If you've got a big guest list and a small budget this Thanksgiving, we've got just the chef for you!
Melissa d"Arabian knows all about stretching food dollars. She's the host of the Food Network's "Ten Dollar Dinners."
Melissa accepted "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" "Chef on a Shoestring" challenge of preparing a Thanksgiving feast for eight on only $80 - twice our usual "Shoestring" allotment, but still hardly hearty by, any measure, for such an undertaking.
Because of our expanded budget this week, Melissa wasn't included in our "How Low Can You Go?" competition, in which the "Shoestring" chef with the lowest ingredients cost will be invited back - in just a few weeks now! - to whip up the meal for our year-end holiday extravaganza.
Melissa also knows all about challenges: In August 2009, she won season five of "The Next Food Network Star," beating out thousands of hopefuls for the ultimate dream job: her own Food Network show.
As a wife and a stay-at-home mother of four preschool-aged daughters, Melissa embodies family home cooking at its finest.
In "Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d'Arabian," she shares her tasty recipes and $10 promise: four people, ten bucks, infinite possibilities.
Her Thanksgiving menu includes a roasted garlic-scented turkey with garlic scented stuffing, yam-marbles 2-in-1 mashed potatoes, sautéed red cabbage and apples with fennel, kale salad with spiced pecans and for dessert she has an apple tart with butter crust and cardamom caramel sauce.
Incidentally - you get to vote for the main course you'd like to have next week's "Shoestring" chef make. Would you prefer One-Pot Fish Bake, Pasta with Sausage & Clams, or Chili-Glazed Steak? click here for details on the voting process.
Source: "Food Lover's Companion"
Turkey: For most families, Thanksgiving dinner would be unthinkable without this large native-American bird on the table. Long before the arrival of European settlers, wild turkeys populated the United States, Mexico and Central America and the Aztecs were busily domesticating them. The conquistadores took some of these domesticated birds back to Spain, and before long Europeans were breeding them into a much pumper version. Interestingly enough, European settlers brought some of these domesticated birds back to the New World in the 1600s and eventually began crossing them with America's wild turkeys. Most U.S. turkeys raised today are from the White Holland variety, which has been bred to produce a maximum of white meat.
Stuffing: A mixture used to stuff poultry, fish, meat and some vegetables. It can be cooked separately or in the food in which it is stuffed. Stuffings (also called dressings) are usually well seasoned and based on breadcrumbs or cubes, though rice, potatoes, herb mixtures or other foods may also be used.
Yam: This thick, tropical-vine tuber is popular in South and Central America, the West Indies and parts of Asia and Africa. Although sweet potatoes and yams are similar in many ways and therefore often confused with one another, they are from different plant species. In the southern United States, sweet potatoes are often called yams and to add to the confusion, canned sweet potatoes are frequently labeled yams. True yams, however, are not widely marketed and are seldom grown in the United States. Though they can be similar in size and shape to sweet potatoes, yams contain more natural sugar and have higher moisture content. On the downside, they're not as rich in vitamins A and C as sweet potatoes. When buying yams, select unblemished specimens with tight, unwrinkled skins. Store in a place that's cool, dark and dry for up to 2 weeks. Do not refrigerate. Yams may be substituted for sweet potatoes in most recipes.
Roasted Garlic-Scented Turkey
1 (12 pound) turkey, rinsed and dried well
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried), plus 3-4 Sprigs of fresh rosemary to stuff inside the cavity
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 head garlic, cloves separated but NOT peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, cut in quarters
Preheat oven to 400°F
Generously salt and pepper the turkey and set at room temperature for one hour.
In a small bowl, blend butter, minced herbs and garlic powder, and rub half the butter mixture all over turkey. Place turkey in large roasting pan with rack, and pour wine on bottom of pan. Roast turkey for 30 minutes at 400°F.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl toss the garlic cloves, remaining rosemary and lemon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, squeezing the lemon a little to release a little bit of the juice.
Remove the turkey from the oven and place garlic cloves, rosemary, and lemon into the cavity of the turkey. Brush turkey skin with the remaining butter mixture, softened or melted. Return turkey back to the oven, lower temperature to 325°F and continue roasting, uncovered, until turkey meat has reached 160°F in the thickest part of the thigh, about 2 1/2 hours more.
Baste every 30 minutes. Once the turkey is 160°F, remove the bird from the oven, remove garlic for stuffing use, and cover with foil tent. Let rest 30 minutes, tented, before carving.
2 packages bagged stuffing mix (or 3 boxes)
15 roasted garlic cloves reserved from roasting turkey
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1/4 cup juices from roasted turkey
3 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 bunch of celery, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until it becomes translucent. Add the butter, onions and celery and cook until vegetables are soft, about ten minutes. Meanwhile, squeeze out the soft flesh of fifteen of the roasted garlic cloves. In a blender or food processor, blend garlic flesh with 1 cup of the chicken stock until smooth. Add the garlic stock, the remaining stock, the roasted turkey juices, and water to the sauté pan. Once mixture begins to boil, toss in dried stuffing mix, remove from heat, and cover for five minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Fluff and serve.
For more recipes, go to Page 2.
Yam-Marbled 2-in-1 Mashed Potatoes
5 large russet potatoes
1 large yam
2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk, warmed
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 green onions, finely chopped
Pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes and yam, cut in quarters, and place in a pan and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until potatoes fall off fork when pierced, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving about half a cup of the cooking liquid. Separate out the yam pieces. Gently press the potatoes through a sieve (or potato ricer) into a large bowl, using a rubber spatula. Next press the yam through the strainer. Mix in butter, salt, milk, yogurt and green onion and stir to blend. Add a tablespoon or two of cooking liquid if necessary to obtain desired consistency. Salt and pepper liberally and serve.
Kale Salad with Herbed Pecans
1 head kale
1 large carrot, grated
Half an orange, juiced
Half a lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 red onion, sliced very thinly
1 slice of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Herbed Toasted Pecans, for topping, recipe follows
Remove kale leaves from the stalks and stack five or six leaves on top of one another at a time and slice into thin strips. Place thinly sliced kale into salad bowl. Toss with orange juice, lemon juice and salt, and using your hands, rub the acid into the kale. Let the kale sit a few minutes while you shock the onion: prepare a large bowl of ice water and a sauce pan with boiling water. Place the thinly sliced onion into the boiling water for 15-30 seconds and then shock them in the cold water, stopping the cooking immediately. Drain the water, and blot the onions with a paper towel. Add the onion, bacon, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss well. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and mix the slaw well, and serve. Cook's note: This salad can be made several hours in advance.
Herbed Toasted Pecans
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups pecan halves
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat butter and sugar in sauté pan until bubbly. Add cayenne pepper, sage, rosemary and stir. Toss in pecans, and coat. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and cook roast for 7 minutes. Serve. Cook's note: These can be made in advance and reserved.
Sautéed Cabbage and Apples
1 head red cabbage
2 Granny Smith apple
4 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine
Splash apple cider vinegar
Core and slice the cabbage into thin slices. Slice the cheeks off the apples and cut into thin wedges.
In a large sauté pan, add the butter and melt over medium heat. Add the cabbage, apples, fennel seeds, and salt and pepper (to taste), and sauté until the cabbage softens and wilts, about 20 minutes. Deglaze the pan with red wine, and stir in a splash of cider vinegar. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
For Melissa's dessert recipes, go to Page 3.
Quick Cinnamon and Apple Minute Tarte
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoon sugar, divided
3 tablespoons ice cold water
3 granny smith apples
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt, a pinch for the crust and the apples
Melted butter, for brushing tarte
Warm Cinnamon Caramel Sauce, recipe follows
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Place cubed butter in freezer while you assemble all your ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small food processor, place flour, a pinch of salt, and 1 Tablespoon of the sugar. Add the butter from the freezer and pulse until mixture looks like wet sand. Add the cold water and pulse again until dough just begins to come together in a large lump. Pour the contents of the food processor into a 10 inch tarte pan and using your fingers, press the crust into pan, forming a crust. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the apples. Peel the apples, cut into quarters, core them roughly and then slice them thinly. Place them in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, the remaining 1 Tablespoon of sugar, the cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and dump the apples onto the crust, spreading them evenly. Brush the whole tarte with melted butter and bake until tarte is golden and apples have cooked down a fair amount, about 50 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting. Serve slices with vanilla ice cream and Warm Cinnamon Caramel Sauce.
Warm Cinnamon Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a medium heavy saucepan, mix water and sugar and then place on medium high heat. Allow to boil (without stirring; only swirl pan if needed) until pale golden brown, approximately seven minutes. (Watch closely; sugar burns quickly.) Remove from heat, and add butter and cream, while stirring vigorously (mixture will bubble). Return to heat and bring to boil and then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Allow to cool a few minutes before drizzling over apple tart and vanilla ice cream.
So, how did Melissa wind up faring with our $80 budget?
garlic powder $0.99
white wine $2.50
green onions $0.79
stuffing mix $4.78
chicken stock $1.98
red onion $1.12
cayenne pepper $2.69
Cabbage & Apples
red cabbage $2.13
fennel seeds $3.99
red wine $2.50
Cinnamon & Apple Tart
ice cream $1.79
heavy cream $1.19
Grand total: $76.47
Even though Melissa wasn't included in our "How Low Can You Go?" competition, we though we'd bring you our Leaders Board so far:
1. Bill Telepan $37.01
2. Marc Murphy $37.11
3. Amanda Freitag $37.17