Nov 23, 2016

Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing with Apples

Confession: for most of my family Thanksgivings, we've mainly used commercial stuffing with a few extra things added to it (water chestnuts, sausage, etc.). And I further admit that I've even thought I liked stuffing. But after trying this homemade stuffing from a recipe given to me by my friend Rachel, I can never go back. I couldn't even wait for the Thanksgiving meal to try this because it looked so good. It is heavenly! I'm thrilled that this recipe makes a large batch so that we have leftovers for multiple days.

12 tablespoons butter
2 ½ cups finely chopped yellow onion
3 tart apples (Jonathans are good), cored and chunked, do not peel
1 pound lightly seasoned bulk breakfast sausage (sage is best)
3 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread (homemade is best)
3 cups coarsely crumbled whole wheat bread
3 cups coarsely crumbled white bread (French or homemade preferred)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
1 ½ cups shelled pecan halves

Melt half of the butter in a skillet. Add chopped onion and cook over medium heat, partially covered, until tender and lightly colored, about 25 minutes. Transfer onions and butter to a large mixing bowl.

Melt remaining butter in the same skillet. Add apple chunks and cook over high heat until lightly colored but not mushy. Transfer apples and butter to the mixing bowl.

Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to the mixing bowl and reserve the rendered fat.

Add the remaining ingredients to the ingredients in the mixing bowl and combine gently. Cool completely before stuffing the bird; refrigerate if not used promptly.

If you do not wish to stuff the bird, spoon the stuffing mixture into a casserole. Cover casserole and bake for about 45 minutes at 325 degrees. Baste occasionally with the drippings from the bird or with the reserved sausage fat, if necessary. Leave the stuffing uncovered for the last 15 minutes of the baking time.

Note: The breads should not be dried out as in many stuffing recipes.

Enough stuffing for a 20-pound turkey, to make 12 to 14 servings.

Nov 6, 2016

Grilled Honey and Ginger Marinated Flank Steak

And another great recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, one of my favorite food blogs. I don't cook steak very often, but when it is this easy and tasty, it's tempting to do so a lot more frequently. This is a terrific main dish on its own or you can add some slices of the steak to make a fabulous salad. Also, per a note from the original Mel's Kitchen Cafe posting, you can keep "a few of these marinating flank steaks in the freezer to thaw and grill as needed. Put the marinade and steak in a freezer bag, press out the air and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then grill. Also, if you are using flank steak a few ounces either direction from the 2 pounds listed in the recipe, you should be fine without having to increase or decrease the marinade ingredients--otherwise adjust accordingly to the size of meat you are using."

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup low­ sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds (more or less) flank steak (see note above)

Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place the flank steak in a shallow
dish (like a 9" x 13­" pan) and pour the marinade over the steak. Cover and let marinade for 8­
10 hours, flipping the steak once or twice during the marinade time. Grill the flank steak over medium heat for about 7­ to 8 minutes per side, depending on how well done you like your steak. Let the steak rest for about 10 minutes before slicing very thinly against the grain and serving.

Tomato Shrimp Cocktail Drink

This beverage was once a fairly regular feature of the Clark family Christmas season, but we got away from it at some point and the drink was temporarily lost to history. Well, I'm bringing it back now. And not just for Christmas. In fact, I have a pitcher of this chilling in my fridge right now. It's a bit like shrimp cocktail in drink form. Or a deluxe tomato juice, if you will. With the crumbled shrimp and chopped celery, there is some texture to it, but it's delicious!

2 large (46 ounce) cans of tomato juice
2 cans of small shrimp, crumbled
2 small stalks of celery, chopped finely
2 tablespoons horseradish
1 bottle (12 ounce) Cross & Blackwell cocktail sauce
1/2 bottle (10 ounce) ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste