Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Sausage Stuffing

Turkey day is fast approaching – I am actually hosting a friendsgiving (for 16!) this weekend so I needed to get my act together in way in advance but I know some of you are still working out your menus.  The best thing about my friendsgiving is that lots of people are bringing their family’s must have Thanksgiving dish so we will have a really fun mix of friends and memories around the table.  My family has several traditions, one being my grandmother’s stuffing with sausage.  My Aunt Carol gave me the recipe years ago and you can see its pretty simple but oh so good.  I have to say I had to tweak it a little as I think a nice hearty bakery loaf is better than Wonder bread and I used homemade chicken stock instead of the boullion but I would NEVER consider not using Jimmy Dean sausage like she did!

dsc04901

This year I am going to change it up again and mix in some cornbread to reflect our southern home but making it will still make me smile and think of my Nana and that is what Thanksgiving is all about.

Sausage Stuffing 

  • 1 loaf of bread, preferably a rustic farmhouse style
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped sage
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 pound Jimmy Dean sausage roll
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Calvados (apple brandy) or another 1/2 cup stock

Cut the bread into bite size pieces and leave out on a cookie sheet overnight to dry out.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a large skillet heat the butter over medium high heat.  Add the onions, fennel, and celery and cook for about 10 minutes until softened.  Add the sage, thyme, fennel seeds and salt and pepper.  Cook for another minute then add to a large bowl.  Add the sausage to the pan breaking it up as you add it to the pan.

Cook over medium high heat until no pink remains, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Add to the bowl with the veggies.  Add the bread cubes to the bowl and toss all together.  Pour over the broth and brandy (if using) and stir to combine again.

Pile the stuffing into a 9 by 13 baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is crusty.

Individual Apple Crisps

MMmmmmmm…baking apples with sugar and cinnamon is 100% guaranteed to make you and the rest of your family happy.  Even better is that putting these crisps together takes about 2 minutes and they can be made ahead.  This is a great recipe for apples with some fun additions (pecans and cardamom really make them special) but really you could do pears if you wanted (or peaches in the summer).  Please don’t forget the ice cream though – the cold hot thing is one of the best parts of a fruit crumble.  Make these a couple days before thanksgiving and totally forget about them until you have finished digesting and then you can just pop them in the oven.  Even the most stuffed guest won’t be able to resist once they smell these.

Individual Apple Crisps 

  • 3 apples, cored and chopped into bite size pieces (I like Gala or harder to find Macoun)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • ice cream for serving

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (if baking right away).  In a large bowl combine the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, orange zest, orange juice and 2 tablespoons flour.

In your food processor pulse the sugar, butter and salt until the butter is in little pieces (if you don’t have a food processor just use a mixer on low to combine the butter in with the sugar).  Put the butter mixture in a bowl (if its not in one already and stir in the oatmeal and pecans.  Use your fingers to smoosh it all together – it should be like wet sand.  Fill the ramekins with the apple mixture.  It’s ok to overfill them, as the apples will slump when cooked but just make sure you don’t fill them so high you cant get the topping on.

Press handfuls of the topping on each ramekin (you may have some excess) covering the apples.  Place the ramekins on a lined sheet pan (parchment paper or tin foil are best).

At this point you can store these in the fridge for a couple of days and then just bake them straight out of the fridge.  When you are ready to cook them bake them at 350 degrees for 50 minutes until bubbling at the edges and the topping is browned.  Let them cool off for a minute and then serve them with a scoop of ice cream.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Crostini

Want people to think you are fancy?  Go ahead and call toast crostini.  Somehow by using the Italian word you can make slapping goat cheese on a piece of bread sound totally difficult and high end.  Because that’s basically what this is and it’s delicious!  Perfect for a Thanksgiving ap this crostini has soft goat cheese, sweet caramelized onions and a sprinkle of fresh thyme – and it all comes together super quickly.  If you followed my post last week on caramelized onions then you are ahead of the game because you have some sitting in your freezer already.  If not, no worries, just whip up a batch this weekend and then take out 1 mound from the freezer Wednesday night and put it in the fridge to defrost.  I would serve these and maybe one other bite like nuts or a nice hummus.  Don’t load people up with a ton of food, otherwise you are going to end up with more leftovers than you know what to do with (though if you do make sure to log in on Friday the 27th for an amazing idea for your leftover turkey).  These would also be a great addition to a holiday party buffet or a potluck, as they are served room temperature and can hang around for hours with no ill affect.  I love these paper leaves to dress up a simple appetizer, and they are on sale right now at Williams Sonoma.  A really easy and cheap way to make something this simple look even better – cause you’re so fancy.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Crostini 

  • 12 slices of a white or whole wheat baguette, sliced on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup of caramelized onions, defrosted over night in the fridge (about 1 mound from the recipe, or a 1/6 of the total)
  • a splash of balsamic vinegar (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Lay out the baguette slices on a cookie sheet and drizzle both sides of the bread with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 5 minutes, then flip and bake for 5 minutes more (if you want to make the crostini in advance go ahead, just let them cool and store in an airtight container up to 24 hours in advance).

While the bread is toasting, place the caramelized onions in a small saute pan over medium low heat to warm through.  Once warm (a couple of minutes) splash in some balsamic vinegar and stir it around.  You can leave the onions on low while you work on the rest of the dish.  Take the leaves off of the thyme sprigs (best way is to hold the top of the stem and run your fingers down to the bottom, ripping the leaves off as you do).  Once the toast is ready and cool enough to handle, spread the goat cheese on each slice.  Then remove the onions from the heat and using a fork (found this was easiest) cover the cheese with the onions.  Sprinkle with thyme leaves and serve.

%d bloggers like this: