Easy Southern Cooking


  November 5 , 2006 / Issue # 3

In this issue:

•My Thanksgiving Menu
•Blessings for Your Thanksgiving Feast
•Cooking Tips: Smoked Turkey
•Heavenly Ambrosia

•Lemon-Rosemary Green Beans
•Creamed New Potatoes

•Giblet Gravy
•Baked Squash Casserole
•Featured Cookbook
•New At EasySouthernCooking.com

Thanksgiving has always been a big traditional holiday. Friends and family from far and near gather to give thanks for all of God's gifts. My family has always celebrated with a big feast. My memories of thanksgiving center around the time I spend in the kitchen cooking with my mother. We worked all day to create the feast, but the conversations we shared were more important than the food.

It is so many times easier to do the cooking yourself, rather than ask for "help" from children. However, I would encourage you to not take the easy way out. Cook alongside your children, teach them not only to cook, but also to love.

I hope this issue helps you plan an easier traditional feast. Enjoy! Diane

My Thanksgiving Menu

Toasted Pecans / Deviled Eggs
Smoked Turkey
Giblet Gravy or Turkey Gravy
Sausage Apple Pecan Stuffing
Creamed New Potatoes
Grated Sweet Potato Pudding
Lemon-Rosemary Green Beans
Easy Overnight Vegetable Salad
Baked Squash Casserole
Cranberry Sauce / Holiday Cranberry Salad
Heavenly Ambrosia
Sweet Potato Pie / Pecan Pie
Iced Tea

Linked recipes are found on Easy Southern Cooking. Non linked recipes are below:

• Recipes

Heavenly Ambrosia

This ambrosia can be made the night before to allow the flavors to mingle. Add the coconut and pecans just before serving. If added early they will soften and discolor, but still taste good. You can use whatever fruits you desire for this recipe. You need enough citrus and pineapple juice to coat the apple and pear pieces. I like mine juicy.

6 naval oranges
2 tangarines
1 red grapefruit
1 15 ounce can of pineapple tidbits in juice
4 apples
2 pears
1 bunch seedless grapes
1 jar maraschino cherries
1 cup coconut (optional)
1 cup pecan halves (optional)
2 Tablespoons sugar (optional- taste before adding)

1. Remove peel, seeds, and membranes from oranges and grapefruit. Work over a large non-metal bowl so that juice is not lost. Cut pulp into bite size pieces.
2. Add pineapple and its juice. Core and dice apples and pears. Peel can be left on or off according to your preference.
3. Mix apples and pears into the juice of the oranges to coat. This prevents browning.
4. Halve grapes and add.
5. Add cherries and enough of the liquid to add a little color to the juices.
6. Mix all together and taste. If the juices are tart, add enough sugar just to sweeten slightly. It should not be very sweet.
7. Refrigerate until ready to serve. At serving time, mix in the coconut and/or pecans, or sprinkle on top of each serving for garnish.

Lemon-Rosemary Green Beans

2 pounds small fresh green beans
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Wash and trim beans. Cook beans in boiling water to cover until just tender, approximately 8 minutes.
2. Drain and plunge quickly into ice water to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a serving bowl.
3. Combine remaining ingredients and cook over low heat until butter melts, stirring occassionally.
4. Pour butter over beans, toss gently, and serve.

Creamed New Potatoes

You can use any potatoes in this recipe. You want some mashing to occur, but most of the potatoes should remain in whole chunks.

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes
4 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup whole milk, more or less as desired
salt and white pepper to taste

1. Scrub and dice potatoes. You want the chunks to be large bite size. Cover potatoes with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until done.
2. When potatoes are done, drain well. Add 4 tablespoons butter and put back onto low heat. Add just enough milk so that it covers the bottom of the pan and comes up halfway through the potatoes.
3. Simmer and stir until the butter is melted and all is mixed. The potatoes will mash slightly into the milk and butter. You can add more milk if desired to get the amount of creamyness desired.
4. Remove from heat and season with salt and white pepper to taste.

I use this recipe, adding chicken stock to make a delicious potato soup as well.

Giblet Gravy

Giblets from turkey
8 cups cold water
1 onion
4 stalks celery, plus tops, leaves and trimmings
handful of fresh parsley or 1 Tablespoon dried
2 boiled eggs
drippings from turkey
additional chicken broth may be needed

1. While the turkey is cooking, cover the giblets and neck bone with 8 cups cold water.
2. Add 1 onion, celery and parsley and simmer for 2 hours.
3. Strain, and set aside until turkey is done and you're ready to make gravy.
4. Pick the meat off the turkey neck and chop the giblets, if desired.
5. When the turkey is done, remove it to serving platter and drain all juices from the roasting pan into a cup or bowl to separate fat from broth.
6. Skim the fat from the pan, measure and place into the roasting pan with an equal measure of flour.
7. Put the roasting pan on the burner, cook and stir to brown the flour.
8. Measure 1 cup of broth for each tablespoon of flour used. Add chicken broth if needed to make full amount. Add the turkey drippings and measured broth to the flour in the roasting pan. Cook, stirring to loosten any browned bits in the bottom of the roasting pan.
9. Add salt and pepper and a pinch of oregano. Simmer gravy until thickened.
10. Add the meat and giblets back to the gravy. My mother always adds 2 chopped boiled eggs as well.

Baked Squash Casserole

1 lb diced yellow squash
1 large onion chopped
1 c. grated cheese
1/2 teas. salt
1/4 c. milk
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 c. cracker crumbs

1. Cook squash and onion in salted water untill tender, drain.
2. Add butter, milk and 1/4 c. of cheese. Mix well, and spread remaining cheese on top.
3. Add cracker crumbs, then dot with butter on top. Bake at 450 degrees until crackers brown.


More Turkey Help
For help in roasting a moist and tasty turkey, check out my article here. Also check out the turkey glaze recipes and turkey basting sauces.



Blessings for Your Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for all that we have and have achieved in the past year. As a Christian, I feel that that thanks rightly belongs to God. I include here some traditional blessings you can use, or allow your thanks to flow straight from your heart.


I know these things must always be
To keep our nation strong and free.
One is good health from food nourishing and dear,
Eating elegantly with loved ones far and near.
One is ready heart and hand
To love, and serve, and keep a peaceful land.
One is the Word and following His Way
Where people, daily, eat, work, witness and pray.
So long as these are kept alive,
Nation and people will happily survive.


We thank you, Lord, for all you give;
The food we eat, the lives we live;
And to our loved ones far away,
Please send your blessings, Lord, we pray.
And help us all to live our days
With thankful hearts and loving ways.

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything!
~Edith Rutter Leatham~


God, we thank you for this food,
For rest and home and all things good;
For wind and rain and sun above,
But most of all for those we love.
~Maryleona Frost~


God is great, God is good.
Let us thank Him for our food.
By His hand we are fed,
Give us Lord our daily bread.  Amen.


Lord, bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies,
And our bodies to your service.  Amen.


Smoked Turkey

My Thanksgiving meal is always a very traditional meal, just like my mother always made. My only concession to modern times is my smoked turkey. I purchase a pre-smoked turkey at the grocery store. The turkey is pre-cooked, and requires only a couple hours of reheating. It is tender and moist, with wonderful smoked turkey flavor. It is so easy, and my family likes it so much, that we occassionally cook one for parties or busy weeks and freeze the leftovers. Without the long cooking time of a raw bird, turkey can be enjoyed anytime. The downside of this is that you don't get the giblets, so you have to settle for regular turkey gravy.


Toasted Pecans

1 pound pecan halves
2 Tablespoons butter
Salt to taste
Additional seasonings if desired

Spread the pecans and butter into a single layer on a baking pan. Place into a 300 degree oven, stirring frequently roast until pecans are lightly toasted, approximately 20-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and season to taste.

You can use hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, etc. if desired. I prefer plain salt.




Site Announcements:

Also watch Easy Southern Cooking for the announcement of my Holiday Cranberry Cookbook, yours for download as my thank you to my readers.The book will be available sometime this week, as soon as I can figure out how to make the download page work. This website is my dream, but I am not a webmaster. Many of the things I have struggled to learn in this quest have come slowly and hard. The cooking and writing are what I dream of. The programing is a rough chore that I've been forced to learn.

I am planning a major overhaul of the site after the holidays. I want to make the pages more easily accessible and convient. I also would like to put in forums where readers could add their own recipes or suggestions, as well as a menu section. Again, this takes some skills that I am struggling to learn. If you have ideas for the site, or a need that you would like to see filled, please email me at dwatkins@easysoutherncooking.com . I'm sure you have better ideas that I haven't even thought of.

My ultimate goal is to offer cooking lessons through video download or podcasting, however that will have to wait til summer for that (I am a teacher by day and southern cook by night).

You are receiving this newsletter because you have subscribed to my list on www.easysoutherncooking.com. If you do not wish to receive email from us, please email me at dwatkins@easysoutherncooking.com or unsubscribe using the form on the website www.easysoutherncooking.com

Featured Cookbook

Willie Crawford's Soul Food Cookbook

"Discover the Amazing, Mouth-Watering, Old-Fashioned Soul Food and Southern Recipes Learned While Growing Up on My 96 Year Old Grandmother's North Carolina Tobacco Farm"

NEW AT EasySouthernCooking.com

Holiday Cooking
Roasting a Turkey
Cranberry Relishes
Turkey Glazes
Turkey Basting Sauces
Stuffing Recipes
Sweet Potato Recipes

We are working hard to add new recipes daily!

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