Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Zuppa Toscana Soup

I love's a new tradition in my family that either the day before thanksgiving or Black Friday, we have an Ugly Christmas Sweater party. We eat and play games all evening. This year I made this Delicious Zuppa Toscana Soup that I found here. I followed the recipe as it was except I used a Hot Italian Sausage and left out the Crushed red pepper, and instead of just spinach I did a mix of kale and baby spinach..... So good. Enjoy!

Best Ever Zuppa Toscana Soup

Ingredients 1 pound bulk Hot Italian sausage 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 1 large onion, diced 1 tablespoon minced garlic 5 (13.75 ounce) cans chicken broth 6 potatoes, thinly sliced 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 bunch fresh baby spinach and kale mix (I used a couple of handfuls)Directions Cook the Italian sausage in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook the bacon in the same Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. drain and set aside. Leaving a few tablespoons of drippings in the bottom of the Dutch oven, stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven with the onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the heavy cream and the cooked sausage and bacon; heat through. Mix the spinach into the soup just before serving.

Savory Herb Turkey Gravy

No Thanksgiving is complete without a delicious Savory Herb Gravy I found this recipe on pinterest and it's simple to make from turkey giblet stock that you make while the turkey is roasting. YUM!

Savory Herb Turkey Gravy
2 tablespoons olive oil
Reserved turkey neck and giblets
1 yellow onion, unpeeled and quartered
1 carrot, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups water
6 black peppercorns
1 large handful fresh herb sprigs (parsley, rosemary, thyme marjoram)
1 bay leaf
Reserved turkey drippings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oil in large stockpot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add turkey neck and giblets. Allow to cook a few minutes undisturbed to get nice and brown. Use tongs to flip and brown other side.
Add onion quarters, carrot, celery, and garlic. Allow to brown, stirring only occasionally, to brown all sides evenly.
Instructions:Add wine to pot and scrape bottom of pan to deglaze. Allow wine to boil and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add water, peppercorns, herbs, and bay leaf to pot. Do not cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for at least one hour.
Strain liquid into a container. Discard all solids except any meat from the neck you'd like to pick off. You can chop up the other giblets real small if you like that stuff too (I'm not quite at that point in my life yet). Refrigerate liquid so that the fat congeals on top (there wasn't any congealed fat when I did it). Once cold, remove solid fat from liquid.
Combine remaining drippings from the turkey with the broth you cooked earlier.
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir. Cook until mixture is golden brown and smells wonderful. Add a ladle of your broth mixture and whisk until you have a thick paste and there are no lumps. Add another ladle and whisk again until smooth. Continue adding liquid and whisking until everything is combined and smooth.
Reduce heat to low and continue to cook if gravy needs thickening. Add salt and pepper, as desired. Amount of salt depends on how much of the turkey drippings you use, so be sure to taste. Transfer to gravy boat and serve hot.

Loaded Mashed Potato Bites

I made these for an appetizer for our Ugly Christmas Sweater party. They were delicious!! A fun little bite or two while waiting for the party to start.
I used Bob Evans Sour cream potatoes but you can use left over mashed potatoes if you have them.

Loaded Mashed Potato Bites
2 packages Bob Evans Sour cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes, (or 2 cups leftover mashed Potatoes)
1/4 cup all purpose flour (make it a heaping cup)
1 large egg
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon bits

for the dip:
1/2 cup Sour cream
2 Tablespoons milk
1 rounded Tablespoon dried ranch seasoning mix

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a non-stick mini muffin tin with non stick cooking spray.
Remove the mashed potatoes from the package (microwave first for a minute) Add to a large bowl.
No need to microwave leftover mashed potatoes unless you need to so they mix better.
Add flour, egg, cheddar cheese and bacon to the bowl with the potatoes. Stir to combine.
Scoop about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the potato mixture into each muffin tin.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

While the potato bites cook, make the dip by whisking together the sour cream, milk, and ranch seasoning in a small bowl. Set aside for serving.
Let the bites cool for 15 minutes before running a small knife around the edges  of the muffin tin to loosen. Remove the puffs from the tin.
Place on serving platter along side the dip.

Portabella Mushroom Tacos

I love tacos. My hubby and I thought it would be awesome to see if we could do a meatless Monday  and Portabella mushrooms have a grea...