So if you follow me anywhere, you know I was in Austin at BlogHer Food all weekend. It’s a conference for food bloggers where we all talk about what annoys us about our job and then we eat everything in the city.
And, in case you’ve ever wondered, I am horrible at conferences. (Very good at the eating part though.)
I showed up for 3 things the entire conference. And only stayed the full time for 1 of those.
Sitting still is hard for me, y’all.
Also, I sat down with a group of girls I didn’t know for the closing keynote and they asked if I had a business card.
And I didn’t.
I mean, do I seem like the kind of girl that carries business cards?
Anyway, one of the girls said, “Aww, you must be a new blogger!”
So that was kind of how the conference went for me.
I did get to hang out with friends that I’ve only ever known over the internet which was honestly the only reason I went to begin with so that totally made up for the conference being… ahem… lame.
I love getting to peek into other people’s Thanksgiving meals. Whether it’s via Instagram or a blog post or just hearing someone talk about their holiday. Thanksgiving is such a traditional meal and I think most of us tend to make the same things year after year. I love seeing other people’s menus for inspiration to change it up a little.
I never considered stuffed mushrooms a Thanksgiving dish but on the first Thanksgiving my husband and I spent together, I ate my weight in them at his mom’s house. And they have been a holiday staple in our house ever since.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a stuffed mushroom that I didn’t love but I like to make mine with sausage, a good cheddar, and cream cheese to give the stuffing that super creamy texture.
For these stuffed mushrooms, I used the Smoked Seaside cheese from Whole Foods. It’s a smoked cheddar and it’s super delicious. I love smoked cheeses so it’s no surprise that I’m now obsessed with the Smoked Seaside. And by the way, if you’ve never visited the Whole Foods cheese counter, I suggest that you do. I go about this time every year to stock up on enough Cranberry Cheddar to get me through the holiday season and I always end up talking to the person working the cheese counter for 20 or 30 minutes. They are so knowledgeable and can recommend the perfect cheese for whatever you plan on making.
I also picked up some of the Whole Foods Sage Breakfast Sausage to use in these. And then the usual suspects: mushrooms, cream cheese, and Parmesan. I already had the rest of the ingredients on hand so there wasn’t a whole lot to purchase for these guys.
These are so fantastic, I could easily eat the entire batch myself. That good. I like to put them out before the actual meal is ready as a little appetizer but you can use them as a side dish for the meal too. They work great both ways!
We’re having a Twitter party on the 12th to talk all about holiday food! There will be 10 $50 Whole Foods giftcards given away so go ahead and RSVP!
Make sure you check out the Whole Foods Holiday Guide which has menus, baking tips, brining tips, basically everything you could possibly need. They also have an e-store where you can order your holiday pies or your entire meal if you need to. And finally, check out Kitchen PLAY to see what a bunch of other bloggers cooked up for the Thanksgiving table.
Sausage and Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms
24 small white mushrooms, stems carefully removed and discarded
1/2 pound Whole Foods breakfast sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup Smoked Seaside English Cheddar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with oil and place mushrooms in a single
layer on it.
To make the stuffing, cook the breakfast sausage over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain off fat. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add cream cheese and stir around until completely melted. Add Smoked Seaside, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and mixture is fairly smooth.
Spoon mixture into mushroom caps. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until mushrooms have softened considerably.
But it’s one that my kids LOVED so I figured I had no choice but to share it with you.
I’ve avoided these hobo pack recipes for years now because I assumed those guys I live with wouldn’t like them. But this one has cheese, ranch dressing, and bacon. All things my guys love! And it even has the only veggie they all agree on.
They’re super simple to make because you just put all the ingredients in an piece of aluminum foil and then bake until the chicken is done. And clean up is a breeze since the mess is contained in the aluminum foil and you can even skip plates when it comes time to serve it up.
Spray 4 large sheets of aluminum foil with oil. Set aside.
Mix stuffing and water together in a mixing bowl. Spoon 1/4 of the mixture onto each aluminum foil sheet and set a chicken breast on top of each. Top each one with 1/2 cup of broccoli. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 of the bacon, and a drizzle of ranch dressing.
Fold the sides of the foil up into a packet.
Place all the packs onto a baking sheet and bake 35-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken.
I stopped caring about the NFL when it became apparent that my teams weren’t going all the way. But I do care about Superbowl food! I care a lot about Superbowl food. I did a post last year with some of my favorite football snacks so I decided to skip that post this year. But I couldn’t let the Superbowl go by without sharing at least one snack idea.
I’mÂ pretty obsessed with Texas Cheese Fries lately. I frequently request that we go to Chili’s just so I can get a gigantic plate of them but I’ve never made them at home. Because omg, so much work! Compared to going out, of course! ;) I’m pretty excited that I finally made some though because really, the only work you have to do is cooking the bacon and shredding the cheese. And if you buy already shredded cheese… well, you my friend, are smarter than me.
I loved them. I ate almost the whole plate by myself. No shame.
Nicole made the perfect Superbowl drink: Michelada Marias! They are kicked up Coronas with lime, salt, and hot sauce!
I made pretzels again! Only this time I made bowls out of them and stuffed them full of the things pretzels go best with: cheese and beer! Yeah I did.
Let’s talk pretzels first.
Soft pretzels are actually really easy. If you can knead bread dough, you can make pretzels. Or if you have a stand mixer or bread machine that will do the work for you, even better! The only difference is that the dough is boiled with some baking soda before it goes in the oven. The baking soda is what causes the browned crust and makes it a pretzel instead of just regular bread.
The soup. Oh my goodness, the soup. Is there anything better than a cheese soup?! And this one starts with bacon which makes it that much better! And uhh, beer. The beer is not super noticeable in the final product but make sure you use a beer that you’d enjoy drinking and not the Natural Light that your husband’s friends left in your fridge 3 months ago.
The two put together were incredible! The cheesy soup seeped down into the pretzel and eating the bowl once I was done was the highlight of my day.
Combine bread flour, 1 envelope yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and water in large bowl (or stand mixer) and stir until dough comes together in a ball. Put on floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is elastic and smooth. Grease medium bowl. Add dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel; let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.
Flour baking sheet. Punch dough down and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 2 pieces. Form each dough piece into ball. Place dough balls on prepared sheet; cover with towel and let dough balls rise until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease another baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Bring 8 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Add baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar (water will foam up). Add 1 bowl and cook 30 seconds before flipping over and cooking for another 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer bowl to prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining bowl.
Brush bowl with egg white glaze. Sprinkle rolls generously with coarse salt. Bake rolls until brown, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool until you can handle them. Use a sharp serrated knife to remove the tops of the bowls and hollow them out.
To make the soup:
In a 4Â½-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes.
Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pot. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrots and celery, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ale and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the Worcestershire, milk and broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth (or use a regular blender and do it in batches).
Set the pot over medium-low heat and add the cheese by the handful, stirring constantly; do not allow the soup to boil. Taste to see if you need salt and pepper â€“ remember that your pretzel bowls are heavily salted so go light on the salt in the soup. Ladle into pretzel bowls and top with extra bacon, if desired.