stuffing

Another Thanksgiving recipe to get us ready for the big day this week. Stuffing … my favorite part of the meal! And easy to make in the slow cooker, saving valuable space in the oven for the turkey and other sides.

food with pictures

I shall start by saying that I am fully aware the name of this should be “dressing” rather than “stuffing” since stuffing is meant to stuff inside the turkey, and dressing is meant to be cooked on the side. I have always called it stuffing and will continue to do so. That is my prerogative. And now to continue with the post. 🙂

~~~

When I was in 7th grade I took Home Ec class. That would be Home Economics to you young people. Or what they now call Teen Living or FACS (Family And Consumer Sciences). In the fall of that 7th grade year we were in the kitchen section, and in the spring we went to the sewing room. I enjoyed both, but especially the times we cooked. No surprise there.

That fall, prior to Thanksgiving, the class was making all the components of a typical Thanksgiving feast…

View original post 694 more words

Preparing for our Thanksgiving feast

gravy

Do you see that cool swirl from the steam off the gravy? No photoshop tricks here. I didn’t even know this happened until after I was reviewing the photos!

Here are links to the recipes I’ll be using for our Thanksgiving feast this year.

My meal will include:

turkey with gravy (for the gravy, the link will take you to the gravy I made from a roast chicken — same process for turkey gravy)

stuffing To save oven space for the bird, I now make the stuffing in a crock pot.

???????????????????????????????

vegetables

veggies

sweet potatoes

sweet potatoes

smashed potatoes

mashed potatoes

rolls

cranberry sauce

cranberry sauce

apple pie (I will post the recipe for the pie pictured below very soon. Can’t believe I haven’t posted it yet!)

apple pie

pumpkin pie (I am not a huge pumpkin pie fan, though my husband and oldest son love it, so I use a can of organic pumpkin and follow the typical pumpkin pie recipe — pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves.)

pumpkin pie

chocolate pie (my daughter and youngest son will not eat apple or pumpkin pie … and I don’t mind one bit adding a chocolate pie to the menu!)

chocolate pie

***

Here is a link to shortcuts I take to make my Thanksgiving meal easy and less work the day of the feast.

Thanksgiving prep

***

To start the day I’ll serve baked French toast. Such a holiday favorite of mine!

baked french toast

***

What items are on your Thanksgiving meal menu?

whole wheat dinner rolls

whole wheat dinner rolls

Happy Easter!

For our Easter meal today I cooked a ham and served it with orange mustard sauce, asparagus, sweet potatoes and sliced baked potatoes. Dessert will be a bunny cake.

I posted a slightly different version of these rolls last year. You can find that recipe here.  These are done the same, though the ingredients are slightly different. Delicious with the ham and veggies!

***

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Put ingredients into the bread machine in the following order:

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons dry milk

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

whole wheat rolls (6)

~

Set the bread machine to the DOUGH cycle.

When complete, remove the dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Heat oven to 350F.

Cut the dough into 12 pieces.

Put a small amount of butter into each compartment of a 12-count muffin tin.

whole wheat rolls (4)

Place one piece of dough into each compartment.

whole wheat rolls (3)

Cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm area for about 15 minutes. (The top of the oven was warm, so I put mine there.)

Remove the towel and bake at 350F for about 15-20 minutes.

whole wheat rolls (2)

whole wheat dinner roll

dinner rolls

My family likes bread. We do. A lot. And especially when the bread is warm, right out of the oven … oh my … it’s heavenly.

Here’s our favorite recipe that my daughter makes often. In the recipe below it lists both regular flour and whole wheat flour, and we’ve always made them this way, but last week, on Thanksgiving, she thought we were out of wheat flour because I had put it in the wrong cabinet, so the rolls were made all with unbleached white flour. Either way, they taste wonderful!

*Note: The original recipe came from the cookbook that accompanied our bread machine. It listed the brown sugar, though we use honey 99.9% of the time. In the original instructions they say to put the rolls onto a greased cookie sheet, which works well, but we prefer the uniform shape we get by using the muffin tins.

##########

Dinner Rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water (about 80 degrees F)

2 tablespoons oil

1/4 cup honey (or brown sugar)

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons dry milk

2 1/2 cups flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

~~~

In the bread machine, place all the ingredients in the order listed above.

Set the machine to the dough cycle and start.

When completed, remove the dough and place on a lightly floured surface.

Using a sharp knife, divide the dough into 18 pieces.

Shape the pieces into balls or twists or blobs or whatever.

Place each piece into greased muffin tins.

Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes (they should double in size).

Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes, or until golden.

stuffing

I shall start by saying that I am fully aware the name of this should be “dressing” rather than “stuffing” since stuffing is meant to stuff inside the turkey, and dressing is meant to be cooked on the side. I have always called it stuffing and will continue to do so. That is my prerogative. And now to continue with the post. 🙂

~~~

When I was in 7th grade I took Home Ec class. That would be Home Economics to you young people. Or what they now call Teen Living or FACS (Family And Consumer Sciences). In the fall of that 7th grade year we were in the kitchen section, and in the spring we went to the sewing room. I enjoyed both, but especially the times we cooked. No surprise there.

That fall, prior to Thanksgiving, the class was making all the components of a typical Thanksgiving feast, and the teacher allowed us to bring in family recipes if we wished to. I was so proud of my grandmother’s stuffing and was excited to show it to the teacher, in hopes that she’d pick it for the recipe the class used. Well, when I wrote it out to give to her, I called it stuffing when it was actually dressing. Or vice versa. I can’t remember the exact details. But what happened next was one of the worst moments of my 7th grade year: The teacher converted the recipe to be the opposite of what it actually was. For example, there is more liquid in dressing than in stuffing, since when stuffing is in the bird the natural juices of the turkey add that extra necessary liquid, but when cooking it on its own, you need to have more liquid to start with. So I can’t quite remember if she added liquid or reduced the liquid in my grandmother’s recipe, but she did one of the two. I was quite a shy child and especially nervous around adults, so the mistake was never corrected. Consequently, when the class made our Thanksgiving feast, the stuffing was not what it should have been. It was not even close to my grandmother’s amazing stuffing.

~~~

The following recipe is not my grandmother’s recipe. I’m sad to say I don’t have a copy of her original. What I have done is created a stuffing that I enjoy. And by “enjoy” I mean “love so much I could eat it and only it for meal after meal, especially on Thanksgiving day and the next morning for breakfast … and for snack”.

I usually make this without sausage, but while doing my Thanksgiving shopping this year, my local store had pork sage sausage sitting right there at eye level, calling my name. I like their sausage, since it has no fillers or strange ingredients.

So I decided to make two batches — one with sausage and one without. Due to limited space in the oven, I did the sausage-free stuffing in the crockpot while cooking the one with stuffing in the oven. This is the second time I’ve used my crockpot for stuffing, and it turned out wonderful! It’s also fast and stays warm without drying out. And it frees up much needed oven space.

##########

Stuffing

In a skillet melt:

  • half a stick of butter

Over medium/low heat, slowly cook in the butter:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped onion
  • 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • a few cloves of garlic, finely chopped (optional)

Add:

  • a few teaspoons of Bell’s seasoning or a few teaspoons sage (I’m usually very generous with this seasoning and add about 4 teaspoons)

Note: The day before Thanksgiving I prepped these ingredients by having them all chopped and put into a baggie with the butter and seasoning.

 

Stirring often, cook until the onions and celery are very tender.

 

 

In a greased casserole dish (or greased crockpot … I use butter to grease these), put in:

  • half a bag of cornbread cubes
  • half a bag of herb seasoned bread cubes
  • the cooked onion and celery
  • cooked chopped pork sage sausage, if desired

 

Stir the ingredients.

 

Now pour into the casserole dish (or crockpot):

 

Using a spatula or the back of a large serving spoon, press the mixture, making sure all of the bread gets saturated with the chicken broth. If you can see some of the liquid on the edges when pressing down on the bread and vegetables, you’re good. If not, add more liquid (broth or water).

 

 

In a 325F or 350F oven, cook covered for about 30 minutes, then remove the cover and continue to cook for about 15 minutes more (exact cooking time will depend on the size of your pan, and your oven).

Or…

In the crockpot, cook on low a few hours, or on high for a shorter time. (Note: I started mine on high for one hour, then changed it to the warm setting and kept it there all afternoon … tasting it often.)

 

dipping oil

We have a favorite local family restaurant where we go as a family to celebrate our birthdays or other special occasions. They have yummy food the kids like, as well as for us older members of the family. Everything is fresh and delicious and the service has never ruined a meal.

At this restaurant, as soon as we’re seated, they bring out delicious bread with dipping oil. Even though their food is delicious, I would be just as happy with a glass of wine, the basket of warm bread, and the dipping oil.

Good news: We now recreate this dipping oil at home, which is nice, since I can’t afford to eat out as often as I’d like to!

##########

Dipping Oil

a generous amount of good quality olive oil

a decent amount of black pepper

plenty of garlic powder or freshly chopped garlic

as much ground cayenne pepper as you can tolerate (or red pepper flakes)

a few teaspoons of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

a little dried oregano

~~~

Mix together in a small bowl (I use one of my cute new dipping bowls) and serve with good crusty bread.

drop biscuits

Oh the joy!  The Joy of Cooking, that is.

Now back when I was a single lady (did Beyonce’s song just go through your head as well?) it was mandatory that all women out on their own who attempt to do anything in a kitchen need to own a copy of The Joy of Cooking. I had a roommate who was very much a do-as-your-momma-tells-you southern belle and she wouldn’t put on her ruffled apron until she had consulted her precious and stained copy. It was difficult for me to display my copy of this cookbook/reference book/kitchen bible next to hers on the shelf in our shared kitchen. Her copy had dried-on food in the pages, a ripped cover, bent pages, and was just overall yukky looking, while mine was pristine and had cute little sticky notes indicating recipes I liked to reference. It used to freak me out to even imagine her using my copy by mistake.

Decades have gone by and I don’t refer to this cookbook as often (and it is still in good condition, in case you were wondering). But one recipe I got out of that book, and that I use often, is for Drop Biscuits. These are simple to make and go well with creamed turkey, which I make a day or two after Thanksgiving every year. When I was growing up that meal was always a favorite of mine — almost more so than the main Thanksgiving day meal. Kudos to my mom who made it each year without fail. She had one happy daughter.

Now I have a daughter who couldn’t care less about the creamed turkey, but loves the drop biscuits. And good news, she volunteers to make them when she’s in the mood for biscuits! Double yahoo!

And more good news: You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving for these (but you knew that, right?). The other day I purchased two rotisserie chickens for the enchiladas which resulted in way more chicken than I needed for that recipe. So I cut up the remaining chicken and made creamed chicken with drop biscuits the next night.

Tomorrow’s recipe will be the creamed chicken. Make sure you come back to check it out!

##########

Drop Biscuits

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

5 tablespoons cold butter, cut up

1 cup milk

Heat oven to 450F.

In large deep bowl combine dry ingredients. Add the butter to the bowl. Use a pastry blender (also known as a dough blender) to cut in the butter until the pieces of butter are all smaller than a pea. Add the cup of milk and stir with a fork, just until it all comes together. Use a serving spoon to “drop” the batter onto a greased cookie sheet (or use a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper). This recipe yields 9 good sized biscuits, or you could make 12 smaller ones (if making the smaller ones, use a rounded tablespoon to get the correct size). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

after adding the milk and stirring with a fork

dry ingredients with butter incorporated into it using the pastry blender