So my internet went down two days beofre thanksgiving because I have DSL and there are phone outages all over southern California if you have SBC, which I do. And then when it came back online, my computer was for some reason mysteriously excluded from any modem access, and remained so for days/weeks until the Genius Husband for some reason thought to try renaming our network, at which point it's acting like nothing was ever wrong, and "What do you mean why am I suddenly talking to you after snubbing you for no reason all this time? Of course I talked to you, you must be crazy." Not that I actually hear my my wireless network talking to me or anything....
Anyway, I wanted to share a whole bunch of Thanksgiving ideas and recipes that are seriously belated, though I suppose you could use them for Christmas too, so I'll pass along soon.
In the meantime, I decided to try a recipe for make in the pan pie crust that I found at Owlhaven's site. However, Thanksgiving morning arrived and still no internet, and I was getting desperate to do something with all the pumpkin we had cooked and pureed the night before before it was time for dinner. I phoned my mother, who was helpful on the filling but couldn't find a make in the pan crust recipe in her VAST collection, and I really was running out of time to make conventional pastry, what with the refrigerating and rolling and all. So I called my service provider and asked how long before the repairs could be made. He didn't know and apologized and I mentioned that my pumpkin pie was in crisis and it's Thanksgiving for crying out loud. So he looked it up for me. I swear. I gave him the url and he scrolled through her archives until he found the post about pies and found the crust recipe, and then dictated it to me over the phone. We were both laughing by the time he was done, and the pies turned out wonderfully with the kids' help, we got three from two mini pumpkins. So check out the recipe.
My new favorite quick dinner idea from Trader Joe's is their Cuban Mojito Simmer sauce. Pour it over chicken in a roasting pan or crockpot, and cook until done. (I pull the skin off first, but that's just me.) Serve with black beans, or TJ's Cuban Style Black Beans, and brown rice and dinner is served, except for salad.
Last weekend I took the leftovers from that, made a stock including the rest of the sauce and leftover meat, added some Cajun style pork andouille sausage. I sauteed it first and drained the fat, the sauteed green peppers in the same pan until they were a little bit black, browned a can of tomato paste, which means stirring it a lot until it changes color and gets a nice smoky flavor, and added all of that to the pot with some Thyme, ground mustard, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and leftover rice and it was the best gumbo I've ever made, at least we thought so. Don't add the peppers, sausage and rice until just before you're ready to serve or it will get mushy. (And don't ask me how much of the spices because when I'm making soup I just throw in and taste, sorry.) (In case anyone doesn't know how to make a stock, you throw all of the chicken leftovers into a pot, or crockpot, cover with water and simmer for at least a day, drain the broth, pick the meat out from the bones if you want to save it, and that's really all you need to know. For homemade chicken stock I always put the chicken carcass in the crockpot, with some garlic and onions and let it simmer, even if there is no meat left, there are a lot of good minerals to be had from those bones and simmering is the way to get at them, and it tastes good and you can freeze it for later, in ice cube trays if you're the kind who uses a bit of broth at a time for other recipes.)
While I'm thinking about it, here's the simplest ever remake of turkey dinner leftovers. Take leftover turkey and gravy and combine, add leftover vegetables, and spices that you like, garlic, salt, pepper, herbs, red pepper, hot sauce, Mrs. Dash, turmeric even if you like, whatever tastes good, put in a baking dish, spread the leftover mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with your favorite cheese and bake in the oven until the top browns. There you have turkey shepherd's pie, which even leftovers hater's will eat, because it's a new dish. In our version this year we also had leftover Kudo, (South African antelope, yes we are very traditional around here, not.) and one of the pork Andouille leftover from the gumbo, so I threw those in as well, they added a lot of flavor. So you can use that one after Christmas dinner, if you have Turkey again. It may work for duck or ham as well, though you may want to invent a sauce to go with the ham. Share any good ideas and I'll post them.
Today's last item is that I've not forgotten that I promised a prize, and it's been won a long time ago. So I'll get on that soon Kim, and I plead pregnant mommy brain for the delay.