So, summer is in full swing. And if your entertaining menu is in need of a refresh, we've picked our top five cocktails from our friends from Williams-Sonoma to add to your rotation. Whatever your taste, citrus, bubbly, herbal, fruity, these cocktails are sure to please any crowd. Or just you and your bff on a random Wednesday night. Also shop our essentials in barware, accessories and gadgets also from WS and get 20% off your order with code FRIENDS.
All recipes from Williams-Sonoma. This post contains affiliate links and we are compensated for purchases made through these links.
So, Super Bowl on Sunday. I mean, the Pats again? Haven't they won enough? Isn't Tom Brady like a grandpa? A fairly hot grandpa, but a grandpa just the same. Honestly, it doesn't really matter who is playing, the commercials are what everyone cares about. And the halftime show. And how many different ways we can eat bacon.
Fun fact #1: Super Bowl Sunday hold the record for the most avocados consumed on any given day.
Fun fact #2: Super Bowl Sunday also sees an increase in the number of emergency room visits due to hand injuries.
I'll wait while you put two and two together.
So, pro tip, use a cutting board for that guacamole. We want you to save your hands for bigger and better things. Speaking of guac, substitute it for the avocado on top of this Crockpot White Chicken Chili for an extra kick.
I know you can go online and see all the Super Bowl ads in advance but that is cheating. In my house everyone knows that you can chat away all you want during the game but silence is required during the commercials. So, if you come to my house to watch the game, just be prepared. Lots of shushing will be happening. And eating. I can't wait to try this Pickleback Chicken Wing recipe. I'm telling Jeff right now to not drink all the pickle juice. Or the bourbon.
You can't have a Super Bowl party without queso. My favorite recipe is here, but I cheat to make it a little easier and substitute Velveeta queso blanco for the grated cheese, half-and-half and cornstarch. Really, it's just all about the chorizo.
Here's another recipe I can't wait to try. Not your every day sliders, these are mini French Dip sandwiches with that awesome au jus. Pretty sure I can eat about a dozen all by myself.
Now that we are completely stuffed, let's talk about the halftime show. Maroon 5 y'all! I'm so excited. I strongly encourage you to record it because you will want to watch it at least 2 times. Maybe 10 depending on how amazing Adam is.
So, let's recap:
1. Don't cheat on commercials
2. Cutting board
4. Maroon 5 on replay
5. Cheer for whoever is not the Pats
Stuffing? Dressing? Cornbread? Oyster? When it comes to the side dish that you serve with your Thanksgiving turkey, most people have very specific opinions as to not only what type is the best, but what it should be called. According to Southern Living, the only difference in dressing and stuffing is where you live. Kinda like "coke" or "soda", or "pop". So, down here in Texas, it's all about the dressing. With our cokes. Here in the office, we have two dressing camps; cornbread and sage. Deciphering the recipes with their vague measurements (how much IS a smidge, really?) to a point where we could share them and have them actually turn out OK was a bit of a challenge, but we managed. Hopefully. The third dressing type we've heard rumors of but no one has actually tried is an Oyster Dressing. Or Stuffing, considering it has it's roots in the northern states. We believe in fair play, so even though it's not SGD Kitchen tested, we've got one to share with you. T-2 weeks, y'all.
Shauna's Cornbread Dressing
1 bunch celery, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 stick of butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp herbs de Provence
4 boxes Jiffy cornbread, prepared as directed on box.
½ loaf bread, cubed
6 eggs (3 hard boiled, 3 beaten)
1 carton chicken broth (32 oz)
Set oven to 350. In a large skillet, saute onions & celery over medium heat until soft. Add in salt, pepper and herbs de Provence. Set aside.
Hard boil 3 eggs. Drain and set aside to cool.
Spread bread cubes on baking sheet and toast in oven until golden brown.
In large bowl, crumble prepared cornbread and toasted bread. Add onion mixture and chopped hard boiled eggs. Mix well. Add chicken broth and 3 beaten eggs and stir to combine. Mixture should be very runny, like soup. Add more chicken broth if needed.
Pour mixture in to large baking dish and bake at 350 for one hour.
And when you have leftovers, which you will. Put the leftover dressing in a bowl, whisk in an egg or two and slap in to a waffle iron. Top with shredded turkey and a fried egg and some gravy and voila. Brunch is served.
Grandma Whitley's Sage Dressing
Turkey giblets and neck
1 ½ loaves French bread
2 eggs, beaten
3 stalks celery
1 white onion
½ stick butter
1 tbsp fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley
¼ c fresh sage or 1 tbsp dried sage
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
In a large saucepan, add turkey giblets and neck and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Set aside and reserve broth. In large skillet, saute onions and celery in butter until tender, about 10 minutes. Tear bread in to bite-sized pieces and place in to large bowl. Add onion mixture, beaten eggs, parsley, sage, salt and pepper to bowl. Mix well. Chop giblets in to small pieces and add to bowl. Stir to combine. Add broth to bowl and mix until just moistened. If mixture is too dry, add water. Bread pieces should not bounce back when pinched. Do not over mix. Transfer mixture in to buttered casserole dish, cover and bake at 325-350 for one hour. Remove lid during last 10 minutes to brown top.
Old Fashioned Oyster Stuffing
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup butter
6 cups dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp chopped parsley
3 cups chopped oysters
1 bay leaf
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2 eggs, beaten
1 ¾ c milk and oyster liquid
Cook celery and onion in butter until golden. Transfer to large bowl. Add bread crumbs and parsley, mix thoroughly. Add oysters, bay leaf, seasonings and eggs. Add enough liquid to moisten. Stuff in to 10-12 lb. turkey or bake in casserole dish at 325 for 1 hour. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Speaking of food. We are having a pie contest! Email us your favorite pie recipe for a chance to win $100! Winning recipe will be featured in an upcoming blog post.
Shauna came back from a recent trip to New Orleans RAVING about the gumbo they had at the restaurant at the Ritz Carlton. Of course, she had to have the recipe and used her sweet southern smile to charm it out of the chef. It may be in a cookbook somewhere, we don't know. But as far as she was concerned, obtaining the recipe was a huge victory. And now, it is yours. The trick to gumbo is the roux and the stock. Don't skimp and don't rush. Serve with a loaf of crusty french bread and some salted butter and it's the perfect way to ward off these chilly nights.
Seafood and Andouille Gumbo
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup canola oil
1 lb diced andouille or smoked sausage
2 cups diced onion
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced celery
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp file powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp Tabasco
2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
3 bay leaves
8 cups seafood or shrimp stock
1 lb crawfish tails
1 lb medium peeled shrimp
1 lb jumbo lump crab
3 cups cooked rice
1 bunch chopped parsley
1 bunch sliced green onion
So, October. And you know what that means. Pumpkin. Our office is buzzing with the discoveries of all things pumpkin out there in the world, some good and some not so good. So, we thought we'd have a little taste test of our own and share our results with you, our favorite people, to give you some guidance in this vast pumpkin sea we are swimming in. We made a visit to Trader Joe's and gathered up 9 products to test, looking for the more random and obscure. We passed up on the staples of coffee and pumpkin bread, figuring everyone pretty much already had an opinion on the love/hate status of those products. Surprisingly, of the 9 products, only 1 had an across the board "no, I would not buy again". Turns out pumpkin everything isn't so bad after all!
1. Pumpkin Butter: We spread this on English Muffins, the only non pumpkin item we tried. It's rich, like a very dense pumpkin pie. Verdict: yes, would buy again.
2. Autumn Harvest Pasta Sauce: It's a blend of pumpkin and butternut squash and while we wouldn't recommend it WITH the pumpkin ravioli, it would be great with plain pasta, mushrooms and some tangy Parmesan cheese. Verdict: yes, would buy again.
3. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread: Really good pumpkin and spice flavor. Would be great on a cinnamon raisin bagel or spread on sweet potato toast. Verdict: yes, would buy again.
4. Pumpkin Butternut Squash Bisque: So, we had really high hopes for this one which were quickly dashed when the container was opened. A bisque should be thick and creamy and this was runny and watery. Water as the first ingredient should have been a clue. No flavor at all. Verdict: No, would not buy again.
5. Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps: The Fig & Olive version of these are one of our favorites and this flavor did not disappoint. Spread with some soft chevre and maybe a drizzle of honey and it's the bomb. Verdict: Yes, would buy again.
6. Pumpkin Greek Nonfat Yogurt: The pumpkin flavoring is subtle and leans a little towards that fake flavor you find in non-dairy creamer, yet half of the team did like it. Verdict: split. Those who liked would buy again.
7. Pumpkin Ravioli: Pumpkin and butternut squash pasta filled with a pumpkin and cheese puree. Again, we ate with the harvest sauce and it was too much. But with an alfredo sauce and some shaved parm? Yum. Verdict: Yes, would buy again.
8. Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls: The checkout guy at Trader Joe's said these were his favorite pumpkin item so we were super excited to try. They were good, decent pumpkin flavor, and not too overly sweet. But, if given the choice between normal cinnamon rolls and these, everyone on the team would go for the regular cinnamon rolls. Verdict: No, would not buy again.
9. Pumpkin Bars: We sampled these in the office, and they got fair reviews. Then we sent these home with Presley for her kids to try, the ultimate test. They were a hit. Verdict: Yes, would buy again.
What are your favorite pumpkin picks? We'd love to hear from you! Happy October!
Here we are again, on the edge of another school year. And while we are ready for the order and structure a school year brings, there is just something about that freedom we feel in the summer to let the rules go. To throw a plate of cheese and crackers and grapes on the table for kids to grab and go as they run through the kitchen and call it dinner. To consider an afternoon spent in the pool an adequate substitute for an evening bath. And to finish binge watching whatever season of whatever show you are watching because the kids are roaming the neighborhood on their bikes.
In the chaos of the order though comes sports practices and music lessons so dinnertime all together can be a challenge. Being able to throw something together that is easy and tasty is key and if you can manage to squeeze in more than one family dinner a week, well, we think you are winning.
Sheet Pan Dinners
I love these because not only are prep and cleanup a breeze, you can also throw the pans on the grill instead of in the oven when it is still burning up outside. All recipes from tasteofhome.com
Chipotle-Lime Shrimp Bake
Speaking of pizzas, one of our favorite family dinners is DIY pizzas. It's amazing what your kids will eat when they make it themselves. Mushrooms, apples and corn on a pizza? Why not? Read more here.
Slow Cooker Dinners
Don't think the slow cooker is just for soup and chili. We even found a brownie recipe for the slow cooker so it's definitely something you should be using a lot. The website where we found these calls them Dump and Go Dinners. Perfect.
Next week we'll share with you some of our favorite after school snacks. Healthy and maybe not so healthy. Happy first day of school. Send us your pics! We'd love to hear from you!
The mercury is supposed to rise to 104 today. Welcome to the Texas summer. I for one cringe at the thought of cooking, yet that tub of spring mix keeps glaring back at me from the fridge in a challenge. "What are you gonna do with me, huh? Tomatoes again?!" So, a quick peruse of the recipes from our friends at Sur la Table got me inspired with some fresh summer salads, pizzas you can bake on the grill and refreshing summer bevvies to keep you cool and relaxed. OH, and might want to dust off the slow cooker, you'll never believe what we're gonna use it for!
If your garden overfloweth, or you just go a bit nuts at the farmer's market, these salads are just the remedy you were looking for. The Summer Salad with Apricots and Burrata combine that tub of spring greens mix with arugula, prosciutto and all kinds of other goodies from the garden in a taste explosion that rivals the best fireworks. The Grilled Corn, Asparagus and Tomato Salad will use up all those other fresh finds in a unique grilled salad. Serve them up on the gorgeous Positano melamine dinnerware and wait for the oohs and aahs.
The idea of pizzas cooked on the grill seems like a no brainer. Who really wants to heat their oven up to 500 degrees in the middle of summer? This outdoor pizza stone is the trick to creating amazing gourmet pizzas in a flash. While I love a good ol traditional sausage and mushroom pizza, it's also fun to try a mashup of different ingredients. The Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Pizza adds leeks for a subtle onion flavor. And to be honest, everything is better with goat cheese. For a bit more spice, try the Leek, Chorizo and Manchego Pizza.
That deep orangy-red drink you see on cafe tables around 5:00 all over Italy and France is an Aperol Spritz. Technically an aperitif, it's slight bitter taste is supposed to increase your appetite for dinner, it has become one of my favorite summer cocktails. Switch out the lemonade at your next pool party for this Grapefruit Faux-jito served in a glass beverage jar. We won't tell if you decide to spike it a bit.
Oh So Sweet!
Have you been waiting for us to get back to the slow cooker? Wait for it. It's brownies. No, I haven't tried them so let me know if you take the plunge. Again, who wants to turn on the oven these days? The other cool as a cucumber treat is just that, Cucumber Mint Pops made in this handy dandy pop mold. These are a grown-up version, but you can easily leave out the tequila. (Said no one, ever).
Ok, when do we eat?
It's summer time, June is flying by and July is quickly approaching. We have put together some ideas for your Fourth of July party. Whether it's at your lake house, beach house, or your backyard pool, these are some fun and creative ideas to celebrate the good 'ol USA.
Fun, festive and fizzy beverages will liven up any party!
C'mon, everyone comes to the party for the food!
Setting the table is my favorite part. How cute are those painted pineapples?
Party games will keep the kids entertained. And might just engage the grown-ups too.
Speaking of the kids, they will LOVE this dessert table!
Keep beverages cool all day long with these great ideas!