One of my best "use the oven at all times" Thanksgiving tips: plan an easy side dish that can roast or broil while the turkey rests and is carved.
EVEN IF you have a few casseroles that need to reheat at the same time, having one veggie that comes out of the oven fresh right as you're ready to eat makes a really nice balance to what can be a pretty heavy meal.
This technique can apply to tons of veggies, like this 5-minute asparagus from last year or these broiled lemon green beans. This year, I'm doing spiced, roasted Brussels sprouts. They get washed/prepped early in the week, then tossed with butter and spices early in the day. It's a raw veg, so no need to clog up fridge space. They hang out on a baking sheet prepped and ready, roast in the oven while the turkey gets its beauty treatment, and done! A vegetable for those of us that like some vegetables with our butter....
aka my BIL Ben being all "omg but seriously what the f~ck is in this."
It's butter. And sausage. And REALLY good bread, just enough seasoning, and we find that really good sausage stuffing does not have to be really hard to make. In fact, this may be one of the easiest Thanksgiving side dishes to make and quite possibly the best stuffing ever.
I've seen stuffing with TONS of ingredients, sometimes so many that the stuffing becomes a meal in and of itself. I think those recipes are fun and interesting, but for Thanksgiving I'm really into basic recipes so that one thing on the dish isn't completely overwhelming to the rest of the plate.
Enter, this classic and easy sausage stuffing recipe. It's got really yummy flavors but just nine ingredients, stuff that is readily available, and can be made well in advance (a few days before your big meal certainly), baked, and reheated right before you eat.
The resulting sausage stuffing is super flavorful, tender with some crispy bits, salty and savory from the sausage and spices....
That's right. It's turkey time.
How are you on turkey at Thanksgiving? I'm very medium. Mostly here for the sides, can manage if it's well cooked and the gravy is on point. It's never my FAVORITE thing, though. And the obvious next thing to say would be...."until now," but honestly still give me all the casseroles.
HOWEVER. This turkey is 1,000% delicious, flavorful, juicy, and just really really simple to make and make well.
My issue is dry turkey, mainly. This is not that....
IT'S HERE IT'S HERE IT'S HERE.
The first Thanksgiving recipe of 2019!
I'm psyched. Thanksgiving recipes are so much fun to brainstorm, and we had the best time a few months ago coming up with some really delicious new recipes for you!
Up first: Jiffy Corn Pudding. It's made in a jif....ha...don't leave me. There are LOTS of things that are called corn pudding and corn casserole, and this version is as follows: cornbread mix to save us some time, corn because vegetables, spices for flavor, pepper jack cheese, sour cream AND heavy cream because it's Thanksgiving, crackers on top for crunch....
This pumpkin blondies recipe is an EGG FREE DESSERT RECIPE with added pumpkin and fall spices for an easy fall twist on this delicious dessert! These can be made in advance - they keep great in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for even longer.
Got you some seasonal ish, right here.
I am having a season of easy blondies recipes. Since Beck has been old enough to vaguely care about helping in the kitchen I find that I enjoy baking more and more BUT, baking tends to take a lot of time, and Beck's attention span is approximately 47 seconds.
So I'm always on the hunt for quick dessert recipes - things that don't have a ton of ingredients or use a mixer, that sort of thing. Like my absolute favorite brownies: those are worth her attention.
Cue: Brown Butter Pumpkin Blondies....
this recipe is sponsored by microplane. they're offering a discount code to readers (see below!) and there will be a giveaway on Instagram later this week. be sure to follow along and enter!
Here's our new super duper easy one-pot dinner for fall!
I have been SO excited to share this with you. Creamed Spinach Mac and Cheese. It's one of those really nice unicorn dishes that everyone likes, that has veggies in it, that is comforting but not so heavy that we can't eat it on a Tuesday, checks a lot of boxes.
Let's break it down: We are boiling some noodles, and we aren't messing around with a roux/white sauce. We're stirring some dairy stuff together super quickly because we're hungry. Fresh nutmeg grated with Microplane's Spice Mill adds tons of flavor with zero effort, and garlic + handfuls of greens round the whole thing out. The resulting creamy mac is practically perfect in every way....
The most yummy crispy smashed potatoes from Bon Appetit! This is one of my favorite tiny potato recipes: tender boiled potatoes smashed and drizzled with garlic butter sauce, then baked to crispy, salty, buttery submission. Make. These. Now.
Don't leave me. It feels good. Embrace it. The garlic butter, that is.
Hello and welcome to your new favorite side dish! These smashed potatoes are YUMMY, a word that honestly should be used to describe as many of your foods as possible. You only live once, potatoes are a vegetable, and garlic butter is the savory icing on the potato cake that we all need to use whenever we possibly can.
These are my version of Bon Appetit's smashed potatoes: they're simple to make in just a few steps and the end result is a fluffy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside cross between mashed potatoes and french fries that is REALLY yummy. Trust....
Five days until Christmas! I'm not usually a huge baker, but this year I'm allll about it. Dying to make a massive cookie plate with 87 items, that sort of thing. I've made a few new recipes in the last two weeks just to "check" aka have cookies all month, and this is one of the recipes that I'm absolutely making again this week.
It's regular sugar cookies. Advertised as chewy, super easy to make, and a really perfect plain incarnation of a sugar cookie, in the best possible way. I think that fancy cookies have a place, but at Christmas I want things that taste regular, if that makes any sense at all.
I found this recipe on Add a Pinch, and used the dough as a base for the cookies. The recipe calls for rolling the dough into balls then baking that way (like snickerdoodles!), but I rolled the dough into logs instead, then sliced them over the course of a few days when I wanted fresh cookies. It worked perfectly and was easier than rolling the cookies individually into balls, although the result of that method looks a little bit fancier....
This super easy roasted pork loin is completely fool proof and has a garlic and herb butter crust that makes the most delicious pan drippings. Try this for a holiday dinner or medium-fancy weekend dinner idea!
Here's our 2018 Holiday Meal!
No but seriously. I'm going to make this roasted pork loin once a week until February.
How was your weekend? Our was....well, let's just say that I'm really excited for the holidays but also am feeling the exhaustion and the feelings and the busy-ness and WHY ARE YOU PUKING ON ME AGAIN, BABY, in a very hard way. The week before Christmas feels like packing for vacation to me...once we get it done and onto the main event everything will be fiiiiiine....
Omg Baby It's Cold Outside and also the controversy about that song. Currently not ok and also historically fine because that's how people used to be/talk/sing, I think. I've noticed that people have a really hard time with two emotions coexisting, probably will be a theme of mine in 2019, talking about that more.
So how are you? We had an awesome-but rainy birthday weekend for Beck, and then the snow wrecked havoc on our little city because we aren't really equipped to manage it. Lots of people lost power for over 24 hours and we are on day three of no internet, which is NOT IDEAL for 1. TV watching and 2. working from home, which we both do. But we are managing, thanks to severely reduced expectations and mobile hotspots.
Tonight, though, we are GOING TO SEE HAMILTON. And also it is going to be 50 degrees and we are going to have a fabulous dinner beforehand. I have been looking forward to this night for so very long, and I've already heard great things about the tour we're seeing. It feels like an awesome time of year to get to see such a special show - chilly and decorated downtown and everything feeling so very festive. Festive like these! French Onion Fillo Bites, and get off me about how to spell it. There are three (maybe more) spellings used interchangeably on the internet and the box of pastry cups I used say Fillo, so that's what we're going with. These are super simple and involve a wildly delicious caramelized onion filling topped with sharp cheese. That is stuffed into premade pastry cups (that I love using this time of year) and baked, and everything gets ooey gooey and just makes the most delicious one-bite snack. I love these for parties or as a starter to a fancier meal, and honestly keeping some of the onion mixture around to spread on crostini wouldn't be a terrible idea at all. ...
Continuing our leftover plan for the week! I feel like sometimes there are LOTS of leftovers of certain casseroles, especially heavier things. Maybe it's just our family, but if you make an 8-person casserole or side dish BUT there are 97 side dishes and people only eat a few spoonfuls of each thing....leftovers.
Like mashed potatoes! That we are going to fry into patties and top with stewed apples, latke-style. If these are inauthentic enough, feel free to re-purpose the idea for Hanukkah. Here's the recipe that I used for this batch of potato cakes.
Since Beck has gotten big enough to care we usually do a breakfast all together one or two days per week - usually on weekends when Jay is with us, but also sometimes Mondays call for pancakes made with all white flour and extra butter, and I'm not above that at all. I'm REALLY hoping to score some leftover mashed potatoes this week to make these on Saturday. They're super easy to make and you could definitely form them the night before and fry them right before breakfast, maybe throw some bacon in a skillet just for good measure.
Delicious, easy leftover turkey salad made with cranberry sauce and mayo. This is the BEST use for leftover turkey, hands down! It's also gluten free and done in 10 minutes, huge win. Make this soon!
YUM YUM YUM.
I've said it a gazillion times, but turkey is definitely not my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Appetizers and casseroles and wine are. Clearly.
I think that's because turkey can be underwhelming, or dry, and it DEFINITELY doesn't hold up as well in terms of leftovers like, say, some kind of buttery cheesy casserole does. Leftover turkey can be chewy and tough and just bland, but I'm NOT here to celebrate food waste, ever. So we had to do something wonderful with leftover turkey.
Mayonnaise, obviously was the answer. This turkey salad is so different from roast turkey from Thanksgiving day, and the addition of cranberries livens up the flavor for such a fun different twist. This would be so yummy for a brunch, or on crackers/with greens for lunch or a snack. Plus: it's pink!...
OMG OMG OMG.
In a real world we probably can't have all of these things for one meal. Or shouldn't, at the very least. ButIwanttosobadseriously.
What do you do for your Thanksgiving re: green things or health considerations?
Some people are all balance every day and some are more just casseroles is fine, thanks. We fall somewhere in the middle with a lot of "we do this every year" and me trying to shove new things into the mix. One thing that is normal for us is that my dad always does a "plain" green veg. Something free of bacon or cheese or condensed xx of yy soup, and it works so well with some of the heavier flavors we have on Thanksgiving.
This is that! A super simple, mostly pure veg. Lemon juice and olive oil and salt go so well with asparagus, and you can broil this right at the end of your meal prep right after you carve the turkey - seriously last minute stuff, even after the casseroles are reheated. The result is a charred lemon flavor that adds a ton to the asparagus without overpowering it, and the health benefits of, you know, anything green.
Ok so we agree that the weather firmly dictates what we desire to eat, right?
Because today it is pouring rain and freezing and dark AND it's my first day alone with both kids, and is it too early to plan on making myself mashed potatoes for lunch? Or ordering a burger that costs $5 to be delivered for a 50% upcharge?
I'm not above it, is my point. Send funny memes.
Onward, though, in our Thanksgiving planning! We have about ten days to go, and these potatoes should a thousand percent be on your menu. They have very few ingredients and are ridiculously delicious thanks to a few tricks. The first trick is to boil the potatoes whole. This takes a bit (ok, a lot) longer, but the flavor of the potatoes stays IN them instead of floating out into the water, and the resulting texture is closer to a smashed baked potato, which I adore. The second "trick" is...a lot of butter and salt. I don't know a different way to say that, but butter and salt make potatoes taste amazing, so we use a lot of it here.
For make-ahead purposes, these could be made easily on Monday or Tuesday of next week, and then baked right before you eat on Thursday. Starchy sides hold up so well in the fridge, and I love them for that reason - anything I can make in its entirety before the day of the big meal is a huge win. ...
Continuing our Thanksgiving prep! Enter...a newish way to eat veggies with lots of butter in them. I like carrots in almost all forms, but they can definitely feel like an afterthought or boring vegetable. We roast them at home a ton with olive oil, salt, and dried dill - that's probably my favorite way to eat them.
My family never did carrots at holidays, but I think the boiled-in-sugar version is common, or at least was in the 80's, in many families. I think carrots (I always picture them at cafeterias like this) boiled in butter and sugar are delicious, and that was kind of the impetus for this recipe. We boil the carrots in stock, butter, and spices, then broil them with some coarse sugar for a fake brulee effect. The end result is tender, flavorful, and so warming from the spices.
This is my absolute favorite rice dish, and one of the easiest casseroles to make! All the ingredients to into a baking dish (my favorite Staub, always!) and bake to a perfectly light, fluffy, mushroom rice casserole with onions that caramelize themselves in the broth and seasonings. YUM.
Hey, gluten free Thanksgiving side dish!
First, though, thank you for all the sweet words about Will! At 3 days postpartum I am totally healed and acclimated to having two children, and everyone is sleeping wonderfully, and the time change was obviously no issue for anyone....
The best Thanksgiving alternative, I love just cooking a roasted turkey breast (bone in) for Thanksgiving nostalgia in about half the time. This recipe includes my favorite easy homemade gravy recipe that comes out perfectly every time. Plan for just under an hour for this oven roasted turkey breast recipe.
HAPPY NOVEMBER. How. Is. It. Here.
Since Thanksgiving is just three weeks away (how.is.it.here.), we have to start prepping our menu ASAP! Our plans are pretty up in the air this year due to newborn status (basically, if anyone has so much as a sniffle we aren't going), but our tentative plan is to have a day with Jay's family and a day with mine and the rest of the weekend for rest.
To simplify, I love making a roast turkey breast instead of a whole roast turkey - it's so simple and takes WAY less time than cooking a whole bird. This method is the only one I use and it's totally foolproof: no brining or mess, just simple, delicious roasted turkey that is NEVER dry....
I've started joking with my family when they're like mmmm love those potatoes, and I'm all, you mean the butter with a little potato? Yeah, it's local.
I use local butter and buy it in two pound logs and that makes it healthy, and environmentally friendly, and community-conscious, and an all-around good choice. Showing you this recipe is doubly relevant today because we watched the "Fat" episode of Salt Fat Acid Heat last night and HOLY COW HOW INSPIRING. The show itself is phenom, the setting is gorgeous, we learned a ton (I think I safely speak for Jay when I say that we, as a couple, like learning about food in all the ways all the time), and I came away with about ten new ideas for holiday cooking specifically. Highly recommend you watch it this week all the way through so we can discuss.
So, given the fat theme, it makes perfect sense that we roast our cauliflower in butter. Good butter, enough butter so that you know it's there, butter butter butter. The concept here is super easy: some raw ingredients (literally salt, fat, acid) in and on a whole cauliflower, some liquid and cherry tomatoes to bring everything together, roasty toasty, and fresh herbs to finish. We served this a few weeks ago with some chicken and veggies, but honestly I could eat half of this cauliflower with a hunk of bread and call it dinner. I use chicken stock here because we aren't vegetarian, but veggie stock would be wonderful for a truly vegetarian option.