Quick Fix: Open Faced Pork Sandwich

I make pork chops a lot and there always seems to be an extra chop or two hanging around. The same is true when I make a roast--there is always some leftovers. The one thing I have a hard time abiding is wasted food. I don't like it, not one bit.

So, to avoid the wasted, not to mention delicious, meat, I made up this simple open faced sandwich that really hits the spot for lunch. Let's face it, if you are going to cook the meat, don't let it go to waste! Easily made for one or two, this makes a happy hot lunch on a cooler day. These flavors just speak to me.

Join me, friends, in an ode to open faced sandwiches...because they are a thing of wonder. It's like a whole sandwich with twice the filling. It's like two, for the price of one! It's like the heavens opened and from them sprung two sandwiches! Okay, was that going too far?

Let's just call it a fast lunch and we'll be in agreement.


On a small pan, (I use a stone) place two pieces of bread. It can be any type of bread. Here I have some split top wheat, which is yummy and soft. 


I like to put some mayo on my bread. I like mayo and I wont' apologize for it, but if you find yourself less enthused about it, that's okay! You can use mustard, or ranch dressing or nothing at all. 



Left over pork chops from dinner. With mushrooms--my favorite!! 

It doesn't much matter if you have a lot or a little--it's about "making it work" (in the words of Tim Gunn). 


Just cut it up into nice little pieces... 


Distribute it evenly onto your slices of bread. Also, if you wanted to add onions or banana peppers or anything else you fancy to this sandwich, now would be the time. 


And top with a couple pieces of cheese. I divided these pieces of cheese into two and laid them on the meat. 


Mmmm...mmmmm....looking good! 

I'm gonna pop this in the LO Broil for 10-12 minutes. 
LO Broil is my favorite oven function. So I encourage you to give it a whirl if you haven't before. It's an open faced sandwich's best friend! 


THIS is what comes out! Looks great, right?!!?! Who can argue with this delectable sandwich?! I couldn't...but mostly because I was too busy eating at a furious pace! 


I just wanted to take you closer to behold the crusty, melty yummy goodness of it all. 

Yep, that's a good lunch that uses leftovers, making you the queen of "waste not, want not." And that's a good feeling!!! 

Open Faced Pork Sandwich 

Time: 15 minutes, tops | Serves: 1 (easily doubled) | Difficulty: Easy! 

You Will Need:

Two pieces of bread, your choice
Leftover pork, beef, or other cut of meat
Mayonnaise (for spreading)
2 slices of cheese (I used cheddar)

Method:

On a oven-worthy pan lay out two pieces of bread.

Spread with mayonnaise.

Take your leftover meat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Distribute the meat onto the bread evenly.

Top with a couple pieces of cheese (one on each piece of bread.) I like to half mine, but whatever works for your personal taste.

Place the open-faced sandwich in the oven on a LO Broil for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and getting slightly browned on top (see photo, above).

Serve with a pickle and a smile!

Enjoy!

Bossy Italian Book Review: A Dance With Dragons (Game of Thrones Book #5)


Wow. Wow. WOW!

I barely know where to start with reviewing this book.  It took me a little longer than the rest of the series to read (due to length and schedule), and so ALL that happened in this book over the course of the times I read it is hard to fully recall. The books start to bleed into one another in some respects. The other part is that SO much happens in this book that it’s hard to keep it all straight. This book has a ton of stories in it.

I could read this series again and again. There is one more book due out, but I swear, this series has already lived a thousand lives.

There is Cersei, who is suffering terribly for all of her sins throughout this series. She’s abandoned by Jamie who, I am sure, will offer a thrilling story in the next book. Then we’ve got Jon, who is dutifully running the Night’s Watch, and seriously, that becomes a twisty turny road that literally had me gasping toward the end.

And let’s talk about Reek. What a character--not one that is unfamiliar to us in past books--and one who elicits so much sympathy in this book that once you learn his true identity, it rattles you. Oh and let’s take a moment to talk about the Ironborn in this book because I feel like we hear a lot more about them, especially Asha Greyjoy, who I have grown to really like.

Daenerys really picks up steam in this book as well and her dragons, who obviously (given the title of the book) become instrumental. Of course there is no way to predict what will happen in these books, and I hate giving things away, but Dany’s story really had me gripped. Meeren is a crazy place, what can I say, and as always you don’t know who you can possibly trust. Dany's story has always been a little more special to me than some of the other characters, and that element doesn't go away.

Still, Tyrion remains a favorite for me. And I love the addition of Penny. Their little journey has me guessing...dare I say, hoping...that they might get together romantically. Sure, we all know that Tyrion has a very caring and human side, but with Penny, it comes out in ways we haven’t seen before. So watching that unfold is interesting.

Oh gosh, and there is still, Arya! She is still my hero, even though her journey just keeps getting creepier. This girl is all kinds of hardcore, and smart too!! I can’t wait to see what happens with her story as things unfold. She is a Stark, through and through and I just love her.

Truly there are a ton of wonderfully vibrant characters in these books. So many that I can’t even get to all of them in a simple review of this [awesome] fifth book. What I can say is that we get more characters in this book and at a swifter pace. Stories come together and overlap. As usual, the ending of the book really zings you.

There are moments of distinct sadness and surprise in this book. While it is long, coming in at just over 1,000 pages, I found it entirely worth the read and I relish the fact that they are long enough that they don’t wrap up swiftly and leave you pining in the worst ways. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, these books are more than worth the time spent reading. They are true entertainment, great literary prowess, and creativity at their best. If you only read one series your entire life, make it the Game of Thrones series.

Now the real question is, what the heck am I going to do with myself until the next Game of Thrones book hits shelves? They are saying it might not be until 2015...I'll be waiting Mr. Martin, I'll be waiting.

Read my other reviews on the Game of Thrones series here:

Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire & Ice (Book #1)

A Clash of Kings (Book #2)

A Storm of Swords (Book #3)

A Feast For Crows (Book #4)

Chicken in Pig's Clothing Recipe

I love dressing chickens up as other animals. I have dressed a chicken up as a duck and now I'm dressing it up as a pig! Essentially, all this means is that I am taking the fat of the animal and slathering it all over my chicken and roasting it. I am not sure if life gets much better than a roasted chicken slathered in fat. I mean, let's be serious.

This recipe is so simple it will make your pretty little head spin. We're going to cook the bird in a cast iron skillet, which I have to say is one of my favorite ways to do it--and I have tried a lot of different ways. There is just something about the cast iron skillet that really does a bird justice. It should be said that you can use a roasting pan if you don't have a cast iron skillet. But if you don't, consider getting one to add to your collection--I am in love with mine!

There are also just a few ingredients you need to make this recipe, which we can all agree adds incentive. The main ingredient you need (besides a chicken) is bacon fat. It's what dresses this chicken up like a pig. Bacon fat is something I regularly save to use. You can read more about that by clicking HERE. Let's get started, shall we?


One onion, cut "rustically" which is my fancy-pants way of saying, "just however you feel like it, but not diced." I like big old chunks because they will cook up in the oven. 


And you have to have your fat. YUM. 


I rinsed my birdie, took out the gizzards and patted him dry. Then I placed him in my pan and he's ready to get dressed. 


I'm taking a few cloves of garlic, unpeeled, and stuffing them in the cavity of the bird. 


PEEK-A-BOO! 



"Scatter" your onions around your chicken.... 


Salt and pepper him good. 


And now it's time to get your hands in the mix! Dip your fingers right in that fat and get a good handful or two. 


And rub the chicken all over! 


Don't leave any parts out. 


You want him fully dressed, after all. 

Then you are gonna pop this puppy in the oven on 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees. I recommend measuring the temperature because it takes the guessing game out of the process. 


Ta da! 
Bird with a crispy skin and a juicy center--it's the simple things in life, and this is one of them. 
Everything is better with bacon [fat!] 

Chicken in Pig's Clothing 

Time: 1 hour | Serves 4 | Difficulty: Pretty easy 

You Will Need

1 whole chicken, 2-3 pounds 
A generous amount of bacon fat 
1 onion, chopped "rustically" 
4-6 cloves of garlic 
Salt & pepper 

Special equipment: 
Cast iron skillet 

Method

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

To prepare your roaster chicken, remove the giblets and discard (or save for use if you prefer). Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. I like to make sure my chicken is very dry--it helps the fat to stick. 

Place your chicken in your cast iron skillet. 

Chop your onion into chunky pieces and place them around the chicken. 

Place your cloves of garlic (unpeeled) into the cavity of the bird. 

Apply a generous amount of salt and pepper to the bird (about a palmful of each.)

Next, slather the bird with the bacon fat. Make sure to get in all the crevices and make it thick!! (See pictures above).

Place the chicken in the preheated oven and cook about 40-45 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees.

Carve and serve! 

My Secret [Flower] Fantasy


When a girlfriend of mine saw a relationship go south, she was a little blue about it. So when she asked me what to post on FaceBook that her former beau might see,  I thought about it for a couple of moments. Then I eagerly answered, “Post your FaceBook status to say ‘thank you’ to the guy who sent you flowers!”

No one had sent her flowers...but, to me, it seemed like the right idea. Like the 2012 technological version of the old-school trick of sending yourself flowers to make your love interest jealous. It’s like telling that person (or even the world) that someone is interested in you, and it puts into play that adage of “fake it until you make it.” Sure, it’s a white lie, but is it all that bad?

Therein lies the question.

Over the next several minutes, my friend and I tried to come up with a better FaceBook status that focused on her own happiness--which is much more her. The truth is, my entire suggestion had more to do with my own secret flower fantasy than my girlfriend’s own situation. You see, my husband, despite being a great husband most of the time, doesn’t to buy me flowers. He thinks that buying flowers is a waste of money because they die.

I find buying flowers to a very romantic gesture...because they die. It’s a total waste of money and NOTHING says “I love you” like throwing away a bunch of money on someone for the sole purpose of making them happy. Plus I love the sunny greeting that flowers bring to a room. They are so cheery.

Because I love flowers so much and because my husband never buys them for me, I have [over the years] developed this sort of fantasy about sending myself flowers. Of course, the flowers wouldn't be from me... sometimes I do, in fact, buy myself flowers, but these flowers would be flowers from my “secret admirer.”

The flowers would be a HUGE display and they would come to my house via a delivery service. And the card would read, “Love, Your Secret Admirer.” And I would swoon and say, “Gee, babe, that is SO sweet of you to send me flowers and call yourself my secret admirer. I love that!” And in my fantasy, my husband feels completely internally conflicted because, of course, he didn’t really send the flowers and [if everything goes according to plan] he would also think they were from someone else.

And in the end, this would prompt him to begin buying me flowers.

Alas, I have never actually done this because, like my girlfriend who didn’t want to lie in FaceBook status to get attention from someone she liked, I also don’t want to lie to get what I want. That, and I don’t like relationship game playing and this flower fantasy is just a version of game playing.

I realize that some are completely into the game playing aspect of relationshipping, and a small part of me admires that. I am just not made of that stuff. When If my husband buys me flowers, I want to know that it is because he was listening, not because I tricked him into it. There is just nothing like the real thing. And the real thing isn’t a game.  

So for now, I will have to keep my flower fantasy on hold. However, if anyone wants to anonymously send me flowers and be my secret admirer, I would not object--heck, I might even think they were ACTUALLY from my husband... or at least I might pretend to.

Kitchen Fail: Pasta Nests


Were my nests wound too tight? 
It's Monday, and I want to make you feel better about the fact that you had to go to work today following the holiday. So I figured I would show you a little kitchen fail. This should brighten your spirits and put a smile on your face.

 I am not sure how this became a kitchen fail, but it totally did. I failed at something involving pasta, and to be honest, that was a shock to me. I mean, I make a TON of homemade pasta. To be fair, the fail was not in the making of the pasta but in the nesting of the pasta. And it was sad, like all kitchen fails. Also like most kitchen fails, it started out brilliantly.

Allow me to paint the picture...

I ate them anyway...hehe. 
It was a great day and I was listening to some great music, dancing around my kitchen. I had a pot of pasta sauce going with my election day meatballs cooking and the house was smelling divine. I thought, "I'll make some pasta with my Kitchen Aid pasta press!" And so I did. Well, as some of you may know, that generally means I make my own makeshift pasta drying rack. This time, I just wasn't in the mood to do that.

I found instructions for pasta nests instead and thought I would give that a whirl. They were so cute! And so I laid out my pasta nests as I made my pasta and everything was going a-okay. By the time I was finished, I had a lovely tray of nests. So the time came to cook them and I popped them into the boiling water and let them boil for a few moments.

And when I looked, they looked about the same as they did when they went in....they didn't unwind into pasta or even into loose nests. They were more like pasta blobs, albeit, pretty looking ones. UGH! What a headache. Maybe I built my nests a little too tight and it didn't allow them to come apart. That is always a possibility. It should be said that I have never made a nest before...or really eaten one. And I am not entirely sure I am likely to do so again given this kitchen fail.

We still ate them, though. And they tasted fine. I sent the rest over to my mother in law's house, thinking she might not mind them so much. Bad idea. I was going out of town, and I didn't leave her instructions...so she was thrown off by the fresh pasta and instead of boiling them, she microwaved them. They didn't taste very cooking being microwaved, of course, so these nests go down as a double fail.

So what do you think went wrong with my pasta nests??? Have you had a kitchen fail you want to share?! Do so in the comments section below!! 

Things NOT To Do After A Break Up

Before you find Mr. or Mrs. Right, you are likely to go through a lot of Mr. and Mrs. Wrongs. No matter how it happens, break ups are hard to take. Dumpee and dumper alike tend to feel a little lost afterward, and it's a time of transition. In times of transition there are a couple of things you might want to avoid...because you just might not be in the right state of mind.

Here's my list of things NOT to do after a break up.

Don't go on a spending splurge you can't afford.
Sure, retail therapy can feel great, but don't overdo it. Credit card bills are real, and I know that many people don't pay them off ever month--this is a BAD thing. So don't go out and spend on your plastic in the name of feeling better. If you must spend, set a limit, pay in cash and be over it. In fact, extreme  indulgences of any kind--boozing, benders, and food--should be avoided because you're vulnerable, and that is okay, but you want to deal with it in the right way.

Don't take to the couch with the ice cream in your hand. 
It's the classic picture, right? The act of sitting on the couch with the ice cream tub in crying as you watch a tear jerker...but that kind of indulgence can only fly for a couple of hours. I don't care what anyone says--it's not taking are of yourself, it's just the opposite. Hit the gym or go on a walk with friends. Exercise jump starts all those great chemicals in your brain and will have you ditching that ice cream and sweatpants state-of-mind.

Don't bounce from rebound to one night stand to rebound 
Tempting as it might be to find comfort in the arms of another, well, don't make it a habit. You can't find love when you are busy looking in all the wrong places. While it might be nice to have a rebound, don't get too wrapped up in too many of them, otherwise you might miss out on the real thing.

Don't make the same mistake twice.
The funniest thing about failed relationships is that they have a way of repeating themselves. It's not because we want it to happen, but more because we don't spend any time reflecting on our own mistakes. Take a deep look into yourself after a break up and decide what you want to change in yourself for the next relationship. Even if you were the dumper, chances are you are repeating a pattern that is leading to failed relationships.

So take a hard look at what that might be so that the next time around, you are ready to open your heart and life to the RIGHT kind of person.

Quick Fix: Homemade Leggings!

Most times my quick fixes are of food. But I know you stuffed yourself about as full as that Thanksgiving Day turkey and you might not be able to stomach even more food right now. I get it. Instead, let's talk clothing. Specifically, leggings!

I love leggings that peak out from boots. One problem: I can never actually find leggings in the stores. This is partially because I hate shopping from store to store looking for a single item. And spending money, let's face it, is not my favorite thing to do. If you are not heading out into the droves of people and hitting up black friday, maybe instead you want to stay in and make yourself some leggings.

So, if you have an old sweater laying around (or as was the case for me, in my attic in a bag that I had fully intended to take to the thrift store sometime last year) then you have a pair of leggings!


Here is my old sweater. It was a great sweater, and I loved it dearly, but it didn't sit on me properly so it was time to move on.... 


I loved this little knitted detail on the sleeve, though. This is exactly what made this sweater great for leggings. That and also because it's soooo cozy! 


Let's take a moment to discuss scissors. My husband is a collector of scissors. I asked him why he collected scissors and he told me he likes the metal ones because the plastic ones are cheap. And he is a stickler of the concept of "different scissors for different things." This particular pair of scissors are for fabric. DO NOT CUT PAPER WITH FABRIC SCISSORS! This is important. Because then, when you want to cut fabric, they will slice like a warm knife through butter. 


Basically you are going the sleeves off of the sweater. I lined mine up to do it in one fell swoop. 

See?! 
How about those fabric scissors?!?!


Then I slid those suckers up over my skinny jeans and pulled on my boots! I love the way they look, and also how warm they keep my legs! On a cold day, this is a winning combination as well as a great fashion statement! 


Check me out! 
I would also like to say it took me about 5-7 tries to get this (slightly out of focus) side view of my own leg. Persistence pays off!!! 

10 Things I'm Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! As you all know, it's one of my favorite holidays. The food, the family...the food! Anyway, since it's a day to be giving thanks and all, I thought I would make a list of ten things that I am thankful for. Because I'm thankful, and because people like lists.

So Happy Turkey Day everyone! Let's all get thankful for the awesome things we have in life. Join me by leaving your comments of what you are thankful for in the comments section below! 

For these things, I am grateful! (In no particular order, of course!) 

A comfortable life 
Every day I am thankful to wake up in a home that I love. In general, my life is a highly comfortable place to be and I could NEVER put a price on that. I would lump in here my job as well. It's all part of the wonderful life I live and I am SO appreciative to live a life where I can follow my bliss :) 

For self confidence
I won the confidence roulette in life and it has helped me tremendously in tough spots. Sometimes I struggle with it, but all in all, I am so thankful to have a positive self image and healthy self confidence! 

My dogs! 
I am so thankful for my doggies. They really know how to snuggle and give great kisses and pick up my spirits when they are down. My dogs bring me immeasurable joy in my life and I am so grateful every day when I get to wrap my arms around them and give them big, big hugs! 

Great friends who stand by in hard times. 
Hard times. They come when you least expect it. I am lucky because I have great friends. Some are new friends and some are old friends; either way, their loving support gets me through tough situations. And you know what they say about friends new and old, right? "Make some new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other, gold." Thanks to all of you who have been there for me, I love you guys! 

Great food on my table! 
In the food department, I feel especially blessed. Through canning and preserving with my mother-in-law and mother, I have had my belly and soul fulfilled and my cup runneth over. Food has brought me not only nourishment, but a wealth of interactions that have been valuable to me on several levels. Food is culture, it is life, and it is something I am very thankful for! 

A husband who chooses ME! 
Well, we choose each other, but when it comes to anything in life, he puts me first and I am so very thankful for that. He is the type of man who makes me proud. After nine years, I find I am more in love with him than ever. I am thankful to have him by my side for this life's journey. There is no one else I would rather be with. He truly is my favorite. 

Great, great family 
Let's face it, some people just don't like their families. Not all families are created equal. I love my family so much. They are the light of my life. From my own parents to my in-laws, and my extended family on both sides (both mine and my husband's) I am lucky to have such a wonderful family tree with deep roots!

My health and well being
I am so thankful to be healthy. The saying really is true: "if you have your health, you have everything." I feel that way!


Because I'm putting up the Christmas tree tomorrow 
I love Christmas. Not because of the presents, but because of the season itself. People are especially jolly during the holiday season. Also, I love the decorations. I love lighting up my tree at 5pm when the sun goes down and sitting with a cozy cup of cocoa. Once Halloween is over, I can't wait to get to Thanksgiving so that we can get that tree up! So tomorrow, it's here and while others are trampling people over some trivial WalMart deal, I will be hanging in a serene state, decorating my tree.

The ability to listen 
I have been working on this one more and more in my life and I want to take a moment to give thanks for it. Listening is so important. When we listen to each other, we learn important pieces about one another, and that is something you can't put a price on. I'm thankful when people listen to me, and I try to give that same gift to them. I'm thankful whenever I can. 

Stuff I Use: Inversion Blender

I love some gadgets. By now you might have observed this from the amount of them that I use. From miniature pie makers to donut makers to ravioli presses, if something has a purpose in the kitchen and I can use it, I'm all over it. That IS the thing about gadgets, though, they have to be useful--otherwise they are just taking space in your kitchen... and for me, space is at a premium.

For all of these reasons, I love my inversion blender. It's a small(ish) gadget that doesn't take up much storage space. It's useful AND to top it all off, it's easy to clean. Plus, I like saying "inversion," because, we can all agree, it's a fun word. So you might be wondering, "If I have a blender, and I have a food processor, why would I need another gadget for blending?" Well I am so glad that you asked.

The inversion blender does things that the blender and food processor can't do--like blending a giant pot of sauce in the pot. Let's observe, shall we?


So here she blows! It's easy to use, basically two pieces that attach to one another and all you have to do to run the sucker is push a button on the back. Easy as pie. 

The one draw back is that you have to plug it into the wall, but this has never been a problem for me as the cord generally reaches where I need it to. 


Okay, here we have said pot of pasta sauce. As you can see, I didn't blend my tomatoes ahead of time. I just threw up in the sauce. Lucky for me, the inversion blender will do the trick! 


Literally, you just put the blender into the pot and you "stir" as you hold the button down! 


Look at that! It's really getting blended! 


A smooth, well blended sauce...amore! 


And now that I am done with it, I just detach, wipe down the electrical part and then throw the detached portion in the dishwasher. 

Of course sauce isn't the only benefit of this magical wand-like blender. You can do smoothies, soups, or anything else you want to blend in a pot! That makes this gadget unbeatable in my eyes. The price point is also something we should talk about because it's cheap enough to buy as a gift or for yourself.  I paid somewhere between $30-$35 for this gadget and it has come in handy numerous times! 


I give this gadget four out of five stars! 


Kind People Are My Kind of People!

Thursday is Thanksgiving, and I am totally stoked on stuffing my face silly full of good food and conversation. But it's also a time where we are giving thanks for all the things that we have. I hope that you don't just focus on this concept one day a year--I hope that for you and your family it's a matter of practice and this is merely the highlight. In any case, I wanted to take a few moments to focus some of that thanks on kindness and share something I recently learned about being kind.

I recently had an experience where I was a part of a group where we were sharing stories. There were six couples involved and my husband and I were one. Many of our stories were painful and so it brought up a lot of tears. This is something that would normally make me uncomfortable--people crying--but in the open space and the loving environment, I found myself crying and feeling a kinship with everyone in the room.

Later that night, I was reading The World According To Mister Rogers (which, by the way, is a fabulous book) and I came across a bit that talks about crying. Mr. Rogers talks about how so many people feel uncomfortable and so they say, "Don't cry." I stopped dead in my tracks--how many times have I said that? Maybe a thousand? Maybe a hundred thousand?!

Instead, he said, we should lend an ear to those who are upset. Give their tears validation and place to flow. Instead, he said, we should say, "Go ahead and cry. I am here to be with you." Such a simple sentence, but wrought with so much meaning. Permission to cry and to be in the presence of someone who will listen and hear what is upsetting to you is a great gift.

I thought to myself about how many times I might have shut down conversations that could have lead to real understanding between myself and those people I love just by simply saying, "Aw, don't cry." I resolved to myself that very moment never to say that again. Since then, when someone cries, I ask them more about their tears, and let them know that I am there to be with them. I let them know that it is okay to cry and that I am here to be with them--there is nothing more important than being in the moment with someone who needs you. You never know when you might be the one in need, after all.

This seemingly small realization has opened a huge place in my heart and it is making me a more attentive and sensitive human being. It makes me more kind.

Our lives are so busy these days. Everything happens so quickly and without a thought in many cases... and sometimes we forget to slow down even for a moment of kindness. But kindness is the most important nonmaterial item we can give to others because it sprouts from our love. So this holiday season, as well as throughout the year, I ask all my readers to look inside themselves and see what they can give in the way of kindness to others.

Sometimes it will be as simple as lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on when someone is upset. Other times, it can be holding a door to a mother who is struggling with bags and children at the grocery store. Whatever it is to you, please take moments each week to be kind. "Kind people are my kind of people!"



Karen Salmansohn is on a mission to stop the trend of bullying and make kindness trendy. You can find out more about her mission on Karen’s Happy Kid’s page on her site www.notsalmon.com  Plus, you can join Karen’s Kindness mission by becoming a Kindness Rockstar Ambassador – just click here: http://bit.ly/RSEwjZ

Stuffing In A Skillet Recipe!

Gobble gobble y'all! (That's a Thanksgiving howdy for everyone in my best typed southern accent!)

Thanksgiving is literally around the bend and I am SUPER excited for the holiday. It's one of my very favorites because you don't have to get anyone presents, you get to spend it with family (which, let's face it, my family is awesome), there is lots of food, AND you get a long weekend! It's the best of all worlds.

One of my favorite dishes has to be the stuffing. Now, I have taken on a lot of things in my day, but stuffing a bird isn't one of them. Because I like my bird best deep fried (my husband does it with his buddy and it's pretty much HEAVEN!), which doesn't leave any room for stuffing. And that's totally okay with me. It's also why I am sharing with all of you my stuffin' in a skillet recipe.

It's yummy, it's easy and it's a great solution to the fried turkey conundrum. Or just the "I don't feel like stuffing a dang turkey problem." Which is a legit problem.


Bread. This is the basis of your stuffing. The lifeblood of your skillet stuffing dreams. I like to make mine in the bread maker, but there are no rules. Buy it from the store, make it in a maker, or if you are super crafty in the baking department (as I know some of you are) doit all by hand. (Hat tip to the peeps going by hand on the bread making--you all rock). 

Let's talk drying bread. Some people let their bread sit out over night and stale up. Others do it manually in the oven. Either way is completely fine! 

Do cube it, and put it in a BIG bowl. 


Here I have 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks and an onion that I have cut up and placed in a skillet with tablespoons of olive oil. to that, I added a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, salt, pepper, and a dash or two of cayenne pepper. 

Saut√© for 10-14 minutes or until the veggies are getting tender. 


Add to your bread. 


Over the bread for two cups of chicken or vegetable broth (your choice) and crack an egg in there too. 


It LOOKS like I stirred this with a spoon, but I didn't. I used my hands. The spoon is just for show... oh, yea, and for transferring this back into the skillet. 


I never love my cast iron skillet more than the moment I put it in the oven. It fills me with joy. 

Put the stuffing in the skillet and the skillet in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.  


Ooooo.....ahhhhh! YYYYUUUUUM! 


Yes, that wins the day. Stuffing, I love you! 

Stuffin' In A Skillet 

Time: 45 minutes- 1 hour | Serves 6 | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need

One 2 pound loaf of bread (or two 1 pound loaves of bread) 
1 carrot, peeled and cut up
2 celery stalks, cut up
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 egg
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth 
salt, pepper, and a couple of dashes of cayenne pepper 

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Slice bread into cubes and place in a really big bowl. Set aside. 

In a cast iron skillet, add your olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add your carrot, celery, onion, thyme, salt, pepper, and cayenne to the skillet. Saut√© the vegetables for 10-14 minutes or until they are soft. 

Add the veggies to the cubed bread along with the broth and the egg. 

Using your hands, stir the stuffing to fully combine. 

Return all of it to the skillet and place in the oven at 400 degrees. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. 

Serve with a meal of your choice and enjoy! 

Quick Fix: Bellini

As you may or may not know by now, I have canned a ton of fruits and veggies in preparation for the winter as well as in an effort to eat healthier, and save money. This included a few juices including tomato juice, apple cider, and peach nectar. While having a homemade bloody mary with a friend of mine, I was already fearing when my tomato juice would run out and the bloody mary well would run dry.

That was when she said it, "Well, you might have to switch drinks. What else have you got back there?" When I told her I had peach nectar she smiled and said, "Bellinis! They are my favorite!" A Bellini was not a drink I had ever had, believe it or not, despite my distinct love for both champagne and peach nectar.


My peach nectar! I am really proud of it. 
And I feel like using it to make bellinis, well, that is a win any way you look at it. 


Can I also take a small moment to discuss how much I love these champagne glasses? They are old fashioned and I just love the way they sit in my hand. 

Anyway, we are starting with the peach nectar and putting a little bit in the glass. This is at your discretion, mostly, but I just do a slight pour of about an ounce. Whether you are using store bought or homemade peach nectar, it's thick and full of flavor. 


Then add your champagne to fill the glass. So simple. So yummy. 


I used cheap champagne, but you can go as fancy (or not) as you want. 

Either way, you are down for some premium enjoyment. 

Bellini 

Time: 3 minutes, tops | Serves: 2 | Difficulty: SO EASY! 

You Will Need:

Peach nectar (and ounce per drink) 
A bottle of champagne or other sparkling white wine 

Method: 

Pour about an ounce of peach nectar into two glasses. 

Fill them the rest of the way with champagne. 

Enjoy!