Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Free Recipe Wednesday! (Toasted Cornbread, Bacon, and Chestnut Stuffing)

Hello again everyone and welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of Free Recipe Wednesday. Today’s recipe is a variation of the classic Thanksgiving stuffing. In a recent edition of Rachel Ray Magazine there was about half a dozen or so different recipes for stuffing and I have to say the one below is probably my favorite. How can anything made with bacon be bad? The saltiness of the bacon really makes this stuffing spectacular. If you’re looking to change up your normal Thanksgiving routine this year, give this stuffing a try or if you’re interested in viewing any of the other stuffing recipes from Rachel Ray Magazine, head on over to their site and do a search for “stuffing”. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Toasted Cornbread, Bacon, and Chestnut Stuffing

  • 2 - 8 1/2 oz boxes Corn Muffin Mix (such as Jiffy)
  • 1 - 14 1/2 oz can Chicken Broth (about 1-3/4 cups)
  • 1 cup Half-And-Half
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/2 lb Bacon, cut into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs Celery, chopped
  • 1 - 8 oz jar Whole Roasted Chestnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Sage
  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper

1. Bake the cornbread according to the package directions; let cool and break into 1-inch chunks.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
3. In a large baking dish, arrange the cornbread chunks in a single layer; toast in the oven, stirring once, until golden, about 10 minutes.
4. In a bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, half-and-half and eggs; fold in the cornbread, cover and let soak for 10 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
5. In a large, heavy skillet, cook the bacon until crisp at the edges, about 8 minutes; transfer to a large bowl, discarding all but a thin coating of drippings from the skillet.
6. Add the butter to the skillet, then stir in the onion and celery; cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, 10 minutes.
7. Stir in the chestnuts, thyme and sage during the last minute of cooking then stir in the cranberries, parsley, soaked cornbread and salt and pepper to taste; Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
9. Place the stuffing in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish; cover with greased foil and bake for 40 minutes.
10. Uncover and continue to bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Free Recipe Wednesday! (Tater Tot Casserole)

Hello again friends and food lovers. Welcome to another wonderful Free Recipe Wednesday. We’re half way through the work week and that means we’re just 8 days away from Thanksgiving….and 35 days away from Christmas if you’re keeping track. I’m sure everyone is looking forward to all of the delicious food on both holidays. Today’s recipe isn’t necessarily something you’d fix for the holidays but it’s a delicious family recipe that kids love. I recall my mom making Tater Tot Casserole many many times when I was a kid and I remember how much I looked forward to having it. Now if I could just remember to ask her for the recipe for the Corn Fritters she used to make. Anyway, the recipe below came from Campbell’s Kitchen so I don’t know if it’s exactly like the way my mom made it but it sure tastes just like I remember. The only thing this recipe needs is a nice layer of cheese on top. You could also throw in a bag of frozen mixed veggies if you wanted to add a bit of nutrition to the dish but it’s really good just the way it is. Give it a try and let me know in the comments if you have any ideas for other variations to the dish.

Tater Tot Casserole

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 cups Frozen Tater Tots

1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. 
2. Cook the beef and onion in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the beef is well browned, stirring to break up the meat; drain and return the beef to the pan. 
3. Add the soup, ketchup and Worcestershire to the skillet and stir well. 
4. Spoon the beef mixture into a 12x8-inch shallow baking dish; arrange the tater tots all over the top of the casserole.
5. Bake the casserole for 25 minutes or until the tater tots are done.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Gluten Free Friday! (Chipotle Cheese Crisps)

Hello again everyone and welcome to another Gluten Free Friday. I hope everyone has had a good week and is ready for the weekend. Today’s recipe is a variation of Frico, known in America as Cheese Crisps. Frico is an Italian food that typically consists of a circular layer of shredded cheese with a bit of flour that’s baked or fried until crisp. One of our local grocery stores used to sell cheese crisps but we haven’t been able to find them lately. The ones they used to carry were made primarily of Parmesan cheese but you can use any blend of Italian cheeses to make these and you can even spice them up any way you like. Today’s recipe is a gluten free version of these cheese crisps, using almond flour instead of regular flour. This recipe is also a bit different than your typical cheese crisps in that it calls for butter as well. In addition to being gluten free these are also low carb, containing less than 1 carb per crisp. Give these a try, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. As always, leave comments below letting me know what you think.

Gluten Free Chipotle Cheese Crisps

  • 1 1/2 cups Almond Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Chipotle Powder (or cayenne)
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Finely Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 6 tbsp Butter, cut into pieces and room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, chipotle pepper and salt.
3. Add cheese and butter and work in with hands, rubbing butter in with fingers, until a dough forms.
4. Transfer dough to a sheet of waxed paper and form into a log 1 1/2 inches in diameter; roll log back and forth on counter to smooth the sides.
5. Roll up tightly in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours and as long as several days.
6. Cut log into 1/4 inch slices and bake 12 minutes, or until it spreads and edges are starting to brown.
7. Turn off oven and continue to let bake and crisp, about 10 to 15 more minutes. Watch carefully to make sure they don't burn.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Free Recipe Wednesday! (Sausage Balls)

Hello again everyone and welcome to another Free Recipe Wednesday. Today’s recipe is an easy one that is delicious and easy to make. These are perfect as an appetizer for holiday family get-togethers. I’ve been making these since I was a kid and the recipe below is just the basic recipe. They’re good made with just the basic recipe below but of course there are a lot of variations. My favorite way to make these is to wrap the sausage mixture around a black olive before cooking them. It’s a nice added dimension of flavor, if you like black olives of course. You could also use hot sausage and add a little cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to make a spicy version of these. I also prefer to shallow fry my sausage balls instead of baking them but of course the healthier option would be baking. Give these a try and let me know what types of variations you come up with for these.

Sausage Balls

  • 1 lb Ground Pork Sausage
  • 2 cups Biscuit Baking Mix
  • 1 lb Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl combine sausage, biscuit baking mix and cheese.
3. Form mixture into walnut size balls and place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and sausage is cooked through.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Free Recipe Wednesday! (Chicken and Corn Chowder)

Hello again everyone. Welcome to another Free Recipe Wednesday. I’m feeling a bit under the weather right now so this post is going to be short. With the cold weather thoroughly set in – more so in some places than others – soup is a go-to for a lot of families and individuals. Today’s soup is a delicious, thick, and hearty chowder that’s perfect for cold nights. Don’t be dissuaded by the amount of ingredients and directions, it’s really quite easy to make. Give it a try and of course I encourage you to do a little tweaking and modifying. Leave a post below and let me know what you thought and whether or not you did anything differently.

Chicken and Corn Chowder

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter
  • 1 Small Carrot, finely diced
  • 1 Stalk Celery, diced
  • 1 Small Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups White Corn Kernels
  • 1 1/2 cups Yellow Corn Kernels
  • 4 Russet Potatoes, diced
  • 2 Cooked Chicken Breast Halves, shredded
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups Half-and-Half
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg
  • Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic into hot butter and cook, stirring regularly, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
3. Stir flour into mixture to make a paste; cook until lightly browned being careful not to burn the flour.
4. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside to cool, about 15 minutes; once cooled add 1 cup of the chicken broth and mix until thoroughly combined.
5. In a large soup pot over medium heat, stir together white and yellow corn, potatoes, chicken, and 3 cups of chicken stock.
6. Stir flour/veggie mixture into the ingredients in the soup pot; bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until thick, about 5 minutes.
7. Stir the half-and-half, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper into the chowder; bring back to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gluten Free Friday! (General Tso's Meatballs)

Hello again friends and food lovers. I hope everyone has had a great week. It’s Friday (at last) so that could only mean one thing, it’s time for another Gluten Free Friday recipe. General Tso’s Chicken is one of the most popular, and my wife’s favorite, Chinese dishes that you’ll find at virtually every Chinese restaurant in the country. As with a lot of Chinese dishes found in America, including Cashew Chicken invented right here in my home town of Springfield Missouri, General Tso’s Chicken was reportedly invented here in the United States at a Chinese restaurant in New York City in the early 1970s. Well today’s recipe is a Gluten Free variation of General Chicken that I found somewhere online. However, instead of using glutinous breaded chicken, this recipe uses meatballs and Gluten Free Soy Sauce in the sauce to make this Gluten Free as well as low carb. Give it a try and as always let me know what you think in the comments below.

Gluten Free General Tso’s Meatballs

For the Meatballs
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey or Chicken
  • 2 Tbsp Minced Ginger
  • 1/4 cup Scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 cup Almond Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • Olive Oil, for frying

For the Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp GF Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar Substitute
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum (or Arrowroot Powder)
  • 1/4 cup Scallions, chopped
  • 4 – 5 Small Dried Chilies, seeded and chopped

1. In a large bowl combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix thoroughly; form into 16 balls and fry them in oil over medium heat until they are cooked through and crispy.
2. In a small saucepan combine the sesame oil, vinegar, GF soy sauce, water, sugar substitute, and xanthan gum and whisk until combined.
3. Add the scallions and chili peppers and bring the sauce to a boil; simmer for five minutes until thickened and then remove from the heat.
4. Add the cooked meatballs to the thickened sauce and stir to coat; garnish with more chopped scallions and chilis if desired.