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Turn a zesty cheddar bread into Parmesan-chile cheese bread

Parmesan-chile cheese bread Last winter, I fell in love with the recipe for Zesty Cheddar Bread from Betty Crocker's "The Big Book of Bread."

The recipe is perfect for winter soups, and it is so easy and so successful that it just makes sense to try making it with other cheeses.

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Recipe: Turkey apple cider bacon gravy that makes a great leftover soup

Turkey and shiitake mushroom soup made from turkey apple cide bacon gravyTurkey gravy is so easy to make from scratch. It can be whisked up in about 10 minutes, making pan juices a delicious bonus of turkey roasting.


Add the flavor of apples and smoky bacon to the roasting pan, and the resulting juices are even tastier. That's why we were surprised to read the words “Discard pan juices” in the U.S. Apple Association's recipe for a roasted turkey breast swaddled in bacon and basted with fresh apple cider. Used in gravy, the roasting stock can make an unexpectedly pleasing addition to the Thanksgiving spread. Even if you don't make gravy, spoon the delicious juices over turkey slices before serving, or just freeze to make soup later.

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Thanksgiving idea: Try savory apple relish instead of cranberry sauce 

This recipe was adapted from the bacon salsa recipe at

Savory apple relish

(6 servings) 

2 cups chopped apples, skin on

1 cup diced red and yellow bell peppers

1/3 cup diced red onion

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely diced (about 2 teaspoons)

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

 4 strips crisply cooked bacon


Combine all ingredients except bacon in a large bowl. Keep the bacon crisp by adding it to individual portions just before serving.


Easy three-ingredient soup recipe: Creamy kabocha squash and peanut butter

Easy soup recipe: three-ingredient kabocha squash and peanut butter soup 

We could not wait to make the year's first batch of the unbelieveably easy soup made with kabocha squash, a pumpkin with mottled green flesh, and, typically, a small patch of orange. It makes the creamiest, slightly sweet fall soup, and our recipe has only three ingredients: peanut butter, kabocha squash and water. Try it and I guarantee you will become addicted to the ease, the velvety texture and the rich flavor. It's great in a cup for lunch, but also elegant enough to hold its own in a soup tureen on the Thanksgiving buffet table.  

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Our lighter take: Steven Raichlen's baked chiles rellenos

Steven Raichlen's chiles rellenos are baked, but we found they could be made even lighter and not lose on taste. Classic Mexican chiles rellenos typically involves large, cheese-filled peppers battered and fried. Steven Raichlen's cumin-infused stuffed peppers from his new cookbook “Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys” have raisins and pine nuts, adding Moroccan flair.

We were exceptionally impressed with the flavor and novelty of this baked version of the dish. We decided to try lightening it a bit more and the result was also delicious. And since Raichlen is a barbecue master, it would also be great to try cooking these peppers on the grill.


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