Turkey Pate Recipe. Happy Thanksgiving 2007!

By Friday, you’ll be as stuffed as the bird you ate Thursday and in a quandary about what to do with all the meat.  Turkey sandwiches are only mediocre after such a feast.  I’m sure you all have left-over traditions.  Please share!

Our day after tradition always, always includes Turkey Pate.  We make as much as we can with the left over turkey — dark meat works best.  And if you happen to have ham mix the two…it’s really better!  Leave this turkey surprise out during the football marathon and you’ll see it disappear right before your very eyes.

Turkey Pate

1 cup turkey

3 T mayonnaise

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 c pecans, chopped (I toast mine)

2 T parsley

In a food-processor, mix turkey, mayo, and cream cheese.  Top with pecans and parsley.  Serve with toast points or crackers.

I’m going to take a few days off from The Schell Cafe to be with my family.  I am beyond thankful for my husband and four precious children.

May you have a blessed and thankful Thanksgiving with your family!

See you back here next week when the Christmas countdown begins!


Gene Stallings Twice Baked Potatoes

One of best recipes I’ve collected from my mother-in-law is for Gene Stallings Twice Baked Potatoes.  I remember the first Thanksgiving I had these at the Schell’s home.  Unbelievable.  My mother in law got the recipe out of the newspaper years ago and they have become a tradition at the holidays.  I spread the love to my family several years ago and now my mother makes them too.

For those of you not residing in Texas (or for those who do but because of some gene mutation do not follow football), Gene Stallings is a Sports Hall of Fame coach.  A legend in these parts.  He was head coach of the Aggies for years and in 1972 joined the staff of the Dallas Cowboys under Coach Tom Landry.

Two weeks ago, Husband was traveling home from NYC and he had the privilege of talking with none other than Gene Stallings at the airport.  They chatted for a while and Husband learned that the famous potato recipe bearing Stalling’s name indeed came from his wife.  Mr. Stallings was kind to sign a business card inscribed to my mother-in-law that reads:

Keep making those potatoes!

Gene Stallings

I’m in charge of making the potatoes this year.  And as a surprise we plan on giving my mother-in-law the autographed card.  This special keepsake will do the impossible of making these potatoes even tastier.

Gene Stallings Twice Baked Potatoes

10 large new potatoes

3/4 c butter

5 chopped green onions

s&p to taste

1 1/2 c grated cheese

Bacon Bits (I use real bacon 4 strips crumbled)

1 pint sour cream

Mash cooked potatoes, add all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees until cheese melts.


Cranberry-Jalapeno Salsa

Don’t tell my mother, but I have the original Cranberry Salsa recipe.  The one clipped from a newspaper long enough ago for the paper to be yellowed.   True confession.  For the past couple of years she has called frantically asking if I have the recipe copied down because she can’t find hers.  I manage to pull it out of my memory er recipe box.  It’s that good.

This delicious relish gladly replaced the tired old cranberry sauce at our home on Thanksgiving a very long time ago.  In fact, I don’t remember a Thanksgiving without it. There is nothing not to love about this salsa.  It’s perfect with the turkey, fabulous drizzled over cream cheese, it even stands alone on a Ritz.  My brother goes gaga over this recipe so I make enough for the masses.

I will give you the original measurements, but I actually quadruple this recipe.  I think you will want to double it for sure. I’ve indicated my quadrupled measurements in parenthesis just as I did years ago on the original recipe clipping.

Cranberry Salsa

(8)    2 c cranberries

(1)    1/4 c jalapeno peppers, chopped

(1)    1/4 c finely chopped onions

(2)    1 c fresh cilantro, chopped

(8)    2 T fresh grated orange peel (I usually use clementines since they are plentiful this time of year)

(2)    1/2 c sugar

(2)    1/2 tsp salt

(1)    1/4 tsp black pepper

In a large saucepan, cover cranberries with water and bring to a boil.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and drain cranberries.  Add sugar while cranberries are hot. Stir to dissolve sugar.  Add remaining ingredients and toss until combined.  Leave at room temperature until cool and then refrigerate.  Make this a day in advance…it’s best the two days after you make it.

Spicy Pecans

Last week my mother-in-law sent me home with pecans from her front yard.  You would not believe the amount of pecans the old tree produced this year.  She has pecans in buckets, cardboard boxes and grocery sacks.  I’m talking a ton of nuts people.

Of course I knew immediately what to do with the first batch she gave me.  I’ll use her pecans and my own mother’s spiced nut recipe and combine the two for a perfect teaser to set out on Thanksgiving Day.

These spiced nuts are absolutely divine.  Make ten times more (if you dare) than you think you’ll need as they’ll be snapped up in a hurry.  Mom has made these for as long as I remember and I don’t know where she got her original recipe.  Chime in if you remember mom!   She keeps them in a glass jar and stores them in the fridge until we can’t hold off resisting them any longer.

Spicy Pecans

2 c pecans

1/2 stick butter

Brown pecans in oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees.  Stir occasionally.


3 T soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)

5 dash of Tabasco

1/2 tsp salt

In a small bowl mix pecans with seasonings.  Drain.  Store in refrigerator (in glass works best).


It Takes A Village Soup

A friend called around 2pm today and asked if I was home because she had something to drop by the house.

A little while later she shows up with a complete dinner for our family.  See, Baby is having an MRI and CT-scan early in the morning.  Because Baby is only six months old she’ll have to be put under general anesthesia for both scans.  I know everything will be ok, but I’m still a wreck.

My friend knows I’m a wreck.  She’s been through the same thing with her daughters and bringing dinner was such a wonderful act of empathy.  A true gesture of love and friendship.  And completely unexpected too.

She brought a delicious meatball and zucchini soup with sourdough garlic bread, home made chocolate chip cookies and a bottle of wine (just what I needed!).  And as if that wasn’t enough she came back later with a gallon of Blue Bell ice cream and parmesan cheese for the soup.

When I thanked her she smiled and said the last thing I needed to worry about was dinner. I told her it really does take a village.  I’m grateful she’s in mine.

Meatball & Zucchini Soup

1     Tbs olive oil or salad oil

1     large onion, slivered

1     clove garlic, minced or pressed

1     stalk celery, thinly sliced

8     baby carrots, sliced lengthwise

1     tsp dried basil

1/4  tsp each dried thyme and oregano

1     large can  (28oz) tomatoes (this is one place I cheat–buy the

can that is already diced and has seasonings included)

1 3/4 cups Sturdy Beef Broth or 1 can (14 1/2 oz) regular-strength beef broth

1     cup each dry red wine and water

1/2   bow tie past o other soup pasta

3     medium zucchini (about 1 lb)

Grated Parmesan cheese

Meatballs (this is my other cheat–I buy the 12oz bag of frozen HEB

Italian meatballs)

1     egg beaten

1/4  cup each soft bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese

1/4  tsp salt

1     clove garlic, minced or pressed

1     pound ground lean beef

1)     Prepare Meatballs as directed (see below OR just use the frozen

ones and skip making them!)  In a 4 to 6 qt Dutch oven, heat oil.  Add

meatballs and brown carefully over medium heat, removing them as they

brown.  To same pan add onion, garlic, celery, and carrot.  Cook for 5

minutes, stirring occasionally.

2)     Sprinkle w/ basil, thyme and oregano; then add tomatoes

(coarsely chopped) and their liquid, broth, wine and the water.

Return meatballs to pan.  Bring soup to a boil, cover, reduce heat and

simmer for about 30 min.

3)     Add pasta and cook, covered at a gentle boil until it is nearly

tender (12 to 15 min.)  Meanwhile, scrub zucchini and cut off ends.

Cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.

4)     Add zucchini to soup and cook uncovered, until zucchini is just

tender (4 to 6 min.)  Taste, and add salt if needed.

5)     Serve w/ Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over each serving to taste.

Makes about 13 cups, 5 to 6 servings.

Meatballs (if you really want to make them!)  In a medium bowl mix

together egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and garlic.  Lightly

mix in ground beef.   Shape mixture into 1-inch meatballs.

Recipe Swap

I’ve been missing in action the last couple of days.  See, I woke up on Monday morning and got it!  You know that sentimental, holiday glow feeling.  It hit me head on and quite unexpectedly.  It’s hot outside here in Texas, we are knee deep in school plays, house renovation plans and daily logistics of running a family of six.  I was aware that Christmas started popping up in storefronts and seasonal aisles about six weeks ago, but not being in the mood and all I generally ignored it.  I wasn’t planning on getting into the holiday mood for another couple of weeks.

Funny how little control I have over my Christmas mood.  Or anything else for that matter.

I spent the weekend in the DFW area with my mother-in-law.  I took her to my niece’s (her granddaughter’s) wedding shower.  We had a great time.  It’s the only time we’ve ever been alone together and I truly enjoyed our ‘girls weekend’.  We shopped for the children’s Christmas presents, watched The Queen with Helen Mirren, planned Thanksgiving recipes, and talked about family and children rearing. I guess the sentimental weekend is responsible for my full-on Christmas spirit.

So, I’ve been reading recipes, downloading Christmas music on my ipod and generally succumbing to the six week bliss.  I’ve had my initial cry while listening to Josh Groban’s   Silent Night and Kathy Mattea’s Mary Did You Know.  And so three days into the season I can now resume my regularly scheduled program.

I’m cheesy at the holidays, but not so bad that I do themes each year or anything.  But IF I were to assign a description for the way I’m feeling this year it’s very homey and nostalgic.  Many of the recipes I will share with you over the next few weeks will include family favorites from Christmases past.  I’ve gone way back into the annals of both my grandmother’s recipes and am feeling love for things like congealed salads and dense puddings with bourbon (I’m not sure I’ve ever even had bourbon!).

While I’m busy pulling out these classics from years gone by, will you do me a favor?  Send me THE family recipe from your past.  The one dish, dessert or sentimental favorite that always graces your season.  If you are too afraid to post in the comments (ahem, Mrs. Kravitz. phuleez) send your recipe to me at kristinschell @ mac (dot) com and I’ll share with our little community.

Speaking of posting. I’m feeling a little lonely.  I know you are reading as I can see the visit ticker creeping upwards.  Don’t lurk.  Tell me you love me!

I’ll be back soon with delightful Thanksgiving and Christmas classics.

TGIF – Brisket with Carrots & Onions

Thank God it’s Friday! Seriously.  It’s been one of those weeks.  Husband has been gone, too many activities, birthday parties, school programs, blah…blah…blah.  So tonight we are going to kick back, chill out, and reconnect as a family.  I probably just jinxed myself.

Today is still piled high with playdates, kids out of school, workout, etc.  So I’m going to make a simple brisket and let the oven do the hard work.  Ina Garten, one of my cooking idols, made this dish for her husband Jeffrey and he loved it.  We’ll see what my family thinks.  I’m going to serve this with sauteed spinach and possibly small baked potatoes for the children.

Brisket with Carrots and Onions

3 1/2 lbs beef brisket

1 Tbs kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

4 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch chunks

3 yellow onions, peeled and sliced

3 bay leaves

1 (24 oz can) tomato juice, low salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the brisket in a heavy roasting pan.  In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano.  Rub the mixture on the brisket.  Pile the carrots, celery, onions, and bay leaves on the brisket and pour in enough tomato juice to come about 3/4 of the way up the meat and vegetables.  Cover the top of the pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper, then with aluminum foil.  (The tomato juice will react unpleasantly with the foil if they touch)!

Bake for 3 hours, or until the meat is tender.  Remove the meat from the pan and keep it warm.  Place the pan on 2 burners and boil the vegetables and sauce over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.

Slice the meat across the grain and serve with the vegetables.