Croutons

These are so easy to make and dangerously tasty! “Yes, I would like some salad with my croutons” kind of good. I hogged them all tonight, but my husband told me I could have his share – that is real love in action, people! 😉 I need to make more of these ASAP, who knew that it was these croutons that my salads had been missing all along? Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Croutons – adapted from Annie’s Eats

  • 1 baguette or about 4 cups 1/2 – inch bread cubes
  • 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 1/2 TBSP melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried parsley
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

Directions – 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the bread cubes in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the melted butter and olive oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with garlic powder, dried parsley, salt and pepper. Toss once more until everything is evenly combined. Spread the croutons in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once every 10 minutes, until the croutons are light golden and crisp and no chewiness remains. They will bake about 40 – 50 minutes total but the time may vary depending on the size of cubes and type of bread. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Store in airtight container.

I Can Hardly Wait!


After two years of making this huge spread for TG, I have learned (the hard way) what to do in advance to make this as stress free as possible. Today I started the brine for our turkey! It’s a simple step that really makes all the difference in your finished bird. I never craved turkey until I made this recipe, but this always comes out juicy and flavorful. Every year I have made it, I have used the 10 gallon Ziploc bag, and my 12 quart stock pot to contain the beast! It’s a nerve-racking workout to place this safely and cleanly into the fridge 🙂

Over the weekend, I prepared my brioche dough for the brioche and sausage dressing and the herb butter is sitting pretty in the freezer ( I used a stick and a half of butter instead of three). Tomorrow my plan is to bake off the brioche and roast several bulbs of garlic. Wednesday I will prepare the dressing, make the dinner rolls and take the turkey out of the brine. Thanksgiving day, I will prepare this ham in the crock pot, roast the turkey, make the roasted garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and bake off the dressing. It’s lists like this that makes me wish for two ovens!  Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

These are crunchy, savory and kid friendly. Sorry, not much more to say because I made this a month ago! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets- adapted from Gimme Some Oven

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, whisked (or you can substitute 3 egg whites)
  • 2 cups finely crushed pretzels (I used a full bag of Pretzel Crisps)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized (about 1-inch) pieces

Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet (or you may need two) with aluminum foil.

Whisk together flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. In a separate bowl, add the two whisked eggs. Then in a third bowl, add the crushed pretzels. This will be your assembly line for the nuggets.

Take a piece of chicken and dip it in the flour mixture until it is evenly covered. Then dip it in the eggs, and then in the crushed pretzels, then place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Bake nuggets for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. (Cooking time can depend on the size of your nuggets). Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Party Mix

This is too good! If you’re a fan of salty/sweet combos, this snack is sure to be a new favorite 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Party Mix – adapted from Food.com

  • 1 (11 ounce) package pretzels
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) package miniature peanut butter filled butter flavor crackers (I use Ritz)
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (10 ounce) package M&M’s
  • 1 (18 1/2 ounce) package candy corn

Directions –

1. In a large bowl, combine first 3 ingredients.
2. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, butter and corn syrup.
3. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 5 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and baking soda (mixture will foam).
5. Pour over pretzel mixture and stir until coated.
6. Pour into a greased 15×10 inch baking pan.
7. Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
8. Break apart while warm.
9. Cool completely.
10. Toss with M&M’s and candy corn.
11. Store in airtight container.

Chocolate Chip Waffles

I promised my kids that I would make waffles for breakfast before school…I was a slacker these past two weeks! My kids love anything with chocolate chips for breakfast, so these are perfect. This batch is huge, and now I have 60 quarters in the freezer for easy (ahem…lazy) mornings. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Waffles – adapted from Add A Pinch

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (*I used vanilla sugar*)
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions –

  1. Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
  2. Toss in chocolate chips and coat well with flour mixture.
  3. Mix together buttermilk, eggs, butter, and vanilla.
  4. Pour into dry mixture and stir together just until combined.
  5. Pour batter into waffle iron and cook to your iron’s instructions.
  6. Serve immediately with your favorite syrup.

Spicy Roasted Shrimp Sandwich with Chipotle Mayo

Quick Post: It seems that I can’t go wrong when I give them shrimp! 😉 M really liked the chipotle mayo, and it would be a great addition to other sandwiches – that is, if you have any leftovers! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Spicy Roasted Shrimp Sandwich with Chipotle Mayo –

  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chipotle Avocado Mayonnaise
  • 1 baguette, cut it into 3-4 equal pieces, toasted, for serving
  • Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving
  • Bacon (cause everything is better with it)
  • Sliced tomato and avocado, for serving


Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine shrimp, olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste.

Place shrimp mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and roast just until pink, firm and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

Serve sandwiches on a baguette with romaine lettuce, avocado, shrimp and chipotle avocado mayonnaise.

Chipotle Mayonnaise – 

  • 1-3 chipotle peppers, in adobo sauce
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions –

Combine chipotle peppers, avocado, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lime juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor; set aside.

Pan Seared Mahi with Lemon Butter Sauce

This was really good and the lemon butter sauce was an amazing addition to this simple but elegant meal. I will use this sauce recipe again and again because it would compliment vegetables, fish and chicken wonderfully! My husband gave this an “8”, which I agreed with –  but the best compliment was from my picky six-year-old daughter…she ate it all without complaining! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pan Seared Mahi-Mahi –

  • 1 pound Mahi Mahi or other firm, white fish
  • flour to coat
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP oil

Directions –

Dry the fish fillets well. Dust with flour on one side. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush the floured side of the fish. Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the fish on the skillet floured-side down and cook for 5 minutes per side, or until it is just cooked through. Remove the fish to a serving plate.

Lemon Butter Sauce – adapted from Food Network 

*This is half the original recipe, and we had more than enough for a pound of fish*

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1.5 lemons, peeled and segmented
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (*I used half and half*)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut up, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Heat a large nonreactive skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the wine, lemons, garlic, and shallots. Cook for 3 minutes, breaking up and mashing the lemons with a wire whisk. Stir in the salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and hot sauce and cook until the mixture is somewhat syrupy, for about 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook for 1 minute. Over low heat, whisk in the butter a few pats at a time. When all of the butter has been added, remove from the heat, but continue whisking until all of the butter is incorporated into the sauce. Strain the sauce, pressing all of the liquid into a bowl. Stir in the parsley. Serve immediately, or keep warm for a few minutes until ready to use.

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta

Cooler weather always motivates me to make comforting meals, and what could be better than soup? This was so good and it made a huge batch – too bad we didn’t get to enjoy leftovers…the hubbs forgot to put the container in the fridge…and it stayed on the counter overnight…boo! I forgave him, of course 😉 There are worse things, I suppose. I once left a container of ice cream out on the counter overnight – don’t be like me! I remember the mess was thick, sticky, and a hassle to clean up! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Sausage and Bean Soup with Pasta – adapted from The Italian Dish

  • 1 cup dried cannellini or cellini beans or 1 15-ounce can of any beans you like, drained
  • 1 pound ground sausage (*I used half hot, half mild Italian sausage*)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken broth (*I used 6 cups homemade chicken stock*)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, fresh if you have it
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta, or any small pasta
  • Parmigiano Reggiano rind (optional)
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions –

If using dried beans, place them in a pot, cover with cold water and let soak for several hours or overnight. Drain.

In a large pot, brown the sausage.  Remove from pot.  If there is a lot of fat left in the pot, pour this out but do not wipe out pot.  Add onion, carrot and olive oil and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and saute about a minute more.   Add  the tomatoes, chicken broth, Parm rind, thyme, bay leaf, some salt and pepper and the drained beans and the sausage and cover the pot. Cook for an hour over low heat, at a gentle simmer.

If using dried beans, check for doneness at this point.  (If using canned beans, add the pasta now.)  If the beans are not soft enough, cover the pot again and cook for another 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender.  Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.  If the soup is too thick for your liking, add some more chicken broth.

Serve with grated cheese on top and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I have been slackin’! I made this over a month ago and I am just getting around to sharing it with you. Even though it’s been awhile, I do remember that everyone enjoyed this. My husband was pleasantly surprised at how good it was 🙂 I used Applegate Farms ham for this instead of the prosciutto, and baby Swiss instead of Gruyere – other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. I recommend these roasted green beans and this creamy garlic pasta to serve along side this dish. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Cordon Bleu – adapted from Food Network

  • 4 chicken skinless and boneless
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere, grated
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions –

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay the chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet of plastic and lay 2 slices of prosciutto neatly over the top to cover the breast and sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the prosciutto. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll inside the. Squeeze the log gently to seal and twist both ends tight to form a nice log. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs with thyme, garlic and kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter. The butter will help the crust brown. Beat together the eggs and season so the flour, the eggs and the crumbs are all seasoned.

Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, dip in the egg mixture and gently coat in the bread crumbs. Lightly coat a baking pan with olive oil and carefully transfer the roulades onto it. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and cooked through.

Sky-High Buttermilk Biscuits

Thanks to the time change this morning, I was able to get these on the table at a real “breakfast hour” 😉 I knew I wanted to make a batch of biscuits that was large enough to guarantee leftovers for freezing. I was able to make 15 large biscuits because I patted the dough out to about an inch in thickness for most of these. The new biscuit recipe did not disappoint! They are flaky, buttery and have a slight tang from the buttermilk – perfect in my opinion 🙂 Speaking of buttermilk, I haven’t bought it in over a month cause I’m a cheap-skate! I have been making it successfully by following this fool-proof recipe here. You can use any fat content of milk you like, which I appreciate. The fattier the milk, the thicker and creamier the buttermilk will be. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Buttermilk Biscuits – adapted from Simply So Good

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (500 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter for brushing biscuits (optional)
Directions –
Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C).  Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  cut in the chilled butter until the texture of coarse crumbs.  Stir in the buttermilk to form a soft dough.
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface.  Knead briefly and roll or pat to about 1 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into 3-inch rounds and arrange on a baking sheet that has been lightly greased or lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.  Makes about 9 skyscraper tall biscuits.