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The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

December 21, 2021

It doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I start making my mom’s chocolate fudge sauce as gifts for everyone. I love how excited our friends and neighbors get because, well it is like chocolate crack. I make it every year, and every year I congratulate myself on how easy it is to make a huge batch of gifts. It’s also so cute the way the teachers who have one of our kids in class get excited because they know they have chocolate sauce coming at Christmas. ūüôā

The reason why it is so beloved is because when it is cold in the fridge (where it needs to be stored) it has a thick, fudge consistency like frosting. But when you heat it up it is liquid chocolate, and it is so good over ice cream. You’re going to want to stock up on Candy Canes too because crushed peppermint on top is the best. Sometimes I get lucky and find the special edition peppermint ice cream but the topping is just as good.

This is by far my most requested recipe and I can’t believe I am just now getting to put it up on the blog.

The best part of making this for gifts? It is only 4 ingredients and it takes 10 minutes.

You start by melting the butter and the chocolate chips together…

Then once that is smooth you add the sugar…

And right after that you add the evaporated milk, bring to a boil, then reduce to low for 8 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom, and to help the sugar dissolve and the rest of the chocolate chips to melt.

Then you’re ready to let it cool a little, and in 10-20 minutes stir it well, and then pour into glass jars.

PRO TIP: Use a funnel. It makes things so much easier and less messy. 

I have taken notes in my cookbook how to times the recipe by 4 or by 8 which I’ll share below because it makes cooking in bulk so easy.

The Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce

For 1 jar: 

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk (equal to 1 5 oz. can)

For 4 jars: 

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butter

2 2/3 cup sugar

2 2/3 cup evaporated milk

For 8 jars: 

6 cups semisweet chocolate chips = 3 bags

2 cup butter = 1 pound package

5 1/4 cup sugar

5 1/4 cup evaporated milk = almost 4 cans

Directions: 

In a small heavy saucepan melt the chocolate and butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, gradually stir in the evaporated milk until sugar dissolves. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Boil gently over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from heat, cook slightly. Serve warm over ice cream or cover and chill and store in the fridge.

Original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

 

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

December 17, 2021

This is one of those recipes that I have been making for years around Christmas and my family loves (especially my husband!) so I am so glad I am finally sharing it with all of you!

The fluffy texture of brioche (or challah bread, I am using here) makes for the lightest, pillowy soft french toast, and the flavors of eggnog Рwith its sweet cinnamon and nutmeg flavors Рgo so perfectly together. 

This breakfast is so easy but is so special, perfect for quick holiday brunches while you are busy doing a million other things.  And it totally feeds a crowd РI am full after one piece.

The little dusting of powdered sugar is my kids’ favorite and just adds to the Christmas brunch allure.

To make it, you just combine all the ingredients in a bowl and then dunk each piece of brioche into it.

I love to use our indoor grill pan which is a skillet on one side, and it cooks 6-8 pieces at a time.

This dish is such a treat and will fill everyone with the flavors of the season. You are going to want to grab some extra eggnog this year and keep some brioche in the freezer for the slow mornings of Christmas week.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Eggnog Brioche French Toast

Ingredients

 

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

Cr√®me fra√ģche, 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

Cr√®me fra√ģche, 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 Cr√®me fra√ģche

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.

 

 

Goat Cheese and Sage Gnocchi with Butternut Squash, Kale and Blue Cheese

October 4, 2019

This post is basically one big ode to fall. And gnocchi. And my husband for taking me out to eat on our Anniversary. We went to the Black Trumpet and this was our main course. My meat-loving husband and I split this for our 15 year Anniversary dinner. It just oozed fall comfort food when we saw it on the menu and that’s pretty much what it is. This will help you get your fall on, I promise.

Also, why aren’t people shouting from the rooftops that homemade gnocchi is SO good and easy? Consider this my rooftop shout.

Remember that scene in Unbroken when he was on the stairs and watching his mother or grandmother making gnocchi in the kitchen, and that memory of comfort sustained him through almost dying in a boat and almost dying in the prisoner of war camp?

When I saw that scene, I was touched by the power of food memory like everyone else but now I know it really is because homemade gnocchi is that good. (RIP Louis).

Gnocchi has FOUR ingredients (five if you use cheese like I did) – you put potatoes that have been boiled and mashed (or grated) on a work surface that’s dusted with flour, then you add flour, make a well, crack an egg, add some salt and for these I added goat cheese and sage, and then you mix it all together with your hands until it forms a dough. It might actually take as long to make and boil these as it takes to boil a box of spaghetti.

This is one of those dishes that you can get all the elements together ahead of time. I cooked the vegetables and made the dough on Sunday and then our tile guys came in to finish our kitchen (yay, I can’t wait to show you all now that it’s done! Post coming soon). I didn’t get to roll out the gnocchi until two days later and it was totally fine.

To put the dish together, you just roast the kale (make extra because you will want to nibble on it all day long).

And then you make the butternut squash puree – just add some liquids to thin it out (I used milk, broth and apple cider vinegar) and some butter, salt and pepper.

Then you boil the gnocchi – it only takes 3 minutes to cook, and it nicely floats to the top of the water to tell you its done. ¬†Then you melt 2 T. butter in a large pan and cook it until it’s browned.

Then you put these three elements together – which honestly you could have used each part alone or in a million other ways for other dishes, so keep them on hand all fall. Then you sprinkle blue cheese and chopped hazelnuts on top ( look for hazelnuts at a gourmet grocer or try Amazon).

This could be a Thanksgiving side dish, a comfort meal for a friend who had surgery or new baby, or just a date night at home. My older kids loved it, the little ones just wanted the gnocchi.

 

For the gnocchi:

4 russet potatoes (about 2.5 lbs)

2 1/2 cups flour + more for work surface

4 oz. goat cheese, softened

1 egg

2 T. chopped fresh sage

1 tsp. salt

Directions: 

Boil potatoes: put peeled potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, then cook for 20 minutes. When fork tender, remove and let dry on a towel.

Using a potato masher or potato ricer, mash potatoes until they are the consistency you would use for mash potatoes. (You can also grate them).

On a work surface coated in flour, pile the potatoes and then add the 2 1/2 cups of flour. In the center of this pile make a well and add goat cheese and egg, beating egg with a fork. Then add sage and salt, and using your hands combine all ingredients well and form into a loaf. Using a sharp knife, slice 1-2 inch strips through the longest side of the dough. Pulling one row apart at a time, roll between your fingers until a thin log is formed. Then cut 1-2 inch pieces of dough to form each gnocchi.

You can boil immediately, for around 3 minutes or until it floats to the top of the water. If you want to serve them later you can lay them on a cookie sheet and put in fridge or freezer until ready to boil. Once frozen they can be stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

For the butternut squash:

1 butternut squash, sliced in half, seeds removed

Olive oil

2 T. butter

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup milk

1/4 apple cider vinegar, optional

Salt and Pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and oil it. Place squash cut side down, and cook for 30-35 minutes, until squash feels tender when a knife is inserted. Let cool.

For serving, scrape squash into pan set on medium heat. Mash with a potato masher as it heats, then add butter and let it melt, then stir to combine. Thin puree out with your choice of liquids, I used 3/4 c. whole milk, 1/2 c. chicken broth, 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar. Stir and if necessary mash until desired consistency. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, tasting to adjust seasoning if more is needed. Keep warm until you assemble the dish.

For the kale: 

4 cups kale, steams removed and torn into pieces

2 T. olive oil

1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Toss kale with oil, salt and pepper. Divide kale among 2 sheet pans to avoid steaming and to get crisp. Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp.

To assemble: combine butternut squash, gnocchi then kale onto a plate or plater. Sprinkle 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles and 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts on top. Serve immediately.