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This was our delicious Thanksgiving feast.  I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to make for us this year and chose turkey leg ‘coq’ au vin, blanc.  A one pot meal cooked in my crockpot.  It’s the first time in years I’ve incorporated turkey into my Thanksgiving day cooking.  I decided it was about time.  But I was not into cooking a whole bird, and being in or near the kitchen for most of the day.  So I chose to use my favorite part of a turkey, the legs.  Thank you Whole Foods for selling them!  And I am so glad I made this meal in my crockpot.  It allowed me to spend the day with my family, both relaxing at home and goofing off at the playground.

I find a lot of pressure surrounding Thanksgiving day.  Last year I remember saying how much I hated the holiday.  Seriously.  It was six+ years building this negativity and I’m glad to say I finally escaped it.  I let go of all my expectations and took it at face value.  Plus we had no schedule or obligations.  It was perfect for us.  Having children has really brought out my festive side for each holiday!  I love creating traditions and sharing this joy with them.

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I’ve never made coq au vin before and didn’t have an exact recipe to follow.  Instead I stayed true to my style and winged it.  Yes I did have a concept in mind but I’ve never cooked with wine in my crockpot.  I was coming off a week of successful cooking and in all honesty I was a bit worried that the grand finale, Thanksgiving, would be mediocre.  But it was perfect.  I will be making this again and I’m more than pleased to share this recipe with you all.  It does take a bit of prep work before everything enters the crock pot but it pays off in the end!  It’s a crowd pleaser and would be great served at a dinner party.

Traditionally coq au vin uses red wine and chicken broth.  For some reason using white wine with beef broth seemed more appealing.  I liked the thought of a floral/fruit flavor coming from the wine while using a beef broth to add richness.  Plus I was going for a kid friendly version, and I was concerned Cia might not be into red stained turkey.  This dish made plenty and the four of us enjoyed it 3 nights in a row for dinner.  Yum!

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I hope everyone enjoyed love and happiness filled weekend!

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Turkey Leg ‘Coq au Vin’

  • ~5lbs turkey legs, skin on – for me this was 2 turkey legs (or use chicken legs/thighs)
  • s&p
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 16 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2” rounds
  • 3 cups turnips – I used a small variety and left them whole, otherwise chop them into large chunks
  • 1 lb cipollini onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 1/2 cups dry pinot grigio
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • egg noodles
  1. The night before you plan to make this dish place turkey legs in a ziploc bag and add the chopped garlic, 1 1/2 cups of the wine, thyme, and bay leaf.  Seal bag and place in the fridge overnight.  It’s a good idea to place the bag in a bowl just in case of any leaks.
  2. The next morning the thyme and bay leaf from the bag and place them in the crockpot.  Drain the turkey legs and discard marinade.
  3. Cook bacon strips over low heat flipping on occasion as the fat renders out.  Once cooked through set bacon aside.  Drain most of the grease out of the pan and reserve.
  4. Season turkey thighs with s&p and dredge in flour.  Brown in the bacon grease over medium high heat until nicely golden on all sides.  Place in the crock pot.
  5. Add two tablespoons of the bacon grease and brown the onions, carrots, turnips, and mushrooms.  I did this in two batches as to not overcrowd the pan.  Season with s&p and place vegetables in crockpot .
  6. Crumble bacon into the crockpot and add beef broth and remaining 1 cup of wine.
  7. Cook on low 8 hours.
  8. Take out the turkey legs, remove skin, and pull the meat off the bones.  It will fall right off.  Stir turkey back into the stew.
  9. Cook egg noodles according to package.
  10. Serve stew over noodles.

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I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.  I did!  We kept it mellow spending some time outside and filling up on my turkey-coq au vin and pumpkin custard.  Yum!  I also put up our Christmas lights and decorations for Cia.  I love seeing the joy in her face as she feels the festive cheer.

As winter approaches and I embrace the festivities I am still cooking with fall flavors.  This dish is not my prettiest but it delivers in comfort and flavor.  I used cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to season ground turkey.  I added in red onion, garlic, dried cranberries, and cooked chestnuts, stuffing the mixture in a local acorn squash.  I’m never quite sure it I’m going to love cinnamon in savory dishes but in the end I always do.  Don’t hesitate to try this with leftover turkey from your Thanksgiving feast!

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Acorn Squash with Cinnamon Spiced Turkey

  • 1 acorn squash
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey thighs (or use left over turkey)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 small apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash ground cloves
  • dash or two ground nutmeg
  • s&p
  • 1/4 cup apple juice sweetened dried cranberries
  • 4 oz peeled and cooked chestnuts, chopped
  1. Roast acorn squash – half, deseed, and bake face down at 350º for 45 minutes, or until tender.  Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile heat up a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add ground (or leftover) turkey and cook for a few minutes.  Stir in apple, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cranberries, and chestnuts.  Season with s&p and continue to cook until turkey meat is just about cooked through (or 5 minutes for leftover turkey).
  4. Fill acorn squash, place in an ovenproof dish, and cover with foil.  Bake for 15 more minutes at 350º.

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“That was really good, we’ve had Thanksgiving every night this week,” smiling while looking at me.  “I know, said me.”

Yes! Yes! Yes!  This exactly what I wanted to hear.  My plan this year was to enjoy a bit of Thanksgiving everyday during the holiday week.  This way when I didn’t cook a huge feast on Thanksgiving there would be no sad feelings.  I’ve already explained how much I do love the flavors of Thanksgiving but I have no desire to spend a full day in the kitchen cooking.  So I think my plan to enjoy a bit of Thanksgiving all week is the perfect solution!

This sweet potato mash is rustic.  I left the skins on, added roasted brussel sprouts, applewood smoked goat cheese, and buttermilk.  I typically cook ‘clean’, but I chose to make this dish a bit decadent.  Yes goat cheese and buttermilk qualify as decadent in my diet these days.  These sweet potatoes were really delicious.  I can honestly say I’m loving my Thanksgiving creations this season.  I can only hope my actual Thanksgiving dinner will match what I’ve already made.  Wish me luck!

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Rustic Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brussel Sprouts

  • ~2 lbs sweet potatoes, 3 large
  • 10 oz sliced brussel sprouts (you can buy these pre-sliced from Trader Joe’s)
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2-3 oz applewood smoked goat cheese
  • s&p
  • pomegranate seeds, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Stab sweet potatoes with a fork and roast for 1 hour or more, until fully tender.  Set aside.
  3. Turn oven up to 425º.
  4. Place sliced brussel sprouts in a large skillet, coat with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, and season with s&p.  Place in oven and roast for ~25 until lightly browned and tender.  Set aside.
  5. In a pot heat up buttermilk and most of the goat cheese over medium heat until goat cheese is melted.  Chop sweet potatoes and add to pot.  Mix well to ‘mash’ sweet potatoes.  Add roasted brussel sprouts and season with s&p.  Continue to heat until warmed through.
  6. Serve top with a remaining goat cheese and pomegranate seeds.

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With all the heavy foods surrounding Thanksgiving I decided I wanted a lightened up version for green beans this year.  These are very simple, almost too simple for a blog post.  They are quite tasty too.  Everyone loves simple and delicious so I knew I had to share.

I used meyer lemons in this vinaigrette offering a sweeter and less acidic flavor than if you used regular lemons.  You can definitely still use a regular lemon and adjust the other ingredients to fit your tastes.  I also chose to french cut my green beans.  I bought the tool a few years ago and use it every time I cook these beans.  It’s time consuming and a bit of a pain but to me the extra effort is worth it.  I truly love french cut green beans.  Something about the way they soften and become more pliable just does it for me.

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Grean Beans with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed and french cut (optional to french cut)
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon, ~2 tbsp
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp dijon styled mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • s&p
  • pomegranate seeds (I forgot these!)
  1. Steam trimmed and french cut green beans for 5 minutes.  Just enough to soften them but not long enough to loose their crunch.  Remove and immediately place in a bowl of ice water.  Drain and dry well.
  2. In a jar add the lemon zest, lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, olive oil, and s&p.  Shake well.  Taste and add more of any ingredient if you desire to find the right balance of tangy/sweet.
  3. Toss beans with vinaigrette and refrigerate until serving.
  4. Serve topped with fresh pomegranate seeds – so bummed I forgot to add them!

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Oh do I love me some cranberries!  It’s totally one of those foods you either love or you hate.  They have always been one of my favorite sides during Thanksgiving, I love them more than the turkey itself.  In fact I like just about every side more than the turkey, unless it’s canned cranberry.  I can’t stomach the thought of it.  But to each their own.

In the past I’ve made raw cranberry sauce, my mom’s recipe, and stove top cooked cranberries.  Both are delicious in their own ways.  I really love the combination of tart and sweet mixed all into one.  This year I’m making new recipes and decided it was time to try a baked cranberry sauce.  It’s pretty much as easy as it gets and definitely worth a try.  I cooked the cranberries with orange juice, orange zest, coconut sugar, and cinnamon.  They cooked down into a deliciously chunky cranberry sauce!

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Oven Baked Cranberries

  • 16 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1/3-1/2 cup coconut sugar (I like them tart so I used 1/3 cup)
  • zest of 1 orange, ~1 tbsp
  • juice of 1 orange, ~1/4-1/3 cup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • coconut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix cranberries, coconut sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. Coat a 9×9 pan in coconut oil.
  4. Add cranberry mixture to pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Let cool a bit and serve.

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