2 cups of uncooked shell pasta
- 1 pinch of oregano, thyme, and basil

One of of the best things about this meal is that you make in just one skillet. Begin by sauteing the garlic in some olive oil. Then throw in the beef.
There's nothing better than cooking up some local ground beef
 During that time, I toss in a couple dashes of onion powder. After the beef fully cooks, you can begin the... colorful part: pouring in the soups.
Yep. It looks gross, but it's worth it, my friends!
I normally stir in both soups a little bit before adding the water and pasta. Get the concoction to a boil then reduce heat to medium before letting it cook for another 10 minutes or so. All the while, keep stirring on occasion.

Don't worry, it will slowly become something much more delicious-looking. Just keep stirring. I had a few occasions where parts of the bottom stuck to skillet.
 You will basically cook it until the water is reduced and the noodles are tender. When you only have about a minute or so more, add the oregano, thyme & basil. After another minute and a few more stirs, you're done! It's ready to enjoy.
Pure yumminess
So there you have it, super tasty cheeseburger pasta. You basically have your own hamburger helper with less msg! One day I want to figure out a more natural replacement for the two soups, but there's at least reduced sodium versions out there.

It'll be a busy week ahead. In a few hours, I'll be off to help at our station's televised telethon. It's our 56th annual Telethon of Stars. We work with the Lions Club to raise money for several charities throughout our four state area. If you'd like to do your part, send a nice donation their way.