Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving "Stuffins"

Thanksgiving "Stuffins"... For those of you who haven't caught on yet (or don't have a Pinterest) a "stuffin" is simply a stuffing muffin - cute right? Well this week is our annual Thanksgiving Potluck at work and my particular division was given "Stuffing & Cranberry Sauce" as our designated side dishes. As you might guess it was easy to get 3 people to sign up to bring Cranberry Sauce but the stuffing not so much. I ended up getting 2 volunteers who both went the sausage savory stuffing route so I figured to round it out I'd keep mine on the sweeter side. I also thought it would be fun, for presentations sake, to bring mine in the shape of muffins - single servings that people can pop on their plate if they choose to try one. They turned out adorable and were quite easy.

I've never made stuffing myself, besides for helping with it at my family's Thanksgiving celebration - but I've never ventured on my own to create one. So I started looking at the types I could go with... white bread, sourdough, cornbread, a mix? It could include already seasoned bits of dried bread or I could do that dirty work myself. The recipe could include celery and onion... or just onion. It could have fresh herbs... or it could not. I really found there were SOOO many options out there. Ultimately I drew my inspiration from a Tyler Florence recipe - however I omitted the egg & heavy cream and didn't caramelize my onions.

What I used:

  • 1 Package Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Mix
  • 6-7 Cornbread Muffins made at home
  • 1/2 package of Craisins (eyeball it)
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock
  • Palm full of fresh sage chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Disregard the eggs they were NOT used

Also disregard the poultry seasoning.. I never added that either - but you could!

For the Cornbread Muffins:

  • 1 packet of "Jiffy" corn bread mix
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk because that's what I had)
  • 1 egg

Simply beat an egg with the milk, whisk together with the dry mix and bake per the instructions

So Dahlish 

So the instructions on the Package of cornbread stuffing mix says to saute 1 onion (and celery which I omitted) in the 5 tbsp of butter until translucent, then add 2 cups of stock, bring to to a boil then add the dry mix to that once you remove from heat.

For my own modification, while the onion was sauteing in melted butter, I emptied the 14oz bag of stuffing mix into a large bowl, then crumbled my 6.5 cornbread muffins into the same bag to see how much the crumbled muffins were equal to compared to the bag (so that I could determine how much stock to use). It was almost exactly half, so I decided to add exactly 1 extra cup of stock.

Package mix on the bottom, my cornbread muffins crumbled on top 

Onions sauteing in butter, before adding the stock

Once the onions were ready I added the 3 cups of stock and brought it to a light boil then removed it from the heat. At that point I added my cornbread mix (store bought and home made) as well as my craisins and chopped sage to the liquid mix. I gave it a bit mix by folding all of it together until it was essentially a very thick paste.

Then I sprayed my muffin tins with Pam, used a large spoon to fill them up and pack them down tight (I found this made them hold together better in the end) and then popped them in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. They got golden on the top and stayed very moist in the center. Once they cooled slightly they were easy to remove from the tins and place in larger tupperware to bring to work today.

Pre Bake!

Post Bake!

All in all they were easy and Dahlish and fun! Can't wait to dig into everything else at the pot luck! Enjoy & Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Deconstructed Meatloaf & Other Meals Lately

Deconstructed Meatloaf... Do you ever plan to make something the normal way you always do it, and then the day before or a few hours before suddenly you think "what if i make that thing... but inside out..."? Well that happens to me often, either in the name of cutting corners and making dinner more quickly, or because I'm a little bored of the usual and feel like I could enjoy the same flavors but in a different... "format" if you will.

Anywho, that happened this week when I had planned to make a super standard dinner: meatloaf, baked potato, asparagus.

I started thinking about mixing the cold meat with all those breadcrumbs and it just sounded like something I wasn't up for. So alas I settled into the idea of a loaf less meatloaf... which I guess is just meat? With seasonings.. that taste like meatloaf.

What I used:
1lb ground beef
1 package meatloaf seasoning
1 squeeze of ketchup
liberal sprinkling of Worcestershire sauce

In a large saute pan I browned the meat with a bit of olive oil. Once browned I added in the seasoning, ketchup, and Worcestershire and let it simmer for a few minutes.

This really only takes about 8 minutes in total so this was the last step of my dinner making (assembling is more like it). About an hour before I popped the potatoes in the oven to bake until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside (1 hour at 425 should do the trick). I also added a foil packet of asparagus to the oven when the timer had about 15 minutes remaining.

To serve I split my potato, loaded it up with my deconstructed meatloaf added a dollop of sour cream and a bunch of asparagus on the side. YUM! It was easy and Dahlish and although I wouldn't say it was my MOST creative meal it felt a little different and I sure enjoyed it.

In other news here is what we have been eating lately:

Roasted Chicken with Squash and Asparagus:

Chicken White Bean Veggie Stoup:

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Mushrooms & Brocolini:

Bell Pepper Tacos with Black Beans:

Grilled Spiced Pork Chops with Sweet Potato Fries & Kale:

Open Faced Baguette Sandwich with Burrata, Sun dried Tomatoes & Prosciutto:

Whole Wheat Avocado Toast with Crispy Fried Eggs:

Still loving my Meal Board: