Showing posts with label thanksgiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thanksgiving. Show all posts


Chocolate Silk Pie and Harmons Thanksgiving Pie Fest!

Gathering with my Harmons blogger friends is always a treat. It's especially wonderful when we gather to share dishes we have made. A few weeks ago, we prepared pies and Christmas brunch to get us in the holiday spirit! I'm so excited to share a new recipe with you for the most simple Chocolate Silk Pie you will ever make, along with four other  amazing recipes for your Thanksgiving lineup! 

photo credit Caroline from Armelle Blog

I cannot think of a better way to start the month of November than with P I E. 
You know how I feel about pie. 
Pie is love, in my book. You can imagine how I felt when we gathered and all brought a pie to share. 
Let's just say it was a love fest. 

Here are the links to all of the pies we enjoyed at our Harmons blogger pie love fest... 
(thanks to Caroline from Armelle Blog for the next few photos!)

My new favorite chocolate pie is the pie I shared. It's the World's Best Chocolate Silk Pie. 
Why the World's Best? 
1. The flavor is amazing. Just enough chocolate to satisfy a chocolate lover. 
2. Smooth and silky. Beating for a looooong time is the key. 
3. No bake filling. Some will say, raw eggs? No thanks. If you're pregnant, wait till after you deliver to make this. But otherwise, I think a true chocolate silk pie means you'll be eating a few eggs, uncooked. 
4. 5 ingredients. That alone is reason enough to make this pie. 
5. Great beginner pie. All you have to do is beat together ingredients for filling. If you are unsure about making crust, crush up 3/4 package of Oreos  in food processor with 4 tablespoons melted butter and a tablespoon of sugar, press into pie plate. Now you've got yourself The World's Best Chocolate Silk Pie in the World's Most Simple Chocolate Cookie Crust. 

The World's Best Chocolate Silk Pie
A Bountiful Kitchen, adapted from

1 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted in double boiler and then cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla or  1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
4 eggs
1- 9 inch baked pie shell (recipes below)

Cream butter in a mixing bowl.  If using a stand mixer, use a paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar, then switch to a whisk attachment to add the remaining ingredients. Gradually beat in the sugar with an electric mixer until light colored and well blended ( about 3 minutes). Stir in the thoroughly cooled chocolate, and vanilla extract. Add two eggs, beating 5 minutes on medium speed, then add the remaining two eggs, beat for 5 additional minutes. 
Using a spatula, scrape the chocolate filling into a cooled, baked pie shell.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
Garnish with fresh whipped cream, chocolate curls if desired. 

-Make the crust the day before or earlier in the day so the crust has time to cool completely before filling. You may also refrigerate the crust after cooking to help the crust cool more quickly. 
-You must have a mixer to make this. Preferably a stand mixer, or a person willing to stand and hold the mixer for a long time. 
-The pie filling recipe requires following the directions very carefully. It is very important the butter is at room temperature (not melted) , or it will not beat up properly.  Also, it is very important the eggs are beaten for 5 minutes after each addition for a total of 10 minutes. 
-You may use a single baked pie shell or a cookie crust shell. I have included recipes for two of my favorites below. Make sure to let the crust cool completely before filling!
-This pie is best when made the day before serving or early in the day to allow it to set up properly. 

Single Pie Crust
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup solid shortening
1/4 cup cold water

Cut shortening into flour and salt in medium size bowl, until the mixture resembles small pieces the size of peas. Add cold water all at once. Mix with a fork until dough starts to form into a ball, do not over mix. Add additional flour to the dough just until the dough is not sticky. Sprinkle flour out onto a flat surface. Roll the dough out and place in a 9 inch pie plate. Lightly press into the corners of the plate. Crimp the edges. Using a fork, pierce the sides and bottom of the pie dough. Refrigerate crust for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place oven rack on bottom third of oven and turn oven to 500 degrees.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Let cool completely before cooling.

Chocolate Graham Cookie Crust
2 cups graham cracker cookie crumbs
1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (white centers removed)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, process the graham crackers and Oreos to make crumbs.
In a bowl mix together the cookie crumbs, sugar and butter with your hands. Press the mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie pan. (It will seem like an excessive amount of crumbs, but it will compress down quite a bit with pressure.) Cover the crust with plastic wrap and top with another 9-inch pan, pressing quite firmly to make a smooth surface. Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and let cool completely before filling.

This post was sponsored by Harmons Grocery, all opinions are mine. 


How to Host Thanksgiving Dinner 101

It's your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner?
And you've never cooked Thanksgiving dinner?  Ever? If you're 25 or 55, you've come to the right place. Planning, recipes and step by step timeline to help you get Thanksgiving dinner on the table- without a meltdown!

Thanksgiving 101:

My first piece of advice is stick with traditional. Trust me. Traditional is best for Thanksgiving. That means turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, salad and of course, pie. 
A couple of suggestions before we start:

  1. Take a deep breath. This is just a meal. Sure, it's the most anticipated meal of the year, but in the end it's only a meal. Meat, potatoes, gravy. You can do this.
  2. Take any help offered. If you're hosting, and others want to help, LET THEM HELP.  It's okay if you don't have total control. If Aunt Betty's pie is a runny mess, no big deal. Remember, although I'm a bit of a food freak, it's okay if everything doesn't taste exactly as you planned or if every dish doesn't turn out to look like it could be photographed for the next issue of Martha Stewart Living. This holiday is about family and friends and blessings. If a guest offers to help, or if you ask them to help, I've found the best way to end up with the best dishes at your feast is to let guests bring what they love to cook. Every year my sister in law Sheri makes Southern specialties, because her husband is from the South, and she learned how to make broccoli casserole and cornbread dressing and Southern specialty pies while they lived in Alabama for years. Those are always her assignments. She makes them better than anyone else. Period.

Now those two important items are out of the way, I'm going to point you in the direction of recipes on A Bountiful Kitchen I believe are  both delicious and simple for first time cooks or hosts to use on Thanksgiving. After the recipes, Ill break down the timing as far as when to cook what, so it all ends up on the table hot, at the same time.
Here we go.

Typical Thanksgiving eve scene in A Bountiful Kitchen...

If you can get a fresh turkey and you like fresh better than frozen, great. Order one. Don't plan on running to the store on Wednesday to pick up a fresh turkey up without ordering in advance!  
If frozen, make sure to start thawing it about three days before cooking. If I purchase a 24 lb turkey, I start thawing it (at least)  Saturday or Sunday before Thanksgiving. Place it in the fridge in a pan. You can leave it in the wrapping.  Don't ever thaw a turkey on the counter. Unless you want to end up in the bathroom or the ER for a very long time after Thanksgiving dinner...
Here's my tried and true most simple way to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. It involves a roasting bag, a few seasonings, butter and a roasting pan. A few minutes of prep and a few hours in the oven. That's it. No basting, just slide in the oven and bake.  Are we best friends yet?
And yes, it really does brown up nicely inside of a bag. Isn't that a thing of beauty?

Pan Gravy

Using the drippings from the turkey for the best gravy. If you have a roasting pan, you'll be able to roast the turkey in the pan and then make the gravy right in the same pan.

This recipe isn't up yet, but will be on Saturday. You'll need a few cans (2-3) of chicken broth, butter, flour, salt, pepper and chicken flavor booster (I like Swanson brand or Knorr) . Check back for recipe link...

Mashed Potatoes: If turkey is king, mashed potatoes are queen.

After you've made these, you'll never, ever go back to boiling on the stove.
Plug in the slow cooker early in the day, mash up your potatoes right in the slow cooker and keep your prepared dish on the warm setting until showtime!

Cranberry Sauce:

Fresh Cranberry Sauce (basic recipe)
look on ABK's index for a few variations of cranberry sauce

One of those- never, ever, EVER  buy in a can items. This is the most simple recipe of all. The difference in taste? Not even comparable.
You can make this up to a week (or two) in advance.
Takes about ten minutes total to make. Let cool, refrigerate and take out a few minutes before serving dinner.

Start drying your bread now.  Here's a few tips on preparing the bread for your stuffing. If you don't have time or just can't face cutting up and drying your own bread, grab a couple of boxes of bread cubes at the grocery.  This is my moms tried and true crowd favorite stuffing. you can make it a few days ahead and refrigerate until ready to heat up. Also, cooking tip- I stopped cooking stuffing in the bird a few years ago. It slowed the cooking time of the turkey considerably and made predicting the cooking time more tricky.  

Sweet Potatoes:
If you're a Southerner, you can't have Thanksgiving without at least one sweet potato dish. This is my sister in laws famous dish. So good, you'll be tempted to fill up on these before you get the rest of the meal on your plate. I like this dish,  again, because it's a total make-ahead dish.
Make it this weekend, and then place it in the fridge and follow the recipe directions for make ahead.

Green Salad:

Every Thanksgiving dinner needs a green salad. I love this one. It's simple and fresh. Cut the fruit the day (or two) before.  Use a Spring Mix or Spinach leaves for the greens. Make the dressing up to a week ahead. All you have to do the day of the meal is place the greens on salad plates on the table, top with fruits and drizzle with dressing. So simple.

Jello or fruit salad

What's Thanksgiving without J-E-L-L-O ?
You'll love this recipe. Make it on Tuesday. Let it sit until the big day. You can make it in a 9x13 or individual custard cups.
So good, it will turn a Jello hater into a fan.


I like this recipe for beginners because there's no rolling out and shaping. Just let rise once, scoop into pan, raise again and bake. You can make these the night before.

And finally, Pie.
Really now. Who can have Thanksgiving without pie? Can you fully trust a person who says they don't like pie? Maybe, but my inner voice tells me they really do like pie, they've just never eaten good pie.
I chose two recipes I think are simple and most people will love.
Pecan pie being the first. Pecan pie is probably the easiest pie to make for beginners.
Make the crust, shape and place in pan. Follow my tutorial on crust making here.
The second recipe is for classic pumpkin pie. My recipe takes the classic Libby's recipe and adjusts the spices and milk so you won't end up with a runny filling. Perfect pumpkin pie. Every time.

Oops, almost forgot. Ice Cream. No, you don't have to make your own. Just don't forget it.
If you DO want to make your own, here's the link to my Dark Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream.

Complete Menu and Links:


5-6 days ahead-  
-Thaw the turkey in refrigerator if you are cooking over a 20 lb turkey. Remember, the insides need to be completely thawed before cooking. 
-Print out recipes, gather in one folder or binder and make grocery lists. 
-Buy all non-perishable groceries (and some fresh, depending on how early you are preparing dishes). Don't forget items like spices, jam, drinks, ice.
-Make cranberry sauce.
-Cut up bread, dry in oven. 
-Make dressing for the green salad.

3-4 days ahead-
-Cook the yams or sweet potatoes for the sweet potato casserole dish. Let cool, mash in bowl. Refrigerate until ready to complete recipe. 
-If you are making ice cream, mix it up, follow directions and keep frozen until Thanksgiving. 
-For the stuffing, cook the sausage and all of the veggies. Refrigerate until ready to add to the rest of the stuffing ingredients. 

2 days ahead-
-shop for any remaining perishable items- greens, dairy (don't forget the sour cream and whipping cream), flowers, if you like fresh flowers on your table. 
-Make the jello
-Complete the stuffing, mix together, place in fridge. 
-Cut up fruit for the green salad, place in separate bags. 

1 day ahead-
-Make pies. Set in a cool dry place. If you make pumpkin pie, refrigerate after completely cooled. Pecan pie may be left on the counter. 
-Wash potatoes.
-Make rolls, let cool and place in a plastic bag so they don't dry out after they are completely cooled.
-Gather ingredients for roasting turkey, place in one spot in kitchen. 
-Set out all serving platters, bowls, and utensils. I like to set the serving utensil right in the dish, so I don't have to look for (or direct someone to look for) serving utensils while I'm in the final stages of preparing the meal.  If you can, set the table for dinner. Don't forget the salt and pepper. 

Thanksgiving Day-
-Put on your apron and some comfy shoes. 
-Prepare turkey for cooking. Do this about 4-5 hours before serving dinner. 
-Cut up potatoes and place in slow cooker about 5 hours before dinner is served. 
-Cook Turkey according to chart on recipe notice how many pounds your turkey weighs BEFORE tossing the weight tag on the turkey. 
-About 2 hours before turkey is done, remove the sweet potatoes and stuffing from refrigerator. 
Let sit on counter for one hour. 
If you have a second oven, place these dishes in oven to warm at 325 for about one hour, loosely covered with foil. If the stuffing is too dry, add a few tablespoons of chicken broth and gently fold the stuffing a bit to loosen the bread and allow the broth to moisten the stuffing. 
If you have one oven, Place these dishes on another rack in oven with turkey if possible for about an hour. If you have to wait until the turkey is done, cook both side dishes at 375 for about 30 minutes on middle rack, uncovered. Check to see if they are warmed in the middle of dish before serving. They can go into the oven immediately after the turkey is removed, adjust the heat and start cooking right away. 
-After the mashed potatoes are cooked (about 4 hours), complete recipe and keep slow cooker on warm setting. 
-Place any frozen veggies (corn, green beans, etc) in pans on stove with water and butter in pan. Do not cook yet. 
-Place the rolls on table in basket. 
-Place butter, jam, cranberry sauce etc on table. 
-Plate and dress salad, set on table. 
-Place jello salad on table.
-Remove turkey from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Follow directions for removing bag.
-Transfer turkey to platter to serve. Cover loosely with foil while making gravy. 
-Have someone fill drink glasses. 
-Make gravy according to recipe. While making gravy, cook corn. 
-Transfer turkey to table.
-Remove stuffing and sweet potatoes from oven and corn from stove pour into serving dish, place on table. Place mashed potatoes in serving bowl on table. 
-Place gravy in bowl with ladle and place on table. 
-Take off your apron, gather with your loved ones at the table, and thank the Lord for all you have. 

Happy Thanksgiving!