Thanksgiving: The FINAL COUNTDOWN!

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Okay, that’s totally what Thanksgiving is like at my house—right down to the fried hair, pyrotechnics and leather leggings! Seriously, my mom can rock a mic stand like nobody’s business, and my sister totally had that perm in 1987. Thanksgiving at the Miller House ROCKS!

A Chance to Give Back…
Before I get started on the final recipe, I’ve got a suggestion for something good you can do for others this holiday that involves food. My mom has inspired me this year…she’s working with a group in Mississippi to provide turkeys and other Thanksgiving treats to those in need. You can do the same…online! The Jimmie Hale Mission, our local homeless shelter, has a link where you can donate a Thanksgiving Dinner for someone in need. It’s only $1.65 a person. Click here if you’d like to check it out here and click the “Donate Now” button. It takes two minutes…and somebody will really appreciate it.

Now, on to the Mischief. If I can even type this without owing royalties to Michael Jackson’s estate…This Is It. You’ve got merely a handful of hours before Thanksgiving prep begins. Let’s take a minute to review the recipes we’ve already shared…

A Mischievous Menu
So far, Matthew and I have provided recipes for most of your staples: Cornbread Dressing, Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potatoes, and (from way back when), a delicious garlic and herbes de Provence butter you should use on your turkey. But one thing we haven’t suggested are ideas for dessert.

Dessert at Thanksgiving is like that tequila shot on your birthday…you don’t really need it, you’ll regret it tomorrow…but you’re on a roll, so why the hell not? Who cares that your buttons are screeching in agony, soon to go flying off, transformed into hurtling Weapons of Familial Destruction. You must submit.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Factory
I watched Butterella herself (Paula Deen) make a pumpkin cheesecake the other day on Food Network. My longstanding annoyance with Ms. Deen aside, it looked really good. So I decided to take her recipe, lighten it a bit, and adapt it to feature the flavors of the Pumpkin Dip from Southern Living that’s always a big hit. And I did one more thing that will ease your waistline a bit: portion control. I used a muffin tin to make mini cheesecakes, and I ended up cutting the cooking time in half to accommodate. The recipe ended up making twelve mini cheesecakes and one big one. It was based on a Paula Deen recipe: OF COURSE it made tons. Bless her heart.

Some girls play "dress up." I play "photo shoot."

Mischief Note: In fact, I did not cut the time in half. I cut it by a third, which resulted in Pumpkin Cheesecake Hockey Pucks. Seriously…they clinked on the plate. But they were so cute, so let’s just pretend that they were perfect, K? Honestly, cooking them at 350° for 30 minutes should work perfectly (the regular-size cheesecake cooks at 350° for an hour.) Let me show you how I did it…

First, I followed Paula’s recipe, but I replaced the graham crackers with gingersnaps. Melted some butter, added brown sugar, and packed a TBSP into each muffin tin. But first, I did this:

I am thankful for parchment paper.

I cut twelve six-inch strips of parchment paper and tucked them into my *non-stick* muffin tin, which I then proceeded to hose down with Pam (I’ve had issues in the past with sticking, and I wasn’t taking chances). Then, after the crust went in, I packed each down with a small juice glass (twisting it to discourage sticking) and then used an ice cream scoop to ladle in the filling.

You could eat it now if it weren't for the eggs. Didn't stop me, though.

The filling part was easy. I did use 1/3 fat cream cheese…that Neufchatel stuff…wha-ever. Looks like cream cheese, tastes like cream cheese…works for me. Added sugar, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, eggs, pureed pumpkin, some flour, and mixed it up. Refer to Paula’s recipe for proper proportions. Now, simply bake them for 30 minutes at 350º, and you’re all set. They should come out lighter in color than the ones below and slightly less hockey-puckish.

It's like they're reaching up, saying "Lift me, lift me!"

So, incredibly, my plan worked! I simply lifted the little parchment “wings” and they popped right out. Note: this has NEVER happened to me before. I’m always having to go into paleontologist mode and chisel out my finds. Once out and cooled, the little punkins needed to be topped with something sweet.  I melted brown sugar with a dash of Jack Daniels, a little water, a touch of butter, some molasses, and some cinnamon. I’m being vague because I’d really rather you follow a real recipe to do this. Why? Because I did not, and while it tasted delicious, I caused myself personal injury.

OMG that bottle was SO HOT!

So i manged to pour the molten spicy caramel glaze into the thinnest-walled squirt bottle I could find  (I am a GENIUS). After scorching my hand, I put on the glove from my space suit and attempted to drizzle my cheesecake friends. It was going smoothly, until I set the bottle down to ease my scalded hand. That’s when this happened:

I do enjoy a re-enactment.

I need to cook in a haz-mat suit. The bottle squirted hot caramel into my face. It’s amazing that I wasn’t blinded.  Lord. In other mischief news, I think I mentioned earlier that Paula’s recipe yielded a whole extra cheesecake. Note: It did not yield that much extra crust.  I suggest making an extra batch if you’re making the extra cheesecake. I was out of gingersnaps, so I basically went into major mischief mode and made an oatmeal cookie/gingersnap crust. A little extra butter, a handful of oats, some brown sugar, ooh…chopped walnuts sound nice, and some cinnamon, maybe some ginger…you get the idea. I made a Mischief Crust. But it was good. You’re best off just following the previous recipe. 😉 I ended up pouring the extra glaze over some chopped walnuts, then re-chopping them, and topping the glazed cheesecake. I’m unemployed…what else do I have to do?

David liked it better the other way.

After all that mischief, it actually turned out great. I took it to Book Club, to our Glee Group, and we’ve been eating it for days. It’s like the Loaves and Fishes, except it’s cheesecake! Portion Control Tip: Instead of slices, I cut it into squares, like petit fors size. Just a thought.

Whew! That’s it. Matthew and I hope your holiday is filled with good fun, fun times, and enough mischief to make it interesting! Happy Thanksgiving!

PS:
Don’t forget to give back by donating a Thanksgiving dinner to someone in need…click here. 😉

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5 Responses to “Thanksgiving: The FINAL COUNTDOWN!”

  1. kelly Says:

    Okay, your pumpkin cheesecakes look AWESOME. I am really gonna have to make these! And I have a question, did you attend the turkey trot at 7am that is on the chalkboard in the back!! LOL!

    • josh Says:

      LOL…the funny thing is that i have convinced some of my family to do the Turkey Trot in Jackson! they are going to hate me at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving!

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    This sounds amazing…the mini cheesecakes are a great idea! Now if I can just find someone to actually make them for me (bc, you know, I’m really suppose to stay off my feet for a couple of weeks, and I’m not suppose to be cooking or cleaning, so maybe if I give Jerry a menu and some of your recipes…) Oh, well.

  3. Kristina Says:

    I was wondering how you got the mini-cheesecakes out of the muffin tin. Now I know.

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