Leftover Stuffing Strata – A Great Use for That Leftover Thanksgiving Stuffing!!!

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Leftover Stuffing Strata

I had a bunch of my Southwestern Cornbread and Chorizo Stuffing leftover from Thanksgiving. We had enjoyed some of it as is and I was ready to try something new. I had seen a different strata recipe on one of my favorite cooking shows (Food Network’s The Kitchen) and a lightbulb went off in my head! Why not use my leftover stuffing (or dressing!) as the bread component of a strata?!? This would be an awesome brunch dish for Black Friday!

I think this would work well regardless of the type of stuffing you made. You could change the flavor profile by changing up the veggies and cheese you use. I went with the Southwestern theme of my original stuffing recipe and this strata was fabulous!!! I have tried to write the recipe in a way that will help you work with what you have.

Enjoy!

Leftover Stuffing Strata

2 1/2 – 3 cups of leftover stuffing/dressing

4 small green tomatoes, diced (You could change this up to tomatillos, red bell pepper, or even leftover green beans!)

1/2 white onion, diced (This could also be red onion, green onions or leeks)

5 -6 eggs

1/2 cup half and half

1 – 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used pepper jack. If you had a more traditional stuffing recipe, jack, cheddar or even grayer cheese would be a great add)

Dash hot sauce

Paprika or hot Hungarian Paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, cook veggie of your choice (I used green tomatoes) and onions in a tablespoon or two of oil or butter until softened. Drop spoonfuls of leftover stuffing/dressing into a greased casserole dish, leaving some space between spoonfuls. Spoon veggies from skillet over stuffing. Do not pack down. You want to leave room for the egg mixture to seep down into mixture.

In a mixing bowl, crack eggs and beat lightly. Add half and half, a dash or two of hot sauce (optional), grated cheese and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix together and then pour over stuffing and veggies in casserole.

Sprinkle a little paprika over the top of the casserole. Cover dish with lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Olive Garden Copycat Breadsticks

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So I cannot take credit for this recipe, I found it at Cooking Classy. I made these breadsticks yesterday for my mother-in-law’s birthday. She is a huge Olive Garden fan, but with the COVID situation we decided to have a small luncheon at home. My daughter challenged me to find a recipe and try to recreate the Olive Garden breadsticks instead of baking my usual bread loaves. This recipe fit the bill!!! My MIL said the breadsticks were even better than Olive Garden’s!!!

I did find that when I measured out 2 oz balls to form into the breadsticks, I actually got 14 breadsticks out of this recipe.

I also chose to make these a day ahead and par-baked them for 6 minutes and then stored them in a ziplock back over night. Then the day of I baked them an additional 7-8 minutes until golden brown and then brushed with the butter and seasoning. You could definitely freeze these too.

Delicious!!! I will definitely make these again! Everyone loved them!

Servings: 12-14

Prep 25 minutes

Cook 11 minutes

Resting 2 hours 30 minutes

Ready in: 3 hours 6 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp warm water(110 – 115 degrees)
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar,divided
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil

Topping

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whisk together warm water, yeast and 1/2 tsp granulated sugar until yeast has dissolved. Allow to rest 10 minutes.

2. Add in remaining 1 Tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 3/4 tsp salt and vegetable oil, then fit mixer with paddle attachment and blend mixture until well combine.

3. Switch mixer to dough hook attachment, add in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and knead mixture on low speed, adding up to 1/4 cup additional flour as needed, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.

4. Transfer dough to a large buttered mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place free from draft until double, about 1 1/2 hours.

5. Punch risen dough down, divide into 12 equal portions (2 ounces each by weight), keep them covered with plastic wrap as you work. Roll each piece into a 9 inch rope on a lightly floured surface, then transfer to two parchment paper lined baking sheets. Cover and let rise 1 hour.

6. Preheat oven to 425 during the last 10 minutes of rising. Bake in preheated oven 11 – 13 minutes until golden.

7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together 1/4 tsp salt and garlic powder.

8. Remove breadsticks from oven and run a stick of butter over hot breadsticks (using 2 Tbsp, or brush with melted butter) and immediately sprinkle with garlic salt mixture.

Oregano Chicken with Fresh Tomato & Balsamic Sauce – DELICIOUS and low fat!!!

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Oregano Chicken with Fresh Tomato & Balsamic Sauce

I think chicken is my favorite protein to cook with! It’s so versatile, healthy and just delicious! This dish was even more delicious than what I expected going in. I want to make it again, so I told myself I definitely needed to blog this recipe. Because yes, I do cook from my own blog! LOL! They are recipes that I loved enough to take the time to document and photograph, so in my book that means they’re worth revisiting!

Oregano Chicken with Fresh Tomato and Balsamic Sauce

Serves 4 people

Cooking time: 45 minutes

4 chicken thighs (I used bone-in with skin removed, as they add more flavor, but you could do boneless and reduce cooking time)

2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

2 tsp avocado or olive oil

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I buy the multicolored heirloom cherry tomatoes. Delicious!!!)

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup white wine (Only use wine you would drink. If it’s not good enough for drinking, it’s not good enough for cooking!)

2 tsp capers, drained

2 tbsp lemon juice

Add oil to non-stick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Season one side of chicken with 1/2 of salt and rosemary and add to pan, seasoned side down. Season other side of chicken. Brown chicken on each side for about 2-3 minutes per side. When browned but not cooked all the way through, remove to plate and stick in a 350 oven while you continue cooking sauce.

Turn the heat on your frying pan down to medium-low and add garlic and shallots (You don’t want to burn your garlic! It turns bitter, ruins your dish and that pan is done!) stir until shallots are softened. Add vinegar and cook until mostly evaporated, scrapping the bottom of the pan while it cooks to get the yummy stuff off the bottom and into your sauce.

Stir in tomato halves, capers, chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and a little more salt and pepper to taste. Stir and simmer until well mixed. Add your chicken back in to the plan and turn to coat with sauce. Cover the pan and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes, turning chicken once, until chicken registers at least 165 degrees with a meat thermometer.

This is great served over rice! The sauce is fabulous, so you want something to soak up that goodness!!! I paired it with some artichokes cooked with lemon and garlic. So good!!!

I hope you enjoy!!!

My No BS Weight Loss Journey

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So I know my focus is a food blog, but I thought I would share a little about my most recent project. Me! As you can imagine, loving to eat and cook as I do can make weight management challenging. Challenging, but not impossible! In the last 1 1/2 years I have been working to lose weight and I am currently 84 pounds down. That’s just the physical weight! I’d say I’ve lost about a ton of mental weight!

Like many, my weight crept up with age and then life hit me with some emotional challenges and that helped accelerate my gain. After a traumatic vacation to Orlando, where I couldn’t keep up with my family and couldn’t fit on some rides, I made the decision that I needed to regain control. Luckily, I stumbled upon a wonderful podcast, “Losing 100 Pounds With Corinne Crabtree”! I started at episode #1 and this southern lady with a potty mouth made sense!!! We can lose weight with 4 simple basic behaviors; Write a plan for your food every day and stick to it, eat between hungry and satisfied, drink 64 oz of water, and get 7-9 hours of sleep. That’s it!!! No diet, you ask? Nope! No exercise plan? Nope! Not necessary if you follow her basics!

If you’ve read my blog, you know this girl loves tasty food! All the food! The carbs! The meat! The sweets! Appetizers! Baked goods! All of it!!! I finally found a plan that suited my food lovin’ lifestyle!

In addition to the four basics I described, Corinne also focuses on doing the thought work that will forever change your relationship with food and teach you how to manage your feelings and urges. This is REALLY where the rubber meets the road!!! Here is where her program is different than any other program, because the things you learn will not only help you lose your weight, but keep it off for good. I’m telling you! This program is like no other!!! It will not only impact your weight, but so many other areas of your life!

So if you’re looking to lose some weight, I highly suggest you check out the free podcast. Corinne also has free training available at her website. Anyone is welcome to check out the free podcast, but her training is intended for women. If you’re interested in going deeper and having access to much more amazing resources, she does have a paid membership available only to women.

I get no tangible benefit from sharing this information. Really!!! Only the joy of helping others change their lives and get to a healthier you! If you have questions, please feel free to drop me a comment.

Be healthy ya’ll!!!

Zucchini Pizzas – A Healthier Version of a Family Favorite!

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For the last year, I have been on a weight loss journey. I’m down 80 pounds so far and still going strong! One of the things that has helped me, is to give some of our favorite foods a health upgrade. And who doesn’t love pizza?!? So last night I decided to level up the pizza and make a healthier version that tasted great and totally answered my pizza craving! The zucchini doesn’t have a strong flavor, so it really was just a healthy vessel for the yummy pizza toppings.

Now I guess you could make this on lengthwise slices of normal size zucchini, but this is the PERFECT recipe for those ginormous, mutant zucchini’s we have all found hiding in our gardens!

How did I do it?

1. Slice zucchini about 1/4 inch thick.

2. Lay paper towels out on counter or on cookie sheets

3. Lay down zucchini slices and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Flip and salt other side.

4. Let sit for an hour or so, periodically patting dry with additional paper towels. Flip over once in a while.

5. Preheat oven to 375. Put zucchini on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

6. Remove zucchini from oven and top with favorite sauce and pizza toppings. I used my homemade red sauce, grated motzarella, pepperoni, more motzarella, and black olives. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until cheese is melty.

Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken Sweet Potato Chili – Hearty and Healthy!!!

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I’m always looking for ways to sneak additional vegetables into our meals. I happened to have a sweet potato on hand and thought it would be a good add to spicy chili. The sweetness of the potato really balances out this dish! It was an incredibly flavorful! Very hearty and healthy too! You could substitute ground turkey for the chicken or leave the meat altogether for a delicious vegetarian or vegan dish (If you left out the sour cream).

Spicy Chicken Sweet Potato Chili

Makes 6-8 servings

1-2 tbsp avocado or olive oil

1/2 diced sweet yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

2 cans Rotel tomatoes (I used one can hot and one can chipotle Rotel)

1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce

1/2 cup water (rinsed Rotel can and dumped in)

1 pound chopped rotisserie chicken (or 1 pound ground turkey, browned)

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

1/4 cup roasted red peppers, diced

3/4 tsp cumin

3/4 tsp Hungarian Paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 cup sour cream

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Add oil to Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soften, add garlic and sauté another couple of minute until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and set to low and simmer for 1-2 hours. You could also sauté the onion and garlic and then throw everything in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours on low. Serve with tortilla chips, sliced green onions, chopped avocado or any other toppings you like on your chili.

Enjoy!!!

Dill Pickle Popcorn – A Yummy Snack!!!

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So my daughter LOVES dill pickles!!! I even bought her a box of pickle juice pops for Christmas one year. LOL! She and her husband were hosting the Super Bowl party and I decided to try my hand at making dill pickle popcorn to bring. Everyone loved it!!!! We had two separate viewing rooms and people kept stealing the bowl back and forth, so I think it was a hit!!! If you like salt and vinegar chips, you will love this flavor profile.

Dill Pickle Popcorn

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (I bought this online through Amazon. This gives you the sour vinegar taste!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups crushed Lays Dill Pickle potato chips
  • 5 quarts of buttered popcorn

Mix together all the seasonings in a small bowl. Then in a large bowl mix popcorn, potato chips and seasoning mix. Enjoy!!!

Stovetop Paella – Impressive Enough for Your New Year’s Guests!!!

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I have always wanted to try making paella and I recently made that happen! I was in a FB conversation about spices and my friend, John, mentioned that he grows saffron. The most expensive spice in the world! After my head stopped spinning, I told him we were going to have to talk about this. He asked, “Over wine?”. I answered, “Yes, and paella!” Guess who called me that afternoon asking when we were getting together for wine and paella? LOL! John and his lovely wife have an amazing wine collection and are generous with it, so I’m always happy to have them over for dinner! They bring amazing wine and I do my best to cook amazing food!

So special note about this recipe, how do you clean mussels? You want to buy the freshest mussels you can get. You start by going through your mussels and if any are opened, tap on the shell with your fingernail. If it closes, you’re good to go. If it does not, throw it away! Or if you have any with broken shells that have been exposed to air, throw them away. You will almost always have to throw away a few. I got lucky and only had to throw away 2 out of my 1 1/2 pound batch. Those mussels that are opened and won’t or can’t close will be fishy and can ruin the flavor of your dish. You then want to pull off the beard from each mussel, if they have one. This is the stringy thing coming out of the shell. Then scrub each mussel under running water with a stiff brush. I did this a few hours ahead of time and then put the mussels in a bowl of salt water and stored them in the fridge. This allows them to release any sand or grit in them.

So the paella turned out great and it really wasn’t hard to make! I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Stovetop Paella

Serves 6-8 people

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1/2 – 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite size pieces

1 pound andouille sausage links, cut into bite size pieces

2 cups basmati rice

6 cups chicken broth, divided

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp saffron threads

Kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

1 1/2 pounds mussels, cleaned and de bearded

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I love to buy the EZ peel shrimp! They are already deveined and they are truly easy peel!)

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

5 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped

Lemon wedges

You will need an enamel coated dutch oven that is at least 5 quarts in size or another large pan.

Put olive oil in pan and sauté onion and bell pepper until softened. Then add garlic and cook until fragrant another 2 minutes. Next add chicken and sausage and cook for another 5 minutes until partially cooked. Next stir in the rice, 5 cups chicken broth, red pepper flakes, crumble in the saffron, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir the rice gently and continue cooking for another 10 minutes until the rice is fully cooked. Taste the rice and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Add the mussels, shrimp, peas and green onions and stir. Place lid on pot and allow seafood to steam, check after 5 -7 minutes. If the shrimp are not turning pink and mussels are not opening and you didn’t notice much steam, add some of the remaining chicken broth and continue cooking until the seafood is just cooked. You don’t want to over cook it, as the seafood will get tough.

You can make the rice portion a little ahead and then stick in the oven on low for a while, but you want to wait until right before serving to add and cook the seafood.

Before serving, garnish the paella with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.

I served the paella with a wilted spinach salad and home baked bread. It was a delicious dinner! The leftovers were yummy too!

Enjoy!!!

Lemon Curd Tart – This was delicious and very impressive!!!

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I love to cook and I’m pretty proficient in the kitchen, but I was intimidated by this recipe. I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m not big on making my own crusts. This recipe really wasn’t hard at all and the crust came together beautifully! It was a great add to our Thanksgiving table, but would be good any time you have lemons on hand. Our Meyer lemons were ripening, so this was the perfect use of them!

I can’t take credit for this recipe. This came from Ina Garten AKA The Barefoot Contessa. I knew it must be good. Ina would never steer us wrong!!!

Lemon Curd Tart

For the Tart Shell:

12 tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), plus more for greasing, all brought up to room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Pinch salt

For the Lemon Curd:

4 lemons at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 extra large eggs, at room temperature

1/8 tsp salt

1. Mix the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Press the dough into a 10-inch-round or 9-inch-square false-bottom tart pan, making sure that the finished edge is flat. Chill until firm.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Butter 1 side of a square of aluminum foil to fit inside the chilled tart and place it, buttered side down, on the pastry. Fill with beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, prick the tart all over with the tines of a fork, and bake again for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the lemon curd:

1. Remove the zest of the lemons with a vegetable peeler or zester, being careful to avoid the white pith. Squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice and set the juice aside. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the sugar and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest is very finely minced. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

2. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. The lemon curd will thicken at about 175 degrees F, or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat.

3. Fill the tart shell with warm lemon curd and allow to set at room temperature.

Enjoy!!!

The BEST Pumpkin Bread!!!

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Want a seasonal treat to share with friends, family and neighbors? Or just something to make your home smell fabulous and enjoy with your morning coffee? This pumpkin bread will fill the bill. It is so moist and delicious!!! I’ve been making it like crazy for the last month or so and everyone that has had it, just loves it! It’s pretty easy to make too!

I can’t take credit for this recipe. It comes from the Food Network Kitchen. I do like that the one recipe makes 2 large or 3 medium size loaves, so there is some for you and some to share! You could even add some raisins or nuts to this, if you like!

I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!

The BEST Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable or canola oil

4 eggs

15 oz can of puréed pumpkin

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp all spice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour two large loaf or 3 medium loaf pans.

Blend together sugar and oil until well mixed. Next add the eggs and pumpkin and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined. While the mixer is running spoon the dry mixture into the wet. About half way through add half of the water, then continue adding the dry ingredients and at the end add the remaining water.

Pour and equal amount of batter into each loaf pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick in the center and it should come out clean.

Allow to cook in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out of pans and continue to cool loaves on a rack. It will slice cleaner when it has been allowed to cool for a while.

Enjoy!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.

2 Whisk together the sugar and oil in a large bowl until well combined. Whisk in the eggs and pumpkin until combined.

3 Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and cloves in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined. Add half the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Add half the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Add half the water and stir to combine. Repeat with the remaining flour and water.

4 Divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans. Bake until cake tester comes out clean and the loaves are golden brown, about 1 hour. Let the loaves cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and let cool completely, about 1 hour.