Cheesy Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole

November 25, 2015

20151114 Broccoli Casserole

I made this as a side dish for our Friendsgiving feast this year. I loved that you could make it ahead of time and pop it back into the oven while the turkey rests. This meant less fuss, mess and stress when our friends were all here. Plus, who doesn’t like broccoli and cheese?

You will need:

  • 11 T unsalted butter (or olive oil), divided
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1.5 lb broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1 T + 1 1/2 t garlic powder, divided
  • 1 T + 2 t oregano, divided
  • 3 t paprika, divided
  • 4 c shredded cheese, divided (I used a cheddar and jack blend)5 T flour
  • 4 c milk
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter (or use olive oil) over medium heat.
  3. Add the mushrooms and onion, and saute 3-5 minutes until the onions start to soften.
  4. Stir in the broccoli. Saute for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine the panko with 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons oregano, and 1 teaspoon paprika.
  6. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter (or use olive oil). Stir into the crumb mixture.
  7. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese to the crumb mixture. Set aside.
  8. In a large sauce pan, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter (or use olive oil) over medium heat.
  9. Stir in the flour and cook 2 minutes.
  10. Slowly whisk in the milk until combined and smooth.
  11. Whisk in the mustard, 1 T garlic powder, 1 T oregano, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 t dried thyme and the cayenne pepper.
  12. Allow to thicken until sauce clings to the back of a spoon, whisking frequently.
  13. Whisk in the remaining 3 1/2 cups of cheese until melted and smooth.
  14. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  15. In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetables with the cheese sauce.
  16. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  17. Sprinkle with the crumb mixture.
  18. Bake 30-40 minutes or until the crumbs are golden and the dish is hot and bubbly.

NOTE: if preparing in advance, you can partially cook it or just wait until the day of your meal to cook it all the way. Whatever is easiest for your planning!


Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

November 20, 2015

I decided to try my hand at making the gravy for our Friendsgiving dinner in advance, so that there would be one less item to prepare while everyone was hanging out and celebrating. This came out even better than I anticipated!

You will need:

  • 3 turkey drumsticks (roughly 2 lbs)
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 5 ribs celery, washed and cut into large pieces
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 6 c water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 T unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2 c additional turkey or chicken stock
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

20151114 Turkey Gravy

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the drumsticks, onion, celery and garlic into a large roasting pan or dutch oven. (If you have any giblets from your turkey, you can add those too).
  3. Drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Bake for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and place on stove top.
  6. Mix in the water, scraping the browned bits up from the bottom and side.
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce to a simmer and add bay leaves.
  9. Allow to simmer for an hour to reduce.
  10. Strain and set stock aside. You should have about 2 cups of fresh stock.
  11. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  12. Whisk in the flour and allow to cook for 2 minutes.
  13. Whisk in the freshly made stock and then the additional stock.
  14. Allow gravy to thicken until it can coat the back of a spoon, whisking occasionally.
  15. Whisk in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  16. Allow to cool to room temperature before putting in the refrigerator.
  17. Warm to desired temperature before serving.

Cranberry-Blueberry Sauce

November 17, 2015

I’ve been playing with recipe ideas for Thanksgiving and am hosting a Friendsgiving to try some new ones out in advance of the big day. My mom loves cranberry sauce, and I wanted to try something beyond your traditional cranberry and orange sauce. Then I found this recipe for a quick cranberry sauce with blueberry and red wine that is a fun twist. Let me know what you think!

You will need:

  • 8 oz fresh cranberries
  • 6 oz fresh blueberries
  • 1 c juicy red wine
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground cloves

20151112 Cranberry Sauce 01

Then you will…

  1. In a large sauce pot, combine all the ingredients. You want the pot to be big enough for the sauce to foam up to about 3x its size while it cooks.
  2. Heat the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Reduce to a simmer over low heat. Allow to reduce for 20 to 30 minutes; most of the cranberries should have burst.
  4. Transfer to heat-safe jars or containers and allow to cool to room temperature on the counter. The sauce will thicken most as it cools.
  5. Sauce will stay fresh for 2 weeks if kept airtight in the fridge.

20151112 Cranberry Sauce 02


Chicken Pot Pie

November 14, 2015

We made this for our anniversary dinner. Since we could prep everything the night before, it meant we had more time for celebrating after work! Pot pies were something my family frequently had for dinner each fall and winter., and this one reminded me of cozy nights at home.

20151109 Chicken Pot Pie 03

You will need:

  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, washed and quartered
  • 2 c chopped carrots
  • 8 oz frozen sweet peas
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 2 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 t ground mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 sheet puff pastry

Then you will…

  1. In a large skillet, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the chicken and mushrooms.
  3. Saute for 5 minutes before adding the carrots.
  4. Saute for 3 minutes before adding the peas and garlic powder.
  5. Continue to cook until the peas are thawed.
  6. Spread the chicken mixture in a 9×13 baking dish.
  7. In a medium saucepan, warm the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  8. Add the onion and saute until softened and starting to turn golden.
  9. Stir in the flour and allow to cook off for a minute.
  10. Mix in the chicken stock, milk, thyme and ground mustard.
  11. Allow to come to a simmer and thicken.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Pour over the chicken filling.
  14. Roll the puff pastry out until it can cover the top of the pot pie.
  15. Top the pie with the puff pastry and season lightly with salt and pepper on top of the dough.
  16. Bake at 375 for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden and the filling hot and bubbly.

Overnight French Toast Breakfast Bread Pudding

November 9, 2015

This breakfast dish gets prepared the night before, so all you have to do is pop it into the oven and serve. It’s full of fall spices and is perfect for brunch or a holiday breakfast.

You will need:

  • 1 loaf challah bread (or favorite of your choice), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 c milk
  • 1/2 c apple butter
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • Sugar in the raw or brown sugar to sprinkle on top

Then you will…

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, apple butter, vanilla, and spices.
  2. Mix in the bread cubes.
  3. Stir to coat and allow most of the liquid to soak into the bread.
  4. Spread the mixture into a 9×13 baking dish.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Sprinkle the sugar on top of the breakfast bread pudding and bake 30-45 minutes. The top should be golden and the middle set.
  8. Serve with warmed maple syrup.

20151107 Breakfast Bread Pudding 01


Baked Pumpkin Custard

November 3, 2015

The fall is a great time for baking. It is also a great time for desserts full of apples, pumpkins, and warm spices. This custard makes your house smell as nice as it tastes.

20151024 Pumpkin Custard

You will need:

  • 2 c pumpkin puree
  • 9 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a large saucepan.
  3. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking frequently to keep smooth. The custard will begin to thicken.
  4. Remove from heat once it is thick enough to coat a spoon.
  5. Pour into the pie plate.
  6. Bake 50-60 minutes until set and a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.

Hamburger Stroganoff

October 26, 2015

This is a quick and hearty fall dinner option. We like it due to its rich mushroom flavor and the fact that you can serve it over noodles or mashed potatoes. While it doesn’t photograph all that great, I promise your taste buds will enjoy it.

You will need:

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 11 oz cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 c beef broth
  • 1 c water
  • 1 T parsley
  • 1 c sour cream

20141024 Hamburger Stroganoff

Then you will…

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, break up the hamburger and cook until starting to brown over medium heat.
  2. Add the olive oil and onion. Saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms are golden.
  4. Season with pepper, salt and garlic powder.
  5. Mix in the soup, broth and water.
  6. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce is reduced by two-thirds.
  7. Stir in the parsley and sour cream. Allow to heat through until the sauce returns to a low bubble.
  8. Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.

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