Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Thanksgiving secret...

My secret to a stress free Thanksgiving? Prep and/or pre-cook EVERYTHING the day before!

I make fresh cornbread for dressing a day early, then assemble it the night before.  I always make it a little 'wet' so that it wont dry out overnight.  Sometimes you still need a splash of chicken stock before baking.  I NEVER put it inside the bird, that's just crazy talk!

I ALWAYS make FRESH cranberry sauce. That canned stuff is crap. You can make it a week ahead, but I usually just do it on prep day, Thanksgiving-eve.

If you are still using canned green beans for green bean casserole, please stop. You are getting ZERO nutrition from it, and it can easily be made FRESH! I make it the day before, and of course I use a homemade cream of mushroom soup. I takes no time at all, and tastes a million times better! (The quick low down; Steam green beans with salt, pepper, garlic powder. Saute onion, a few cloves of garlic, and a good bit of fresh mushrooms. Add cream, half & half, or milk, salt and pepper and simmer. Combined with drained green beans. Bake Thanksgiving day, until warm)

I always have my Brussel Sprouts cleaned, cut, and waiting in a bag. Then when they are ready to go in the oven for roasting, all you have to do is toss with olive oil and salt/pepper.

I make an Herb butter for my bird. I do this a couple days out, then Thanksgiving-Eve I lather and get ready for the oven. I serve dinner around noon, so typically I set an alarm for the early morning. When I get up, all I have to do is throw it in the oven and go back to bed.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Asparagus omelet

This is such a fancy yet EASY omelet!  I was a little disappointed with my egg flipping skills this morning, so pardon the less than perfect after pic!  :)

2 eggs-beaten
10-15 small asparagus-cut in pieces
1tsp olive oil
1 slice sharp cheddar
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the asparagus and saute until almost tender.  Beat 2 eggs and add salt & pepper to taste.  Evenly pour the eggs over the asparagus and cook until set.  Flip and allow to cook for just another minute.  Place the cheese on half of the side facing up.  As you place it on the plate, allow it to fold in half over the cheese.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Slow cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Have you ever noticed the longer you cook spaghetti sauce, the better it is?  I had this brilliant idea, why not cook it in the slow cooker?  So I tried it, and guess what, IT WAS AMAZING!

10 roma tomatoes
1 large onion
half of a bag of baby carrots
6 cloves of garlic
1.5 lbs lean ground beef
1 can of organic crushed tomatoes
Italian seasoning
garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar

This is not a recipe that you have to precisely measure.  I use fresh ingredients and it is incredible!

I start out with a layer of Roma tomatoes, cut in half.   

I season my sauce in layers.  Salt the tomatoes directly, this will help them break down.

Layer chopped onion, a finely chopped carrots, 6 cloves of garlic-chopped, then season liberally with salt, pepper, sugar and italian seasoning.

I 'sprinkle' my ground beef on the top of the veggie layers.  Then, salt and pepper and give a little sprinkle of garlic powder to this layer also.  This recipe makes a full slow cooker of sauce, it is going to take a considerable amount of seasoning.  Lastly, pour the can of crushed tomatoes over the meat.  As the sauce cooks, the flavors will begin to mix.

Cook on high for 6-8 hours.  When you initially look at the sauce, it will not look like sauce.  You will see the meat on top.  Once you give it a quick stir, it will quickly come together.

I typically place all the ingredients in my slow cooker the night before and put it in the fridge.  In the morning, I just pull it out, put it in the base and turn it on.  Then, when I get home, I give it a quick stir.  If you are finding your sauce to be a little acidic, you can stir in a tsp of baking soda a few minutes prior to serving.

Another tip, instead of boiling noodles, why not just throw them in the pot?  As long as there is adequate liquid (you have to just eyeball it, but add a couple of cups of water), you can toss them right in the pot and let them hang out for about 20 minutes.


Monday, September 1, 2014


This one is for Abbi.  :)

As I child, I never liked guacamole.  But I never had fresh guacamole either.  As soon as I tasted it at one of those places that makes it table-side, I was hooked!  Every time I serve this recipe at a get together, it's gone within minutes!

We serve it with blue corn chips.

5 ripe avocados
1/2 chopped red onion
2 fresh jalapenos, chopped
the juice of 1 lime


Thursday, February 6, 2014

My healthy addiction

Did you know that Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet?  One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K -- and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

With that said, my favorite thing to eat currently is a Kale & avocado salad.  I take fresh organic red kale, cube some organic avocado and toss in a citrus vinaigrette.  I can't even begin to tell you how tasty this is!  :)

Citrus vinaigrette (4 servings)
4 Tbls Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 tsp honey
2 Tsp Dijon (or yellow) mustard
3 Tbls olive oil

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This is my Brother-in-laws favorite part of Thanksgiving.  I have to say, it is one of my favorites!  I love cranberry sauce.  Years ago I started making it.. and I will never buy canned junk again!

12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
apple (or orange) juice
1 1/2 cup sugar
ground cinnamon
ground cloves
ground ginger

I double my recipe, but a good rule of thumb is for every 12oz bag of cranberries, use 1.5 cups of sugar.

Place fresh (or frozen) berries in a pot.  Pour liquid (water, apple, or orange juice) until it is almost to the top of the berries.  You can always add more if you need it, but can't take it out.  Add sugar and spices.  I change my spices up from year to year.  This year I added about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 3 'dashes' of cloves and 2 pinches of ginger.  Sometimes I only do sugar.  It isn't rocket 'surgery'  :)

Bring berries to boil, they will start to pop.  Stir every few minutes and keep an eye on them.  They will boil over as soon as you look away and wheeeeew- what a mess that is to clean up!

When the berries pop they break down and magically dissolve into a big pot of yummy goodness.  Once the mix is mostly liquid, and the berries have cooked down, turn it off.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.  Take a little taste.  This is where you can play with the flavor.  It is a good point to add more sugar if you'd like, but make sure the mix heats back up so it dissolves.

Place in fridge and Enjoy! I make mine the day before!  :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The yummiest Cheesecake ever.

My gf Ashley and her hubs invited us over for an amazing dinner, and this was my contribution to the meal.  I've been meaning to post this for a while now.  No pics, but I promise it is AMAZING!

*no water bath needed for this recipe*

Crust Ingredients
2 cups Graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar

Blend thoroughly and press firmly against bottom and sides of a 8 or 9 inch spring form pan.  Bake at 350° for 10 min.

Filling Ingredients
4 packages (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Add sugar and mix thoroughly.  Add eggs one at a time, blending completely.  Add lemon juice and vanilla.  Spread mixture into pan and bake in preheated 325° for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, turn oven off and let the cheesecake sit in a closed oven for 30 minutes.  Then, cool completely and refrigerate.  Top with pie filling or other topping.  It is fabulous plain as well!