Grilled Romaine Panzanella

Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium heart of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 of a loaf ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally
  • 1tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup grape and/or cherry tomatoes
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Brush cut sides of lettuce and bread with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Thread tomatoes onto skewers,* leaving 1/4 inch between each tomato. For a charcoal or gas grill, place lettuce and bread, cut sides down, and tomato skewers on the rack of a covered grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes or until light grill marks appear on lettuce and tomatoes and bread is toasted, removing food from grill as it is done. Coarsely chop lettuce and cut bread into 1-inch pieces. Remove tomatoes from skewers.
  2. For vinaigrette, in a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Cut up bacon; set aside. If necessary, add enough of the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the reserved drippings to equal 3 tablespoons. Add onion to the reserved drippings; cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Cook about 1 minute more or until reduced slightly, stirring to scrape up crusty browned bits.
  3. In a large bowl combine lettuce, bread, tomatoes, bacon, basil, and cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

From the Test Kitchen
TIP: This recipe can easily be doubled to serve 14 to 16 people.

*TIP: If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes; drain before using.

Nutrition Facts: 
Per serving: 135 kcal cal., 9 g fat (3 g sat. fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 4 g monounsatured fat), 13 mg chol., 245 mg sodium, 8 g carb., 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 4 g pro. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad

Photo by BHG.com

Ingredients: 

  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 red sweet pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups cooked whole grain rotini pasta
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Lightly brush vegetables with 1 tablespoon of the oil. For a charcoal grill, place vegetables on the rack of the grill over medium-hot coals. Cover and grill for 3 to 5 minutes for asparagus, turning once, and about 10 minutes for the zucchini, sweet pepper, and onion, turning once, or until vegetables are tender. Remove and cool slightly. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add vegetables to grill rack and grill as above.)
  2. Cut vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with pasta in a large bowl. Add remaining oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper to pasta mixture; toss to coat. Top with fresh oregano and, if desired, Parmesan.

Nutrition Facts (Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad)
Per serving: 333 kcal cal., 12 g fat (1 g sat. fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 7 g monounsatured fat), 0 mg chol., 152 mg sodium, 49 g carb., 5 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 9 g pro.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Vegetable Kabobs

Skewers of potatoes, peppers, onions, and squash take on a smoky flavor when grilled. Brush on herbs and salad dressing for a bit of extra flavor and you’ll have a side dish recipe that’s scrumptious when served with grilled chicken, pork, or steak.

Yield: 8 Servings

Vegetable Kabobs

Photo by BHG.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes, quartered
  • 2 small red onions, each cut into 4 wedges or 8 red boiling onions
  • 8 baby squash (such as zucchini and/or yellow summer squash)
  • 8 medium fresh mushrooms
  • 8 miniature sweet peppers or 1 or 2 small red and/or orange sweet peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup bottled oil-and-vinegar salad dressing
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions: 

  1. In a covered medium saucepan cook potatoes and onions in a small amount of lightly salted boiling water over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until nearly tender, adding the squash and mushrooms for the last 1 minute of cooking time. Drain well. Cool slightly. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. On eight 10-inch skewers, alternately thread potatoes, onions, squash, mushrooms, and sweet peppers, leaving a 1/4-inch space between pieces. In a small bowl combine salad dressing, rosemary, salt, and pepper; brush over vegetables.
  3. Place kabobs on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, turning and brushing occasionally with dressing mixture. Makes 8 servings

TO BROIL:

Place kabobs on the greased unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil about 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, turning and brushing occasionally with dressing mixture.
Nutrition Facts (Vegetable Kabobs)

Per serving: 75 kcal cal., 4 g fat (1 g sat. fat, 145 mg sodium, 9 g carb., 1 g fiber, 2 g pro.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Plants that Attract Butterflies

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the following list of plants attract butterflies.

Purple coneflower and butterfly

Purple coneflowers are just one type of perennial that will attract butterflies.

It’s obvious: Butterflies and flowers were made for each other. As the poet pointed out, butterflies are flying flowers, and flowers are tethered butterflies.

In attracting butterflies to your garden, it’s important to understand what they want most out of life: nectar. The ancients, who believed that nectar fell directly from heaven, named it after the wines of the gods. A butterfly’s wish list also includes sunny open spaces, shelter from the wind, and fresh water.

For a nectar-rich flower border designed to satisfy these requirements, consider the plants listed below. Then invite a few butterflies over for a drink.

For a nectar-rich flower border designed to satisfy these requirements, consider the plants listed below. Then invite a few butterflies over for a drink.

Common Name                                       Latin Name
Allium                                                               Allium
Aster                                                                  Aster
Bee balm                                                          Monarda
Butterfly bush                                                 Buddleia
Catmint                                                            Nepeta
Clove                                                                 Pink Dianthus
Cornflower                                                      Centaurea
Daylily                                                             Hemerocallis
False indigo                                                    Baptisia
Fleabane                                                         Erigeron
Floss flower                                                   Ageratum
Globe thistle                                                 Echinops
Goldenrod                                                     Solidago
Helen’s flower                                              Helenium
Hollyhock                                                     Alcea
Lavender                                                       Lavendula
Lilac                                                              Syringa
Lupine                                                          Lupinus
Lychnis                                                        Lychnis
Mallow                                                        Malva
Milkweed                                                    Asclepias
Mint                                                            Mentha
Pansy                                                          Viola
Phlox                                                          Phlox
Privet                                                         Ligustrum
Purple coneflower                                  Echinacea
Rock cress                                                Arabis
Sage                                                          Salvia
Sea holly                                                  Eryngium
Shasta daisy                                           Chrysanthemum
Snapdragon                                           Antirrhinum
Stonecrop                                              Sedum
Sweet alyssum                                      Lobularia
Sweet rocket                                         Hesperis
Tickseed                                               Coreopsis
Zinnia                                                   Zinnia

Also, check out these two slideshows from Better Homes and Gardens are How to make a Butterfly Garden and Top plants for your Butterfly garden. The website also offers a free plan for a Butterfly Garden.

BHG Butterfly Garden

Better Homes & Garden offers a free butterfly garden plan. Check out more garden plans on the website.

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing

Yield: 12 Servings

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing
Photo Source: BHG.com

Ingredients: 

1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped carrot (1 medium)
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley (optional)
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups dried white bread cubes*
1 cups chicken broth

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet cook celery, onion, and carrot in hot butter over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in parsley (if desired), poultry seasoning, and pepper.
  2. In a very large bowl combine celery mixture and bread cubes. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten, tossing lightly to combine. Place stuffing in a 2-quart casserole.
  3. Bake, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through.

From the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen

*Tip:
To make dry bread cubes, preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Cut 12 to 14 slices white bread into 1/2-inch cubes to yield 8 cups. Spread into two 15x10x1-inch baking pans; bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until dry, stirring twice; cool. (Cubes will continue to dry and crisp as they cool.) Or let bread cubes stand, loosely covered, at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
Slow Cooker Directions:
Prepare as directed, doubling the amounts of all ingredients, except use 1-1/3 cups chicken broth. Omit the 2-quart casserole and lightly coat a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon stuffing into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. (Stuffing gets very moist as it cooks.)
Make-Ahead Directions:
Prepare as directed through Step 2, except do not preheat oven. Cover casserole tightly with plastic wrap; chill for up to 24 hours. To serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap. If desired, drizzle stuffing with an additional 1/4 cup chicken broth to moisten. Bake, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of stuffing registers 165 degrees F.

Nutrition Facts (Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing)
Per serving: 108 kcal cal., 5 g fat (3 g sat. fat, 1 g monounsatured fat), 10 mg chol., 288 mg sodium, 14 g carb., 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 2 g pro.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Bacon Wrapped Turkey

Yield: 8 Servings

Bacon Wrapped Turkey
Photo Source: BHG.com

Ingredients:

  • Turkey
  • 10 slices applewood-smoked bacon
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage, finely crushed
  • One 12 pound fresh or frozen turkey, thawed if frozen
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut in wedges
  • Fresh sage leaves

Bacon and Onion Gravy

  • 2 cups turkey broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Butter, melted
  • 2 slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage or 1/4 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Turkey

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Finely chop 2 slices of the bacon. Stir together the finely chopped bacon, the finely chopped onion, and the finely snipped sage; set aside.
  2. Remove neck and giblets from turkey; discard. Rinse turkey; pat dry with paper towels. Loosen the skin from the breast meat by sliding your fingers underneath it, being careful not to tear it. Slide your hand as far as you can toward the opposite end of the turkey, separating the skin from the meat. Rub the bacon mixture underneath the skin over the entire breast, working toward the thighs as much as possible.
  3. Sprinkle inside of body cavity with kosher salt and pepper. Fill cavity with sage sprigs and sweet onion wedges. Pull neck skin to back and fasten with a small skewer. Tuck drumstick securely to tail, if available. If there is not a band of skin, tie drumsticks securely to the tail using 100% cotton kitchen string. Twist wing tips under back. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle turkey with additional salt and pepper. Weave remaining 8 strips of bacon in a lattice pattern over the breast. Tuck additional sage leaves into the lattice. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into center of inside thigh muscles. The thermometer should not touch bone. Cover loosely with foil.
  4. Roast for 2 3/4 hours. Remove foil. Roast for 15 to 45 minutes more or until thermometer reaches 175 degrees F. (The juices should run clear and drumsticks should move easily in their sockets.) Remove from oven. Cover turkey with foil; let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
  5. Transfer turkey to a cutting board. Remove and discard onion and sage from inside turkey. Carve turkey. Serve with Bacon and Onion Gravy.

Bacon and Onion Gravy

  1. Stir 1 cup broth into pan drippings from roasted turkey in roasting pan, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Pour drippings into a 2-cup glass measure. Skim and reserve fat from drippings. If necessary add enough melted butter to the reserved fat to make 1/4 cup. Add enough broth to the drippings in measuring cup to make 2 cups total liquid.
  2. In a large saucepan cook 2 slices bacon over medium heat until crisp-cooked. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from saucepan and drain on paper towels.
  3. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in saucepan; add 1/4 cup chopped onion and 1 teaspoon sage to the mixture. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Carefully add vinegar to skillet and cook until evaporated.
  4. Add the 1/4 cup fat to the saucepan with the onion mixture. Stir in flour. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 minute.
  5. Add drippings mixture all at once to flour mixture in saucepan, stirring until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
  6. Stir in crumbled bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

From the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen

Hattie’s comment was “this is the best skin ever.” It had a great bacon flavor.
The sage was subtle, but nice. Bacon/onion/sage combo seemed very Thanksgiving like.
I cooked a smaller bird and only made 2 cups gravy, but for this 14-to 16-pound size you would need more.
The gravy was tasty. One thing I had thought about was adding a little whipping cream to the gravy, so you could try that.
Bacon is hard to finely chop. Could say to freeze bacon in a single layer and then break the frozen bacon and add to food processor. . . .it might chop it up better. TK could try this.
I used Vander Rose Farms bacon.

Nutrition Facts (Bacon Wrapped Turkey)
Per serving: 557 kcal cal., 29 g fat (9 g sat. fat, 6 g polyunsaturated fat, 11 g monounsatured fat), 270 mg chol., 519 mg sodium, 1 g carb., 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 73 g pro.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
 

Slow-Cooker Soup: Indian Cauliflower and Potato Soup (Aloo Gobi)

Yield: 1-1/3 cups, approximately 6 Servings

Indian Cauliflower and Potato Soup (Aloo Gobi)
Photo by Better Homes & Gardens©

Slow Cook: 6 to 7 hours on low or 3 to 3-1/2 hours on high

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 3 cups bite-size cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1 fresh jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped*
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 32-ounce carton reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Snipped fresh cilantro
  • Sliced jalapeno (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine mashed potatoes, cauliflower, onion, jalapeno pepper, ginger, garlic, salt, cumin, turmeric, and paprika. Stir in broth.
  2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Cool slightly.**
  3. Transfer cauliflower mixture, half at a time, to a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth. If necessary, return pureed mixture to cooker; cover and cook on high-heat setting until heated through.
  4. If desired, garnish each serving with yogurt, cilantro, and/or sliced jalapeno.

From the Test Kitchen

*Tip:
Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.

**Tip:
If desired, omit Step 3 and serve immediately from slow cooker.

Nutrition Facts (Indian Cauliflower and Potato Soup (Aloo Gobi))
Per serving: 131 kcal cal., 1 g fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 g monounsatured fat), 3 mg chol., 902 mg sodium, 24 g carb., 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 7 g pro.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

 

Pumpkin Fudge

Pumpkin Fudge
Photo by Better Homes and Gardens©

Yield: 96 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • One 5-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • One 10-ounce package cinnamon-flavored pieces
  • One 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions:

  1. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil; set pan aside.
  2. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan combine sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and pumpkin. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 234 degrees F, soft-ball stage (20 to 25 minutes). (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.)
  3. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer from saucepan. Stir in cinnamon-flavored pieces until melted. Stir in marshmallow creme and walnuts.
  4. Immediately spread fudge evenly in prepared pan. Score into squares while warm. Let fudge cool to room temperature. When fudge is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Cut into squares. Cover tightly and chill for up to 1 week. Do not freeze.
Nutrition Facts (Pumpkin Fudge)
Per serving: 68 kcal cal., 3 g fat (2 g sat. fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 1 g monounsatured fat), 4 mg chol., 14 mg sodium, 10 g carb., 9 g sugar
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Tombstone Sandwiches

Yield: 14 Servings, approximately 14 “tombstones”

Tipsy Tombstone Sandwiches
Photo by BH&G

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 cup diced celery (2 stalks)
  • 1/2 cup diced green apple
  • 3 slices bacon, crisp cooked, drained, and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 28 slices firm whole wheat and/or rye bread, trimmed into tombstone shapes
  • 1 8-ounce container whipped cream cheese
  • Finely chopped toasted pecans
  • Purple kale

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery, apple, and bacon.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together sour cream, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Add to chicken mixture; stir to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover; chill for 2 to 24 hours.
  3. To make tombstone sandwiches, spread chicken salad on half of the bread tombstones. Top with remaining bread tombstones . Spread the edges of sandwiches with cream cheese and roll edges in pecans to coat. Use cream cheese to stick tombstones to plate. Add purple kale for a creepy ground cover.

Scary Cerebrum Shrimp Cocktail

Scary Cerebrum Shrimp Cocktail
Photo by Better Homes & Gardens

Yield: 12 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds frozen cooked medium shrimp (with tails), thawed and drained well
  • 1/4 cup roasted red sweet peppers, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. In a 1-1/2-quart glass bowl (3-inches high, 7 1/2-inches in diameter), begin arranging shrimp, tails toward the center, in a circle to make 1 flat layer in the bottom of the bowl. (Only the round backs of the shrimp should be visible from the outside of the bowl.) Repeat layers until bowl is full, pressing down every couple layers. As bowl fills up, tuck strips of the roasted red pepper in and around shrimp forming “blood vessels”. (It helps to peer through the sides of glass bowl to adjust as necessary.) When bowl is full, press down firmly with a plate that fits inside the bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan combine chicken broth and unflavored gelatin; let stand 5 minutes. Cook and stir over medium heat until gelatin has dissolved. Whisk in lemon peel, lemon juice, tomato paste, honey, garlic, salt, ginger, and cayenne pepper until combined. Pour mixture over shrimp in bowl. Cover and chill at least 5 hours or overnight.
  3. To unmold, set bowl in a sink filled with warm water for several seconds. Invert a large plate with sides over bowl. Invert plate and bowl together and remove bowl to un-mold.  Cover and chill until needed (up to 24 hours).