Main Dishes

Apple French Toast

1 16-ounce loaf French bread, cut into ¾ -inch slices
5 large eggs
1½ cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced

Place bread slices in single layer in a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Whisk eggs, milk and vanilla together and pour over bread. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight. Remove bread from dish, and wipe dish clean. Re-coat with vegetable cooking spray. Cook brown sugar, butter and corn syrup over low heat stirring often, until mixture is smooth. (You can also cook these ingredients for two minutes in the microwave, stirring when done.) Pour into baking dish. Top with apples; arrange bread slices over apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Loosen with knife, and invert onto serving platter. Yield: 8 large or 12 small servings

NOTE: During the holidays, you can also add sprinkle cranberries with the apples. It gives the dish a more tart flavor and great color.

Harvest French Toast

2 packages (2.5 oz.) plain frozen French toast, thawed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup milk
6 eggs
2 medium baking apples
½ cup chopped walnuts, chopped
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup dried cranberries
Powdered sugar
Additional maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9” x 13” baking pan with oil. Put French toast in baking pan. Heat milk in microwave 1½ minutes until hot. In separate bowl, whisk eggs. While whisking, pour hot milk into eggs, whisking constantly. Pour warm egg mixture over bread. Stir gently.

Core and thickly slice apples, leaving peel on. Cut apple slices into quarters. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples, walnuts, syrup and cinnamon. Cook 3 to 3½ minutes until apples are crisp tender. Pour apple mixture over French toast mixture. Sprinkle with cranberries. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with additional maple syrup. Yield: 8 servings.

Harvest Peach French Toast

10-12 one-inch thick slices of French bread
8-oz. package cream cheese softened
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
3 cups fresh or canned peaches, sliced
4 large eggs
1 ¼ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400º F. Mix confectioner’s sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture on bread slices, and arrange in single layer in a lightly greased 13" x 9" baking pan. Whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla together, and pour over bread. Allow a few minutes for bread to absorb liquid. Top with peach slices, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

Chicken-and-Strawberry Salad

1/2 cup poppy seed dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 pounds chopped cooked chicken (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 pint fresh strawberries, halved
1 avocado, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 (10-ounce) package mixed salad greens
Garnishes: avocado slices, whole strawberries

Whisk together dressing and mayonnaise in a large bowl; cover and chill 30 minutes. Add chopped chicken and next 5 ingredients to dressing mixture, gently tossing to coat. Serve over mixed salad greens. Garnish, if desired. Serves 6.

(from Southern Living)

Chilled Corn Bisque with Basil, Crab and Avocado

3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp. Cornstarch
1 tbsp. Butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 8 ears)
¾ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. ground red pepper
½ cup 2% reduced-fat milk
½ cup half-and-half
8 oz. lump crabmeat
1/3 cup peeled and chopped avocado
3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Combine broth and cornstarch, stirring with a whisk. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in broth mixture, corn, salt, and pepper; bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently (do not boil).

Place half of corn mixture in a blender, and process until smooth. Pour pureed corn mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining corn mixture. Strain corn mixture through a sieve into a large bowl, discarding solids. Stir in milk and half-and-half; chill thoroughly. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature; stir well.

Ladle 2/3 cup soup into 8 bowls; top each serving with 3 tablespoons crab, 2 teaspoons avocado, and about 1 teaspoon basil.

(from Cooking Light Magazine)

Easy Gazpacho

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 small cucumber, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (optional)
4 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Juice of 1 large lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups V-8 juice

Combine all ingredients, and chill several hours before serving to let flavors mix. Adjust seasonings as needed. For a smoother soup, ingredients can be pureed in a blender or food processor. Can be served hot or cold.


Pineapple Gazpacho

1 medium fresh pineapple, cored and cut into chunks
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and quartered
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 (48 oz) can pineapple juice
¼ c. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. Salt
1 to 2 tsp. hot sauce (to taste)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Process first 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor, in batches, until minced, stopping to scrape down sides. Stir together pineapple mixture, diced bell pepper, and cilantro in a bowl. Cover and chill 2 hours. Yield: 3 quarts

NOTE: For more texture and color, puree only half of the cucumber and yellow bell pepper, and add the rest to the finished soup for texture and color.

Eggplant Parmesan

1 eggplant, cut into ¾-inch slices
1 ½ tbsp. Salt
8 tbsp. olive oil
8 ounces ricotta cheese
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
½ cup chopped fresh basil
4 cups pasta sauce

Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt. Place slices in a colander with a dish underneath the colander to capture liquid that will sweat out of the eggplant. Allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350º F. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Mix in egg and basil.

Rinse the eggplant in cold water until all salt is removed. In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Place one layer of eggplant in the pan, brown each side. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices, using additional oil if necessary.

In a 9" x 13" baking dish, evenly spread 1 1/2 cups of spaghetti sauce. Arrange a single layer of eggplant slices on top of the sauce. Top the eggplant with half the cheese mixture. Repeat layering process until all the eggplant and cheese mixture is used. Pour remaining sauce on top of layers, and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake 30 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until sauce is bubbly.


Stuffed Peppers

6 medium green peppers (may substitute yellow or red if desired)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cups stewed tomatoes or a 1-lb. Can
¾ cup cooked rice
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Tomato sauce or ketchup

Cut off tops of green peppers, remove seeds and membranes. (For smaller portions, peppers can alternately be seeded and cut in half.) Mix ground beef and next five ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste. Fill pepper cups, and place in casserole or baking dish sprayed with Pam. Top with tomato sauce or ketchup. Bake at 350º F for one hour, or until meat is cooked through.

(from Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book, 1965)

Apple-Bourbon Turkey and Gravy


4 cups Belue Farms apple cider
1 cup bourbon or sherry
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 (12- to 15-lb.) whole fresh (or frozen, thawed) turkey
½ tsp dry sage
4 celery ribs
4 large carrots
3 small apples, quartered or halved
1 large sweet onion, sliced
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chicken broth (optional)
Salt and pepper
Kitchen string
  1. Stir together apple cider and next 2 ingredients until sugar dissolves.


  2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey, and rinse turkey with cold water. Drain cavity well; pat dry. Place turkey in a large roasting pan. Dip cheesecloth in apple cider mixture. Wring dry. Cover turkey with cheesecloth; pour apple cider mixture over cheesecloth, coating completely. Cover and chill 12 to 24 hours, basting occasionally with apple marinade.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°. Remove turkey from pan, discarding cheesecloth and reserving 3 cups marinade. Sprinkle cavity with desired amount of salt; rub into cavity. Sprinkle salt, freshly ground pepper and sage on skin; rub into skin. Tie ends of legs together with string; tuck wingtips under.
  4. Arrange celery and next 3 ingredients in a single layer in bottom of roasting pan. Place turkey, breast side up, on celery mixture. Pour reserved marinade over turkey in pan.
  5. Bake at 325° for 3 hours and 15 minutes to 4 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 165°, basting every 30 minutes with pan juices. Shield with aluminum foil after 2 hours and 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Remove from oven, and let stand 30 minutes.
  6. Transfer turkey to a serving platter, reserving 2 1/2 cups pan drippings. Pour reserved drippings through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup, discarding solids.
  7. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly (1 to 2 minutes or until smooth). Gradually add drippings, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring mixture occasionally (5 minutes or until gravy thickens). Add up to ½ cup chicken broth for desired consistency. Stir in salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve turkey with warm gravy.
(with thanks to Southern Living)

    Apple Cider Brined Turkey


    8 cups apple cider
    2/3 cup kosher salt
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    1 tbsp. black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
    1 tbsp. allspice, coarsely crushed
    8 (1/8-inch thick) slices peeled fresh ginger
    6 whole cloves
    2 bay leaves
    1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
    2 oranges, quartered
    6 cups ice


    4 garlic cloves
    4 sage leaves
    4 thyme sprigs
    4 parsley sprigs
    1 onion, quartered
    1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    2 tbsp. butter, melted and divided
    1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
    ½ tsp. salt, divided


    1. To prepare brine, combine first 8 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely.
    2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Stuff body cavity with orange quarters.
    3. Place a turkey-sized oven bag inside a second bag to form a double thickness. Place bags in a large stockpot. Place turkey inside inner bag. Add cider mixture and ice. Secure bags with several twist ties. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
    4. Preheat oven to 500º.
    5. Remove turkey from bags, and discard brine, orange quarters, and bags. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string.
    6. Place garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, onion, and broth in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side down, on roasting rack. Brush turkey back with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bake at 500º for 30 minutes.
    7. Reduce oven temperature to 350º.
    8. Remove turkey from oven. Carefully turn turkey over (breast side up) using tongs. Brush turkey breast with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bake at 350º for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 170º (make sure not to touch bone). (Shield the turkey with foil if it browns too quickly.)
    9. Remove turkey from oven; let stand 20 minutes before carving. Reserve pan drippings for Apple-Herb Gravy. Discard skin before serving; serve with gravy.

    (from Cooking Light)

    Apple-Herb Gravy

    Reserved turkey drippings
    3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
    ¼ cup apple brandy (can substitute sherry or apple cider if desired)
    2 cups apple cider
    ½ tsp. salt
    ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    1. Strain turkey drippings into large clear measuring cup. Skim off fat, reserving 3 tablespoons.
    2. Whisk reserved fat and flour over medium-low heat until combined. Increase heat to medium and add remaining drippings. Whisk until combined and cook for three minutes.
    3. Add apple brandy and cook for one minute to burn alcohol; then add apple cider. Bring to a simmer and stir until thickened.
    4. Season with salt and pepper and serve with Apple-Brined Turkey.

    Apple Cider Brined and Glazed Turkey


    4 quarts apple cider, divided
    1½ cups kosher salt
    ¼ cup whole allspice
    8 bay leaves
    4 quarts cold water
    1 20-pound turkey (neck and gizzard removed)
    Sage Broth
    2 cups low-salt chicken broth
    ½ onion, quartered
    1 celery stalk, cut into 4 pieces
    8 fresh sage leaves
    2 cups apple cider
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    3 tbsp. all purpose flour
    2 tbsp. fresh sage leaves
    1/4 cup apple brandy or Calvados (can substitute sherry or apple cider if desired)
    1/4 cup whipping cream


    Simmer 1 quart apple cider, salt, allspice, and bay leaves in 20-quart pot 5 minutes, stirring often. Cool completely. Add remaining 3 quarts cider and 4 quarts water. Place turkey in brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain turkey and rinse. Arrange on several layers of paper towels in roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.


    Simmer all ingredients in large saucepan 30 minutes. Strain sage broth into bowl.


    Boil cider in saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Whisk in butter. Cool completely.


    1. Set rack at lowest position in oven; preheat to 350°F. Remove paper towels from roasting pan. Pat main and neck cavities of turkey dry; stuff loosely with stuffing. Place turkey in pan, tuck wings under, and tie legs together loosely.
    2. Roast turkey 1 hour. Brush with some of glaze. Roast until beginning to brown, about 1 hour. Cover with foil.
    3. Continue roasting until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, brushing with glaze every 30 minutes and adding up to 1 cup water to pan if drippings begin to burn, about 3 hours longer.
    4. Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes.


    Pour pan juices into large measuring cup. Spoon off fat, reserving 3 tablespoons fat and degreased juices. Pour sage broth into roasting pan. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Combine flour, sage leaves, and reserved 3 tablespoons fat in heavy large saucepan; stir over medium heat 1 minute. Whisk in broth from roasting pan and reserved pan juices. Add apple brandy and cream. Boil until gravy thickens slightly, whisking often (about 4 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Strain into gravy boat. Serve with turkey.

    (from Bon Appetit)