Whether you care who wins or loses this weekend, the Super Bowl calls for yummy snacks. We’re having friends over for the game, and I plan on making my turkey chili over cheese grits, but any of these would make a great addition to your party!
After several weeks on the vegetarian/vegan train, let’s get back to more traditional comfort food: turkey chili over cheese grits.
Let me paint you a picture of a typical Winter Saturday in the Peascoe house. Wake up and play before a super easy breakfast of – I don’t know, say – Saturday brunch surprise. An outing to whatever activity we have planned to get us through lunchtime. We get home, eat some lunch and get Anna Ruth into her room for room time. If we’re lucky, a Carolina basketball game will be on. If not, Andy either starts doing work for grad school or a little yard work, and I start on whatever I’m making that day. AR finishes room time, Andy’s done with work, dinner is going and we just have the rest of the day to do whatever we want. It sounds so simple – and it is – but after such a hectic holiday season it is really the best thing ever.
I’ve always been really into cooking and freezing, but being pregnant that goes into overdrive. The more I can make and freeze now, the less I have to worry about when I’m nearing my due date or once the baby is here. Lately I’ve been making a lot of this turkey chili. This isn’t your typical chili with beans, so your idea of chili needs to shift a little here.
My mom and I started making this recipe when I was just out of college and living with my parents before Andy and I got married. Given that there are no beans, and given our skinny, early-20-something-bodies, Andy and I would feel like we just needed something else with the meal. We tried cornbread, which was eh/okayish, but not quite IT. That’s when I came across some sort of slow cooked meat dish served over polenta, and my mind immediately went to turkey chili over grits. After that first time we were hooked, and life had so much more meaning. <– yes, that sounds a bit dramatic, but try it and tell me otherwise. My sister recently served this to a large group of her in-laws, and said she could just tell it blew some minds.
The chili itself here is really quite simple. We brown the ground turkey with the aromatics, add the final ingredients and let it cook for as little or as long as you want. I love starting this in the afternoon, and just letting it go for an hour on low so the whole house smells like comfort food. I generally double or triple the recipe, so I have plenty to freeze for later.
The other star of this show is the cheese grits. When it comes to cheese grits, the naughtier the better. I don’t have an exact recipe, but I always use stone ground grits, and cook them in chicken broth. Once they’re done I add an assortment of shredded cheese, cream cheese and heavy cream (really just whatever I have on hand). If we’re making this for a group, I don’t hold back on the indulgent additions because more cheese is always better. However, if it’s just for a family meal I regulate myself to keep the calorie count in check. The gorgeous thing here is that the turkey chili has so few calories, that it’s okay in my book to have the grits a little more indulgent.
Top with other traditional chili toppings, or don’t (we don’t) – once you have this version of turkey chili over cheese grits you’ll have a new ideal for what chili night looks like in your house.
Turkey Chili over Cheese Grits
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot – diced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2-3 tbsp minced garlic (I use jarred garlic)
1 lb ground turkey
2 (16 oz) can stewed tomatoes*
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies – mild or hot*
For the grits: stone ground grits, chicken broth, shredded cheese/cream cheese/heavy cream (optional)
Add the first six ingredients to a large pot, and cook over medium-high heat until the turkey is done.
Add the tomatoes and chilies, and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook over low heat for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour.
Cook the desired amount of grits in the appropriate amount of chicken broth according to package directions. Once done stir in whatever combination of shredded cheese, cream cheese and heavy cream desired.
Serve the turkey chili over the cheese grits and enjoy!
*If you’re going to eat it without letting it simmer on the stove for a while, drain the tomato juice from one of the cans. If you’re going to let it simmer on the stove, include all of the juices.
**Hot green chilies make this really really hot. Andy and I love spicy food, but it’s even a little hot for us. Since I generally double this recipe, I use one can of each.
Okay okay okay. After today I will lay off the lentils for a while. However, given my love for the easiest, healthiest, veganist crock pot madras lentils I brought to you last week, it would be wrong of me not to share our other favorite way of enjoying them: madras lentil enchiladas.
At this point, I shouldn’t have to list out why I love these because look at that cheese, but I will..
Vegetarian game going strong
Lentils are packed with protein
Makes a lot
These can be made with fresh or frozen and thawed madras lentils, or the dish can be assembled, frozen and then cooked for a great freezer meal. We usually serve this with a side salad or just fresh avocado.
Madras Lentil Enchiladas
½ recipe madras lentils (approximately) – recipe here
10 fajita size flour tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce
1.5 cups shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese
Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce (just enough to cover the bottom).
Place a single tortilla on your work surface, top with a large spoonful of the lentils and a heaping tablespoon of cheese.
Roll the tortilla and place into the baking dish, seam side down.
Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas.
Once all of the tortillas are in the baking dish (it will be a tight fit), pour enchilada sauce over the dish so that every tortilla is covered (depending on the size enchilada sauce you buy, you won’t use it all).
Top with remaining cheese.
Cover and heat at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
If you want a slightly drier enchilada, remove the foil and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes.
* If you are using previously frozen lentils, thaw completely before loading tortillas.
** If you want to make this dish to freeze, follow steps 1-6, then cover tightly and store in a sealable freezer bag. Pull the dish out 24 hours prior to cooking and let thaw in the refrigerator. Then cook until heated through (may take longer than 30 minutes).
If Winter Vegan Goddess Bowls weren’t enough to get your crock pot out for my exceptionally easy/vegan madras lentils, then hopefully you’ll be convinced with either of the recipes I’m giving you this week. That’s right, I’ll be coming back in a few days with another recipe, so you don’t have to wait an entire week for the goods! Meet our new faves: madras lentil naanwiches and madras lentil enchiladas.
Both of these recipes are perfect for using either lentils fresh out of the crock pot, or that you’ve frozen for later use. While still vegetarian, we’re dropping the vegan label because cheese.
I honestly can’t decide which of these dishes is my favorite, so let’s start with the madras lentil naanwiches.
First off, isn’t it so fun to say “naanwich”? So clever, but I unfortunately cannot take credit for the play on words. However, I can take credit for filling it with yummy lentils, peppery arugula and creamy avocado. <– that’s it. Naan, lentils, arugula, avocado. Your naanwich is done in less than five minutes.
As I mentioned last week, I’m trying to cut back on the cheese after having way way too much of it over the holidays, but it would be wrong of me to not comment that heating the naan with provolone before filling it takes these naanwiches to a new level. #justsaying
These madras lentil naanwiches are perfect for meatless Monday (is anyone still doing that?), or a work from home day. I plan on having the ingredients on hand while I’m on maternity leave because they’re just so quick to make that it can even be done while taking care of a newborn.
It’s January, and we’ve all resolved to set off on a healthy 2017, right? We’re veggie prepping, cutting back on the cheese and sweets, and upping our plant and protein intake. That all sounds great, but we’re also in the coldest months and can’t a girl just have some comfort food? Enter these copycat madras lentils and one of my all-time favorites: the Winter Vegan Goddess Bowl. <– I know how obnoxious that sounds, but try it and tell me you don’t feel like a vegan goddess (or god because I can’t leave the guys out).
It wasn’t until we were about half way through the first Winter Vegan Goddess bowl that I realized I was eating vegan. This meal is so unassumingly vegan, that you literally do not miss the meat. How awesome is that? In a world where too many things are veggified (looking at you cauliflower “crust”), this is just great ingredients put together in a way that is so humble, yet so satisfying, and you just feel great after eating it.
You may be wondering about the “copycat madras lentils” part. Let me paint a picture for you. You’re walking through Costco, having had some delicious samples and getting towards the end and they’re dwindling. You see a sample for some sort of granola mix, and assume that’s the last of it. Then – oh hai – here’s one last hot station. It’s madras lentils and they are Y-U-M-M-Y. The microwave packs are perfect to have on hand for nights when there is no time to cook. 90 seconds for the lentils + 90 seconds for a bag of precooked rice, and dinner is done in less than five minutes. You really can’t beat it in a pinch.
Well, I decided to make a copycat version. It took several attempts to get just the right blend that we were going for, but I’m really happy with the outcome. There are several reasons I love these lentils:
Everything dumps in the crockpot and you’re done.
The leftovers freeze really really well.
You can use them for Winter Vegan Goddess Bowls (as shown here), enchiladas, quesadillas, naanwiches or just over plain ol’ white rice.
They’re accidentally vegan.
I generally have all of the ingredients on hand.
As you can assume, the madras lentils are the star of my Winter Vegan Goddess Bowl. The flavor is so warm and comforting, and the bulkiness of lentils really leaves you satisfied without feeling overly stuffed. The beauty of this type of bowl is that there are really no rules…rather guidelines.
Start with a base – this can be rice, quinoa, salad greens – you name it (we prefer using a bag of the precooked rice because (duh) less time and clean-up)
Add the lentils
Add veggies you’ve roasted before. Suggestions include, but are not limited to: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli. (Pictured here with sweet potatoes.)
Add sautéed greens. We use spinach, but kale has made many an appearance.
For my meatatarian frands: chicken, pork or shrimp would make great additions.
I see all of you thinking about all of these components, and imagining a major clean-up fest after dinner. I see you and I am you. This is not the case. Here’s the game plan – cook the lentils with a crockpot liner, have your veggies pre-roasted from the day(s) before, use a bag of pre-cooked rice. All that’s left is the pan to sauté the greens. That makes these Winter Vegan Goddess Bowls a one-dish dinner. You’re welcome.
1 lb dry lentils
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 shallot – small dice
4 cloves garlic – minced
4 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth also works, but then you’d lose the vegan label)
1.5 tbsp EACH – cumin, chili powder
2 tsp salt
Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray (or for easier clean-up, line your crockpot with a cooking liner).
Add all ingredients and stir to combine.
Cook on low heat for 5-6 hours.
If you’re making a Winter Vegan Goddess Bowl, start with a grain base, then add the lentils, any roasted veggies you have and sautéed greens. A squirt of sriracha doesn’t hurt either!
Quick post today – mainly because there’s not a lot to say about this easy sausage and mushroom stuffing …and also (if we’re being honest with ourselves) because stuffing just isn’t that exciting to photograph. If you’re a traditionalist, carry on. But if you’re open to the possibility that stuffing doesn’t have to be dry with little flavor then stick around.
We’re on the home stretch before Christmas. There were moments I thought we’d never make it, but here we are. We’ve had an exceptionally busy season, but I wouldn’t trade one second of it.
This past weekend we wrapped up the hosted events in our house with a birthday party for Jesus. We got together with a few friends (you may remember them from our Memorial Day Weekend beach trip with the best fish tacos or from the Christmas in July party with chocolate chip peanut butter cups), and had just what it sounds like: a birthday party for Jesus. We had pizza and birthday cake, and the kids sang happy birthday to Jesus. It was such a sweet time with these friends that we’ve come to love so much. We’ve gone from three to five kids with another on the way, and it is so fun to see their friendships developing. And since I’m not bombarding you with too many pictures of sausage and mushroom stuffing, here is one of these sweet kiddos blowing out the candles on the birthday cake for Jesus.
Now back to business. I’m wrapping up my self-dubbed “Christmas Series” with an unconventional dish: sausage and mushroom stuffing.
What is your family like? Are you traditionalists that want everything exactly as it’s always been, or are you open to updates on old favorites? Please be the latter. I’m sure if I thought long enough on it, I could probably come up with a dish that I just can’t condone making any way other than the way it’s always been. Stuffing is not one of those dishes. There are gobs of stuffing recipes that go away from the norm – some of which I’m sure include mushrooms and sausage – but few of them contain six ingredients or less.
You heard me.
This is another great prep-ahead recipe that can be assembled the day before, then cooked before the meal. Simply wait to add the broth until you’re ready to cook.
I can’t believe we’re less than two weeks away from Christmas – how did that happen?? Today is sort of a two-part post: we’re talking about hosting a cookie party and being holiday ready with a stunner of a cake plate display (including the best ever red velvet oreos).
First off, I went a little crazy this year and decided it would be a good idea to invite Anna Ruth’s entire play school class (plus siblings) over for a cookie party. I roped in my friends Kristy and Ginny to help me, and we lived to tell about it. We had 18 kids in our living room with icing and sprinkles, and my hardwoods somehow managed to survive (praise hands!).
You guys, this party was a hit. We had easy snacks and cookies for decorating – we even had a bounce house for playing outside. I just pre-made the cookies, and we had sprinkles and icing set out down the length of the kid’s tables.
I know I’m going on and on about it, but I was just so surprised by how easy this party (and clean-up) was to pull-off. If you ever find yourself in this boat, just make it easy on yourself and plan on covering the floor with painters paper, use disposable tablecloths and all disposable containers for the icing and sprinkles. We literally just dumped everything in the trash and had minimal vacuuming afterwards.
As mentioned, we just had easy party food: cheese and crackers, berries, veggies and hummus, bagel bites and my Christmas treat cake stand display. Let’s talk about having a Christmas treat cake stand display for a minute. This has become one of my favorite things to do for the holidays.
Generally speaking we don’t have a lot of sweets in our house. We’re not anti-sweets, we just don’t usually go for them. However, during the holidays I feel like they are a must. A week or so after Thanksgiving I’ll make my Christmas treats for my yearly display, and they’ll last through Christmas.
The truth of it is that we don’t even really eat the treats that much, but the whole point of it is to be guest ready with little to no warning. Something about having a knock-out sweets display just makes me feel a little more in control and like maybe I actually CAN EVEN during an otherwise hectic time of year. It says to your drop-in visitors, “it’s no intrusion – I’m ready for you – have a treat.” Plus it just looks pretty sitting on your kitchen counter.
I usually change it up a bit, but this year I went with five of my favorites: red velvet oreos (recipe below), homemade peanut butter patties, Oreo truffles, rice krispie treats and chocolate chip peanut butter cups. It seems like a lot, and I generally only do four things, but with the bigger party this year I decided to go for all five. My mom came over after work one night, and we knocked out all of these in around two hours.
You may remember the chocolate chip peanut butter cups, and you can find the Oreo truffles recipe here (but I dip mine in white chocolate). For the peanut butter patties, simply spread a little bit of peanut butter between two butter crackers, freeze for 10-15 minutes and then dip in melted milk chocolate. You can either make traditional rice krispie treats, or you can be like me and buy the giant rice krispie treat from Target that they sell during the holidays. This thing is so great because they’re so good, and ready to just cut and go.
The recipe for the red velvet oreos comes from one of my life long besties, Danielle. She’s been making these for as long as I can remember, and she generally does them with devil’s food cake mix. Since it’s Christmas, though, I went with red velvet to make them festive. No matter what the occasion, these cake-based cookies are perfect.
It’s week two of my four-part Christmas series, and today we’re talking about one of my very favorite parts of Christmas: Christmas morning and Christmas Breakfast.
Growing up, Christmas morning was one of the most special times with my family. It was always the four of us, and we would have a lazy time of opening gifts and then have a special breakfast. Now that Andy and I have our own family, we’ve continued the tradition. The holidays are so full of parties and other obligations, and – while very fun – there’s just not much time for it to just be us. That’s not the case for Christmas morning. Andy and I decided before kids that Christmas morning would always be a time for our family to just be together.
The last two years were great, but Anna Ruth is really starting to get it now, and the joy and wonder you can just tell are going through her heart and mind are incredible to witness. Every house we pass that is decorated, she lets out a squeal of excitement – “Christmas lights!!” Every present I wrap – “is this for me??” (No, sweet girl, it’s not.) Randomly singing “Happy Birthday to Jesus” because they’ve been practicing at play school. All of these little things leading her up to the big day. We’re even getting together with friends in a couple of weeks for a birthday party for Jesus (stole that idea from my sister, and I am probably more pumped for that than anything else we have planned). She’s loving this time of year and we haven’t opened a single present yet.
I admit I need to check myself with all of the Christmas hoopla we’ve got going on, and make sure to keep our focus on the birth of Jesus. It is just so hard to find that balance, though, when your child shows so much joy in the festivities of the season – lights, parties, treats, gifts. I want her to love this time of year, and the meaning behind it for our faith. Any traditions you do with your kids to give them a sense of wonder during this time that keeps the focus on Jesus? Please share!
In the meantime, I’ve got your Christmas breakfast covered. This is an overnight casserole that is almost like a savory overnight French toast. The thing I love most about this is that it goes straight from your refrigerator into the oven. Most breakfast casseroles I see have you pull it out of the refrigerator an hour before baking for an additional hour <– ummmmm, who in the world wakes up two hours before they’re going to eat breakfast?? Not us.
Guys, this is easy peasy to put together the night before, and is perfect for Christmas morning…get the casserole in the oven -> open gifts -> eat breakfast. You can easily cut this in half, but then you will be missing out on leftovers for days, and that would make us very sad.
I hope you are all enjoying this season, and taking time to find joy in the little things. Thanks to this little overnight wonder, Christmas breakfast is covered, giving you one less thing to have to plan – you’re welcome 😉
1 lb breakfast sausage
10 slices white bread – torn
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
3 c milk
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
Cook the sausage and set aside to drain off excess fat.
In a greased baking dish, combine the torn bread pieces and cheddar cheese. Mix to evenly combine.
Sprinkle the sausage over the top in a single layer.
In a bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over the bread/cheese/sausage.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, remove the cover and place in the oven BEFORE preheating. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees, and bake uncovered for one hour or until completely set.
With Thanksgiving behind us, the Christmas season is in full swing in our house. Today I’m starting a four-part Christmas series, and I hope you’ll join us as we work our way through some of my favorite recipes for this time of year. Up first is my Great Aunt Peggy’s Cranberry Apple Casserole.
First, let me introduce you to my Aunt Peggy. Aunt Peggy was my mom’s aunt (grandmother’s sister), and she lived in small-town North Carolina about 45 minutes from our house. When my grandmother passed away my freshman year of high school, Peggy became like a surrogate grandmother. The bond wasn’t quite the same because there’s just no replacing Mima, but having her made the loss more bearable. We didn’t see her as much as my grandmother, but we always made a special trip to visit with her on Christmas Eve. Peggy also passed away about five years ago, and I miss those trips and visits.
Fast forward to today. I was reading through an old church cookbook Peggy gave to my mom years ago, and came across this recipe. I remember the first Christmas Eve I went to her house when she was making it. I was in high school, and she had the apple/cranberry/sugar mixture in the casserole dish and was finishing up with the topping. We (my mom, sister and I) immediately got her recipe and made it for several years after. For no real reason we just stopped making it, I guess because we would have other recipes to try out. Once I came back across her recipe, I knew I wanted to bring it to the blog to share with all of you.
You know the church cookbooks I’m talking about. The ladies of the church submit their recipes and it’s all compiled into a little bound book. The recipes involve lots of margarine, canned soup, sugar and any other processed food you know isn’t good for you, but it’s grandma’s recipe so OF COURSE I’M EATING IT. You may not know this about me (though I’m sure it won’t be a surprise), but I love reading cookbooks for fun. Like cover to cover. I’ve never actually read through a church cookbook like this, so when I saw it out on my mom’s counter I decided to check it out. Mainly because I wanted a laugh at how absurd some old recipes can be.
Back to the cranberry apple casserole. Guys, I have to admit. It’s a stretch to call this a casserole. I would categorize it under a crisp or somewhere else in the dessert category, but Peggy called it a casserole, so that makes it a side dish mmmmkay? The reality here, though, is that this is perfect as dessert with whipped cream or ice cream on top, but it also makes for a really really good breakfast…not that I’ve done that, but – ya know – I’m just thinking it could…okay, fiiine, I make this with hopes that I have leftovers for days, so I can have this for breakfast. Apples, cranberries and oatmeal make it a 100% justifiable morning meal.
This cranberry apple casserole is perfect for your Christmas table. In my not-so-surprising fashion, I’m going to list the reasons why:
I mean LOOK AT HER. She’s gorgeous, and that red is perfect for the season.
This can be made a day in advance and just reheated before serving.
It can be served hot or room temp. If you have a bunch of dishes to make for the big day, do this first. Once it’s done you can just leave it until mealtime.
It’s reallllllly good with vanilla ice cream on top.
^^that is worth mentioning again.
The leftovers last for days.
There you have it. I hope you’ll add this into your Christmas menu along with any other recipes that make you nostalgic for the past. Here is Peggy’s recipe as written. If you want to double the topping, I won’t be mad about it.
Cranberry Apple Casserole
2 large (or 3-4 small/medium) sweet apples* – unpeeled and chopped
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 ¼ c sugar
1 stick butter – melted
½ c chopped pecans
½ c brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
¾ c quick-cooking oatmeal
1/3 c flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Mix the chopped apples, cranberries and sugar and pour into a 9×13 baking dish.
Combine the melted butter, chopped pecans, brown sugar, oatmeal and flour, and spread evenly over the cranberry apple mixture.
Cook uncovered in the oven for one hour, or until the apples are soft and the mixture is bubbly.
Pepperoni pull-apart bread, meet readers. Readers, meet pepperoni pull-apart bread. AKA gooey, cheesy, bready deliciousness. AKA my lifeline for weeks 6-15 of this pregnancy.
In last week’s announcement post I shared how my stomach rejected the idea of anything resembling healthy food and could only be satisfied with all the things bready, pasta-y, cheesy, saucy or meaty. This pepperoni pull-apart bread checks off four of those five boxes, so guess who has two thumbs and discovered an untapped love for pull-apart bread – this girl. I’ve seen several recipes for sweet pull-apart breads, but knew I wanted a savory option, and I’m so glad this turned out the way it did.
Pregnant or not, this is just really good Fall food. Like so many others, our Saturday and Sunday afternoons often revolve around Carolina football (Heels and Panthers). Our weekend mornings are generally lazy and involve a late breakfast, so a big lunch usually just doesn’t happen. Enter the afternoon football-watching snack.
Bonus is that Anna Ruth has a blast helping make it. She’s becoming really interested in helping us in the kitchen, so I’m always looking for ways to get her involved. This is definitely not the healthiest snack for her, but getting her comfortable in the kitchen is something I find important.
The measurements here aren’t approximate. I generally use between 1.5-2 cups of cheese just depending on how heavy-handed I’m feeling that day. Also, you’ll see AR using a rolling pin on the dough. Totally optional/not necessary, but if you’ve got a kid wanting to help in the kitchen it’ll give them good practice for Christmas cookie baking 🙂
P.S. Thank you so much to everyone for the kind words and shared excitement of our news last week. The comments, messages, calls and texts mean the world to us!