Baked or fried these are a fun way to use up any left-over mash potatoes… or, a good excuse to make more!
3 cups chilled mashed potatoes
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup bacon, chopped small dice
1 bunch chives, chopped
Pepper to taste
1 cup flour or GF flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs or GF breadcrumbs
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated fine
Xtra virgin coconut oil, Ghee or Organic Canola Oil for pan frying
Preheat the oven to 425°F degrees, unless pan frying.
Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the leftover mashed potatoes with the eggs, cheese, chives and bacon bits. Mix to combine, cover and set aside in the refrigerator.
Prepare 3 breading stations. One bowl of flour, one bowl of beaten eggs and one bowl of panko bread crumbs mixed with the Parmesan cheese.
Dust your hands with flour and use an 1/2 ounce portion control scoop to measure the balls. Or a Tablespoon.
Pat them gently to form them into balls and roll them in the palm of your hands to get them perfectly round.
Immediately dust them with flour again and set aside. Repeat until you have 24 flour-dusted balls.
Drop a ball into the egg mixture and use a spoon to turn the potato ball over until fully coated.
Lift the potato ball out of the egg mixture with a fork. Drain off any excess. Immediately drop the potato ball into the panko and cheese mixture and use another spoon to dredge it fully.
Pat in any excess bread crumbs that might be falling off the ball.
Set aside on a parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat with remaining balls.
Fry in batches in hot oil over medium high heat until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Got leftovers? Dont worry- they will disappear in a second with this recipe!
Tamale pie is a casserole dish found in the cuisine of the Southwestern portion of the US. Typically prepared with a cornmeal crust and ingredients used in delicious recipes indigenous to the region. A typical comfort food and a welcomed change of flavors after an abundant holiday chow down! Originally developed as a standalone meal and not to rework leftovers– and rightfully so.
Tamale Pie was developed sometime in the early 1900s- and may have originated in Texas. Its first known published recipe- dates way back to 1911.
You know it’s gotta be good. Yum!
3-5 cups shredded large chunks of cooked turkey
2 cups your favorite fresh prepared salsa
2 cups your favorite enchilada sauce
1-12-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked corn kernels
1 cup sliced black olives
1 onion, cleaned and diced small dice
1 1/2 -2 cups good quality chicken or turkey broth
1 Tablespoon ground chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
4 scallions sliced
1 1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated medium
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sliced black olives
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, large dice
1-2 jalapeño or Serano chilies, sliced
Crumbled Mexican cheese
Preheat the oven to 400’F degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 x 2 ovenproof baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Or, a large cast Iron pan. Set aside.
If using the cast iron pan- prepare everything on the stove and transfer to the oven later. If not, use a medium saucepan, over medium heat and warm the turkey with the salsa, sauce, beans, onions, 1/2 cup of the stock, chili powder and cumin. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Remove from the heat and fold in the scallions and sliced black olives. Set aside.
In an additional medium sized sauce pan, combine the cornmeal with the remaining 2 cups chicken or turkey broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring, until very thick, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese and the butter. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Spread the cornmeal mixture over the filling and bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Serve warm, with a platter full of delicious garnishes.
As a professional chef, one of the most frequent question I’m asked is how much food do you need to feed each guest? So, I decided to build a mini cheat sheet for the upcoming holiday season! Hope this helps!
Every 2.4 pounds of food you donate creates a meal for someone else.
Cocktails: if you are serving throughout a two-hour cocktail party or dinner with spirits and mixers – One 750 ml. bottle of spirits will serve 17 drinks. Plan on 3 drinks per person if you have a fun crowd!.
Finger food: On an average, guests will eat about 3-4 appetizers each during the first hour and will eat about 3 appetizers each for each subsequent hour. Especially If consuming alcohol. My rule of thumb is to be prepared to serve : 3-4 pieces per person with alcohol and 2-3 without alcohol. 10-12 pieces will be equivalent to a full holiday meal replacement.
Main Protein: Turkey: 1 1/2 pounds per person.
Gravy: 1/2 cup per person.
Cranberry Compote: 1/4 cup per person.
Stuffing: 1 1/2 cups per person.
Side dishes : 1/2 cup per person for more than one side dish. If serving only one side dish plan on 1 1/2 cups per guest.
Potatoes or sweet potatoes: 5 to 6 ounces per person, which is about about 1 large golden yukon, or small russet potato, or half of a large sweet potato.
Salad: plan for 1/2-1 cup of salad per person unless the majority of your guests are counting calories, then I would increase by 50%.
Bread : estimate 1 1/2 rolls per person
Pie: 1 pie will feed 8 people if you are serving additional desserts. If not, plan on one pie serving 6 guests .
Whipped topping: 1/4 cup of cream (measured before ) whipping per guest.
After dinner drinks: plan on 1 drink per guest. Depending on who your friends are.
Wine: A typical wine bottle size is 750 ml that contains 25.4 fluid ounces. The glass size determines how many servings. For example, you’ll get approximately six servings per bottle using a 4-ounce wine glass compared to five servings using a 5-ounce glass.
Sparkling wine: I usually recommend 2 glasses of sparkling wine per guest. There are 6 full glasses of sparkling wine in a standard 750ml bottle.
Coffee: plan on 1 1/2 cups per guest after a meal.
This recipe is adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook. One of the first cookbooks I ever purchased. Co-Authors, Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso Miller were hot on the gourmet carry-out scene in 1980’s. They really kicked off the “Artisan” food trend!
From that birthed, The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1982. An instant success! This book helped cement America’s interest in quality cooking and helped acquaint cooks with purchasing much-needed “gourmet” ingredients.
Pioneers, if not legends for their Manhattan, food-to-go and gourmet ingredient boutique ! One of my favs!
1 cup diced dried apricots
1 1/2 cups Grand Mariner
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups coarsely chopped celery
1 large onion, chopped small dice
1 lb bulk pork sausage
1 lb herb stuffing mix
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 cups rich chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dry sage
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Place the apricots and 1 cup of the Grand Marnier in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat and set aside
Melt ½ cup of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and saute for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
In the same skillet, cook the sausage, crumbling it with a fork, until it’s no longer pink. Remove from heat and add to the celery & onion mixture.
Add the stuffing mix, apricots with the liquid, the almonds. Stir to combine.
Heat the remaining 1/2 cup butter and chicken stock just until the butter melts. Pour over the stuffing mixture and add the remaining 1/2 cup of Grand Marnier. Stir well to moisten the stuffing, adding the thyme, ground sage, salt and pepper to taste.
Bake stuffing in a large buttered casserole at 325’F degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Note: Enough to stuff a 21-24 pound bird with a small extra casserole on the side.
1/4 cup sundried tomato packed in oil, squeezed of excess oil
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
1 bunch fresh thyme, divided
8 oz. unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup Japanese bread crumbs
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine and divided
1 teaspoon ground sage
Kosher salt and white pepper
Preheat oven to 325′ F Degrees. Toast the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10–12 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop and set aside.
Increase the oven temperature to 400′ F Degrees. Drizzle the baking sheet with good quality olive oil.
While the oven is getting up to temperature, carefully cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the interior, leaving about a 1/2″ border on all sides and creating a divot deep enough to fit the eggplant halves inside. Discard the stringy guts, reserving all the solid meat filling, and the seeds for roasting.
Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out and reserve the interior, leaving about a 1/4″ border on all sides and creating a divot deep enough to fit delicious filling inside, which will go inside the butternut squash- follow me?
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out interior for the vegetable, leaving behind a fairly-wide mote down the center to fit the remaining filling.
Place squash halves cut side up, on a prepared baking sheet. Using a fork, be sure to pierce insides of squash and zucchini halves to release steam. Using a sharp knife, make shallow crosshatch marks inside of eggplant, being careful not to pierce through the skin. Season all with salt and pepper butter and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey then set aside.
In the bowl of your food processor, combine the garlic, shallot, onion, mushrooms, celery, squash, and eggplant filling. Working in batches, if needed, pulse the food processor until finely chopped but not to a paste. Add sundried tomatoes and pulse one final time.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegetables from the processor, and a few thyme sprigs and the ground sage. Cook until the mixture begins to brown, and almost all the moisture evaporates- about 5-8 minutes. Taste, and adjust season with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat to a large bowl and allow the vegetable mixture to significantly cool. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Crack in the eggs, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, panko, a small handful of chopped parsley, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Using an ice cream or portion control scoop press about 3/4 cup vegetable mixture into each half of the butternut squash until the interior is fully coated using the back of the scoop or spoon press the combination into and up the sides making room for the eggplant to fit. Sprinkle with the toasted pecans and then add the eggplant cut side up and repeat the filling process, including the pecans. Now add the zucchini and repeat to fill with vegetable mixture, continue the nesting process with each halve until you have filled the whole butternut squash with all the vegetable halves layered with stuffing- just like your famous lasagna.
Using kitchen twine. Slip under one squash half, then top with the second squash half, so that the cut sides face each other. Now press together and tightly tie the twine around squash to secure it for the oven.
Brush the exterior of the stuffed butternut squash with melted butter and maple syrup then season again with salt and pepper. Wrap the squash tightly in aluminum foil and place it in the center of a low-sided baking dish to prevent it from rolling.
Roast the squash until it is tender to the touch, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
Remove foil and let rest at least 10-20 minutes.
Remove twine and place it on a cutting board. Cut into 1″ thick disc with a serrated knife, transferring to serving plates as you go. Spoon warm herbed or salted butter over slices, garnish with more pecans and serve with warm maple syrup.
This recipe has been in my culinary repertoire for over two decades. It’s my absolute favorite! Loose the canned cranberry sauce- trust me on this one.
Just like everything Thanksgiving– it’s better the next day; especially smothered all over your leftover turkey sammy! There is quite a bit of sugar in the recipe because the natural flavor of cranberry is very, very tart so it’s ok to substitute with honey or your favorite sweetener.
Oh, sure to call your order in using discount code : “Chef Gigi” when ordering the wine from RiverStar Vineyards and secure 20% off you entire holiday purchase!
2 pounds fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, or your choice of alternitive
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
3 Bosch pears, peeled, cored and chopped in large one inch chunks
In a medium high-sided saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, lemon zest, wine and spices including salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook until you begin to hear the cranberries begin to pop open. Add the pears cook an additional 8-10 minutes until the pears are soft but still holding shape. Once the cranberries pop the sauce will begin to thicken. Continue to cook until a knife will gently slide through the pears. Taste, and adjust seasoning.
Remove from heat, cool and store air tight in glass jars. Can be made up to a week in advance.
Makes a great hostess gift when packed in a fancy glass container with a fresh sprig of thyme and orange peel!
Looking for that perfect dessert this Winter? Kobocha is the Japanese word for squash. This squash has a nutty, earthy flavor with a touch of sweetness. So delicious and versatile ! Kobocha squash can be used in sweet and savory applications.
This Spiced Rum Cake will be the perfect addition to your holiday!
Kabocha Spiced Rum Cake
1 1/2 cups mashed kabocha squash
8 large medjool dates, pitted
3 Tablespoons quality dark rum
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cane sugar or coconut sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons orange zest
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon quality vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pecan Caramel Glaze or Powered Sugar topping ( recipes below)
Preheat the oven to 350°F Degrees. Prepare a high sided baking sheet prepared with organic olive oil.
Carefully cut the squash in half with a sharp serrated knife, careful not to cut yourself. De-seed. Save the seeds for roasting.
Spritz the top halves of the cut squash with a quick spitz of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Place squash cut-side down onto the stainless steel baking sheet. Place in center rack of preheated warm oven and bake until golden brown and a knife runs easily through the flesh, depending on the size of your squash anyhwre from 30- 45 minutes. Remove from the oven set aside to cool.
While the kobocha squash is in the oven, prepare an 10 inch bundt cake pan generously with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside on top of a lined cookie sheet and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the pitted dates with 1 tablespoon of the rum. Fill with boiling water and soak the dates to reconstitute, about 15 minutes. Strain the water solution, discard and place dates in your food processor or blender. Process to a smooth paste.
While the dates are processing, whisk together in a small bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, all the spices including salt and the pepper. Set aside.
Remove cooled kobocha from its skin by scooping out the cooked flesh with a large spoon. Add the flesh straight to your food processor or blender with the dates and pulse process until completely smooth.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, or in a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer–add the butter and sugar.Beat on high speed until butter is creamed and pale in color and sugar crystals begin to dissolve about 2-3 minutes.
Add purée and mix an additional minute. Add 1 egg at a time beating in between addition until smooth. Add buttermilk and orange juice, vanilla and the remaining rum. Beat well.
Add dry mixture working in two additions, beating until just combine with every addition. Scrape bowl. Stir in the orange zest.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan. Smack on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles and level out batter.
Place on the center rack of a preheated 350’F degree oven and bake 45 – 50 minutes, or until a toothpick is placed in the center and comes out clean.
While the cake is cooling, make the pecan glaze or combine the powered sugar topping. Allow cake to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour before applying glaze.
Dust with a 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar spiked with 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. Or, pour on the pecan glaze. When pouring glaze make sure it has substantially cooled to a thick but pourable viscosity.
If the glaze is too warm it will run all the way off the cake.
Pecan Caramel Glaze
1 cup palm, or your favorote granulated sugar
½ cup whole cream, or your favorite nut milk
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
In a high-sided pan over medium heat melt the sugar.When the sugar melts and begins to turn golden around the edges, reduce the heat to low and begin to stir until all the sugar has completely melted.
Add the butter and cream carefully – the cream will bubble up fast and could boil over. Continue to cook,stirring on low heat until you have a smooth caramel sauce- this may take up to 10 minutes.
Once the glaze is completely sauce like and thick– add the pecans.
Remove from heat. Cool to a thick but pourable consistency.Pour over the top of the bundt cake.
Serves approximately 12 slices. Delicious warm with vanilla bean ice cream!
So… what came first, Turkey or the Gravy? Everyone says you need turkey before the gravy, but that’s not really so- and really, who really cares. The point is youneed the gravy first to make your life easier. Why? Because Thanksgiving can be an ordeal if you are short on the clock, unorganized, or really just don’t like to cook.
Even if you love being in the kitchen, you will still need to prioritize your time. For most cooks, the gravy is the most delicate, time-sensitive – yet over-consuming portion of the Thanksgiving menu. Let’s face it- most home cooks are afraid of digging in with the whisk. I’m here to tell you gravy is… welp, gravy, and I am about to make your hectic-kitchen-life a bit more humble.
Here is my formula for the best tasting do-ahead gravy ever.
Enjoy your guests this holiday season by taking some of the stress off your plate. It’s about being together anyway, isn’t it? Make the gravy a few days in advance, and don’t sweat the timely stuff ever again! Drink up, you have other things to worry about!
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
1 pound bone-in chicken wings
1 large unpeeled onion, root ball removed, cut in quarters
1 large carrot, peeled, cut in large chunks
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
A small handful of fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and 2 large bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns
1 cup dry white wine
8-10 cups of low-sodium chicken broth for added poultry flavor ( you can add water instead)
4-5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire or fish sauce
Kosher salt, and ground white pepper
Special Equipment :
Combine the fresh herbs and peppercorns into a delicate little bouquet and tie up tightly in the cheesecloth. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large high sided saucepan over medium-high heat. Salt chicken wings and gently place flat side down into the hot oil. Cook wings, occasionally turning until golden brown, about 10–12 minutes.
Add the onion, carrot, with the celery and cook until everything in the pan is deeply browned, 14–16 minutes.
Pour in the wine to deglaze the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until wine is reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes. Add stock and herbs then return to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and slow simmer, occasionally stirring, until liquid is reduced by a third, 35–40 additional minutes.
Remove herb packet and strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve covered with cheesecloth into a heatproof bowl. You should have about 4 cups. If you don’t, add sufficient stock or water to get you there.
Discard any solids. Keep stock warm while you make your roux.
Heat butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, continually whisking until roux is golden brown about 4 minutes. It will be clumpy like porage at this stage, don’t worry. Start making the gravy by whisking gently and continuously pouring the hot stock into the roux mixture. Be sure to incorporate each addition of liquid thoroughly, making it lump-free before adding any additional fluid. Some cooks use both hands, stirring while pouring, while others turn this into a team-building event.
Once you have a soup-like consistency, add the remaining stock, stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Whisk often, until gravy is thickened, and reduced to about 3 cups. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon; this will take about 8–10 minutes.
Conclude by adjusting the seasoning with Worcestershire or fish sauce, taste, and season with salt and white pepper if needed.
Cool, and store in an air-tight glass container. This beautiful Thanksgiving poultry gravy will hold in the cooler for at least 4-5 days.
Reheat and adjust flavor with salt and pepper. Use a few tablespoons of turkey pan drippings to awaken the poultry flavor.
Kick the can! Once you get a taste of my fresh homemade cranberry sauce- you will never eat that over processed gel again. Trust me on this one! So simple to make – every year someone asks for this recipe!
2 bags (12 ounces each) fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 cups sugar or coconut sugar, or maple syrup
3 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed
3 Bosch pears, peeled, cored and chopped in one large 2 inch chunks
2 wide strips of lemon zest and juice of 1/2 the lemon
3 cups good quality white wine
1 small cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugars, lemon zest, wine and spices including salt and pepper. Stir.
Bring to a boil over medium-high and add pears. Reduce to a simmer and cook until you begin to hear the cranberries pop open.
About 20 to 25 minutes. Once the cranberries pop the sauce will begin to thicken. Continue to cook until a knife will gently slide through the pears. Careful not to over stir and break down the pears. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional spices to suit your personal taste preference.
Remove from heat, cool and store airtight. Can be made up to a week in advance. Serve chilled.
Makes a great hostess gift when packed in a fancy glass container. Slather on left over turkey sammies.