Cornbread Dressing

Cornbread Dressing

Author note: The saltiness of this recipe is determined by how salty the cornbread you use is. Adjust accordingly. Feel free to omit the half and half and use 1 cup of buttermilk instead.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, diced

1 cup celery, diced

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh sage

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

6 cups cornbread, cut into bite sized pieces

3 cups white bread, crust removed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup half and half

2 cups chicken stock

2 eggs

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves chopped

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Tie the sage, rosemary and thyme sprigs with kitchen twine.
  3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium sized skillet. Once melted add the bundle of herbs, onions, celery and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Place the cornbread and white bread pieces onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread out evenly. Place into the oven and toast the bread for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the bread from the oven and place in a baking pan. Set aside.
  6. In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs, chopped herbs, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, chicken stock, buttermilk and cream. Set aside.
  7. Remove the herb bundle from the cooked vegetables. Evenly pour the vegetable mixture over the toasted bread.
  8. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the bread and vegetables. Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the bread is golden and the eggs cooked through.
  9. Serve warm and salt to taste.

Chicken Soup with Homemade Noodles

Making handmade noodles was a once or twice a year activity for my family while I was growing up. This hallowed event ushered in the holiday season and was something that everyone looked forward to.

When making Mother’s Noodles, the goal was to produce as many as possible to feed our large family. On most occasions we would gather at my grandmother’s house to create this recipe that had been passed down through several generations. Yet there were years when joining up on a weekend was not feasible, so the noodles had to be made at each respective home.When this occurred conversations had to happen.

“We made 8 eggs worth of noodles, what about you?”

I recall several moments when my mother was on the telephone with her mother and sister detailing each others noodle production.You see, to quantify the amount of noodles made is by eggs not by volume. The recipe that has been passed down through generations indicates the amount of eggs used, not flour. 3 eggs to 1 tablespoon of cream. Add flour until the dough is perfect. More eggs equal more noodles.

Our goal was to make as many noodles as possible, which requires a lot of eggs and a lot of flour.On these occasions of separate noodle preparation each family member worked their magic and used their own method of preparation. My grandmother was the matriarch—the golden standard of the perfect noodle. My aunt had her own way of preparation as did my mother.

I began to notice the individualization of this family recipe when I was in college because more of the responsibility of the noodles began to fall upon others instead of my grandmother. As she aged, this became the natural progression of the family recipe.My mother helped to carry on the tradition when it was necessary for her to. However, like most home cooks, she needed to make the recipe her own and found her individualization of the recipe in the flour used to create these handmade treasures.

Cake flour was her mark.“Rebecca, I have found a great flour to use for the noodles. Cake flour. It makes the dough much easier to handle and it makes a smoother cooked noodle.”

From that point on, all of the noodles that my mother was responsible for were made with Swans Down Cake Flour.Creating noodles for the holidays is a big production. It takes time, energy and a lot of flour and eggs. There have been times outside of the holidays that I find myself craving handmade noodles. I equate this family recipe with effort and time, which unfortunately has deterred me from making them outside of the holidays.

I now realize this doesn’t have to be the case.Recently I was craving Mother’s Noodles, and I had a revelation. I don’t have to make a large batch. In fact, I can make a small batch of noodles and still experience the same quality and comforting memory.

For this craving, I also wanted to bring my own individualization to the recipe, like my mother. I decided to cook the noodles not in a thick buttery gravy, but instead in a light homemade chicken broth. I wanted to make homemade chicken noodle soup.

It’s been over three years since I have made noodles by my mother’s side. However her imprint on this recipe is now a go-to ingredient for me: Swans Down Cake Flour.

When prepping the noodles for the chicken noodle soup, I reached for the box of Swans Down Cake Flour. My mother and grandmother may not be with me to help roll out the dough and talk about everything under the sun, but their own mark on this family recipe made it seem as if they were right by my side.

And my mother was absolutely correct, cake flour makes the perfect cooked noodle.

Chicken Soup with Homemade Noodles

Author note: The noodles in this recipe is a condensed version of the handmade noodles my family has cooked for several generations (click here to read more). This recipe calls for homemade chicken stock as well as store bought chicken stock. To be the most efficient with this recipe, make the noodles while the chicken stock is simmering. Keep in mind that the cook time on the noodles is dependent on how dry the noodles are.

for the handmade noodles

1 cup plus 4 tablespoons Swans Down Cake Flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 eggs

  1. Add the flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the eggs and cream to the flour mixture. Using your hands, incorporate the wet ingredients into the flour to form a large dough ball. If the dough ball is sticky, continue to add Swans Down Cake Flour until it no longer sticks to your fingers.
  3. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Keep the dough balls in the bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  4. On a floured surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll out one dough ball until thin, flouring as needed to prevent sticking.
  5. Lift one edge of the dough and loosely roll the dough into a cylinder. Cut the cylinder into 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide pinwheels.
  6. Unravel the pinwheels and separate into thirds or halves (depending on the desired length).
  7. Lightly coat the noodles with Swans Down Cake Flour and lay flat on tea towels (or parchment paper). Dry for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Store in an airtight container.

for the homemade chicken stock

1 whole chicken

1 onion quartered

1 carrot halved

1 celery halved

16 cups water

  1. Place all ingredients into a large stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is cooked.
  2. Remove the chicken from the stock and place a lid on the stock pot.
  3. Place the chicken on a rimmed cutting board. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the meat from the carcass and set aside, covered (2 cups of this meat will be chopped to be used for the chicken noodle soup).
  5. Take the carcass and all the remaining skin and place back into the chicken stock. Continue to simmer the stock, covered, for an additional 1- 1 1/2 hours (or until 5-6 cups of chicken stock remains).
  6. Over a large bowl, strain the chicken stock to remove the carcass and cooked vegetables.
  7. If using the stock immediately, clean the pot and pour the stock back into the pan. If storing the stock to use for a later day, let the stock cool and then store in air tight containers in the fridge or freezer.

for the chicken noodle soup

5-6 cups homemade chicken stock

4 cups low sodium chicken stock (homemade or store bought)

1/2 cup carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons kosher salt

handmade noodles

2 cups chicken (chopped, shredded or diced)

  1. Place the chicken stock and carrots into a large pan. Simmer until the carrots are cooked.
  2. Add the butter and salt. Stir well.
  3. Once the butter is melted add two to three handfuls of handmade noodles to the stock (or all of the noodles if you prefer your soup to be extra noodley).
  4. Simmer until all the noodles are soft (not al dente). Add the chicken and stir well. Continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the chicken is warmed through.
  5. Serve warm.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Swans Down Cake Flour. All opinions are my own.

A Pleasant Little Non-Recipe | Apple Cider Popsicles

Apple Cider Popsicles

apple cider, room temperature or chilled

small plastic (or paper) cups

popsicle sticks

  1. Place the small cups onto a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the apple cider into the plastic cups 3/4ths of the way full. Place the baking sheet into the freezer.
  2. Once the cider is a slushy thick consistency (about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours later), place the popsicle sticks into the middle of each cup. Continue to freeze until solid.
  3. Gently remove the popsicle from the cup.

Haricot Verts and Mushrooms

Weeknight or weekend, it was the side dish we all looked forward to: green beans and mushrooms.

No, not the casserole. There were never fried onions to top and it was never baked. Canned French green beans and cream of mushroom soup were combined into a saucepan and cooked on the stovetop. Five minutes later it was ready to eat.It was my mom’s go-to side that made everyone happy, which made her happy. We probably ate this side dish a few times a week and no one ever complained. Maybe that’s why she made it all the time? The soft green beans with salty mushroom sauce still strike a chord in my food cravings and memories.

There have been multiple times I have tried to recreate my mom’s “green beans and mushroom soup” without the canned condensed soup or the canned green beans.  It’s taken some trials (and errors) to finally achieve what I find to be an appropriate match to this time and money saving side dish. Achieving a recipe replica while omitting the only two ingredients was tricky. While the canned green beans and canned condensed soup were perfect ingredients for her kitchen, they do not reflect mine. It starts with duplicating the canned French green beans; they need to be cooked to tender and they need to be thin.

Scanning the produce aisle at Market Street I zeroed in on exactly what I needed: haricot verts. Haricot vert is French for green bean AND in the food world it refers to the long thin green bean. There were a handful of green bean options at Market Street but these particular haricots were perfect for the recipe not just because of their size but also because of how they are packaged: cleaned and trimmed. 12 ounces of haricot verts were perfectly packaged ready to be placed in a pan, covered with water and topped with salt.

30 minutes of slow simmering and the haricots become tender AND possess a rich flavor only braised green beans can create (think grandma’s green beans folks). There was nothing magical about this process of braising the beans. Three ingredients and 30 minutes was all it took to accomplish half of the recipe.However, it was recreating the salty, flavorful condensed mushroom soup that has been the hold-up in replicating my mom’s recipe. I needed the mushroom flavor to be extremely present.  I also wanted this side to be a teensy bit healthier (i.e. no cream).

Market Street’s mushroom selection did the trick. One-half pound of shiitake from the bulk mushroom bin AND one 4 ounce package of dried porcini was all I needed to add a powerful punch of meaty mushroom flavor to this treasured side dish.Here’s a bit of logistical insight into the Haricots and Mushrooms because, <gulp>, there is a bit of pan juggling…

Expect to use a small sauce pan, one medium sized skillet, medium sized bowl and a strainer for this side dish.Sauce Pan: mushroom stock

Skillet: caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms

Medium Bowl: rehydrate the porcini

Strainer: to strain the rehydrated porcini AND the mushroom stock

Haricot Verts and Mushrooms

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, halved and sliced (save the ends)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 pound shitake mushrooms

1/2 ounce package of dried porcini mushrooms

3 cups water

onion scraps

braised haricot verts (recipe below or click here for recipe)

1/2 cup haricot verts braising liquid

  1. Remove the stems from the porcini and shitake mushrooms. Place the stems and onion ends into a saucepan. Pour 2 cups of water into the pan. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until there is about 1 cup liquid remaining.
  2. Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl. In the microwave heat 1 cup of water. Once it’s boiling, pour it over the dried porcini. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Strain the porcini water into the simmering mushroom stock. Set the rehydrated porcini onto a cutting board. Rinse the strainer to use later.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large flat bottomed skillet heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and salt. Cook for 30-35 minutes until golden. Stir occasionally.
  4. While the onions are cooking, slice the mushrooms (shitake and porcini) in half. Set aside
  5. Once the onions are done cooking, place them into a separate bowl. Place the skillet back onto the stovetop.
  6. In the skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Add 2 ladlefuls of mushroom stock to the sautéing mushrooms. Allow the mushrooms to absorb this mushroom stock.
  8. Add the cooked onions into the pan with the mushrooms. Stir well to combine. Add another ladleful or two of mushroom stock. Cook for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been reduced, stir frequently.
  9. Strain the mushroom stock into the skillet. Add the braised haricot verts and the haricot verts braising liquid. Warm through for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

for the braised haricot verts

Author note: Sometimes I add a teaspoon of tomato paste to the braising liquid to add even more depth of flavor. If you cannot find haricots, fresh green beans also work. If doubling the recipe, do not double the salt amount, instead, salt to taste.

1 12 ounce bag of fresh haricots

4 cups water

1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Place all ingredients into a medium sized pan. Cover slightly with a lid.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a hearty simmer. Braise for 30 minutes or until the haricots are tender.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Market Street. All opinions are my own and I appreciate your support of the brands and companies I love.

Flank Steak and Wild Mushroom Pot Pie

Flank Steak and Wild Mushroom Pot Pie

Author note: The flank steak recipe used for this pot pie is a Red Wine Slow Cooker Flank Steak (click here for recipe). I use store bought pie dough when making this pot pie. This recipe was also featured in The Dallas Morning News (click here for full story and recipe).

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup flank steak pan sauce

5 thyme sprigs, tied

2 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced (bite sized pieces)

1 cup peas (frozen or fresh)

2 1/2 cups shitake mushrooms, diced

2 cups slow cooker red wine flank steak (click here for recipe) cut into chunks

2 piece of pre-made pie dough, rolled out to fit a 9 inch round pie pan

egg wash

  1. Fill a large pan with water and bring to boil. Add the potatoes and cook until easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, take one layer of rolled pie dough and place on the bottom of the pie pan. Bake according to the pie dough directions. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. While the crust bakes, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Whisk the flour into the butter and onions. Cook until golden, about 8-10 minutes. Continue to whisk frequently to prevent burning.
  5. Place the chicken stock and cream into a bowl and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock mixture and flank steak pan sauce into the skillet until well combined. Add the thyme bundle to the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. Stir frequently.
  7. Meanwhile, turn the oven on to 450 degrees.
  8. Add the peas, mushrooms and steak into the sauce. Stir well and let warm through, about 5 minutes.
  9. Pour the mixture into the baked shell, then cover with the remaining piece of dough. Make a small X in the center of the pie dough, to allow the pie to vent while cooking.
  10. Baste the top of the pie dough with egg wash.
  11. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
  12. Serve warm with mashed potatoes (click here for recipe).

Braised Haricot Verts

Braised Haricot Verts

Author note: Sometimes I add a teaspoon of tomato paste to the braising liquid to add even more depth of flavor. If you cannot find haricots, fresh green beans also work. If doubling the recipe, do not double the salt amount, instead, salt to taste.

1 12 ounce bag of fresh haricots

4 cups water

1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Place all ingredients into a medium sized pan. Cover slightly with a lid.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a hearty simmer. Braise for 30 minutes or until the haricots are tender.

Salty Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Salty Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeks

Author note: To make the seeds a bit more decadent, substitute the olive oil for melted butter. If you prefer a lot of heat, use 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 (to 1 2/3 cups) raw pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Remove the seeds from one large carving pumpkin. Wash the seeds and pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Place the oil, cayenne, salt and thyme into a medium sized bowl. Stir well.
  4. Add the pumpkin seeds into the oil mixture. Stir well and coat the pumpkin seeds.
  5. Evenly spread out the seeds onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring the seeds once, after 12 minutes of roasting.
  6. Remove from the oven and immediately pour into a bowl. Let cool.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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