Stuffing With Sausage

I’m up early this Sunday morning to prepare the stuffing for our turkey dinner this afternoon. My husband Joe and I are celebrating Thanksgiving with our children today. Wish we could all be together on Thanksgiving Day, but as a blended family things can’t always go as you wish. I am grateful to be able to prepare such a special meal and share a day of thanks with each of them. Thanksgiving is such a special holiday for me. I have a many treasured  memories from my childhood. Thanksgiving kicked off the holiday season in our home. My Dad and Mom loved the holidays and spoiling their seven children with a feast on Thanksgiving another feast and tons of presents under our tree on Christmas. Those days were the happiest I can remember. Days before Thanksgiving my sister Carol and I would help Mom by washing all the china. We had at least 20 people at most of our dinners. I remember one year my Dad putting two wooden stands several feet apart and laying ply would over them for our table. Mom would lay a beautiful table cloth and the lovely china and food were the decoration, which would cover the entire table. One of my favorite dishes on the holiday table was Mom’s stuffing. It was made with sausage and stuffed into the cavity of a twenty five pound butterball turkey. Dad always put strips of bacon across the top of the turkey. When the turkey was resting I loved to sneak the bacon off the top. It was so crisp and delicious. The stuffing recipe was my Grandmother Queens and Mom always made the stuffing just the way her Mom taught her. Mom didn’t have a recipe box which I’m sad about now. However my sister Bev and I put the recipe together the best we remembered.

Grandma Queens Stuffing

2 bags soft unseasoned bread cubes. I use Stroehann Pennsylvania Dutch bakers.

1 16 oz. Package Jimmy Dean premium pork sausage, regular

2 eggs beaten

1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped fine

3-4 celery ribs, Chopped fine

1 stick butter

Chicken stock, use as much as you determine based on how moist you want your stuffing. Start with 2 cups. Grandma and Mom used boiling hot water. I like the stock for the flavor.

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, you could also use mixture of fresh chopped herbs, such as sage, thyme, rosemary etc.

In a large sauté pan melt the butter. Add the onion, and celery. Add just a little salt at the point. Sauté until the onion and celery are tender. In another pan break up the sausage and cook till almost brown. Drain off any fat. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the beaten egg and toss with the bread cubes. Add the onion, celery, sausage, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt as the chicken stock has salt as well. Toss everything together. Add broth starting with 1 cup use your clean hands to mix. Add stock as needed to get the moisture you desire. I use about 2 ½ cups. I love mine moist. Cooking the sausage is optional. It will fully cook in the oven when you bake it. I prefer it this way. If you are worried about the fat then cook and drain the sausage. Put the stuffing in a large casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake 30-40 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

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Asian Tacos

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A few weeks ago my daughter and I went to visit our dear friend Jacklin. We planned a girl’s night out at Jacklin’s new home. We went to the grocery store and pick up all the ingredients for my daughter’s favorite tacos. Upon our arrival we got the tour of her new place. It was decorated perfectly and felt so warm and cozy. Jacklin set a lovely table while I helped my daughter with the cooking. We even made creamy chocolate fudge for dessert. We shared stories and had lots of laughs over what turned out to be a truly delicious meal. Jacklin loved the tacos so much we had to give her the recipe. The crunchy texture of the corn tortilla filled with the perfectly seasoned meat then topped with the cold and crunchy slaw made for a few very delicious bites. This is a quick and easy meal that you’ll want to try.

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Asian Tacos

2 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons stir fry sauce

4 tablespoons Asian sesame dressing

1 cup slaw mix, red and green cabbage and carrots

1 small jalapeno pepper, diced removes seeds if you don’t want the heat

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce

Green onion, garnish

Cilantro, garnish

Corn tortillas, baked on 350 degrees for 8 minutes

Heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add chicken and stir fry. Add stir fry sauce, 3 tablespoons of the Asian dressing, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce. When cooked set aside. In a small bowl combine slaw, jalapeno pepper, green onion, cilantro, add the last tablespoon of Asian dressing. Toss. Fill the warmed tortillas with chicken and slaw mixture.

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Lemon Curd

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The recipe for this lemon curd is so rich and delicious. I love the deep yellow color that appears as the curd becomes thick. It takes a little patience at the stove stirring, but is well worth the effort. This lemon curd was made at the tearoom I had worked several years ago. It went between two sugared and baked rectangles of puff pastry and topped with fresh whip cream.  On the menu it was called a lemon puff. It was a refreshing and delicious little treat. I could however, seriously skip the dessert and just eat the lemon curd until I was full. The lemon curd goes beautifully with scones as well as toast. It is a very special treat, one that I love to serve at tea parties. I have even given it to my guests in little jars as a gift to take home with them. It is always appreciated.  I will be sharing the lemon puffs recipe for you in my next post.

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Melt the butter over a double boiler. I used a pot and a bowl. Just have the water on low heat to simmer.

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Add the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

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Slowly stir in the eggs.

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Stir continuously about 20 minutes.

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Curd will coat the back of a wooden spoon when it’s done. It will thicken more as it cools.

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Strain through a sieve.

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Pour into your favorite jars. Seal and store in the refrigerator.

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Lemon Curd Recipe

8 oz. butter

16 oz. granulated sugar

5 lemons, freshly squeezed

Zest of 5 lemons

6 eggs and 2 egg yolks, whisked together

Melt the butter over a double boiler over low heat. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate the ingredients. Slowly stir in the eggs, stir continually as you incorporate. Continue to stir over low heat. It will take about 20 minutes for the curd to become thicker and a deep yellow color. The back of the wooden spoon should have a thin coating of the curd that coats the spoon.

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Potato Salad

I can’t imagine a summer BBQ without potato salad. Most families have their own traditional recipe. The recipe I have is the one my Mom and Grandmother used, with a few personal tweaks. As a young girl I was a very fussy eater. I would never even taste the potato salad put on our picnic table. As an adult I can’t remember the first time I tasted potato salad, I just know that I love it now. My Mom’s recipe seems very simple and it is, but it is creamy and delicious. It’s the recipe that my brother Tommy really enjoys. He called me yesterday and asked me if I had our mom’s recipe. He then went on to tell me what he remembered. He had it really close. This is the recipe he is making for his 4th of July celebration with his family today. I’ve gone outside the box and added a few ingredients that I feel push it into comfort food heaven. I have shared my Mom’s recipe with you and also included my added ingredients if you would like to try my version. This is the potato salad I have posted here on my blog. I cut the size of the salad by half to feed my family today. I’m confident that you will love it either way.

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Potato Salad

5 lbs. potatoes, I prefer red bliss

1 large onion, chopped, yellow or red

3-4 stalks celery, chopped

2 tablespoons vinegar

½-1 teaspoon milk, to thin

Kosher salt (to taste)

Lots of fresh cracked pepper

1 ½-2 cups mayonnaise

Garnish with sweet paprika and fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

Boil the potatoes till fork tender. Chop onion and celery. In a large bowl cut cooled potatoes ¼ inch thick slices or to the thickness you prefer. Add the chopped onion, chopped celery, vinegar, salt, pepper, milk and mayonnaise. Gently fold to combine the ingredients. Turn the mixture into a serve bowl. Garnish with paprika, and herb of your choice.

Ingredients I add to my potato salad along with the above recipe:

¾-1 cup sweet pickle relish

1/2  teaspoon celery seed

6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon stone ground mustard

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Sweet Corn

The 4th of July is quickly approaching; I’m already dreaming of my favorite sautéed corn. I know it will have to be on the menu. Local corn is now popping up at the farmers market near my home. This sauté tastes so sweet, with fresh corn, zucchini, red peppers, shallots, fresh thyme, and fresh basil. It’s delightful! I’ve made this many times, even in the winter with frozen corn, it still tastes amazing. I served the corn sauté at my Christmas dinner a few years ago; my sister-in-law said “anyone that can make corn taste that good can cook.” I was pretty happy to serve something everyone truly enjoyed. So, year round fresh or frozen, this corn sauté is always welcome on my family table.

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4 Ears fresh corn on the cob, remove corn from cob, frozen corn may be used

2 Medium shallots, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, diced

2 small zucchini, diced

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon butter

4 Sprigs of fresh thyme, remove from stems

5 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat melt the tablespoon of butter and add the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook 3 minutes, add the red pepper, and fresh thyme leaves cook 4 minutes, add the zucchini, salt and pepper cook until tender 4-5 minutes. Add the corn removed from the cob cook 4-5 minutes more. Finish with a sprinkling of fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.

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Sausage, Peppers, and Onion

Sausage, peppers, and onions
Sausage, peppers, and onions

This has to be one of my favorite meals to serve on the weekend. I love that it’s easy to prepare. It is so delicious served on a roll sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. My husband Joe gets the rolls from a local bakery. They make their rolls from scratch every day. They are such a treat.

Sausage, peppers, and onion on a fresh roll.
Sausage, peppers, and onion on a fresh roll.

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DSCF4922Serve on a fresh roll and sprinkle with freshly grated cheese. Enjoy!

Sausage, Peppers, and Onion

1 ¾ lb. Sweet, hot, or mild sausage

1 Medium green, red, and yellow pepper

1 Medium sweet onion, sliced thin

2 Cloves fresh garlic minced

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

1 12oz. Crushed San Marzano tomatoes

Spay a nonstick skillet lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Heat the pan on medium heat. Add the sausage to the pan. Brown and cook the sausage. While the sausage is cooking prepare the vegetables. Slice the onion, cut the peppers, and mince the garlic. In a separate skillet add the olive oil heat on medium heat. Add the onion cook 1-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic cook 1 minute. Add the red, yellow, and green pepper, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until peppers are tender.  Cut the browned and cooked sausage into small pieces. Add to the tender onion, and peppers. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and pour the crushed tomatoes over the sausage, onion, and pepper mixture. Add fresh basil and stir the mixture.  Simmer till the sauce is heated through. Serve on a fresh roll and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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Chicken Quesadilla

DSCF4282Chicken Quesadilla’s are one of my favorite weeknight meals. They are so easy to make an fairly healthy to eat depending how you make them. I love to grill the chicken on my indoor grill pan. I use thin boneless chicken seasoned with a good sprinkle of Montreal steak seasoning on both sides. I use just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil,then heat the pan and spray it with olive oil pan spray. When the pan is hot I cook all four pieces of chicken to 160 degrees. I remove the chicken from the pan and cover it while I prepare the toppings. I dice fresh tomato, shredded lettuce, grated sharp cheddar cheese, fresh salsa, and  just a dollop of sour cream. I clean out my grill pan and just drop one flour tortilla on the hot grill pan. Then I top it with chicken a small amount of the cheese, and fresh tomato. I then put the top on and when the bottom is brown with the grill marks I flip it and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Once on my plate I stuff some lettuce inside and top it with fresh salsa and the sour cream. The chicken is so flavorful and tender. I just love all these flavors. The best part is this meal in on the table in under 30 minutes.

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