Your Survival Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving
Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Or are you responsible for prepping and bringing a side dish to your Friendsgiving but have no idea what to make? Either the case – I’m here to help you navigate this holiday like a PRO with my new Freckled Foodie Thanksgiving 2018 E-Book. Complete with recipes for a crowd-pleasing snack to keep your guests satisfied when they arrive, a gorgeous and perfectly crisped while still juicy turkey, five sides that may steal the limelight of that fore-mentioned bird, and a warm and cozy dessert that’ll leave your home smelling as delicious as the meal you just served. Oh, and did I mention an organized grocery list (for a group of 10 plus leftovers) to keep you sane during the madness that is Thanksgiving grocery store shopping?! And, of course, it includes some serious time saving tips for each recipe. Because who doesn’t need more time when hosting a dinner party? Seriously, this book is the answer to all of your hosting dreams.
If you purchase within the first 24 hours of this E-Book posting, 10% of the proceeds will go to my Friendsgiving campaign over at No Kid Hungry!
The Perfect Anniversary Dinner Date
As someone who loves the NYC restaurant scene, I am a big fan of date night out exploring either some of the new “must go” spots or returning to some of our favorite local places. However, almost as often, I crave a date night in. There is something about actually putting in the time and effort to make a meal for the person you love and then enjoying it in the comfort of your own home (and the comfort of leggings and a sweatshirt, but that’s another conversation). Joe and I just recently celebrated our eleven-year anniversary of which Joe continuously reminded me that “this really isn’t our anniversary anymore”. I understand that, going forward, we will now celebrate our wedding anniversary, but this day will always have a special place in my heart. So, in the compromise of still celebrating while not making it a big deal, a date night in was established and a more elaborate than usual weeknight menu was prepared. One of Joe and my favorite meals to make is a deliciously juicy crispy chicken thigh. I mean, is there anything better than the perfectly crisped chicken skin? The answer is no. To serve alongside these beauties I decided to create a veggie packed pasta that would use majority of the juice from cooking the chicken as it’s sauce. The smartest idea I’ve had all year? Quite possibly. Date night or not, this dinner is a hit!
my Halloween inspired dinner
Since I was away majority of October, I feel like I missed out on not only all of the pumpkin flavored food, but also the hype surrounding Halloween. (True story, I didn’t really realize it was Halloween today until midway through the afternoon when I saw a kid in a costume while running an errand). So, safe to say, I am not a big Halloween gal in this stage of my life. That being said, I wanted to celebrate somehow – in addition to contradicting my food beliefs and handing out classic Snickers and M&M like candy to little kids. Obviously, my celebrating turned into creating a new recipe for dinner. Along with my desire to make a dish that featured pumpkin and the color orange, I also have felt this deep anger towards the fact that I haven’t been able to get my hands on any of the Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi since it was released (what feels like years ago). Combining all of these random thoughts I had during my yoga class this morning, it came to me: I was going to make my own god damn gnocchi for dinner and you better believe it was going to be orange! Hello, my favorite vegetable, sweet potato to the rescue. Not only did I feel really freaking important and chef-like while making this dinner, because I hate to admit I’ve never made homemade pasta before (sorry!), but it is also absolutely delicious. Fall flavored, cozy, rib warming, I want to take a nap in this bowl, kind of dinner. I’ll let you see for yourself! Plus, not like I follow all of these, but I’m just going to through it out there: this meal is vegan, gluten and dairy free, paleo, and Whole30 compliant…
When you’re not quite sure if its Summer or Fall
As the seasons are changing and we’re all screaming “YAY FALL” and excited for the lower temperatures, pumpkin spice everything, and change of leaf colors, there is still a part of me ever so slightly holding on to the summer and warm weather. This meal is the perfect depiction of my exact emotions. With the main touches of fall flavors with the pecans and butternut squash, it still has that small hint of summer through the pomegranate seeds and the nod to barbeques with the baby back ribs. Food has never better expressed my current emotions. This meal was a hit for the dinner party I threw this past weekend. From age 26 to 85 and both males and females, everyone was licking their fingers (quiet literally, thank you ribs). Quick, invite some friends over and get cooking. You won’t regret it!
Continue Reading Continue reading “Dry Rub Pork Ribs with an “Inbetween Seasons” Salad”
A delicious dairy free spin on a kitchen classic
One of my favorite kitchen activities is creating homemade, and most times healthier, dishes upon the request of friends or family. So, when my mom and I were out to dinner and she was mentioning how much she missed risotto now that she is dairy free, I took it as a personal challenge to make her a dairy-free version the next time she came over. As I contemplated how I was going to prepare this dish, I quickly remembered the delicious coconut milk risotto I had at a recent mindbodygreen revitalize dinner. With the coconut flavor locked down as a definite, I then began to brainstorm for some complimenting ingredients and decided on asparagus, bok choy, mushrooms, and shrimp. With the ingredient list finalized, another lightbulb dinged – I could use my brand spanking new Mealthy Multi-Pot. As an avid believer in pressure cookers and their insane abilities, I was anxious to put this baby to work. I truly cannot believe how easy it makes cooking. This recipe uses both the sauté and multigrain function and prepares this whole dish without the need to wash another pot or pan. How simple is that!? Not only are you able to close the lid, push a button, and get back to that glass of wine you’re enjoying, but the result of enhanced flavor and perfectly cooked ingredients is truly remarkable. This recipe is one that will impress your guests and take minimal effort for you to prep; that’s all we ever really want, right!?
Believe it or not, this was one of the first meals I cooked after my concussion. This whole roasted cauliflower, which is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in NYC (ABCV), has been on my “recipe to-do list” for an incredibly long time. I was sitting on my couch with my mom when she mentioned her and my dad were going to stay over for dinner followed by her asking, “what should we order in?” As someone who loves to cook for those I love, and have always promised my dad for a home cooked meal after work one day before his commute home, I finally had the opportunity at my fingertips. It was finally time to cook my parents a delicious and impressive meal in my own kitchen. Although I had just suffered a pretty serious concussion and was still unable to turn on majority of the lights in my apartment, which also showed me how magnificently calming a dimly lit home can be, cooking was the one thing I was most definitely capable of.
Guaranteed easiest clean up
We have a general rule in our apartment that if one person cooks, the other cleans. Since I typically am doing the former, Joe is often times the person manning the sink after we finish up our meal. With the constant flow of recipe testing that goes down in our kitchen, I am often questioned how it is possible that I dirtied so many dishes. If you have ever tried to create a recipe, or you are like me and decide to somehow use every bowl, plate, or fork in your cabinets, you get what a shitshow your kitchen can look like after the fact. In order to avoid this situation, and really just make Joe a happier human, I started creating “one sheet pan” dinners. The main requirement of these meals: once done cooking, the only dirty dish (other than those you ate on) is the baking sheet. These recipes are proving to be delicious and, not surprisingly, incredibly easy. I now know what Joe is going to request for every dinner from here on out…
My Friendsgiving recap and the perfect, downloadable, Thanksgiving recipe and grocery list booklet
“A meal is only as important as the people you share it with”. Four years ago, I typed this sentence onto an Instagram caption of me and my close girlfriends all gathered around my kitchen counter in front of the Friendsgiving spread I had just cooked and served them. The words simply streamed straight from my consciousness to my fingertips before realizing how true and meaningful they were to both my beliefs and lifestyle. Yes, eating is an obvious survival necessity, but it is just as vital that you are enjoying these nutrients in a comforting, loving, and welcoming environment. Even better, surrounded by people you care about. In my mind, and stomach, this is what the holidays are all about. Designated days to spend time with your loved ones, whether family or friends, enjoy each other’s company, and enjoy great food. Not only delicious, rib warming, meals, but nutritious food. Dishes that leave you feeling nourished and well fed rather than sprinting to the other room to unbutton your pants (because, let’s be honest, we’ve all been there).
The star of your Thanksgiving feast
Few words are needed to describe this dish and recipe. There is nothing more important for a Thanksgiving dinner than a well-executed turkey. Being my first time preparing a full turkey for my guests, I was incredibly intimidated. Thankfully, I have a local butcher that I love (shoutout to Dickson’s Meat Stand) who made sure they had the perfect bird ready for me to serve my Friendsgivings guests a week early. Most importantly, they spatchcoked this big bird for me to cut down roasting time (because who has time to cook a turkey for four hours) and guarantee more of my favorite part of turkey – perfectly roasted skin. This bird was dry brined and then rubbed with ghee and seasonings to make sure every bite was flavorful, juicy, and nap inducing.
Continue reading “Dry Brined Herb and Ghee Roasted Spatchcock Turkey”
Dairy-free Thanksgiving mashed potatoes
As probably the biggest fan favorite and most notorious side, good mashed potatoes are an extremely important key to a successful Thanksgiving meal. They must be creamy but not too mushy, have texture but not too lumpy, and most of all, flavorful. While mashed potatoes may get a bad rep on the “healthy” scale, since most act as a canvas for unnecessary filling ingredients (hello, heavy cream, I’m looking at you), this recipe focuses on making the actual potatoes the star of the show. Plus, it is dairy free for all you non-lactose lovers out there and is garlic and onion free for anyone following low FODMAP.