Stuffing from Scratch

It’s 5AM and I’ve been awake for about an hour now. After 30 minutes of tossing and turning in bed, I had a bit of a panic attack when I remembered that my uniform for work was in the laundry. I jumped out of bed and found myself sorting laundry in the closet as to not wake my fiancé.

I guess that is a bit of news I’d hadn’t shared here. My boyfriend proposed to me at dinner a few weeks ago. It was our 16 month anniversary and we were eating at Houlihan’s in Leawood. It was where we had gone on our very first date. We had planned to go to dinner early because the Kansas City Royals were playing game five of the World Series at 7PM. We were standing outside the restaurant talking about our first date and how we stood outside the restaurant talking after a long dinner. I turned around to walk in and Jeremiah spun me back around before getting down on one knee. I was a little in shock. If I was, you should have heard all the people around us. The people dining on the patio and getting in/out of vehicles were like “Is he prosing?” “Did she say yes?” Of course, without a doubt in my mind, I said yes. We went into the restaurant and the server asked us how it was going. I said, “We just got engaged.” He was like, “Congratulations!” I was like, “It was a minute ago just outside the restaurant. This is where we went on our first date.” The table next to us asked if he could take our photo when he overheard us. He told us how it was he and his wife’s second marriage but when you find the right one, it’s meant to be. The restaurant was so sweet and the manager brought us champagne and dessert to celebrate. Phone calls were made while we waited for our lovely dinner – the George Banks Sea Scallops with risotto and fresh arugula (one of my absolute favorite dishes of all time). As you all know by now, the Royals won it in game five beating the Mets in extra innings. It was also my mother’s birthday so this is certainly a day we will never forget.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been sleeping very long since our engagement. I wake up with ideas about our vows or what food should we make during our engagement photos. The date is set for July 2016 so I need to get cracking on these details. The venue is pretty much set, the guest list has been made, our wedding app/website has been created, half the attendants have been asked (including our adorable 3 ½ month old ring bearer), and the photographer has been selected. However, I have no idea what my dress will look like or what colors I want. I also need to email my hairdresser to see if she’s available. Every hinges on what time my hair can be done. Oh let’s hope she’s available because I have zero skill when it comes to doing my hair. I better email her right now, this is really important.

So since I’m awake and my laundry is in the wash, I decided to write a blog post for all of you. It is Thanksgiving week. Can you believe it? Normally, I would have already scoped all the Black Friday ads and had a plan for our day after Thanksgiving adventure. This year, I’m worried about whether or not I need to schedule a dress outing the Saturday after Thanksgiving with my mother and sister. I’m also not sure what on earth to get my fiancé for Christmas in our $75 spending limit?

In honor of it being Thanksgiving week though, I have decided to share with all of you one of the recipes Jeremiah and I will be making for my family. This is a recipe we learned last year while taking a cooking class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City. Not to worry my vegetarian friends, I’m including modifications for you to enjoy this recipe as well. I made both recipes for our Thanksgiving work potluck last week.

stuffingApple, Sage, & Sausage Sourdough Stuffing by Rachel Ciordas
12 oz. turkey breakfast sausage
1 tsp. oil
2 c. chopped onion
2 c. chopped apple
2 c. chopped celery
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried marjoram
½ tsp. black pepper
12 c. cubed sourdough bread
1 can fat-free, less sodium chicken broth

Cook sausage until browned. Add onion, apple, and celery. Sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in seasonings. In a large bowl, combine sausage mixture, bread, and broth. Spoon the stuffing into a sprayed 11 x 7 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Nutrition: Makes nine (1 c.) servings. 208 calories, 5 g. fat, 11.9 g. protein, 28.9 g. carbs, 2.1 g. fiber.

Notes:

  • Rachel said to not use green apples for this recipe. They are not sweet/juicy enough to sauté.
  • Did you know you can eat the leafy part of celery? It’s actually really flavorful.
  • I brought two loaves of fresh French bread at Spouts. I cubed 1 ½ loaves and let it sit out in a bowl overnight. I used the extra bread for a brioche French Toast.
  • I used the local brand of ground sausage. It added some extra flavor. 
  • I’ve found the lowest sodium chicken broth is Rachael Ray’s brand.
  • To make it vegetarian friendly, I substituted veggie broth and removed the sausage. In its place, I put some dried cranberries. After my luncheon, Jeremiah and I mixed the leftovers. It was good so feel free to add cranberries to the original recipe.
  • For a little crisper stuffing, bake covered 15 minutes and uncovered for 35-40 minutes.
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Homemade Tortilla Chips

My grandparents are both diabetic. As they are getting older, they tend to eat out for every meal they actually eat. That means less paying attention to ingredients and skipping meals. While home for the holidays, I decided to do a little baking for them. To be quite honest, I bit off more than I could chew. I had dozens of recipes I thought I could make in a day – soups, casseroles, entrees, and desserts using veggies. In about 10 hours time, I made 13 entrees, 4 side dishes, and 3 snacks.

My Grandpa loves salsa so I decided to make him fresh salsa with some homemade tortilla chips. My thought process was to pick a low-fat, high fiber, and whole grain tortilla I could bake. I cooked these up and my Grandpa loved them. I hope you like them too.

Homemade Tortilla Chips Homemade Tortilla Chips by Simple & Delicious
Six – 10 inch flour tortillas
3 T. melted butter (I used unsalted butter)
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper

Brush mixture on both sides of tortillas. Use cookie cutter to cut into shapes. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Chips will crisp a little bit when they cool.

Notes:

  • I used scissors to cut into triangle shapes (a pizza cutter would also work). I only coated one side and I thought it was still good.
  • I used Wildtree Fiesta Salsa Mix for the salsa. Wildtree is certified organic – meaning you can read all the names of the ingredients on the side of the bottle and know what they are. 1/4 c. of the mix combined with a can of low sodium diced tomatoes in a food processor makes a great salsa. Just refrigerate for two hours before serving. One of the dried ingredients though is peppers so if you want a milder salsa don’t use as much mix.

Rosemary Au Jus

A couple of years ago, I won a free two night stay at the Marriott City Center Denver at my company holiday party. My sister and I took advantage of it with a long weekend trip the following November. We even met up with an old friend from a junior high camp and a college roommate. Steph and I had a blast visiting a candy factory, educating ourselves at The Denver Art Museum, shopping at a holiday mart at the Denver Botanic Gardens, attending a film festival, and sipping on libations at a wine festival. Plus, we met some of the friendliest people using the public transportation.

Although I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, I had one of the most amazing sandwiches of my life there. It was a turkey sandwich with a rosemary au jus (turkey version of French dip). It’s probably when I feel in love with the seasoning rosemary. I’ve searched the internet and haven’t been exactly able to recreate that dip but this recipe is pretty good. I’m going to give it to you with the turkey recipe but you can always just mix the ingredients with the dripping from however you cook your turkey this Thanksgiving on your stovetop.

Roasted Turkey Breast with Herbed Au Jus by Campbell’s Soups and Martha Stewart*
1 tsp. flour
1 plastic turkey oven bag
1 c. chicken stock
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves, crushed
6 to 8 pound bone-in turkey
1/2 tsp. paprika (optional)
1 can turkey gravy

Add flour to bag, close, and shake. Place bag in 13 x 9 baking dish. Add broth, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Add rinsed and paprika topped turkey to bag. Close bag with tie. Cut six (1/2 inch) slots into the top of the bag. Roast the turkey at 350 degrees for two hours, until meat is done. Let is stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Take leftover juices and mix with on can of gravy on the stovetop.

*Two websites list different sources.

Spicy Chicken and Noodles

I think I found this recipe in a Betty Crocker email. It’s a super simple and quick recipe. The paprika gives this recipe a little bit of a kick. I also like that it uses yogurt because it is much healthier than most sauce ingredients. The sauce is a little limited on this recipe so double it if you want a more coated recipe.

Chicken and Noodles Paprika

2 c. uncooked cholesterol-free noodles
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/3 c. plain fat-free yogurt
2 tsp. flour
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. chopped fresh or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
Chopped green onion (optional)

Cook and drain pasta. Cook chicken, then slice into 1/2 inch strips. In a small bowl, mix yogurt and flour. In the same skillet you cooked the chicken, heat broth, thyme, paprika, and onion to boiling. Reduce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually stir in yogurt mixture into broth. Stir constantly, until thickened. Add chicken back to pan to coat. Spoon over noodles and serve.

Nutrition Facts: 420 Calories. 7 g. of fat, 70 mg. cholesterol, 240 mg. sodium, 55 g. carbs, 5 g. fiber, 6 g. sugar, 37 g. protein. Recipe serves two.

Notes:

  • I make this recipe without the slices of onion.
  • I grill the chicken because it is healthier than cooking it with oil.
  • The website recommends serving this with steamed fresh broccoli.