Sausage & Apple Stuffing

Sausage & Apple Stuffing

I didn’t host Thanksgiving this year, which is one of my favorite things. This was the first year in a really long time I haven’t hosted, but I’m glad I was still able to make some contributions to dinner. (Thanks Annie & Dave for having me – I had a great time!)

I brought stuffing and honey yeast rolls with brown sugar honey butter. I used some of my vintage Pyrex dishes to make the stuffing, and Le Creuset stoneware  pie dishes* for the rolls. I made everything at home and transported it a half hour to dinner, which meant an interesting packing job with rubber bands to hold the Pyrex lids on and a selection of dish towels and oven mitts to make sure nothing broke during the car ride.  The stuffing came out great. I cooked it almost all the way at my house and finished it in the oven when I arrived.

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links [marked with *], which means I receive compensation for purchases made using the links.)

Ingredients

  • 1 small bunch of celery
  • 3 honeycrisp apples
  • 2 small-medium onions
  • 3 large mild Italian sausage patties
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 16-18 cups hard cubed bread (you want it to be almost crouton-like)
  • Butter (for greasing casserole dish)

I used dried herbs, so you will want to adjust proportions if you’re using fresh.

Instructions

Set aside bread cubes into one or two large mixing bowls.

Preheat a large (or possibly two) saute pan over medium heat. I used my Le Creuset 5qt braiser* and it was the perfect size.

Prep onions, apples, and celery and set aside together:

  • Onions – small dice
  • Celery – leaves removed, medium dice
  • Apples – peeled and cored, small dice

Add sausage patties to the pan, breaking up the pieces as it cooks. Cook all the way through until the sausage starts to brown. Add onions, apples, and celery to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the apples start to get soft.

Mix with bread cubes in mixing bowl(s) using a spatula or wooden spoon. Add sage, rosemary, thyme, white pepper, and salt, and mix well. Transfer into one or more greased casserole dishes. Add chicken stock. You want the bread to be a little wet, but not too wet.

Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes until the top is crispy and the rest seems to be dry-ish (just push down on it and see if it still seems wet or not). Watch and make sure the top doesn’t start to burn. If it does, put the lid of the casserole dish on, or cover with aluminum foil. I cooked mine uncovered and it was fine.

Troubleshooting

If after about 20 minutes it still seems too mushy/wet, put another cup or two of the dried bread in a mixing bowl. Carefully dump or transfer the stuffing from the casserole dish to the bowl, mix, transfer back to the casserole dish, and resume cooking.

Prep Tip

IMG_7044Set everything out to prepare for all of your chopping. Have two bowls handy – one for the things you’re chopping, and the other for all of the scrap pieces (onion peels, apple cores, etc.) Then you can just toss all of the scraps once at the end.

Sauteed Rustic Herb Green Beans

Rustic Herb Green BeansThis is one of the sides I made the other night to go with the steak. This uses one of the seasoning blends from Tastefully Simple*. Sometimes people ask why I buy seasoning blends like that when I like cooking from scratch so much. Well, there are times when I just don’t want to have to think about the proportions of oregano to rosemary and would rather only think about how much seasoning I need in general. Plus, it’s delicious, so why not?

You can do these on a sheet pan or in a saute pan on the stove. I made them on the stovetop because all of my oven space was occupied with other things.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (marked wth *), which means I receive compensation for purchases made using the links.

Ingredients

1 pound fresh green beans
2 tbsp Tastefully Simple* Rustic Herb seasoning
½ tsp salt
Olive oil

Instructions

Preheat saute pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, trim green beans (another shortcut – buy ones that are already trimmed).

Place green beans in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil to coat. Use enough olive oil so that they are just coated, not overly oiled. Add the salt and herb seasoning, and stir/toss to combine.

Add the green beans to the pan. Cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Variation: Preheat oven to 400. Spread green beans on a foil-lined sheet pan and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Freezer Prep: Combine all ingredients, place in a freezer bag. Move to fridge the morning of (if cooking for dinner), or place the bag in a large bowl of water to thaw. It’s not the end of the world if you put them in the saute pan frozen, just watch out because the ice/oil combo can pop and burn you.

Mashed Potato Casserole

Mashed Potato Casserole

Someone gave me a recipe for a twice baked potato casserole. I liked the concept of a twice baked potato casserole because you don’t have to fool with re-stuffing the potato skins. I was planning to make that, but I didn’t have the right potatoes. Plus, that recipe didn’t have cream cheese, and I decided that was necessary! We had this on Easter, and not much was left over.

Ingredients

5 lbs of potatoes, peeled
1 – 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
7 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided into ¼ and ½ cups
¼ cup heavy cream
1 stick butter

Instructions

Boil the potatoes until fully cooked. Drain and transfer to the casserole dish. Add the stick of butter to the potatoes. Use beaters from a hand mixer to mash the potatoes.

Add cream cheese and heavy cream. Use the hand mixer on a low setting to blend everything together.

Add the bacon and ½ cup of the cheddar cheese. Blend again. You can add more cheese if you don’t think it’s cheesy enough. Taste and see if you think some salt needs to be added. The bacon is already salty, but I think I added maybe a pinch of salt.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the casserole and bake at 350° until it’s warm, the cheese is melted, and the sides look a little bubbly.

Cucumber Salad

cucumber-saladThis is a super simple cucumber salad. It’s quick to make, and a good opportunity to practice knife skills.

Ingredients

6 cucumbers
2 pints grape tomatoes
Half of a medium red onion
2 packets Good Seasons Italian salad dressing & recipe mix
Red wine vinegar

Instructions

Cut cucumbers in half vertically and remove seeds. Scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon or melon baller and cut into slices (half moon shaped).

Thinly slice onion (almost like a julienne size).

Halve the grape tomatoes.

Combine the veggies. Add seasoning packets, stir. Add red wine vinegar to taste (start with a few shakes, and increase a few shakes at a time).