Thanksgiving Traditions

 Salads and Dressings, Side Dish, Thanksgiving, Turkey  Comments Off on Thanksgiving Traditions
Nov 202014

As the holidays approach it brings to mind such sweet memories of  Thanksgivings past. Here is a little peek into my holiday memories.

Gina B. – Team member of  Cooking Queen

Each year, Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. Most families follow traditions begun on the first Thanksgiving, but many have their own traditions that they follow each year. One such tradition in my family was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! Thanksgiving was my daddy’s favorite holiday. Thanksgiving morning , my sisters and I would lay across the living room floor and watch the parade with my parents. We never missed it!  We loved seeing our favorite balloons appear on the parade route…and seeing all the performers.  My dad used to say that if we watched till the end and saw Santa waving at us, that he would know exactly where to find us on Christmas day. That was back in 1973- Today I still can’t miss the parade. I watch it every year no matter where I am. The first few minutes of the start of the show, as they are announcing the special guests…I am in tears remembering those past thanksgivings with my daddy and how much he loved my mom’s cooking and Thanksgiving.  Today I share this same tradition with my own children.  We all snuggle up, with coffee or Hot chocolate and tune in.  We don’t start our day until the parade is over. Thanksgiving is my absolute FAVORITE holiday.

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Traditional foods are a large part of Thanksgiving celebrations. Many families include the entire family in the food preparation. Traditional foods include turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Many people serve pie for dessert at the end of the meal. Popular pie flavors are pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, and apple. In my family , growing up with a mom from Jamaica and a father who was American, our Thanksgiving feast was a tasty combination of  food that became our favorite tradition day one! Of course no meal is complete with out the traditional ,Roast Turkey and Gravy but mom also made a Brown-Sugar Glazed ham and Roast Beef . Instead of mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes as most would have …we had  sliced Cranberry, Cucumber Vidalia Salad, Homemade Stuffing and Coconut Rice or “Rice and Peas” , as they would call it in Jamaica.  Coconut rice is delicious! It is rice cooked with coconut milk instead of water and either Black eye peas or Red Kidney beans are added. The end result is amazing and really compliments the trio of meat and other sides. I hope you enjoyed this trip into my Thanksgiving Traditions and I hope you try the recipes!


Herb Roasted Turkey

 Holiday/Entertaining, Thanksgiving, Turkey  Comments Off on Herb Roasted Turkey
Nov 202014
Herb Roasted Turkey
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 5
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  • 1 turkey ( 8-12 lbs)
  • 1 cup of melted butter ( salted)
  • 2 cups of stock ( chicken or vegetable)
  • 6 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tsp of each herb listed ( mix together)
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Onion Powder
  • Herbs de Province
  1. Place, washed and dried bird in roasting pan on top of a rack. Rub melted butter under and over the skin of the bird, then sprinkle with seasoning and fresh garlic.
  2. Pour stock under the bird and bake according to directions enclosed with your turkey.
  3. Use the pan dripping to make a delicious gravy with the addition of a little flour cooked and whisked in a saucepan.


Jan 032012

Pasta and Chicken are always a favorite at my house, and this dish is no exception. The fresh tastes of the tomatoes and basil come through. Using a store bought chicken broth makes this recipe ideal for the beginner cook; however, for an even better flavor, you might try making your own broth by simmering a whole chicken.

CQ- Chicken Penne Al-fresco

4 Garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
3 cups uncooked mezze penne pasta
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine such as Chardonnay
1/2 tsp each salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, divided
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup packed)
2 cups diced grilled chicken breasts
Additional grated fresh Parmesan cheese and coarsely ground black pepper (optional)

Spray baker with olive oil spritzer. Slice or press garlic into baker  Add tomatoes. Cover; microwave on HIGH 4-5 minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst, stirring after 2 minutes. Crush tomatoes. Add pasta, broth, wine, salt and black pepper.
Return baker to microwave; cover and microwave on HIGH 16-18 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring after 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop basil. Reserve 2 tbsp for garnish. Grate cheese.
Carefully remove baker from microwave and remove lid, lifting away from you. Add remaining basil, cheese and chicken to baker ; mix well. Garnish with reserved 2 tbsp basil, additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrients per serving: Light (about 1 cup): Calories 240, Total Fat 2.5 g, Saturated Fat .5 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Carbohydrate 35 g, Protein 17 g, Sodium 450 mg, Fiber 2 g

Cook’s Tips: An additional 3/4 cup chicken broth can be substituted for the wine, if desired.

Any tube-shaped pasta requiring 9-11 minutes cook time, such as penne or rigatoni, can be substituted for the mezze penne pasta.

To grill chicken in a Grill Pan, season 2 chicken breasts, about 6 oz each, with salt and black pepper. Heat Grill Pan over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Spray pan with oil. Cook chicken 4-6 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn chicken over; cook 4-6 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink and Digital Pocket Thermometer registers 170°F.

Another favorite chicken recipe of mine is Chicken Bourguignon with White Wine

Nov 202011

Here is another way to use up those holiday leftovers. You can even entertain guests with this one and they will be impressed every time. I promise.


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1green onion, sliced thin (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons honey dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 375*F.
  2. In bowl, combine turkey, 1 cup of the cheese, celery, green onion if using, cranberries, parsley, mayonnaise, mustard and black pepper. Mix well. Set aside.
  3. Unroll the 2 packages of crescent rolls; separate into 16 triangles in a circle on a large pizza pan or stone with wide ends 3 inches from the edge of pizza pan and points towards the outside. Points will extend off the edge of the pan(depending on size). Arrange the remaining triangles in the center of the pan, matching wide ends with triangles already in placed. The points will overlap in center.
  4. Using small rolling pin(or small round jar or drinking glass), roll over seams of triangles where wide ends meet, making a smooth surface for filling. Don’t seal center triangles.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop filling evenly over the dough in a continuous circle.
  6. Beginning with the last triangle placed in center of pizza pan, bring point of triangle straight across filling. Next, bring point of the opposite outside triangle diagonally across filling, covering point of previous triangle. The filling will show.
  7. Repeat, overlapping points of inside and outside triangles to form a wreath. Tuck the last end under first.
  8. Brush top of wreath with egg white.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
  10. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Turkey Cranberry Wreath

Nov 202011


Here is a great way to use up those left-overs. Everyone is going to have different leftovers so how you follow the recipe depends on what you have left. It is quite simple – Make a sweet potato crust and mix chunks of turkey with your green bean casserole and then spread it over the sweet potato crust and top with the fried onions. It may not be gourmet but it will satisfy your family especially the kids!

CQ- TurkSweetpotpie

Ingredients 1 Can (24 ounces) sweet potatoes, drained

2 Tablespoons margarine, melted

1/4 Teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Vegetable cooking spray 2 Cups COOKED TURKEY, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 Can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat and reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup 1 Package (9 ounces) frozen French-style green beans, thawed and well drained

1 Can (2 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained

1/2 Teaspoon each salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons canned fried onion rings, crushed

1 Can (8 ounces) cranberry sauce, optional

  1. In medium bowl blend sweet potatoes, margarine and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. In 9-inch pie plate, lightly sprayed with vegetable cooking spray, line plate with potato mixture to form a pie shell; set aside.
  2. In medium bowl combine turkey, soup, beans, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into prepared shell. Sprinkle onions over top. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until hot. Serve with cranberry sauce, if desired.
Oct 312011


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 ribs celery from the heart of the stalk and leafy tops, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, 4 to 5 sprigs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cups white French wine, 1/3 bottle
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions
  • 1 pound extra-wide egg noodles


Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes, remove with slotted spoon.

Heat a pot of water to boil for egg noodles.

While bacon crisps, scatter 1/2 cup flour on a shallow dish. Season the chopped chicken with salt and pepper and add to flour. Toss the chicken to coat and shake off the excess as you add it to the hot bacon drippings. Lightly brown the chicken about 3 minutes on each side then remove. Add to the pan the celery, carrots and onions as you chop them. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Cook vegetables 5 to 6 minutes to tenderize them. Scoot vegetables off to the sides of the pan forming a well. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the well and melt them whisk in 2 tablespoons flour. Whisk wine into roux, shake pan to combine then stir in stock. Add chicken back to the pan and stir in the onions. Simmer the chicken 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning.