Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

Grilled Tomato Bread with Prosciutto

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Grilled Tomato Bread with Prosciutto

Tomatoes are one of my favorite summer foods and I try to incorporate them into almost every dish we eat. The fresh burst of flavor compliments just about any dish whether it is a garnish to our favorite pasta dishes, a fresh sauce, or a flavorful addition to our summer salads.  When I was pregnant, it was the food that I most craved with a drizzle of olive oil, a generous shake of salt, with a red wine vinegar finish. Although I am far from those years in my life, it is still my favorite summer craving.

Each month Walmart challenges me to create something in my kitchen with an item from their produce department. Today’s piece is dedicated to the fun varieties of tomatoes you can find in their produce department.

Cherry Tomatoes

We can all get in a rut when it comes to selecting our produce, myself included. Although I am a fan of my cherry red tomatoes, I incorporated some of these delicious yellow tomatoes into my dish today to add even more color to this easy summer appetizer.  I love to challenge myself to try the new varieties of fruits and vegetables out there and, especially this time of year, there is always so much to love!

Grilled Tomato Bread with Prosciutto Grilled Tomato Bread with Prosciutto Grilled Tomato Bread with Prosciutto

Today’s recipe is for a very simple Grilled Tomato Bread with Prosciutto that requires just a few ingredients and can all be done out on your grill.

Have you ever grilled tomatoes before? It adds a layer of smokiness to the tomatoes, warming them and bursting the skins to create a sauciness to the bread.  I found this recipe that Bobby Flay created and he recommends grilling the tomatoes on high heat, until they are charred. I prefer a gentler heat with less charring, but I think that is a matter of one’s own personal taste. I recommend getting one of these grilling baskets for your veggies (and fish!) or purchasing a package of disposable grill pans for preparing these tomatoes all summer long. Not only are they delicious on top of bread, but grilled tomatoes can be flavored with any variety of herb in your garden or spiced up with your favorite dried spices and stand alone as a side dish with your favorite grilled meats!

Grilled Tomato Bread with Prosciutto Even though the recipe calls for a loaf of crusty French Bread, I also toasted up some gluten-free bread for myself so I could enjoy this appetizer with the family. If you want to keep it fancy, purchase a gluten-free baguette, but I found that with so many flavors in this appetizer, that my regular loaf helps hold this appetizer together and offered a sturdy base for my overflowing of tomato topping.

Although the ingredient list couldn’t be simpler- cherry tomatoes, ricotta cheese, a fresh loaf of bread, prosciutto, and a little lemon juice, this appetizer is both impressive and satisfying. The saltiness from the meat balances the acidity from the tomatoes & lemons, while also incorporating the sweetness of the tomato with the creaminess of  the cheese. We paired this with our favorite red wine, but it would also pair beautifully with a glass of sangria or a mojito for a lighter combination.

No need to heat up the kitchen for this summer appetizer and it is a beautiful one to create for your next barbecue and shared with friends & family!

Grilled Tomato Bread with Prosciutto

Grilled Tomato Bread with Prosciutto
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
An easy and impressive appetizer that you can create entirely on the grill!
  • Cherry Tomatoes (in red & yellow), total of one pint
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 12 slices French bread, sliced ½-inch thick slices (can substitute with gluten-free bread)
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • Basil for garnish
  1. Heat grill to medium heat.
  2. Toss tomatoes in oil and season with salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Place on the grill in a grilling basket and grill until softened, turning a few times, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove to a bowl.
  5. Crush the garlic with a little salt to form a paste and add to the bowl with a few tablespoons of olive oil.
  6. Brush bread with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and place on the grill. Grill the bread until lightly golden brown on both sides, about 20 seconds per side.
  7. Combine the ricotta with a little olive oil in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mound some of the tomato mixture on the bread. Lay prosciutto on top. Dollop with some ricotta mixture and garnish with lemon juice squeezed over the top.

 Adapted from Food Network walmart_mom_disclaimer
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Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans from

For years I have been wanting to make beans in the slow cooker, but was intimidated with the process. Beans in the slow cooker though are surprisingly easy and frugal to create in large batches for your family. Today I wanted to show you a foolproof and delicious recipe for Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans for all of your Cinco de Mayo fun, or as a frugal side dish for your next taco night. Today’s cooking tutorial is going to take you through the in’s and out’s of how to cook beans, how to freeze them, and then in the comments below you can share your views on bean preparation. Everyone has a theory, a trick, and a recipe. Let’s share what we know works best for us!

Bean Cooking 101

How to Cook Dried Beans

Why Should You Trouble Yourself With Dried Beans?

There is true convenience in grabbing a quick can of beans for your dishes out of your pantry. Although it is still a frugal staple, dried beans are oh-so-much cheaper and they have much more flavor than the canned variety. Dried beans typically cost two to three times less than canned beans and they have the added benefit of less sodium, more flavor, and can save you a lot of room in a small pantry. Did I mention that they can be made while you are sleeping in your slow cooker? Now that’s a beautiful thing.

When I posted that I was working on this on Instagram, many people commented on their techniques as well as their failures in cooking beans. I guess I am not the only one a little intimidated by the process. Now that I have made them though, I will be making this a regular habit because it saves me a lot of money and is a very filling protein for someone who is on a gluten-free diet and always hungry.

A Little Sorting Never Hurt Nobody

Once you purchase your beans, make sure you sort them out. Arrange dried beans on a sheet pan or clean kitchen towel and sort through them to pick out any shriveled or broken beans, stones or debris. This is not an all-day affair, just a quickly peek and move on to the next steps.

Rinse It, Rinse It Good

Always make sure you rinse your beans really well before beginning. Make sure you also rinse them well after our salt brine (below).

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans from

To Soak or Not to Soak

Sounds like a great Shakespeare line, doesn’t it? I know that many people skip the soaking process and opt to just throw them right into the slow cooker after a rinse.  I always consult the experts when it comes to cooking and according to Cook’s Illustrated, quick soaking can be effective, but their proven method of soaking beans in a brine, yields a bean that a girl can really be proud of.  Just as a brine on a bird can yield tasty results, beans can benefit from salt too. The salt soak prevents magnesium and calcium from binding to — and, subsequently hardening — the cell walls on your beans. When people  complain that they can never get the beans to soften, you can be assured that a brine can help with that, while maintaining the shape of your beans.

Cook’s Illustrated recommends, for 1 pound of dried beans (about 2 cups) dissolve 3 tablespoons of salt in 4 quarts of water. Add the rinsed beans and let them soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. (If you’re short on time, quick-soak the beans: Place the beans in a large heatproof bowl. Bring 2 quarts of water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Pour the water over the beans and let them soak for 1 hour before draining and rinsing.)

As far as salting goes for your beans for seasoning though, it is advised to wait until the end and salt once they are cooked and season to taste. You also want to be sure that you are rinsing that brine off before you get started with your recipe.

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans from  Cook Them Low & Slow

Since beans need to be cooked low and slow, the slow cooker is ideal for cooking your beans. Once you have rinsed these after the salt brine, add them to your slow cooker along with liquid and seasonings of choice and turn your slow cooker on Low and head to bed.  Skip the addition of anything acidic though because the acid can prevent those beans from breaking down and it’s all about getting these beans to break down.

I cooked mine in my Ninja Cooker and set it for six hours and it set’s itself to warm after that.  The beans should take roughly six to eight hours to cook and slow cookers can be the ideal tool for cooking them. According to The Kitchn, it’s adviseable to pick a slow cooker that fits best with the amount of beans you are cooking. They advise that for small batches of beans, a pound or less, to rely on a 3 1/2-quart or smaller slow cooker. If cooking 2 pounds or more, you can use your 7-quart slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans from Freeze Those Beans

Once the beans are done, divide them up into two cup portions in freezer bags and put them in the freezer.  You can now enjoy the savings all month long and enjoy these beans as a side or accompaniment to any of your favorite Mexican dishes.

I hope this tutorial helps and I can’t wait to read your own tips for cooking beans in the comments below! These would be delicious paired with my favorite 10-minute fish tacos, our chicken enchiladas (made with homemade enchilada sauce), my roasted corn salsa, and a tall margarita or mojito…just in case you are looking for a few great dishes for Cinco de Mayo!

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans from

SAFETY NOTE: If you are cooking kidney beans, boil them for 10 minutes before cooking. This neutralizes a toxin called phytohemagglutinin that can cause acute digestive distress.

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Be sure to read our Bean Cooking Tutorial before you begin! These beans make the perfect side dish for any meal!
  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, or 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes (ADD AT THE END)
  1. Follow the instructions for sorting, rinsing, brining, and then rinsing again as I have outlined above.
  2. Put the drained beans into your slow cooker, then add the chopped garlic, broth, cumin, and chili powder. Stir well to combine.
  3. Set on LOW for six to eight hours in your slow cooker (see above for recommended slow cooker sizes based on pounds).
  4. Once they are done, stir in diced tomatoes and season.
This post contains affiliate links.

What’s your favorite way to cook beans? Any tips, tricks, or techniques that work well for you?

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Mama Francesca Cheese & Cheese Dusted Olives

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Mama Francesca Cheese Review


*This post is sponsored by Mama Francesca

Last month I mentioned my partnership with Mama Francesca Grated Cheese. I am excited to share another fun recipe idea that you can create in your kitchen and this one happens to require very little cooking, but is an impressive appetizer to add to your next get together or antipasto platter.

Mama Francesca  is a delicious grated cheese that comes in six different flavor varieties including Aromatico (Parmesan, Basil & Oregano), Fiero (Parmesan & Red Pepper), & Pungente (Parmesan & Garlic), Audace (Parmesan & Romano), and Perfetto (Classic Parmesan).

Mama Francesca Terzetto Cheese

You can also find the Terzetto (Parmesan, Asiago & Romano).  The best part is that these can all be found on the shelves of your local Walmart stores, including the new Terzetto which will be available at Walmart on April 21st!

Did you catch last month’s delicious Gluten-Free Pasta & Meatball recipe? I hope you didn’t miss it because I have already made it a few times since I shared it!

For inspiration for this month’s recipe, I looked on the Mama Francesca website to create a dish to share with you. The site offers a variety of recipes and when I happened upon a recipe for Cheese Dusted Olives…well, be still my beating heart, because I am already in love just from the title alone.

 Cheese Dusted Olive Recipe

Have you ever infused oils before? It truly makes any dish a showstopper and it is just a simple technique of adding herbs and any desire of flavoring to heated oil and allowing it to infuse into it. I do this with my husband’s favorite roasted shrimp, but had never thought to do this with olives. It changes the taste of the olives completely and adds that special wow factor to your antipasto platters.

The oil is infused with lemon and thyme and then poured over your olives on a platter (or a martini glass like me!)  and finished with your favorite cheese blend. I wanted these to have a little garlic bite to them so I used the Pungente (Parmesan & Garlic) to add that cheesy garlic flavor that I love.

I rounded out my antipasto platter with salami, prosciutto, and fresh grapes- all delicious and all, happily, gluten-free snack options.

 Cheese Dusted Olive Recipe

Since getting a babysitter is expensive, I am always looking for date night experiences at home. In the summer months, we enjoy an antipasto platter outside and chat after the kids head to bed. In the winter months, this is best served with a great Netflix documentary or board game for a fun evening in.  To round out the evening, this gluten-free meatball recipe I shared last month would also be a beautiful accompaniment as your evening appetizer!

I have stopped thinking of these things as special occasion foods, but an investment into our relationship and time together.

I hope these posts about Mama Francesca have inspired you to pick up a few varieties of cheeses to try and I hope you can give these delicious Cheese-Dusted Olives a spin for a fun date night in!

 Cheese Dusted Olive Recipe

Cheese Dusted Olives
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
An effortless & easy appetizer for lemon & thyme infused olives dusted with cheese.
  • ¼ cup Mama Francesca Parmesan Audace (or your favorite Mama Francesca cheese variety)
  • 2 cups Favorite Olives, rinsed
  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 sprigs Thyme
  • 1 Lemon, strips of peel only
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat oil over medium for 3 minutes, until warm, remove from heat.
  2. Place thyme and lemon peel in oil, let stand 1 hour.
  3. Once cooled, pour infused oil over olives on a platter.
  4. Sprinkle with Mama Francesca cheese.


 *This post is sponsored by Mama Francesca

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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
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.
  • 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)
  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

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
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.
  • 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
  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)



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
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!
  • ⅔ cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  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

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

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 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 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
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!
  • 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
  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

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 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

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

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

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
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.
  • 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)
  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

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 Gravy Recipe from

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

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 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.
  • 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
  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

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

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

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 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
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!
  • 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
  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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