Thanksgiving Menu 2014

It’s almost here!

Eatwhateveryouwantday…I mean Thanksgiving.

So who’s coming? My 2 sisters and their husbands. My 2 nephews. My 2 brothers (one is bringing a girlfriend I haven’t met!). My Mom. My fiance and son. I can’t wait to see everyone! The only partial bummer is that we have to wait to have Thanksgiving until Friday because my sister Angela has a fire-fighter husband 🙂

The not bummer at all is that my new house has a second fridge. It’s SO frivolously wonderful not have one fridge sopackedthatyoucantshutthedoor! We’re living the good life I tell you!!


Veggie Tray with ranch dip. This is a must in our family. We eat on this ALL afternoon.

Thyme and Garlic baked Camembert. To be served with misc crackers and pita.


Baked ham.

Roasted turkey. Butter under the skin (lots!). Rosemary, thyme, garlic and onion stuffed.

Arugula salad with beets, blue cheese, walnuts and shallots. Oil/vin dressing.

Mashed potatoes. Whole milk, butter…the norm.

Stuffing. Whole Foods organic in the bag kind. Dressed up with celery, onion, fennel and shiitake mushrooms.

My sister Angela’s fab 5 cheese mac-n-cheese.

Mom is bringing sweet potato casserole, collard greens and maybe something else.


Candied Pecans.

Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Oat Pecan Crust. Whipped cream!

My sister Angela and my Mom will both bring surprise desserts to share.

I’ll take some follow up pics so you can see how awesomely amazing everything turned out!!!

Penne with Zucchini and Shiitakes

Diced zucchini and shittakes

Fast, easy to make pasta sauce doesn’t have to come in jar! I put this pasta together for a quick Sunday lunch when my sister was visiting last weekend. Check some pics from our weekend together on her blog.

We enjoyed (maybe-too-much) wine on Saturday night and I was craving pasta but I also wanted to eat lots of veggies and have a nice healthy meal. The eikhorn pasta has tons of nutrients and 8 grams of protein per serving. I chose shiitake mushrooms for their meaty-ness. Zucchini because it’s one of my favorite veggies and I wanted to add some “green” to the pasta. Garlic and shallots for flavor and bite. Last but not least…fresh, locally made goat cheese that I bought from the SOTJ Farmer’s Market the day before. If I hadn’t added it to the pasta I would have slowly eaten it throughout the week by sticking my finger in the container whenever I saw it in the fridge…it’s THAT good!

Penne with Zucchini and Shiitakes

Penne with Zucchini and Shiitakes

  • 1 – 12 ounce box Jovial Einkorn Penne pasta, cooked
  • 4 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 package shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 8 ounce container Night Sky Farms herbed goat cheese


  • Set the goat cheese out to soften. Prepare and chop all the veggies. Add butter and oil to a large skillet and heat to medium heat. Add all the veggies at once and cook until zucchini is just getting soft. (I set a lid on the pot for part of the time to help them steam.)
  • Cook the pasta according the package directions and drain, reserving a little of the pasta water to help the pasta and veggies all come together.
  • In a large bowl toss together cooked pasta, veggies and goat cheese. Add a little pasta water if needed to help everything come together in a nice sauce.

Turkey Tetrazzini

Happy New Years Eve!

Turkey Tetrazzini

The only time I have ever eaten Turkey Tetrazzini is at the old Ukrops deli. It’s been forever ago since I had it but I remember the turkey, spaghetti noodles and celery goodness very well. It’s a once-a-year-get-rid-of-my-leftover-turkey-kind-of-dish. You know….delish but not something to make all the time.

I read over a few recipes. Some called for tons of cheese or cream cheese….not the flavor or calories that I wanted. Some had ingredient lists a mile long. I made my own version and I think it turned out great. Peas, celery, onion, shiitake mushrooms…a light(ish) sauce with crispy parmesan cheese baked on top. YUM!

Turkey Tetrazzini

The two 15-year-olds in my house ate 2 plate fulls!!

Turkey Tetrazzini

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 container shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 ounces frozen peas
  • 1 cup homemade turkey stock (or the boxed stuff is good too)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (I don’t usually buy this but I had some leftover from the mashed potatoes I made on Christmas Eve and didn’t want to waste it)
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 3 cups leftover turkey, shredded
  • 10 ounces Barilla Plus spaghetti noodles, cooked for about 8 minutes and drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the extra virgin olive oil. Add onions and celery (salt and pepper) until about halfway cooked or about 5 minutes. Add butter and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add peas, shredded turkey, stock, milk and sour cream (then season again with salt and pepper) and cook until starting to bubble. Add cooked, drained noodles and toss to combine
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9 glass dish with non stick olive oil spray and add contents of skillet. Top with 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese and 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for another 10-15 minutes before serving.

Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

The cool weather and gray skies this week called for some comfort food in my house! I had 3 exams and a group project due this week so it was nice to have this easy to put together dish actually work for dinner for 2 nights (for the 3 of us). I have a little study break the next 3 days! Looking forward to it!


I’ve made this recipe multiple times but this is the first time I added sauteed garlic and mushrooms. They add a special flavor note to the dish that was just incredible. I especially like the flavor and texture of the shiitake mushrooms. They are a little more pricey than other types of mushrooms but since this is a meatless dish (and it lasted for 2 dinners) they are SO worth it!

Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

  • 1 – 10 ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 package of shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, halved then sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 – 15 ounce container, organic part-skim ricotta
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • freshly ground pepper and kosher salt, to taste
  • 16 ounces fresh mozzarella, divided
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 – 25 ounce jar spagetti sauce
  • 1 box manicotti pasta, uncooked


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 13×9 glass baking dish with non-stick olive oil spray; set aside.
  • Prepare mozzarella by cutting off about 1/3 of the log and dicing it up (this will get added to the filling). Slice the remaining mozzarella; reserve to be added to the top of the filled pasta.
  • In a small saute pan melt the butter. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft.
  • In a medium bowl combine spinach, mushroom mixture, ricotta, the diced mozzarella, nutmeg, salt & pepper.
  • In the bottom of the baking dish add 1/3 cup water and about 1/3 of the jar of spaghetti sauce and stir around a bit to mix. Fill the uncooked pasta shells with the ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish. Top the pasta with the rest of the spaghetti sauce then the sliced mozzarella and the shredded parmesan cheese.
  • Bake covered with foil for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes or so. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Spring Green Pasta with Saffron Cream Sauce

I know it’s mid-May and I should have had it done by now but I’ve been spring cleaning today. Rearranging things, changing a/c filters, dusting, dusting, dusting! I have a labradoodle, a goldendoodle and a maine coon mix cat so there is always something to dust off or a floating tumbleweed of hair to pick up around my house. I also have a bad habit of redecorating or moving pictures around and then leaving the items I don’t know where to put in the corner of the room! I have some new crafty projects that I want to get into while I’m out of school for the summer so I’m making myself clean up some unused items and get rid of what I no longer want! If I haven’t used it since I moved in 3 years ago it’s going to Goodwill!

With a newly spring cleaned house I wanted a spring pasta! Last weekend when I shopped at Nadolski’s I found a beautiful little glass jar of saffron…and grabbed it up! While browsing for recipe ideas I ran across a new post from Aida Mollenkamp. I have adored her and her recipes for a few years. One of my favorite recipes of hers, that I have seriously made over and over again, is her Sweet Sausage and Three Cheese Lasagna. I’m pretty sure that recipe is the reason I first started a recipe box on Really!! The last few times I made lasagna I have made an eggplant roasted vegetable version but her version is the BEST as far as meat lasagnas go.

Here are some of the ingredients ready to be turned into yummy pasta! Look at that beautiful looking, locally grown asparagus!

Spring Green Pasta with Saffron Cream Sauce

(adapted from Aida Mollenkamp)


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads
  • 8 ounces fettuccine (I used linguine)
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 6 ounces mushrooms (I used shiitake)
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas
  • 1 large shallot, minced (the recipe called for leeks and I didn’t have any)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves


  • Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to simmer add saffron and set aside until ready to use, at least 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and prep vegetables. Cut the asparagus and peas on the bias into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut the stems off of the shiitake mushrooms and slice them into strips. Mince the shallot.
  • Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add shallot, salt pepper, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add mushrooms (and a small 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter…I think mushrooms should always be cooked with a little butter!!). Once the mushrooms are tender add the asparagus and peas, stirring occasionally until bright green. Add cream, turn heat to medium-low.
  • When the pasta water boils, salt well and cook according to package directions. Before draining pasta reserve 1 cup of pasta water (I only used about 1/2 cup of the water). Add noodles to cream and vegetable mixture. Using tongs stir it together adding enough pasta water to make it the desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
  • When pasta is well coated stir in most of the tarragon. Garnish with additional tarragon when serving.

Here is the cream and veggies cooking together:

And the pasta and veggies plated:

This is so delicious! My son refused to eat it because he saw too many green vegetables…and he hates mushrooms… but my boyfriend Travis loved it. We served it along with a small grilled flank steak. I only had like 3 bites of steak because I wanted to save room for more pasta! Make it and let me know when you do 🙂