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sarajane

Homemade Soup Recipes

We call this soup "Greater than the sum of its parts soup"

Tortellini en brodo

Good chicken stock (homemade or we use Trader Joe's organic)
Frozen cheese tortellini
Fresh baby spinach

Heat the broth to boiling, add the tortellini. Cook until the tortellini float, add a few handfuls of spinach. Stir til spinach wilts. Serve, topping with grated parmesan.

What to do with Spiced Wine

Are you sure you don't like it? It may sound gross, and I would have agreed with you, but a couple of years ago, sitting outside by a fire (ok, the ambiance helped), I had some warm spiced wine and discovered it wasn't half bad....

What to make for dessert on Christmas?

That gingerbread trifle is excellent. Made it year before last to rave reviews.
I'm making roasted cardamom infused apricots from here, over vanilla ice cream.

What's for dinner Christmas Eve?

My uncle hosts and appetizer-palooza for Christmas Eve every year.
This year I'm taking garlic marinated sirloin bruschetta, faux cheese fondue, stuffed mushrooms and some sort of bacon appetizer (which I should really figure out soon).

Anyone enjoy eating at Sam's Club or Costco snack bar?

Was shopping there Friday night, after Christmas shopping all day and had a berry slushie, which was good, but the Polish Sausage was nasty.

Potato side with Beef Wellington

Seconding Hasselback potatoes

What are YOU making for Christmas dinner? Why?

We've been making roast goose with my Mother-in-law's apple dressing for years, per husband's request (his family is all far away). This year were trying wine-braised cornish hens for something a little different.

Special Christmas dessert?

I can vouch for that gingerbread trifle... I made it year before last to rave reviews... think it's time to pull that recipe out again. I did make the gingerbread, but purchased the lemon curd. Thanks (again) @dbhorst.

Shipping Frozen Dinners?

Oooh! Excellent - I can use frozen gel packs - much easier than chasing around for dry ice. Thanks @dhorst!

Ideas to fix Ugly Pie?

Cover it with more cheese?

Cranberry sauce can be good? Really? Show me how, please!

I make the back of the bag recipe, like lemonfair, but instead of adding Grand Marnier, I add a bit of chopped candied ginger. Like cranberry sauce with my turkey on Thanksgiving, but it's even better the next day on a turkey sandwich with cream cheese on whole wheat bread.

Mashed Potatoes made the day before?

I just read somewhere.. the Kitchn, maybe?? (so many Thanksgiving ideas, I can't keep them all straight...) Make your mashed potatoes early in the day, put them in a crockpot with a little milk and butter on the top, presumably to keep them from drying out on the top. Set crockpot to warm or low and you are good to go.

A Completely Crockpot Festive Meal

Made this with Christmas dinner last year to rave reviews:
Crockpot Creamed Spinach
Not that you'd want to eat that after dessert, mind you.

I need a vegan recipe or two for Thanksgiving

I usually make a risotto for my vegan brother in law. I'm the Easter hostess, so that one is usually asparagus/arugula/lemon, but I do make a very good pumpkin/spinach/sage risotto in the fall. I omit the cheese and amp up the herbs on either risotto. Use vegetable broth and you are good to go.

Cook the Book: 'The Pioneer Woman Cooks'

PWC, SE and The Kitchn

Wanted: elegant buffet food ideas

Maybe a risotto for a side?
Pumpkin risotto?

Slowcooker down and smell the roses!! Dinner Tuesday October 20th

Hot, open faced turkey sandwiches - are these Hot Browns?
Made with the gravy-less turkey the hubster grilled on Sunday and the "gravy out of thin air" recommendations from the fabulous SE'ers.
With leftover roasted fennel from last night.

What's your favorite crock-pot dish?

Chili for sure.

I also use the crockpot to make homemade stock. I freeze leftover chicken bones and when I have a bunch accumulated, throw them in the crockpot with carrot, celery, onion, salt, pepper and a bay leaf. Garlic if I remember. Pull out the chunks and put the pot in the fridge overnight to defat. Much easier than when I used to make a big huge stockpot full. And the crockpot keeps the pot from boiling, theoretically, keeping my stock clear.

Edible Gifts for the Holidays

I make sugared nuts, or as they are known in my family, "crack".

Your Clever SE Name

boring: just the old first and middle name

Bertolli-style dinner recipes?

@lilyb:
The Kitchn is a food related blog-forum run by the folks at Apartment Therapy. Click on the hyperlink words "primer on how to do just that" in my post above and it will take you right to that post. (click on The Kitchn above to go to the current page).

Also, if you are too bleary-eyed in the morning to deal with getting the crockpot up and running, I've heard it suggested to put everything together in the crockpot at night before you go to bed and let it cook while you are sleeping. Stash it in the fridge and reheat when you come home. Also good for those of us who are gone for 10-12 hours and overcook stuff in the crockpot, while we are at work.

Freezing casseroles - you don't need a silicone pan. Just line a regular pan with foil, bake your casserole as usual, let cool (or freeze for even easier handling), remove from the original pan, wrap up the foil around the edges and slide into a ziploc bag. When you are ready to reheat, defoil (or not, your preference) and slide back into the original pan to reheat.

Help for a picky vegetarian?!

Risotto? It's what I make when my vegan brother in law comes over, and the carnivores usually dig in, too. What's not to like about rice, veg and cheese?

Libby's Pumpkin Shortage? Easy Steps to Make Your Own

Wow! This is the first I've heard of a pumpkin shortage.. will take necessary measures and stock up on Sugar pumpkins - with that easy technique. I've been snarfing up all kinds of pumpkin related goodies - whoopie pies, donuts, muffins, DQ Pumpkin Pie Blizzards - didn't even realize they were endangered.

Gravy out of thin air?

Swooning at the bacon grease addition! Thank you all for fixing my craving!
Alas, I have to wait until tomorrow night for my gravy fix. Salmon for dinner tonight. Can't have the same thing twice in a row!

Polenta appetizers?

I am sad to report that we were so tired on Saturday night, all we could do was muster the effort to top them with some fontina cheese and bake them. Sadly, those did not live up to your most excellent ideas. However, I have saved ALL of your ideas for future use, to redeem myself from this unfortunate polenta debacle. I have cornmeal and am not afraid to use it!

Uses for Tamarind Paste?

I was in the ethnic market this weekend and picked up a jar of tamarind paste for a stocking stuffer for my uncle I remember Lynne Rosetto Kasper saying how wonderful the stuff was, but now I can't remember what to use it for, and I'd like to add some suggestions to the jar for him. (Plus then I'll know what to use my own unused jar for!)

Bacon Appetizer?

My brother-in-law is a vegan and does most of the cooking in their household. My sister, a proclaimed flexi-tarian, has requested something with bacon for our Christmas Eve appetizer-palooza. What shall I make her?

My go-to is bacon wrapped dates, but I've done that a lot and am looking for something different. Thanks!

Shipping Frozen Dinners?

I've been brainstorming for a good gift for my widowed 87 year old Father-In-Law. This morning, I had the brilliant idea to ship him some homemade frozen dinners, since he rarely cooks for himself. He's in Phoenix, we are in Chicago. I've got some ideas for things to fix and freeze and can manage to cook them this weekend, but has anyone shipped anything like this?

My thought was dry ice + a styrofoam cooler, I think I've been shipped pizza like that. I was thinking of investing in a vacuum sealer, if necessary. Otherwise it would be foil pans in ziploc bags. Suggestions, please?

Oh, and if you are interested here are my freezable dinner ideas:
Stuffed shells marinara
Pot roast
Turkey, gravy & stuffing
Chicken & dumplings
Beef & Barley Soup
Meatloaf
Chicken Pot Pie

Gravy out of thin air?

Husband roasted a turkey breast on the grill last night. He did not use a drip pan (!!??) to catch the drippings and we are left gravy-less. It wasn't such a big deal last night, but now with the leftovers, I am craving an open-faced turkey sandwich, smothered in gravy. Can I make gravy without drippings or will I be forced to buy some at Boston Market?

Polenta appetizers?

Husband has declared appetizer night for Saturday night dinner, in front of the fireplace. I had the foresight to make and chill extra polenta this week to fry up into squares as the base of some delicious little bite, but can't seem to think of any topping except mushrooms. Any suggestions?

Chicken Marinades?

One of my favorite weeknight dinners is marinated, baked chicken. I mix together a few ingredients in the morning (right in the pan), toss in the chicken (thighs for us) and refrigerate. Once I get home, I chuck the pan into the oven and go walk the dogs. 45 minutes later, dinner's done (well except for figuring out some veg).

What are your favorite marinades?

Make-ahead appetizers?

My aunt is hosting a post-wedding get together for the out-of-towners, after her daughter's afternoon wedding (yes, she is crazy, but its' daughter #3 and there is no discouraging her from this plan). She's looking for some relatively easy cocktail nibbles she can make on Thursday and just heat up and and/or serve on Saturday evening. I'm coming up blank - what have you got?

Hot Humid Weather Suppers

After spending an eternity in the 60's, Chicago weather has finally come around to summertime. High's in the '90's with the heat + humidity index reaching 100+. When it's too hot to cook anything, what do you eat?

Father's Day BBQ: BYO Steak Bar

We're having 12-15 for Father's Day and in the interest of doing something different and relatively economical, I'm having a BYO Steak and Potato Bar. Everyone brings their own steak, we provide the grill, baked potatoes and gourmet toppings - plus a green salad and ice cream sundae bar for dessert.

For the steak toppings, I've got
caramelized onions
sherry-sauteed mushrooms
goat cheese
gorgonzola
herb butter
and truffle butter (if I can find some).

What else would you top a steak with?

Mediterranean BBQ

Niece's graduation means family reunion weekend. We're hosting 20 (or so) for a Friday night BBQ. I wanted something a little different, but not radically for the unadventurous eaters. Here's what I've got so far, and yes, I am an "envelope-pusher"

Grilled lemon-garlic chicken thighs
Grilled lemon-garlic lamb kabobs
Ina's tomato-feta salad
Green salad
Hummus
Tzatziki
Skordalia (if I get crazy)
Kalamata Olives
Grilled Pita breads

Baklava (store-bought)
Rhubarb Crisp (yeah, it doesn't follow the theme, but I promised my Brother-in-law I'd make some)

Too much? Not enough? Comments, please.

Avoiding metallic-tasting lemon desserts?

I asked my sister to bring a lemon tart for Easter (she's the baker, I'm the cook). She says she's up for it, but whenever she makes a lemony dessert (tart, curd, meringue pie), the lemon always ends up with a metallic taste. Now that she mentions it, I have to agree. Is it because she uses metal pans and bowls? Is the acid in the lemon reacting with the eggs? Does anyone have any clues how she can avoid this?

Breakfast at Union Square Greenmarket?

We'll be in NYC (from Chicago) this coming weekend. I'd like to visit the Union Square Greenmarket on Monday morning. Husband is less enthusiastic What can I entice him there with for breakfast - we can eat breakfast there, can't we?

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