Well it seems that my recipes from my Virginia-themed Thanksgiving are pretty tantalizing so I’ve rounded them all up in one post for your reference! These would be great any day of the week, holiday or not!
Y’all are going to die when you taste this dip. Once you come back to life, you’re going to want to thank me.
Hot Virginia Dip (serves many)
2 T butter
16 oz cream cheese, softened
4 T whole milk
5 oz dried (chipped) beef, minced
1 tsp garlic salt
1 cup sour cream
4 tsp minced onion (dried)
Sauté pecans in butter until very fragrant. Set the pecans aside to cool. Mix all of the other ingredients together in a mixing bowl and spread into a small baking dish or pie plate (mixture will be very thick). Top with pecans and bake at 350* for 20 minutes. If you aren’t serving this immediately, it can be chilled (pecans separately) and baked at a later time. Serve hot with Ritz crackers or breadsticks. Drool. Drool a lot.
Oysters are a Virginia specialty and while I like them best in an oyster roast and dipped in hot butter (who doesn’t?), they are excellent in this creamy soup. Perfect on a cold day! Be sure to use the freshest oysters you can find.
Creamy Chesapeake Oyster Stew (serves 8 )
1 1/2 pint fresh oysters (the best come from the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia!)
1 stick butter
1 1/2 medium yellow onions, sliced in large strips
2 cans cream of celery soup
4 cups whole milk
salt & pepper
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and add in the onions. Stir occasionally and allow the onions to cook until translucent. Add in both cans of cream of celery soup and the milk, stirring well to incorporate. Allow to simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent the milk from scalding. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Remembering to stir frequently, let this simmer for 10-15 minutes. When steaming and heated through, get the oysters ready to add. Raw oysters are packed in their “goo” (technical term) so use a slotted spoon to retrieve them from their container, allowing the goo to drip off, and drop them into the simmering liquid. Work quickly, no one likes a rubbery, over-cooked oyster! You’ll know they’re done when the edges of the oysters curl up — this happens in a matter of minutes. Remove the soup from heat immediately and serve with hot sauce on the side!
These biscuits, Alabama Biscuits, have been in my family’s kitchen repertoire for as long as I can remember. I have absolutely no idea why they’re called Alabama Biscuits. As far as I know, my family has no connection to Alabama. But I don’t ask questions when biscuits are involved.
Alabama Biscuits (makes 12-18 biscuits)
5 cups all purpose flour
1 package yeast
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup cold shortening
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups buttermilk
6 T butter, melted
Dissolve yeast in warm water (110-115*). Mix remaining dry ingredients well in a large mixing bowl. Add the shortening to the dry ingredients, cutting it in with a pastry blender. When it has a lumpy texture, add in the buttermilk and the yeast/water mixture which should be foamy and bubbly (5-10 minutes in the water does the trick). Mix with your hands and knead on a floured board. Roll the dough out to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or an overturned drinking glass, cut the biscuits out. To create the stacked biscuit, lay one disc of dough out on a buttered baking sheet and spread melted butter on top with a pastry brush. Stack a 2nd dough disc on top and brush that with butter. Continue until you have 12-18 double stacked biscuits. Set baking sheet aside in a warm place to rise for 2 hours. Bake at 400* for 15-20 minutes.
Finally, a different way to enjoy Brussels sprouts that isn’t just roasting them! This recipe comes to me by way of my friend Sarah and we subbed in bacon for the traditional pancetta used in this recipe. The result? Delicious! Just be sure to do this and serve immediately. It will get bitter if it sits too long (as it started to do for us!)
Brussels Sprouts with Radicchio and Bacon (serves 8 )
1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts
6 oz bacon, diced
3 T olive oil
1 head radicchio
1 1/2 T finely chopped fresh marjoram1/4 cup chicken broth, plus extra
salt & pepper
Pull off any dry outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Using a food processor or cutting by hand, chop the brussels sprouts into several pieces and set them aside. On the stovetop, heat an tall roasting pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until crispy and golden, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the crispy bacon from the pan and pour off bacon grease and either discard or save for another recipe. Wipe out the pan with paper towels and place it back on the stove top on medium heat. Heat the olive oil until it glistens and then add the chopped Brussels sprouts to the oil, stirring to coat. Cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Chop up the radicchio head into chunks and add it to the sprouts along with the marjoram. Stir well and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and add in 1/4 cup chicken broth. Continue to stir occasionally and add in more chicken broth as needed if the mixture is too dry. Just before serving, toss in the reserved crispy bacon pieces and stir. Serve immediately!
In order to remember my father I wanted to cook something he loved. Unfortunately most of the foods I could think of were main courses and wouldn’t fit with the rest of the menu. But then I remembered how much he loved my mom’s twice baked potatoes and I set out to recreate them in my Cheddar Bacon Twice Baked Potatoes.
Cheddar Bacon Twice Baked Potatoes (serves 8-16)
8 large baking potatoes, scrubbed clean and dried
salt & pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 stick butter, room temperature1 cup heavy cream, divided
1 1/2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
10 slices bacon, cooked to crisp and chopped into small pieces
After cleaning and drying the potatoes, place them in a roasting pan or baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, coat the skins of the potatoes evenly with the oil, salt, and pepper and bake in the oven at 375* for 1 hour. Remove and let cool at least 30 minutes — they will retain heat and be too hot for your hands! Once cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half length-wise and gently use a spoon to scoop out the potato flesh, trying to keep the skins intact and forming little potato “cups”. Place the potato skins on baking pans. In a large mixing bowl with the potato flesh, combine the butter, sour cream, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. With a potato masher, smash all the ingredients together. If it is too thick and dry, drizzle in more heavy cream and mash until it has a creamy, mashed potato consistency. Spoon the creamy potato mixture back into the potato skins. Sprinkle with crispy bacon pieces and the remaining 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Bake at 350* for 15 minutes and serve hot and gooey.
Why eat a nice, healthful salad of fresh vegetables when you can pour hot bacon grease all over it? This traditional Virginia salad dressing does just that.
Hot Bacon Dressing (dressing for 1 large salad)
10 slices bacon
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
12 scallions, chopped
reserved bacon grease
salt & pepper
Fry bacon until crisp and remove from pan with slotted spoon. Set the bacon aside and reserve the hot grease. In a small mixing bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, scallions, and salt & pepper. Just before you serve your salad, whisk the hot bacon grease into the vinegar mixture and then toss quickly with salad greens. Serve your salad immediately or it will wilt! Use the reserved bacon as an optional salad garnish.
My brother’s birthday is always on or around Thanksgiving. This year, it actually was Thanksgiving. Unfortunately this year he is serving our country as a soldier and is in South Korea. But that won’t stop me from making our traditional birthday cake/Thanksgiving pie for him!
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust (makes 1 – 9” cheesecake)
1 3/4 cups gingersnap crumbs
3 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, melted
3 – 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese at room temperature
1 – 15 oz. can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 T flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
For crust: In a bowl, combine crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Add melted butter and stir well. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside. For filling: Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar, and the pumpkin pie spice. When mixed, add flour and vanilla. Beat well until combined and pour onto the crust in the springform pan. Place in the oven for 1 hour on 350*. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.