Better than the box stuffing

Hey everyone!

This post is going to be straight to the point! It’s the day before thanksgiving and I’m sure we’re all either prepping or going to prep after work. Last night I pretty much chopped up all the veggies and toasted bread (for the stuffing) and bought drinks.

I’m all about thanksgiving!

Everyone tries their hand at making dishes from scratch or semi-scratch. But many people head straight for the stuffing box and use that. I’m not the biggest fan. The flavor you get out of homemade is incredible and is worth the extra hour or so.

I promise!

You can substitute the herbs with any other you have at home (i.e. basil, oregano, or even an Italian seasoning mix)

Also, you don’t have to add in the extra stuff I put in, but I do love it! The extra stuff being apples and walnuts. =)

Homemade Stuffing

10 servings

A loaf of white bread, cut into cubes (about 10 cups)

I used French bread, it really doesn’t matter – each type brings its own unique flavor and texture

2 medium, yellow onions, chopped or minced to your preference

4 – 5 cups of celery, chopped

3 ½ cups of chicken broth

¾ cup of butter

2 tbsp of thyme

2 tbsp of rosemary

1 apple, chopped

½ cup of walnuts, chopped

2 cups of croutons (yes, croutons!!!)

S&P

2 eggs, beaten with fresh or dried parsley

 

Preheat oven to 250 for toasting (for baking, prehead at 375)

Place pieces of bread on a large cookie sheet and toast for an hour.  Stirring occasionally. After an hour, remove toasted bread from the oven and let them cool slightly.

In a large skillet, melt down butter over medium high heat. Add onions and celery and stir. Once they’ve turned a little brown (about 10 minutes) add seasoning and herbs. Mix and then add chicken broth. Stir and turn off heat.

At this point you can take another pan and begin to sauté your additional mix ins, mine being apple. I sautéed them in ½ tbsp of butter for a good 5-6 minutes.

Now to the veggie-broth mixture, add the pieces of bread. Once you have mixed in the bread, add croutons. I have always added croutons to mine and it gives you a great flavor since they are already slightly seasoned. If you don’t have croutons, it’s okay, it’ll still taste delicious.

At this point, taste your stuffing mixture, add additional seasoning if needed. Add the apple and walnuts and fold into the stuffing mixture. Take the beaten eggs and add as well. Mix well and transfer into a baking dish.

At this point, you could either prepare and place it in the fridge to chill and bake tomorrow morning as I did. Once you’re ready to bake, dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F, 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, about 20 more minutes.

OH SO GOOD. If you’re willing to give this a go, comment below and tell me how it goes!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

– Aisha

 

Ps. I know it’s all over the place, I’m sorry. I just took a break from the kitchen. Back to it now!

Advertisements

Butternut Heaven

Honeymoon’s over

Time to get back and be responsible. SIGH

Let me tell you how AMAZING my trip was. The doc and I had a fantastic time and of course it flew by way too quickly. We stayed at Excellence Resort at Playa Muejeres in Cancun. We were there for seven days and the resort was beyond gorgeous! We had a lot of fun outside of the resort too!

We went to visit one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza. It’s a Mayan temple that’s built out of stone and it took thousands of workers to build it to perfection.

The day I feared the most came by all too quickly. We also went on a tour called Xplor. It’s an underground natural adventure park. It consists of ziplining, driving an amphibious car through trails in the jungle and through caves, swimming in the underground river surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites, and rafting using your hands as paddles.

Why was I so scared? It combined two of my worst fears in one day; heights and swimming. Don’t laugh; I just don’t know how to swim! … or float. I gave the doc hell when we tried swimming. We were provided a life vest and the water hit my chin but I was terrified. I think I had a panic attack :/ And everyone was just staring. I was told I didn’t need to know how to swim! But it was pretty incredible.

Let’s just ignore the fact that I nearly passed out =) Ziplining was awesome. The adrenaline rush was like no other! We flew over the jungle and the last round had us plunging into the river! So much fun!

Anywhoo, apart from the relaxation at the resort and the adventurous, anxiety causing tour, we had DELICIOUS food. Nine restaurants folks! NINE! I tried a bunch new dishes I have never had before. The doc and I would compete as to who had the best dishes. Entrees were half and half but I conquered the dessert! I feasted on flan and crème Brûlée. OH SO GOOD. I need a torch so I can make it at home. YUMM.

I always get carried away with dessert! I took advantage of being close to the sea and ordered seafood. So delicious and fresh! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I tried lobster for the first time and could not stop eating! The tuna tartar and the ceviche were so light and moist. Ah, I want to go back!

Now, I’m back in the kitchen. I’ll miss all the deliciousness and no cleanup. But I’m glad I’m back in time to enjoy the best part about fall. Pumpkin and Butternut Squash.  I had butternut squash ravioli a few days back and it was SO-HOOO good. Butternut squash pairs really well with sage. So what better sauce to make than Sage Cream sauce. I’m still feeling lazy from vacation so I did not make the ravioli from scratch as planned, but I did find amazing ravioli from Costco.

Butternut squash ravioli with Mushroom Sage Sauce

Yields 4 servings

3 tbsp butter

1/2 cup chopped shallots

8-10 ounces mushrooms (If you don’t like them, you can make the sauce without it)

1 tsp chopped fresh parsley

1 cup chicken stock

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 tbsp olive oil

S&P

1 tbsp of flour or cornstarch

1 lb frozen butternut squash ravioli

Melt butter in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add shallots and sauté for one minute. Add mushrooms and parsley and sauté for 5-10 more minutes, until the mushrooms have browned.

Add chicken stock, scraping up any bits that may be sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the cream. Bring to a boil and cook the sauce down.

While it’s boiling down, prepare the ravioli according to the package.

In a separate cup, add three tbsp of water and 1 tbsp of flour and stir until it looks like milk. Add the mixture to the sauce and let it thicken. Turn off the heat. Add S&P to taste.

Pour over ravioli and enjoy!

Guess what Sunday is? Pie day! :)

– Aisha

Mm, Honey.

My oh my it is difficult packing for someone else other than yourself!

It’s my last day in dreaded Milwaukee before I leave for a week and as excited as I am, I’m also a mess. All these last minute things started popping up and I planned way ahead to not let these things interfere on my last day. I thought I’d clean the house, go get my nails done, shower, and then head home for a bit before we leave BUT sigh, do things ever plan out accordingly?

Anywhoo, I am currently scrubbing this house clean and doing some laundry.

Or I was.

I took a break.

A blogging break :)

Let me tell you what I think is so amazing and I should use more often —-> A crockpot.

It seems old fashioned but really though, it is a necessity in the kitchen. All you have to do is throw a bunch of ingredients together into the crockpot and let it cook for 7-8 hours and voila! You have an amazing meal. And during those 7-8 hours what do you do?

Just about anything.

Go to work, clean the house, go out shopping, paint your nails, SLEEP. I don’t know, but you have a lot of time.

Time I wish I had right now :/ Oh and let’s not forget my second video! Enjoy! :)

This video is the actual wedding ceremony itself, called the nikkah and rukhsati. 

Honey Sesame Chicken (crockpot version)

yields 4 servings 

2.5 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
S&P
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons diced onion
4 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoon sesame oil/canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more for a kick)
4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tablespoons water

Sesame seeds for garnish
Season both sides of chicken with lightly with salt and pepper, put into crock pot.

In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken.

Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened.

Cut chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles!

Sooooo goooood.

Just make sure you don’t overdo the cornstarch otherwise it’ll taste pasty eek!

– Aisha

Brown Butter Heaven

Tragedy struck a couple days back.

And I blame the doc. When I tell you about it, you’ll think it’s my fault but it was actually his. So here it goes. I don’t remember why exactly BUT the doc threatened to throw water at me. So thinking I was being clever, I pushed the water bottle towards him and squeezed it. I don’t know why I thought he was not going to react to it because the second he realized I was going to do that, he pushed it towards me and all over my laptop.

See, his fault.

Anyway, after two days of trying to get my laptop to turn on I frantically drove to the nearest apple store and ran in with my arms in the air pleading to save my baby.

Ok maybe not that dramatic but it definitely felt that way in my head! My dad knew what he was doing when he got me this laptop by getting me warranty. I definitely used it up these past three years. And when I got my laptop back yesterday, it was practically BRAND NEW! And just in time because my warranty expires in November. Phew!

I know these random disappearances are bad, but I promise I love my readers way too much to let them hanging! So I’m letting you know in advance (three days? I know, but I didn’t have my laptop!) that I am leaving for my honeymoon this weekend and will be MIA for a week. We’re going to Mexico! Trust me, I’ll have so much to post when I come back!

And even though I got married almost 4 months ago, I’m inviting all of you to join in on the celebrations by sharing my three part wedding highlights these next three days. I love them all, its like I’m reliving the entire experience! Perfect way to jet off to my honeymoon!

This is our Mehndi Highlight. For those that do not know, a Mehndi is a celebration before the wedding where the bride adorns her hands with henna while family and friends celebrate and dance the night away.

STAY TUNED TOMORROW FOR THE NEXT VIDEO! :)

Enough chit chat! I’m going to share something utterly delicious and unbuttoning your pants worthy. I am completely obsessed with Jessica from How Sweet It Is. She’s pure genius and a big reason why I blog. She and I have something in common – we’re in love with brown butter. BROWN BUTTER. I’m drooling.

In solid form, it’s disgusting. But in melted brown goodness, it’s sooooo ghooood. GHOOD.  This recipe is slightly adapted from her recipe!

Brown Butter Parmesan Chicken Pasta

Yields 4 servings

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts cut into chunks

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 ½ tbsp canola oil

7 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1 medium onion, sliced

1 cup sliced mushrooms

4 garlic cloves, minced

¾ cup chicken broth

½ lb whole wheat pasta (I used penne)

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for topping

fresh chopped parsley for topping

[if you like spice, get some sriracha! Goes amazingly well with this]

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add canola oil. Pat chicken dry and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add to skillet, and brown on all sides. It takes about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

In the same skillet, add ½ tbsp of butter and add sliced onions. Add a pinch of salt and stir occasionally for 15 minutes until onions have caramelized.

While onions are caramelizing, heat a small saucepan over low heat and add 6 tbsp of butter. Whisk Whisk Whisk! Until you see brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once you do, turn off the heat and whisk for a bit so the brown bits do not burn.

Also, at this time, you can prepare the pasta. Once the onions are done, add another ½ tbsp of butter and add mushrooms. Cook them for 6 minutes and then add onions back into the skillet along with garlic. Cook for about a minute just so that amazing garlic flavor gets into the onions and mushrooms. =)

Increase the heat to medium high and add chicken broth. Let it bubble and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken, pasta, and parmesan cheese. Toss it all.

Turn the heat to low and drizzle the brown butter over top and toss again. Add more cheese and parsley and SERVE with a side of sriracha!

Yum, yum, YHUM.

I want some right now!

– Aisha

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas

I had the best left-overs today, they were so yummy!  They were even better hot out of the oven last nite for dinner.  Wait for it…Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas.  So gooood!

Like everyday, I was preoccupied at work thinking what a I wanted for dinner when I came across this on pinterest for spicy black bean enchiladas and I knew exactly what I was making right after work.  I didn’t have the energy to run to the store after I got home  I took inventory of the things I had in the pantry, which was not enough of anything to make the recipe I had seen earlier so I decided to throw together a bunch of things and I came up with this:

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas:

1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 can black beans
1 cup chopped peppers (I had mini peppers & fresh poblano from the garden)
1 medium chopped onion
1/2 cup corn
1 package flour tortillas
1 can of green chile enchilada sauce*
1 can of red enchilada sauce*
1 teaspoon cumin
Shredded cheese – mexican blend goes well, or your preference
Red pepper flakes – to taste
Salt & Pepper – to taste

*I only had one can of each, it wasn’t intentional, but this is definitely what made the dish so good.

Preheat oven to 350 (unless you make this ahead and plan to bake later).

To a skillet add 2 tablespoons oil, and add the onions, saute about 2 mins and add the peppers,corn, and chicken. Saute until the peppers and onions are soft. Add the cumin, stir and add the green chile enchilada sauce, mixing well. Cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens.

In a casserole dish, pour some red enchilada sauce coating well. Next spoon the mixture into each tortilla, add a handful of cheese, roll up like a burrito, place in the dish, seam-side down. Continue until all the mixture is used up or your run out of tortillas ;) Then pour the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas smothering all the tortillas. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 25 mins. Then remove the foil, the dish should be starting to bubble at this point, place back in the oven uncovered for 8-10 mins. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 mins before devouring.

Happy Eating!

~Nazia