Cooking With Honey – Ina’s Favorite Holiday Appetizer

Ina Garten’s favorite holiday appetizer is easy and delicious. It has only two ingredients.

Guess what?  One of them is honey!

Baked Brie

This picture and recipe are reprinted from The Food Network.

Serves  5-8

Ingredients

1/4 wheel brie

4 tablespoons honey

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the brie on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper and drizzle with the honey. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it starts to ooze but not melt.

Serve with crackers.

Thanksgiving 2013 – Ultimate Macaroni And Cheese

I’ve always assumed that serving macaroni and cheese for Thanksgiving was purely a Southern thing.  Always tasty, mac and cheese is also a thoughtful dish to include for your vegetarian-inclined guests.

It turns out that our Victorian forebears were the originators of this custom, although you might be surprised at what they considered to be the Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese.

Thanksgiving postcard circa 1900 showing turkey and football player. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

In 1883, macaroni was said to be an acquired taste, and was still unfamiliar to many. To make macaroni and cheese, housekeepers were advised to boil the macaroni, then mix in a tablespoon of canned tomatoes, and then add a layer of freshly grated cheese.  On top of this, successive layers of boiled macaroni, canned tomatoes, and grated cheese, were added until the serving dish was filled.  When the resulting meal was delivered to the Thanksgiving table, it might be more familiar to us as a sort of lasagna instead of the macaroni and cheese we know.

Most of us today prefer the cheesy variety on our Thanksgiving table. This recipe is rich and delicious, to be served only a few times a year. That’s the real secret of Southern cooking!!

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Yield:  12 servings

Ingredients:

1 pound elbow macaroni

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and macaroni and cook for 4 to 5 minutes (until the macaroni is half cooked).

Butter a 3-quart baking dish, add 1/3 of the cooked macaroni and then layer with cheese, salt, and pepper; repeat this until the elbows have all transferred. Pour the milk and heavy cream over the macaroni. Drizzle with honey.

Cover the macaroni and cheese with tinfoil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the macaroni is brown and bubbling on top.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Sweet Potato Souffle

sweet potato souffle

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Souffle:

3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes, from about 2 to 3 small baked potatoes

3/4 cup honey

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, about 1 stick, melted

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, about 1/2 stick, cubed, at room temperature

1/2 cup self-rising cake flour

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Souffle: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, honey, eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Topping: Combine the brown sugar, butter, flour, and pecans in a separate bowl. Crumble the topping over the sweet potato mixture.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Serve hot.

Holidays With Honey – Christmas Morning Casserole

sausage cheese strata

It probably isn’t surprising that cooking is a big part of Christmas in my family. After my children grew older, Christmas breakfast became really special. After we open presents, we sit down for a cozy meal with lots of chat and tea. It’s the best part of the day. 

We’ve had this spicy casserole for the past few years because it can be made ahead and cooked while we are opening presents. This year our darling Lucy will be able to eat some too!

photo (9)

Yield:  serves 4

Ingredients

5 Slices thickly-sliced white bread – crusts and all, buttered & cubed.

1 pound of mild sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained.

3 cups of grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

4 eggs

2 cups of milk

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon of hot sauce.

Directions

Spray a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Place the bread cubes in the casserole. Evenly distribute the sausage over the bread cubes. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Combine the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, honey and hot sauce and mix well. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, remove the casserole from the fridge and allow it to sit on the counter for 15 minutes while you pre-heat the over to 350. Remove the plastic wrap, place the casserole in the over and bake for 1 hour.

Potato, Leek And Honey Gratin

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
Douglas Adams

But with these potatoes, you definitely can solve a lot of the minor ones…  🙂

Ingredients:

Salt

3 pounds small potatoes (such as red or Yukon gold), sliced 1/8 inch thick

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering dish

2  tablespoons honey

10 medium leeks, washed thoroughly, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large pot of salted boiling water, parboil potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes well and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Sauté leeks and garlic until leeks are tender, about 7 minutes. Set aside.

In a buttered gratin dish, round souffle dish, or lasagna pan arrange half of reserved potatoes in an overlapping pattern. Pour 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk over top and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon honey. Top with reserved leeks and arrange remaining potatoes. Pour remaining cream and milk over potatoes and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining honey.

Bake until potatoes are tender, top of gratin is golden brown, and most of cream and milk have been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Yields: 12 servings

Southern Squash Casserole With Honey

Summer is the perfect time to make this casserole.  The squash is fresh (maybe from your garden?) and its flavor is at its peak. This makes a lovely vegetarian supper when paired with a green salad with vinaigrette!

3 pounds yellow squash, sliced

5 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

20 round buttery crackers, crushed (about 3/4 cup)

Cook squash in boiling water to cover in a large skillet 8 to 10 minutes or just until tender. Drain well; gently press between paper towels.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Remove skillet from heat; stir in squash, cheese, and next 4 ingredients. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Stir together melted butter and crushed crackers; sprinkle evenly over top of casserole.
Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until set.