Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

Since I don't bake all that often and don't really experiment with desserts (there is science to baking that you don't really want to mess with...) I turned to an expert to find a a delicious and decadent dessert for Thanksgiving. Who better to go to than the wonderful Paula Deen?! This dessert by Paula Deen is soo delicious and it is sure to become a family favorite just as it has in our family.

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Brined and Roasted Turkey (Thanksgiving)

Can you believe that it is almost Thanksgiving? This year has just flown by! (It is actually just a few days away from our first wedding anniversary and I can not believe the first year has gone by so quickly! Great memories already! Happy Anniversary Steven!)

Anyways, back to Thanksgiving!

I am such a holiday-loving girl and of course Thanksgiving is no exception! There is so much cooking to be done, time spent with family and of course, eating! What's not to love! For me, my favorite part of the holiday is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving which I aptly nicknamed "Cooking Day." This is the day when my mom and sisters and I get together and start cooking for Thanksgiving. Translation: My mom and I do a lot of cooking, Annie tries to cook and we all laugh at her and Katherine does a dessert or two and sits at the counter and reads gossip magazines out loud. It is truly one of my favorite days.

Because Thanksgiving is largely built around traditions (at least in our family) and there is a lot of pressure to please and impress, it is a time of the year that I don't really mess around with trying a whole lot of new things in the kitchen. I stick with the favorites.

Since the turkey is the star of the show, it has to be good, so my mom and I do the same turkey every year (and actually for the last couple of years, I did it all by myself!).

If you are looking for a new recipe, this is one to try! You will not be disappointed. The turkey comes out juicy and delicious!

1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 oranges, quartered
2 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
Dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a non-reactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, plastic garbage bag.) Squeeze the oranges and lemons and add them, along with the thyme and rosemary, to the brine.

1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey
Brine, recipe follows
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large yellow onion, cut into 8ths
1 large orange, cut into 8ths
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting

Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.

Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated (or in a cooler), for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Turn the turkey at least once during the process.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. Place breast side down in a large, heavy roasting pan and rub on all sides with the butter. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves and thyme. Truss the turkey with kitchen twine.

Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.

Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

I will post some more Thanksgiving favorites as it gets closer. If you have a family tradition or recipe that you would like to share, let me know! I'd love to post it for you!
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