Bread Stuffing for the Holidays

bread stuffing
Do you call it stuffing or dressing?

Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, this is the basic recipe you can start with.

9 cups bread cubes (use a combination of white and wheat)
1½ cups chopped celery
¾ cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
¾ cup butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground sage
½ teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 egg, beaten

In a medium skillet, sauté celery, onion and mushrooms in butter. Add salt, sage, thyme, poultry seasoning and pepper.

In a large bowl Toss bread cubes with sautéed vegetables/seasonings until bread is well coated. Mix the egg with the chicken broth to moisten and stir into bread cube mixture. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

What I like about this recipe, is the bread cubes stay light and fluffy. This recipe works well baked on the side and also made ahead and microwave-warmed when you get to grandma’s house. Oh wait, I AM Grandma 😀

VEGETARIAN Version: substitute about 2/3 cup olive oil for the butter and vegetable broth for chicken broth. When I do this I usually use rosemary as the herb, but sage is okay too.

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Pineapple, Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

 

Pineapple salad
Pineapple, Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

1 pineapple, peeled and chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced or quartered
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/2 cup cilantro (or parsley), roughly chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper1. Combine all ingredients and toss lightly to distribute the lime juice and zest evenly.

  1. Combine all ingredients and toss lightly to distribute the lime juice and zest evenly.

2. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

3. Serve immediately or keep chilled until ready to serve.

Crispy Fried Breadsticks

sausage-sized bread sticks
Fried Breadsticks

The inspiration for this came from a Germans from Russia recipe for schoofnudla that I came across. My husband and I ate them with our fingers like french fries, but traditionally, they would have been served with sauerkraut, potatoes, or sausages. In our house, this has morphed into breadsticks and that’s what we call them. Making these tasty, crispy little gems is fun, especially when you make them with kids because you shape them by rolling between the palms of your hands as you would a piece of clay. Here is the recipe (Makes 10-15 sticks, it all depends on whether you roll them thiner or thicker):

Noodle dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1-2 Tablespoons water

Cooking:
2/3 cup water
¼ cup oil
1 pat of butter

Using a fork, mix together 1/2 cup of the flour, baking powder, salt, and egg. you may not need any added water. Gradually add more flour until you can turn the dough onto a floured surface and it sticks together so you can knead it 3-4 times so it is rollable. Tearing off walnut-sized pieces, hand roll the noodles between palms to the thickness of pencils (for thin sticks) or the size of a woman’s finger for thicker sticks (pictured). Roll them into about 4-inch pieces. They will puff up and get thicker while cooking.

Put 2/3 cup water in a large skillet along with oil and simmer-saute’ the noodles on medium high heat for anywhere from 5-10 minutes until the water boils out and the noodles begin to fry in the remaining oil. Add a pat of butter and fry until golden and lightly crispy, stirring once after the bottoms have browned. I like to flip them over once to brown on both sides, but that isn’t necessary for the skinny ones. They should be a deep golden brown color. Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, they don’t do well when cooked ahead.

Note: Great as dippers too with a hot marinara, alfredo or cheese sauce. I know, I have drifted far from the noble roots of this recipe, but that’s just what I do (grin).

 

Refried Beans

refried beans
Refried Beans

REFRIED BEANS

2 T olive oil
1 15 oz. can pinto beans
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large jalapeño – diced and seeds removed
1/2 medium onion – diced
3/4 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
¼ c sour cream (opt)

In a medium saucepan, saute’ onion and minced pepper in olive oil. Add garlic near the end. Puree’ the beans and spices in blender and return to saucepan to simmer until desired consistency and flavors marry. Stir in sour cream and serve warm or room temperature with chips as a dip or as a side dish sprinkled with shredded colby-jack cheese.

This is so easy and fun to make. Take it to a party, it’s the season!

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

a half spaghetti squash baked with cheese
Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

SPAGHETTI SQUASH ALFREDO
1 T. oil
1 T. butter
2 T. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, sliced
Salt and pepper
4 oz. Neuchatel cheese
1/3 c. half & half
½ spaghetti squash
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup cooked, chopped kale

Halve and clean 1 whole spaghetti squash (I usually roast both halves at once, reserving the second half for another meal). In a heavy, shallow baking dish, rub ½ of the spaghetti squash with butter or oil and roast at 400 degrees F. until tender (about 1 hour).

While squash is roasting, prepare the Alfredo sauce as follows: Saute’ onions in oil and butter over medium heat for 5 minutes, adding garlic in the last minute. Add Neuchatel cheese and half & half, stirring until combined. Salt and pepper to taste.

When squash removed from oven, loosen squash “spaghetti” with a fork so it will take the sauce. Pour sauce over/into the squash and gently mix by lifting and turning a few times with a fork.

Top with a handful of Parmesan cheese, return to oven, and bake again for 20 minutes or until turning golden and bubbling. Serves 2.

Butternut Squash and Swiss Cheese Casserole

a squash and melted cheese casserole
Butternut Squash and Swiss Cheese Casserole

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SWISS CHEESE CASSEROLE

8 oz. fresh mushrooms or mushroom stems
2 onions, coarsely chopped (¼ cup)
1 ½ tsp. butter
1 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup shredded Swiss cheese
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
1 (2.5 lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ⅛-inch slices

Directions:
Finely chop mushrooms and onions and transfer to bowl together.
Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped mushrooms and onions, and season with salt if desired. Cook 10 minutes, or until the onions are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 9-inch deep-dish pie pan or gratin dish with cooking spray.

Bring milk, flour, and garlic to a simmer in saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook 2 minutes, or until sauce is thick enough to coat back of spoon, whisking frequently. Whisk in 1/2 cup cheese and nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Spread one-third squash in prepared pan. Top with 1/3 cup cheese sauce and half of mushroom mixture. Repeat layers, ending with cheese sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake 45 minutes, or until squash is tender and top is browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

German Potato Salad

potatoes in a cast iron skillet
German Potato Salad

GERMAN POTATO SALAD Inspired by the Aces Haus in Lincoln, NE

I did not get this recipe from the proprietor of Aces Haus. I went from memory and taste, remembering the flavors that struck me most about the potato salad I had at the restaurant a few days ago. Those things were: less sugar and vinegar than what is commonly served. This truly does taste like I remembered.

2 pounds white new potatoes (or Yukon Golds) thick sliced
Salt & pepper to taste
8 bacon slices, cut into lardons
1 onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons brown sugar (opt.)
3/4 cup chicken stock (more if needed)
¼ to 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped

Directions:
Boil the unpeeled potatoes in salted water until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and reserve. Cook bacon lardons over medium heat in a high-sided saute pan until brown and crispy. Pour off about half of the fat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 7-8 minutes. Add ½ cup chicken stock, cup ¼ vinegar and brown sugar then potatoes (they will still be warm). Cook until liquid is absorbed. Add more broth and vinegar only if needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper and add chives. Serve warm or room temperature.