Thanksgiving stuffing cups.

Some people call it dressing.  Some call it stuffing.  Some people stuff the bird.  Some cook their stuffing in a casserole or loaf pan.  Some people put in exotic ingredients like sausage and chestnuts…and some people don’t.

We are a plain stuffing people. Bread, butter, celery, onions, salt, butter, chicken broth, milk, water, butter.  And butter.  I discovered a super easy way to make stuffing ahead.  Always a good thing.  Stuffing cups.  (These freeze well so you can have stuffing all year long, not just on Thanksgiving!  My mother used to serve pork chops that were baked in the oven with a pile of stuffing on top of each one).

Ingredients:
-4 to 5 loaves worth of stale bread (I use all kinds …but always use a little brioche and a little corn bread) torn into pieces.

-3 to 4 sticks of butter
– 2 stalks of celery, diced
-2 medium onions, diced
– 1 quart chicken or turkey broth
-2 cups milk (no less than 2% fat)
-water needed to moisten (3 to 4 cups)
-salt to taste
-1/4 cup dried parsley

Directions:
1. tear bread into pieces and put into a large bowl (which will be used for mixing) and let get stale (overnight or for just an hour or two)

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2. Dice onions and celery.


3. Melt butter in a skillet.

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4. Fry onions and celery until just soft, about 5 minutes.

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5. Stir in dried parsley and salt.
6.  Allow butter-onion-celery-parsley mixture to cool
7. Pour onto stale bread in the large bowl.

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8. Pour broth on top
9. Pour milk on top
10.  Pour one cup of water on top and mix with your hands until the mixture is combined and wet.  If the mixture is too dry, add water one cup at a time (mixing in) until the stuffing is completely wet.
11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
12. Butter each muffin cup. Fill each muffin cup with stuffing…by hand. (Muffins will not puff up or rise so pile high).


13.  Bake stuffing muffins for 20 to 30 minutes until the tops are a crispy and browned.
14.  Take muffins out of the oven.  Allow to cool about 5 minutes in the muffin tins and then turn out of the pans onto a cooling rack.  Serve immediately or cool and store in the freezer or refrigerator and reheat to serve.

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These muffins are delicious and super easy to make, transport,  and serve!

 

 

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The boss.

 

 

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This is the easiest and best applesauce you will ever serve your family.

Collect a bowl of apples of mixed variety.

I buy apples from William Schoeber and Sons Inc. (Monroeville NJ) at their huge stand at the Colllingswood Farmers’ Market.  Their apples are varied in size and type and all are delicious.  Each week I buy apples and each week I move the older apples to a special spot in my refrigerator (a bag inside the fruit drawer) and, when I get ten or so, I make applesauce and serve it warm and fresh for dinner.

Ingredients:
at least ten apples (this mix was Red Delicious, Gala, Honeycrisp, Winesap).

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Directions:
1. Wash and peel apples

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2. Cut and slice the apples and put in a large sauce pan or pot that has a lid.
3. Add a splash of water to the pot to keep the apples from sticking to the bottom of the pot and to keep them from burning.  You will only need a splash…less than 1/4 of a cup.
4.  Heat the pot to medium.  The apples will melt down and more liquid will be expelled.  The liquid and water will bubble up.  When the liquid bubbles, test the apples for softness. When the apples are completely soft and can be mashed, take them off the heat and let them continue to cook and cool down in the pot with the lid on.  The whole process should take no more than 30 minutes.  If you like chunky applesauce, mash the cooked apples with a potato masher.  If you like smooth applesauce, puree the apples with an immersion blender, a food processor, or a Foley mill.
5.  Done!

There is no added sugar to this applesauce.  The combination of difference types of apples make for a delicious flavor but you can make this sauce with your favorite apple and no other variety.

Refrigerate what is left…if there is any!

Applesauce can also be frozen.  I freeze this applesauce in zippered freezer bags.  Fill them and lay them flat on your freezer shelf.  Thaw and use.  You can thaw a bag of applesauce in a pan of warm water for warm sauce.  Do mark your bags…I once added applesauce to chicken gravy (I had frozen the gravy the same way and was positive I could tell them all apart).   The applesauce made the gravy a little different.  Edible.  Interesting.  But different.

This applesauce is great for babies.  Nothing in it but apples and you can puree it to the preferred texture.

Easy cabbage side dish (like my mother used to make)

Rick Hymer sells his wares at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market and from his home market in Monroeville NJ.  He starts the market season in the spring with bedding plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable plants.  He moves into tomatoes, peppers, and corn (bi-colored!!!) but my favorite time of year is the autumn when Mr.Hymer sells his grandson’s pop corn and the best sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and CABBAGE!!! I have ever tasted.  His cabbage has flavor.  It tastes like something.  I use it for cole slaw, side dishes, soup, and stuffed cabbage.  I freeze the cabbage slices in freezer bags so I can cook with them all winter.

Cooked with this method this cabbage is just plain sweet.

Ingredients:
1 head of cabbage, washed and sliced
1 stick of butter
sprinkle of salt, and to taste

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Directions:
1. Core the cabbage and throw the core away
2. Slice the cabbage leaves into 1/2 to 1 inch slices
3. Rinse the cabbage in a colander
4. Melt butter in a large skillet with a lid.

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5.  When the butter is melted turn the heat under the pan down to medium low
6.  Put the cabbage in the pan.  Put the lid on the pan.

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7.  After ten minutes lift the lid and stir the cabbage.  Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt.  Put the lid back on.  Turn the heat down to low.

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8.  Continue cooking slowly until all of the cabbage is soft. About 30 minutes.  Do not let the leaves get brown.  If the cabbage is getting brown, turn the heat under the pan lower or off and let the cabbage continue cooking under the lid.

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(pictured: fresh ham pork roast, cabbage, mashed white sweet potatoes, fried apples)

 

Serve this as a side dish by itself.

Cook 8 ounces of eggs noodles and stir them into the cooked cabbage and top with some buttered bread crumbs.

Toss cooked cabbage with your favorite pierogi.

Mix with cut up hot dogs and kielbasa.

Or just eat it out of the pan…..

Absolutely delicious!

Fresh ham.

Hillacres Pride (I shop their meats and cheeses and eggs, etc. at the Collingswood NJ Farmers’ Market) has a NEW cut of meat.  A boneless fresh ham roast.  Fresh ham is different from ham.  It is not smoked and so it is, essentially, a pork roast.  Hillacres Pride sells a variety of pork roasts but this one is new because it is boneless.

The roast I purchased was just a little over 3 pounds.  The bone was cut out, the meat was rolled, and put into a string bag so that the roast would keep its shape.  It is a lean cut so a little bit of fat showing on the outside is a good thing.

I did a little research into the cut and decided on a simple dry rub and quick bake.

Thaw and pat the meat dry with a paper towel.  Then, using a prepared pork dry rub (easily purchased at your local supermarket or spice shop…or make your own) rub the dry spices on the outside of the roast.  Put the roast in a dish with a lid and leave in the refrigerator for three hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the roast in an uncovered roasting pan.  Cook for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  After 15 minutes, turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees and continue roasting for one hour (about 15 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature of the roast reads 145 degrees).  Remove the roast from the oven and let rest about 10 minutes before carving.

As I am only feeding two, we had leftover meat, which, when sliced very thin makes a wonderful sandwich and/or the beginnings of a great Cuban sandwich.