Sunday, December 27, 2009

December Dinners

Note: Until I make the meal I'm going to link to the site where I got the recipe/idea from. I'll post my version and/or comments after I've made the meal.

Red Beans and Rice (didn't go well, I'm going to try again in a few months and I'll post a recipe then)
Albondigas (Meatball) Soup (I made some errors in following the directions so either go to Crockpot 365 or Simply Recipes and do one of those recipes...I'll try again and post when I've done it right)

Christmas Dinner:  (we made all this food for three people, we're kind of crazy)
   Sweet Potato Casserole
   Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
   Cornbread Stuffing with Apple and Sausage
   Broccoli Casserole
   Pumpkin Pie
   Apple Crumble with Homemade Ice Cream


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Apples

This is basically a Food Network recipe.  I used different sausage and sprouted grain bread.  It was good just a tiny bit dry.  I'd add a bit more broth and an extra apple or two (I really like apple).

14 oz sausage ring, cut into 1/4 slices and cut those in half
1/2 cup butter
1/2 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced (you could use 3-4 apples if you like it as much as I do)
1 tbsp sage
1 tbsp thyme
1 9x9 pan cornbread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 slices dried bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 1/2 cup chicken broth (you could add an extra couple splashes if it seems too dry)

Preheat oven to 375.

Brown sausage, then remove from the pan and set aside.  Add butter to the pan, and melt over medium heat. Add celery, onions and apple and cook until softened.  Season with about half of the sage and thyme.   Place cornbread and bread cube in large casserole dish, pour vegetables and broth over top, add remaining spices and mix together.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Serves 8-10

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

The roasted garlic adds a nice touch to mashed potatoes when you aren't having gravy.  Leaving the potato skins on gives you more vitamins and makes the potato preparation much easier.

1 head garlic, bottom chopped off
1/2 tbsp olive oil
6-8  medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered, but not peeled
1 stick butter
1/2 cup cream

Preheat oven to 350.  Place garlic in a small oven safe dish and pour olive oil on top.  Roast for 1 hours.

Put the quartered potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Place over high heat.  Bring to a boil, and continue to boil for 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Drain water and place potatoes back in the hot pot.  Add butter and let melt.  Peel and mash garlic and add to potatoes.  Add cream and mash potatoes.

Serves 6-8

Sweet Potato Casserole

This is the Allrecipe's Gourmet Sweet Potato Classic but modified so that your sweet potatoes are actually cooked through and will mash easily.  This is a very sweet dish, so the sugar could be at least cut in half.

  • 5 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (you could use brown sugar instead)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (whole wheat flour works too)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark, your preference)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Roast sweet potatoes 1 hour. Cool slightly, peel, and mash.

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.  In a large bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes, salt, 1/4 cup butter, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sugar, and heavy cream. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup butter, flour, brown sugar, and chopped pecans. Mix with a pastry blender or your fingers to the consistency of course meal. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until topping is crisp and lightly browned.

Serves 8-10

Crockpot Grape Chicken

This dinner was very simple and was very flavorful.  It's the Simply Recipes Roast Chicken with grapes cooked in the crockpot.  I used chicken breast instead of a whole chicken.

6-8 chicken breast halves
1 large lemon, sliced
2/3 bag of seedless grapes
1/2 onion, chopped into wedges
At least 1/2 tbsp each thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon
1 cup white wine
Enough olive oil to coat bottom of crockpot

Coat crockpot bottom with olive oil and place onions in crockpot.  Add chicken and spices.  Cut about 1/4 of the grapes in half and place over chicken.  Pour wine over top.  Cook on low 6-7 hours or on high 3-4 hours.

Serves 6-8

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

This is Rachel Ray's Mac and Cheddar Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli but without the chicken or cayenne pepper and with added purees from Sneaky Chef (the puree can be made before and frozen for later use).  It's so much better than the boxed stuff and it's a quick recipe.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists

1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets (optional)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour (whole wheat flour works fine in rouxs!)
1 teaspoon paprika
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar (or any other cheese you like!)

1/4 cup Orange Puree
1/4 cup White Puree
1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard

Place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  If using broccoli, put in with pasta when there is 3 minutes remaining cooking time.
While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and butter.  Let the butter melt then add onion and cook 5 to 7 minutes until onions are tender.  Once onions are tender, add flour and paprika and whisk together over heat until roux bubbles then cook a minute more. Whisk in milk and stock and raise heat a little to bring sauce to a quick boil. Simmer sauce to thicken about 5 minutes.  Add purees.
Add cheese to thickened sauce and stir to melt it in, about a minute or so. Stir in mustard, and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over cooked pasta and stir to combine.

Serves 4-6 servings