Dressing Patties

My family used to fight over the corners of the pan of dressing, as those have the crunchiest crust. Then, mom decided to form the dressing into patties and bake them so everyone gets to enjoy their own crunchy bites. I’ve decided to share the recipe to help bring peace to more families this Thanksgiving.

When I’m in the south for the holiday, I make my dressing with a package of Pepperidge Farm Classic Stuffing. When I’m on the West Coast, I like using the sourdough stuffing from Boudin Bakery in San Francisco.

With everything else going on during food prep for Thanksgiving, I make things easy on myself and instead of dicing onion and celery, I use a frozen seasoning blend of onion, bell peppers and celery. Two generous cups of Pictsweet Farms Seasoning Blend is perfect for the patties.

Crunchy and delicious, these can easily be made in advance of your gathering and just warmed up before serving. Also, I like using the leftovers to make awesome Thanksgiving po-boys with cranberry sauce, turkey and a little gravy.

Dressing Patties

1 package Pepperridge Farm Classic Stuffing or Boudin Sourdough Stuffing
4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 cups seasoning blend of onions, celery and bell pepper or 1 large onion (1 cup diced) plus 3 stalks celery (1 cup diced)
2 cups chicken broth

Heat butter or olive oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes. Add in the celery and sauté for another 10 minutes or until very tender. If using the seasoning mix, toss in two generous cups and sauté for 10 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add in the stuffing. Mix gently.

Once the dressing is warm enough to handle, form into 12 patties. Place on wire racks on a rimmed baking sheet. Patties can be baked immediately or covered and held overnight in the refrigerator.

Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 30-40 minutes.


Cinnamon Chocolate Stars

I was in a cookie making mood on Sunday. I started by baking some Toll House chocolate chip cookies (thank you, Ruth Wakefield!). I only baked half the batch and proceeded to eat the other half of dough raw, ’cause the Saints playing against the Titans drove me to it!

I then went on to make some very chocolate cookies with just a hint of heat and a punch of cinnamon. I used my Mexican vanilla to add even more cinnamon flavor.

These are crisp and light cookies with a lot of chocolate flavor. The tiny bit of cayenne just enhances the chocolate. Perfect for the chocoholics in your life!

Cinnamon Chocolate Stars

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift together the flour, coca, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cayenne (if using). Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars. Add in egg and vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Dived the dough in half and place on plastic wrap. Shape into a disc and then refrigerate for an hour.

Place the cooled dough between sheets of parchment paper and roll out to ¼ inch thickness. Use cookie cutter to cut into desired shape – I like stars. Place cut shapes on baking trays and reroll scraps until all the dough has been cut into cookies.

Place back in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Cover if you aren’t going to bake them right away.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, rotating the pans midway through cooking. Let cool for 10 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies before baking:

Stars fell on New Orleans last night

Beefy Corn and Black Bean Chili

We’ve had the first week of sustained 60 degree days, so I decided that I needed to put on a pot of chili to warm the cockles of my heart. Because I’m using canned beans, jarred tomato sauce, frozen corn, etc it doesn’t need to simmer for hours on the stove. In about thirty minutes, you can have a delicious chili with a southwest flavor on your table.

I usually eat this chili with corn tortilla chips instead of the saltines I choose when eating my Chili con Carne. Other toppings you can bring to the table include sour cream, cheddar cheese and slices of jalapeños, if you want some heat.

Such delicious comfort food and so pretty, too!

Beefy Corn and Black Bean Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) black beans, drained
2 cups frozen corn
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 cup beer (or water)

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil until golden, about 10 minutes. Add in the ground beef and brown. Once the meat is browned, siphon off the fat. Add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add in the rest of the seasonings and stir to bloom their flavor.

Stir in beans, corn, tomato sauce and Ro-tel. Pour in beer (or water) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasonings and serve.

Chickpea Shawarma

I was searching for barley in my pantry (never found it) and came across a bag of dried garbanzo beans. As it was dated 5 years ago, I figured I should go ahead and do a chickpea shawarma recipe that I’ve wanted to try.

Dried chickpeas triple in size after they’ve soaked at least 8 hours. If yours are anywhere near as old as mine, they might not have tripled even after soaking overnight. Therefore, I transferred them to a large pot and covered them in water before bringing it to a boil. I turned off the heat after ten minutes and left them there in the hot water for an hour and that did the trick to soften them enough for cooking.

I didn’t make traditional hummus as I didn’t have any tahini but the spice mixture and olive oil makes for a tasty paste that spreads like a charm. The roasted chickpeas make for a lovely crunch in your sandwich and as a snack, too.

Once finished, I made chickpea shawarma sandwiches. Delicious and packed with plant protein and soluble fiber! I ended up eating all the roasted chickpeas watching a football game before I remembered to take a picture with them in it.

1 lb of dried chickpea/garbanzo beans
1 bay leaf
Shawarma spice mix (recipe below)
Olive oil

Soak beans overnight. Place softened beans in a large pot with the bay leaf and cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender. Strain and then place in cold water and stir with your hands to release the tough outer coatings. Skim those off. Repeat at least twice more to remove as many of the outer coatings as you can.

Once the beans are cooled, divide in half. That is about three cups for each of the next stages of this recipe.

Process half with two teaspoons of the shawarma spice mixture, three tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse to mix and scrape down the sides as necessary to make sure everything gets incorporated into the paste. Taste for seasoning and add more olive oil if you’d like it creamier.

Roast the other half by preheating oven to 400 degrees. Dry the chickpeas well before placing in a bowl and tossing with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of the shawarma spice mixture. Spread in a single layer onto a 9×13 baking pan. I prefer a baking pan over a baking sheet as the high sides mean I can toss the beans better.

Bake on the lowest rack on oven and, every 15-20 minutes or so, shake the pan so nothing sticks to the bottom and burns. Cook until beans are browned and crispy, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven and while still warm toss with more shawarma spice mixture.

To make sandwiches – spread chickpea paste into halves of pita bread or onto flatbread. Place slices of tomato and cucumber into the pita and add some of the roasted chickpeas for crunch.

After cooling, store roasted chickpeas in a zip top bag on the counter and eat within a couple of days.

Store chickpea paste in the refrigerator.

Shawarma Spice Mixture

2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
⅛ teaspoon cayenne

In a small bowl, combine the spices. Store any extra in an airtight container.