Thanksgiving Stuffing

The funny thing about this recipe is that I actually made it last year for Thanksgiving, as a try-out on a recipe idea, with the full intention of posting it on the blog. And then, er, I just kinda got distracted. Even funnier – I forgot to take a picture of it. So, yeah, I’m two for two. BUT, this is me finally posting it, and when I make it AGAIN for Thanksgiving this year, I promise to update this post with a picture.

Now sure, stuffing is easy as all get-out: just open up the box and pour it into boiling water, right? Well, yeah…if that’s what you want. And while some of the boxed stuffing is pretty tasty, it’s also heavily laden with salt and other stuff, and I really wanted to see if I could control what went into my own stuffing and have it come out easily as well – if not better. I was very pleased with the outcome, and I’m definitely looking at this as a good go-to recipe for big meals. Since we have taken to grilling our turkeys, the oven is typically free for items like this – so bear that in mind when planning your cooking schedule. Also – make sure that you try a bite of it before you put it in the oven so that you can be sure you’re happy with the level of flavor. I don’t aim for super-salty, and if you’re used to that in your stuffing, you may find the need to adjust the salt level. I will note that I don’t call for low-sodium chicken broth here; if you are looking out for salt, I highly recommend using that instead of the “regular” stuff.

Prep Time: 1-1/2 hrs (but can be spread out as you have time and may go faster if you’re a faster chopper than I am…which is always possible!)

Cooking Time: approx. 1 hr

Serves: 8-10


2 loaves of bread (14 cups when chopped into 1/2″ cubes) – ciabatta & sourdough

7 celery ribs (2 cups chopped)

1 small yellow onion (1 cup chopped)

8oz mushrooms (3-1/2 cups minced in 1/4″ pieces)

2 Tb butter

3 Tb olive oil (divided)

1/2 Tb dried chervil

1/2 Tb dried parsley

1/2 Tb dried thyme

4 cups chicken broth

Make it Happen

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Chop all of the items that are noted above for chopping and set aside separately; make sure to have the bread in a large bowl. (Seriously, this is the biggest amount of active time…put on some music and just go with it.)

2. Melt butter and 2 Tb olive oil in a deep pan, adding celery and onion. Stir to combine.

3. In a separate pan, sauté mushrooms in another 1 Tb olive oil for approx. 5-7 min.

4. Add the herbs and broth to the celery and onion pan; stir well to combine.

5. Add the mushrooms to the bread and stir well to combine.

6. Add the broth mixture to the bread/mushroom bowl; stir well to combine.

7. Immediately pour the mixture from the bowl into a greased or enameled roasting pan or a greased large baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350F for 30min.

8. Remove part of the foil and cook for another 15-20min until the stuffing is browned. Remove foil and serve!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Crock Pot BBQ Beef Sliders

Sometimes, you just want wee sandwiches filled with shredded meat. I can’t say why; I just know that it IS a thing that sometimes people, like me, just WANT AND NEED TO HAVE RIGHT NAO.

And thus, when I was planning for a fellow crock potter to come over for dinner, I figured that I’d throw stuff in the crock in her honor. She wasn’t able to make it to dinner after all, but we managed to get through dinner anyway. The biggest challenge: not going back for seconds. And thirds.

This one is easy as all-get out, since it doesn’t require either A) a ton of ingredients, or B) a ton of time to prepare. Easy crocks are always full of win, in my book, and when they’re tasty, that’s serious bonus time. I will say that this sauce comes out a bit tangy, so we used potato dinner rolls as the slider buns. This ended up being a perfect combination, since the tang of the sauce was a natural accompaniment for the sweetness of the roll (and vice versa).

Crock Pot BBQ Beef Sliders

So very tasty…

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 8-12hrs on LOW, 4-6hrs on HIGH

Serves: 6


two 8oz cans of tomato sauce (or one 15oz can)

3 Tb honey

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 Tb Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tsp ground mustard

1-3/4 to 2lbs top round steak

12 potato dinner rolls or (sweet) slider buns

Make it Happen

1. Place the first six items in a bowl and stir well.

2. Coat the inside of a 4qt crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon a small amount of the mixture from the bowl into the bottom of the crock and swirl it around to create a thin coat.

3. Cut the steak, as needed, to make it fit in the crock. (I had to cut mine into thirds.) If you have multiple pieces and they can’t all fit side-by-side, place one layer of steak in the crock, then cover it with some of the sauce mixture, then add another layer of steak and repeat this process until all steak and sauce is in the crock pot.

4. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-12hrs or HIGH for 4-6hrs.

5. Remove the steak from the crock and shred the meat with two forks. Put the shredded beef back in the crock and stir it back into the sauce to combine them well.

6. Spoon your desired serving onto a potato dinner roll or other slider bun. One serving = 2 sliders.

Crock Pot Baked Beans & Kielbasa

I loves me some baked beans. There’s something about the sweet flavor, the instant protein rush of taking in all those beans…just the sheer yumminess. Some things are definitely comfort food, and (before the kids nixed it) we used to have baked beans somewhat frequently during the summer. Of course, I wasn’t making my own beans – I was popping the top on a can of Bush’s or some other brand, since it was infinitely easier than making my own and sitting by the stove for a few hours.

Recently, I reached a point where I crazily thought that making baked beans and kielbasa would be something the kids would finally embrace. It’s beans! They (sometimes) like beans! And kielbasa! They love kielbasa! (Feel free to put on Bill Cosby’s “Chocolate Cake for Breakfast” routine here, to get the appropriate tone of voice.)

Alas, the kids gave this one a meh rating ONLY because dd just can’t deal with things being in sauce or mixed or touching or OMG THERE ARE FOODS NOT BEING SEPARATED BY MILES OF SPACE. As I recall it, ds ate it well enough, but he’s a bit dubious about beans, so this really ended up being more of a me-and-dh kind of meal. I have to say that’s entirely THEIR LOSS. This not only came out well on night 1, it also reheated beautifully. So, if there are leftovers: fear not! Put ’em in the fridge and reheat later in the week and all shall be well.

Also worth noting, this is possibly veganizable if you can get smoke flavor or a bacon flavor that doesn’t have any meat in it and you substitute the turkey kielbasa with a vegan sausage of some kind AND you have a vegan solution for Worcestershire sauce. (I know that sounds impossible, but vegan cooking requires resourcefulness and persistence, and it’s often quite yummy in its own right.) You could probably also meat-it-up with a beef or pork kielbasa, if you’d rather go in the other direction. I prefer the turkey kielbasa for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the lower fat grams per serving and the greater likelihood that the flavor of the sausage will work with (rather than over top of) the other flavors.

Crock Pot Baked Beans and Kielbasa

As saucy as you wanna be…

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 8-10hrs on LOW (but can go 11-12 on LOW); 4-6hrs on HIGH

Serves: 4-6


8 oz uncured, uncooked bacon

1 pkg (typically around 1lb) turkey kielbasa

three 15 oz cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp dry mustard

1 cup maple syrup (I use grade B, but you can use grade A)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp powdered ginger

1-1/2 cups water

Make It Happen

1. Coat the inside of a 4-5qt crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Chop the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the crock pot.

3. Cut the kielbasa into 1/4-inch coins and add to the crock pot. Stir to combine.

4. Add the beans to the crock pot. Stir to combine.

5. In a bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Then add them to the crock pot and stir to combine.

6. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10hrs (or easily up to 12hrs) or on HIGH for 4-6hrs.