Thanksgiving went off without a hitch last week! I brined and butterflied the turkey late Wednesday night after a showing of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The pumpkin rolls rose as I cleaned the apartment. I washed my dishes as I cooked throughout the day so there was no pile on the countertops – my mom would be especially proud of that. And the table was set with a delicious appetizer before guests arrived. Simplifying the menu, planning thoroughly and starting early really made the meal for friends stress free – even if I got lazy and passed on the cold Macy’s Parade. A few shots of the feast are below and the full photo recap can be found on the Facebook page.
|Perfect little pumpkin rolls. I added orange zest to the dough for a little sweetness and zing.|
|Always the key to a good gathering – a simple appetizer. I used St. Andre cheese with prosciutto around these ripe d’anjou and bartlett pears.|
|Roasting on the open grate saves so much time! The oils from the turkey dripped down to season a hash of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Toasted whole wheat sourdough bread cubes and fresh cilantro finished the dressing.|
|I’m so thankful for my friends and followers!|
One dish I especially enjoyed making, and eating, was a veggie stuffed take on macaroni and cheese. It wasn’t the healthiest food on the menu, but around a holiday table it’s a great way to make the kids into leafy greens lovers. Think about it: even the pickiest kids will reach for the cheesy macaroni and begin to like greens by association. And for the adults? By combining elements you can pile one less sample on your plate as you round the buffet. This recipe will feed a crowd, but you can also freeze the pasta just before baking to enjoy it later.
|If you do save a bit in the freezer, partially thaw it then bake in a casserole dish in the microwave for several minutes.|
Mac ‘n Greens
1 bunch of kale or collard greens
1 pound elbow macaroni or penne
1 cup cheddar, shredded
1 cup smoked gouda, shredded
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil while you clean and trim kale. Cook kale for 2 minutes, submerging in water, until dark green and just tender. Remove kale to a colander with a slotted spoon and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Wring the water out in a dish towel then roughly chop.
Allow water, now turned green in color, to return to a boil then cook macaroni according to box instructions. When al dente, remove to a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
In a large bowl, toss together chopped kale, macaroni, and cheese.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium pot, melt butter then saute onions until translucent. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring until golden brown. Slowly whisk in milk then season with ground mustard, oregano, thyme, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 2 minutes until milk is scalded. Remove from heat and stir into pasta to combine evenly.
Pack pasta into a deep casserole dish. Sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs and season with a bit of oregano, salt and pepper. Dot with remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.