Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

21 Easy Slow Cooker Meals

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

21 Easy Slow Cooker Meals from MomAdvice.com

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to my slow cooker! Today I want to share 21 of our favorite slow-cooker meal recipes that you can create and enjoy all month long. These recipes are a few of our tried and trues over the years on MomAdvice and will make your week go oh-so-much smoother!

I believe that the slow cooker can be every mother’s best friend. What could be easier than throwing in a few ingredients, plugging it in, and then going about your day, without the worries of needing to figure out what everyone is going to eat for dinner?

Ninja Cooker

Truth be told, I have moved up in the slow cooking world and am now madly in love with my Ninja Cooker. I use it almost daily and love that I don’t have to dirty my stove or skillets to brown my meat anymore. I would definitely add that one to your next holiday wish list! You can read more of my thoughts on that over here.

In honor of this kitchen gadget, I have put together a month’s worth of meals using your slow cooker. Each of these meals will have a recipe and tips for making your dinner hour go more smoothly. Keep in mind that many of the recipes accommodate six to eight people so you may be able to cover (at least) a month’s worth of meals.

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Wings

 

Side Ideas- Fresh veggies & blue cheese dressing for dipping, steamed broccoli, and fresh fruit.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Side Ideas- Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins & Salad

 Sticky Chicken Recipe

1 tbsp salt

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp dried oregano leaves

2 tsp dried thyme leaves

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp garlic salt

3 lb roasting chicken

1 cup chopped onion

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken and onion. Rub herb mixture inside and outside of chicken. Place in food storage bag; seal bag. Refrigerate overnight. Remove chicken from bag; stuff with onion. Place in crockpot on low 6-8 hours; high 2-4 hours. Chicken juices should run clear and chicken reaches 180*. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Side Ideas- Mashed Potatoes & Corn

Pot Roast Italiano

Pot Roast Italiano

 

Side Ideas- Roasted Green Beans & Orzo Pasta
Tortellini & Turkey Divine

 Tortellini & Turkey Divine

1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage turkey

2 clove garlic– minced

2 small onions– chopped

2 cans whole peeled tomatoes- 16 ounce cans

1 1/4 cups dry red wine

5 cups beef broth

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 zucchini- sliced

1 green bell pepper- chopped

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 package cheese-filled tortellini

 

In a large pot, cook sausage over medium heat until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Drain fat from pan, reserving 3 tablespoons. Cook garlic and onion in reserved fat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, wine, broth, basil, and oregano. Transfer to a slow cooker, and stir in sausage, zucchini, bell pepper, and parsley. Cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain water, and add pasta to the slow cooker. Simmer for a few minutes, and season with salt and pepper before serving.

Side Ideas- Salad & Fresh Fruit

Slow Cooked Italian Beef

Italian Beef Sandwiches

Side Ideas- Oven Fries & Apple Slices

Sloppy Joes

 Side Ideas- Tortilla Chips & Carrot Sticks

Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

Side Ideas- Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins & Fresh Fruit

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat – cubed

2.5 cups carrots

2.5 cups potatoes

1 cup celery

1 can diced tomatoes – with the juice poured in

1 can beef broth

1 cup water

1 tsp ground mustard

3 sprigs rosemary

Put beef in a zipper bag with a 1/4 cup of flour and toss to coat. Brown the meat in a skillet and place on the bottom of the crock pot. Coarsely chop vegetables and place on top of the meat. Pour in the can of diced tomatoes with juice, can of beef broth, water, and ground mustard. Place sprigs of rosemary on top and cook on high for four hours or on low for six to eight hours.

Side Ideas-  Make your own salad bar!

Slow Cooked Apple Oatmeal

Slow Cooked Honeycrisp Apple Oatmeal

 

Side Ideas-  Create your own oatmeal toppings bar and serve with green smoothies.

3-Ingredient Chicken Tacos

3-Ingredient Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos

1 package taco seasoning mix

1 cup chicken broth

1 pound chicken breasts – boneless & skinless frozen chicken breasts

Dissolve taco seasoning into chicken broth. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and pour broth over them. Cook on LOW for 5 hours. With two forks, shred the chicken meat into bite-size pieces. Serve with your favorite taco toppings.

Side Ideas- Roasted Corn Salsa With Tortilla Chips

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

1 package Italian Turkey Sausage – mild

2 cans crushed tomatoes

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

½ cup beef broth

Brown the turkey sausage in a large skillet. Place cooked sausage in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour over the sausage all of the other ingredients, including any of your own Italian seasonings. Cook sauce on low for six hours or on high for three to four hours. Serve over your favorite pasta.

Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

 

Side Ideas- Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad & Carrot Sticks

Mongolian Beef

 Mongolian Beef 

 

Note- to make this in your slow cooker, brown the beef and then heat all the ingredients together on LOW for four hours.

Side Ideas- Brown Rice & Steamed Broccoli

Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ Sandwiches

 

Side Ideas- Shoestring Oven Fries & Carrot Sticks

Taco Soup

1 pound ground turkey

1 can chili beans with liquid

1 can kidney beans with liquid

1 can whole kernel corn with liquid

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

2 cups water

1 package taco seasoning mix

In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until browned over medium heat. Drain & set aside. Place the ground beef, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, & taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend and cook on Low setting for eight hours.

Side Ideas-  Roasted Corn Salsa With Tortilla Chips

Chicken Italiano

Chicken Italiano

 

Side Ideas- Spaghetti & a DIY Salad Bar

 Breakfast Casserole

Note- I recommend doing this one using this technique to prevent burning and even cooking.

1 pound turkey sausage – sweet or spicy

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

6 slices white bread – toasted and cut into cubes

8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

Crumble sausage and cook thoroughly. Drain meat. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together evenly. Place the casserole in the fridge overnight. In the morning put in the slow cooker for four hours on high or six hours on low.

Side Ideas- Fresh Fruit & Grapefruit Halves

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

 

Note to make this in your slow cooker, brown the chicken and then heat all the ingredients together on LOW for two-four hours.

Side Ideas- Brown Rice & Steamed Broccoli

Chicken Lasagna Florentine

2 cans cream of chicken soup – (10-3/4-oz) reduced-fat, reduced-sodium, undiluted

1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry (10 ounces)

9 oz chicken – diced cooked chicken (two small or one large boneless skinless chicken breast)

8 oz sour cream – low-fat

1 cup milk

2 oz grated parmesan – (1/2 cup)

1/3 cup onion – chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

9 uncooked lasagna noodles

1 cup mozzarella cheese – (4 oz) shredded part-skim

Combine first 10 ingredients in large bowl.

Spread about 1/4 cup sauce in bottom of a 5-quart slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Add 3 uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking noodles in half as necessary to fit slow cooker. Spread one-third of chicken mixture over noodles, sprinkle with 1/3 cup mozzarella. Layer 3 more noodles, half of remaining chicken mixture, and 1/3 cup mozzarella. Top with remaining noodles and chicken mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.

Cover with lid; cook on high-heat setting 1 hour. Reduce to low-heat setting; cook 5 hours or until pasta is done.

Side Ideas- Roasted Green Beans & Grapes

 

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken

3 pound chicken – whole or pieces

1 tsp dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried rosemary

garlic cloves – minced

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup sherry wine or chicken broth

¼ cup lemon juice

Wash chicken; pat dry; season chicken generously with salt and pepper; sprinkle half of oregano, rosemary and garlic inside cavity of chicken; melt butter in frying pan and brown chicken; transfer to slow cooker or crockpot; sprinkle with remaining oregano, rosemary and garlic; add sherry to frying pan and stir to loosen brown bits; pour into slow cooker. Cover, cook on low for 7 hours; add lemon juice and cook 1 more hour (total of 8); transfer chicken to cutting board; skim fat from juices and serve over chicken.

Side Ideas- Have two slow cookers? Try our easy Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes!

Feel free to share your favorite slow cooker recipes below! I’d love to add them to our list!

This post contains affiliate links.

Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

As Super Bowl Sunday quickly approaches, I wanted to share with you a gluten-free Super Bowl dish you can share for your game day eating.

This month Walmart asked me to share a fun Super Bowl dish that you can create from items in their grocery section. I will admit, that coming up with a dish that was both dairy-free AND gluten-free for my game day feast was a challenge to me. I am the girl that hovers over the creamy dips and loves a sub sandwich for my game day feasting.

When I thought about recipes I could share (and eat!) though, I settled upon my favorite pulled pork recipe that can be created in your slow cooker. This pulled pork is so easy to make because you simply put your pork butt or shoulder in your slow cooker with a little root beer and let it cook all day. And that is pretty much it!

I told you it was easy!

Gluten-Free Sweet Baby Ray's

My favorite sauce has (and always will be) the super delicious Sweet Baby Ray’s. Since going gluten-free, I have become insane about label reading especially when it comes to my condiments. I was so happy to discover that all of the Sweet Baby Ray’s sauces are gluten-free and you can, of course, find them at Walmart in the condiment aisle.

One of the things people warned me about when I started this journey was to always label-read especially when it comes to my condiments. I have found I don’t need to go to my specialty markets if I do the proper research on the items I need before I leave. For example, here are 7 condiments you may be surprised to find are gluten-free!

As we discovered when Emily baked my birthday cake, the offerings for gluten-free items are becoming more mainstream at our Walmart store!

Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I don’t know why I had not thought to pair pulled pork and a sweet potato together before, but it is the absolute best flavor combination EVER. Using my technique for perfect baked potatoes, I like to coat mine in olive oil and to sprinkle them liberally with kosher salt.

Once they have cooked, I split them and pile in sweetly seasoned pulled pork. You can hollow out a bit of the potato, if you need to, but I just stack the meat as high as it will go. Stick a fork in it, and you are ready to enjoy the game with your favorite beverage and a filling dinner!

If you are entertaining, pile these on a long platter with forks as a fun game day dish! I promise this will be a dish that is loved by ALL, not just your gluten-free friends!

Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
An easy gluten-free & dairy-free game day dish you can share with friends, made easily in your slow cooker.
Ingredients
  • 6-8 sweet potatoes, scrubbed & pricked with a fork
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 (4 pound) Boston butt (or pork shoulder)
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
  • 1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce (we love Sweet Baby Ray's)
Instructions
  1. Place the pork meat in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily (approximately 8-10 hours).
  2. Shred the meat and drain the root beer from the slow cooker. Stir in barbecue sauce and toss gently.
  3. Preheat your oven for 400 degrees.
  4. Rub your cleaned sweet potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Do not wrap in foil, so you can get a crisp skin.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending upon the size of your potatoes.
  6. Let potatoes rest for five minutes. Cut a slit in the top and stuff with the pulled pork.

 

Looking for more great game day food, check out these Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken Wings & these 12 Great Tailgating Recipes for your game day feasting!

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Sausage & Vegetable Frittata

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Easy Sausage & Vegetable Frittata from MomAdvice.com.

Happy holidays, everyone! I can’t believe another new year is upon us!  Today I want to share with you an easy sausage & vegetable frittata recipe that just so happens to be both dairy-free & gluten free. This easy frittata has become my go-to dish this week as I transition into some new healthy eating habits.

First, I just want to thank you all for the kind & supportive words you shared on yesterday’s post. It helped me to reaffirm that the direction we are headed in is a good one. Change is hard, both as someone who has always had creative control and as a reader, but I am hoping these changes will bring in a whole new audience and give me some time to focus on growing our website.

I will admit that one the hardest switches for me, since giving up gluten, has been figuring out what to eat for breakfast. I am not much of a breakfast eater and every morning I would have a slice of bread smeared with peanut butter and then head to the gym. Although I picked up a loaf or two of gluten-free bread (and am considering testing out some recipes for my own),  I am still acquiring a taste for bread that tastes like cardboard. It just does to me, but I understand that I will adapt at some point!  I also have to admit that I find it a lot less filling than the whole grain toast I used to eat so I have been looking for alternatives that would jumpstart my morning without being hungry an hour later.

Easy Sausage & Vegetable Frittata-4

This frittata recipe fits the bill perfectly and I am able to use up whatever we have in our vegetable crisper to make a unique combination so I don’t get bored. The best part about this frittata though is that it reheats beautifully for those days when I am struggling to figure out what to eat in the afternoon or for a quick weeknight dinner paired with a salad. I will admit, I ate an entire one in the span of 24 hours. I feel nourished, full, and it is so easy to make.

This was the first time I used shredded sweet potatoes in a frittata. Have you ever tried that? Using the same technique as my laundry detergent recipe, you just use the cheese grater on your food processor to create shredded sweet potato hash. Although the flavor is mild, I found that it acted well as a binder with the absence of cheese in this one.

If you are cooking in a cast iron skillet (this is the inexpensive one I use- affiliate link!), you may need to cook it a tad longer. That being said, the cast iron skillet is my new best friend for fast frittatas and using it reminds me of many a morning of bacon & eggs in my Southern great-grandmother’s kitchen.

This is my new favorite dish and I am planning to make another one today- I really love it that much! I hope you love this one too!

amy_signature Easy Sausage & Vegetable Frittata

Sausage & Vegetable Frittata
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
I love this easy one pan frittata for a delicious brunch or for lunch paired with a salad. The best part is that it is a gluten-free & dairy-free treat that can be enjoyed by all! Don't be limited to these ingredients though. Check your vegetable crisper and incorporate any types of veggies (or meats) that you need to use up for a unique combination of your own.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ pound Italian sausage, uncooked
  • 1 small sweet potato, scrubbed and shredded (1 cup). I use my food processor for shredding these.
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon milk (or milk alternative like coconut, rice, or almond milk)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
  • Handful of fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat the oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the sausage, sweet potato, and red pepper and cook these four 4 minutes.
  4. Beat the eggs with the milk. Season with salt. Pour these into the skillet and cook for three minutes, stirring when first adding to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Sprinkle the frittata with fresh parsley and then arrange the tomato slices in a circular pattern on top of the eggs.
  6. Place the frittata in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Adapted from Against All Grain (affiliate)

 

gluten-free-125

Participating for the first time in this week’s gluten-free recipe round-up on Musings of a Housewife!

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2 Ingredient Cranberry Pancake Syrup

Monday, November 25th, 2013

2 Ingredient Cranberry Pancake Syrup

Continuing with our Thanksgiving theme this week, today I wanted to share an easy recipe for Cranberry Pancake Syrup made from your leftover cranberry sauce. This cranberry pancake syrup recipe is made from two simple ingredients; your leftover cranberry sauce and maple syrup.

Walmart challenged me to create a recipe using some of our Thanksgiving leftovers and I immediately thought of this idea that I had for our leftover cranberry sauce.

Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce

This was the first year that I made my own cranberry syrup for Thanksgiving and I loved it so much that I wanted to use it as an ingredient in another dish that we could share after the holidays were over. This Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce was so heavenly that I knew it would be the perfect accompaniment with a big stack of pancakes.

2 Ingredient Cranberry Pancake Syrup

I couldn’t put this sauce on just any pancakes though, it had to be our family favorite- the Fluffy & Light Pumpkin Pancakes that we share (almost) weekly on Sundays in the autumn months.

When the pumpkin and cranberry are combined together, it is like experiencing Thanksgiving Day all over again! I hope you can give these a try with your own leftover cranberry sauce. I promise, it is a recipe that will not disappoint!

2 Ingredient Cranberry Pancake Syrup

Cranberry Pancake Syrup
Author: 
Recipe type: Condiment
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
An easy two ingredient pancake syrup that can be created from leftover cranberry sauce. Add this delicious syrup on top of a stack of Pumpkin Pancakes for a festive spin!
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup maple syrup
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan mix together cranberry sauce and maple syrup and heat until warm.
  2. Serve on top of your favorite pancakes.

What is your favorite dish to create with Thanksgiving leftovers?

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Make-Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Make Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls from MomAdvice.com.

Today’s post will conclude our make-ahead Thanksgiving feast that I have been working so diligently to prepare for the site (and for our guests). Today I am sharing a foolproof bread machine roll that is perfect to make and freeze for the holiday season. These buttery bread machine rolls are my go-to bread recipe for the holidays because they always turn out perfectly and can be dressed up with whatever is in the cupboard or refrigerator for topping and personalizing.

Make Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls from MomAdvice.com.

I adore my bread machine and use it every single week in my house for our Friday night pizza nights as well as cinnamon rolls for weekend treats or just these rolls for our holiday feasts. Be sure to read my Bread Machine 101 article for some background information on how to use a bread machine in your house. If you don’t have one, my last three I have gotten (yes, I actually have had three bread machines over the last ten years because I use them that much) have been found at garage sales and thrift shops for $15-20! Be sure to check there when doing your shopping!

Make Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls from MomAdvice.com.There is just so much to love about this roll recipe. First of all, it isn’t sticky or hard to work with at all. Secondly, it is quick to shape. Third, it rises like a dream. And fourth, you can customize the rolls to your heart’s delight. In year’s past we have added a cinnamon butter on the side or brushed with butter and a generous shake of cinnamon & sugar. The rolls I baked up tonight accompanied our weeknight chicken noodle soup and were brushed with a little butter, salt, and dried rosemary for a yummy finish.

If you have never made rolls before, try making a practice batch for your Thanksgiving feast, like I have shown here. One batch of rolls will yield approximately 15 rolls. Freeze them after shaping, up to one entire month, and then pull them out of the freezer the night before your big day. Allow them to rise overnight then bake as directed.

Make Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls from MomAdvice.com.These are so beautiful and so delicious, don’t be surprised if they are the only thing everyone talks about at dinner!

On that final note, thank you all for joining in on all the make-ahead Thanksgiving Day fun. I am so proud to have my entire feast in the freezer and I can’t wait for you to have less stress around the holidays too!

Make Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
A foolproof bread machine roll recipe that can be customized with whatever compliments your meal- sweet toppings, savory toppings, or flavored butters. Freeze these for the holidays and bask in the compliments when hosting your holiday feasts!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk (110 degrees F.)
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 3 teaspoons instant yeast
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in (in order given), in bread pan of your bread machine.
  2. Select DOUGH setting and press start.
  3. When dough cycle has finished, remove dough from pan and turn out onto a lightly-floured surface. Shape pieces of dough into balls and place in a greased pan to make the rolls.
  4. If freezing, freeze now (for up to one month).
  5. Before baking, allow rolls to thaw completely and rise overnight.
  6. To Bake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake in a regular oven approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  7. Brush with butter and favorite blend of seasonings or herbs (optional)

Did you follow along in our make-ahead Thanksgiving series? Be sure to check out our Brandied & Orange Cranberry SauceMashed PotatoesGreen Bean CasseroleMake-Ahead Gravy, Apple, Sausage, & Sage Sourdough Stuffing, and Fancied-Up Store-Bought Pies.

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Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Make-Ahead  Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

I’m back again with another fun Thanksgiving make-ahead recipe. Today’s recipe is an apple, sausage, and sage sourdough stuffing that tastes just as good as it sounds. This recipe is easy to prepare and can be made-ahead and placed in your freezer for the big day, which means one less thing for you to worry about on the day of your big feast!

Make-Ahead  Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.Have you ever made your own stuffing? It is one of the easiest and most rewarding dishes to create for the holiday season. My grandma made a mean dressing when I was growing up, but stuffing was definitely something that came out of a box.  I remember in sixth grade when we had to do a Thanksgiving play and I was supposed to pretend to make stuffing and had no idea what the teacher was talking about when he handed me a loaf of bread and celery.

What the heck was that for?

Being the true foodie I am,  I still don’t think the boxed stuff is that bad, and you can’t beat the ease of preparation. It doesn’t hurt to gourmet things up a bit once in awhile though, especially when you can put this in your freezer and save it for the big day!

Make-Ahead  Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

The biggest challenge with stuffing is all of the dicing and chopping to get the ingredients prepared. A handy food chopper can be your best friend when chopping up ingredients like onions or herbs. Once the ingredients are chopped though, it is just a simple matter of mixing them up and then placing the stuffing in the pan for baking.

Make-Ahead  Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

I really love the ingredients in this recipe because they are the perfect balance of sweet and savory. I used turkey sausage in this recipe, but you could certainly substitute with chicken sausage instead. I love Granny Smith apples for baking because they maintain their texture and firmness in this dish. Leave the skins on for a little added color to your stuffing (not to mention, a little fiber too!)

Make-Ahead  Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

I baked up a little dish for you to show you what this looks like when it is all done. The top is crunchy and the inside is delicious and fluffy. The apples add tartness while the onions, celery, and turkey sausage add a little savoriness to the stuffing. When these ingredients are all baked together, it is like a little symphony in your mouth! Reserve a few sprigs of sage to garnish the top of your dish!

Make-Ahead: Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-14
 
A little bit sweet, a little bit savory. This sourdough stuffing filled with apples, sausage, and onions is a a delicious crowd-pleaser that can be made ahead for the holiday season.
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 11 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ pound fresh mild turkey or chicken sausage
  • 4 Granny Smith Apples
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh sage leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Reserved sage leaves (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Spread bread cubes out on two large rimmed baking sheets and bake until dried but not browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from the casings, and add it to the skillet to cook, breaking up chunks with a spoon, until browned, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add apples, celery, onion and butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until apple and vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes more. Add to toasted bread. Stir in broth, poultry seasoning, sage, salt and pepper.
  4. Add stuffing to a freezer-safe greased 9x13 foil pan. Place in the freezer (for up to four weeks). 1-3 days before, remove the stuffing from the freezer. Drizzle a ½ cup additional chicken stock over the top to moisten the stuffing. Heat oven to 350°F and bake until lightly browned and crisp on top, 50 to 60 minutes. This stuffing can also be stuffed in your turkey, just be sure that the stuffing has cooled before proceeding.
  5. Garnish with fresh sage leaves.

 

Are you following along in our make-ahead Thanksgiving series? Be sure to check out our Brandied & Orange Cranberry SauceMashed PotatoesGreen Bean Casserole, Make-Ahead Gravy, and Fancied-Up Store-Bought Pies. Tomorrow our series will end with an easy bread machine roll recipe that you just won’t want to miss!

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Make-Ahead Gravy

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com.

I’m back with another make-ahead recipe for Thanksgiving Day today. This week I am sharing a fantastic Make-Ahead Gravy recipe that you can have waiting in your freezer for the big day. I am excited about this recipe because it provides, yet again, one more dish that you can create to make your day as stress-free as possible.

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com.Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com.

To begin this recipe and create the base, without the turkey, you can use chicken or turkey wings along with onions that you roast in your oven to make those magical drippings that you need to create the base of this gravy recipe. I was not able to locate turkey wings at our market so I substituted with the always available chicken wings. Don’t be surprised if your kitchen already smells like Thanksgiving with just the base of this recipe!

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com.

After scraping your roasting pan up and getting all of the stuck on bits that make your dressing so rich and flavorful, add these to your pot along with some other components like carrots, celery, fresh herbs, turkey or chicken stock, and a little poultry seasoning to round out the flavorings. Allow this to simmer for an hour and a half and then, after straining, you can add the flour mixture to the gravy to thicken it.

There you have it, an easy make-ahead gravy that makes eight cups of delicious gravy for the big day!

Make_Ahead_Gravy_Recipe_1

Make-Ahead Gravy
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15-20
 
Don't panic about the gravy this year! Try this easy make-ahead gravy recipe that makes eight cups of gravy for your Thanksgiving feast.
Ingredients
  • 6 turkey or chicken wings
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespooons olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 quarts chicken broth, divided
  • ¾ cup chopped carrot
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (leave on the stem and add to the pot)
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange a single layer of turkey or chicken wings in a large roasting pan. Scatter the onions over the top of the wings. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 1-1/4 hours or until wings are browned.
  2. Place browned wings and onions in a 5 quart stockpot. Add water to roasting pan and stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the the water from the pan into the stockpot. Stir in 6 cups broth, carrot, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper (to taste). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Remove wings from the pot and place on a cutting board. When the wings are cool, pull off the skin and meat. Discard the skin and save the meat for another use. Strain contents of stockpot through a large strainer into a 3 quart saucepan. Press on the vegetables to extract any remaining liquid. Discard the vegetables and skim the fat off the liquid. Bring the contents of the pot to a gentle boil.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk flour into the remaining 2 cups chicken broth until smooth. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the simmering turkey broth; simmer 3-4 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Stir in the butter and pepper. Serve immediately or pour into containers and refrigerate or freeze.

Are you following along in our make-ahead Thanksgiving series? Be sure to check out our Brandied & Orange Cranberry SauceMashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, and Fancied-Up Store-Bought Pies. Tomorrow we tackle the stuffing with a unique spin using sausage, apples, and sage. You won’t want to miss it!

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Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.

Continuing with my make-ahead Thanksgiving theme this week, I wanted to share with you a make-ahead green bean casserole made only with the freshest ingredients and that can be made ahead and tucked in you freezer for the big day.

Walmart challenged me to share my meal preparation strategies for getting my Thanksgiving dinner on the table and my strategy this year, and all the years in the past, is to get as much done early as possible so that I can truly enjoy the day with my family. I am taking you along on my make-ahead Thanksgiving meal preparation journey by providing some really great dishes that you can make early so you also can enjoy that special day with your family.

Have you been following along in our make-ahead series? If not, here are the recipes I have created so far!

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dish Ideas:

Brandied & Orange Cranberry Sauce

Mashed Potatoes

Fancied-Up Store-Bought Pies (make the whipped cream & fun pie additions a couple of days before your feast)

This week I will be sharing my final dishes:  a Make-Ahead Gravy & a Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, & Sage Sourdough Stuffing, and Make-Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls so please come back so you don’t miss those fun dishes!

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.

Green Bean Casserole is one of those dishes that our family absolutely loves, but this year I wanted to create a dish that didn’t rely on canned food ingredients and instead relied only upon fresh ingredients.

Fresh green beans and mushrooms are tossed in the the world’s most delicious cream sauce and then topped with a crunchy topping of fried onions, that we all know and love, along with a healthy dash of panko (found in the Asian foods section of Walmart) to create the ultimate crunchy topping.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.

To prep this dish ahead, I purchased some inexpensive foil pans and poured my casserole into it. On the lid, I jotted down the instructions for the big day. The panko & onion topping was poured into a baggie and placed in my pantry so it doesn’t get soggy in the freezer.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.The difference between the canned casserole versus the fresh casserole is amazingly different. The green beans are crispy, the cream sauce and mushrooms remind me of a rich and creamy mushroom soup, and the panko adds a crispy crunch to the dish that helps to round out the flavors. Although this dish is far more time consuming than a canned casserole, one bite will have you (and your guests) convinced that this is a dish worth repeating every year!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
A completely fresh green bean casserole that can be made-ahead for your Thanksgiving feast. Once you try this fresh take on this casserole, you'll never go back to the canned type again!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups canned fried onions (about 6 oz.)
  • 2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lb sliced white button mushrooms
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together panko and fried onions with two tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. of water to boil. Add two tablespoons of salt and the green beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, approximately 6 minutes.
  3. Drain beans in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  4. Add butter to your now-empty pot and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, ¾ teaspoons salt, and ⅛ teaspoons pepper; cook until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes.
  5. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3½ cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3 quart (or 13 x 9") baking dish.
  7. Store your onion & panko topping in a baggie in your pantry. Freeze in a freezer-safe container or in a foil pan. Allow the casserole to thaw 1-3 days before your event.
  8. Heat the casserole in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake for 1-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling on the edges.

Do you have any Thanksgiving meal planning strategies to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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Make Ahead Holiday Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Make Ahead Holiday Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd from MomAdvice.com.

Today I wanted to continue with our theme of prepping our freezers for Thanksgiving Day. This recipe for Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes has been a huge favorite of mine over the years. These make-ahead mashed potatoes create the creamiest potatoes that freeze beautifully and warm up easily in the slow cooker.

Walmart challenged me to come up with some strategies for party-planning that have helped me. My number one tip for holiday party and dinner preparation is to make as much ahead of time that you possibly can for your holiday feasts.

This mashed potato recipe is the perfect example of something that I used to stress about for the holidays and now I already have this dish sitting in my freezer for the big day. No need to take up space on your stove to reheat these, they heat beautifully in the slow cooker and can even be doubled for a big crowd.

Make-Ahead Holiday Dish Ideas from MomAdvice.com.

Here are my dishes and recipes that I create in my kitchen now for holiday prep later. These are all dishes that you can freeze or create before your big day that will be a huge time-saver for your holiday parties and meals.

I talk a lot about this in my book, “The Good Life For Less.” In fact, I have an entire chapter devoted towards saving money and making the holidays easier on your family.

Prep These Dishes Ahead

 

Pie Crusts (freeze in disks)

Dinner Rolls & Cinnamon Rolls

Cornbread or Quick Breads

Cranberry Sauce

Soup

Cheese Balls & Dips

Mashed Potatoes (see recipe below)

Snack or Nut Mixes

With all of these dishes prepped in your freezer, party planning,  & meal preparation just got a whole lot easier. It leaves your time free to focus on preparing your home and the main dish for your holiday meals.

Be sure to give these make-ahead mashed potatoes a spin for your holiday feasting. I guarantee that these potatoes will go fast, are stress-free, and a huge crowd-pleaser!

Make Ahead Holiday Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd from MomAdvice.com.

Holiday Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-15
 
Make these crowd-pleasing mashed potatoes before your holiday meal and freeze them until the big day. Reheat in your slow cooker to save space in your oven.
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds of potatoes
  • 1 block (8 oz) of low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup low fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup milk (or more if desired)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • Paprika (optional)
Instructions
  1. Peel potatoes and cut into small cubes. Throw the potatoes in a large pot filled with cold water.
  2. Cook for 25 minutes or until fork-tender.
  3. Drain the potatoes and put them back into the hot pot. Add cream cheese, butter, milk, and salt. Mash with a potato masher or use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes.
  4. Spoon mixture into a freezer-safe container and label.
  5. On Your Holiday Day: Put potatoes in the fridge 1-2 days before to allow them to completely thaw. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray and put potatoes in the slow cooker. Brush the top of the potatoes with a tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with paprika. Cook on low for two to four hours.
  6. Alternate cooking method- Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for thirty to forty minutes or until completely hot.

What are some of your favorite make-ahead dishes for the holidays? Do you have any strategies for making holiday party planning easier?

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Make-Ahead: Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

Certain aspects of Thanksgiving preparation seem intimidating to me. Making a homemade cranberry sauce was one of those things. This recipe for Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce though was so easy to create and so delicious that I can’t imagine buying the canned variety again.

For the holidays, Walmart asked me to create a dish you could share around your Thanksgiving table. It seemed like the perfect time to tackle making my own cranberry sauce.

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.comMake-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

All of the flavor in this dish comes from, of course, the use of fresh cranberries and the zest and juice from fresh oranges. You need a microplane (can be found at just about any kitchen supplies store) to achieve the finest orange zest to be incorporated throughout the dish. The most time-consuming process about this sauce is the zesting and squeezing of your fresh oranges. I promise that it will be worth it!

The other key component with this sauce is a tablespoon of brandy. I tasted the sauce without the brandy and then I tasted the sauce after the brandy and the difference is substantial and worth the extra splurge. An entire bottle of brandy costs about $6 and I incorporate this in everything from quick pan sauces for meats to my favorite slow cooker lemon chicken recipe to my fresh blueberry sangria lemonade.

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

You want to cook this sauce until the berries have popped and the sauce begins to thicken.  After the full cooking time I have listed, you may believe your sauce is still too thin and watery. Do not worry!  

Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to come down to room temperature.  A beautiful discovery will be found when you check back in your pot and realize that your sauce is thick and rich, just like you had always envisioned. You see, cranberries have their own natural pectin (who knew?) that allows the cranberry sauce to thicken. In fact, cranberries are one of the highest pectin containing fruits.

Cranberry sauce is a great make-ahead dish that you can start preparing now for your big day. Once your sauce has cooled, you can place it in your freezer to save for the big day! Just place your sauce either double-bagged in freezer bags and label or in a freezer-safe container. I would pull it out a few days before the big day or for a quicker idea for thawing, place the freezer bag of sauce in a bowl of warm water for an hour, or until it has thawed. 

Stay tuned for ideas for how to use up any leftover sauce you might have later this month!

Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Once you make this cranberry sauce, you will never buy the canned variety again. Make this dish ahead & freeze for your Thanksgiving meal.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup orange zest (approximately the zest from four oranges)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ⅔ cup orange juice (I used the juice from four oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups cranberries
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
Instructions
  1. In a small pan over medium heat, combine the orange zest and water. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving zest and ⅓ cup liquid.
  2. To the reserved liquid, add the sugar, cinnamon, orange juice and lemon juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes uncovered, stirring often.
  3. Add cranberries; increase heat to medium-high and boil for about 30 minutes. The cranberries should pop and the sauce will be slightly thickened. Once cooled, the sauce will be much thicker (don't worry!)
  4. Remove from heat, stir in brandy.
  5. See above for directions on freezing or store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Looking for more great dishes to make ahead? Check out these 7 Easy Make-Ahead Appetizers for the holidays!

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