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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chicken & Peas Marinara

Friendsgiving Feast!

Daily Tidbit:  "Friendsgiving Feast" (pictured above): A brilliant friend suggested that we share a Thanksgiving meal with our friends the weekend before the actual event when everyone is away or busy with family. We all brought a couple items, it was an amazing feast!  I'm not a huge Turkey fan, though there was perfectly browned 22 pounder sitting in the middle of the table, but I chose to load up on a ton of yummy Vegetable sides and enjoyed every morsel.  Stuffed Mushrooms, Sweet Potato Kale Bites, Double Corn Spoon Bread, Brussels Sprouts, Winter Squash Macaroni & Cheese, Mashed Turnips and Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans all got room on my plate!  If you are still looking for some inspired side dishes to adorn your Thanksgiving plate, check these out:

Plain Oatmeal with Walnuts & Cinnamon

Breakfast: Plain Oatmeal with Walnuts & Cinnamon
1/2 cup uncooked Oatmeal, heated in microwave with:
1 cup Fat Free Milk, topped with:
2 tbsp Plain chopped Walnuts &
1/2 tsp Plain Ground Cinnamon
5 oz OJ
Regular Coffee, with a splash of Fat Free Milk & 1/2 tsp Pure Ground Cinnamon

Chicken & Peas Marinara

Lunch: Chicken & Peas Marinara
2 Chicken Breast Tenderloins, chopped and served over
1 cup Organic No Salt Added Marinara & 1 cup of Sweet Peas
1 tbsp freshly grated Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese sprinkled on top

After cooking Chicken Breasts for years I think I have finally figured out how to ensure the Chicken stays juicy and I wish I had known this ten years ago!  

I pat the Chicken dry with a paper towel and then put the pieces on a plate and spray them all over with canola oil and season with salt.  I add them to a hot pan which also has a little Canola Oil in it.  I spray the other side of the chicken and season it (if you are using a Gas stove it is safer to brush oil on the chicken when the food is over the flame!)  Turning the pieces only when they have browned on the first side and then allowing them to cook through until done on the 2nd side.  

I remove the Chicken to a clean plate  and let it rest and then use Low Sodium Broth (Chicken or Vegetable Broth depending on what is open in the fridge) to de-glaze the pan and then pour the au jus on top of the cooked Chicken.  It picks up the brown bits and flavor and salt that was left on the pan and makes for a delicious sauce using virtually no time (less than a minute!) and only a few tablespoons of broth.  

Then you don't end up losing all that great flavor by washing it all off the pan and sending it down the drain.  This simple dish was loaded with flavor and kept me full until dinner!

Snack:  No snack today, I knew the meal for dinner would be large and would start early!

Dinner:  Friendsgiving-Thanksgiving Potluck!  

Stuffed Mushrooms & Sweet Potato Kale Bites

Fresh Homemade Bread

Brie with Truffles


Brie with Truffles with fresh Homemade bread - utter decadence!
Stuffed Mushrooms
Sweet Potato Kale Bites

Thanksgiving/ Friendsgiving Feast!

Green Beans

Main Course:  a Feast!  A little bit of everything...
Winter Squash "Macaroni & Cheese" (recipe below)
Double Corn Spoon bread (recipe below)
Mashed Turnips
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
Brussel Sprouts
Roasted Mixed Vegetables
More Sweet Potato Kale Bites & Stuffed Mushrooms
Green Beans

Fresh Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Homemade Cream Puffs

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie

Dessert: Times 3!
1 Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie (recipe below)
1 slice Homemade Pumpkin Pie - YUM
1 Cream Puff - Double YUM


Winter Squash Macaroni & Cheese Recipe:

This recipe was my inspiration: 

But this is how I made it:

In hot pan add 1 tbsp EVOO & 1 tbsp Butter. Once melted I added finely diced White Onions (about 1/3 of a large onion). After a couple minutes I added 3 tbsp of White Flour and mixed in and cooked for another couple minutes. I whisked in 1 cup of Low Sodium Vegetable Broth and cooked for a couple more minutes, then added a thawed out frozen block of Winter Squash. Once warm I added 4 oz. of "Light" Cream Cheese and mixed that completely in before adding 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese and 1/2 cup Shredded Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese. I did the figure 8 method that Rachael recommends in her recipe, though I'm not sure if that makes a difference. Then I added cooked Orecchiette Pasta which had 1 cup Sweet Peas mixed in with it. Added a couple shakes of Salt, Fresh Ground Pepper and the smallest shake of Ground Nutmeg.  I made this early in the day and then added 1 cup of Fat Free Milk to reheat it in microwave to maintain creaminess and moisture in the dish, worked like a charm!

Double Corn Spoon Bread Recipe:

So I have never had Double Corn Spoon Bread before, but saw a picture that looked delicious and decided to go for it!  I used this recipe:

My only changes were using Fat Free Milk & I doubled the Scallions.  It was good, but lacked a certain zip I was hoping for....making this with fresh corn (as opposed to frozen like I used) probably helps make a more intense sweet flavor.

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Recipe:
2 cups Pure Pumpkin Puree
1 box Trader Joe's Brownie Truffle Baking Mix (I assume other Brownie mixes would work just as well)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix Brownie mix & Pumpkin. Place into 12 cupcake liners into a 12 cup cup muffin tin. Spray liners with Canola oil and then fill mix into the 12 cups. Bake for 25 minutes, allow to cool 10 minutes. Serve with whipped cream if desired!

That Pumpkin Brownie is the most decadent delicious ooey gooey treat I have had in a very very long time. This combination is genius! No, it wasn't my idea - I saw a recipe mixing Pumpkin Puree with Devil's Food Cake mix while browsing the Hungry Girl 1-2-3 cookbook at the Book Store tonight. When we got home I scoured the pantry and found Trader Joe's Brownie Truffle Baking Mix, which contains Dutch Chocolate & Chocolate Chips, and just went for it! Result: Amazingly delicious dessert! It is hard to believe there is no Butter, Oil, or Eggs in these; they are truly decadent!


  1. Wow, this all looks delicious. I can't wait until Thanksgiving!

    1. We so missed you two :) Will have to do it again soon! xo