With the holidays upon us and Thanksgiving less than a week away, I’ve decided to share the sides that are a MUST in our house. Ryan is in charge of frying a turkey, smoking another, and the oysters, but I’m in charge of the sides that he feels are mandatory.
I think we can all agree that stuffing is a must-have with the Thanksgiving spread. It happens to be one of my absolute favorite sides too, so several years ago I set out to make the most epic stuffing possible. I think I’ve achieved it – try it and see for yourself.😋
Begin with a couple large loaves of good, soft, unsliced bread. I use a combo of white and wheat. You’ll need about 9 cups total of bread cubes. Lay them out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Set aside.
Sauté over medium heat in 3/4 cup of butter the following: 1.5C diced celery, 3/4C diced onions, and 1C mushrooms (optional) until soft. Now stir in 1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp sage, 1/2tsp thyme, 1tsp poultry seasoning, and 1/4tsp pepper.
Toss seasoned veggies with bread cubes in large mixing bowl. Add in 1C chicken broth to moisten.
Transfer into a greased 9×13 baking dish and bake at 350 (uncovered) for 35-40 minutes. You can thank me later – Enjoy!!
Inspired by – Chef In Training
In honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, I feel like I should share the last “chip” recipe you’ll ever need. I say “chip” because I have made these with milk chocolate, toffee, mint, peanut butter, and white chocolate chips and all are heavenly.
I use my Kitchenaid Mixer but I think you could possibly get away with using a decent hand mixer.
Begin by sifting 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons of cake flour, 1 & 2/3 cups bread flour, 1.25 teaspoons baking soda, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, & 1.5 teaspoons coarse salt. Set aside.
With paddle attachment cream together 2.5 sticks unsalted butter (room temp), 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, & 1.25 cups light brown sugar until light and fluffy – approximately 5 minutes.
Reduce speed and add 2 eggs & 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in your chips.
Refrigerate for 24-36 hours – DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
When ready, drop by the spoonful and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes – Cool on a wire rack.
You will be the hit of the bake sale, the cookie swap, & the neighborhood Christmas party. You are welcome!🍪
Adapted From: I Am Baker
There are only a few ways to respect a perfectly ripe, garden fresh tomato. A tomato sandwich with baked white or sourdough bread, Hellmann’s Real Mayo, and salt/pepper is a classic favorite. I would even put a toasted BLT in this catagory. However, if you want to take it up a notch, tomato pie is absolutely a little slice of heaven.
There are a million ways to make a tomato pie, but this is one of my favorites. For those who don’t know my cousin (remember, the one with the unbelievable shrimp and grits recipe?!), she’s quite the cook also. This is her recipe that has come down from her mom’s side of the family. Her mom (my aunt) is one of the best cooks and bakers I know. Period.
You obviously want to begin with the most perfectly ripe tomato slices you can find. These came from our garden.
Slice a large vidalia onion and sauté it with a tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat. I like to let the onions cook way down until they begin to caramelize.
Rinse and pat dry about 15 basil leaves.
Now here is where this recipe stands out from the rest. Instead of using cheddar cheese, combine 1 cup of shredded Parmesan and 1 cup of mayonnaise. Set aside.
Cook your pie crust according to the package instructions and let cool completely. Layer your tomatoes and generously salt and pepper them.
Now layer in your onions and basil leaves. Repeat 2 more layers of each, ensuring you salt and pepper each tomato layer.
Top with your cheese and mayo mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Pairs well with fresh corn and a mixed green salad. Enjoy!
Adapted From: Catherine Ballard Logan
We obviously love Mexican inspired dishes in my house. Here is a new fajita marinade that I made yesterday and the result was spectacular. Wow.
Whisk together 1/2 cup of good Italian dressing, 1tsp cumin, 1/2tsp brown sugar, 1/2tsp black pepper, 1/4tsp salt, 1/8tsp garlic powder, and 1/8tsp chipotle seasoning.
Pour marinade into a gallon size freezer bag and add 2-3 chicken breasts. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight). Slice peppers (bell are fine, we used sweet peppers and the were divine!), mushrooms and onions.
We grilled the veggies first on a griddle and then grilled the chicken. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before cutting it diagonally into strips.
Using fresh flour tortillas, layer in Greek yogurt, your chicken and veggies.
Top with salsa, avocado, jalapeños, hot sauce, or whatever you prefer. Delish!
We LOVE eggplant at my house. One of my 2 year old’s favorite things besides Eggplant Parmesan is my Eggplant Lasagna. This low carb meal can be served meatless or with the ground meat of your choice. Essentially the eggplant replaces the pasta, and the flavor goes through the roof!!The easiest way to slice the eggplant is with a mandolin, and I use the largest setting (1/4 inch). (Peel them first!)
Warm a couple tablespoons of EVOO in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté salted eggplant slices for a couple of minutes on each side until they soften. I only do a couple at a time and then place on a paper towel lined plate. Once you finish sautéing all of your eggplant, prepare the sauce of your choice. Construct just like lasagna:
Eggplant Slices ~ Ricotta ~ Sauce ~ Mozzarella ~ Shredded Parmesan ~ Repeat
Finish with a layer of eggplant topped with cheese.😋
Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about an hour until browned and bubbly.☺️
We grow lots of eggplants. Most of the veggies we use come from our garden during the summer months including the eggplants I use in my freezer meals. So much fun!
Look how beautifully the eggplant slices replace boring ole lasagna noodles.
Fresh from the oven. It’s impossible not to have seconds. 🍆🍆🍆
Whether it’s football game days in the fall or barbecues in the summer, chips and salsa are another staple in our house. Want to impress your friends with a super easy restaurant style salsa? My husband used to always make this salsa for us, but now that I use it in my Ranch Enchiladas & Enchilada Casseroles, I’ve taken over. This one is always a huge hit!!💃🏻
~ 1 undrained can of salsa style diced tomatoes
~ 1 undrained can of original Rotel
~ 1/3 of a yellow onion, diced
~ 4-5 green onions, chopped
~ Handful of cilantro, chopped
~ Juice of a lime
~ Pinch of oregano
~ Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, & Onion Powder to taste
Packaged taco seasoning is often loaded with sodium. Make your own instead! Equal parts: Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and Chili Powder.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 part Red Pepper Flakes depending on your spicy preference!🔥