Stuffing Waffles with Mashed Potatoes and Turkey Gravy

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

We have wild turkeys all over.  
We have so much to be thankful for.

My sister and her family celebrated Thanksgiving early this year.  You see, Claire, her daughter (my niece), will be receiving a bone marrow transplant at the end of this month.  Here is her story, if you are interested.http://courageforclaire.blogspot.com/2015/11/day-7-wbc-3.html?spref=fb

Anyway, with her leftovers, she made waffles out of stuffing.

I know!

Why have I never done this before?

I went out and got a box of Stovetop Cornbread stuffing (don't judge - I usually make homemade, but this was an experiment.)  I had a half of a Costco rotisserie chicken.  I had leftover mashed potatoes.  I had cranberry sauce.  I frequently made fast cheater gravy.  I was set.

It was so good!  

If you are vegetarian, substitute the chicken or turkey for mushrooms.  Sauté them first, and make the gravy with them.  It should be lovely.

Here is what I did.

Stuffing Waffles with Mashed Potatoes and Turkey Gravy

4 cups (about) of leftover stuffing - I used cornbread
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
mashed potatoes
leftover chicken or turkey
gravy - leftover or quick gravy (I'll put the recipe at the end)
cranberry sauce 

Get every thing ready.  Warm the potatoes, heat the gravy and add the turkey/chicken/or mushrooms to the gravy.

Heat your waffle iron.

Put the stuffing in a large bowl.  To the stuffing, add the eggs and milk.  Mix it up. It should be moist.  If you need to, add more milk.

To the hot waffle iron, add a dollop (about 1/2 cup) to each section.  Cook until hot and crispy.

Put the waffle on a plate.  Pile on a scoop of potatoes and the hot gravy with cranberries on the side.

Eat it up.

The perfect bite

Quick Gravy

2 cups hot water
1 Tablespoon chicken or beef stock (I like Better than Bouillon)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
*mushrooms (for vegetarian version)
*1/4 cup butter (for vegetarian version)
*2 cups vegetable stock (for vegetarian version)

*If making vegetarian gravy, sauté the mushrooms in an extra 1/4 cup of butter until brown. Remove from pan.  Proceed as for the meat gravy, substituting the vegetable broth and adding the mushrooms at the end.*

Mix the hot water and the chicken or beef stock.  

This is a gravy whisk.
I love my gravy whisk.
In a deep sauté pan, melt the butter.  When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour to make a roux.  Cook the roux for a minute or two, until it turns golden.

Whisking continuously, add the chicken or beef stock.  Keep stirring until the gravy thickens - it won't take very long.

To the thickened gravy, add milk and pepper (it doesn't usually need salt, but I don't like gravy super salty.  Do your own thing.)

To this gravy, you can add chicken, turkey, sausage or hamburger.  It is great over biscuits or mashed potatoes.

There you go. 


Stuffed Shells and sautéed spinach

My life is one big chaos-filled roller coaster on a track of house-induced stress.

PoppaH has been in sunny California since July.  He has his dream job at Google to entertain him. I get to take care of the kiddos, dogs, chickens, lawn, sew a bunch of costumes for the high school play (I already commuted to it), fix up the house, sell it (in a very slow market), pack and drive across country to reunite the fam-damn-ily.


Anyone want to buy my house?  Not kidding.

I have not been cooking as much as usual.

Last night, however, I did. I had been seeing a stuffed shells recipe flitting about the Internet.  Cravings ensued.  Here is my version.

Stuffed Shells

*these measurements don't need to be exact*

1 box (1 pound) box of jumbo shells
1 1/2 pound loose sweet Italian sausage
1 quart (4 cups, or close to this amount) marinara sauce
2 cups (or close to it) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

Cook shells according to the directions on the box.  If you make your own shells, I bow to you.  Why are you reading my recipe?  You are a superior being.

Drain shells and rinse with cold water.

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat until it is cooked completely.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, egg and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.  Mix in 1 cup of the marinara sauce and the cooked sausage.  (save the pan without washing if you are going to cook the spinach)

Pour 1 cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan (I actually used a larger baking pan and it filled it)

Spoon about 2 Tablespoon of the cheese mixture into each shell to fill them.  Place each shell into your baking pan and repeat until you have filled all the shells and used up all the mixture.

Spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the filled shells. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the shells.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

We like it served with sautéed spinach.  Here is how to make that.

Sautéed Spinach

16 ounce bag of raw spinach
1 Tablespoon of olive oil, bacon fat, or use the pan from the sausage
balsamic vinegar

About 10 minutes before the shells are done, heat a skillet and oil )or fat of choice) over medium high heat.

Add half the spinach.  Sprinkle with salt.  I use Himalayan pink salt in a grater - about 3 grates.

Cook, turning frequently, until wilted.  Add the rest of the spinach, continuing to turn, until it is all wilted.

Add a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Eat your spinach!


Fruit buckle

It's been a long while since I posted.

I know, I know.

I have a lot going on right now.  The biggest thing is that we are moving back to California.  PappaH is already on his way to start his new job.  I get to stay here in CT and deal with the house and packing and moving and re homing the chickens and all of the other stuff.  Then, I'll load up the car with the kiddos and dogs and drive across the country.


I'll miss CT, but am looking forward (kind of) to new adventures.

Anyway, berries and fruit are in season!  Perhaps you went berry picking and don't know what to make with all the extras.  

This is a great cake like item.  It is called a buckle.  Pretend a cake and a cobbler fell in love.  This buckle would be their love child.  It is great for snacking or dessert or even breakfast.


Just top it with a little sweetened creme fraiche or yogurt or ice cream or even squirty whipped cream and - voila!

Fruit Buckle

1/2 cup softened butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup whole milk
4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 pounds fruit (I used nectarines and blueberries)
1 Tablespoon lemon zest 

Preheat oven to 376 F.  Grease or butter a 13x9 baking dish.

Place the prepared fruit in a large bowl (you know, peel and chop peaches or hull strawberries - use your own judgement - but the pieces need to be bite size) and toss with the lemon zest.  Set aside.

In another large bowl, add the butter and sugar.  Beat until it is combined.  Add the eggs, salt, vanilla and milk.  Continue to beat until combined.  Add the flour and baking powder and mix to combine.  It should be a fairly thick batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.  Place the fruit on top and gently push into the batter.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Eat it up.


Sewing, sewing, sewing

I like trying new things.

Always have.

I really like doing things with my hands.  It makes me feel good.

I just got done doing costumes for the play Tartuffe which was/is performed at our local high school.  I did all the costumes.  All.  The.  Costumes.

In 3 1/2 weeks.

I was busy.

They are going to competition with the play this weekend. I hope it goes well.  They are great kids.

Recently I made a fabric kiddo stove for pretend play.  I have actually sold a few.  It even prompted me to make a Facebook page for my handcrafted stuff.  You can check it out here.

 What do you think?
I like the fabric stuff because it's not plastic.  Yep.  I said it.  I don't like all the plastic toys.  But, I'm 54 so I don't have to play with them if I don't want to.

Anyhow, just wanted to share my latest creation.


Cauliflower Soup

It is February.  In Connecticut.  It is cold.

It.  Is.  Cold.

Okay.  Let's talk soup.  I like soup.  I make soup.  My family likes soup.  I like cauliflower soup.  I think the world would like cauliflower soup if everyone would just try it.

This is a pretty easy recipe.  Don't be afraid.  If you are vegetarian or vegan, just skip the bacon and Parmesan (or substitute for vegan/vegetarian options) and substitute unsweetened almond milk.  See...easy.

Cauliflower Soup

2 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 large yellow onion, chopped - about 2 cups
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 cups whole milk OR unsweetened almond milk
4 cups vegetable OR chicken broth
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 strips bacon, cooked and chopped for serving, optional (okay, fair disclosure, I always cook up the entire package because every time anyone in the house walks by, they grab a piece of bacon.  I know.)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
sriracha sauce, optional

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat and add the onion.  Saute the onion until it is soft and starting to brown.  Add the garlic, stirring frequently, until the onion has a lot of color and the garlic smells like glory and all that is right with the world.  This is only going to take about 10 minutes total.

Fill a large pot with a couple of inches of water and the salt.  Bring the water to a boil, add the cauliflower, cover and cook until the florets are soft when poked with a fork, about 5-6 minutes.  Don't drain.

Add the sautéed onion, garlic, steamed cauliflower with the cooking water, milk, broth and pepper to a blender, working in batches.  Blend each batch until completely smooth, creamy and soft.  Like clouds. Fluffy clouds that are warm and don't have snow in them.  Beautiful, warm, clouds.  *sigh*
Put the pureed soup back into the big pot and gently heat it to the desired temperature, stirring frequently.  Don't let it boil.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese, if using.

Serve the soup with the chopped bacon and sriracha sauce.