Thanksgiving dinner can be a very difficult time for empty nesters.
I would like to share some ideas for a Thanksgiving dinner for empty nesters. My husband and I have a blended family consisting of 8 children, their spouses/fiances, and 13 grandchildren. The first 10 years of our marriage, 7 of the 8 children lived with us so every meal was a feast and Thanksgiving always involved days of baking and cooking. They are now grown and have their own homes so we are rarely able to all be together for Thanksgiving.
The Thanksgiving dinner should still feel like a special meal of the year. My husband is a hunter and Thanksgiving week is the highlight of hunting time in WV. He hunts until around mid-morning and then comes in for a few hours.
I try to make it special by using fresh flowers, candles, and linen napkins. The foods do look a little strange to me served in such small dishes, but if you fix your plates and carry them to the table, it will feel like you are not missing a thing. (It is a bit more quiet though than with the family here) Continue reading EMPTY NESTERS THANKSGIVING IDEAS
Pasta Salad packed with high protein foods, delicious and good for you.
It is so cold and snowy here in WV that I could eat a warm bowl of homemade soup every day. For the past 2 weeks my husband has been asking me to make a pasta salad. I usually fixed this in the summer or when I need to take something to a covered dish event to feed a large crowd. My original recipe serves about 10 people.
To please my husband, I made this for my downsized recipe this week.
We are football fans at my house! Last weekend was filled with playoff games and lots of excitement. That can only mean one thing..there must be game day snacks.
It is easy to fix a table full of appetizers when you are having a large crowd over, but a little more challenging when you are fixing game day snacks for 2. For my downsized cooking post this week, I want to share some ideas for the snacks we had.
This spicy chicken enchilada soup is not for the weak at heart when it comes to heat.
Since January is National Soup month, and it has been cold here in WV this week, I decided to do another soup recipe in my weekly downsized cooking feature.
Potato Soup is one of our favorite soups.
I love Loaded Baked Potato Soup, but my husband prefers an Old Fashioned Potato-Ham soup.
There is nothing more comforting than a big pot of warm potato soup on a cold winters day. For many years, I have always made the big pots of soup for our large family. Since we are now empty nesters, I have created some soup recipes that are downsized for 2. Continue reading POTATO SOUP TWO WAYS – COOKING FOR 2 RECIPES
There is nothing more delicious to me than a warm, homemade cookie.
I bake a lot of cookies and I do mean a lot of cookies. My husband and I have 13 grandchildren so there are never too many cookies. I don’t bake a downsized recipe for my cookies but I have been asked to create a recipe for this.
I created a recipe for Snickerdoodles as the base cookie because any variety of ingredients can be added to them.
Some of my favorite additions are dried blueberries with almonds or cranberries and pecans. I have used fresh and dried cranberries and they both work wonderfully. I love to mix up a glaze to drizzle over them also to really add variety. This recipe only makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies so if you don’t want a large amount, this is perfect.
Make this basic recipe and add your choice of fruit and nuts.
The cookie in the first picture has cranberries, pecans, and is dipped in melted white chocolate.
The second one has dried blueberries and almonds added to the snickerdoodle dough.
In 2008 I was chosen as a finalist for the 43rd Pillsbury Bake-off Contest. I cannot even express how exciting this was and what an unforgettable experience.
My recipe was Mascarpone-Filled Cranberry Walnut Rolls. I was chosen as the winner of my category (Breakfast/Brunch) and one of the 5 finalists to win the $1,000,000 dollars! I did not win that but did receive $5000 and a new stove.
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without the dessert. I always think of our big holiday dinners and a large table filled with just desserts.
For many empty nesters or when there will only be 2 for dinner, the following desserts may be just the right choice.
Mini Cranberry-Orange Bundt Cakes with Mascarpone Drizzle are bundt cakes with a topping of fresh cranberries, pecans, frozen orange juice concentrate and then drizzled with a mascarpone glaze.
I love all of the recipes that can be created from using a rotisserie chicken. For this post on my downsized cooking feature, I want to share a few of those ideas using 1 chicken
These rotissere chickens are not only convenient, they are inexpensive. I buy mine at Sam’s and they cost $4.99. I only use the breast meat and this usually nets about 4 cups of meat. My husband likes to eat the legs. I bought this last weekend and made 4 different meals that were enough to feed 2 people. If you prefer more meat in any of the dishes, you can still make 3 of the 4 dishes.
I serve these meals with a salad or vegetable.
When I go to Sam’s, I usually buy 2 of these chickens. We eat part of it for supper that night and then I make another dish from the remaining meat. I cut the meat off of the second one and put it in smaller freezer bags for future use. I like to make chicken salad from the rotisserie chicken but when I do this, I make it while the meat is still warm so that the flavors blend better. The possibilities of recipes are endless but I want to share some of the comfort foods that I made last weekend.
- 2 frozen biscuits, baked
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup half and half (or whole milk)
- 1/2 can cream of chicken soup
- 2-3 drops yellow food coloring
- 1 cup rotisserie chicken breast, shredded or cubed
- 1 cup prepared mashed potatoes
- Melt butter in medium sized saucepan or dutch oven over a medium heat. Add the flour, salt and pepper, whisk together until smooth.
- Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, half and half, soup and food coloring. (Start with 1 drop and add desired amount). Stir in the chicken. Reduce heat and simmer over a low heat until mixture thickens, stirring frequently.
- Remove from the heat. Serve with hot biscuits and mashed potatoes.