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Fall

Thanksgiving Ideas

November 15, 2023

Hi! You may be a long time subscriber, a new friend from Stephanie Weinert’s Mother & Home, or just found your way here via my Substack account, Chasing Logos. Either way, I am glad you are here! I have wanted to share that you have been missing updates or recipes, it is because as my kids have grown and I stopped having long hours home, it has been harder to spend the time in the kitchen. I have also returned to my passion before I started having kids and food blogs, and am getting my PhD in the Humanities/Philosophy. I am so happy to be back in academics and hope to write and teach. I think God wants to feed our bellies and souls, and in all of it we can find the good, the true and the beautiful.

If you are missing recipes, please subscribe to my Substack and I hope you will get fed in a different way! In the meantime, there are so many recipes here, and my family still cooks from THO all the time, so I hope yours can too.

In the meantime, here is a list of things that we have loved sharing at our Thanksgiving table. Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo Katie

For the Turkey:

Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey from Half Baked Harvest –

When your favorite food blogger tells you this is her go to every year and it never fails her, you try it.

For the Stuffing: 

Ciabatta Stuffing with and Chestnuts and Pancetta

Giada had me at Ciabatta. And chestnuts. And pancetta.

For Great Starters:

Swiss Pumpkin

From Ruth Reichl’s memoir Comfort Me With Apples, this is one of the most fun recipes and it is ah-mazing.

Baked Pears with Blue Cheese, Walnuts and Thyme

These look SO pretty and sound totally delicious. We recently had a cheese board when we ate out that just had a simple red wine poached pear to cut off and that is also a simple idea that can wow guests.

Cheese Puffs 

These are just mandatory at our family holidays. Sounds weird and simple but tastes like a cheesy, butter bite of heaven.

For the sides:

Maple Glazed Roasted Delicata Squash with Brussel Sprouts 

One of my favorite THO recipes, I keep these ingredients on hand all fall so I can whip it up for a special weekend dinner. It looks so pretty.

Spicy Carmelized Squash with Lemon and Hazelnuts – 

I subscribe to NY Times Cooking and when this popped in my inbox I started to obsess. Can’t wait to try it.

Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes

Love love love these potatoes. Simple and delicious. Also intrigued by these ones too….

Three cheese crock pot mashed potatoes – 

Oven space can be so limited, it is such a smart plan to have your mashed potatoes warm in a crock pot.

Martha Stewart’s Cauliflower Gratin – 

I make this every year for my husband who loves cauliflower and tries to eat low carb. It always ends up being one of my favorite parts of the dinner.

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta – 

This is how I  make Brussel sprouts at our house (minus the sun-dried tomatoes). My kids love the little bits of pancetta.

Bon Appetit’s Green Bean Casserole – 

This is getting me so excited for Thanksgiving. Of course Cream of Mushroom soup is FINE but I love the idea of making it from scratch. Also just discovered Onion Rings filled with Green Beans if you want to really wow your people.

We are on a big kick of having fresh dinner rolls, which are amazing for making sandwiches the next day. These are making my mouth water, and will be whipping up a batch of Alison Roman’s Dilly Rolls the day before Thanksgiving.

For Dessert: 

Ina Garten’s favorite pumpkin dessert is her Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream

The Pioneer Woman’s Carmel Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake looks like perfection.

Then again, this S’mores Sweet Potato Cheesecake does too…

My kids would love these Candy Turkeys

 

And as we think about being thankful I want to say I am so thankful to you for reading this blog, and for all the enthusiam, support, and messages you have all sent me about recipes you’ve made or things you have loved from this little blog. It’s such a labor of love, and I am so thankful to share it with all of you.

Hope you have a wonderful day with your families, Happy Eating!! xoxo Katie

 

 

Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes + Tips for Making Mashed Potatoes

November 21, 2022

I love these mashed potatoes so much, and I am so excited to make them for Thanksgiving.

They are inspired by a restaurant we love in North Conway, NH called The Red Fox. I always asked to swamp my side for these because they are just the best comfort food. I recently tried to make them at home, and they are so easy and so yummy.  If you’re looking to add an easy, delicious twist to this classic Thanksgiving side dish, these should be in contention.

I thought I would share a few tips that helped make these so good. They will help you with any kind of mash you are trying to make – sour cream and chive, cheddar, horseradish, truffle, bacon (I’m getting hungry typing that list.) Just follow the basic potato-butter-salt-milk/cream steps and then add your preferred flavor ingredient a little at time, tasting along the way (the best job?) and tweaking by adding more of the flavor ingredient or salt and pepper. Here are some basic tips that will help you always get the best mashed potatoes.

1) Use Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes.  The Russet will be whiter and fluffier, while some people prefer the golden color of the Yukon Gold. I find both deliver great results.

2) Start with your potatoes in cold water. Cubing them helps to cook faster. Once you have cubed them, put them in a pot with cold water and a teaspoon of salt, then turn on a medium-high flame and cook for 15-20. Then drain them, and as soon as you can, add your other ingredients.

3) Add your ingredients while the potatoes are still hot, and warm up your dairy. I’ve read lots of cooks describe how to make good mashed potatoes – Alton Brown, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, Martha Stewart. The common denominator for all of them is to make sure you add the ingredients while the potatoes are warm, and it is even better if you can warm up the dairy – milk, butter, cream or cheese – first before you start to mash them. They will just absorb the flavor better when they are hot.

4) Use a potato masher or potato ricer. The method of mashing is a personal preference I think. I’ve used a potato masher the whole of my cooking life and I tend to like my mashed potatoes with a few bits of potatoes here and there, it feels a bit rustic. If that is not you, the potato ricer is the way to go, and you’ll avoid lumps completely. If you want them to be extra fluffy, break out the hand mixer, which I tend to do for Thanksgiving but not for every day dinners.

5) Taste them and tweak as needed. When you taste them your taste buds will tell you if you need more salt/pepper/butter/milk. Almost every time I make mashed potatoes I am adding a little more of one of these, and it helps if you give a spoonful to some warm body standing around to see if they thing it could use a tiny bit more of the above.

If you follow these steps and then taste for seasoning and texture you will end up with amazing potatoes, I promise. Purists recommend using white pepper but I am not a purist.

Now let’s talk about add Smoked Gouda. You’ll want to buy two smoked gouda rounds since they are usually about 1/2 pound and this recipe calls for 1 pound. Get out the box grater or the food processor. I am sure I’m not alone, but I always feel like you either spend the time grating or you spend the time cleaning the food processor, so I usually opt for the arm workout.

Ingredients:

5 lbs. Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 T. unsalted butter (add more to taste if preferred)

2 cups whole milk (can use half and half for regular mashed potatoes but with all the cheese it gets rich)

1 lb. smoked gouda cheese, grated

3 T. salt, divided + more to taste

pepper

Directions:

Place potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

While they cook, in a saucepan place the milk, butter and 2 T. salt. Heat until simmering, then add shredded cheese and stir until combined – the cheese doesn’t have to melt you just want to add it to the potatoes warm. (You can also do this step in the microwave in a glass bowl.)

Return the potatoes to the pan and sprinkle 2 tsp. salt over them, then pour in the heated milk, butter, and cheese mixture.

Mash the potatoes, stirring to incorporate the seasonings.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve warm.

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs & Potatoes

September 24, 2022

Is there a better stick-to-your-ribs comfort food than meat and potatoes? My kids love this combo in all its forms (beef stew, burgers & fries, pot roast with mashed potatoes, shepherd’s pie – all hits). So when I saw someone make this Swedish Meatballs with Potatoes on Instagram, I new it would be a great fall dinner to add to our rotation. I couldn’t find their recipe so I came up with this one and was SO good. You will seriously want to lick your plate when you are done. My kids might have even fought over the leftovers.

We needed some new crock pot meals now that fall sports are underway (4 kids in sports is no joke. Also, I can’t believe I have 2 high schoolers now!). Having a hot dinner ready when we come home is the best, and when people get home at different times crock pot dinners saves them from having to reheat dinner. We were starting to get tired of our regular standbys, so it is great to have a new one. My oldest son LOVES this dinner. Which is good, because during football season he needs a lot of food. I actually doubled this recipe to have leftovers for him (ok, fine, for me too). I’ve been trying to serve whole foods, so I love that this dinner is comforting and good for you.


This dinner is so easy – its basically just making meatballs & gravy. Once you add all the meatball ingredients and form into balls, you fry them for a few minutes in butter (yum). Then you transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker and make the gravy. You start by making a roux, and when you add the broth, scrape up all the browned bits in the pan for that yummy homemade flavor. Then add the sour cream (or cream if you want to substitute) and stir to combine. Taste gravy and add any additional salt or pepper if needed. Then pour over the meatballs and potatoes, and 4 hours later you have this:

Add some peas, and top with extra sour cream and dill, and dig in.


Bonus points if you make this on a rainy night. Who wouldn’t want tuck into a bowl of this? I know your crew will love this dinner so hope you get to try it soon!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs & Potatoes

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg

1/2 bread crumbs

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped dill (optional)

4 T. butter + more for frying

2 lb. small potatoes, halved

1/2 cup flour

4 cups beef stock

1 cup sour cream (or heavy cream)

2 T. Dijion mustard

 

Directions:  

Combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, salt & pepper and herbs in a bowl. Form into small balls. Heat 2 T. butter in a large frying pan. Add meatballs to pan and let brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn over and brown for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Put potatoes on top. In pan over medium heat melt 4 T. butter and then whisk in 1/2 cup flour, cooking the roux for 1 minute. Slowly add beef stock, stirring to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes until thick, then add sour cream and Dijion mustard. Taste gravy for seasoning, adding salt or pepper if needed. Take gravy and pour into slow cooker on top of potatoes and meatballs. Let cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Serve with more sour cream and dill if desired.

Balsamic Pulled Chicken

September 16, 2022

 

If your fall is anything like mine, you are looking for fast & delicious dinners and if it involves a crockpot, even better. I actually searched on my own blog for inspiration for meal planning and found this delicious Balsamic Pulled Chicken that I totally forgot all about! So it needs a replay here on THO.

I love the ease of cooking pulled pork or chicken for a crowd. Cook, shredded, mix with sauce, add some coleslaw. Done. And for the record, six kids including 2 football players + 2 field hockey players is a crowd.

When I saw this recipe for Balsamic Pulled Chicken, I instantly craved it. And as I put together the sauce, I realized it is actually very similar to the ingredient list for BBQ sauce, just with balsamic vinegar’s depth of flavor and richness, and without BBQs sticky sweetness.

Which makes it amazing.

It is a major plus that this whole thing comes together in less than 30 minutes. I made it for a family get together and it was so easy, the chicken baked away in the oven while I made the sauce. When I shredded it, it was super tasty on its own (go garlic power, salt and pepper for making baked chicken breast super yummy).  If I made this for a party I would probably make it according to these directions and then keep it warm in a crock pot.

It’s good to have options.

I served it on Ciabatta rolls but for low carb romaine lettuce or Bibb lettuce slices work or even topping a salad with the shredded sauced chicken and some blue cheese crumbles would be perfect.

Ok, lets talk cole slaw! The recipe calls for a slaw made with aioli and canned pineapple. I don’t love canned pineapple, and so I made my favorite cole slaw recipe which is mayo, milk, celery salt, celery seed, a splash of white or apple cider vinegar and  a pinch of sugar.  This coleslaw recipe from Bon Appetit is really close to how I make it, though I add some milk to thin it.

And I think it is fine to sub mayonnaise for the greek yogurt and aioli. But maybe unlike me you do have some aioli nearby.

I loved it with this coleslaw but maybe your crew would like the sweet version so it is listed below with some tweaks.

This one is definitely a keeper when you need to cook for a crowd. I tripled the recipe for leftovers and easily fed 10.

(FYI, my little kids liked it in a hotdog roll with American cheese and no slaw.)

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Balsamic Pulled Chicken

INGREDIENTS

CHICKEN

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

SAUCE

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup boiling water 
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce/ketchup 
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

SLAW

  • 14 oz slaw mix
  • 8 oz. can pineapple pieces in juice
  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yoghurt (or mayo)
  • 1/3 cup aioli (or mayo)
  • 2 Tbsp juice from canned pineapple
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

TO SERVE

  • 4-8 rolls or burger buns
  • 4-8 slices cheese, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. COOK CHICKEN

    Preheat oven to 375ºF fan bake. Place a large piece of foil on an oven tray. Place chicken on top. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle garlic powder over the top and season well with salt and pepper. Wrap up in the foil to enclose. Bake for 25 minutes, until chicken is completely cooked through.

  2. MAKE SAUCE

    While chicken cooks, place oil, vinegar, water, tomato sauce, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, crumbled stock cube and garlic powder in a small non-stick saucepan. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until thickened (should be about the same consistency as tomato sauce/ketchup). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. MAKE SLAW

    Combine slaw and pineapple (reserve the pineapple juice!) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together yoghurt, aioli, pineapple juice and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add approximately two thirds of the dressing to the slaw and toss to combine.

  4. ASSEMBLE AND SERVE

    If you prefer the rolls warm, place in the oven for a few minutes. Remove chicken from foil, place in a shallow dish and use two forks to roughly shred. Pour balsamic sauce over the top (adjust quantity to suit your tastes) and toss to combine.

  5. Cut rolls in half, spread with remaining slaw dressing, add slices of cheese and top with slaw and chicken. Sandwich together. Serve with extra slaw on the side (the slaw is nice topped with any extra chicken too).

    Recipe adapted from yourultimatemenu.com

Sunshine Bowls with Lemon Dill Salmon and Cumin Cauliflower

September 2, 2022

I recently shared on Instagram how I was in Boston and had a ‘Sunshine Bowl’. I saw that they were so healthy (I’ve been trying to gently pay attention to macros to eat more protein and good carbs & fats) and I knew I would feel great after eating one.

Well, I did feel great, but I was bummed that the dish had very little flavor. After claiming to have marinated grilled salmon, pickled cauliflower, and sautéed greens, plus a cilantro lime yogurt dressing on top, I thought I was in for a flavor bomb.

But nope. Everything was bland and under seasoned, and the pickled cauliflowers were super tough.

I came home and started thinking about ways to increase the flavors.

  1.  I mixed a packet of dill dip seasoning mix, juice of 2 lemons and 1/4 cup of olive oil, and used half as a marinade and the other half as a creamy dressing for the top with mayo and sour cream.

I know this is unique to my local grocery store, but you can find other brands at your store or whip up your own with these ingredients:

  • 2 tsp Dried Dill
  • 1-1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 1 tsp Dried Chives
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Minced Onions
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder

2. Cumin Roasted Cauliflower – I sprinkled 1 tablespoon cumin and 1 tsp. salt on a head of cauliflower.

3. Oven roasted tomatoes – these get roasted with just a little olive oil and salt, and the flavor concentrates into a yummy tangy acidic note for the bowl.

4. Marinaded Greek Chickpeas from Trader Joes: These are amazing!

5. Edamame tossed with lemon juice, a little oil and salt.

You pile all of these yummy parts onto a bowl with quinoa and/or greens ( like both):

When you roast 3 of the main ingredients on a sheet pan, this dinner comes together in no time.

And to make it even faster or to help those people that don’t love fish, you can use your favorite marinated protein or rotisserie chicken tossed with some of the dill seasoning.

Even though there were a few skeptics in the bunch at the start, they all said it was totally delicious!

The leftovers kept so well in the fridge and make for the best lunch the next day. Hope these help keep you fueled, happy and healthy! I know what it takes to take on the knew school year, and trust me, you will need good fuel. But also, let’s make it yummy too.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Sunshine Bowls with Lemon Dill Salmon and Cumin Cauliflower

Ingredients: 

1 lb. salmon

1 packet dill dip (or see recipe above to make your own)

Juice of 2 lemons, divided

olive oil

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 head of cauliflower, cut into even sized florets

1 Tbsp. cumin

1/4 mayo

1/4 sour cream

salt + pepper

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package

mixed greens

1 cup edamame, seasoned with salt and lemon juice

Other ideas: chickpeas, pickled onion, avocado, lentils, sautéed greens or summer squash, roasted broccoli.

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400.

Cook quinoa according to package.

Put salmon in a zip lock bag. Mix half of the flavor packet in a bowl with juice of 1 lemon and 2 T. olive oil, then put into bag with salmon, trying to evenly coat the fish. Refrigerate for 30 min or up to 2 hours.

Put cauliflower on large cooking sheet and toss with cumin and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add salmon to baking sheet, and put it in oven for 20-24 min., until cauliflower is tender.

Meanwhile, mix remaining flavor packet with mayonnaise, sour cream, and juice of 1 lemon. Taste for seasoning and add any salt, pepper or water/milk to thin it to your desired consistency.

Assemble bowls by combining greens, quinoa, salmon, veggies, and dressing. Serve immediately.

 

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

November 27, 2021

Note: This soup is my favorite way to use up turkey after Thanksgiving. The broth is so good if you make it from your turkey carcass, but if you don’t have it don’t let that stop you. This is the ultimate healthy comfort food. 

I didn’t intend for this to be a blog post. This dish started as me just using up the turkey carcasses we froze after Thanksgiving.

But then I tasted it.

As usual with home cooking, simple ingredients, slow cooked, with flavor make the best best dishes. And this soup was SO delicious I had to share it. So here we are. If you don’t have a turkey carcass left over, consider just making this with chicken. It is that good you can’t wait until next year.

I made a huge pot of Turkey stock yesterday in our lobster pot and cooked for 3+ hours. If you have never made stock, check out my post here.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI hope you still have a turkey carcass you can use up! If not, just pull this post up next year. You’ll be so glad you did!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (find printer version here):

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice blend*
  • 1 small yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 2 ribs celery , diced
  • 6 Tablespoons butter , divided
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 4 1/2 cups turkey (or chicken) broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey meat, diced (can substitute chicken breasts, see step 5)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or half & half)
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.

  3. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until slightly tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

  4. Stir in the broth, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. *If using chicken breasts, add and bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to boil for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, then remove chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.. If using pre-cooked turkey, skip to next step.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add turkey meat (or chicken meat) and cooked rice to the soup.

  7. In a separate medium saucepan melt remaining 5 Tbsp butter over medium heat.

  8. Add flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken.

  9. Add this mixture to the soup pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in heavy cream or half & half. Serve warm.

Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch’s Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup