Breakfast is sometimes a nuisance over the holidays. I mean, everyone has to eat it, but it sometimes just gets in the way – especially if you have an entire day of cooking ahead of you.
But what if I told you there was a better way? A strata way.
Strata, if you don’t know, is a classic baked dish that usually involves layers of custard mixture, veggies, and cheese. You could add meat to it, but my favorite strata recipes are always heavy on the veggies.
The best thing about this dish? You make it the day before so breakfast is as easy as popping it in the oven. What’s better than that?
Bets and I are headed to Nashville this weekend for a much-needed Thanksgiving break. We tend to spend Thanksgivings with Betsy’s family in Nashville, but last year we skipped it because it turns out flying from the middle of nowhere to the East coast is expensive.
Now that we are close to a major airport though it’s easier for us to get there and I’m really looking forward to it. We don’t have a ton of plans for the week but we are going to Rolf & Daughters one night and also seeing some live music.
I’m in charge of Thanksgiving, but we are keeping it low key this year. Well, as low key as I can make Thanksgiving obviously. There will still be a full bird, homemade pies, and lots of yummy sides.
No poll this week because of the holidays and travel.
Crescent Dinner Rolls- There is a very popular packaged product that people use to make crescent rolls and I’ve used them before for quick recipes. But, if you have the time, this homemade version looks spectacular. Flakey and lightly browned, I feel like I could eat a dozen of these. (@ Recipe Girl)
Vegetarian Thanksgiving- Veggie-friendly people get the short end of the stick sometimes during the holidays. That simply shouldn’t be! Be sure to be thoughtful of guests who are vegetarian. Here is a beautifully designed page that has some great starting ideas. (@ A Couple of Cooks)
Thanksgiving Stuffing – The smart trend is to stop stuffing birds these days. It makes it harder to cook the bird. It almost guarantees an overcooked bird if you do it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it though. Just cook it separately. This is a great starter recipe and ratio. (@ Ruhlman)
Turkey Fried Rice- I made an entire meal plan of leftover ideas this week for Macheesmo Meals subscribers and I’m also posting a fun leftover idea next week, but here’s yet another good one. (@ Tablespoon and Food in my Beard)
This Week’s Meal Plan
Since this week is a holiday week, I decided to do something different for the weekly meal plan and just listed some of my absolute favorite leftover meals for Thanksgiving day leftovers. You can sign up now for Macheesmo Meals and get a free week to try out this plan and the others (there are now over a dozen total) and see if you like them!
But this method made a lot of sense to me. I was really happy you all voted for it. Waffle irons get hot and they also provide some pressure and both can be used to make really solid hash browns.
Normally, to make very crispy hash browns in a skillet, it’s going to take 20 minutes or so, but these take about 10 and are completely stress free. Because the waffle irons are at a set temperature, it’s almost impossible to burn the hash browns. They just get crispy and beautiful.
I loved this method, especially if I’m only making hash browns for one or two.
This is a new series that I’m trying out called “Snippets.” I take a ton of photos on my phone and I’m trying to get better at it so I’m going to start posting some photos every week or two. Hopefully, the photos will be not totally boring and show you all what I’m up to besides just cooking!
There’s no real rhyme or reason to the photos I’ll post. Just whatever strikes my fancy from my phone.
There are two very distinct categories of cookbooks in my mind. First, there are the utility books. These books have a lot of recipes packed in and are all about utility. The recipes are good, accurate, and delicious. The second category is more along the lines of an art book. Books in this category tend to prioritize glossy photos and beauty over recipes.
It’s pretty rare, these days, to find a cookbook that bridges that gap.
The new book, Bountiful, by Todd Porter and Diane Cu, the lovely couple behind White on Rice Couple, does exactly that. For starters, the book is freakin’ beautiful. Some of the photos just give me a huge case of photo envy. I could just leave the book on my table and never cook a thing out of it and be happy with it.
Of course though, the recipes are inspiring as well. They are all centered around things from their garden, but have no fear. You don’t need a crazy garden to make the recipes. The recipes are accessible and, from what I can tell, really good.
I made this Asian style braised pork dish just because it caught my eye. I thought I would share my take on it and also give away a few copies of Bountiful!
I think at some point most people embark on the “Who was the first person to eat that?” conversation. Common subjects include oysters, lobster, and mushrooms.
Cranberries are an interesting dark horse in that conversation because assuming you found wild cranberries they would actually look pretty appetizing, but I imagine that you would eat one and be forever against them – choosing starvation over cranberry in the future. The cranberry’s main characteristics are: 1) incredibly bitter 2) hollow 3) crunchy, yet mesh-like.
These are not great food characteristics.
But, if you bake these suckers they turn into an entirely completely thing. They are still bitter, but that bitterness can actually work to balance other flavors (like brown sugar). They lose their weird hollow texture though which is very important.
Enough about the qualities of cranberries. This is a really dense and delicious coffee cake that’s perfect for the holidays. Assuming you have some cranberries sitting around, save a cup or so for this cake.
It has taken almost two years and two knee surgeries, but just this week I started being able to run short distances (slowly) without huge amounts of pain.
I was actually almost to this point last year as well and then I think I just tried to push it too hard and ended up hurting myself therefore needing another surgery. So, I’m taking it really slowly, but it feels great to be able to do it again.
Speaking of running, if you didn’t see this article on the WSJ this week about running, it’s kind of a funny read. I’m not sure I agree with everything in it, but I do agree that it seems like running is really taking off as a past-time, but sometimes it does feel like people just like to think of themselves as runners. Oh, and then there is this Runner’s World retort which is even better.
And for the record, I’m firmly in that camp. I love the idea of being a runner even if I can only run 1/2 mile at a time at the moment.
I guess that means I should get a .5 bumper sticker for my car?
Lately I’ve heard of some new ways of cooking items I’ve cooked before so I want to try one this week. I won’t reveal the interesting cooking method until later in the week! You pick!
Rosemary and Smoked Salt Almonds- These look lovely and would be a great little table snack to have around during the holidays. I don’t imagine that they will last too long on any given table, but maybe it’ll keep the wolves at bay for a few minutes. (@ Love and Olive Oil)
How to Make Potato Chips – Speaking of different ways to cook stuff, this is an interesting way to make potato chips. I’m sure it works excellently and will try it the next time I make a batch. (@ Eat the Love)
Brussel Sprout Gratin – Take your standard green bean casserole and toss it directly out the window. This looks so much better and uses one of my favorite veggies of all time. (@ Simply Recipes)
Extra Crispy Skillet Stuffing – The Bitten Word gents are killing it this holiday season. I already bookmarked one of their recipes that I’m trying on my holiday menu. This one looks like a winner also! (@ Bitten Word)
This Week’s Meal Plan
This week’s meal plan is a good one! With the holidays approaching maybe you need some quick dinners to detox a bit before the big binge day. This is the meal plan for you! You can sign up now for Macheesmo Meals and get a free week to try out this plan and the others (there are now over a dozen total) and see if you like them!