The best stuffing!

Oh stuffing. Stuffing is one of those things that a lot of people aren’t that hot on, I think one of the main reasons is because it’s usually pretty dry, and can just taste like you’re eating chewy breadcrumbs if not prepared the right way. Well ladies and gentleman I am here to save the day and give you a superb recipe for flavorful, moist stuffing!

Ingredients:
– 1 bunch celery, chopped
– 1 onion, diced
– 2 boxes stuffing mix
– 3 cups chicken broth
– 8 tbsp. (1 stick) of butter and then some for sautéing

Begin by melting a couple of tbsp. of butter in a large sauté pan. Sauté the celery and the onions until the celery is soft but still firm and the onions are translucent.
Boil 3 cups of chicken broth, and add in the stick of butter. Melt the butter down completely and then add it to the pan with the vegetables. Add in the boxed stuffing mix, and cover with a lid. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

20131226-154944.jpg

20131226-154953.jpg

20131226-155002.jpg

20131226-155008.jpg

20131226-155015.jpg

20131226-155024.jpg

20131226-155031.jpg

20131226-155039.jpg

20131226-155047.jpg

Advertisements

Crockpot Applesauce Take Two!

If you read my first applesauce post, you know I wasn’t completely happy with the results. It was delicious, but it just wasn’t quite right. Well folks, I am happy to announce I think I’ve got it this time!!! I would like to experiment next time with some different apples, just to see how it changes. The last time I used golden delicious apples and this time were gala’s. My mom always used granny smith’s when I was growing up, so maybe I’ll give those a try next. This time I think the applesauce improved because I cut back on the lemon juice and added a bit of brown sugar, so good!

Ingredients:
* 4 large, or 8 small Gala apples (I think I’ll try more next time, just so it yields more)
* 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
* 1 tsp. cinnamon
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 tbsp. brown sugar

Directions:
Peel, core, and slice apples and put them in the crockpot. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, water, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the crockpot. Give it a good stir and cover with lid. Cook on high 4-5 hours. Stir to mash or use a potato masher until you reach the desired consistency. Put the applesauce in Mason jars and refrigerate!

20131003-214239.jpg

Crockpot Applesauce Take 1

I love homemade applesauce and grew up helping my mom make it. She would make a huge batch of it during the summer and then freeze a bunch in our deep freeze for the cold winter months. I remember eating it as a treat warmed up, it is such a cozy memory and one that I hope to recreate with my own daughter. When my mom made applesauce she used some crazy sieve looking thing with a crank turner. If I remember correctly, she would boil the apples, crank turn them through that contraption, remove all the cores and stems, then sweeten it, and probably do some more steps I missed. That sounds like an awful lot of work to me, especially considering the sieve turner thing looks as if it’s on its last leg! Haha, so I went looking and found a MUCH simpler way of producing homemade applesauce!

Ingredients:
* 4 large apples, or 8 small ones (I used golden delicious and i think a few Granny Smith apples snuck it there too) the original recipe said you could use any apples you wanted, and maybe next time I’ll experiment with a Macintosh or other redder apple and see what the results yield with those.
* 1/2 a lemon, squeezed
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Begin by peeling, coring, and slicing your apples and placing them in the crockpot. Next, juice your lemon and add that to the apples, along with the water, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Give this a good stir, so that all the apples are evenly coated.
Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on high for 4-5 hours. My apples were very soft after 4 hours, so I would say to check it about that time. If they are ready, mash them with a potato masher or a fork. They should be quite soft and mash easily. Place your applesauce into a container and refrigerate. I used a couple of Mason jars, because it just seemed like an appropriate container for such a rustic mixture 🙂 I think this would be a really cute thing to give the neighbors/ friends/family as gifts in the fall or even to go in a basket with some baked treats as a Christmas present! Next time I plan on doubling the recipe as this only yields two pint sized jars full. I cannot wait to eat this on my pork chops I have brining in coffee in the fridge! Yep, you heard me right, COFFEE! I hope they turn out well! If so, I’ll post the recipe tomorrow! 🙂

20130924-160811.jpg

20130924-160824.jpg

20130924-160830.jpg

I used this handy little kitchen tool, smart huh?

20130924-160902.jpg

20130924-160910.jpg

20130924-160919.jpg

20130924-160928.jpg

20130924-160941.jpg

I was very pleased with this recipe, it’s still not quite like how I remember my mom’s. Since this was so easy, I think I’ll keep exploring and maybe next time just add a hint of brown sugar for some warmth and sweetness!

The correct way to cook frozen vegetables!

So I’m a silly goose, I totally know how to boil water and cook veggies, but I just never thought they quite came out just right. I have to make them soft enough too for my one year old. Frozen vegetables are another one of the few frozen items I buy. I know that fresh is obviously better, but I like to keep a variety of frozen vegetables on hand so I always have them at the ready. I finally figured out how to boil my frozen vegetables perfectly! This may seem really silly and like common sense to a lot of you, but to me I’m excited that I finally got the technique down!

Ingredients:
* 1 bag of your favorite frozen vegetables. I’ve now tried this technique with peas, mixed vegetables, carrots, and French cut green beans, and it works perfect every time!
* 1/2 cup water

Directions:
Place 1/2 cup of water in a medium sized pan and bring it to a boil. Pour in your vegetables, stir, and bring the water back up to a boil. Now, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Let cook for 8-10 minutes, or your desired softness. I’ve found that green beans take longer to cook than the smaller less dense vegetables, like peas.
I hope this helps out some other people and persuades you to eat more vegetables! 😉

20130923-090708.jpg

Restaurant-Style Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes are another one of those comfort things I love. There are so many different ways to prepare them and I don’t think I’ve ever come across a way I didn’t care for. I think my all time favorite potatoes would have to be my Grandma’s though, I don’t know what it is about hers, but they are just the best! I’ve tried duplicating her recipe, even making them with her standing right by me and mine just never come out the same. I guess that’s just the thing about Grandma’s, they are just naturally fabulous cooks! I normally just make traditional mashed potatoes with butter and salt and those are fine, but lately I’ve been into experimenting a little bit and came across this recipe. I tried it last night and we all really liked them, they are a nice change if you’re looking to spice up your regular recipe a bit. The only thing we found was that they were a bit sticky, (however thats totally understandable because the recipe does not call for milk, I know, strange)! but other than that really good!

Ingredients:
* 6-8 red potatoes, quartered, with the skins left on
* 1 1/2 tsp. coarse Kosher salt, divided
* 1/4 tsp. black pepper, more or less to taste
* 1 tsp. garlic powder
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened

Directions:

20130911-150654.jpg

Place your quartered potatoes in a large pot and fill just enough to cover the potatoes. Add in 1 tsp. of the Kosher salt to your water, this just gives the potatoes flavor. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and cover. Let the potatoes simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are fork tender.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also mix by hand with an electric mixer) add in the remaining Kosher salt, pepper, sour cream, garlic powder, Parmesan, and butter.

20130911-151427.jpg

Once your potatoes have cooked, drain them and add them into your mixer with the other ingredients.

20130911-151526.jpg

Mix all the ingredients together over medium speed, until they are smooth and everything is combined. As I mentioned earlier, they may be a little bit sticky, but you could probably add a splash or two of milk to combat this.

These would be great served with a steak, however last night I served them with a pot roast (recipe to follow) and they were a big hit! They really do taste like potatoes you would find at a restaurant.

Sliced Baked Potatoes

I’m always on the look out for hearty new side dishes to serve with our meals. My husband bought a bunch of steak from a local supplier, so we’ve been eating a lot of steak recently. I dont know about you, but we get really tired of plain old baked potatoes. So i set out to find another potato option. I found a recipe that not only looked delicious, but WAS delicious! Yay! I love it when you try recipes and they work!

Ingredients:
* 4-5 russet potatoes
* 1/2 a stick of melted butter
* cooking spray
* salt and pepper
* 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
* sliced green onions (optional)
* 4-5 slices cooked crumbled bacon (optional)
* sour cream for garnishing (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F. Wash and slice your potatoes about a 1/4 of an inch thick.

20130901-080308.jpg

Spray your pan with nonstick cooking spray and arrange the potatoes to lie flat.

20130901-080544.jpg

Brush your potatoes with the melted butter and sprinkle on some salt and pepper.

Now, bake your potatoes in your pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time check your potatoes and flip them once.

20130901-080804.jpg

Once they are done, remove them from the oven and sprinkle your cheese all over the top of the potatoes. At this time, if you were using the onions and bacon you would sprinkle them on as well. Place your potatoes back in the oven and let them cook an additional 5 minutes more, to melt the cheese.

20130901-081143.jpg

Once the cheese is melted, remove from the oven and let them cool a few minutes before serving. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and/or chives and voila! You have a baked potato in a non-traditional way!