One Big Pizza

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As I rolled out this batch of dough, I realized it would not fit on my stone. Rather than split it in two, I pushed it into the perfect sized rectangle for my half sheet pan. I’m glad I did, and this pizza was so stinkin’ good. I used this Italian chicken sausage that I crisped up in a large skillet, while the crust was par-baking in the oven. I used at least four types of Italian cheeses on this and flavored the crust with olive oil and other seasonings. My family loved this pizza and my son requested it for his birthday dinner 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

One Big Pizza – 

For topping the crust:

  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • kosher salt
  • dried oregano

*Optional Equipment – pizza stone and a silicone pastry brush

Directions –

Preheat oven to 475. Place a pizza stone on a rack placed on the lowest level of the oven.

Roll out dough onto parchment lined sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 5 minutes.

Top the crust with pizza sauce and bake for another 5 minutes.

Spread about 1/2 the shredded cheese on the top, and bake for another 5-7 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, paint the crust with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder and kosher salt, sprinkle with oregano all to taste. Top with browned sausage and the remaining cheese, bake until golden brown and bubbly – about another 7 minutes. Take a peek at the bottom of the crust to make sure it’s golden brown – if not, continue baking until it’s done.

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Mushroom, Caramelized Onion Macaroni and Cheese

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This isn’t something that I get many chances to make, so as soon as I saw it I sent a text to my vegetarian food-loving friend. As expected, she was all in for this fancy mac and cheese! It was so good – full of savory flavors from the caramelized onions and meaty mushrooms. Don’t substitute any of the cheeses; they’re worth every penny – besides, when I make her lunch I get a date night 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Mushroom, Onion Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, for cooking the onions and mushrooms
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced in semi-circles
  • half a pound of button or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound pasta shells, boiled until just undercooked
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs

Directions –

In a medium skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  When heated, add the sliced onions and saute until translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook until the onions are completely browned and thoroughly cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Spoon caramelized onions into a small bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the quartered mushrooms and stir to coat in fat. Allow the mushrooms to soften and brown, about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper , and remaining thyme and reduce the heat to low. Cook until mushrooms are browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until mixture is combined. Add the milk and whisk together until mixture has thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Add scant teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, beat the egg. Add a few tablespoons of the warm cream sauce to the egg and whisk together. Once the egg is warmed, add it back to the cream sauce and whisk well to combine. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheeses. Stir until melted and combined. Add the cooked pasta, onions and mushrooms and stir until all is coated in cheese sauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a  a 9×13-inch pan, and scoop the pasta mixture into the greased pan then top with panko crumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread crumbs are browned and the pasta is sizzling. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
**Pasta can be made a day ahead and left in the fridge unbaked. Just add the bread crumbs just before baking.

Orange Glazed Chicken Thighs and Coconut Rice

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Quick Post: It doesn’t look like much, but my family enjoyed it. I really loved the coconut rice – it doesn’t taste like coconut, but the coconut milk makes the rice rich and creamy. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Orange Glazed Chicken Thighs – adapted from The Stay at Home Chef

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 1 cup orange juice (about 4 oranges)
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
 Directions –
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with non stick cooking spray. If you want to be fancy, line the bottom of the pan with orange slices (optional).
2. In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, orange zest, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
3. Place your chicken thighs skin-side up in the prepared baking dish. Pour half of the glaze over the chicken thighs.
4. Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes. Take the remaining glaze and pour it over the chicken.
5. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. The skin will get nice and crisp and browned.

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Coconut Rice –

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk, plus enough water to make 2 cups
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste (optional)

Directions –

In a medium saucepan, add water and coconut milk and rice. Cover and bring to a boil, then add salt – stir to dissolve, reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 15-18 minutes.

 

Buttermilk Baked Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Homemade Creamed Corn

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I’m all for eating healthier in January to sort of make up for all the rich foods that I made during the holidays…but sometimes it’s hard to quit the comfort. All of these recipes were delicious, but the cream corn had me swooning and will definitely be a repeat offender in this house! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Buttermilk Baked Chicken – adapted from Food Republic

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed (*I used garlic powder*)
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese-style) breadcrumbs
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
Directions –
To prepare the marinade, in a large mixing bowl whisk the buttermilk, mustard, hot sauce, paprika, salt, onion and garlic together to combine. Put the chicken in a plastic storage bag, add the buttermilk mixture and smoosh the chicken around to thoroughly coat in the marinade. Press out the air, seal the bag and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, preferably up to 2 days.
When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the marinade, wiping off any excess buttermilk, and discard. Season both sides of the chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the breadcrumbs out on a flat plate. Press the chicken breasts into the breadcrumbs to completely coat all sides, shaking off the excess.
Put a cast-iron or ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is shimmering, lay the chicken in the pan – you may have to do this in batches. Sear for 3 minutes on each side. Nestle the seared chicken breasts side by side in the skillet. Transfer the skillet (and chicken) to the oven and bake for roughly 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the crust is golden.

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Home-Style Mashed Potatoes – adapted from Pass the Sushi

      • 2 pounds potatoes (I had Russett)
      • 2 TBSP butter
      • 1/2  cup heavy cream
      • salt

Directions –

Scrub and peel the potatoes. Dice into even 1/2″ cubes to even out cooking time. Place in a large Dutch oven with just enough water to cover. Salt the water and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until a fork pierces the potatoes easily.

Drain the potatoes and return to the Dutch oven. Add the cream and using a blender or a masher, mash the potatoes. Add 2 tablespoons butter and mix until incorporated. Add more cream if needed (starch may very from potato to potato). Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to entice friends and family into extra big spoonfuls.

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Homemade Creamed Corn – adapted from Fabulously Fugal

      • 20 ounces frozen corn thawed
      • 1 cup heavy cream
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 2 T sugar
      • 1/4 tsp pepper
      • 2 T butter
      • 1/2 cup milk
      • 2 TBS flour
      • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

Directions –

Heat first 6 ingredients together in a large pot. In a separate small bowl, wisk separately  the 1/2 cup milk and 2 TBS of flour (this is what will help thicken the cream).

Stir into corn mixture and cook over medium heat (stir often so the cream doesn’t burn) until mixture is thickened and corn cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

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I had just enough leftover chicken to make this, plus everything else on hand to make this recipe – I love that! This was perfect for a Sunday lunch and we all enjoyed it with our favorite crescent rolls. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy Chicken + Lemon Rice Soup – adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 medium peeled carrot, diced small
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 3/4 cup white rice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 heaping cup leftover shredded chicken

Directions –

Heat your Dutch oven over medium heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil.

Sauté the diced carrots and celery until they’re just starting to soften. Pour in the low sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Pour in the 3/4 cup of long grain rice. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat to medium high. Cook the rice for 20 minutes; stand nearby just in case there’s a boil-over.

In a bowl, beat the two eggs and add in the lemon juice. Once the twenty minutes are up, remove the lid to the soup and gather some of the broth into a ladle. While stirring, slowly pour in the hot broth into the egg mixture. Then pour the warmed egg/broth mixture into the Dutch oven and stir.

Add in the shredded chicken and minced parsley. Taste the soup and check the seasonings, season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Turkey Tetrazzini

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This was a great use for the leftover turkey breast  from Thanksgiving and it was so good! I might have to roast another turkey to make this again soon 🙂 This recipe makes at least 8 to 10 servings, but it reheats really well. Thanks for reading, enjoy! 🙂

Turkey Tetrazzini – adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

  • 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 11 tablespoons (5½ ounces) unsalted butter, divided
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces egg noodles
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups turkey stock (can substitute chicken stock/broth)
  • ¼ cup white wine (can substitute stock or broth)
  • 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (about ¾ cup shredded), divided
  • 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about ⅔ cup), divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish; set aside. Fill a large pot with water and put it over high heat to boil.

2. In a large, 12-inch skillet with sides, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

3. In the same skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking occasionally, until the flour is browned and has a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes.

4. While the flour cooks, add the noodles to the boiling water and cook to al dente. While the noodles are cooking, continue on with the recipe.

5. Slowly whisk the milk, cream, turkey stock and wine into the butter/flour mixture. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.

6. Drain the pasta when it is finished, then add the cooked pasta, mushrooms, turkey and peas to the sauce in the skillet, tossing everything together until it is evenly coated. Add half of the Gruyere and half of the Parmesan cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

7. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons unsalted butter. In a small bowl, toss together the bread crumbs, remaining Gruyere, remaining Parmesan and the melted butter. Toss with a fork until the bread crumbs and Parmesan are evenly moistened. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the tetrazzini.

8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Citrus Brined Roasted Chicken

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Do you need a special meal for Thanksgiving, but not enough people around to warrant roasting an entire turkey? There is nothing wrong with that, and I have been in that position before. While it’s not the best scenario celebrating the holidays without extended family, making a special meal is sometimes better than going out. Our first Thanksgiving away from family was the worst on record, and I never want to experience that again. We lived in a tiny city in Texas and the only place open that day was a buffet – yuck! We had no choice because I didn’t cook back then like I do now…live and learn, right?

Roast chicken is made even better with a tad more effort; and I can’t get over how much better chicken tastes once it has been brined! My husband took a bite and was confused because of the orange flavor, because he wasn’t expecting it. It was so juicy and flavorful that I’m not sure I’ll be able to skip brining next time. I have tried one other recipe before, but I concocted this recipe myself after searching around for ratios of water to salt to weight. Citrus and chicken make a winning combination, and the idea went from there. Thanks for reading, enjoy! 🙂

Citrus Brined Roast Chicken – a Mom-Makes original

  • 3-4 lb. whole chicken
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar or honey
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced and zested (*save the other half for roasting*)
  • 1/2 orange – juiced and zested (*save the other half for roasting*)
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed

Directions –

Heat 2 quarts of water in a small pot. Once the water simmers, add your salt and sugar – stir until dissolved. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse your chicken and remove anything inside the cavity (giblets, liver, ect).  Place your chicken in a large lidded container (mine holds 6 quarts of liquid) or a heavy-duty plastic bag. Add the citrus, garlic, spices and herbs. Pour the cold water and then the dissolved salt/sugar mixture. Cover and refrigerate of 8 hours or overnight.

*About an hour before roasting, take the chicken out of the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Set it on a sheet pan and place it uncovered in the refrigerator so the skin can dry out a little.

**Citrus and Herb Butter –

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • heavy pinch of kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon and orange zest
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions –

Place butter in a small bowl.  Using a fork, mash until softened.  Add salt and pepper and mash to incorporate.  Add olive oil, zest and rosemary and stir to combine.

Roasting Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the other half of lemon and orange in the cavity, and garlic or shallot if you have it. Truss chicken and coat generously with the citrus butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and place in roasting pan or a foil lined sheet pan; insert probe thermometer into the thickest part of one of the breasts. Roast the chicken until the thermometer reads 155-160 degrees, (about 70-75 minutes with my convection roast setting). Once the desired temperature is reached, loosely cover with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes. Carve, serve and enjoy!

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Chicken (or Turkey) Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

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Chicken pot pie is comfort food at its finest: rich, creamy and hearty filling topped with a golden, flaky, buttery crust….yes, please! But if you’re too busy, or you’d rather not mix, chill, roll and hope it was all worth the effort; do yourself a favor and make this biscuit topping instead. These biscuits are so simple to make and you can even stir them up ahead of time and they bake up light, fluffy, and flavorful.

Verdict: So.Freaking.Good. I can’t wait to make this again; and I know I’ll have a good excuse to make it with leftover turkey next time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie – adapted from Food.com

*6-8 generous servings*

  • 1 cup potato, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1  cup half and half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups roasted chicken breast or turkey, shredded
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Directions –

Preheat oven to 375°FSaute onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in butter for about 10 minutes. Add flour to sautéed mixture, stirring well. Cook one minute stirring constantly.Combine broth and half and half.Gradually stir into vegetable mixture.Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.Stir in salt and pepper; add chicken and peas – stir to combine.Pour into one 13 x 9 casserole dish.

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For the biscuit crust – adapted from Just a Taste

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk

Directions –

*You can prepare the dough up to two days ahead of time*

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper into a medium bowl. Add the cheeses and toss to coat. Blend in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles wet sand.

Add the buttermilk and stir just until a dough forms. Drop the biscuit dough onto the pot pie filling in small mounds, leaving spaces between biscuits.

Bake at 375 degrees until the biscuits are puffed and golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Re-Post: Pot Roast

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I often plan my meals basted on the local weather forecast and I was so happy when I learned the high today would be 71 degrees and the low 61. I know some of you might not think that is at all cold – but this is Florida after all…I’ll take what I can get! 😉 Anything less than 80 degrees feels like a treat here and what better way to celebrate this cooler weather than to make something warm and comforting? I love its simplicity and all the great flavor that it creates; this one is hands-down my favorite, especially when we serve it over a big pile of roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Pot Roast with Vegetables – adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 1 (3 to 4 pound) piece beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 yellow onions, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 12 – 16 ounces button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced in half
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions –

Season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot that has a tight cover; heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice crust on the outside. Pour in the tomatoes and the water. Scatter the vegetables and herbs around the pot roast, season with salt and pepper; and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Braise for about 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork tender.

Slice the pot roast and arrange on platter surrounded by the vegetables. Serve with the pot juices.

Thanksgiving Day Recipe Round-Up

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Fall is my absolute favorite season because of the cooler weather, but mostly it’s because of the food! Thanksgiving dinner is hands-down the most time-consuming meal I make all year; but I love it! It’s a little depressing when I think of all the planning, shopping, prep-work, cooking, baking – not to mention the dish washing involved; and everyone is finished eating in about 20 minutes. Thankfully, there are the leftovers which can be the best part of the ordeal 🙂 I decided to round-up some of our favorites to help those of you who need inspiration and ideas.

A couple of tips for you novices out there – don’t be intimidated! 🙂 Plan at least a week in advance, especially if you plan on brining your turkey – I highly recommend it! You will never have a more moist, perfectly seasoned bird than when you’ve taken the time to brine. It’s not difficult, but you will need some extra space in your refrigerator and if you don’t have a huge, lidded container you can use heavy-duty brining bags, (I have used these). Also, invest in a digital probe thermometer, because who wants to go through all that trouble only to end up with overcooked (or under-cooked) turkey? Thanks for reading!

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Breakfast

*Update* Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Bread

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Waffles

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

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Appetizer/Sides

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Vanilla Almonds

Brioche and Sausage Dressing

Loaded Potato Soup

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Au Gratin Potatoes

Garlic Green Beans

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Breads

Honey Yeast Rolls

Basic Buttery Brioche

Homemade Crescent Rolls

Dinner Rolls

Parker House Rolls

Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns

Honey Cornbread Muffins

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Mains

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey

Honey Ham 

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Desserts

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake

Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie

Apple Crisp I

Apple Crisp II

Vegan Apple Crisp

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For the Leftovers

*Update* Chicken (or Turkey) Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Sandwiches

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Ham and Potato Soup