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Baked Corned Beef and Sauteed Cabbage
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Apparently, I grew up as a picky eater.  These days, I’m doing a lot of apologizing to my parents.  Until I met Kyle, I was conscious of only truly not liking one food: green beans.   And only after he pinned me as a picky eater, I realized there were so many other things…asparagus, cauliflower, pickles, mustard, nuts, spicy foods in any form, and two of the biggest offenders: corned beef and cabbage.  I used to dread St. Paddy’s Day and I always felt so bad being invited to friends’ houses to celebrate as a teenager because I just couldn’t stomach the boiled meal.

But somewhere along the way in the past few years, my tastes have changed drastically (see: jalapeño popper grilled cheese and buffalo chicken pizza) and on a complete whim early last year, I agreed to swap half of my roast beef sandwich for half of Kyle’s corned beef Reuben.  And I was hooked.  So after 8 years of Kyle unsuccessfully begging me to make corned beef for St. Paddy’s Day, I found this baked corned beef recipe last year and truly discovered a new food love.  Baked with cloves and covered with brown sugar and hot and sweet honey mustard, this corned beef is other-worldly good.  The cloves subtly seep into the beef roast and the brown sugar and honey mustard create a slight crust on top, adding both ample flavor and a nice texture.  Let’s also quickly talk about the cabbage because what else would really round out this Irish-American meal (aside from soda or rye bread)?  You’ll thinly slice the cabbage and saute it with onion, garlic, and olive oil, much like you’ll do for this colcannon, another Irish staple.  And let me tell you, sauteed cabbage is nothing like boiled cabbage.  Slightly crisp and fully awesome, you’ll want this cabbage as a side dish for more than just corned beef.  Served alongside potatoes and carrots, this baked corned beef and sauteed cabbage is the perfect American celebration of St. Paddy’s Day and when made this past weekend for my visiting family in only 2 hours (as opposed to the hours needed to boil corned beef), it was a huge hit.  If you think you can’t get your family to eat corned beef, test this recipe on them – I’m positive they’ll think differently after eating it.

Giveaway: $100 Amazon Gift Card [CLOSED]
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[THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED]

Over the past few weeks, I’ve loved reading all of your answers to the questions in “My Favorite Things Holiday Giveaway” series – and I actually did read every single comment!   You’ve told me about your favorite cookies, holiday wish lists, favorite kitchen equipment, and your favorite types of cheese and it’s been great getting to you all of you better (some of your comments made me laugh out loud, by the way).

As we approach the end of the year, I probably won’t be writing a reflection post as I do each year since we’ll likely be in the middle of moving but I want to take a moment now to thank you each and every one you for sticking with me this year, for your comment love, and for allowing me to share a bit of what goes on in my kitchen with you.  Smells Like Home has grown in ways I couldn’t imagine this year and this all comes back to the support of my awesome readers.

For the final round of this giveaway series, I’m giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card.  From reading your wish lists, I know this gift card could benefit most of you (except maybe the commenter who wants her son to get married and give her grandchildren!).  Use it for yourself or as a way to fill in those last few gifts for your kids…or maybe even “regift” it – wouldn’t that be the best regift ever?!  However you decide to use it, know that it comes with my greatest thanks for helping me love what I do here in my little corner of the blogging world.

[THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED]

To enter this giveaway here are The Rules:

  1. Answer this question in the comment section of this post (and only this post):  What are you most thankful for this holiday season?
  2. If you do not answer that specific question, your comment will not be approved.
  3. Only one entry per person will be accepted and you MUST include a valid email address with your comment.
  4. If you don’t see your comment post right away, please don’t post another comment.  The delay happens because I moderate all comments.
  5. You have until Sunday December 18, 2011 at 11:59pm Eastern to enter this giveaway.
  6. One winner will be chosen by that handy-dandy random number generator we’re all familiar with.
  7. The winner will notified by Monday December 19, 2011.  If you do not respond to my email within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen (also at random).
  8. Giveaway is open to entries with U.S. addresses only.

[THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED]

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Disclosure:  This giveaway is sponsored by yours truly.

Turkey Cranchiladas
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Oftentimes after a holiday, I’ve got a ton of leftovers that I don’t know what to do with.  It seems that leftover protein (turkey, roast pork, beef, etc.) is usually pretty easy to use in a different ways but what do you do with things like leftover cranberry sauce?  Adding to this dilemma is the fact that Kyle doesn’t like cranberry sauce so I often end up throwing it out. For shame, I know.

Until this year.  I made this kick-butt cranberry orange chutney that our Thanksgiving guests went nuts over but even still, the recipe made 3 cups and there was quite a bit leftover.  Enter my pal Josie from over at Pink Parsley – she’s a lifesaver.  Josie posted a recipe a few weeks ago for Turkey Cranchiladas that literally made me drool.  So instead of tossing the cranberry stuff this year, I used the rest of it up in this dish.

I’m a huge lover of enchiladas in general and my feelings on the topic have not changed with this nontraditional version of the Mexican meal.  You’re basically throwing leftover turkey in with leftover cranberry sauce and a bunch of ingredients I’m sure you already have in your house: sour cream, cheese, cumin, salsa, etc…maybe you don’t have cilantro but if this whole meal only costs you $1.59 at the store, it’s worth putting it on your grocery list when you do your holiday meal shopping to ensure you have the cilantro in the couple days after your holiday meal when you don’t have the energy to grocery shop.  Make sure you’ve also got some flour tortillas hanging around the house too…  So you mix everything together, wrap it up in tortillas, cover with cranberry sauce mixed with salsa (an unlikely combination, no?), bake for 45 min, sprinkle cheese and bake some more.  From minimal prep and no dirty pots and pans, you’ve got an entire meal almost in an instant!

I can’t say enough about how excited I am with the results of these enchiladas.  And I think I’m even more excited at the fact that there are a ton of leftovers (yes, of the leftovers) for us to take for lunches this week!  The cranberry sauce/chutney gives a punch of tang with the smooth and savory Mexican flavors brought forward with the cumin and salsa…it’s really a delightful combination!  After searching far and wide for new and creative ways to use up that holiday turkey, I’ve found a new go-to recipe that I’ll be making for years to come.  Thanks Josie!!

I’d love to know how you’ve used up your Thanksgiving leftovers or your favorite ways to do so.  Post your ideas and/or links in the comments.

Tall and Creamy Cheesecake
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So to kick off this holiday season, I was in search of the perfect cheesecake recipe. I’ve made a couple different varieties in the past but until now I’ve yet to come across a plain cheesecake with the “wow factor” that makes me want to make it my go-to cheesecake recipe.

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The issue for my finding an awesome cheesecake recipe has always been where to look.  There are hundreds and hundreds of different cheesecake recipes out there – which one would I choose?  I decided to not waste any time sifting through tons of recipes on the internet and I went straight for Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.  Many of the recipes I’ve made from Dorie’s most recent book have turned out wonderful, including the aforementioned Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake so I figured I’d give her plain cheesecake a shot too.

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This was hand’s down the best plain cheesecake I’ve ever made.  It was creamy, light, and just so flavorful that I probably could have eaten half of the cheesecake in one sitting.  This was the type of cheesecake that just melts away in your mouth.  The type of cheesecake that you want to linger on your taste buds forever.  The type of cheesecake that is the perfect for a kick-ass strawberry topping (see recipe below).  I followed the recipe and instructions exactly as Dorie wrote them and had no issues at all.  And after this being the 2nd Dorie cheesecake I’ve made using a waterbath, I’m totally sold on the technique, even if it is a little time consuming to set up.