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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.

Picadillo

October 19, 2022

Well the flu just whipped through our house and I do not recommend that situation at all. Now that I am finally feeling better, I am so eager to start making healthy comfort food dinners again. This yummy dinner was buried in my blog, and when we pulled it out and made it, it was SO good it needed to have a new post about it because it is amazing.

This dinner was introduced to me by my neighbor, and it is Spanish/Latin American dish that is like a hash (it comes from the word picar which means ‘to mince’). There are endless variations, but the presence of ground beef, potatoes, and chopped vegetables along with an interesting mixture of warm spices like cinnamon, chili powder, and cumin make every bite super flavorful. Cinnamon in a savory dish was so interesting. I am also thinking about adding some cubed butternut squash next time I make it.

My seven year old gave it a 10/10 after previously looking at it and saying he didn’t think he would like it. So if you are in the habit of taking grade schoolers as your food critic, there’s that.

I think kids really love any meal that is meat and potatoes, and we all agreed that this dinner was great comfort food. You can get very inventive with the toppings you use too – cilantro, green olives, sliced jalapeños, tabasco or sriracha for a kick, or even raisins are all some of the spice/sweet/savory combos you can use. It is also really easy to make.

These beauties all cook together until it looks like this:

Then you add the spices, tomato paste and stir for a minute. Then you add the broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 20 min while you cook some rice in the rice cooker. We loved serving it with rice and also loved having Naan bread or flat bread to soak up the juices because who doesn’t need three carbs at dinner?

This recipe will definitely be on repeat at our house, it is a new favorite! I hope you can make it your new favorite too.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Picadillo (I doubled this recipe to feed our crowd)

 

Ingredients: 

1 tbspExtra virgin olive oil

1 lb Ground beef

1 Small yellow onion, diced

4 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 Green bell pepper, cored and finely chopped

1 Large carrot, chopped

1 tsp salt

2 tsp Chili powder

1 tsp Dried oregano

2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

2 tbsp Tomato paste

2 cups Chicken stock

1 Large russet potato, peeled and 1/2 inch diced

Cooked rice for serving

Warm tortillas for serving

Fresh cilantro for serving

Jalapeño peppers slices, green olives and sriracha or tabasco for serving

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil In a large skillet set over medium high heat, cook the beef with the onions, garlic, bell pepper and carrots until meat is browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add in the salt, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and tomato paste mix for 30 seconds until incorporated.
  3. Add in the chicken stock and potatoes, mix to combine. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are tender and the mixture has completely thickened, about 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with cooked rice or warmed tortillas, fresh cilantro and peppers if you want extra heat.

This recipe originally appeared on The Modern Proper.

 

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.

Creamy Chicken, Corn, Tomato and Zucchini Pasta

August 16, 2022

This dinner has been on rotation ever since the corn, zucchini and tomatoes have been showing up at our local farm stand. It’s even better now that we have zucchini from the garden. I know lots of families are headed back to school all ready, and with high school sports starting already it is really back to a full schedule for our fam.

But this dinner is helping us hold on to the sweet days of summer.

This is such an easy dinner, and you can make it even faster & easier with a rotisserie chicken. The amazing flavor comes from cooking it in white wine, and using the easy & delicious secret ingredient – chive cream cheese.

I have made this dish plenty of times with just cream and it still turned out great, but when I was out of cream recently I used this instead and it was such a happy accident! It really brought this dish to the next level so I highly recommend. If you want to use regular cream cheese + fresh chives that works too.

After making this a bunch this summer, I also really like to cut the zucchini in bigger chunks so they don’t fall apart too easily. This is such a chunky pasta dish that will make you feel amazing. The fresh corn makes it so try to use it instead of frozen if you can.

You guys will love this dinner, and it is great for little fingers too since corn and tomatoes are usually a hit (they can pick around the zucchini if they have to). Hope you try it as much as you can before all these beautiful summer ingredients are just a thing to remember. Just make sure to break it out again next summer. 🙂

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Creamy Chicken, Corn, Tomato and Zucchini Pasta

Serves 4-6

 

1 lb. orecchiette or other small pasta shape (like penne)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 shallots, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb. chicken, cubed

4 small (or 3 large) ears of corn, kernels removed to equal about 2.5 cups

1 zucchini, chopped chunky (so they don’t fall apart)

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 cup white wine

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup chive whipped cream cheese (or more to taste)

Fresh basil or chives

 

Directions:

Boil pasta according to package directions.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Sautee shallots with a pinch of salt for 3-5 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken and if raw, cook for 5-6 minutes. (If using rotisserie you can skip to next step). Add corn, zucchini, tomatoes, salt and pepper and sautee for 5 more minutes. Add wine and let it reduce for 5 minutes. Then add chicken broth and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until melted.

Serve over pasta immediately, garnishing with basil or chives.

 

 

 

 

 

Risotto Primavera

May 6, 2022

 

Spring has sprung here in New Hampshire finally! The lacy tree blossoms, the tulip-and-daffodil studded yards, and warmer temps all beckon us to linger outside every chance we get. The trampoline is in full use, and flip flops and Birks are finding their way onto our happy feet.

I love seeing how the change of seasons affects our appetites. We go from craving warm bowls of comfort food to wanting fresh veggies and salads. This Risotto Primavera is a sort of in-between, with all the stick to your ribs comfort from cheesy, warm risotto and all of the feel good bites of lots of green veggies.

This is the perfect side dish when you break out your grill and cook some chicken or steak, or our favorite, swordfish. It feels indulgent, but also healthy.

There is something so relaxing about cooking risotto. The adventure of stirring and ladeling in more broth and stirring some more (sipping a glass of wine somehow adds to the relaxation right?) until you are left with a creamy, cheesy flavor bomb of a side dish. The wine and the parm make this irresistible.

I love artichokes with risotto – I often make artichoke risotto up north at our camp when we cook steak on an open fire, since we can keep all the makings for it in the pantry. But the addition of fresh asparagus and peas were so springlike and welcome.

Feel free to play around with your veggies though. Mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and butternut squash are all also delicious veggies with risotto.

Though it is delicious hot, this dish can be served at room temperature, so feel free to bring it to a potluck or picnic. It will brighten up any meal. Cheers to spring friends!

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Risotto Primavera

Serves 4 (I doubled this recipe).

  • 1 cup Aborio rice.
  • 1/2 cup onion or shallot (finely diced)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2 tablespoon butter (preferably unsalted)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (we use Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (have more on hand)
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichokes (I like canned but frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup peas (if frozen, let soak in warm water to thaw)
  • 1/2 cup chopped blanched asparagus (see directions)

Directions:

  • Put chicken stock in small pan over medium heat to warm it.
  • Blanch Asparagus: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  When boiling, add asparagus and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender. Get bowl of cold water + ice cubes ready, and drain asparagus then add to the ice bath to lock in their green color.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet or frying pan and bring to medium high heat, add onions and cook until translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add butter and Arborio rice, stir to coat rice.
  • Increase heat to high, add white wine.  Let rice absorb the wine while the wine cooks off (2-4 minutes). Reduce heat back to med high.
  • Add the warm chicken stock, one cup at a time.  As the rice absorbs the stock continue adding stock gradually. Stir constantly.
  • Continue cooking until the rice is almost all the way cooked through, it should be al dente with a firm center (approx 15-20 min).
  • When rice is cooked, reduce heat to low. Add ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, the Parmesan cheese and stir. Then add the vegetables. Taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed. Add more Parm on top for serving.