ULTRA CREAMY MASHED POTATOES & FLAVORFUL GRAVY

I start the prep for my gravy 2 days before the holiday. I use whatever green veggies I have in my crisper to begin my gravy.

ULTRA CREAMY MASHED POTATOES & FLAVORFUL SCRATCH GRAVY

ULTRA CREAMY MASHED POTATOES
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper

  • In a large saucepan add potatoes, chicken broth and enough water to cover the potatoes.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  • Drain.
  • In a large bowl combine the butter and cream.
  • Add potatoes to bowl and whip until creamy.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve immediately.

SCRATCH GRAVY
Turkey parts from the cavity
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion (skin on), chopped
1 shallot (skin on), chopped
2-4 cloves garlic (skin on), crushed
1 large bunch thyme
1 large bunch oregano
FRESH ground sea salt, to taste
FRESH ground black pepper, to taste
any other greens (asparagus, snap peas…)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup COLD water

  • In a large stock pot add all the above and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 3-4 hours.
  • Strain broth and discard all bones and remnants.
  • Return broth to pan.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water.
  • Whisk cornstarch mixture into the broth until thickened.
  • Season to taste.

SWEDISH MEATLOAVES with MASHED POTATOES, ROASTED CARROTS & LINGONBERRY JAM with HOUSE SEASONING

Meatloaf is really just an oversized meatball. So, why not make it a personal size so you can get more finished edges covered in delicious gravy?

Swedish Meat Loaves are spicy beef meatloaves smothered in a rich tasty gravy served over mashed potatoes with roasted carrots with Lingonberry jam on the side—in other words, Thanksgiving for the rest of the year.

SWEDISH MEATLOAVES with MASHED POTATOES, ROASTED CARROTS & LINGONBERRY JAM

2 Carrots, peeled and sliced into thick coins
3/4 pound Yukon potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
several sprigs Parsley, finely chopped
1 slice white bread
3 tablespoons + 1/4 cup milk
2/3 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup beef consomme
2 tablespoon Lingonberry Jam
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons butter
FRESH ground salt and pepper, taste

  • PREHEAT oven to 425° and adjust rack to upper position.
  • Toss carrots on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Roast in oven for 15 minutes.
  • Add potatoes to a medium pot with a large pinch of salt and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to empty pot off heat.
  • Place bread and 3 tablespoons milk in a medium bowl. Break up bread with your hands until pasty.
  • Add in beef, 2 tablespoons minced onion, half the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and salt to taste. Mix by hand gently until thoroughly mixed.
  • Shape mixture into two 1-inch-tall loaves.
  • Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add meatloaves and cook until browned on surface but not yet cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Once carrots have roasted about 15 minutes, remove sheet from oven and give carrots a toss. Add meatloaves to same sheet and place back in oven.
  • Bake until meatloaves are cooked through and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes more.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the same pan you browned the meatloaves in over medium heat.
  • Add remaining minced onion. Cook, sauteing, until soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Add flour and cook, stirring, until pasty, about 1 minute.
  • Slowly whisk in beef stock and 1/4 cup milk.
  • Bring to a simmer, then whisk until thickened, about 1 minute.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg to taste.
  • Add more water if too thick.
  • Place pot with potatoes over low heat.
  • Add 1/4 cup milk and 1 tablespoon butter mashing until smooth. Add more milk if too stiff.
    Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
  • Plate potatoes and meatloaves.
  • Drizzle with gravy.
  • Add carrots and jam to the side.
  • Garnish with remaining parsley.

HOUSE SEASONING MIX

1/4 cup fine sea salt
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon FRESH ground black pepper

  • Combine in a small bowl until well blended.
  • Store in an air tight container.

APPLE CIDER PAN GRAVY PORK CHOPS

This recipe is good year round, but tastes especially GREAT during the fall when apples are at their prime.

APPLE CIDER PAN GRAVY PORK CHOPS
2 tablespoons avocado oil
4 3/4 inch pork chops
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3-4 sprigs FRESH thyme
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
thin sliced apples,  for garnish SEE NOTE

  • Generously sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper.
  • Heat avocado oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  • Sear pork chops on both sides.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the honey and apple pie spice.
  • Add in garlic and apple cider until well blended.
  • Pour over pork chops.
  • Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Remove pork chops to a plate, tent and let stand 5 minutes.
  • Whisk together the cornstarch and water.
  • Add to pan gravy and whisk until well blended.
  • Add heavy cream and whisk to blend.
  • Increase heat and bring to a SLOW boil until desired consistency is reached.
  • Serve pork chops with apple stuffing, your favorite vegetable and top with pan gravy.

NOTE:

  • You can serve with thin sliced apple slices or you can use a little butter and apple pie spice to saute the apple slices for a sweet treat.
  • Many times I prefer to sear the pork chops for 3 minutes on each side over high heat and then place them into a 400° oven for 6-8 minutes to finish cooking while I prepare the veggies. I find that the pork chops stay moist and juicy this way.

APPLE STUFFING
2 honey crisp apples, peeled,, cored and chopped
3 Kaiser rolls, chopped small
1 large carrot, chopped
1 small bunch green onions, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 + 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup apple cider
2 packets pork flavored top ramen seasoning packets

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in skillet on medium high heat.
  • Add carrots and saute 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Add green onions and garlic sauteing until fragrant.
  • Add apples, sauteing until beginning to soften.
  • Whisk together the pork seasoning packets into the apple cider.
  • Add the remaining butter and apple cider mixture to pan.
  • Fold in bread pieces, stirring to coat.
  • Cook until liquid is completely absorbed.
  • Fold into a casserole and bake 15 minutes or so to heat completely through.

 

CHICKEN in BACON RANCH GRAVY ala SLOW COOKER

This is a wonderful fall or winter recipe!

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN with BACON GRAVY serves 4
adapted from Sarah Olson

1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
FRESH ground pepper, to taste
4 sprigs FRESH thyme
2 bunches green onions, sliced thin
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 slices bacon, diced and cooked crisp
1 Pioneer country gravy packet dry mix DO NOT PREPARE PER PACKAGE
1 Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing packet dry mix DO NOT PREPARE PER PACKAGE
2 1/4 cups water
1 cup heavy cream

  • Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray.
  • Add the chicken to the slow cooker.
  • Generously salt and pepper the chicken breasts.
  • Add the garlic, green onions and bacon.
  • Lay thyme sprigs on top.
  • Whisk together the gravy mix and ranch dressing packets water until smooth.
  • Pour the gravy mixture over the chicken.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time.
  • Remove the chicken and shred with 2 forks.
  • Stir heavy cream into gravy mixture until well blended.
  • Return chicken to gravy mixture and stir to coat well.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes.

 

BISCUITS AND SAUSAGE GRAVY BAKE

BISCUITS AND SAUSAGE GRAVY BAKE
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 tablespoon avocado oil
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Wondra flour
3 cups milk
FRESH ground salt and pepper
1 can Pillsbury JUMBO biscuits
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (hubby like sharp – I prefer medium)

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add sausage and cook until completely browned and crumbly.
  • Drain sausage in colander until free of oil.
  • Return pan to heat and add butter.
  • Whisk in flour until a golden roux appears.
  • SLOWLY add milk, whisking constantly until heated through.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add sausage pieces.
  • Coat 11×7 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place dish on baking pan to catch any drips.
  • Separate biscuits and then separate each biscuit in half so you have 16 pieces.
  • Place 8 halves in baking dish.
  • Cover with half the sausage mixture.
  • Sprinkle half the green onions over the sausage.
  • Repeat layers and sprinkle with cheese on top.
  • Bake 40 minutes or until golden.

NOTE: CAN EASILY BE MADE INTO INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS & I OFTEN SERVE IT WITH AN EGG ON TOP.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

MAXINE’S POT ROAST vs. GRAM’S POT ROAST OR LAVERNE DEFAZIO POT ROAST

Some of the recipes I have been waiting to try are from Southern Living’s Off the Beaten Path series. This recipe is from Maxine’s on Main in Bastrop, Texas. I made very few changes as time went on. While this was good, I still prefer MY old recipe that I’ve been using for years and I’ve shared at the bottom. But, one of my ALL time favorites is my Laverne DeFazio Pot Roast!

These slow cooker recipes are perfect for while I’m “LEARNING” to eat again. These allow me to cook a few times a week with plenty of C.O.R.N. (Clean Out Refrigerator Night) in between.

MAXINE’S POT ROAST
2 tablespoons Avocado oil
3 pound boneless chuck roast
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
3 medium red potatoes, washed and quartered
2 celery ribs, washed and large chopped
2 carrots, washed and large chopped
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, large diced
3 cups STRONG brewed coffee
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Wondra flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

  • Whisk together 1 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, 2 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and 1 1/2 seasoned salt.
  • Rub seasoning mixture over entire roast.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown roast on all sides and edges.
  • Place roast and potatoes in slow cooker.
  • Saute’ celery, carrots and onions in hot drippings from browning the roast.
  • Add coffee, Worcestershire sauce and Kitchen Bouquet cooking for 3-5 minutes, loosening any particles stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
  • Pour over the roast and potatoes.
  • Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours or until roast and potatoes are fork tender.
  • Transfer roast and vegetables to a serving platter.
  • Shred roast with forks, cover and keep warm.
  • Melt butter in saucepan.
  • Whisk in flour until golden.
  • Add to drippings in crock pot, stirring to blend well and cooking until desired consistency.
  • Serve with Mashed potatoes, vegetables and roast.
MY SUPER SAVORY POT ROAST & VEGGIES
I love Pot Roast. I adapted grams old recipe to my family and their likes.
3+ pound Pot Roast
2 medium Onions
1 bag baby carrots
3 Tablespoons Avocado Oil
3 large Yukon potatoes~scrubbed clean, but not peeled
Kosher Salt
White & Black Pepper
2-3 LARGE cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon Pampered Chef Rosemary mix
Beef bullion
Red Wine (2 cups) OR White Wine (2 cups) or plain old broth (2 cups) or combination of the three.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°. The meat you use is important. My favorite roast is the chuck roast because it has wonderful marbling throughout the meat, and when cooked right (prep, cover, cook ~ don’t fiddle with it while it’s in the oven) any chuck roast winds up being tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Be aware that the tougher the piece of meat is, the longer it needs to cook so that the connective tissue will soften and break down. You truly can’t rush a pot roast, you’ll be disappointed if you try as it will be dry or lack flavor. BE PATIENT. You want the meat to basically fall apart. You SHOULD NOT need a knife to cut it.
  • Bring the piece of meat to room temperature.
  • GENEROUSLY sprinkle the first side of meat with the Kosher Salt and Pepper mix.
  • Heat enough avocado oil in the bottom of a fry pan on medium-high heat to make a thick coating.
  • Cut the onions tip to root, cut off root and stem, peel and lay flat into hot oil. Brown both sides well.
  • Remove to side.
  • Add the baby carrots and do the same. I normally cut each carrot just in half. Brown carrots (you’re aiming more for color here than cooking them). They will have plenty of time to cook in the oven.
  • Add garlic and spices at this point. By this time I have put them all into a mortar and pestle to revive their scents and aromas.
  • When carrots are finished, remove them to the same plate as the onions. If necessary add more olive oil to the pan and add the roast seasoned side down. While it’s browning season the other side really well. Brown both sides and all edges really well.

Now, for the oven I like to use my grandma’s old Magnalite dutch oven which cooks really even! And see those little hobnail bumps in on the bottom side of the lid? Those are better known as drip catchers. They collect the steam from the juices and redistributes it all right back down on the roast as it cooks. These help keep the meat moist and juicy.

  • After the roast is browned, place it in the dutch oven and spread vegetables all around it.
  • While fry pan is still hot, add white or red wine and the beef bullion to deglaze the pan ~ make sure you scrape up all the stuck little bits from the bottom. Cook long enough to mix well and then pour over the roast. The liquid should come up at least half way on the sides of the roast and vegetable mixture. For this recipe we added the white wine to the recipe and drank the red. The red wine, Harrod wine, is from our nephew’s vineyard so we don’t waste it cooking, but enjoy every last drop.
  • Put the lid on the dutch oven, put it in the oven, don’t open the door for AT LEAST 3 hours! Today’s roast was 2.39 pounds and I roasted it for 3 1/2 hours. Go relax or at least get the dishes you’ve dirtied so far done up. At 3 hours, I prep the potatoes for boiling. I prefer not to cook mine with the roast  every time ~ sometimes I prefer a bit of substance instead of the mush they can become with the roast. I do a basic mashed with heavy cream, salt, pepper, and butter (hey you gotta splurge a little sometimes!)

MIREPOIX for THANKSGIVING PREPARATION

It’s Thanksgiving week! The food prep can be overwhelming at time, but over the years I’ve found ways to make Thursday more enjoyable without breaking my back.  I did ALL the shopping this morning and one of the first things I did was ALL the tedious chopping for my stuffing vegetables and gravy vegetables. I did a little research and found out I have been using a combination of several methods for years. Mirepoix from the French is plainly diced vegetables cooked with butter (generally) on a gentle heat without browning until soft and flavorful. You are not trying to caramelize, but blend and sweeten the flavors to use as a base for other foods.

A traditional mirepoix is 2 parts onion, 1 part celery and 1 part carrots. This traditional base is then built and layered upon to enhance flavors for building stocks, soups, stews and sauces.

To make mirepoix: Rinse, trim, and peel vegetables — typically two parts onion to one part carrot and one part celery — then chop them into uniform pieces. The shorter the cooking time of your recipe, the smaller the pieces should be, so that they effectively infuse the foods with flavor.

There are of course different names and combinations of vegetables based on the culture. Similar flavor bases include:

  • the Italian soffritto, The Italian version of mirepoix is called soffritto is a base of finely chopped parsley and onion sauted in lard, but most modern cooks substitute olive oil or butter. Garlic, celery, or carrot may also be included. According to the Italian restaurateur Benedetta Vitali, soffritto means “underfried” and describes it as “a preparation of lightly browned minced vegetables, not a dish by itself.”
  • the Spanish sofito, There are many different versions of sofrito, but the basics are green and red peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro.
  • the Portuguese refogado. Refogado is a Portuguese-style sofrito featuring onion, garlic, saffron, tomato and smoked paprika.
  • the German Suppengrün (leeks, carrots, and celeriac), means soup greens in German, and the Dutch equivalent is soepgroente. Soup greens usually come in a bundle and consists of a leek, a carrot, and a piece of celeriac. It may also contain parsley, thyme, celery leaves, rutabaga, parsley root, and onions. The mix depends on regional traditions, as well as individual recipes. The vegetables used are cold-climate roots and bulbs with long shelf lives. Suppengrün act as herbs and impart hearty, strong flavors to the soup or sauce, providing a foil for other strong tasting ingredients such as dried peas and beans or pot roast. Large chunks of vegetables are slow cooked to make flavorful soups and stocks, and are discarded when the vegetables have given up most of their flavor. Finely chopped Suppengrün are browned in fat and used as a basis for a finished sauce. The vegetables may also be cooked long enough until they fall apart, and may become part of the sauce or pureed to form the sauce.
  • the Polish włoszczyzna (leeks, carrots, celery root, and parsley root), A typical set of soup greens, known as włoszczyzna, the Polish word for soup vegetables or greens and literally translates to “Italian stuff”, used in Polish cuisine: carrots, parsley root and leaves, leek, and celeriac. Bay leaves and allspice grains are also shown. Queen Bona Sforza, who was Italian and married Polish King Sigismund I the Old in 1518, introduced this concept to Poland. A włoszczyzna may consist of carrots, parsnips or parsley root, celery root or celeriac, leeks, and savoy or white cabbage leaves, and sometimes celery leaves and flat-leaf parsley.
  • and here in the U.S. we use the standard mirepoix, the classic and most common French combination of onions, carrots, and celery, typically in a ratio of 2 parts onion to 1 parts each carrot and celery as well as the Cajun and Creole holy trinity that replaces the carrots in the standard mirepoix with bell peppers and sometimes the French duxelles (mushrooms and often onion or shallot and herbs, reduced to a paste).

Though the cooking technique is probably older, the term “mirepoix” dates from the 18th century and is credited to the chef, Charles Pierre Gaston Francois de Levis, duc de Levis Mirepoix who was the field marshall and ambassador and member of the noble family of Levis, lords of Mirepoix.