Monthly Archives: November 2015

Sausage and Sourdough Bread Stuffing

Isn’t stuffing usually the best part of Thanksgiving? Why do we only eat it at this time of year? Sure, I guess you could argue that sage is more of a fall herb so it’s weird to eat it in the spring or summer. But who cares? Is anyone with me in getting stuffing out of the Thanksgiving rut and into mainstream life? Plus, there are so many different and exciting stuffing recipes out there that if you only eat it once a year, it will take years to try them all. Well, I’m having a small Thanksgiving dinner this week and my friend offered to bring the stuffing so it was one less thing for me to do. But since I love making stuffing, I made a batch of this Sausage and Sourdough Bread Stuffing last weekend, just for me. Shh, don’t tell anyone!

Sourdough bread is toasted in the oven before being mixed with cooked onion, celery and spicy turkey sausage. Fresh fragrant herbs of thyme, sage, and parsley bring this mixture to life and send it over the top. A quick soaking of broth, egg and water and this stuffing bakes until perfectly tender on the inside and golden and crusty on top. A helping of this served with a side veggie and you’ve got a happy dinner for any night of the week, Thanksgiving or not.

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange bread in single layers on 2 jelly-roll pans. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden, rotating pans after 10 minutes. Turn oven off; leave pans in oven for 30 minutes or until bread is crisp.

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Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook 11 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

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Transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Add sausage to pan. Increase heat; sauté 8 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan using a slotted spoon; add sausage to vegetable mixture.

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Stir in bread, herbs, and pepper; toss. Combine broth, 1 cup water, and egg, stirring well. Drizzle broth mixture over bread mixture; toss.

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Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; cover with foil. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook 20 minutes or until browned.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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Spinach Custard Pie

It’s almost Thanksgiving which means it’s appropriate to eat as much pie as you want, right? Well, maybe not. Pies in general are pretty easy to make yet seem so daunting. I admit, I’ll plan on making a pie for dessert next Thursday but this week, I still need to try to eat healthy. But who says you can’t have a healthy pie? Not all pies have to be sweet or have to have crust. So, when I came across this recipe for Spinach Custard Pie, I knew I’d found exactly what I was looking for.

Frozen chopped spinach is the base for this pie which has a little onion, red pepper, eggs and Parmesan cheese. Fat-free (or light) sour cream pulls all of this together, giving the mixture the consistency of spinach dip. Topped with a dash of paprika, this vegetarian pie bakes until golden brown and fragrant. Because it’s easy to portion out, this pie is a perfect option for the quick grab-and-go meal that’s packed with veggies. I’m eating this all week for lunch but one could argue that because of the eggs, this could be a breakfast option too. Pie for breakfast or lunch? Yes, please!

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain well. Place spinach in a large bowl.

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Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion and bell pepper; sauté 2 minutes or until tender.

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Add onion mixture, eggs, and egg whites to spinach. Add flour, cheese, butter, salt, pepper and sour cream; stir to combine.

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Spoon mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with paprika.

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Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

 

Lighter Sloppy Joes

My posts have been few and far between lately. I can’t explain it. I’m busy, I spend too much time on the computer already, I have other things I want to do, blah blah blah. The thing is, I still cook every weekend and make the food I plan on posting. I just don’t get around to writing up these posts. Honestly, my life is boring lately. I don’t really have anything to say. My life consists of work, cooking, eating and doing puzzles. Oh, and trying to get in a daily workout. But who wants to hear about all of that? It’s life after all and we all have one. Not to mention that I’ve been struggling with what to make lately. I’m trying to eat healthy and make food that is easy to portion out. Because I am one of those people who will have just one more bite, okay one more spoonful, okay one more helping. Portion control for me is key. These Lighter Sloppy Joes are a good dish to portion out so they make for a quick go-to lunch or dinner.

Ground turkey is cooked with onion and spices before settling into a smooth tomato sauce. Mashed up chickpeas are added to the mixture which gives an additional nutritious boost that blends right in. I’ve been pretty into sloppy joes lately and this unique kind is a new favorite. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of beans so this sandwich is a winner in my book. I topped this with some spicy banana peppers instead of pickles and now I’m hooked. I may never go back to regular pickles again. Especially on my sloppy joes.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes or until almost tender.

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Add turkey; cook until browned and no longer pink, stirring to crumble. Stir in chili powder, sugar, and salt; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

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Add 1/4 cup water and tomato sauce; reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes or until thickened.

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Place chickpeas in a bowl; partially mash with a fork or potato masher. Stir chickpeas into turkey mixture.

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Spoon about 1/2 cup turkey mixture onto bottom half of each bun; top each with pickles or banana peppers and top half of bun.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Ground turkey
  • Banana peppers

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Sweet and Spicy Pepperonata

Years ago, my friend lived in an amazing apartment in a big old Victorian house in a small town in South Jersey. The first floor of the house was a dentist’s office and his apartment took up the entire second and third floor. Because the office downstairs closed around 5pm every night and on weekends, we never had to worry about parking or how loud the music was. Quite often, we would walk a few blocks to the main street in town and sit at the bar of a shady Italian restaurant. There was nothing particularly charming about the restaurant except for it’s location but they served perfect bread and peppers. I’d never in my life eaten bread and peppers together before (mostly because I rarely ever ate peppers at this time) but these peppers, roasted and oily, served with soft doughy baguette, was the perfect bite for us every single time. The restaurant is no longer there and my friend has long since moved out but we still talk about those bread and peppers. When I saw this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pepperonata, I knew it wouldn’t be a perfect alternative but it was pretty darn close.

A combination of peppers (I used mini peppers, poblano and long hots) are slowly cooked with shallots until soft and tender. A little sugar, red wine vinegar and fresh thyme are added to give a flavor boost. These peppers aren’t nearly as oily as the peppers from that restaurant but that’s not a bad thing. I served these peppers with some toasted whole grain bread and drizzled a little bit of olive oil over the top (perfection!). But these peppers, with their mild sweetness and heat, would be a perfect accompaniment to chicken or pasta or on a salad, especially if you are trying to eat more vegetables. Plus, just look at those colors! If you want to eat colorfully, you can’t get much more color than this.

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Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add salt, peppers, and shallots; cook 3 minutes or until shallots begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, 20 minutes or until peppers are tender.

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Increase heat to medium-high. Add vinegar, sugar, and thyme; cook 15 minutes or until peppers are tender and shallots are golden brown, stirring occasionally.

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Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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