Thanksgiving Ideas From My Kitchen Vault

Whole Roasted Chicken Infused with Clementines and Rosemary:


1 whole chicken 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter Ali’s Essence, recipe below 1 yellow onion, quartered 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 6 clementines or tangerines, quartered 4 springs fresh rosemary 1 cup fresh clementine juice or tangerine juice 1 tablespoon honey Salt and pepper 4 sweet potatoes, cut into wedges 2 fresh rosemary springs


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Rub the entire chicken with the butter. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and Essence, including the inside of the chicken. Season with onions, garlic and clementines with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the onions, clementines and fresh rosemary. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan.

Put the chicken in the oven. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes to an hour or until the juices run clear.

After the chicken has roasted for 20 minutes, baste the entire bird with the pan drippings. Baste every ten minutes. For the glaze, Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest, reserving the pan drippings.

In a sauce pan, add the pan drippings, clementine juice, and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the sauce to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Place the roasted chicken on a platter. Arrange the roasted sweet potatoes and clementines around the chicken. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and garnish with rosemary springs.

ESSENCE Seasoning:


2 1/2 tablespoons paprika 2 tablespoons salt 2 tablespoons garlic powder 1 tablespoon black pepper 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon dried oregano 1 tablespoon dried thyme


Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Mac and Cheese:


6 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 pound elbow macaroni 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour 3 cups whole milk 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper Pinch cayenne 2 1/2 cups grated sharp and extra sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces) (half or each) 6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.

Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the flour brown.

Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth, 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and 2 cups of the cheese, and stir well. Add the noodles and stir well. Pour into the prepared dish.

In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese with the garlic and Essence. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Essence Seasoning:

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika 2 tablespoons salt 2 tablespoons garlic powder 1 tablespoon black pepper 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash:


2 medium acorn squashes (halved and seeded) 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 3/4 pound ground organic beef Ground cinnamon Ground nutmeg 2 teaspoons coarse salt 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, minced 3/4 cup bulgur wheat 2 cups water 1/4 cup golden raisins 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 400.  Place the squashes, cut sides down, in a casserole dish.  Bake until tender, 40 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet, add organic ground beef, a pinch each cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and cooked through.

Transfer beef to a bowl, keeping as much cooking liquid in the skillet as possible.  Add onion, and cook about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, and cook about 1 minute.  Add remaining teaspoon salt and the bulgur, and stir to combine.  Add water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, and let stand, covered 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork and add reserved beef, raisins, parsley and pine nuts.  Scrape out baked squashes, forming 1/4 inch thick bowls, and fold flesh into the bulgur mixture.  Divide among squash halves, and return to oven.  Bake until warmed through and tops are browned, 12 to 15 minutes.  Garnish with parsley!

Trader Joe’s Southern Greens Blend:


2 Tbsp. olive oil 4 slices of bacon, diced (optional) 1 yellow onions, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar (optional) 2 packages of mixed greens, 2 lbs 2 cups of chicken stock (option use vegetable stock) 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider wine vinegar 1 lemon, sliced 1/8 teaspoon salt


Over medium heat, fry the bacon strips until crisp, about 5 minutes. (If not adding bacon) Start here: Add olive oil, cook the onions, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and cook, stirring, until melted.

Add the greens then the chicken stock, add the rest of the ingredients.  Blend all the ingredients and cook until wilted, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Photography by: Michael Brian Photography




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