Thursday, December 3, 2020

Cranberry-Orange Nutcracker Cookies

These cookies... taste just like the holidays should!! These cookies are the “cousin” to our old friend Salted Caramel Turtle Bars... so good... so cherry and really easy to make!  I hope you’ll love them as much as our family.

Get the recipe:

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Hi friends! 

Five Thanksgiving classic dishes... all the recipes are here in one post:

Macaroni and Cheese
Dressing with Spicy Sausage 
Orange-Cranberry Sauce
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Cake

Wishing you a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!


Traditional Mac and Cheese 

Blue Ribbon Kitchen

1 lb. box of elbow or other dried pasta noodle. 
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ cup 2% milk
1 jar Kraft Old English Cheese
2 cups divided shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups divided shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
(Optional few dashes of hot sauce)
Buttered cracker crumbs for topping

Cook pasta according to package directions adding 2-3 minutes extra until noodles are very soft. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Add flour and stir for 30-40 seconds to cook flour.

Slowly add heavy cream/milk, stirring constantly to create a smooth sauce. As mixture thickens, add more cream and milk.    
Add Old English Cheese and melt into the sauce. 
Add 1 cup each of the shredded cheeses, stirring constantly adding an additional 1/4 cup of milk to loosen the sauce if needed. 
When sauce is combined and bubbly, stir in the seasonings and the Dijon mustard. Turn off heat.

Mix the drained, soft-cooked macaroni noodles into the cheese sauce. Pour half of the cheesy macaroni into a 9x13 buttered casserole dish. Cover the first half of the macaroni in cheese sauce with ¾ of the remaining shredded cheeses. Finish by adding the rest of the cheesy macaroni to the casserole dish. Top with the last of the shredded cheese. Spread buttered cracker crumbs on top. Bake the casserole in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, or until cheese is melted, lightly browned and bubbling. Serve.


Spicy Dressing with Sausage 
Recipe Courtesy of Chuck Roudebush
Blue Ribbon Kitchen, Karri Perry
Baking temp: 350
30-40 minutes covered, 15 minutes-uncovered- total time:  45-55 minutes
Serves 15-18 people 

16 cups dried bread crumbs- (using white, wheat or other more neutral bread flavors) 
2 cups celery, including leaves- large dice
1 ½ cups yellow or white onion-large dice
1 cup (16 TBS) unsalted butter
1 ½ lb. hot bulk sausage (For less spice: use half hot sausage and half sage or mild sausage)

2 tsp poultry seasoning
½ tsp paprika
2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp thyme
3-5   drops Tabasco sauce
½ tsp salt
¾ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

3 large eggs-lightly beaten
6-7 cups turkey/chicken broth

Step 1: Prepare bread crumbs, by cubing bread  (1-2 inch cubes ) and toasting until dry, on two baking sheets at 250 degrees in the oven.  OR use store-bought bread  cubed crumbs for this dressing.  (16 cups are needed)

Step 2: In a very large mixing bowl, place the dried bread crumbs.  Set aside.

Step 3: On the stove top, brown the sausage in a large skillet.  Transfer to a plate to cool slightly.

Step 4: In a large skillet on medium heat, add the butter, chopped celery and onions, sauté until the celery and onions are softened (about 10-15 minutes)  

Step 5: Add the cooked celery/onion/butter mixture to the dried bread crumbs. Gently stir.

Step 6: Add all the spices, parsley and Tabasco sauce and the cooked sausage to the bread crumb mixture, stirring well to combine.

Step 7:  Begin adding the broth,  1-2 cups at a time, drizzled over the dressing mixture, allowing the bread crumbs to soak up the liquid.  Gently stir to move the bread crumbs around, allowing the entire mixture to be moistened.

Step 8:  Add the beaten eggs, and fold into the dressing mixture to combine.

Sep 9: Using a large ice cream scoop, portion the dressing into a large buttered casserole dish.

Step 10: Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees covered for 30-40 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the dressing is hot and the tops are golden and lightly toasted.

To Make Ahead:  At Step 10, cover and refrigerate prepared dressing.  Bake adding additional time to heat through.

Cranberry Sauce

Orange Cranberry Jellied Sauce For Thanksgiving Nov 2019 - Chuck Roudebush

2 - 12 oz packages of fresh cranberries

1 - large navel orange

2 - cups sugar

-  teaspoons sure gel

1-1/3 cups total of orange juice and water


Zest the orange and set aside 

Cut orange in half and use juicer to extract juice

Run juice through sieve to get rid of pulp

Put juice in large two cup measuring cup….then fill with water to 1-1/3 cup level

Put that into pan and begin to heat

After that gets close to boiling add the berries and stir slowly on med hi heat.  It may take ten minutes until all the berries pop.

Run berries through a food sieve to get rid of skins.

Put the skinless mixture back in the pan and add the sure gel.

Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.

Then add sugar and orange zest…..bring back to a boil that can’t be stirred down and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and let cool. Put into a dish or mold and refrigerate. Use saran wrap to keep sauce from forming a skin on top  


Pecan Pie

Blue Ribbon Kitchen: Prize-Winning Pecan Pie
2017 Ohio State Fair Single Crust Division 1st place pie
Karri Perry,

Baking temp: 350
Time: 50-55 minutes
Yields: 9-inch pie

Pie Dough
2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp good quality lard
2 Tbsp Crisco-either butter flavor or original is fine
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
¼cup- plus 2 Tbs ice cold water and vodka mixed 50/50

½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup light brown
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup dark corn syrup
6 TBS butter melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cup chopped toasted pecans
2/3 cup un-toasted whole-unblemished pecans for edging pie-decoration is optional

Step 1: Mix together flour, sugar and salt, set aside.  Make pie dough by cutting in (using a pastry cutter or food processor) butter, shortening and lard into the flour, sugar and salt.  Add liquid a little at a time…Once dough comes together, shape into 2 equal disks and let rest, covered tightly, at least one hour in the refrigerator. (only one disk of dough is used for this pie)

Step 2: Roll out 1 dough round to ¼ inch thick, fill pie plate.  Set aside in refrigerator.

Step 3: Whisk eggs, sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, extract, salt and vanilla together.  Fold in chopped toasted pecans.

Step 4: Fill pie with pecan mixture.  Top with whole pecans around edges.  Add dough cut-outs in decorative shapes if desired.

Step 5: Bake in preheated 350-degree oven, on the lowest rack for 55-60 minutes or until filling is set.  Allow to cool before serving.

Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake
Blue Ribbon Kitchen
First Place and Best of Show 2013 and 2014: Karri Perry

4 large eggs room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin I use Libby's, not generic. Why? Pumpkin and pumpkin puree is mostly water.  When using an unfamiliar brand or trying to render your own pumpkin, the water content will vary, if the pumpkin is too watery, the cake will not set or require a longer bake time-which typically creates a poor finished product-(dry).  Therefore, using a trusted brand, usually garners reliable results every time.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)

Combine first four ingredients into a bowl.  Blend well using mixer.  Combine flour and the remaining dry ingredients together.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, making sure all the flour is incorporated.  If using nuts, stir in by hand, do not over mix batter.

Pour batter evenly into three (3) greased, parchment-lined 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.  Bake at 350 for 24 minutes or until set, a toothpick will come out with no batter. 

 For cupcakes: makes 36 in cupcake liners, bake 17-19 minutes or until done--tops will look dry and a toothpick will come out clean.  Tip: Use an ice cream scoop for even distribution of batter for cupcakes.

Cool cakes out of pans on a wire rack until completely cooled. Frost cake and put it into the refrigerator until ready to serve.  This cake is even better after resting, chilled for 12-24 hours.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce cream) cheese brick, softened
1 stick of room temperature unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3-5 cups of confectioners’ sugar
Blend butter and cream cheese 2-3 minutes on medium until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla.  Slowly mix in confectioners’ sugar about a ½ cup at a time, until you reach a frosting-like spreadable consistency. 

Tips: It may be helpful to frost between the layers and apply a crumb coat, refrigerate for 20 minutes to help the cake firm up, and then continue frosting.  Refrigerate cake when finished.  The cake flavor is best if allowed to chill overnight.  Remove from the refrigerator about one hour before serving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Terrific Thanksgiving Family Activities!

Here are a few of my favorite family activities for Thanksgiving!! If you want to make Thanksgiving extra special this year— try incorporating some of these cute ideas... plus a few bonus ideas too for virtual and online or long-distance family activities.

I love to have a little fun set-up for our guests... especially for our littlest friends, I like:

Turkey coloring pages with fresh crayons or colored pencils. 

 Classic board games

 Non-messy (no paint or glitter) crafts

Macaroni necklaces—kids love to make and GIVE jewelry gifts!

Modeling or polymer clay—(our kids have even kept themselves busy for hours by making a stop-motion video with a free app) they used the modeling clay to create characters and drew backdrops!

Here are a few ACTIVE activities— plus—never underestimate a walk in the woods, a nature hike or a bonfire... bring out old fashioned fun like hop scotch, four square, jacks or jump rope.

Scavenger Hunt- (One of my most favorite memories) using a brown paper lunch bag, print or write a list of items to search for (adults may need to add fun items to the search grounds in advance of the event) item ideas: feathers, Indian corn, pumpkins or gourds, pinecones, leaves, wishbone sticks, apples, nuts.

Printable Scavenger Hunt List:

Homemade Holiday Pictionary 

Homemade Holiday Pictionary: Using a large easel and a dry erase board, create your own Thanksgiving themed words. (ie: turkey pot pie, Mayflower, corn, casserole, stuffing, gobble-gobble) Search the internet for many more words.

Make the game extra special by including family members names, significant family names, locations, street names as clue words too... We divided into teams and drew and laughed... we used a timer from another board game —it was a terrific way to end our day together.

Turkey Hunt!!

Turkey Hunt!! Using honeycomb turkeys I picked up at a local thrift store— like an Easter egg hunt... hide the turkeys and let the kids find them... if the weather is bad... move the hunt indoors.  Consider using brightly colored large craft feathers as an alternative—fun for kids to hunt too.

Other ideas:

Zoom Bingo: families can print off bingo cards found online— print at home.  Lots of free online bingo cards are available online-numbers and holiday images. For Zoom-bingo games, designate one family to call the bingo numbers or images.

 Planners can arrange fun prizes in advance... (prize ideas: Thanksgiving themed candy, winner gets a pass for Thanksgiving dishes)

Zoom Art Show: Families color/design their best turkey-hand art and have an art-showing via Zoom.

Gratitude Tree: color leaves for a wreath or tree, writing words of things you’re grateful for... can become a beautiful centerpiece. Collect bare branches, place in a secure vase and attach the gratitude leaves.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!!


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Thanksgiving Home Tour Sources

Hi friends!! Happy Thanksgiving (almost)!  
Today we enjoyed a Thanksgiving Home Tour here at our house... loaded with lots of tips and holiday fun... you can see the tour on the Blue Ribbon Kitchen Facebook Page.  Here are the sources for some of the things we talked about today. Special thanks to Country Sampler Farmhouse Style Magazine for hosting today’s event!

Entry Miniature Fir Tree-Kroger
Front room fireplace:vintage post cards-antique flea markets 

Gratitude tree-activity: Learn more here in this post:

Litho turkeys:eBay

Family Room Mantel Family:Ribbon:Costco, 
pumpkins: dollar store spray painted gold

Thanksgiving Pictionary:homemade 
Dry Erase: Office Supply,  Easel: Hoppy Lobby

Scavenger Hunt: 
And Scavenger List:

Turkey Hunt: Honeycomb Turkey-thrift store

Kitchen table w/ kid activity: Mind’s Eye

Wreath and Cones:

Charcuterie Boxes- Pie Boxes-GFS Gordon’s Food Service

Take Home cups-Mind’s Eye:


Thanksgiving Table Centerpiece-shop yard for greens and pinecones, faux fruit-thrift store. Purchase flowers from florist at market price if available.

Make a music playlist for your gathering

Vintage post cards: thrift shops 

Fruit Sampler Plates: Johnson Brothers of England 
Thankful Wood Cut Outs-Facrory Direct:

Vintage Turkey collection-family collection, auctions and Ebay.

Letters to Santa, Hot Cocoa bar

Other Blue Ribbon Kitchen Blog Posts for Thanksgiving:

Harvest Front Door


Family Harvest Scavenger Hunt

Turkey Toes Snack Mix

Thanksgiving Garnishes

Thanksgiving Preparation 101

Blue Ribbon Kitchen Guide for Setting a Charming Table

Blue Ribbon Kitchen Fall Baking  List: Prize-Winning Desserts & Breads