Autumn Treat ~ Pumpkin Spice Latte Panna Cotta

This pumpkin spice latte panna cotta couldn’t be simpler. If you are looking for an elegant but ridiculously easy dessert for Thanksgiving, this is it! It can also be made a day ahead, which is an added bonus.

I first tried this recipe with a pumpkin spice latte the way I usually order them at Starbucks, which is with skim milk and only about half of the sweetener. I found that the way they naturally make them (if you don’t ask for anything special) is remarkably better in this recipe. I really needed the whole milk and the full amount of syrup to make a good panna cotta. Since panna cotta means “cooked cream,” and is usually made with heavy cream, I figured the whole milk was still a healthy swap. 🙂

The cute pumpkin spice printable is from a blog called Lost Bumblebee. I thought it was the perfect accompaniment to the dessert!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Panna Cotta

1 teaspoon unsweetened powdered gelatin

1 short pumpkin spice latte (8 ounces with whole milk and the full amount of syrup)

Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Cool the latte to room temperature. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Make sure all of the gelatin is touching the liquid. Let sit for about 3 minutes to soften. In a small saucepan, bring the mixture up to a simmer. Pour the mixture into a vessel with a pour spout and pour into your desired containers. Refrigerate until set, or overnight.

Serve chilled, topped with whipped cream.

Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! I have much to be thankful for this year. Here are just a handful!

I wish you a day full of blessings. 🙂

Pumpkin Season! ~ Pimento Cheese Pumpkins

Every October I love to try a bunch of different pumpkin recipes, both savory and sweet. Since pumpkins are not only delicious but also so festive, I even love to make dishes that look like pumpkins, whether or not they have any actual pumpkin in the recipe. This pimento cheese ball is one of those recipes. It is dressed up in a pumpkin costume for the season! 😉

Pimento cheese is a Southern classic, which you can serve with crackers, crudités, or bread. For my version, I made wonton crackers in different autumn shapes. The super simple recipe for the crackers can be found here.

Pimento Cheese Pumpkins

Makes 2 small cheese balls

Approximately 2 cups cheddar cheese crackers (I used Annie’s Cheddar Squares)

2 ounces extra sharp cheddar, coarsely grated

1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese

1 teaspoon mayonnaise

2 tablespoons jarred pimentos, drained and squeezed of excess liquid

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

Pinch of cayenne

2 2-inch long pretzel sticks.

Place the crackers in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Smash the crackers with a rolling pin until the crumbs are fine. For an even finer crumb, process the crackers in a food processor for a couple of minutes. Set the crumbs aside in a shallow bowl.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the remaining ingredients, except for the pretzels. Process until smooth.

Cover the cheese in cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.

After the cheese is chilled, divide into 2 equal pieces. Roll the chilled cheese in your hands to make a ball. Roll the ball in the cracker crumbs until evenly coated. With the back of a butter knife, indent the sides of the ball to look like the grooves on the side of a pumpkin. Top with a pretzel to make the “stem.” Repeat with the remaining piece of pimento cheese.

Pumpkin Season ~ Pumpkin Whole-Wheat Dinner Rolls

Pumpkin Dinner RollsTonight is a blustery and rainy night in Seattle. Perfect for a bowl of hot soup and warm pumpkin dinner rolls!

I transformed my recipe for whole-wheat dinner rolls with dill to make these pumpkin rolls. I love creative and fun pumpkin recipes at this time of the year, so when I discovered different versions of this idea online, I knew I wanted to try a batch with my own recipe. I think they are almost too cute to eat…*Almost.* 😉 They are savory, but they have a hint of warm pumpkin spice.

Pumpkin Whole-Wheat Dinner Rolls

Makes 8 dinner rolls

1/4 cup warm skim milk (about 80 degrees F.)

1/2 tablespoon dry active yeast

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 3/4 cups white whole-wheat flour

All-purpose flour for dusting work surface

Approximately 1 tablespoon beaten egg

4 cinnamon sticks broken in half to make 8 pieces

Place a piece of parchment paper on a half sheet pan, and spray the parchment with cooking spray. Make sure you have enough room in your refrigerator for the sheet pan where the rolls will rest overnight.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, add the milk. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Let stand until the yeast and milk mixture looks a little frothy, about 5 minutes. Next, add the ingredients from the sugar through the whole-wheat flour to the bowl. Let the mixer knead the dough for about 10 minutes. The dough will be elastic and sticky.

Remove the dough from the bowl onto a clean work surface that is lightly dusted with all-purpose flour. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Sprinkle a little extra all-purpose flour over the dough and on your hands if the dough sticks.

Form the rolls into your desired shape. To make the pumpkin shaped rolls, form each piece into a ball. Gently press each ball into a disc. With a very sharp knife, cut 8 slits all around the sides of each disc, taking care to leave the center intact. Press a small indentation into the center of each roll. Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet. Take care to leave enough space between the rolls to allow them to rise without touching each other.

Spray the tops of the rolls with nonstick cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let the rolls rest in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, remove the rolls from the refrigerator. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes, or until close to doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Brush the rolls with the beaten egg. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown and cooked through. Push the cinnamon sticks into the center of each roll to make the “stems.”Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Healthy Holiday Hors d’Oeuvre ~ Cauliflower Flatbread

Cauliflower FlatbreadCauliflower is usually a part of my holiday table, whether the occasion is Thanksgiving or Easter. It is so versatile that it can be made into anything from a mash that rivals mashed potatoes (like I made last St. Patrick’s Day) to an appetizer that is very much like a flatbread! It really is a pretty amazing vegetable for which I am thankful today. 🙂

This unique spin on flatbread can be used in any way traditional flatbread is served — with an olive tapenade, with melted cheese, or even with your favorite pizza toppings. I’d recommend it as an appetizer that is out of the ordinary to start off your Thanksgiving meal!

Cauliflower Flatbread

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, cut into approximately 1/2 inch pieces

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into approximately 1 inch pieces

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, grate the cheese until it is the size of tiny pebbles. Transfer the cheese to a large bowl. In the same processor, (no need to clean the bowl), process the cauliflower in two batches until you have fine pieces that look a little like rice. Transfer the cauliflower to a clean dishtowel. Squeeze as much excess moisture as you can out of the cauliflower. Discard the liquid. Add the cauliflower to the bowl with the cheese. Then add the eggs, oregano, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Combine until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.

On the prepared baking sheet, spread the mixture into a thin layer, about 1/8 inch thick. Bake for about 45 minutes, turning the pan half way through, until the cauliflower is golden and crisp on the edges.

Cut with a pizza wheel and serve immediately.

One More November Holiday ~ Indian Pudding

Indian PuddingToday is National Indian Pudding Day! (Yes, surprisingly, it is actually a real holiday. 😉 ) I have never lived in New England, and I have to admit, I wasn’t familiar with Indian Pudding until recently. But then I read about its fascinating history as one of the first American recipes, and I had to give it a try! It’s a fusion of classic hasty pudding from the Old World, corn from the New World, and molasses from early American trading with the Caribbean. The dish is simple, but delicious and comforting. If you missed the big holiday today ( 😉 ), this dish would also be lovely on your Thanksgiving table.

I based this recipe on one from Bon Appétit magazine. I cut the recipe in half to make only 4 servings. I used skim milk rather than whole, I reduced the sugar a little, and I added more spices and seasoning.

Indian Pudding

Based on a recipe from Bon Appétit magazine

2 3/4 cups skim milk

1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon molasses

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped cream for serving

Preheat your oven to 325 F. Grease a 9-inch casserole dish. Set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine the milk through the cinnamon. Whisk occasionally to prevent lumps. Once the mixture is hot, cook for about 15 minutes, or until thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the butter and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Bake until the pudding is golden and set in the middle, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool slightly before serving with whipped cream.Indian Pudding

Everything Pumpkin! ~ Pumpkin Deviled Eggs

Pumpkin Deviled EggsI absolutely love anything and everything pumpkin at this time of the year! (Almost as much as these little squirrels. 😉 ) I love pumpkin muffins, pumpkin custard, pumpkin curry, and now, pumpkin deviled eggs! Mind you, they aren’t pumpkin flavored eggs. That might be a little too much, even for me. 😉 They would be perfect for Halloween or even Thanksgiving.Pumpkin Deviled EggsYou can use your favorite classic deviled egg recipe, or use my lightened version below. The extra paprika mixed in is what gives them their pumpkin color.Pumpkin Deviled EggsPumpkin Deviled Eggs

8 hard boiled eggs, cooled, sliced in half, yolks removed, 1/2 of the yolks reserved

3 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon paprika, plus more for garnish

Salt to taste

1 or 2 fresh chives, cut into one-inch lengths

In a small bowl, stir together the yolks, yogurt, mustard, mayonnaise, paprika, and salt until smooth. With a small spoon, fill the holes in the egg whites with the yolk mixture. (FYI, you will have more whites than yolk mixture if you mound the filling as I did. But no worries, whites are a great snack!) Smooth the mixture with your finger. With the back of a butter knife, make 4 small little lines in each yolk filling to imitate the lines of a pumpkin. Place the cut chives into the yolks to make a “stem.” Sprinkle extra paprika over the top as a garnish.Pumpkin Deviled Eggs

Happy Thanksgiving ~ Wild Rice and Goat Cheese Stuffing with Chorizo

Wild Rice and Goat Cheese Stuffing with ChorizoHappy Thanksgiving!

This stuffing recipe has become a Thanksgiving standard in my family. 🙂 It adds a little spice and a little Southwestern touch to the dinner! I wrote about this recipe in Noon Café’s first year, and I thought I would repost it this year since it still holds up as a delicious addition to my Thanksgiving table. 🙂

Wild Rice and Goat Cheese Stuffing with ChorizoWild Rice and Goat Cheese Stuffing with Chorizo

Based on a recipe from Chef Bobby Flay

1 1/2 cups wild rice

5 cups water

Salt to taste

1/2 cup finely ground chorizo (Mexican)

1 finely diced large onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 finely chopped carrots

3 finely chopped celery stalks

3/4 pound cubed stale hearty white bread

6 ounces goat cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 cups low sodium free-range chicken stock

Boil the rice, water, and a little salt to taste in a medium saucepan until the grains open and the rice is tender. Drain. (This can be done a day ahead if you desire.)  Cook the chorizo in a large saucepan over medium heat. Pour the chorizo over a bowl lined with a paper towel to drain the excess fat. In the same pan, add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook until the onion is tender but not browned. Add the rice, chorizo, bread, cheese, parsley, thyme, and stock and combine it all together. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish and bake at 350, uncovered, until golden brown on top, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Wild Rice and Goat Cheese Stuffing with Chorizo

Happy Thanksgiving ~ Homemade Marshmallows

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I learned how to make homemade marshmallows during the week of Thanksgiving. So fun! I thought it was pretty amazing to see how they come together and how easy they are to make at home. Now I have all kinds of ideas about how to use this recipe throughout the winter. You can add coloring or flavoring and cut them into any shape you’d like. Maybe I’ll make peppermint flavored marshmallows in the shape of snowflakes for hot cocoa, or red and green marshmallows for Christmas gifts. The possibilities are endless. 🙂 For Thanksgiving, I cut them into the shape of a leaf and toasted them on top of our mashed sweet potatoes. This is the basic marshmallow recipe from a candy workshop at Sur La Table.

Homemade Marshmallows

From Sur La Table cooking classes

Yield: about 60 marshmallows

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened

3 envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin

1 cup cold water, divided

2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Equal parts cornstarch and powdered sugar for dusting

Line a 9×14 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing two opposite sides to overhang by 3 inches. Grease the foil with the softened butter. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1/2 cup cold water. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and set aside to soften.

In a large saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 240 degrees, or the soft ball stage.

Remove saucepan from heat and gradually whisk sugar mixture into the softened gelatin, Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment and beat mixture on high speed until thick and the volume is doubled. Beat in the vanilla. Spread mixture into the prepared pan using a greased icing spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and let marshmallow mixture stand at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight.

Using the foil overhang as handles, lift the marshmallows out of pan. With a sharp chef’s knife or pizza cutter coated with cooking spray, cut marshmallows into 1 x 2 inch squares.

You can also cut them with cookie cutters into any shape you fancy. Make sure to keep all of your exposed sides coated in the mixture of cornstarch and powdered sugar. (It is incredibly sticky otherwise.) Give the final product a good dusting, as well.

To brown the top as I did, use a broiler or a kitchen torch. Just watch them closely in the broiler since they only need about a minute.

Happy holidays!

Thankful For Thanksgiving Leftovers ~ Turkey Pho

I discovered a new recipe website this year called It is an online community where you can share recipes, compare them and just chat about food. My favorite part about it is that they run recipe contests, so everyone’s favorite dishes rise to the top. When I found myself with a bunch of turkey leftovers earlier this year, I stumbled upon the “Best Recipe for Turkey Leftovers Contest Winner,” which was turkey pho. I’d never made pho at home before, but I definitely enjoy a good bowl on a cold and rainy night. I was actually quite impressed with how well this dish turned out! I love it when something comes out of my own kitchen that surprises me ;-). I thought I would pass along this recipe before you have your own turkey leftovers next week. It is a very delicious and comforting dish that is a little off the beaten track if you’d like to try something new.

Turkey Pho

From Food 52

This recipe makes 2 big bowls of soup


2 tablespoons coriander seeds

4 whole cloves

4 whole star anise

1 cinnamon stick

Heat a cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon stick and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices into a bowl to avoid burning them and set aside.


1 quart homemade turkey stock (or homemade or store-bought chicken stock)

1 bunch green onions (green top parts only) chopped

1 3-inch chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife

1 teaspoon brown sugar, or more to taste

1 tablespoon fish sauce, or more to taste

1-2 cup kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1/2 pound leftover turkey breast, shredded

1 bunch (approx. 2 oz.) cellophane/bean thread noodles (or enough flat dried rice noodles to serve 2)

1-2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped- for garnish (optional)

1-2 tablespoon chopped green onions (white parts only), minced- for garnish (optional)

1/2 lime, cut into wedges

Sriracha chili sauce to taste

In a large pot, add the toasted spices and all ingredients from stock through fish sauce and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.

Taste the broth and add more sugar or fish sauce, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Add the kale and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Add the shredded turkey and the cellophane noodles. Allow to sit for a few minutes while the noodles soften.

Ladle the broth into bowls. Divide the kale, shredded turkey and the noodles evenly into each bowl.

Sprinkle on the garnishes and add sriracha to taste. Squeeze lime juice to taste over the top of your bowl before eating.

Lots to be thankful for ~ Roasted Pheasant with Chestnuts, Wild Rice and Fennel, Frisée Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnut and Cranberry Crostini and a Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Thanksgiving!

We celebrated a little early with family this year, so Rob and I had a quiet and cozy Thanksgiving for two on the actual holiday. I decided to shake things up a bit since we had the traditional turkey and sweet potatoes and all of that last week. For our own little celebration, we had Roasted Pheasant with Chestnuts, Wild Rice and Fennel, Frisée Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnut and Cranberry Crostini and a Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting. If you would like to try something off the beaten path for your holidays, we both thought all three were exceptional! The recipes were twists on the traditional fare, so it still felt like Thanksgiving, but it was fun to try a few new things.

The frisée salad was a festive little starter for our meal. I have to admit, I am not a big cranberry sauce fan, and so the addition of dried cranberries on the crostini was my version of “cranberry sauce.” 😉 I used quite a bit less blue cheese than the original recipe called for, and I was actually able to find a reduced fat cheese by Stella that had a very full flavor. I also used a baguette instead of ciabatta since I liked the size better, and it has fewer holes to let the goodies fall through ;). I made the whole recipe for the crostini, so as to have leftovers as snacks in the coming days.


Frisée Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnut, and Cranberry Crostini

Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine

24 ½ or ¼ inch-thick slices of a French baguette, depending on your preference

3 tablespoons walnut oil, divided

1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1/4 cup reduced fat blue cheese, crumbled

5 tablespoons minced shallots, divided

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 bunch of frisée lettuce

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange bread slices on baking sheet. Brush bread slices on top side with 2 tablespoons walnut oil. Bake until crisp, about 5 minutes.

Mix walnuts, cheese, 4 tablespoons shallots, and dried cranberries in medium bowl. Sprinkle mixture on toasts. Bake until cheese melts, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine frisée, 1 tablespoon shallots, 1 tablespoon walnut oil, and vinegar in bowl. Serve with crostini on top of the frisée.

For the pheasant dish, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I did omit the butter when called for and used olive oil instead. I also needed to cook the pheasant longer than 40 minutes to get the breast meat to 160 degrees. If you haven’t ever had pheasant before (like we hadn’t) it has a very mild taste, but it is definitely not chicken or turkey. It was less gamey than I expected. A nice refreshing change from our usual poultry choices :). The sizes of the pheasants were also perfect for two with leftovers. I used two little 2 lb birds. (If you are in the Seattle area, Don and Joe’s Meats in Pike Place Market carries pheasant along with many other specialty meats. It’s a fun place to visit if you are looking for a little culinary adventure!)


Roasted Pheasant with Chestnuts, Wild Rice and Fennel

Adapted from

2 cups fresh chestnuts

3/4 cup wild rice

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

2 pheasants (about 2 pounds each)

1/4 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

6 shallots, 2 minced and 4 slivered lengthwise

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

2 fennel bulbs (about 8 ounces each), sliced thinly crosswise

1 cup homemade chicken stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. With a sharp knife, make two crosscut gashes on flat side of chestnuts. Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel off skins and set aside.

Rinse rice well. In a medium saucepan, combine with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover loosely, and allow to simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

Rinse pheasant, and pat dry. Combine rosemary, garlic, minced shallots, and salt and pepper to taste. Rub cavity with mixture. Season outside with salt and pepper. Tie pheasant’s legs together with kitchen twine. Tuck wings under breast.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Pour 1 tablespoon oil in a roasting pan over medium heat. Brown bird evenly on all sides, about 15 minutes. Place breast side up; transfer to oven. Cook for about 40 more minutes, basting often, until legs are a little loose when you shake them.

Meanwhile, pour 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet. Add slivered shallots, and cook over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer shallots to a bowl.

Pour another 1 teaspoon oil in skillet. Add fennel slices, and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Pour remaining tablespoon oil in skillet. Add chestnuts; cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced to a glaze, about 10 minutes. Add remaining stock; simmer until again reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add rice, shallots, fennel, and 1 cup water to skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add chestnuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with pheasant.

For dessert, we had a pumpkin cake roll with cream cheese frosting. I reduced the sugar from the original recipe and I made a simple Neufchatel frosting for the middle instead of the traditional full fat cream cheese filling. The presentation was quite beautiful, but I must say, it looks harder to make than it actually was. My favorite kind of recipe! 😉


Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Cook’s Country magazine

cup cake flour, sifted

teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

large eggs

cup sugar

cup canned pumpkin puree

16 ounces Neufchatel, room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for garnish

For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 18- by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet and line with greased parchment paper. Whisk flour, spice, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl; set aside. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs and sugar until pale yellow and thick, 6 to 10 minutes. Add pumpkin and mix on low until incorporated. Fold in flour mixture until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until cake is firm and springs back when touched, about 15 minutes. Before cooling, run knife around edge of cake to loosen, and turn out onto clean sheet of parchment paper that has been dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off parchment attached to cake and discard. Roll cake and fresh parchment into log and cool completely, about 1 hour.

For the Filling: Place the room temperature Neufchatel cheese in a food processor, and blend with ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar until smooth.

To Assemble: Gently unroll cake and spread with frosting, leaving 1-inch border at edges. Re-roll cake snugly, leaving parchment behind. Wrap cake firmly in plastic wrap and chill completely, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Remove plastic, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Happy Thanksgiving ~ Wild Rice and Goat Cheese Stuffing with Chorizo

Happy Thanksgiving!

For one of my favorite holidays, we hosted a little family get together at our house this year, and we made all of our traditional favorites – Slow roasted turkey breast with gravy (I tried a new recipe from America’s Test Kitchen this year for the main course, which I would highly recommend. The breast is my favorite part of the turkey, and this is a way to make sure it stays moist and flavorful), cauliflower and cheese, green beans with mushroom sauce, marshmallow sweet potatoes, wild rice and goat cheese stuffing with chorizo, and of course, pumpkin pie! I started making this stuffing for Thanksgiving a few years ago when we celebrated the holiday in Palm Springs and I was looking for a Southwest twist on the traditional recipe. It has since become a favorite that I make every year. The original recipe came from the Food Network, and I follow it fairly closely. I make it a pinch healthier by omitting the butter and using low sodium free-range chicken broth. I use real chorizo since it only requires a little bit, and it is a holiday after all :).

Wild Rice and Goat Cheese Stuffing with Chorizo

1 1/2 cups wild rice

5 cups water

Salt to taste

1/2 cup finely ground chorizo

1 finely diced large onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 finely chopped carrots

3 finely chopped celery stalks

3/4 pound cubed stale hearty white bread

6 ounces goat cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 cups low sodium free-range chicken stock

Boil the rice, water, and a little salt to taste in a medium saucepan until the grains open and the rice is tender. Drain. (This can be done a day ahead if you desire.)  Cook the chorizo in a large saucepan over medium heat. Pour the chorizo over a bowl lined with a paper towel to drain the excess fat. In the same pan, add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook until the onion is tender but not browned. Add the rice, chorizo, bread, cheese, parsley, thyme, and stock and combine it all together. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish and bake at 350, uncovered, until golden brown on top, about 25 to 30 minutes.

We paired dinner with our two house wines – Sofia Blanc de Blancs from California and Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington. American wines for an American holiday! 🙂