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  1. Friday, December 11

    Friday Show and Tell: How To Make Pie Crust and So Much More

    Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve have some stuff to share with you today that I’m excited about!

    how to make pie dough and crust

    homemade pie crust recipe by kate lebo

    First, for Cool Mom Eats I wrote an article about how to make pie dough and pie crust, with photos and tips. After all the pie recipes this week, you’re definitely going to want to check it out! I also put together a roundup of eggnog recipes to get your holiday on.

    what happened when my 10-year-old was in charge of dinner for a week

    Remember a few months ago how Cate was in charge of planning the weekly menu and making dinner every night? She and I wrote about the experience and the article just published on Babble.

    recipes kids should know how to cook before leaving home: omelets

    I started writing for the website Alpha Mom! I’m going to be writing a monthly article with Cate sharing recipes kids should know how to cook before they leave home. We kicked things off with omelets!

    To the Market Tastemaker: Jane Maynard

    Last but not least, To the Market featured me as a Tastemaker this week! I had a lot of fun working on this piece with them, be sure to check it out!

    When it rains it pours…things have been busy for me lately! I’m sure they are with you, too, but be sure to share your own stuff with us in the comments!


  2. Thursday, December 10

    Time for Pumpkin Pie

    Today is the last pie recipe of the week. And it’s a classic: pumpkin pie.

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    Every time I make pumpkin pie, I can never remember how I made it the last time. Was it the recipe on the a pumpkin puree can? From a cookbook? From a website? I do know that I once used a pumpkin pie recipe I saw on the America’s Test Kitchen TV show and it came out beautifully – the pie didn’t even crack! But that recipe is a little involved (it’s very similar to the one in the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook), so I rarely feel like tackling it. When I try other recipes, well, I never keep track of which one I’ve tried. So, this year, I paid attention. I made notes. And I’m putting what I did in this blog post…I’ll never have to dig around again!

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    This pumpkin pie recipe is very straightforward. Nothing crazy, just subtly-spiced, wonderful, creamy pumpkin pie. This recipe is originally from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. This ATK recipe is a bit simpler than the one I tried a few years ago, but has nearly identical technique. This year’s pie did crack, but we decided that we don’t care if our pumpkin pie cracks. The cracks give it character!

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    There are a few aspects to the technique of this recipe that make the pie come out nicely (thanks, America’s Test Kitchen!). First, the pumpkin gets mixed in the food processor, to eliminate any fibers and make the filling smoother. Second, you cook the pumpkin, spices and sugar on the stovetop. The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook says this improves flavor, but the Cook’s Illustrated recipe also says that it helps you get the right amount of moisture in the pie filling. Lastly, the filling is warm when it is added to the warm crust, which helps with the overall texture of the pie custard and the crust.

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    So, here you go! The pumpkin pie recipe I will use from here on out!

    Pumpkin Pie
     
    Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook - I cut way back on the amount of spices in this recipe, but the rest of the recipe is pretty much the same. I use a different crust recipe than they do and I rewrote some of the instructions to reflect exactly what I did.
    Ingredients
    • 1 single pie crust (see recipe below)
    • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • ½ teaspoon ginger
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ⅔ cup heavy cream
    • ⅔ cup whole milk
    • 4 large eggs
    Instructions
    1. Once your pie crust is rolled out and in a 9.75-inch pie dish, freeze for 30 minutes.
    2. Preheat oven to 375º F. Remove pie crust from freezer and line the pie crust with a double layer of non-stick aluminum foil (non-stick side down), covering the edges.
    3. Fill the pie crust with beans (about 1½ pounds), pennies, or pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes.
    4. While the pie crust is doing the blind bake, make the pumpkin filling. You want to fill the crust with the pumpkin filling while the crust is hot from the blind bake, so it's important to make the pumpkin filling while the crust is baking. Process the pumpkin, brown sugar, spices and salt in a food processor for about 1 minute.
    5. Transfer the pumpkin mixture to a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. (Leave the processor as is...you're going to use it again in a few minutes, no need to clean!) Stir constantly to avoid the pumpkin bubbling and exploding all over your stove. Cook for about 5 minutes, until thick and shiny. Whisk in the milk and cream, bring mixture back to a simmer, then remove from heat.
    6. Place the eggs in the food processor and process until uniform, about 5 seconds. With the machine running, slowly add about half of the hot pumpkin mixture through the feed tube. Stop the machine, add the rest of the pumpkin and process again for about 30 more seconds until everything is uniform.
    7. The timing should work so that the pumpkin filling is done and warm when the pie crust is done blind baking. When you remove the partially-baked crust from the oven, turn the temperature up to 400º F and remove the pie weights you used and the foil. Immediately pour the warm pumpkin filling into the hot partially baked crust. If you have extra filling, ladel it into the crust 5 minutes into the baking time.
    8. Bake the pie until the filling is puffed and lightly cracked around the edges and the center wiggles slightly when jiggled, about 25 minutes. Cool pie on a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftover pie in the refrigerator, wrapped, up to 2 days.

    homemade pie crust recipe by kate lebo
    All-Butter Crust
     
    From "Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter" by Kate Lebo. Reprinted with permission.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 ½ cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter
    Instructions
    1. Fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 1½ cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have more water than you need for the recipe (which will probably use ½ cup or less) at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze the water or use all 1½ cups in the dough.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut ½- to 1-tablespoon pieces of butter and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
    3. Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. It should be chunky—mostly pea-size with some almond- and cherry-size pieces. The smaller bits should resemble coarse cornmeal.
    4. Take the water out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss to distribute the moisture. You’ll probably need to pour a little more water on and toss again. As you toss and the dough gets close to perfection, it will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. Press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. If it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. If the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done. (When all is said and done, you’ll have added about ⅓ to ½ cup water.)
    5. With firm, brief pressure, gather the dough in 2 roughly equal balls (if one is larger, use that for the bottom crust). Quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. Wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour to 3 days before rolling.
    6. Click here to read my (as in Jane's) instructions and photos for rolling out the pie crust.

    Click here to see my instructions and photos for rolling out pie crust.


  3. This Week for Dinner Podcast #13: Kathy Strahs

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #13: Food Writer and Entrepreneur Kathy Strahs

    I love Mondays and Thursdays because I get to publish new podcast episodes! Today the show features my colleague and dear friend Kathy Strahs. Kathy has THREE food blogs (crazy woman!), has authored two beautiful cookbooks, and recently launched her own publishing company Burnt Cheese Press. She’s got lots of smarts and lots of heart, which means she has a lot of good to share with the world. Kathy talks about her new business with me on the show, and, of course, recipes and kitchen tips!

    Shownotes:

    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Just click play below!
    • Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the Stitcher, Podcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.

     Other Stuff!


  4. Wednesday, December 9

    Chocolate Chip Pie, a.k.a. Butter Pie with Some Chocolate Thrown in for Good Measure

    When I was growing up, my mom would often make Nestle Toll House chocolate chip pie for the holidays. I loved that pie. It was gooey and buttery and right up my chocolate-lined alley. Since I’ve been an adult, however, I think I’ve only made this pie once, and it was many many years ago.

    chocolate chip pie from @janemaynard

    This Thanksgiving I decided to resurrect the chocolate chip pie. I made one for Thanksgiving. It was delicious, although the proportions weren’t right for a standard-sized pie dish. In the name of good pie, I made another one to get the recipe just right. You’re welcome.

    chocolate chip pie from @janemaynardchocolate chip pie from @janemaynard

    A few quick notes before we get to the recipe:

    • This pie is buttery. As in it has a ton of butter. You can see and taste that butter in the finished pie and it is a good, good thing. But, I thought I should warn you that my nickname for this is “Butter Pie.”
    • Chocolate chip pie is much better served warm. When you are eating leftovers, heat up your slice for 12-15 seconds in the microwave and it should be perfect.
    • Even though this pie has eggs, I store it covered at room temperature. The crust stays much flakier that way and I figure the pie is like a giant cookie and cookies are fine at room temperature. So far I’ve never had a problem. (The original Toll House recipe has no instructions about storage.)
    • You can click here for the original Toll House recipe, which is for a 9-inch 4-cup volume pie crust, which is smaller than a homemade crust made in a 9.75-inch pie dish. The original version cooks faster than my version below. You can use the original recipe in the larger homemade crust, but the filling will only fill up the crust about halfway, although it cooks much faster.

    chocolate chip pie from @janemaynardchocolate chip pie from @janemaynard

    Chocolate Chip Pie
     
    Adapted from a Nestle Toll House recipe. My proportions below are for a larger 9.75-inch homemade crust, the Toll House recipe is for a smaller 9-inch pie crust.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 unbaked 9.75-inch pie crust (standard pie dish size; see pie crust recipe below)
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1½ cup (3 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional - I never add nuts)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
    2. Freeze pie crust for 30 minutes before filling and baking.
    3. In a large mixer bowl, beat eggs on high until foamy and very light in color. Beat in flour and both sugars. Beat in butter and mix on medium-high until fully combined.
    4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
    5. Spread batter in pie crust. (Please note: this recipe is for a 9.75-inch standard pie dish. If you are using a store-bought crust say from the freezer section, the crust may be smaller. If this is the case, fill the crust near the top, but if you have extra batter, just leave it out.)
    6. Bake for 60-90 minutes (if you use a smaller 9-inch crust and leave out the extra batter, it will be about 60 minutes, if you use a deep-dish, larger pie crust, it will take more like 90 minutes). When you nudge the pie dish in the oven, the middle should still jiggle just a little bit. If the top and crust are getting too brown, lightly cover with foil while the pie finishes baking.
    7. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before eating. Store at room temperature, covered, and warm leftover slices in the microwave for 12-15 seconds.
    Notes
    Whipped cream or ice cream go great with this pie!

    homemade pie crust recipe by kate lebo
    All-Butter Crust
     
    From "Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter" by Kate Lebo. Reprinted with permission.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2½ cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter
    Instructions
    1. Fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 1½ cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have more water than you need for the recipe (which will probably use ½ cup or less) at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze the water or use all 1½ cups in the dough.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut ½- to 1-tablespoon pieces of butter and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
    3. Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. It should be chunky—mostly pea-size with some almond- and cherry-size pieces. The smaller bits should resemble coarse cornmeal.
    4. Take the water out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss to distribute the moisture. You’ll probably need to pour a little more water on and toss again. As you toss and the dough gets close to perfection, it will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. Press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. If it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. If the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done. (When all is said and done, you’ll have added about ⅓ to ½ cup water.)
    5. With firm, brief pressure, gather the dough in 2 roughly equal balls (if one is larger, use that for the bottom crust). Quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. Wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour to 3 days before rolling.
    6. Click here to read my (as in Jane's) instructions and photos for rolling out the pie crust.

    Click here to see my instructions and photos for rolling out pie crust.


  5. Tuesday, December 8

    Crumble Apple Pie with Homemade All-Butter Crust and Two Streusel Topping Options

    I’m suddenly obsessed with making pies. I’ve made SIX in two weeks. My podcast chat with pie expert Kate Lebo really had an influence on my behavior apparently! Since I’ve got pie on the brain, this week I’m going to share the recipes for the three pies I made for Thanksgiving. They were all mighty good, so it’s only right I do some blog posts. Also, I don’t want to forget what I did so I can make them again myself. So, in the end, I guess I’m just being selfish. But at least you benefit, right? Today I’m kicking things off with Crumble Apple Pie.

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #2

    Traditional apple pie with a double crust is good and all, but I really love crumble apple pies, you know the kind, with a crumbly streusel topping. Flaky crust on the bottom, buttery crunchy yumminess on top. The combo can’t be beat.

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynard

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #1

    I have made two crumble apple pies in the last two weeks, with two different streusel toppings. Honestly, our family can’t decide which we like better, so I’m going to give you both streusel recipes!

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynard

    A note about the apples: I discovered the best way ever to slice apples for pie. Peel the apple, then cut off the opposite sides of the apple, getting as close to the core as possible, then cut off the last two opposite sides, so you’ll end up with 2 large half-apple pieces, and 2 smaller wedges. Turn those pieces on their flat side, then cut the apples into perfect, even-width apple slices. Slicing the apples went so quickly this way and it was a cinch getting the apple slices the same size as each other.

    How thick should the apples be? The thicker the slides the more bites of cooked apple pieces there will be in the pie. If you make the slices thinner, then there will be less apple chunks and the apples all kind of cook together into a delicious mess. I like thinner, personally, but I know other people love big chunks of apple. Do whatever makes your apple-pie-loving heart happy.

    Without further ado, Crumble Apple Pie with two streusel topping options. Oh, if you haven’t made homemade pie crust, do it! It’s the best and really not hard…promise.

    Crumble Apple Pie
     
    Adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ¼ cup white sugar
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 2 pinches salt
    • 8 granny smith apples, sliced
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 pie crust (see recipe below)
    • Streusel Topping (see recipes below)
    Instructions
    1. Place 1 pie crust in a 9.75-inch pie plate. Trim and crimp the edges. Freeze pie crust for 30 minutes. (Please note: Kate's crust recipe is for a 9-inch pie plate, but it works for my 9.75-inch pie plates as well - the crust is thin, but not too thin and tastes great.)
    2. Preheat oven to 450º F.
    3. While crust is in the freezer and the oven is preheating, toss together brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch.
    4. Peel the apples. To slice, for each apple cut off the opposite sides of the apple, getting as close to the core as possible, then cut off the last two opposite sides, so you'll end up with 2 large half-apple pieces, and 2 smaller wedges. Turn those pieces on their flat side, then cut the apples into even slices. The thicker the slices, the more apple chunks there will be in the pie. (I like to go thin, it's a personal preference.)
    5. Toss the apples in the sugar mixture. Pile the apples into the pie plate, making the pile taller in the middle.
    6. Evenly spread the streusel topping over the top of the pie, packing it down and around the apples.
    7. Place the pie on a cookie sheet. Put in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350ºF and bake for about an additional hour, starting to check the pie around 40 minutes for doneness. Keep an eye on the streusel topping – if it starts to get too brown while baking, cover with foil, though this will probably not be a problem. Pie is done when a knife very easily pierces the pie. Do not undercook.
    8. Cool on a rack before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    9. Can be stored, covered, at room temperature for 1-2 days. If you need to store it longer, refrigerate.
    10. You can also freeze the pie. Freeze fully cooked, uncut pies for up to 3 months. Let pie cool completely, wrap well, then freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator then reheat in a 350º oven for about 25 minutes until just warmed.

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #1

    Streusel Topping #1 for Crumb Apple Pie
     
    From Epicurious. This streusel topping is lighter and has more of a sandy texture. Describing it as "sandy" makes it sound not good, but that could not be more untrue. It's delicious!
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ¼ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes (Jane note: next time I'm going to try 8 tablespoons of butter just because I'm curious!)
    Instructions
    1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Add butter and blend together by hand with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles wet sand. Alternatively, add all ingredients to a food processor except butter. Blend together. Add butter a few tablespoons at a time, pulsing the food processor, until mixture resembles wet sand.
    2. Top on an apple pie before baking (see recipe above).

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #2

    Streusel Topping #2 for Crumb Apple Pie
     
    Adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." This streusel topping is a little heavier in texture than Streusel Topping #1 - it sort of "melts" more together, although melt is not really the right word. It's a bit butterier and not as crumbly. Equally delicious, just different!
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 8 tablespoons cold salted butter, cubed
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 pinches salt
    • ½ cup flour
    Instructions
    1. Mix all ingredients together with a pastry blender until evenly incorporated. Place on top of an apple pie (see recipe above).

    homemade pie crust recipe by kate lebo
    All-Butter Crust
     
    From "Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter" by Kate Lebo. Reprinted with permission.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2½ cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter
    Instructions
    1. Fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 1½ cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have more water than you need for the recipe (which will probably use ½ cup or less) at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze the water or use all 1½ cups in the dough.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut ½- to 1-tablespoon pieces of butter and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
    3. Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. It should be chunky—mostly pea-size with some almond- and cherry-size pieces. The smaller bits should resemble coarse cornmeal.
    4. Take the water out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss to distribute the moisture. You’ll probably need to pour a little more water on and toss again. As you toss and the dough gets close to perfection, it will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. Press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. If it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. If the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done. (When all is said and done, you’ll have added about ⅓ to ½ cup water.)
    5. With firm, brief pressure, gather the dough in 2 roughly equal balls (if one is larger, use that for the bottom crust). Quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. Wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour to 3 days before rolling.
    6. Click here to read my (as in Jane's) instructions and photos for rolling out the pie crust.

    Click here to see my instructions and photos for rolling out pie crust.


  6. Monday, December 7

    This Week for Dinner #12: Luvvie Ajayi

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #12: Writer and Activist Luvvie Ajayi

    Today’s guest on the podcast is Luvvie Ajayi, writer, activist, digital strategist, speaker and superb side-eye artist. Luvvie has been blogging for over 12 years and her blog AwesomelyLuvvie.com cracks me up every time I open it. Luvvie also co-founded The Red Pump Project, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. You can read more about Luvvie on her about page, but basically she writes for tons of great websites, speaks at all kinds of wonderful events, and does a lot of good in this world. We love Luvvie!

    Shownotes:

    • The Glossary on Luvvie’s Blog (funny stuff)
    • A recipe for Jollof Rice from a Brit-Nigerian who is friends with Nigella Lawson…which leads us to the next bullet point on this list…
    • Dear Luvvie’s Mom, You need to write a cookbook. We want your recipes, especially that jollof rice. Thank you, Jane and The Rest of the World
    • Dear Everyone Else: Tweet Luvvie if you have a minute and tell her mom we want her to write a cookbook!
    • Okay, here are a few good options for the suction cup sponge “thingy.” Option 1: Basket style (comes in several metal finishes). Option 2: Solid aluminum style (more modern looking). Option 3 (like Luvvie’s): Plastic style.

    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Just click play below!
    • Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the Stitcher, Podcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.

     Other Stuff!


  7. Sunday, December 6

    Week 463 Menu

    This is going to sound funny, but I hate it when I diligently follow my weekly meal plan! That means when I go to plan the next week, I have to come up with totally new ideas. This is one of those weeks. What got into me? 😉 Okay, here’s goes…

    Week 463 Weekly Menu from @janemaynard including free printable meal plan and shopping list

    MONDAY:
    Baked Stuffed Winter Squash

    TUESDAY:
    Green Noodles
    – Salad and garlic bread

    WEDNESDAY:
    Chicken Caesar Wraps
    – Fresh fruit

    THURSDAY:
    – Leftovers

    FRIDAY:
    Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

    SATURDAY:
    – Take out night

    SUNDAY:
    Chicken Soup with Rice

    Click here for the free printable of this week’s menu plus the shopping list!

    Thank you all for posting menus week after week. They are great inspiration! Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got cooking this week!


  8. Friday, December 4

    Friday Show and Tell

    Happy Friday! December is my crazy month and I’ve been trying to not let it get to me…but yesterday I had my breaking moment. So, it’s time to refocus, breathe, breathe, and breathe some more. I’m tempted to simply buy everyone goats for Christmas so that at least I don’t have to worry about Christmas shopping. Seems like a good plan to me!

    My 10-year-old cooked dinner for a week by @janemaynard

    Okay, food links! I have just two this week:

    That’s all I’ve got this week. Short and sweet! As usual, please feel free to share whatever you like in the comments for Show and Tell!


  9. Thursday, December 3

    Oreo Snowmen + This Week for Dinner Podcast #11: Jane Mosbacher Morris

    This Week for Dinner Podcast #11: CEO Jane Mosbacher Morris

    Today I have a new podcast episode AND a recipe. Well, it’s not my recipe. It’s my podcast guest’s recipe. After we finished recording the episode, I told her I was going to try it out and take pictures…and I actually followed through. It’s a miracle!

    Okay, so first, today’s guest on the show. Meet Jane Mosbacher Morris, Founder and CEO of To the Market | Survivor-Made Goods, a company that focuses on economic empowerment for survivors of abuse, conflict and disease (I’ve written about them before!). Prior to To the Market, Jane lived out all of my college-Jane International Relations dreams, from working for the McCain Institute for International Leadership managing human trafficking efforts to working for the State Department in the Bureau of Counterterrorism and the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. In addition to all this impressive stuff, Jane is incredibly kind, warm and funny. This girl is the whole package. I like her name, too.

    Oreo Snowmen at @janemaynardJane shares a fun holiday recipe for Oreo Snowmen in the episode. Here are some pictures along with the recipe! Be sure to scroll all the way down so you can listen to our conversation on the podcast because Jane’s description of making the snowmen is infinitely better than my boring instructions.

    Oreo Snowmen at @janemaynardOreo Snowmen at @janemaynard

    Oreo Snowmen
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    Feel free to try different colors and add-ons to turn the snowmen into other characters! (Also, Jane will laugh that I put her as the author...lots of people make these, but I'm going to give her credit anyway.)
    Author:
    Serves: 20
    Ingredients
    • 12-ounce package white candy melts
    • 20 double or triple stuffed Oreos
    • 10 orange Tic-Tacs
    • Black Sugar Pearl Sprinkles
    • 20 thin lollipop/cake pop sticks or wooden kebab skewers (make sure you don't get the thicker cake pop sticks, they did not work for me!)
    • Optional: 4 drops peppermint oil (made for adding to candy - we added this and it had a nice subtle mint flavor that was delicious!)
    Instructions
    1. Carefully insert a lollipop stick/wooden skewer into each Oreo, pushing it about ¼" in. DO NOT BREAK THE COOKIE. If you break the cookie, just start over with a new Oreo. It will fall of the stick when you try to coat it in the candy melt.
    2. Melt the candy melts according to the package instructions.
    3. Holding the stuck Oreo over the candy melt bowl, spoon the candy melt over the Oreo, covering the entire Oreo, both sides and the edges. When I tried dipping the Oreos, they kept falling off the stick. The drip method was more successful. Once the Oreo is coated on all sides, gently tap the stick on the side of the bowl to force excess candy melt to drip off. Make sure the Oreo is situated horizontally, parallel to the counter.
    4. Place the coated Oreos on a sheet of parchment paper to cool and harden.
    5. Cut the Tic-Tacs in half to make carrot noses. Using a small paring knife, hold the knife in your dominant hand and then place your other hand on top of the blade to push down to cut. Curl that hand around and down to the cutting board to keep the Tic-Tacs from flying across the room.
    6. When the candy melts sit long enough so that they no longer look shiny (right at that moment!), stick the noses, eyes and mouth on!
    7. Let snowmen sit for about an hour to completely harden. Place in fridge to speed up the process.

    Oreo Snowmen at @janemaynardSee? I am giving these to my neighbors! Thanks, Jane!

    Shownotes:

    • Be sure to check out To the Market – perfect for holiday shopping!
    • Jane’s recipe is listed right in this post!

    It’s easy to listen to the show!

    • Via the web: Just click play below!
    • Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the Stitcher, Podcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.

     Other Stuff!


  10. Wednesday, December 2

    How to Cook the Perfect Turkey. And by perfect I mean PERFECT.

    I’m just gonna say it. I make the perfect turkey. After years of researching various methods and trying many of those methods, I finally have the definitive answer for how to cook the perfect turkey.

    how to perfectly roast a turkey by @janemaynard | spatchcock + dry brine + roast with mayoPhoto credit: Anne Wallin

    My mom and I have had so many Thanksgiving conversations over the years that go something like this. “Our white meat this year was delicious. I have no idea why!” Or,”Our white meat this year was just so-so. I have no idea why.”

    Those conversations are a thing of the past. From now on this is what I’ll be saying to my mom the day after Thanksgiving. “Our white meat and our dark meat and everything about our turkey was perfect this year and I know exactly why.”

    And I’m going to share the magic formula with all of you, of course. There are several steps to the process, each of which on their own would make for a good turkey. But combine them all together and you end up with a great turkey. Here’s the formula:

    SPATCHCOCK + DRY BRINE + SLATHERED IN MAYONNAISE + ROAST AT HIGH HEAT = PERFECT TURKEY

    I will never use another method. This is it. I’m done. Turkey perfected. And I’m going to explain the process in great detail so that, A) I know how to do it again, and B) you can do it, too.

    how to perfectly roast a turkey by @janemaynard | spatchcock + dry brine + roast with mayo

    BUY A FRESH, UNFROZEN TURKEY.

    Buy a fresh, unfrozen turkey so that you can spatchcock it easily. Buy the turkey 3 days before you’re going to cook it. So, if you’re cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving, buy the turkey Sunday night or Monday morning and prep that baby Monday morning. (You can dry brine for just 1 or 2 days, but 3 is optimal, and this post is all about making the perfect turkey. So, go with 3 days.)

    HOW TO SPATCHCOCK A TURKEY:

    What is spatchcocking, you say? When you spatchcock a turkey, you cut out the backbone and then roast the turkey flat. It looks crazy, but the bird cooks faster and more evenly. The dark meat portions are more exposed to heat, so they finish cooking not long after the breast meat finishes cooking. “But I want to stuff my bird!” you may be thinking. Never fear, you can still “stuff” the turkey. I mean, it’s totally different, but you can do it and I’ll explain that in the roasting section below. But first, how to spatchcock.

    • Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey if they came with the bird. Place them in a large pot.
    • Place your raw, fresh turkey on a large cutting board, breast down. With large kitchen shears or scissors, cut out the back bone. This requires some serious hand strength. I was spatchcocking two turkeys, so I had to take a little break, my hand was starting to hurt. But, if I can do it, anyone can. (This post on Serious Eats has good pictures that show how to cut out the backbone. If you Google “how to spatchcock a turkey” there are tons of videos out there, too.) ALSO: I have had great success just asking the butcher at the grocery store to cut the backbone out for me. I highly recommend this method. 😉
    • Once the backbone is removed, hack it in two and throw it in the pot with the neck and giblets. Fill the pot with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Voila! AWESOME turkey stock for your gravy! You’re welcome. Note: You can add other aromatics to the broth while it cooks, such as onions, carrots, parsnips, celery, and herbs. Not necessary but certainly delicious!
    • Back to the turkey. Now, flip the turkey over and place it on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Press the turkey firmly on the breastbone to flatten it out. Use your muscles!

    Now it’s time to move on to the dry brine. Oh, how I love the dry brine.

    HOW TO DRY BRINE A TURKEY:

    Now that your turkey is all flattened out and ready to go, it’s time to dry brine. This is exactly what it sounds like. You are brining the turkey and there is no water involved. It’s way easier than a water-based brine (trust me) and the results are fantastic.

    • You need 1 tablespoon KOSHER salt for every 5 pounds of turkey. You can add 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs (like sage and/or thyme) per each tablespoon of salt, but it’s not necessary.
    • Evenly rub the salt all over the turkey. You do not need to go under the skin, right on top works just fine. And you do not need to put salt in the cavity of the turkey (which, at this point, is the underside). Once you’ve used up all the salt, lightly cover the turkey with plastic wrap, place in the fridge and walk away. You can leave the turkey uncovered while it dry brines, but since there is other stuff in my fridge, I like to have a little protection so nothing touches the turkey directly. Let the turkey brine in the fridge for 1-3 days (3 days is optimal).
    • That’s it! You have successfully brined your turkey!

    HOW TO ROAST THE SPATCHCOCKED, DRY BRINED TURKEY…DON’T FORGET THE MAYO!

    Now it’s time to roast the turkey. You ready? Let’s go!

    • Preheat the oven to 450º F.
    • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (optional but makes for easier clean up).
    • IF YOU WANT TO “STUFF” THE TURKEY: Place a layer of stuffing on the baking sheet, concentrating the stuffing at the center where it will be directly under the turkey. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on top of the stuffing, then lay the turkey on the rack.
    • Slather about 1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise all over the turkey. You can add pepper and herbs to the mayonnaise if you like (I added about a teaspoon of dry sage and thyme, along with some black pepper, to the mayo).
    • Roast for about 45-60 minutes, take the turkey out of the oven, have one person lift the turkey straight up while the other person scoops the stuffing off of the pan. Replace with vegetables as described in the next step (the “non-stuffing” step). Mix the “stuffed” stuffing with the rest of your stuffing and bake as usual for your stuffing recipe.
    • IF YOU DON’T WANT TO “STUFF” THE TURKEY: Place roughly chopped celery, onion, carrots and parsnips on the foil of the baking sheet. Place an oven-safe cooling rack over the veggies then place the turkey on the rack. (If you “stuffed,” you’ll simply put the turkey back down.)
    • Slather about 1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise all over the turkey. You can add pepper and herbs to the mayonnaise if you like (I added about a teaspoon of dry sage and thyme, along with some black pepper, to the mayo).
    • FOR BOTH “STUFFED” and “UNSTUFFED”: Roast the turkey with an oven-safe thermometer placed deep in the breast. When the breast reaches 150º F, move the thermometer to the deepest part of the thigh and cook the turkey until the thigh temperature reaches 165º F, which will take about another 20 minutes. Total cooking time will be around 2 hours for a 15 pound turkey. Note: if you are not using an oven safe thermometer that just beeps when the temperature is reached, check the temperature earlier than you think you have to. Our 2016 15-pound turkey was fully done at 1 1/2 hours.
    • Take turkey out of the oven and let it rest for about 30 minutes before carving.
    • The veggies in the pan are great for snacking while you make the rest of dinner, and be sure to add the pan drippings to your turkey broth for making gravy!

    CARVING THE TURKEY:

    When it was time to carve the turkey, I did something I’ve never done before: I cut the entire breast off at once, then cut slices on a bias (see photos on Serious Eats). I carved all the meat off the wings, things and drumsticks. The turkey serving platter with all the carved meat was gorgeous. Sadly I didn’t get a photo, but my sister Instagrammed the carving process, which is the photo at the top of this post, so you can at least get an idea of how awesome the turkey platter was!

    how to perfectly roast a turkey by @janemaynard | spatchcock + dry brine + roast with mayo

    When my sister Anne and I started carving the turkey and taking bites, we could not believe how good the meat was. The breast meat was moist and flavorful all the way to the center. It was heavenly. It was miraculous. Oh, and the skin was awesome. This was the best turkey I’ve ever cooked (actually, turkeyS…I made 2!), and it might even be the best turkey I’ve ever eaten. Period.

    PHEW. That’s it! I know it seems complicated and involved, but I promise it is not hard. You just have to follow the formula. And the formula is magical.

    Happy Turkeying!

    Please note: In the photos the turkey is not on sitting on a rack and there are no veggies below it. This is because I moved the turkey to a new tray to rest. I really did cook it on a tray over veggies!