Friday, November 29, 2013

Crispy Onion Rings

Crispy and Delicious Onion Rings! 
I had a friend who made that green bean casserole using homemade onion rings for the topping yesterday. She was cursing the recipe maker because of all the work it was to make the homemade cream of mushroom soup, and the homemade onion rings too. But it got me craving an onion ring. And right on the tail of stuffing and gravy? Oh this is a bad craving. I'm going to walk the track right now!
Crispy Onion Ring buttermilk and egg batter....
I truly love these sweet Vidalia Onion Rings. And the batter is easy enough. But I'd dust the onion slices first with flour, then the egg batter, then with the flour mixture third. That way you have a nice, rich breading to fry them up with.
Crispy Onion Ring Batter....

Flour Mixture:
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoons Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper, 
a shake of garlic salt. Mix up.

Buttermilk "wet" mixture: 
1 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 egg
1 Vidalia Onion sliced thick lengthwise 

1 Vidalia Onion (sliced thick for onion rings) Dust with flour mixture, then buttermilk mixture, then flour mixture again. Let sit for a minute in the flour mixture. Then drop in hot oil on the frying pan for about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Put on a paper towel.

Use 1/2 Greek yogurt and 1/2 buttermilk ranch dressing mixed in a bowl for dipping sauce. Yummy!

The SWEET VIDALIA onions make the very best ONION RINGS! Yumm..... BUT you can't make these very often. Just like French Fries, you have to really pace yourselves. I hardly ever order fries anymore. I just love other food too much!

Here we are dipping and dusting, dipping and dusting....
Then I would put it into a small deep fryer, or fry pan with hot oil. 

We used to have a Fry Daddy or Fry Baby. Those would work for your onions. Frying pans are just fine too. Anyway fry those babies up and then lay on paper towels to dry them off a bit.  
Onion rings are just foolproof and delicious and easy.

 My hubs snapped this pic of me as we were both chowing down on these yummy onion rings. See my
greasy fingers? Yeah, you can't make these too often if you don't want to have a heart attack!
My dip is easy; ranch dressing mixed with greek yogurt. It cuts down on the fat a little. You can also slice tiny bits of cucumber into the dip. That makes it taste really fresh and delicious.  These are really easy to make up if you have unexpected company too! Who doesn't have an onion or two lying around? 

They really taste fantastic.  They are easy. Just slice, dip and fry, eat and enjoy. Sometimes you just need a little comfort food, now dontcha?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cranberry Cilantro Salsa for Turkey Sandwiches

CRANBERRY CILANTRO SALSA....great for a Holiday Party! 

Cranberry Salsa on Cream Cheese Dip
This is the most delicious dip for a party or family get together! It is made with fresh cranberries and cilantro with a little jalapeno, lemon juice, sugar and cumin. It is so easy but so tasty. If I make it I will hang out by this dip the ENTIRE night!  It is embarrasing when I find something I love I just can't stop eating it!  That's my downfall! FOOD!  go figure.....
Oh YUMMY is this stuff heavenly!  I could stand here and eat it all day!  I really like it with Wheat Thins because chips fall apart when you try to push them into the cream may be better with soft whipped cream cheese...but it wouldn't look as pretty on the plate.....

Cranberry Salsa Dip with Cream Cheese
12 ounces or about 3 cups fresh cranberries chopped in blender or chopper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, cored,  and finely diced (cut it in half if you don't like some HEAT)
3/4 cup sugar (you can add a whole cup but it is very syrupy and sweet...I'd knock it down to 3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 (8 ounces each) packages cream cheese, light or regular, softened
Wheat Thin Crackers, for serving or Tortilla Chips
Chop about 3/4 cup at a time in your blender on "pulse"...or use a food processor for speed....
You can freeze fresh cranberries in the bag to use all year...did you know that?  Yeah,
the cranberry salsa keeps in the freezer I put half of it away in a tupperware for another party!  
It looks like a lot of cilantro when you are you could go less on it if you wanted....
The sugar is really sweet....It would taste okay to use less if you are watching sugar intake....
My hubs bought the jalapeno and it was large so I only used about half of it
and saved the other half for chili I'll make later in the week (turkey chili with leftovers from Turkey day)....if you don't like the heat use  1/3 of a jalapeno instead of 1/2. 

I didn't have a lemon so I used lime juice....It was okay but I think lemon tastes better...
but lime will do in a pinch for sure! 
Pick over the cranberries looking for smashed or bruised ones. Then use your blender for the cranberries or a  food processor and  finely chop about 3/4 of a cup at a time.  Put into a bowl and add the sugar. Then chop the cilantro, jalapeno and add them in and mix up. Then add cumin, lemon juice and salt and mix. Transfer the mixture to a covered bowl or tupperware and refrigerate for 2 hours so cranberries lose  their tartness!
It's good on a fresh turkey sandwich too...hmmm.......I think I'll have to get on that!!

When you are ready to serve, put the block of cream cheese on a really pretty plate.  Top with the cranberry mixture.  Surround the plate with wheat thins crackers.  So very Yummy

  It's a great Thanksgiving or Christmas dip or relish. And not only because it is red and green, but it always tastes fresh and tart and sweet for a fun party or for anytime!  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hosting Thanksgiving Parties and Get Togethers

The 2nd Grade Teachers at my school were in charge of hosting a Fun Friday get together. We decided to decorate Turkey Day style.

Here are some of the yummy dishes we made. These potatoes were DIVINE!
The secret ingredient in the twice baked potatoes is cream! And of course the bacon makes everything betta! 

Chinese Chicken Salad with dried cranberries and mandarin oranges. I added some slivered almonds too. Yum. 

Corn pudding. I'd never tried this before but it was good! Kind of sweet and savory at the same time. I found a recipe at Taste of Home HERE that got a 4.9 rating! It would be a fun, new recipe to try! I loved it! 
I made some cute Thanksgiving cupcakes too...Scarecrows and Turkey Cupcakes with Orange Slice Candy hats and Lemonhead heads and Candycorn feathers and beaks.
I also found these fall colored Reese's Pieces candies that added a yummy touch to these Peanut Butter Cookies. They looked pretty on my fall brown crockery platter. 

Another one of the teachers made these delectable chocolate turkey cupcakes. Yummo! 

And these pecan tartlets were to die for. I ate two of them! They are like a tiny pecan pie! I found a similar recipe at All, HERE.  It's my favorite cooking website because everything is rated by like thousands of home cooks. You KNOW it's gonna be good.
Had to have something healthy too! Everything tasted really great. 
Another yummy thing we had was Cranberry Sprite! It's NEW and Superbly YUMMY! Try it this holiday! 
I am planning my menu for Thanksgiving Day too. I'm going to do my favs but add some of those pecan tartlets and some Sweet Potato Casserole too.

Little Pinecone Turkey Placecards....check out my previous blog post for the tutorial Here at Weekday Chef.
Besides making some excellent memories with your kids and family this year doing some fun crafts like Gingerbread houses, Little turkeys out of pine cones (above... my granddaughter is modeling them as hair bows lol) or making sugar Christmas cookies or breads....we play Pin the Hat on the Turkey. 

 What side dishes do you plan to go along with your turkey and stuffing? 

Side dishes....besides your obligatory potatoes, gravy and stuffing, WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER FAVORITES? 
WELL....And besides all of the wonderful pies we all make....My daughter-in-law Cait made these cute mini apple pies....So cute....what else do you love on Thanksgiving Day???! 
My favorite salad is one my mom always made.....fresh cranberry....Check out the recipe HERE at Weekday Chef. The fun thing about it is my siblings all make this one too. You make family traditions with all of your side dishes, did you KNOW THAT? Yeah. It's true! 
My son  Devin made this spinach salad....doesn't it look yummy? So pretty too! It is seriously one of my very favorite side salads to any meal....with spinach, candied pecans, avocado, strawberries and a sweet raspberry vineagrette. 
My niece Becky made this to die for sweet potato casserole...I found a recipe for it at All HERE. is really yummy and tastes almost llike a dessert it's so good! 
One that I have always made is the French's Fried Onions Green Bean Casserole with Campbells Cream of Mushroom Soup in it. You just Have to have some green bean casserole! The recipe is on the back of the French's Onion Can. 
And of course you can't forget the homemade rolls and real salted butter. I love to have some really good raspberry jam to go with it.

Here is the link at Patties Place. I have lots of Thanksgiving decor I've taken pics of.  It's my other blog. Try a new side dish this Thanksgiving you haven't tried before. And have fun at YOUR get together this fall holiday!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pine Cone Turkey Placecard Tutorial

 Here's a picture of our Thanksgiving placecards this year.  These adorable PINECONE TURKEYS are really easy to make. Add some PLACECARDS and some knock knock turkey jokes and you can crack your family up!
Thanksgiving Decorating - Entry Hall Table and basket of pumpkins....


You will need:
6  rainbow colors of chenille stems
a pine cone, 
one brown pom pom, 
an orange fat/skinny chenille stem (shaped like a snowman nose)
wiggly eyes
 Wrap the chenille stems around the bottom circumference of the pine cone and twist once so you have the 2 end parts sticking out like a V.  Then twist those 2 together at the ends to make one teardrop shaped loop, or like a bunny's ear.  Do this again with a different color. Make all the loops on one side of the pine cone so they look like a turkey's feathers. I make sure the pine cone can sit level on a table too.

 I start with red and do orange, yellow, green, blue, purple,  the order of the rainbow. Then take a glue gun and add a brown pom pom for the head on the other side of all these cute feathers. Add 2 googly eyes purchased from Hobby Lobby or Walmart.  Lastly, add a snipped off piece of the orange fat chenille stem. They end up looking like a carrot but are perfect for a turkey " beak".
My Thanksgiving Decor in the entryway....gotta love some 3 foot tall pilgrims! 
Lastly I went online and found these adorable placecard tags. I printed off 8 of them for my own Thanksgiving guests at my table. They come in pumpkin orange and kind of a sage green.  I laminated them so I could reuse them next year. (If you don't have lamination then just use a roll of clear, fat, book tape or something similar to protect them. Then use a dry erase marker for putting the family names. You can wipe it off after dinner and reuse the little turkey cards.  HERE is the link for the free and printable turkey cards.

I made a little table for my granddaughters to sit at and used little plates and cups for them and a cute little tablecloth. I think they loved being at their own little table. They really LOVED their little turkey placecards!
 I'll have to think of something cute toput on the tables for Christmas! Maybe some little pinecone snowmen! I've got TONS of pinecones out in our front yard under our trees. Hmmm... another repurposing crafty project...
We always play a game on Thanksgiving...sometimes Apples to Apples, Sometimes Loaded Questions or Wits and Wagers...and sometimes good old PIN THE PILGRM HAT ON THE TURKEY! 
I purchased these kiddie melamine plates at Target  for the upcoming Christmas holiday dinner. And they had placemats and bowls to match at Target. I love that store.  I could easily make a simple snowman tablecloth if I want to matchy-match.  That might be easier than placemats since my kiddie table is kinda tiny.  I'll have to see what kind of fabric they have at Hobby Lobby tomorrow.
Cute Target Kid's Plates and tableware for Christmas! I have lots of snowmen decor to go with this too!  
Pottery Barn Kids had some DARLING 'ELF ON THE SHELF' plates and cups and decorations for holiday tables. Kids would love those. It sure is fun to browse the beautiful store and enjoy their great decorations. Just trekking down to Trolley Square in Salt Lake is always a fun adventure anyways.

I'm working on these 3 fun Christmas Jars to decorate my Kitchen Counter! How do you like them?
 I loved hanging out with Megan and Marisa. Notice their cute turkey shirts my daughter made for Thanksgiving? So cute!!


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