Thursday, October 20, 2011

Totally Stuffed

Lots of people complain about stuffing cooked inside the turkey for holidays, but I love it! All you need is a good basic recipe and you can mess around and change it up year after year. The main trick to inside the birdie stuffing is to not get it too wet because the bird will baste the stuffing as it all cooks, well, that and not stuffing the stuffing in too tightly. If you get wet stuffing, those are the reasons why. As with all recipes, you are in charge. That means you can change the liquids, fats, veggies, breads, and seasonings to suite you.

I don't really cut such perfect cubes.
We love cornbread and sausage stuffing. So, I'm going to give you directions for that here. I do hope that nobody just measures the seasonings and pops it into the bird. For stuffing and a lot of other recipes it is critical to use your nose. Mix and sniff. My way may not be your favorite way seasoning wise, besides, I've given you options. Use your nose and choose your favorite(s).

Here's what I use to make basic Cornbread Stuffing:

One 16 oz packet of Jimmy Dean's Sage Sausage

2 T butter if needed...oh, just go ahead and use it, it's tasty there

1 medium sized onion, chopped

3 stalks of celery, chopped

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cooking the Big Bird

Here's how I do my Thanksgiving turkey. I buy a fresh organic free range turkey. They are more expensive. They are also, in my opinion, more than worth the price. I order it at the butcher counter in my regular grocery store and ask that it be ready for pick up the day before Thanksgiving. One nice thing about this is that I don't have a humongous thawing bird sitting in my fridge for days. Just has to sit there overnight.

Basic Big Bird Cookery 


preheat the oven to 325 F

one big ole fresh oganical free range 16-20 pounds of turkey prepped in the way described below
at least 6 slices of thick applewood smoked bacon cut into chunks
the stuffing of your choice freshly prepared and still warm
softened butter
2 cups chicken stock
a t or so each of fresh cracked black pepper, thyme, and dried parsley
you may use salt to season but don't tell me about it, it's not good for my blood pressure.

Lots of Directions with Warnings and Reasons:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Awesomeness with Chicken

Chicken Stew is one of my new faves. I've been making Aline's Cajun version (here at Mindful) for a while, but recently tried a more standard Central USA version...well, I did make a few changes cuz that's what I do. Just can't stop changing spices or in this case the entire finish and presentation. Here's a link to the original version by Rachel Bilson, I'm sure it's great as is too.

I began my changes with subbing in white wine for the dry sherry, not because I thought it would taste better but because it was Sunday in Houston and that meant that I could not buy any sherry. If I had cognac in the house I would have used that instead because I'm not a sherry fan...I'm not a cognac fan either, but I think I don't mind that as much. We always drink the red kind of wine so I still had to go out and buy a bottle of white (after trying to buy the sherry and finding out that they would not sell it to me).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Have a nice bit of cauliflower with that cheese...

I like cauliflower. I like it simply steamed with a bit of fresh Pecorino Romano grated on top. Unfortunately, the husband and son do not see the pretty white floret in the same light as I do, so I usually end up only eating it when we are Not At Home. I don't like buying the frozen packages of cauliflower in a "cheese" sauce, which is one way they will eat the thing. So I searched about and found that a traditional English dish called Cauliflower Cheese was often used in the same way that Americans use Mac n' Cheese - either a side dish or as a main dish. So, by focusing on a high quality mature cheese instead of a "cheese product" sauce, I thought maybe I could make it the way they like it AND make me happier.

Here's what I did to make Cauliflower Cheese.

If you want to know things like nutrition facts, click here. If not, just eat and enjoy.


1 large cauliflower - make sure you get a nice looking fresh one, organic if you can
1 1/4 cup milk - I used fat free, but you can use low fat or whole fat as you choose. I set the nutrition facts for low fat.
8 oz good aged cheddar cheese - I used Tillamook brand
3 T flour
4 T butter

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Spectacular Almost Swedish Meatballs!

My Grandmother came over from Sweden when she was a young teenager. Life was amazingly difficult for them here, but it sure beat living in a barn and using a cave as a refrigerator in Sweden. Because of her I got to taste a great many Swedish foods such as the glorious potato sausage and the most wonderful Limpa Bread. I never tried making the sausage, but I do make a variation on her meatballs...a very off the mark variation because I never did want to cook when young and failed to secure the proper recipe. :(

This is comfort food, not diet food - unless you want to make it a side dish as then it is just fine no matter that you are trying to reduce a bit. We don't have it often and when we do, it's the star on the plate. If you like to know calories and nutrition, click here. I hope you enjoy this Americanized version of a tasty dish.

Spectacular Almost (but not quite) Swedish Meatballs


1 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs - do not use the dried crumbs of stuff that comes in cans, tear into some fresh whole wheat bread and make tiny pieces (you can always pretend the bread is someone you are not fond of)
2/3 cup milk - you can use low fat or whole or 2% or whatever you prefer
1 pound ground beef - I prefer grass fed organic beef because nothing beats it for flavor
1 egg