Dressing is something that defines a family. A simple comfort food made from leftover bread to stretch an expensive meal (typically using what type of bread you had available so in the south- cornbread, in the north- wheat bread.) You can almost guess where someone’s grandma hails from by what type they serve you. (Dressing, stuffing, cornbread, white bread, fruits, nuts, oysters, chicken, chestnuts…)
My maternal grandmother was Canadian. She moved to the deep south in the 1940’s, marrying into a family of Scarborough’s where her mother-in-law had been a true southern debutante and did NOT appreciate her son marrying a “Yankee.”So my southern mother learned to make a white bread stuffing (not dressing) usually studded with fresh pecans.
My husband’s grandmother was from the south and made a traditional cornbread dressing.
When we started hosting our family holidays we had an unexpected conflict on what we would serve- an all white bread dressing with nuts like my Canadian grandma made or a total traditional cornbread dressing like my husband’s grandmother made? Everyone wanted their personal favorite and so a compromise was needed. Thus, I came up with a yin-yang combination dressing that seems to please everyone!
Scarborough Fair Dressing
Cornbread and bread traditional dressing for holidays!
14 ounces cornbread ((or a large cast iron skillet full) I use homemade but you can use any mix or recipe. )
14 ounces dried bread cubes or stuffing mix
1/2 onion (chopped)
4 stalks celery (chopped)
7 ounces melted butter (can substitute with olive oil )
2 Tablespoons fresh Italian Parsley (finely minced)
1 6" branch fresh Rosemary (take leaves off of stem and finely mince)
1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme (finely minced)
4 cups vegetable, chicken, or turkey stock (Homemade is best but even bouillon will do!)
1 cup milk or Half & Half
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Nuts, raisins, or chopped apricots ((Optional additions))
Put bread and cornbread in a large bowl and mix.
In a medium skillet over medium high heat, saute onions and celery in olive oil or butter until translucent.
Add fresh herbs and cook 1 or 2 minutes more.
Add about 1/2 cup of stock to the pan to deglaze the juices and remove from heat.
Add stock and melted butter to bowl with breads.
Mix and slowly add remaining stock and milk (or half & half)
NOTE: The total amount of liquid may vary depending on how dry the breads are and humidity in air. You want the mixture to stick together and be fairly moist (so it won't dry out too much when baked.)
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Butter a large baking pan (12 x 24)and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. (Or until golden brown on top.)
Time Saving Tip:
I make my cornbread a day or two before the holidays. I also saute onions, herbs, and celery and add them to the cornbread before baking. This allows you to skip steps and have all your burners free for other dishes!
1-In a large bowl put bread and cornbread and mix together.
Yin & Yang of Bread waiting to be mixed!
2-In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions and celery in olive oil or butter until translucent. Add fresh herbs and cook approximately 1-2 minutes more.
Time-saving tip: I make my cornbread a day or two before the holidays. I like to saute the onions, celery, and herbs then add to the cornbread before baking. Then when I go to make the dressing I can skip step 2 all together. This is especially helpful when you have all the burners cooking for other dishes!
3- Add about ½ cup stock to the pan with vegetables to deglaze the juices and add all of this to the bowl with bread. Add your melted butter also at this point.
4- Mix and slowly add the rest of the stock and milk. The amount needed may vary depending on how dry ingredients are, humidity etc. You want the mixture to be sticking together and pretty wet (not total mush, but til it’s VERY wet so it doesn’t dry out too much when baking.) Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste and more herbs if necessary.
5- Put in a large buttered baking pan (12×24) and bakeat 375 for 45 minutes to an hour. You want it to be golden brown on top and edges.
Ready to bake
Remember that dressing is something that you can easily give your own family touch by simply adding local ingredients or that mean something special to you!
*Disclosure: I am required by the FTC to tell you that this post is sponsored by the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Josh Cellars Wine for their #asweetpairing campaign. Of course, I always keep a stash of Ghirardelli chocolate and my hubby is loving the Josh Cellars wine so all opinions are expressly ours. Company has also sponsored a great give-away at the end of this post!
Is there anything sweeter than wine and chocolate?
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.
We always like to make a sweet treat to celebrate and this year we’ve made rolled sugar cookies decorated with Ghirardelli chocolates!
My little helper liked to sample the dough!
Ready to decorate cookies!
I melted the 60% Cocoa Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips in the microwave, gently on half power at small intervals and stirring frequently. The white chocolate I melted on the double boiler. I put both melted chocolates in piping bags and bowls and we just had fun! Be prepared to get messy!
(P.S. I have a chance for another $75 card on my INSTAGRAM account ending on 2/8/16!)
A lot has to do with sensory processing issues, and the rest from sheer stubbornness I think. I really don’t understand it at all because as a kid I lived to try new foods. My brother and I would beg for octopus or artichokes. Things that I really didn’t know other kids didn’t want too.
One thing my picky kids do like is Indian Food. (Go figure.) I guess the vegetables are sometimes so well hidden or changed with spices that they forget they are there?
Anyway, we have had a long weekend compounded with a snow day and we were all bored of the same old food, so I decided to make Chicken Tikka Masala for lunch yesterday.
FYI, after a bit of research I realized that Indian Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are actually the same thing, just in Butter Chicken the meat is usually left over and cut into cubes!
I came up with this recipe. I made it a bit on the un-spicy side because I wanted the younger three to enjoy it. (Also left out onions which most recipes have.) I love Penzey’s spices and order most of my spices from them online. Their Tandoori Spice worked really well in this dish because it had much of what I wanted and nothing extra: coriander, cumin, sweet paprika, garlic, ginger, cardomom, and saffron. *FOR A VEGETARIAN OPTION YOU COULD USE ROASTED POTATOES, SQUASH, OR CAULIFLOWER INSTEAD OF THE CHICKEN.
*And no I’m not sponsored by Penzey’s, but would love to be! 🙂
This is what I call “Chicken Quickka Tikka Masala.”
Chicken Tikka Masala
My version of Chicken Tikka Masala and/or Indian Butter Chicken.
3 lbs boneless chicken cut into cubes (I like thigh meat but breast is good too!)
1 cup plain yogurt (I like Fage Greek Yogurt)
1 clove garlic (chopped and pressed)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Penzey's Tandoori Seasoning
2 Tablespoons oil
4 Tablespoons Penzey's Tandoori Seasoning ((more or less to taste))
2 teaspoons Paprika (good quality)
4 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 16 oz can chopped tomatoes
2 cups water
4 Tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream ((Can substitute with coconut cream))
Kosher Sea Salt
fresh cilantro, chopped
Put cut meat into marinade and let sit overnight in refrigerator or at least while you cook the sauce and make the naan.
To make the sauce:
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the spices.
Cook a minute or two until fragrant, then add 1 cup of water and tomato paste, stirring until well blended.
Add chopped tomatoes and about a cup more water.
Take off the heat and carefully puree in the blender.
Put back in saucepan and simmer while meat cooks.
When meat is almost done add cream, butter, and salt & pepper to sauce and stir and simmer until time to add the meat. (See meat instructions below.)
In a hot cast iron skillet with 2 Tablespoons of oil cook marinated meat over medium high heat.
Stir frequently and cook until meat is thoroughly cooked.
Place cooked meat in finished sauce and garnish with fresh cilantro and a dollop of yogurt.
Serve with basmati rice and fresh naan!
It was really easy and turned out great! And best of all… EVERYONE ate it! *I don’t have a “go to” naan recipe yet. I just googled “naan” and made one. I’ll try and get a good one and post it later!
Disclosure: This is a post in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program. I believe in their mission and everything expressed will be my own honest opinion! #ARBB
How many times have you heard “I’m bored!” during a school vacation or even just a weekend?
Keeping kids entertained doesn’t have to be exhausting, and can be beneficial to everyone!
Here are some fun things for the kids that will help them cooperate to make holiday gifts and even learn while doing it! (Don’t tell them!)
I let the kids choose a few homemade recipes for gifts that they wanted to make for teachers and friends. (They had to cooperate with each other to make these, read and measure, and had fun! A great way to teach generosity as well.)
My children wanted to make Snow-Ball Bath Bombs and Play Dough.
These activities are a great way to get the kids using their science, math, and reading skills as well as cooperation and sensory fun!
To make the bath bombs… (This activity is safe as long as children are supervised. I recommend it for preschool ages and up.)
*The citric acid is the hardest to find in this recipe. I found mine online, but you can get it at hobby stores or you can substitute a lemon, lime, or orange powder OR can use the canning preservative that says it’s main ingredient is Citric Acid.
This play dough recipe is the best one I’ve ever found. It takes time to make and I only let my children measure and put ingredients into the pan as it is very tedious and takes some strength. It’s a great gift or just fun to have on hand and lasts a long time! Wonderful for sensory play, learning letters by shaping, and much more! Also, it’s non-toxic and safe for toddlers and up to play with.
*Put some dough in an airtight container with a couple of cookie cutters for a great holiday gift!
Having children help make gifts is a great way to play together as a family!
1/2 cup of salted butter (softened at room temperature)
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar (I use unbleached)
When light and fluffy add:
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon of local honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup rolled or old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
ground cinnamon (I like it so used about 1 teaspoon but you can use less if you want)
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
*You can also add raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips at this point!
Divide dough into balls and drop onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown and slightly firm.
I cooled on a wire rack.