I successfully hosted my very first Thanksgiving dinner! Thanks to D.Z. and M.C. for coming over and spending it with me =)
Since there were only three of us, I decided that a turkey wasn’t worth the trouble, so I made a mixture of Chinese and American dishes. The pan-fried beef cake recipe was adapted from a Chinese cookbook – but the original recipe called for water chestnuts, which I did not have. The chicken & green bean casserole recipe was actually adapted from Mrs. Cubbison’s classic dressing mix box =P Again, I did not have all the ingredients on hand so I changed around a couple of things. Sauteed spinach is pretty standard (spinach + garlic + soy sauce), and the sweet potato fries were just tossed with olive oil, rosemary, salt, and sugar, baked at 350F until crisp.
For dessert, I decided to do cupcake-style since there was 1- no point in baking a whole pie or cake for three people, and 2- this way, we can have two types of dessert XD
Pan-Fried Beef Cakes
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 c. chopped onions
- 1 stalk minced green onions
- 1 c. fresh bread crumbs, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 large egg, well-beaten
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
Combine the ground beef, onions, green onions, and bread crumbs in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in the egg and cornstarch. Finally, slowly stir in the soy sauce and mix until well-combined.
Form the ground beef mixture into patties, about 1cm (just under 1/2-in) thick and 8cm (2&1/2-in) in diameter, about 9 patties.
Lightly grease a cooking pan and set the heat to medium. Once the pan is hot, add the patties, cover the pan, and let it cook for ~1 minute. Flip the patties over, cover, and cook for another minute. Uncover and cook for an additional 2 minutes until the top & bottom are golden and the insides are cooked. Plate and serve!
Yields about nine 8-inch patties.
Chicken & Green Bean Casserole
For the dressing part:
- 1 pkg (6 oz) Mrs. Cubbison’s Seasoned Dressing
- 1/4 c. melted butter
- 1/2 c. onions, chopped & sauteed
- 1 c. chicken broth
For the casserole:
- 3 c. boneless chicken meat (breast or thigh), cooked and cubed
- 1 c. chicken broth
- 2 c. fresh green beans
- 1 c. mushrooms
- 1 small red bell pepper
- salt & pepper to taste
To prepare the dressing, combine the dressing mix with butter and onions in a bowl. Stir in the chicken broth gradually and spoon the mixture into a 2&1/2 or 3-quart casserole dish or oven-safe pan. Bake covered for 30-minutes at 350F. Remove cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes for a crisp top.
To prepare the chicken casserole, combine chicken, green beans, mushrooms, and bell pepper in a large bowl. Stir in the broth, and stir to mix well. Spoon the mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking pan, top with the prepared dressing, then sprinkle with salt & pepper. If desired, add a cup of shredded cheese or 1/2 c. heavy cream. Bake covered for 30 minutes at 375F.
Makes 6-8 (1/2 cup) servings.
Mini NY-style cheesecakes
For the crust:
- 4 pieces of graham crackers, crushed
- 1/4 c. 1/2 stick) butter, melted
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- cinnamon to taste
For the filling:
- 4-oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2-oz sour cream
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a jellyroll pan with a towel. Add some hot water into the pan.
For the crust, stir together the graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and stir until well-combined. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin pan lined with baking cups, about 6 cups. Using a spoon or your fingers, press the mixture firmly on the bottom and sides of the cups.
For the filling, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in egg, and beat on low speed until combined, then use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth.
Pour the filling into the prepared cups. Then, put the muffin pan on the prepared jellyroll pan and put both pans into the oven. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes, then turn off the oven, open the oven a slight crack, and let it bake with the residual heat for an additional 40 minutes until the center is set. Remove from the oven and take out the individual cups to cool to room temperature, then return them to the pan and refrigerate.
Yields about 6 mini cheesecakes.
Mini Pumpkin Pie
- 2 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1/2 large egg
- 1/4 can (4-oz) pumpkin
- 1/4 can (3-oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 unbaked pie crust (I bought Pilsbury rollable pie crust)
Prepare the crust by cutting out circles with an empty food can, and lining the baking cups (in a greased muffin pan) with the pie crust circles.
Combine the sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Beat together the egg and pumpkin, and then add the sugar mixture and beat until well combined. Slowly add the sweetened condensed milk, and mix until well-combined.
Pour into the baking cups (can fill about 8 cups). Bake in preheated oven at 425F for about 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until the center is set. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yields about 8 mini pumpkin pies.
Hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And of course, remember that Thanksgiving should not be the only day to be thankful :)