This little dish and I go way back. I don’t remember the exact year, but dates aren’t important when it comes to love. Yes, it’s true. I love these creamed onions and mushrooms. I know it’s kind of a weird to have emotions for food, but I’m a weird person and putting emotions into food is part of what makes me love food even more. Not only is this dish filled with emotions of love, it’s also filled with emotions of happiness and memories. Growing up, we always spent Thanksgiving at my Grandparent’s house. I don’t remember the details, I don’t even remember which family members were always there, but I remember my Grandfather’s stuffing (a French recipe from his family, made with sausage and chicken liver…it was the one time I would make an exception for eating liver because this stuff was to-die for!), and these creamed onions and mushrooms that my Grandmother would make. They were, hands down, my two favorite items at the Thanksgiving table. Every year, when the holidays roll around, I can’t help but crave them. In my world, no Thanksgiving table is complete without either. Last year was the first time I had been to Thanksgiving at my Grandmother’s in a while. So many things have changed (my Grandfather’s stuffing recipe is, sadly, long gone), but her creamed onions had not. Despite being 95 years-old (yes, she still cooks for herself every day!) they were just as good as the ones I remember from childhood. Mine don’t taste nearly as delicious, but if I’m cooking as long as she is, I have a lot of Thanksgivings to practice…..
Creamed Onions & Mushrooms
Pearl onions and mushrooms in a creamy gravy; A perfect addition to the table during the holiday times
- 1 lb fresh (or 16 oz frozen bag) pearl onions (see notes)
- 1 1/2 cups (about 5 oz.) of sliced mushrooms
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1/3 cup of water (see notes)
- 1/2 cup milk (2% recommended; see notes)
- 1/2 cup half & half (see notes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of thyme, tarragon, or Herbs de Provence
- 2 tablespoons of dry sherry
- In a medium-large saucepan, set over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and sauté the sliced mushrooms until they are golden brown, about 5-7 minutes (if the mushrooms start to stick at any point just add a little more butter). Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set them aside in a small dish.
- Using the same saucepan, add the peal onions and 1/3 cup of water and let simmer over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Remove water and onions separately and set each aside. (This step can also be complete in a separate saucepan while the mushrooms are cooking.)
- Next, melt the 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the same pan. Once melted, turn down the heat to low and add in the flour, whisking the butter and flour together creating a rue-like mixture. Keeping the pan on low heat, add back in the 1/3 cup of water, as well as the milk, half & half, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and thyme. Keep stirring until mixture thickens (feel free to add cornstarch or more flour if it's not thickening....I would recommend adding the flour about 1/2 tbsp. at a time, stirring and waiting a few minutes to see if it thickens more before adding additional flour).
- Once stirred together, add back in the 16 oz of cooked pearl onions and the sautéed mushrooms to the pan, slowly stirring so the onions and mushrooms get coated in the gravy mixture. Add in the sherry, once again mixing all ingredients together.
- Let simmer, on low heat, on the stove top, or if made in oven-safe pan, place in oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. I typically let this simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- This dish can be made in advance, which makes it great for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other holiday dinners. You can either prepare the entire dish a day in advance, then store it in the fridge, in the pan with the lid on and then just reheat it for about 15 minutes prior to serving, or you can make this the morning of your big meal and allow it to simmer either on low heat on the stove or in a crockpot set to low heat.
- For the onions, I use a bag found in the frozen section of Trader Joe's. You can also found them in the produce section and peel them yourself (something I do not recommend) or you can find them in jars. If you use jarred onions, simply use the liquid they come in instead of boiling them in water.
- For the milk and half & half, you can use all milk (2% is best, as you want a creamy texture), all half & half, or you can use a mixture of 50% heavy cream, 50% water, or a combination of any of the three. For me, I typically base this on what I have in the fridge at the time, which usually tends to be milk and heavy cream.
- You can substitute port for the sherry.
Adapted from A family recipe
Adapted from A family recipe
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You know what’s fun? Whipping up a festive, yummy recipe in the kitchen, like this stuffed acorn squash right here. You know what’s not fun? Causing yourself detrimental bodily harm in the process. No, I did not touch a hot pan sans potholder. And no, I did not accidentally slice a finger off (although that would have made for a far better story). Nope, I did something a whole lot dumber. I gave my skin a good ol’ case of the pepper burns. You see, I was distracted when I decided to roast my poblano pepper (because distraction + open flames + hot peppers make a great combination), and I kind of pretty much basically forgot I was cooking with a hot pepper and thought it was a regular pepper. So I sliced it, diced it and rubbed all of that skin off with my two bare hands. I proceeded to make the rest of the recipe and everything seemed totally fine. Until I went to photograph it…. and an excruciating, crippling pain completely took over my hands. Oh, you don’t know what I’m talking about, because you’re smart enough to remember to wear gloves when you cut hot peppers? Well, let me paint you a little picture. It feels like 1,000′s of tiny little flames are being attached to tiny little daggers that are being thrown at your skin at a constant high-speed stream. Basically, it’s like a mini-mordor attacking your skin. And that kids, is why, you should never cook when you’re thinking about those shoes you should have bought and all of the outfits that you could have worn with them. One half hour milk bath, a few scrubs of baking soda, a large amount of dish soap, and a few splashes of whiskey later you now have a really delicious recipe that is healthy (it is gluten-free and I’ve included vegan and dairy-free options) and works perfectly as a side dish served with fish or meat or as a main dish served with salad (think main dish options at Thanksgiving for those who don’t eat meat). My pain is clearly your gain….
Recipe Links Lundberg Wild Rice Blend How to roast a poblano pepper in the oven
Wild Rice & Roasted Pepper Stuffed Acorn Squash
A delicious take on acorn squash with a nutty, spicy flavor; perfect as a main dish or side dish for a fall night or Thanksgiving dinner
- 1 cup wild rice blend (see notes)
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 4 cups of water
- 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
- 1/2 an onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 cup spinach (I used frozen spinach)
- 1 poblano pepper, roasted and chopped (see notes)
- 1 acorn squash
- 1/2 cup grated cheese (you can use cheddar, Monterey, swiss, etc, however, cheese is optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise. Place the two halves, cut-side down, in a glass baking dish and add about 1/4-1/2 an inch of water. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife can easily be inserted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to where you can easily handle the squash.
- Once the squash has cooled, use a spoon or serrated knife (I like to use a grapefruit spoon) to scoop out the seeds. Set the squash halves aside.
- Meanwhile, in large saucepan, bring the water and bouillon cube to a boil over high heat. Add in the rice, reduce the heat to medium-high, and continue cooking until the rice has absorbed all the liquid (you may need to add a little more water if the rice is still not fully cooked).
- While the rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add in the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then add in the onion. Cook for 5 minutes before adding in the mushrooms. Continue sautéing until the vegetables have become golden brown and caramelized. Toss in the spinach and pepper and continue cooking until it has heated through.
- Once the rice has finished cooking, combine it with the vegetables. Place the 2 squash halves, cut-side up, back into the glass baking dish. Generously fill the squash with the rice mixture. Top with grated cheese, if desired. Place back in the oven (at 400 degrees) and cook until the cheese is golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- This recipe is gluten-free, but be sure to read the labels for the rice you use as some brands add in gluten flavoring or fillers. For my recipe I used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice.
- To make this recipe dairy-free, vegetarian & vegan, use a vegetable bouillon in place of the chicken bouillon, olive oil in place of the butter, and omit the cheese.
- The squash and rice can each be prepared the day before then assembled and heated right before serving. Simply store everything in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- For the peppers- If you have a gas stove, the easiest way to roast the poblano pepper is to turn a burner onto medium heat and place the pepper directly onto the flame. Use tongs to rotate it until the skin has charred and bubbled on every side. Remove the pepper and place it directly in a bowl of room temperature water. Using gloved hands gently rub/peel off the charred skin. Remove the top and insides of the pepper then proceed to use it as you wish. To roast the peppers in an oven, simply spray the peppers with cooking spray, then place them on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Place them in an oven set to broil and cook until charred and bubbled. Proceed as you would with a pepper roasted on the stovetop. However you choose to roast your peppers, PLEASE REMEMBER TO WEAR GLOVES WHEN HANDLING THEM.
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(see the recipe notes for how to roast it with a gas burner)
From here until the end of time (ok, just the end of summer) don’t be surprised if I talk about how sad I am that summer is basically over in every single post. Guys, I’m so sad! Like, how did this even happen?! Can’t deal. Summertime sadness aside, there is one thing that I won’t be sad to see go- eating in swimsuits. I know that sounds weird, but I have to be totally honest, there is nothing that I dislike more than being dripping wet in a bikini for a cook-out at someone’s pool/beach/lake. I always feel weird, gross, and judged 10 times more than usual for eating that second cheeseburger….with bacon….with potato salad (it’s ok, I know you’re just jealous because you want to be eating that too!). Also, I find it highly comical that girls won’t eat to fit into bikinis to wear to places where they’re going to be eating. Anyone else with me on this? Obviously, barbecues in bikinis are nearly unavoidable so this grilled vegetable salad is part of my solution. It’s quite possibly one of the easiest salads you can make as it is simply grilled vegetables chopped up then topped with a light dressing made from hummus (a great base for creamy dressings when you don’t want to use mayonnaise). This salad is healthy, light and fresh and definitely swimsuit approved! And since swimsuit season is almost over, don’t worry, this salad is also clothing approved!
P.S. This would make a healthy side dish for this coming Labor Day weekend’s barbecue and cookout festivities!
Grilled Vegetable Salad
A vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free vegetarian salad that's perfect on it's own or as a healthy side dish
- 1 large zucchini
- 2 large summer squash
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 cups corn
- 1/2 cup hummus
- Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- A handful of dill
- First, wash and slice your squash, zucchini, and eggplant. Toss it with a little olive oil and proceed to grill as you normally would. The vegetables should take about 5-7 minutes per side. Once they're done, remove from the grill and set aside to cool.
- To "grill" the corn, add a dash of olive oil to a medium-sized skillet set over medium heat. Add the corn and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until it begins to char, making sure to stir every few minutes. Remove the corn from the pan then toss the tomatoes in and cook for a few minutes.
- Once the grilled vegetables have cooled, chop them into small pieces. Add to a serving bowl and toss with the corn and tomatoes.
- To make the dressing mix the hummus, olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice together. Stir until well combined.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with salt and pepper and finish with shredded dill on top. Toss right before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week.
- This salad is tasty on it's own for a lighter meal, but it would also be good with a nice crusty bread (almost like a bruschetta), served alongside fish or steak, topped with grilled tofu, or sprinkled with some goat or feta cheese.
- This recipe can easily be doubled or cut in half. The vegetables can also be substituted based on preference.
- The vegetables can be grilled the night before and stored in the fridge until you are ready to use them the next day.
- If you do not have a grill, or it's too cold outside, you could also use a grill pan or roast the vegetables in the oven.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Over the weekend, while we were visiting my father-in-law in CT, we had these amazing stuffed artichokes that were filled with garlicky goodness and surrounded by a tomato sauce, instead of the typical oil or butter. Since I had some artichokes on hand, I decided I needed to recreate these by adding a few twists to my usual recipe. The results were just as good as the original, but better, because isn’t everything homemade better?!
FYI, these guys do come with a warning label: eat one of these and no human, animal, alien, ghost, or zombie will come within 300 yards of you for at least 24 hours. You see, there are 15, yes 15, cloves of garlic in these (how Italian of me). So basically, if you’re looking to play hooky, get rid of an unwanted ghost, or avoid a family reunion, you simply have to make a batch of these. It’s almost easier than making up a believable excuse…
Italian Stuffed Artichokes
An Italian style stuffed artichoke recipe
- 4 artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian style)
- 15 cloves of garlic
- 4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for the top
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 28 oz. jar crushed tomatoes (I used ones w/salt & basil added)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Clean and prepare your artichoke hearts. Peel back the leaves until it looks like an open flower blossom. Then remove the inner petals with the purple tops, by gently pulling them out. Next, scoop out the fuzzy pieces, making sure not to take the heart of the artichoke which is underneath (I found it easiest to use a grapefruit spoon for this step). Finally give the artichoke a rinse under water, shake it out, then squeeze a little lemon juice on the center to keep it from turning.
- In the bowl of a cuisinart, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, cheese, salt, and red pepper flakes. Pulse for a few seconds. Add in the olive oil and about a 2 inch piece of lemon (skin and all) and continue pulsing until everything is well combined (the mixture should be slightly sticky).
- In a glass 13x9 baking dish lay out your artichokes, keeping them upright as much as possible. Fill them with the stuffing, putting about 1/2 cup in each.
- Pour the tomatoes around the sides of the artichokes then cover the pan with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil, sprinkle on some extra cheese (if desired), and continue baking, foil removed, for about 10 more minutes.
- Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. This goes well with a salad, and make sure you have some fresh bread to soak up the leftover sauce and filling.
- You can also use tomato sauce in place of the crushed tomatoes, and if you can only find whole tomatoes, simply puree them in the cuisinart for a few seconds before pouring them on top of the artichokes.
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There is no easier way to ease into those new year’s resolutions than with a giant plate of roasted veggies. Top them with a little sweet (maple syrup) and a little spicy (sriracha) and I may just eat the entire dish (yup, every last vegetable). The Mr. and I are huge fanatics of roasted vegetables (as in we eat them at least a few times a week), but they usually just get tossed with some olive oil and salt. I wanted to spice things up so that is, quite literally, what I did. Since they were all gone in about 2.567 seconds (ok, more like 10 minutes), I’d say the new flavor additions were a success.
Maple Lime Sriracha Roasted Veggies
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 cup of brussels sprouts
1 cup of broccoli
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of sriracha
The juice of 1 lime
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, then lay out the vegetables. Whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, sriracha, and lime juice. Pour over the vegetables, then sprinkle with salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until vegetables are browned and can easily be pierced with a fork. Serve immediately.
- Feel free to add more sriracha if you like spicier foods, and more maple syrup if you like sweeter foods.
- This also tastes good using other vegetables, such as beets, carrots, green beans, onions, garlic and regular potatoes.