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Fall

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 is a repost from last year because 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.

While it simmered, I cleaned out the fridge and tackled organizing projects in the kitchen. So basically, a clean fridge plus a delicious soup with crusty bread on a cold rainy day = the perfect evening. Plus making stock is so great for using up all those veggies in the veggie drawer that have seen better days.

Sometimes it can be hard to sell my family on soup for dinner, but everyone took a bite of this and raved. It is totally thanks to the delicious broth that adds so much depth of flavor, plus the comforting, stick to your ribs feeling from the creaminess of the butter and milk and cream.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I 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

Crème fraîche, Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes

November 18, 2021

You guys. These are the BEST mashed potatoes. I am thrilled to share them, crazy about them, and hope someone out there gets to try them.

But first a little back story:

After we had our twins, we decided to get our Thanksgiving meal from a good restaurant. It felt smart and easy and we all enjoyed the day and still cooked a few sides and apps. It was so good we did it again when they were 1. The next year, my sister passed away right before Thanksgiving, and in our grief, we got it again. The next year Covid still had us turned upside-down so we ordered it again, but a big hole was felt by my sister and me and my mom (even though she had still always made her stuffing because we can’t have Thanksgiving without it). We missed our traditions.

So this year we are finally taking it back, and it feels like we have emerged from some kind of tunnel and I can see the light.

So with that backstory, I was so exited to find some ways to update the classics on our families Thanksgiving menu. When I saw this post from Ali’s Kitchen it looked beautiful! She used scallions and cilantro, but I had so many herbs on my deck I decided to use a combination of scallions, thyme, parsley, and cilantro. Then I thought about the chicken that I made from Mimi Thorisson’s cookbook with creme fraiche, shallots, garlic and lots of herbs. Ali’s potatoes call for buttermilk but I thought they would be so good with creme fraiche.

I was right. Oh my gosh, the tang it gives the potatoes is almost like a hint of lemon. (Some lemon zest would be a fun addition to these flavors too).

So let’s talk mashed potatoes. My no-fail way to make them is always to peel and cube Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, and then put them in a pan with water, then put that over medium high heat and bring that to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife and they feel tender.

Once you have mashed the potatoes, stir in the butter, salt and pepper, and creme fraiche. I really can’t get over how good these are with this tangy, creamy addition.

To make the herby mixture, heat 3 T. oil in a pan, and add scallions, garlic and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the rest of the herbs, salt and red pepper flakes. (These are optional but I almost recommend serving kids some of the potatoes with out the herby mixture and letting the adults have it with the heat.) Keep in mind you can use any combination of your favorite herbs here, but this combination was really good.

I hope you get to try these they are swoon – worthy. And I hope your Thanksgiving is full of food, family and fun.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Crème fraîche, Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

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

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

2   7-8 oz packages Crème fraîche

3 T. salt, divided + more to taste

milk, if needed for texture

pepper

For the Herby Garnish:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced, to yield a heaping half cup or so
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional but so good)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

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.

Return the potatoes to the pan and sprinkle 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp pepper over them and add 2 T. butter. Mash the potatoes, stirring to incorporate the butter and salt. When mashed, stir in the creme fraiche and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

To make herb topping, heat pan over medium heat with 3 T. olive oil. Add scallions, shallots, and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add parsley, cilantro, and thyme. Add salt and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes more until onions are browned a little and everything is fragrant.

When you are ready to serve, put hot potatoes in a bowl and swirl it around to create peaks and valleys. Spoon herby topping while it is warm all over. If needed, put tin foil over it until you are ready to serve.

 

 

Cream of Mushroom Soup

November 12, 2021

When I was little, I loved Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Pouring the thick white base with lines from the can still formed onto its sides that was studded with chewy mushrooms.  Adding the milk, and whisking until they were sort of combined, bumps were fine. It was heaven.

To an eight year old.

As a grown up, it’s pretty gross.

The good news is that it is very quick and easy to make a cream of mushroom soup from scratch that is filled with the creamy umami goodness that it’s canned cousin slightly possesses.

You start with browning a mix of cremini and shiitake mushrooms, and after reserving a cupful for later, you add the aromatics of shallots and garlic…

Then you add the dried tarragon, which goes so well with mushrooms I pretty much add it whenever I am cooking with them.

Then add broth, simmer for 10 minutes…

At this point you have some options that are all based on personal preferences. You could eat it like this, or to have a bit more of a refined soup, you can insert your immersion blender and go. Some people like to completely blend the soup so it is a thick, creamy base with the reserved mushrooms added back in. But I guess as a nod to my Campbell’s soup days, I like little chewy bits of mushrooms in my soup.

So I like to process it until it is chunky, not creamy.

This is the perfect dish to serve to guests who may be visiting for Thanksgiving, or to have a steamy bowl set at each place setting to set the meal off. If you want to get really fancy, you could thicken it a little (find out ways to thicken sauces here, my favorite is to mix a little flour and butter together to make a roux) and use this as a base for your green bean casserole, which is one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Or just make it on a rainy Friday in November like today.

It’s the perfect recipe for when you walk by beautiful mushrooms in your grocery, and it only takes a few more minutes then the stuff from a can. But your inner child will still love the stick-to-your-ribs comfort food feeling you get. I promise.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Ingredients: 

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups mushrooms – a mix of cremini (or button) and shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, roughly chopped or sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 4 shallots, minced (about 3/4 -1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat oil on medium heat. When hot, add butter, and once it has melted add the mushrooms, tossing to coat in the butter and oil. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove one cup of the mushrooms to add back in later.

Add shallots and garlic to pot, and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Add the tsp. salt, tarragon, and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Once soup has cooled a bit, use an immersion blender to puree the soup. (You can also use a standing blender, but I like my soup with chunks rather than totally smooth, so I prefer the immersion blender.) Once it is your desired level of thickness, stir in cream, pepper and add extra mushrooms and parsley to the pot. Taste and check for seasonings and serve.