Folks, the past couple of years or so I've been in charge of cooking Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners for the family.  When it comes to the family meal, I like to think I make an effort and pull out some stops to make it special.  One year I made a Champagne Ham, and it was a very sweet, flavorful dinner.  Last year, I tried something new for Thanksgiving.  I decided to put my small turkey - in the Crock Pot.

And I gotta tell ya, it worked wonders.  It was so easy to just put it in there with some veggies and spices and whatnot, and with the turkey stock you put in with it, it took all the dryness you can sometimes expect with turkey right out of it.

So now I have to think: what do I do this year?  I usually try to do the main stock stuff that's traditional, but then mix it up a little in terms of making something new each year.  Like, if I make turkey, I'll try to maybe spice it differently.  Sure, you'll have your potatoes, your stuffing, salad, couple veggies.  But maybe instead of canned green beans, I'll steam some fresh green beans instead.  Or, instead of carrots or beets, we'll have some corn with herbs and spices.  You see what I mean?  Nothing too crazy, just a little something different so that we get what we need from Thanksgiving Tradition, but we don't get bored either.

Last year I made something new which turned out great: Cheese Puffs.  I also made some for our station Pot Luck.  Might do that again this year.  Anyway, here's the recipe.  Why don't you guys share some of your favorite things to make for Holiday meals?  We'll get ideas from each other!

Here's your list of ingredients:

4 tbsp butter, plus more for the baking sheet
 2 tbsp low fat milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for the baking sheet
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt 
pinch of cayenne
2 large eggs, beaten
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup  grated Parmesan 
1/4 cup  grated Parmesan or sharp Cheddar, or crumbled blue cheese
5 oz (140 g) low fat cream cheese with garlic and herbs
It should take about 10 minutes to put all this together, and about 60 total.  Here's how you do it:
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F . Bring the butter and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and quickly beat in the flour and salt with a wooden spoon. Return to very low heat and stir until the dough is smooth and very lightly films the bottom of the pan.
  • Take it off the the heat and let it cool about 5 minutes. Gradually stir in the beaten egg until the dough is thick. Stir in the cheese.
  • Butter and flour a baking sheet. Drop 16 balls of the dough, spaced well apart, on the baking sheet. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
  • Remove from the oven and use a sharp knife to make a slit in the side of each puff to allow the hot steam to escape. Transfer the puffs onto a wire cake rack and let em cool.
    • For the filling, mix the cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, cayenne, black pepper and Parmesan until combined. Split each puff open and fill with a teaspoon of the mixture. Serve at room temperature.
And that should be it, really! It's not too hard to do, and they turn out nice and tasty. If you want to make a few more, or you have some extra filling, you can always put the filling on some little hunks of French Bread or a cracker or something. That works pretty well, too!I might have a couple more ideas for some slightly different recipes for the Holidays, so let me know what you think!

Bakily yours,

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