Okay. You might think I’m stretching it a little with posting about meatballs on Soul Food Sunday…but I disagree! I’m pretty sure a warm plate of al dente pasta covered with bright red sauce and generous balls of meat is the epitome of Italian soul food. My Italian mother (aka my mother-in-law) was nice enough to let me stalk her while she made her famous ‘macaroni and meat’ for dinner tonight. I might be a vegetarian, but I can still appreciate how iconic and comforting this dish is on so many American tables. And it’s always fun to watch a master at work.
Hello from New Jersey! It’s amazing how a short time in the air can take you so far.
Thanksgiving day started with a light breakfast and a big cup of coffee. I love the way that my in-laws’ house fills with light. Light practically envelops you from the windows and it’s the best way to wake up in the morning.
It also makes it a really nice place to take photos with natural light!
I was really glad that my mother-in-law had some jobs set aside for me to help out with dinner! This was my first Thanksgiving away from home, but spending it in the kitchen with family makes the holiday feel right.
I made cornbread, fresh cranberry sauce, and helped with the cranberry-almond couscous.
Mom and Dad had a great spread planned! This also turned out to be my first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian, but there were plenty of meat-free dishes that I could enjoy. Everything came out perfectly!
I think we all know that as long as you’re at the table with people you love, it’s a happy Thanksgiving!
I know, I know…I’m beyond a little late on this one. But I’m hoping that some of you out there are like I am…never satisfied with the menu until it feels just perfect, which in my case tends to be right before the meal. So for those of you looking for that last little thing to make this year perfect, here are some ideas from DOS!
And for good measure, here’s a fun vlog that I filmed when we visited my family over the weekend! Mom showed me how to make her famous waffles and the pie I posted yesterday. Don’t forget to watch it in HD (click that little gear symbol in the bottom toolbar and click ’720′, the quality will be leagues better)!
Thanks for reading and happy Thanksgiving to you all! See you once we’re in New Jersey!
I know that we all have those foods that bring us straight back to our childhood with a single bite.
For me, my mom’s sweet potato pie is at the top of that list of foods. As a kid I had a second stomach for dessert and something about this pie made it so easy to devour slice after slice. I may or may not have been responsible for eating an entire pie by myself over a Thanksgiving break in middle school.
We’re going to New Jersey this year for Thanksgiving, which will make this my first Thanksgiving away from home. I look forward to spending it with Jason’s family and making new memories, but I got a little sad at the thought of the holiday without my mom’s famous pie. I asked her if she would teach me how to make it and share the recipe with you all and she agreed!
If you’ve ever had fried rice at a Thai restaurant, you know that Thai fried rice has such unique flavor that really sets it apart. I took the basic flavor concepts of traditional Thai rice (along with inspiration from a recipe in a favorite cookbook) to make this healthy, hearty recipe. This dinner can be whipped up in an hour (or 20 minutes if you are using leftover rice, which I recommend!) and is bursting with flavor and texture.
It’s essentially the same process as making regular fried rice, but the ingredients you add are totally different. I start with cooked brown jasmine rice and then prep all the add-ins. It’s helpful to prepare mis en place here because once you start the frying process everything goes really quickly!
The result is a super flavorful one pan meal with sweet juiciness from the tomatoes and raisins, crunch from the roasted cashews, and loads of flavor from the garlic, shallots, green onion, and cilantro. I could eat this stuff for days!
This is completely vegetarian and is easily made vegan by using crumbled firm tofu instead of eggs. For the meat eaters, this is also delicious with roasted shrimp added in (like how I made it for Jason in yesterday’s vlog).
2 c. shredded vegetables (I use a bagged broccoli slaw from the store as a shortcut)
2 t. sugar
1 t. salt
½ t. black pepper
4 c. cooked brown rice
2 eggs, scrambled
¼ c. tomato sauce
1 c. diced tomato
1 t. sesame oil
2 T. soy sauce
½ c. roasted cashew halves
2 T. cilantro, chopped
Heat a large wok or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
Add in the shallots, green onions, and raisins. Stir and sautee until everything softens and just starts to brown.
Add in the garlic, stir and cook just until the garlic softens and starts to toast (less than a minute).
Add in the shredded vegetables, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir and sautee until the vegetables are cooked through.
Add the rice, scrambled egg, tomato sauce, tomato, sesame oil, soy sauce, cashews, and cilantro. Stir until the rice is well coated in sauce and all the ingredients are heated through (should be just a few minutes).
Taste and add additional salt if necessary.
The types of vegetables that you use is up to you (and you could always use more) BUT don’t sub out the tomatoes or the tomato sauce! They really make the dish!
I have a feeling the same ingredients would work well with quinoa instead of rice! Oh, the possibilities…
There was one more piece of the Hallowsgiving menu that I forgot to elaborate on!
My mom made this incredible sour cream apple pie for the festivities. The recipe is from a cookbook so I can’t share it, but if you’re interested in making it check out Farmhand’s Favorite Pies!
And here is the vlog I promised! It was supposed to go up yesterday, but it ended up taking several hours to upload so I had to delay it. In this video I get rejected by Foodgawker, fall asleep and miss my grocery shopping window, and withstand Cynewulf’s best begging face. Enjoy! And don’t forget to watch it in HD!
Where do you find recipes? Do you use Pinterest to find meal ideas?
I’m taking a break from useful dinner recipes to bring you something much more important.
More butter biscuits!
Now you might remember that a couple weeks ago I made my first completely successful batch of Southern style biscuits.
That was very exciting (for me) and I have no intentions of messing around with the classic biscuit format. It ain’t broke, I ain’t gonna fix it. BUT in my culinary journeys I have come across a variation on the traditional biscuit that’s widely loved and accepted. How could you go wrong combining a sweet potato and a biscuit?!
Something about the flavor and sweetness of the potato makes normal biscuits even more amazing. Jason was skeptical about trying them, but after inhaling the first one he declared that it is now his favorite biscuit. If you try them yourself you’ll be a convert, too!
1 c. buttermilk (or plain milk combined with a couple teaspoons of vinegar)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Pulse together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a food processor.
Cut the butter into cubes then add it to the food processor, pulsing until the butter is in pea sized pieces.
Remove the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Puree the buttermilk and sweet potato in the food processor until completely smooth.
Stir in the buttermilk/sweet potato mixture into the dry ingredients in the bowl, mixing only a few times JUST until it starts to become a dough.
Liberally flour your hands and a cutting board and gently pat the dough out flat.
Fold the dough over on itself and pat flat 4 or 5 times (this will help give you flaky layers but you don’t want to use a rolling pin or be too rough flattening the dough).
Pat the dough out to about 1½” thickness. Use a biscuit cutter to cut 8 biscuits from the dough.
Grease a baking sheet and arrange the biscuits so that they are all slightly touching each other.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the biscuits are a nice golden brown on the top and bottom.
I hate to admit it, but between the two of us we ate the entire recipe of biscuits today. Meaning that we both ate about half a stick of butter. I need to try not to think about that too much. At least there’s whole wheat in there! Buried in the butter. Yup.
P.S.- Another vlog coming tomorrow!
Have you ever tried sweet potato biscuits? Do biscuits make you swoon, too?
Some things are a lot easier to make than you might think!
Earlier this week I wanted to make us falafel for dinner. I’ve been trying to cut back on my grocery spending so I decided I would try and make the pita bread on my own to save a few bucks. Turns out to be probably the easiest bread I’ve ever made. If you can make pizza dough or dinner rolls, you can make beautiful pita!
The ingredients are extremely basic, so it’s more about the technique to get this bread just right. After letting the dough rise, I cut it into 8 even pieces. I roll each piece into a ball, then flatten them slightly with my palms.
Then I let those dough pieces rest while I preheat the oven to a blazing 450 degrees. The temperature is really important! If the oven’s not hot enough, your bread won’t get all puffy. And that’s the whole point of pita bread, right? So once the oven and pan are preheated, I take those discs and roll them out to be about 6″ across. They get covered and wait for their turn in the oven, two at a time.
They only take a few minutes to bake each! Easy peasy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in all the ingredients in the order listed.
Mix on medium speed for 10 minutes (or 15 minutes if mixing by hand).
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in bulk.
Gently press the dough down onto a floured board and divide it into 8 even pieces.
Roll each piece into a ball and flatten slightly with your palm. Cover the dough balls and let them rest while you preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place an empty baking sheet into the hot oven to heat while you shape the breads.
Take each dough ball and firmly roll them out until each one is about 6″ across. Dust the circles with flour and bake them on the hot baking sheet 2 at a time, for 5 minutes each batch (or until they are puffed up and start to brown on the bottom).
When the hot pitas come out of the oven, cover them with a clean dishtowel until they cool. Once cool, you can store them in a ziploc bag for up to a day. They’re also delicious straight out of the oven!
They are so soft and SO much better than that crusty pita bread you get in the store. Even if they don’t all puff up perfectly (about 25% of mine stay pretty flat), they still make a delicious vehicle for hummus or really any type of sandwich.
And here’s how to make it into an easy weeknight meal! Fill it with Trader Joe’s AMAZING falafel, which heat up in a couple minutes and are about as close to authentic as you could hope for. I Instgrammed the deliciousness when we had it a couple nights ago. Just looking at it makes me so hungry!
Now I need to start working on a whole grain version!
You know what I’m constantly looking for? Dinner ideas. Clean, relatively simple, vegetarian, good tasting meals that I can put on the table on a weeknight. I thought you guys might be looking for that kind of thing too! So I’m working on a bunch of great dinner recipes to share. Until the holidays. Then all you’re gonna see is cookies.
We LOVE enchiladas! Enchiladas have been on our monthly rotation since we were newlyweds. I like them because they’re a one pan wonder and therefore make much more convenient leftovers than other Mexican foods like tacos or fajitas. Mine used to be white flour tortillas fried in butter, coated in canned sauce, and filled with MSG seasoned ground beef and cheese. It sure was tasty, but things have changed over the years (perhaps to Jason’s chagrin). My enchiladas nowadays are made with handmade whole wheat tortillas (handmade by Trader Joe), a simple homemade sauce (or the TJ’s sauce if I’m super lazy), black beans and an array of fresh veggies in my own “taco” seasoning, and a little cheese on top for good measure.
The vegetables can easily be swapped out for whatever you like or have in your fridge, and omitting the cheese on top makes the whole thing vegan! I like to serve this along with sides like mexican rice and refried beans, but they’re honestly a complete meal on their own.
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small pot over medium heat. Stir occasionally until it’s heated through and starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet and coat with nonstick cooking spray over medium heat.
Saute the onions, garlic, bell peppers, and zucchini in the pan until they all soften and start to brown.
Add the corn and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are tender and start to brown.
Add the black beans and the seasonings, stir together and cook until heated through.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To assemble the enchiladas, first spray a large rectangular baking dish with cooking spray then spread about ½ c. of the red sauce in the bottom of the dish.
For each enchilada, take one of the tortillas and dip it in red sauce. Then scoop some of the vegetable filling in a line down the middle of the tortilla, roll it up, and place it in the baking dish seam side down. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas and filling.
Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
If you’re using cheese, sprinkle it on top of everything.
Bake in the preheated oven until the enchiladas are heated through and the cheese is completely melted on top, about 20 minutes.
I happen to think enchiladas are even better the next day, so this will most definitely be lunch for me tomorrow.
If you prefer meat or want a meat option, I seasoned and cooked some chicken breast tenders then shredded them and added it to the enchiladas for the rest of my family. But of course I’m partial to the meat free option. I don’t remember missing anything when I was eating these tonight!
It’s going to be a very chilly night here in Georgia (temps below freezing!), so I’m going to put on my warmest fuzzy pants and head to bed.
You don’t see a ton of butter on Dash of Soul, and that’s mostly because I love it too much to have it in the house all the time. I have zero restraint around butter. If I purchase a pound on a Monday, I will use it up by Friday. At that rate Jason and I would be dead before we hit 30. With that being said, there’s nothing quite like the magic of butter and I think it’s even more special when it’s reserved for certain dishes and holidays. This is one of those special dishes!
I was inspired to make these after having a similar dish at JCT Kitchen a few weeks ago. It was my favorite side dish at the table, and I was amazed at how simple but perfect the flavors were. Since the fruit is really the star of this dish, I made sure to pick local and organic apples for this. Use whatever apples are in peak season and look the best! I like the look of a combination of red and green skins, but you should pick whatever is your favorite.
The apples are good on their own, but candied pecans on top add the perfect crunchy change of texture. And if you have leftover pecans, they make amazing salad toppers!
Add in the butter until it melts and then add the pecans. Toss to coat and let the pecans toast in the butter for a minute.
Add in the sugar, toss to coat, and let the mixture cook until the sugar gets bubbly and starts becoming syrupy around the nuts.
Remove the coated nuts from the pan and immediately place them on a piece of waxes paper or a silicone baking mat to cool, spreading the nuts apart from each other so that they don’t stick together when they cool.
Set the nuts aside to let cool for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Watch it carefully and add the apples to the pan as soon as you see the butter start to brown in the pan.
Toss the apples in the butter and let cook for about a minute.
Add the cinnamon and sugar and toss again, cooking just until the apples are golden brown and are slightly softened (about 5 minutes total).
Remove the apples from the heat and top with the candied pecans.
These apples remind me of why I love fall so much. And why I love butter so much.
I’m SO glad you guys liked yesterday’s vlog! I was a little nervous to post it so I appreciate your nice words. I’m filming another this weekend! See you then.