The Best Holiday Stuffing

With Thanksgiving just ending, and Christmas creeping up, I’m sure most of you are dreading that massive family dinner! All the work and time put in to creating that perfect holiday feast can truly be exhausting.. But the classic Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner simply must have stuffing!

There are so many different kinds of stuffing, you can even tailor it to your own taste palette! I came across this recipe and made some of my own tweaks, and today I will be sharing it for the most delicious stuffing to complete your holiday feast! This stuffing is aromatic, has a great balance of flavours, textures and pairs perfectly with your turkey or chicken!

The key to a perfect stuffing is ratio. When adding fruits or vegetables, ensure you have cut up your produce in equal amounts, this will make for even cooking and taste of flavours! You also need to make sure your stuffing is moist! No one enjoys dry stuffing that they have to coat in gravy just to eat.. with this recipe you will have perfectly moist and delicious stuffing that the whole family will love!

Ingredients

  • 4-5 stalks of celery, finely diced.
  • 1 medium or large onion, finely chopped.
  • 2-3 tbs poultry seasoning.
  • 2-3 tbs fresh rosemary, minced.
  • 2 tbs fresh thyme, minced.
  • 1-2 tbs fresh sage, minced.
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper.
  • 1/2 tsp of salt.
  • 2 375 g packs Johnsonville original breakfast sausages.
  • 1 loaf Villaggio original thick sliced Italian white bread.
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of water (add in gradually while mixing until desired consistency is reached)

Instructions

    1. Fill large pot half way with water, bring to a boil. Add breakfast sausages and continue boiling for 20 minutes.
    2. Remove from heat and strain with a metal strainer. Run cold water over sausages until cool.
    3. Once cooled, peel and remove excess skin. Place aside.
    4. Combine celery, onion, poultry seasoning, rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper into a large bowl.
    5. Add bread and breakfast sausages (ripped)
    6. Using hands mash and mix all ingredients until fully combined. While mixing gradually add in water.
    7. Grease a medium-large metal or glass baking dish and add stuffing.
    8. Preheat oven to 350° and place dish in the oven.
    9. Cook for 35-45 minutes.
    10. Let cool for 15-20 minutes and serve

 

Chicken Soup (Italian Style)

With the weather beginning to get cooler, this hot and flavourful soup will bring some serious nostalgia to the table for dinner with this Italian twist on an iconic classic; Chicken Noodle Soup. For as long as I can remember, chicken noodle has been the go to soup. Cold days, feeling sick, or just in search for a hearty meal, all your needs are covered with this super easy and delicious recipe! The best part about this soup is the quantity it makes. If there are any left overs, this soup can be cooled, frozen and stored for about 2 months for later uses! The flavour of the soup will not be compromised, with a super quick and easy alternative to dinner any day of the week!

Simply remove the soup from the freezer, de thaw, and place it in a medium-large pot to simmer for 35-45 minutes. It will taste just as good as the day you made it! The best part is there is absolutely zero prep work here! This recipe makes a big pot of soup so be ready to enjoy it again and again as the months come to get colder!

 

This recipe uses the natural flavours from boiling the chicken to create the perfect broth for your soup! You can always substitute for different veggies, herbs and noodles! Cooking is art, and with millions of flavour combinations, you can really get creative with adding your own spin to any recipe! Soups are extremely versatile, making them suitable for anyone to enjoy! I hope this fall and winter seasons, you can enjoy and love this classic dish with a twist, just as much as I do!

 

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 chicken legs (bone in)
  • 4-5 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks, diced
  • 3-4 tbs fresh minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, minced (for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup linguini noodles, broken in half

 

Instructions:

  • Fill large pot 3/4 full with water, turn heat to high.
  • Add chicken legs, bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add garlic, onions and potatoes.
  • Season with salt.
  • Cook for 25 minutes.
  • Add carrots, continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from pot. Remove skin from chicken.
  • You can shred the chicken or leave it hole (if shredding remove any bones)
  • Place chicken back into pot. Add celery and noodles.
  • Cook for another 10-12 minutes, until noodles are tender.
  • Turn off heat and cool for 20-25 minutes
  • Before serving, add fresh parsley for garnish
  • Add fresh cracked pepper (to taste of desired)

* Quick Tip: remember to keep adding water as it diminishes during boiling *   (this will ensure you have a good liquid-solids ratio)

Please give this recipe a try and let me know if you enjoyed it!

Blue Lagoon Margarita

This stunningly vibrant beverage is a simple twist on a classic summer favourite, lime margarita. Refreshing with a burst of citrus flavour, this drink is sure to quench your taste buds on a hot summer day! Very simple, but very delicious, the margarita is my go to summer drink. The versatility of this drink is unbelievable! Tuns of different flavour combinations make this drink enjoyable for almost anyone! The best part is how simple it is to make!

The best margarita is all about balance and consistency. The ingredients need to be exact so the over all flavour of the drink is well balanced. The amount of ice you blend it with is equally as important. You want a nice smooth slushie consistency. Too much ice can water down the taste and make it too difficult to drink. Not adding enough ice will make the drink taste like boozy juice. Remember to add in smaller amounts and adjust when needed. It’s easier to add more then to balance out a drink that’s too thick.

Using a margarita glass will also enhance the over all appearance of your drink! Rimming your glass with sea salt or sugar and using fresh fruit for garnish will also elevate the presentation! These quick easy tips will have your summer drinks looking delicious and beautiful!

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Silver Tequila
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1/2 oz Blue Curacao
  • 3 oz Simply Limeonade
  • 1 cup of ice ( or more if desired)
  • 1 -2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbs simple syrup (or more if desired)
  • Coarse sea salt (for rim)
  • Lime wedge (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Add Tequila, Triple Sec, Blue Curacao, Limeonade, Lime juice and simple syrup into blender. (My go to is the magic bullet!)
  2. Pour thin layer of coarse sea salt onto a plate.
  3. Use a lime wedge and rub it around the rim of your glass (this will ensure the salt sticks to the glass)
  4. Put the cup rim side down on the plate and gently twist it around until the entire rim is evenly coated with salt.
  5. Add ice to blender, and blend mixture until it’s smooth.
  6. Gently pour your margarita from the blender to the glass.
  7. Add lime wedge to the rim for garnish

Please give this classic summer drink a try and tell me what you think! Enjoy and drink responsibly!

The Best Chicken Parm

If you are a pasta lover this chicken parm recipe will have your taste buds singing! This recipe stands out from any other because the key to delicious chicken parm is a crispy outside coating, while retaining the tenderness of the chicken inside. Like all chef’s say “flavour is king”so let’s not forget to add spices and herbs! Using fresh herbs is going to increase the depth of flavour to your plate! Not only is it more esthetically pleasing, but those fresh herbs are going to pack a more potent flavour. The key to making any meal successful is experience and using technique. Don’t forget to follow your recipe! Using the correct measurements of your ingredients is also very important!

Chicken parm is definitely one of my favourite dishes. Its an Italian classic with a harmonious blend of flavours and textures. The chicken is golden brown with a delicious crispy coating. Once you dive in the interior of the chicken is flavourful and juicy. The sauce is rich in flavour and should compliment the star of your dish… the chicken! You can make the sauce from scratch if your feeling adventurous, or simply use your favourite store bought tomato sauce! Not everyone has time to make this sauce from scratch, but rest assured there is always  a way to elevate something that seems basic!

 

 

If your choosing to use a store bought sauce, you can pick a simple marinara sauce and using just a few ingredients, you can really elevate the taste of it! You can add fresh basil for a deep and sweet flavour to your sauce. You can also add some fresh garlic, finely chopped onion and my personal favourite, fresh spinach. I add about 1-2 cups, but this can vary depending on personal preference. The key to really bringing in the flavours here is time. Low and slow is always best, as your herbs and spices need time to release into your marinara sauce. I like to simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes.

The next component to this dish is the pasta. You can use any noodle you’d like! My personal favourite is linguini. Its not too thin, nor too thick. This is a pretty filling dish so choosing the right noodle is key to ensuring your plate is not too overwhelming. You can also choose to add garlic bread or a bright and crisp caesar salad as a side component.

With this dish, I always like to whip up a nice fresh caesar salad! Using crisp romaine lettuce, freshly grated parmesan, real bacon and a good brand of croutons! You can make your own, or opt for store bought. A personal favourite for me is the multi coloured caesar croutons. Choosing your salad dressing is also going to play a role in the end result of your salad. My go to dressing is the Kegs Caesar dressing! If you want to add a little extra touch, fresh sliced lemon wedge makes a nice garnish and can be used to brighten up the flavour and make it feel more fresh.

 

Ingredients

For The Chicken:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large chicken breasts, cut horizontally to make 6 fillets
  • 2-3 tbs fresh minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 2 tbs fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder

For The Sauce:  

  • 1-2 jars of preferred marina sauce
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1-2 tbs fresh basil (or to taste)
  • 1 tbs fresh minced garlic

 

Instructions

For The Chicken:

  1. Whisk together eggs, minced garlic cloves and parsley in a bowl.
  2. Halve chicken breasts horizontally, season with salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts in a 8.9 X 13.2 glass oblong baking dish, and add egg mixture. Ensure the fillets are fully coated in the egg mixture.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours, or over night for a deeper flavour.
  4. Mix breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic and onion powder in a large bowl.
  5. Heat deep fryer to high and begin rolling chicken fillets in the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure they are completely coated.
  6. Place chicken fillets in wire basket (only 2 or 3 at a time) and dip basket in the fryer.
  7. Cook fillets for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove basket and strain excess grease, place on a plate over paper towel.

For The Sauce:

  1. Add marinara sauce to big pot, turn heat to medium.
  2. Add fresh minced garlic, basil and spinach
  3. Once the sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Cook noodles in large pot on medium- high heat for 9-11 minutes for aldante.
  5. Remove pot and strain pasta, set aside.
  6. Chop desired amount of parsley for garnish.

 

Plating

Neatly place pasta in the centre of the plate. Cover with sauce and sprinkle grated parmesan on top. Then place a chicken fillet over pasta, cover with more sauce, sprinkle parmesan cheese. Finally add your desired amount of chopped parsley on top for garnish and added texture. Enjoy!

Please give this recipe a try and tell me how it turns out for you!

 

Italian Cuisine from Italy – How to Make the Meal of a Lifetime

When you hear someone talk about Italian cuisine, you make think about pizza or spaghetti and meatballs. There is so much more to the cuisine in Italian cooking. As you eat any Italian cuisine, you have to notice the distinctive flavoring. This is the flavor that makes the cuisine so delightful to the palate. The finest foods in the world come from Italy and can be made anywhere in the world as long as there is a chef that learned the secrets to making the Italian cuisine. The cuisine is always served with the finest wines that enhance the flavor of the dish. This is important to know when preparing Italian foods.

The Finest Italian Cuisine

The finest cuisine in Italian history has always been the pizza, but that has changed with the different types of dishes that have made Italian cuisine famous. Chefs that prepare the Italian foods can tell you that making the finest cuisine comes from years of experience and attending a culinary school that teaches the art of Italian cooking. You have to know what to use for ingredients and when to use the specific ingredients. The chef understands when to use herbs and spices and which ones flavor the dish the best and which ones will not enhance the taste of a particular dish. Read more »

Refined American Cuisine

The second “cookbook” written by Patrick O’Connell, Refined American Cuisine: The Inn at Little Washington is a marvel to behold. The word cookbook was placed in quotes because this book could easily pass for a coffee table book. Visually stunning, the book is filled with gorgeous photos of every dish and of the local areas.

Refined American Cuisine: The Inn at Little Washington
With his partner, Reinhardt Lynch, Patrick O’Connell has been running The Inn at Little Washington since the late seventies. A self-taught chef O’Connell is an award winning chef with a number of credits under his belt including a Five Star rating for dining and lodging. It is not difficult to believe the aclaim O’Connell has received after viewing the recipes in this book. The detail, the innovation and combinations of tastes and textures make it easy to understand why these elegant dishes have garnered such attention.

Along with recipes for every need, from breakfast to dessert, Refined American Cuisine also includes a brief history of the inn and interesting annecdotes and remembrances from the chef. Sprinkled throughout the book, the photos of the chef, his staff and the Inn help you feel as if you have actually visited The Inn at Little Washington and certainly make you wish you were there right now. Read more »

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