Sweet Potato & Blue Cheese Quesadillas with Balsamic Onions

Sweet Potato & Blue Cheese Quesadillas with Balsamic Onions

Let’s talk about leftovers. They just never seem to go away. Thanks to a nifty turkey curry, all of our turkey is gone, but we still have a ton of other things left. Our sweet potatoes seem to be multiplying in the fridge. We made a great horseradish sweet potato dish for Thanksgiving. The horseradish gave the potatoes a little bite that went perfectly with the blue cheese and balsamic onions. Any sweet potatoes will work though. Overall the combination of flavors were perfect. Tortillas are a really great tool for transforming leftovers. Using the sweet potatoes in a quesadilla not only was a great way to use up your leftovers, but it makes for a quick lunch or an easy appetizer to share.

Sweet Potato & Blue Cheese Quesadillas with Balsamic Onions

Sweet Potato & Blue Cheese Quesadillas with Balsamic Onions

  • 1/4 onion, finely sliced
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup leftover mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 tortillas (I used corn)
  • Leftover cranberry sauce, for serving
  1. Take the finely sliced onion and place in a shallow bowl. Pour in enough balsamic vinegar to cover the onions and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. (Save the vinegar for another use, like vinaigrette or marinade.)
  2. Heat tortillas in a pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Reheat sweet potatoes and spread over one of the heated tortillas. Top with blue cheese, walnuts and onions.
  4. Place other tortilla on top and slice into quarters (pizza cutters are great for this).
  5. Serve with cranberry sauce for dipping.

Thirsty Thursday: Blackberry Sparkler

Blackberry Sparkler

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today and Happy Thursday if you’re not. Thanksgiving is one of my all-time favorite holidays. Regardless of how hectic and crazy the day might be, there is something kind of nice about sharing, eating and drinking with your friends and family. Whether or not the family fights have started yet, it’s never too early to think of cocktail time. I really think delicious libations are key through getting through the day. It doesn’t matter if your family is out of a Norman Rockwell painting or you all put the ‘fun’ back in dysfunctional, a good cocktail can help everyone survive the day.

I threw this drink together with just a few things that I had on hand. The limoncello was a last-minute, impulsive addition. It was sitting there in the fridge and looked lonely. I figured it would be rude not to use it. It was a perfect addition. A little hint of citrus from the limoncello and orange liqueur was the perfect complement to the blackberry. Letting the berries macerate and get all friendly with the liqueurs is essential. If you have a lot of people over or think it might be a long night, double or triple the measurements as needed!

Blackberry Sparkler

  • 8 blackberries, quartered
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 1/4 cup limoncello
  • Angostura bitters as needed
  • 1 bottle (750ml) Champagne, Prosecco or other dry sparkling white wine, chilled
  1. In a small nonreactive bowl, combine the blackberries, triple sec, and limoncello and let stand for about 15 minutes to let the fruit macerate.
  2. Take 4 Champagne flutes and add 1 or 2 dashes of bitters to each one. Spoon 4 pieces of marinated blackberry into each flute. Top with Champagne and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

Mini Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

If you are making Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, I am certain you have all of the ingredients needed to make these right now. You can mix these waffles up in less than 5 minutes. Then it’s just up to your waffle maker to finish the job. The batter could also be used for pancakes as well. I like these waffles because they are perfect for a fast and easy Thanksgiving breakfast and should help tide everyone over until the main event.

I am not a really big fan of pumpkin things, but I actually really liked these. The pumpkin flavor was present, but not overwhelming and really good with the spices. I served these with maple syrup (which I’m normally not a fan of either) and they were perfect together. Absolutely perfect. I would also imagine that these would be quite good with apple butter. I have a mini waffle maker and I got 18 mini waffles out of this recipe. There were waffles for days on end. Depending on the type of waffle iron you have, your waffle mileage may vary.

Spiced Pumpkin Waffles
From Food.com.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used Better Batter)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 2/3 cups milk
  1. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
  2. In a second bowl, add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, milk, and butter; beat well.
  3. Gently fold in the flour mixture.
  4. Cook according to your waffle iron directions until the waffles are a nice deep, golden brown.

Parmesan Pearl Onions

I used to always ignore those random stands of recipe cards in the produce section at the grocery store. I just assumed that the recipes would not be any good. I have since become a bit obsessed with them. Most of the ones I have attempted have turned out really well and they are free. Free is always nice. This recipe came from the grocery store and it is tasty enough to warrant sharing. It would be a great and easy side dish for a Thanksgiving or holiday dinner.

I had only used pearl onions once or twice before I made this. I like pretty much any onion in pretty much any form. The recipe calls for fresh pearl onions to be used. That’s all fine and well, but I have enough issues with peeling and chopping the fresh ones, so to make it easy on myself and maintain fully attached fingers, I used frozen. SO easy.

Parmesan Pearl Onions
From a recipe card from Von’s/Safeway.

  • 1-10 ounce/280g package of fresh or frozen pearl onions
  • 1/2 cup/125 ml freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup/125 ml half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon/15 ml flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon/2 ml salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon/1 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon/.5 ml pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon/.5 ml paprika
  1. Cook onions in boiling water to cover, 1 minute; remove onions from water and plunge into ice water; peel if using fresh pearl onions.
  2. Arrange onions in a lightly greased 1-quart (1-litre) baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Combine half-and-half, flour, salt, Worcestershire sauce and pepper; stir well and pour over onions. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake 15 minutes or until tender.
  4. Serve and enjoy.

Basic Cranberry Sauce

Basic Cranberry Sauce

This is the world’s most basic cranberry sauce. It is really more of a cranberry sauce base. You can do just about anything with it since it is just a ratio (1 cup water:1 cup sugar:4 cups cranberries). I generally add in substitute some orange juice instead of all water, but that’s just me. Throw in some nutmeg, maybe some orange zest and call it a day. I’ve heard of some folks adding chopped pecans or other fruit as well. Go wild.

Basic Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • Optional: Pecans, orange zest, dried cherries, dried apricots, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.
  1. Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring the water and orange juice to a boil water and stir in the sugar until it is dissolves. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst. Stir in any and all optional ingredients you desire.
  2. Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole

Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole

Normally I am super into Thanksgiving. It’s usually one of my favorite holidays of the whole year. This year I am a Thanksgiving Grinch. I just cannot get into it. I blame christmas, which I am a normal Grinch about. Christmas needs to stop encroaching on other perfectly good holidays… That being said Thanksgiving still has to be dealt with.

When I was much younger and naive and still excited over Thanksgiving, about two weeks ago, I tested out a few potential recipes. This green been casserole was an instant winner. It is a relatively easy recipe. The most time consuming part is coating and cooking the onions, but they are well worth the effort. I would highly recommend making some extra onions while you are at it. A number of mine managed to disappear before I assembled the dish. They are quite tasty and very snackable.

Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole


Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole

  • Olive oil nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 large (12-ounce) onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and separated into rings
  • 5 Tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used Better Batter.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 container (10-ounce) sliced cremini or white mushrooms
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line large cookie sheet with foil; spray with nonstick spray.
  2. In bowl, toss onion with 2 tablespoons flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Spread onion in single layer on prepared foil; spray onion with nonstick spray. Bake 14 minutes; toss to rearrange, then spray again. Bake 15 minutes or until crisp.
  3. Meanwhile, in 5-quart saucepot, heat 3 quarts water to boiling on high. Add beans and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain beans in colander; rinse under cold water. Drain.
  4. In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine on medium. Add shallot; cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add mushrooms; cook 7 to 8 minutes or until tender, stirring often. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 3 tablespoons flour; cook 1 minute. Add broth and milk; heat to boiling on high, stirring. Reduce heat to low; cook 2 minutes. Add beans.
  5. Transfer mixture to 2-quart baking dish; bake 15 minutes. Stir mixture; top with onion. Bake 5 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.

Brussels Sprouts & Gorgonzola Salad with Cranberries

Brussels Sprouts Gorgonzola Salad with Cranberries

So my Brussels sprout obsession is back in full swing again. They are everywhere and it is glorious. I have been doing a lot of roasting with Brussels sprouts and that’s all well and good, but sometimes I don’t have the patience to roast things. I have my favorite B. sprout salad that I make quite frequently, but I was in the mood to switch things up. This salad seemed like the perfect alternative.

I thought that the blue cheese and cranberries were the perfect combination of tangy and tart. They really worked well together. The only thing I wish I had added to this salad were some toasted walnuts. This is probably just because I’m so used to my favorite Brussels sprouts salad having toasted walnuts in it, but I really think the earthy, toasted flavor would have complemented and really balance out the rest of the salad.

Brussels Sprouts & Gorgonzola Salad with Cranberries
Slightly adapted from Coconut & Lime.

For the Salad
    • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cleaned and shredded (should yield about 5 shredded cups)
    • 4 ounces finely crumbled Gorgonzola
    • 1 small red onion, halved and finely diced
    • 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
For the Dressing
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons grainy dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or greek yogurt (I used a combination)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss together the Brussels sprouts, Gorgonzola, onion and cranberries. Drizzle with dressing. Toss to evenly distribute. Serve immediately or refrigerate 1 hour.

Butternut Squash & Turkey Salad

Butternut Squash & Turkey Salad

For some reason I always ignore the recipes that come on the packaging of food. I bought some hot Italian turkey sausages last week. I really had no clue what to do with them, but they were on sale, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. As I was attempting to figure out how to even cook the things, I noticed a recipe on the back of the package. Surprisingly it actually sounded pretty delicious. I had nearly everything on hand, so I went for it.

I was very pleasantly surprised about how this turned out. It was great. The mustard dressing really complemented the flavors of the sausage and the roasted vegetables. The original recipe called for sweet potatoes instead of butternut squash. Either one works. I also think that this salad would be a great way to use up leftover veggies and turkey from Thanksgiving, so keep it in mind for later in the month…

Butternut Squash & Turkey Salad
Adapted from Jennie-O

For the Mustard Dressing

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired
For the Salad
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired
  • 1 package Hot Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 4 cups mixed baby lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup smoked almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

To Make the Dressing

  1. Put oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt and pepper, in a jar or bowl; shake or mix until well combined.
To Make the Salad
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Combine oil, butternut squash, onion and salt and pepper, if desired, on prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Roast, uncovered, in preheated oven, turning once during cooking, for 30 to 40 minutes until tender and golden.
  2. Cook the turkey as specified on the package. Slice links into 1/4 inch rounds. Put butternut squash, onion, turkey, lettuce, and almonds in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss gently to coat.

Thirsty Thursday: Thanksgiving Edition

This drink doesn’t really have a name. It was created 3 Thanksgivings ago in a kitchen in a student dorm in London.

It was a particularly memorable Thanksgiving. We had a lot of friends on our graduate program from various parts of the globe and not all of them had the opportunity to celebrate the world’s greatest holiday. My friend and fellow American, Lauren, and I were determined to celebrate regardless of London’s numerous attempts to thwart our plans. One meal for nearly 25 people required nearly a month of planning, numerous tube and taxi rides, trips to parts of London we never knew existed before (I swear we ended up in Wales at one point) and even mailing in supplies from the States. Now add on the fact that there is only one kitchen big enough for that many people and it only has one functioning European sized oven (the 2nd oven was replaced the next day… perfect timing by the management) and Lauren and I were both dealing with a lovely case of meningitis. It was pretty epic adventure and it will always remain one of my favorite Thanksgivings.

So, it was under these circumstances that this cocktail came about. It was partially out of necessity and partially out of what we had left on hand. You most definitely need a cocktail after dealing with all that. You might need a cocktail after dealing with family the kitchen all day. I would highly recommend this little concoction, as it turned out perfectly and has become a little Thanksgiving tradition of mine.

The Perfect Holiday Cocktail

  • 1.5 ounce vanilla vodka (or regular vodka for a less sweet version)
  • 1.5 ounce berry juice (like cranberry, raspberry, or even cranberry-raspberry if you’re feeling wild)
  • champagne/prosecco/any kind of sparkling wine
Pour a shot of vodka and a shot of cranberry juice into a champagne glass and fill glass with champagne. Top with raspberries or cranberries if desired. Serve and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes!

Just incase you missed some of my Thanksgiving recipes, here’s a quick recap if you need some inspiration.


Side Dishes: