Saturday, November 17, 2018

Apple Cranberry Sausage Dressing

I still make my Mom's dressing after all these years.  There are hundreds of other dressings I could make but there is something about tradition and the fact that this dressing made her the super star every holiday!  It was the dish that brought out all the oooohs and ahhhhs.  She was well known for this dish and everyone loved it. And so I carry on the tradition and will make it for years to come.  In memory of my Mom, I present her.....

Apple Cranberry Sausage Dressing 

6 cups bread cubes
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
5 stalks celery, chopped including leaves
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Sage Flavored)
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 Fuji or Gala apple, cored and chopped small
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup apple cider
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or more as needed)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 7 - 10 minutes until light golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add sausage to a large skillet over medium heat, stirring to break up clumps. Cook until browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove cooked sausage and add to bowl with bread. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from skillet and add 2 tablespoons butter.  Add onioncelery and garlic and saut√© for 4-5 minutes until softened. 

 Add herbs and seasonings and cook for two more minutes. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.  

Pour the mixture over the bread in the bowl and toss until bread cubes are moistNext de-glaze the skillet using the apple cider, stirring the bottom of the skillet to lift bits of onion and celery and garlic. Pour over bread and vegetables. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. 

Mix in the chopped apple and the dried cranberries. Mix again making sure everything is combined. Pour into a buttered 13 by 9 by 2 inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes until golden brown and slightly crisp on top. 

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Sweet Potato Casserole

I can't remember a Thanksgiving or Christmas that this dish was not front and center on our table.  My Mom used to say it was a "southern thing!" Everyone loves it and it goes fast. Creamy, sweet, and smooth sweet potatoes with a crunchy pecan crusted topping. This is my kind of holiday casserole!

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (3 pounds of yams)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and bake the potatoes for about an hour or until soft and tender.  Let cool before peeling.  Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl,  add sweet potatoes sugar, eggs, vanilla and milk. With an electric mixer, beat until smooth.  Add in butter and beat again until well blended.  Pour in a buttered 9 x 13 casserole dish and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.  Set aside.

Pecan Topping

2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix together brown sugar and flour.  Add melted butter and pecans and mix with until crumbly.   Sprinkle topping all over the top of the sweet potatoes.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until browned and hot and bubbly around the sides.

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Chicken Biscuits 'n' Gravy

Go get your fat pants. You'll put on a few pounds just looking at this one! I can put this recipe way up there with my favorites. Probably just under chicken and dumplings. When I was young, I used to walk home from school wondering what my Mom was cooking for dinner and hoping it was this dish. It is amazing.  It is the ultimate comfort food.  

Chicken Biscuits 'n' Gravy 


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup cold buttermilk

 Whisk together the measured flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the cold butter pieces and toss to just coat them in the flour mixture. Place the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes. 


Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, and working quickly so as not to soften the butter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s in pea-size pieces. Drizzle in the buttermilk and stir just until moist and dough comes together.

Generously dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the surface and dust the top with more flour. Using floured hands, gently pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick circle. Using a 2-1/2-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut out as many biscuits as possible (press straight down through the dough—do not twist the cutter, or the biscuits will not rise properly).

Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Gather the scraps into a ball, pat it into a 1-inch-thick circle, and cut out more biscuits. Repeat as needed until you have 8 total. Discard any remaining dough. Bake until the biscuits have risen and are golden brown on top, about 15 to 16 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack. Meanwhile, make the gravy.


3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
3 1/2 cups whole milk or half and half
1 rotisserie chicken, torn into pieces (breast or thighs or both)

Boil potatoes until tender. Drain well and set aside. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the flour, salt and pepper. You can add a pinch of cayenne here if you’d like to kick it up a bit. Cook, stirring frequently, until the raw taste of the flour has cooked off, about 1 minute.

Gradually stir in the milk, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Continue simmering, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 1 minute more (the gravy will continue to thicken as it sits). Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Add the torn chicken pieces and the potatoes and stir to combine. Simmer on low heat for about 20 more minutes stirring every few minutes.  Serve in bowl or plate and top with a biscuit!

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