thanksgiving drinks, menu, dessert, table and leftovers!

In the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, it seems to be impossible to talk about anything else. Obviously I’m guilty. Next Thursday can’t come soon enough!

And as much as I love our LA Thanksgivings, I have to admit that I’m also really missing our annual “Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving” with friends this year. Things would definitely be different (think more babies and less drinks) but oh what fun we had! (Whine over.)

What are you cooking this year? I’m making a challah stuffing for my work potluck this week and probably some sort of vegetable next week. Still need some inspiration? I’ve rounded up the best drinks, menus, desserts, and my favorite – leftovers! 

1. Thanksgiving Drinks via Food & Wine 2. Pacific Northwest Thanksgiving via Epicurious 3. Table Settings for every dish via Real Simple 4.Thanksgiving Desserts via Martha Stewart 5. The Five Best Leftover Turkey Recipes by Chefs via Epicurious 

More fun:  Martha’s Thanksgiving Tips | How to Set a Thanksgiving Table 

PS: This Thanksgiving is also the first night of Hanukkah…and THANKSGIVUKKAH was born! (It’s been a fun holiday on pinterest – think sweet potato latkes and pumpkin pie sufganiyot!)

 

lentil, beet & goat cheese salad

I’ve been making great little “bento box” lunches lately. It’s worth mentioning that I don’t have a real bento box. It’s a gladware plastic container.

But it serves the same purpose and I’m kind of obsessed with these lunches. The biggest portion is reserved for vegetables – usually grape tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers or green beans; the small portion is for seaweed salad (I know, such a random Costco purchase); and the medium is for a lentil salad. And then I’ll add a chicken sausage or hard-boiled eggs on the side. Sometimes I keep it simple and toss the lentils with green onions, an easy dressing and some quinoa. And sometimes things get a little fancier.

Like beets, goat cheese and shallots fancier. I can’t take the credit for the idea, it came from a cafe near my office (clementine) but it is a delicious mix of slightly sweet + savory. In this particular lentil salad, beets are diced as finely as possible and tossed with lentils, shallots, goat cheese and a mustardy vinaigrette.

Side note: lentils are my favorite bean of all time. Please say you love them as much as I do!

This salad makes the perfect side dish (and could totally work as a main salad too) for lunches or dinners and if you buy pre-cooked lentils and beets, it comes together quickly! Because I tend to make rather involved packed lunches, I usually take any shortcuts I can get. I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we have!

Lentil, Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: salad side gluten-free high fiber high protein kosher vegetarian beans cheese fall

 

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • 16 oz (about 3 cups) cooked lentils
  • 8 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) beets, diced as small as possible
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • optional: sliced green onion for garnish

Instructions

Soak sliced shallots in cold water for at least 10 minutes. (To make them a little less potent.)

Whisk together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard and salt & pepper. Toss with salad.

Toss together with remaining ingredients.

Top with crumbled goat cheese and garnish with green onion.

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spicy smoked gouda dip

I recently heard a statistic that Americans eat, on average, 23 pounds of cheese per year. I’m taking full responsibility for the high side of that average. It’s not a fact I’m especially proud of, but I just can’t quit cheese. Or dairy for that matter. You can take the girl out of Wisconsin but you just can’t take Wisconsin out of the girl.

And to put fuel on my I-eat-too-much-cheese fire, there are very few cheeses that I don’t love. Smoked gouda is one of them. It’s not that I dislike it, but I don’t love it. (And why eat a cheese you don’t love?)

What I do love? The spicy gouda dip from Whole Foods Market. Which is made with smoked gouda…go figure. It also costs like, $1 million/pound.

So I had to recreate it at home.

It’s reminiscent of pimento cheese, at least in its preparation but tastes smoky, spicy and cheesy. Obviously. (?!) We managed to eat the entire batch with crackers, but oh my would this be amazing in a grilled cheese.

It’s also the perfect football food…just in case you’re watching any these days. (I suppose this cheese-fueled post is a good time to officially deem myself a Packers fan. :))

 

Spicy Smoked Gouda Dip

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese (a 6-8 oz block should be plenty)
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 small jalapenos (less if you don’t like spice!)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • few drops of Worcestershire sauce
  • season to taste: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Instructions

Stir together all ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

Serve with crackers or crostini.

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chimichurri sauce

Do you have foods that you are pretty much infatuated with before you even really really try it? That’s kind of how chimichurri sauce was for me. I’m sure I’d tried it once or twice (but nothing stood out in my memory) and I just knew it would be something that I really liked. It doesn’t hurt that  we’ve been having a moment with parsley. We’re putting it in just about everything: juices, bean salads, seafood pasta…and then I threw a TON of it into chimichurri sauce.

Wanting to keep things really classic, I decided to serve it over some grilled skirt steak but after trying it (garlic! shallots! parsley!) we both started slathering it over everything on our plate. I think it would be amazing on a lot of other things: grilled bread, goat cheese, grilled chicken, fish or shrimp and even greek yogurt. <– seriously! It’s so bright, so flavorful, I can’t think of a thing it wouldn’t be good on.

It comes together pretty quickly – just requiring lots of chopping. And so long as it’s accompanied by a little wine, I find the chopping process totally therapeutic.

Chimichurri Sauce

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: n/a

 

Ingredients (2 cups)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 cups mixed chopped herbs (I used cilantro and parsley)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt, pepper and red pepper flakes

Instructions

Combine garlic, shallot and green onion with red wine vinegar for about 10 minutes.

Stir in chopped herbs, olive oil and seasonings.

Serve over steak, fish, chicken, veggies or with grilled bread.

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