Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer – Pre-Thanksgiving Advice

While gearing up the for holidays today I’m offering up some Pre-Thanksgiving advice that we all need to take part of.

Let’s face it; the holidays, while beautiful, festive, delicious and fun are one thing – STRESSFUL. Whether it’s self-induced or situationally-induced, it happens. We stress about money, cleaning, decorating, cooking, baking, shopping, work, just over all getting ready. And by the time you go through the holidays and finally have a moment to actually enjoy them, it’s time to go back to work. Which also means cleaning up, putting the decorations away and facing a long, cold winter (unless you’re one of the lucky ones that live on the West Coast or some gorgeous island).

Trust me guys, I’m with you on all of that. Growing up my Mom would plan her holiday meals weeks in advance, decorate the house for days and at night, when they thought no one was paying attention, my parents would fret over money and how they could buy each of us at least one new present. When I got married I turned into my Mother – I’d plan these grandiose meals (even though it was just for the two of us), I’d have Mr. Fantabulous haul 10-12 huge Rubbermaid tubs from the attic of decorations and spend days, yes days, decorating a house that literally no one but us saw. It just had to be perfect.

While the house was gorgeous, the food delicious, what wasn’t so great was me and my attitude. I was tired, cranky and sometimes a full-fledged Scrooge. I just was so stressed. I wanted it to be perfect; I wanted everything to be perfect. But then I thought about something a few years ago. What makes a ‘perfect’ holiday season?

Just take my advice this year; you owe it to yourself and your family

The best Cranberry Relish v2.0 – The Adult Version

Everything you loved about my viral ultimate cranberry recipe but kicked up to an adult version with the addition of bacon, bourbon and heat!  Seriously addictive, deliciously simply!

If you’re a fan of that jellified, squishy, ridiculously odd-textured cranberry jelly that comes from a can then this recipe isn’t for you. No, this recipe is for the brave, the adventurous and the rebels out there. Or… pretty much for anyone that wants a freaking killer cranberry relish recipe with a twist. This is that cranberry relish you’d expect to find at some gnarly hole-in-the-wall dive bar that makes some of the best underground foods. It’s simplistic and almost delicate looking but that’s where the princessness stops and the fierce biker babe comes into play.

Wait so does that mean I just gave my cranberry relish a gender?  Is it a girl? *shrugs* sure why not. LOL It’s pretty, sexy and alluring on the outside but on the inside it’s wicked and bold. I’m down with that.

The best Cranberry Relish v2.0 - The Adult Version: Cranberry Relish with Bacon Bourbon and Red Pepper

I actually have been making this version for a few years as I wanted a more in-your-face version. Oh don’t get me wrong, I still freaking LOVE my original recipe but ever since making my spicy red pepper jelly, I couldn’t help but wonder what this relish would taste like if I added some heat to it. And since I can’t leave well enough alone AND bacon pretty much is the best thing in the world (next to my husband and teacup pigs.. oh and Channing Tatum dancing) I decided it needed bacon in it. And since you all know how much I love the combination of bourbon and bacon, I had to add me some Kentucky straight bourbon to the pot.

This relish seriously will take over your life and blow your mind!

Weekly Menu

Get out of that same ol’ recipe rut and try one of these delicious and easy recipes this week! This week I highly recommend making the Thanksgiving Gobbler Pizza and the Chunky Shrimp Burgers with Avocado Aioli sauce!

Happy Sunday and happy almost Thanksgiving TKW Family! So are you ready for turkey day? Have your menu planned?  Yeah, me neither! For those of you that are ready, want to come help me? So here’s the thing, even though Thanksgiving is only Mr. Fantabulous and I, I still go all out. Now granted I make things on a much smaller scale but regardless I still make a good bit of food. But I’m at least one up this time of year as I have my turkey already. Which reminds me I need to put it in the fridge to thaw and then brine it for 24 hours. Do you brine your turkey? OMG if not, you really should do it. The flavor is INCREDIBLE!

But that’s about all I have for Thanksgiving. I still haven’t made my cranberry relish. I haven’t made the rolls yet (seriously make THESE!). Heck, I don’t even have the bread for the stuffing or the potatoes!  I did, however, go to Walmart Saturday morning at 8am and OMG the place was a zoo! I mean you would have thought they were giving stuff away! I did get some stuff (like the cream cheese for his cheesecake and mushrooms for the green bean casserole stuffed mushrooms but that’s it. Please tell me I’m not the only one so far behind.

So today I have a TON of work to get done. Yesterday we had friends over which meant all of the TKW work I would get done on Saturday has to get done today leaving me only to worry about this post and the upcoming posts for the week, today. But today I have to try to cram and get everything done in one day. Oh yeah, and get to bed early as I have to head into the office tomorrow which means I’m up at 4am. Ugh… why can’t I be Oprah rich instead of so damn sexy? LOL

Which do you think is better, turkey on Thanksgiving or leftover turkey?

Spiced Pear & Shallots Chutney

The warm notes of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg paired with the sweetness of the pears and shallots are exactly what your pork and chicken dishes need to go from good to WOW!

Are we all done with Pumpkinsanity (pump-k-insanity) yet and everything in the world having to taste like pumpkin spice? I mean when I see my normal box of cereal now offering Pumpkin Spice flakes or O’s I’m like “Done!  I’ve checked out!” Don’t get me wrong. I love pumpkin and pumpkin spice BUT I’d like my tea to taste like tea, my ravioli to not taste like a pumpkin pie and my freaking cereal to taste like bran TYVM. Enough is enough. I mean it’s just too much.

<off her soap box>

Okay I feel better *wink*. Today I’m sharing with you a recipe that honestly came out of a “crap, I need to use up these pears before they go bad and mushy” and my throwing stuff in a pot and hoping for the best. It’s funny as many of my recipes kind of start out that way – a thought and a prayer. As this was simmering away in the pan I decided to whip up some lunch for us. Now thankfully I had pressure cooked a bunch of chicken the night before (for weekly meal prep) and had leftover pork tenderloin which meant I didn’t have to do much work other than re-heat.

Spiced pear & Shallot Chutney

So for years when it came to chicken or pork I’d either eat it with mashed potatoes and gravy (kind of where you take a fork of chicken, shoosh it through the potatoes and gravy and put it all in your mouth at the same time OR I’d dip the meat in ketchup. You can quit making that ‘ewwww’ face now. I love ketchup and growing up in Pittsburgh, having the Heinz facility here, you had to love ketchup and put it pretty much on everything. I merely was doing my part.

While I’m still a ketchup lover, I would choose this recipe over ketchup on my meat!

Side Dishes to rock your Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving next week go with some new and delicious sides to add to your dinner menu like Green Bean Casserole Stuffed Mushrooms or Creamy Corn Casserole!

So wow, Thanksgiving is next week. Holy Crap! When did that happen? But I’m happy though as I’m ahead of the game. I have my turkey already bought, have my meal planned out and what sides I’m serving too! He wants cheesecake and I want pumpkin pie which means I’ll make 2 small ones and end up taking the rest to his parents. Sadly his parents don’t come to our house for Thanksgiving and I hate leaving the house a holiday which means Mama Fantabulous cooks for her other 2 sons and I cook for us.

Now when it comes to Thanksgiving I still make my standards – creamy mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes and stuffing but that’s where I stop. Years ago I started a new tradition where I would introduce one new side to every holiday meal either replacing one (i.e., my Mom’s boiled cauliflower and 47 pounds of butter) or adding a new one (creamy corn casserole).

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving requires green bean casserole and I’m sorry but once I created a grown-up version of it, I can’t do the standard canned soup recipes. The canned soup is great in a pinch but homemade is a bajillion times better. Plus I’m huge on presentation and you just can’t make green bean casserole “pretty”. However I give you 2 different variations of it – one with the sauce ladled over top and another with the mushrooms actually stuffed with green bean casserole. Stuffed inside… dwell on that people!
What’s your must-have Thanksgiving side dish?

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