Make holiday gatherings easier with a semi-homemade meal featuring Marie Callender’s pot pies and a fall harvest salad with fresh cranberry vinaigrette.
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I love cooking for the holidays because cooking is how I show my love for friends and family as I am not the greatest at expressing my emotions in words (and yet I have a very expressive face to make up for it). But most holiday meals have a reputation for extensive kitchen time. While I am not opposed to marathon sessions in the kitchen when I have the time, I often enjoy coming up with less time consuming meals that still pack the same flavor while allowing more time to be spent with family and friends.
I have already shared extensive Thanksgiving dinner menus for Friendsgiving and even for a small crowd of two, so I decided it was time to tone it down a bit with an easy Thanksgiving inspired meal featuring Marie Callender’s pot pies. Originally I sought out to buy the turkey pot pies but alas they were out of stock at my local Walmart so I snagged the traditional chicken pot pies. Then I meandered over to the produce section to pick up a few things for a fall harvest salad!
These chicken pot pies were comfort in a golden, flaky crust that tasted just like homemade. Served alongside it was a salad tossed with candied pecans, roasted sweet potato, blue cheese, and a fresh cranberry vinaigrette. In short, this meal encompasses all the flavors that I love this time of year in an easier to execute form.
What are your favorite time savings tricks in the kitchen during the holidays?
One year ago: Apple Pie Cookies
Two years ago: Pumpkin Spice Brownies
Four years ago: Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate with Oreo Crumbs
FALL HARVEST SALAD WITH CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE
Serves 4 as a side
ROASTED SWEET POTATOES
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pecans
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbsp water
6 oz. mixed salad greens
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil and seasonings. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Should be fork-tender.
- In a small skillet over medium heat combine the pecans, brown sugar, and honey. Cook until the sugar melts and forms a thick syrup, stirring constantly, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately pour onto a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. Spread out into a single layer and allow to cool.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the oil, cranberries, vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, and salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to reach desired consistency.
- In a large bowl, toss together the salad greens, sweet potato, pecans, and blue cheese. Serve with cranberry vinaigrette.
Source: Vinaigrette adapted from All Recipes. Otherwise a The Spiffy Cookie original.
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