Quick Recipes and Easy

A Time for Thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays because it is a special time to spend with friends and family, there is no pressure around gift buying, and food traditions help us make memories and keep them in our hearts. Even if you are feeling pressured around cooking, stop and reflect on the meaning of this day. We all have our sorrows and concerns but let this day bring some joy to you and your family. All of us have much abundance in our lives, so share this with others.

The recipes this month are just in time for the holiday season. This is a delectable, and different, soup to satisfy you as the days get shorter. These are fantastic side dishes for Thanksgiving which are tasty and, most importantly, can be made ahead. We all need to have some time – savers so that we, too, can delight in the day. I’ve included some simple table decorations that are colorful and will brighten your table.

So remember to make it simple on yourself as Thanksgiving approaches, get others involved, take them up on offers of help, use some small cut, like buying some pre-made, excellent quality side dishes or home-made desserts. Take a deep breath when you are feeling overwhelmed. Pleased Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

- Marybeth

Thanksgiving Table Decorations

If you have been a reader of this newsletter for any time at all, you know that I like natural items to use in any table decorations. Take a footed cake plate and fill it with votive, walnuts, cranberries, pears, grapes and colorful leaves. Fill your room with the bright colors of the season.

Tie a cloth napkin with a ribbon or twine, make a small bow, and tuck a leaf under the bow.
Use the ‘color’ white on a rusty colored table cloth – white napkins, white quash and white eggplants, and top with some chunky white and rust color candles. This is a gorgeous setting and something that will be a bit different this year. I recently went to the Martha Stewart Show with some girlfriends and Martha had a whole open cabinet filled with tons of white and green squash. It was a gorgeous color mixture if you want something unusual.

Use amber glasses to brighten the table. You can pick up inexpensive glassware at K Mart or Target. Intersperse this with your crystal or clear glasses, and add some leaves and mini pumpkins for a festive Thanksgiving table.
As always, remember to keep it simple and get others involved. The kids will like to gather twigs or leaves and place them in the centerpiece or in a napkin. This is a time for families so get them to be part of the celebration.


Wine Tips for Turkey Day

I have been doing a small research in order to find some wine recommendations for Thanksgiving dinner. The favorites are Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Riesling. (Cabernet Sauvignon can be a bit heavy with turkey, but if that is what you like, question your local wine merchant what they would recommend for this holiday table.)

Pinot Noir, which has expanded in popularity since the movie “Sideways” came out, compliments most any flavor very well and does not overpower the food. The wine has enough fruit to stand up to the cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes, also.

If you prefer white, a Riesling can be a fine choice. For the Riesling, the most vital thing to look for on the mark is “Kabinett.” These are the driest Rieslings from Germany. A Sauvignon Blanc also pairs well with turkey and gravy. A sparkling wine can help to lighten the feast.

Remember that there are lots of flavors at the Thanksgiving table – from the yams to the gravy to the Jell-O mold, so you may want to consider several options for your guests. Go with what you delight in and have another selection for your company. I always find the advice of a excellent wine merchant very helpful. Question questions, test, and delight in.

November Holidays

November 11

Even though Veteran’s Day has passed be sure to remember a veteran. Bake some cookies for a veteran, active or retired, whom you may know in the neighborhood, just to say that they are not forgotten. And there are some wonderful organizations where you can ‘adopt’ a soldier. CHeck the internet for many wonderful organizations.

Other holidays

15th is Clean Your Refrigerator Day (it’s right)
16th is the Fantastic American Smokeout Day
23th is Thanksgiving
25th is National Parfait Day

As usual, there is something for everyone to celebrate.


November Recipes


Soup That Satisfies

Soup always reminds us of home. No matter if your memories were of Campbell’s Tomato Soup (served, of course, with a grilled cheese sandwich) or of a large pot of homemade chicken soup simmering on the stove on cold winter afternoons, soup is the ultimate in foods that comfort and nourish us. Soup does not have to be thick or creamy to satisfy – if it is filled with fresh vegetables and herbs, the aroma and taste will bring you joy from head to toe.

This is a really flavorful soup, filled with a plethora (I just like that word) of vegetables and spices. It is hard to believe this soup is so healthy – lots of tomatoes and lentils and chic peas for antioxidants and fiber. It just tastes too tasty to be this excellent.
Even thought there may be some exotic spices, this is not too spicy a dish. Experiment with the spices – add as much as you like. Be adventurous. Don’t be worried to use the raisins. You will be in for a taste sensation as all of these flavors and spice mix together.
Make this ahead – it gets even better after a day in the refrigerator.

Moroccan Tomato and Chick Pea Soup

Makes 8 servings

1 can chick peas with their liquid
1 (35-oz) can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 large celery rib (including leaves), finely chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh basil, julienned
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
4- 5 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 cup lentils, rinsed and soaked in hot water for 15 minutes if the
instructions on the bag say to soak them
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Fresh ground pepper

Accompaniment: lemon wedges

Sauté onion and celery in butter in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Do not brown. Add turmeric, pepper, oregano and cinnamon and cook for another 2 –3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, parsley, chickpeas, lentils, broth and ½ cup parsley, and half of the basil.
Cook for 1 hour until lentils and chickpeas are soft. Add more broth if too thick. Add remaining parsley and basil before serving, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.
It is even better the next day so this can be made up to 2 days in advance.
© 2006 Girlfriends In The Kitchen, all rights reserved.


I hope you delight in this issue. I continue to get emails telling how much people look forward to my newsletter – thank you. It makes me feel really excellent to hear from you. If there is anything of particular interest that you would like me to include, be sure to let me know. You can reach me at: marybeth.gregg@verizon.net .
Delight in the best of the season- Marybeth


Check in to this new website to see our new business venture – team building for groups using cooking as the team event.


Marybeth Gregg has been cooking, entertaining and giving cooking advice for nearly 20 years. She is well-known for her wonderful cuisine and fantastic parties. She started her successful cooking school four years ago. She has a new business with Chef Ted Kanterman called TeamChefs – which provides teambuilding programs using cooking as the team event. She has attended cooking schools in Chicago, Philadelphia and has completed several programs at the French Culinary Institute in the New York City. She lives in central New Jersey and has been featured in the Newark Star Ledger, The Courier News, Asbury Park Press, the Coast Star and the Kansas City Star newspapers; she was one of only ten culinary experts to be invited to the Spring Lake Kitchen Tour, and was featured in the PhillyWIT Chapter of WorldWIT Food and Fashion Expo in Philadelphia last fall.

Visit www.girlfriendsinthekitchen.com
for more information and other tips and recipes.

Visit www.teamchefs.com
for more information on teambuilding programs for businesses and companies of all sizes.
Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues.

© 2006 Cook With Confidence, all rights reserved.

Marybeth Gregg has been cooking, entertaining and giving cooking advice for nearly 20 years. She is well-known for her wonderful cuisine and fantastic parties and started her successful cooking school four years ago. She has attended cooking schools in Chicago, Philadelphia and has a Certificate of Completion from the French Culinary Institute in New York. She lives in central New Jersey and has been featured in the Newark Star Ledger, The Courier News, The Asbury Park Press, The Coast Star, and Kansas City Star newspapers.
Prior to her establishing her cooking school in New Jersey, Marybeth was a director of Training and Development and Executive Coach for Fortune 50 Companies. She currently still uses these skills and experiences in her Team Building and Cooking programs for teams.

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