Last November’s Thirty Recipes for Thanksgiving!

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?! It has completely snuck up on me so in lieu of new Thanksgiving recipes, I’m re-publishing these recipes from last November’s Thirty for Thanksgiving project.  Hopefully there are some recipes you want to make for your friends and family this Thanksgiving!  Triple Chocolate Mocha Pudding with Pumpkin Spiked Whipped Cream was definitely the dessert favorite at our table last year.

PicMonkey Collage Happy early Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful holiday and if you’re the one wearing a chefs apron, I wish you happy cooking and delicious dishes.  I’m thankful you’re here and thankful to have this space to share my recipes with you.

And now, separated into side dishes, desserts, salads and the all-encompassing “other,”  here are the thirty recipes I made last year that were inspired by the Food Network Magazine’s November edition: Thirty for Thanksgiving!

Side dishes:

Kale Casserole ,Green Beans with Cranberries and Blue Cheese Chipotle Cheddar Corn Casserole ,Lemon-Garlic Roasted Brussels SproutsCreamed SpinachBourbon Sweet Potato Mash Roasted Rosemary Cauliflower with Red Grapes Spicy Broccoli and Ancho Chiles Vidalia Onion Gratin {Baked Bloomin’ Onions}Brussels Sprouts Slaw Southwestern Rainbow Carrots Turnips and BroccoliSweet and Sour Brussels with BaconBrussels Sprouts Gratin Roasted Carrots with Spiced YogurtSausage-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflower Mash with Roasted Garlic 


Pumpkin Chiffon Pie with a Double-Chocolate CrustTriple Chocolate Mocha Pudding Triple Fruit{Strawberry, Cranberry and Pear}Crisp Coconut Pumpkin Pie with a Gingersnap Crust Chocolate Tart with a Bourbon GlazePumpkin Spiked Whipped CreamFrozen Peanut Butter Chocolate Snickers Pie


Apple, Cranberry and Blue Cheese Salad with a Cider VinaigrettePear Spinach Salad with Warm Spicy Vinaigrette


Turkey TendersCranberry KetchupCranberry-Orange Sauce Shrimp and Corn Chowder {in your Crockpot}

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My Favorite Way to Cook Bacon

I tried all kinds of methods for cooking bacon before I settled on this easy way that leaves you with perfectly crispy bacon every time. All you do is preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with 2 layers of aluminum foil  (one layer won’t protect your pan from grease.) Next, place a metal cooling rack over the foiled baking sheet and evenly space your raw bacon on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how thick your bacon is, and then transfer with a fork or tongs to a paper-towel lined plate to drain off any remaining grease and finish crisping.bacon

The cooling rack allows the bacon to cook from all sides so there is no need to flip it and the grease will drip down onto the cookie sheet, allowing the bacon to become extra-crispy. It’s so easy and there’s no need to flip the bacon or worry about hot grease splatters.



Another bacon hack that I love is to save the bacon grease by letting it cool slightly, then carefully pouring it into a container and refrigerating. See below for a list of recipes that call for bacon grease, I like to use it to cook scrambled eggs! If you don’t want to save the bacon grease, simply let it solidify on the baking sheet, then crumple the foil around it and throw it away.

Great ways to use your saved bacon grease:

15 Ways to Use Bacon Fat via Bon Appetit
28 Delicious Ways To Use Leftover Bacon Fat via Buzzfeed
The Top 10 Revelatory Uses for Leftover Bacon Grease via Martha Stewart
8 Practical Ways to Use Bacon Grease via The Secret Yumiverse

10 Soups to Make this Fall

Here are ten of my most popular soup recipes, all simple and delicious. Happy fall and happy soup cooking! soupSpicy Buffalo Chicken Soup {in your Crockpot}


Beef and Dark Beer Chilidsc_0173

Chicken, Greens and Rice Noodle Soup


Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup {in your Crockpot}


Broccoli Cheddar Soup {in your Crockpot}


Loaded Baked Potato Soup {in your Crockpot}dsc_0534

Spicy Chipotle Corn Chowder {in your Crockpot}


Shrimp and Corn Chowder {in your Crockpot}


Chicken and Dumplings {in your Crockpot} and Homemade Cream of Chicken Soupdsc_0418-1

Broccoli Cheddar Soup {in your Crockpot}

DSC_0145 This is a delicious, simple soup that is full of broccoli and sharp cheddar cheese.  I decided to puree the soup with my immersion blender before I added the cheese but you could skip this step if you like a chunkier soup.  I added some splashes of sriracha and red pepper flakes for a little heat and diced bacon because bacon makes everything better.

What to buy (serves 4-5):

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 5-6 cups broccoli florets, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (or more to taste)
  • optional garnish: sriracha, raw broccoli florets, diced bacon

What to do:

  • melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat
  • add onions and saute until softened about 2-3 minutes
  • add garlic, flour and salt and pepper, stirring for another 2-3 minutes
  • whisk in heavy cream until mixture is smooth and begins to thicken
  • pour into crockpot and add chicken broth, diced broccoli and red pepper flakes
  • cover and cook on high heat for 2 to 3 hours or low heat for 5 to 6 hours
  • using an immersion blender (if you want a smoother texture,) puree soup until you reach your desired texture
  • turn to warm and stir in cheddar cheese, stirring to blend
  • season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm with optional garnishes

Boeuf Bourguignon {in your Crockpot}

Boeuf Bourguignon is a classic French dish, popularized by the one and only Ms. Julia Child and guaranteed to fill your kitchen with the rich, savory aroma of onions cooking with beef and red wine.  The most important parts of this recipe are the bacon (and the rendered bacon fat) and the red wine.  Both give the dish layers of flavor that set it apart from beef stew.  I like to make Boeuf Bourguignon in my slow cooker but it does require a few steps before I’m able to “set it and forget it.” Last night I served the tender beef and vegetables over my cauliflower mash for a warm, comforting and delicious fall dinner.  DSC_0122

What to buy (serves 5-6):

  • 6-7 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups red wine, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste

What to do:

  • heat a large pan over medium-high heat
  • add bacon and cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is beginning to crisp
  • remove bacon from pan and set aside
  • pat beef with a paper towel to dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • return pan to medium-high heat and add onions and garlic to the pan, cooking with 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less to taste) until the onions are soft and caramel colored
  • add carrots and celery to onions, cooking for another 3-4 minutes until softened
  • a single layer of beef cubes to the pan to sear in the remaining bacon grease, flipping after 2-3 minutes to sear the other side
  • add seared meat to crockpot and deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of the wine
  • pour the dark glaze that forms and any remaining meat from the bottom of the pan into the crockpot
  • add tomato paste, bay leaf, broth and remaining wine to crockpot
  • add vegetables to crockpot and stir to combine
  • cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until beef is so tender it falls apart easily
  • serve with crusty bread, over egg noodles or over mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies

DSC_0448Happy Halloween!!

Soon we’re heading out to trick or treat in the neighborhood with my cousins and their three year old pirate.  William is going to be snug in the stroller in his koala bear costume.  In addition to it being my first Halloween as a mom, this is also the first year I’ve lived somewhere that kids trick or treat!  I’m stocked with candy and ready for the cuteness and Frozen overload.

We haven’t carved our pumpkin yet but I did make these pumpkin cookies yesterday.  They’re not cakey but are soft and loaded with plenty of white chocolate and semi-sweet chips.

What to buy:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used the miniature kind)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

What to do:

  • whisk the melted butter, sugars, pumpkin and vanilla until smooth
  •  in another bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together to form a soft dough
  • fold in  semi-sweet chocolate and white chips
  • chill dough for 30 minutes or a few hours
  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray
  • roll the dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons of dough for each
  • bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, they’ll look a little under baked but you want this so they don’t get too dry and cakey
  • cool cookies for 10-15 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack

Baked Goat Cheese and Tomato Dip

A recipe for Baked Goat Cheese in the October issue of Food Network magazine inspired me to make this dip last night for my book club.  It’s very easy to put together and only needs to bake for 15-20 minutes before it’s ready to eat. I served it with crackers but it would be great with baguette slices, apples or crudités.

What to buy (serves 6-7):

  • 1, 10 ounce log goat cheese with herbs and garlic, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
  •  salt and pepper
  • 8 small cocktail tomatoes (about 10 ounces), quartered
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • crackers or toasted baguette slices, for serving

What to do:

  • preheat the oven to 400
  • combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper to taste and 2 tablespoons olive oil until smooth
  • brush a small baking dish with olive oil, then spread the cheese mixture in the dish
  • in another bowl, combine the tomatoes, vinegar, garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • spoon the tomato mixture on top of the dip and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes, serve hot

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Beef Stew {in your Crockpot}

DSC_0261I made this stew on Sunday and have been re-heating and eating for lunch almost everyday.  It was delicious on Sunday but it’s gotten even better after a couple of days in the fridge.  Traditional beef stew recipes usually call for mushroom and potatoes but I left these out as Joe isn’t a big fan and I used a beer to add liquid and flavor.  Serve with bread, over rice noodles or mashed potatoes to soak up the rich sauce.

What to buy:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 beer, the darker the better
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup yellow onions, diced
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

What to do:

  • add 1 tablespoon of butter to a pan over medium high heat
  • season beef with salt and pepper
  • add beef to saute pan and sear, about 2 or 3 minutes per side
  • add remaining butter, onions, flour, stock, tomato paste, herbs, spices, carrots, onions and browned meat to crockpot
  • cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 2-3 hours
  • before serving stir in the peas and serve immediately


Five Minute Pumpkin Spice Latte #PSL

DSC_0232While I agree that the pumpkin craze that starts in October and whips into a frenzy by Thanksgiving is a bit ridiculous, I usually join in the fun and pick up a few cans of pumpkin puree at the grocery store.  Yesterday I posted a recipe for Pumpkin Pork Tenderloin {in your Crockpot} and today I’m continuing the pumpkin love with a simple recipe to make the Starbucks’ classic Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Starbucks debuted this drink in 2004 after, according to their company legend, the recipe was born in a lab when testers tried espressos with pumpkin pie.   If you’ve got a little extra time you can skip Starbucks and make this delicious and easy drink first thing in the morning or as an after dinner treat.  Take it up a notch by spooning on some whipped cream and sprinkles of nutmeg and cinnamon before serving!

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 2 and 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot espresso or strong brewed coffee
  • whipped cream, optional

What to do:

  • combine all of your ingredients (except whipped cream) in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat
  • pour into mugs and enjoy!



Pumpkin Pork Tenderloin {in your Crockpot}

DSC_0090If you’re a food blogger and it’s October you’re obligated to post a recipe that features pumpkin so before October slips away from me, here it is! I love baking with pumpkin but wanted to try something new so I experimented with using it a savory way.  The results were great; this is a recipe that will make your kitchen smell wonderful and will taste as good as it smells. The vinegar and hot peppers balance out the maple syrup and brown sugar to keep the pork from being too sweet.

What to buy (serves 3-4):

  •  2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

What to do:

  • combine pumpkin, vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard, cinnamon, salt, pepper and chipotle peppers in a bowl
  • add pork to slow cooker and spoon pumpkin mixture onto pork,
  • cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high, cut or shred before serving hot

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