Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Turkey in August!

We have a tradition at our house, which was created by my husband years ago.  He always started getting hungry for Thanksgiving food in August, so I started making sure I had a turkey in the freezer so I could prepare an abbreviated Thanksgiving Dinner in August!

This year's turkey dinner had an Italian theme and the menu was lots of fun!

I want to start by describing my method of preparing our turkey breast.  I used a packet of Wishbone Italian salad dressing mix and a Tablespoon of dried Italian herbs as a rub for the breast.  I put a layer of cooled melted butter on the breast, then sprinkled on half the packet of mix (because all I had was a breast - would have used the whole packet on a whole turkey).  I added the  dried herbs to the skin and stuffed the cavity with fresh basil, thyme and rosemary.  I roasted a ten pound breast at 350 degrees for 3 hours.
The skin was beautiful, crispy and tasty ... and the meat was tender.

Now, let's discuss the other sensation from the meal!  Phoebe's peanut butter avalanche cake was fantastic!  Reese's Pieces filled the cavity in the middle of the bundt cake.  When you take the slices from the cake ... the candies drift out of the center and make it look like an avalanche! This is a cake mix doctor recipe, so it doesn't take long to prepare!

Peanut Butter Cake

1 butter yellow cake mix
1 1/3 cup water
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon almond extract

Mix and bake according to the instructions on the box.  Let the cake cool 30 minutes before turning it from the pan.

Peanut Butter Icing

1/2 brick of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter

Whip these two ingredients together, then begin adding powdered sugar a cup at a time.  Alternate adding a Tablespoon of milk at a time.  You will need about a pound and a half of powdered sugar and maybe 3 Tablespoons of milk.  Judge it as you mix.
Make sure the cake is completely cool before frosting it.

Finish the cake by pouring candies into the center and down the sides of the cake ... and you'll probably spill some on the counter and on the floor!  MeMutt had fun chasing the escaping Reese's Pieces!

Now ... on to the rest of the menu!

Million Dollar Dip

1 8-ounce container of almond flavored spreadable cheese
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 teaspoon garlic
1 cup bacon bits
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions - tops included

Mix all the ingredients and serve with savory crackers or pretzel rods.

Mozzarella Pepperoni Salad

Use your favorite variety of lettuce.  Top the greens with marinated mozzarella pearls, slices of pepperoni and banana pepper rings.  Use your favorite Italian dressing on the salad.  Easy!

Turkey Tetrazzini

Use a pound of your favorite pasta.  I used little pipes for this, because the sauce gets caught in the middle and makes delicious bites!  Prepare the pasta according to package instructions.

For the sauce:

Melt a stick of butter and make a roux by stirring in 3 Tablespoons of flour.  Add 3 cups of chicken broth and half a brick of cream cheese.  Blend and gently heat until everything has melted together.  Add 1 teaspoon of  dried Italian herbs or a handful of fresh chopped herbs.  Add a teaspoon of garlic paste and continue stirring until well-mixed.  

Combine the casserole:

Place the pasta in a casserole dish.  Sprinkle 3/4 cup of dried Parmesean cheese over it.  Sprinkle chopped cooked bacon bits over it.  Gently pour the sauce over all.  Cover the casserole with foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  When you remove it from the oven, remove foil and sprinkle a cup of shredded Provel cheese over the casserole.  Let it melt and serve it.

We love sauteed mushrooms, so I added those at the last minute.  I melt butter in a very hot skillet and drop in the sliced mushrooms.  They brown/scald quickly and that is the way we love them!

Lemon Dump Cake

This is so easy ...  Prepare a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour in 2 15-ounce cans of lemon pie filling.  Sprinkle a dry white cake mix over the top.  Pour a stick of melted butter over that and bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes.  Make sure the topping is browned and the filling is bubbling.  During the last ten minutes of baking, sprinkle shredded almonds over the top.  Just the amount that you want ... a little or a lot!  Serve with whipped topping!

If you make this in a crock pot, it probably won't take more than 1 and a half hours on high.  Just watch it carefully!

If you want to see the tablescape for this meal, visit

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