For our little family, Black Friday means “go nowhere day,” (except for my poor husband who had to work). I remember one time when I was a teenager brand new to driving, excited by my freedom and mobility and ignorant to the Black Friday sensation as my family never participated I decided to go browse target the day after thanksgiving. I walked in, saw the horde of people and walked right back out. NOPE. Not me. Crowds are one of my least favorite things, I’ll be avoiding any stores this weekend.
It’s also too cold out to go walking or to the playground, my daughter has play food strewn all over the living room floor and I’ve been forcefed piles of wooden cake and imaginary tea for the bulk of the morning. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, I took to my kitchen to curb the boredom and had my daughter help me make a batch of baked oatmeal for our lunch.
We never tried it before, but she liked it quite a bit and getting to participate with the making of it helped her see there was nothing insidious in the mixture. We followed an excellent recipe for chocolate peanut butter baked oatmeal from budgetbytes.com, if you aren’t familiar with that site I highly recommend visiting. Affordable, delicious, homemade food is what I’m all about and since discovering that site I’ve been trying as many recipes as I can. This post isn’t sponsored by them or anything, I just truly enjoy what they offer.
In my own day to day cooking, I’m not such a recipe kind of person you may have noticed. I think cooking can really boil down to learning skills, methods and practical experience. Practice makes perfect, and anyone can make quality food like I do. The how-tos I provide along the way are relatively simple method based kinds of things. Quantities may vary but the end result will be delicious, feel free to tinker with most aspects of cooking, it doesn’t need to be so stringent.
For things like baking, you do need to measure as there is chemistry involved and so even being a seasoned cook and very comfortable in my kitchen I still seek out recipes when I need to. Don’t feel like because you don’t have a mental Rolodex of bread and pastry equations that you aren’t an adequate cook. Few people do! Comfort and experience is worth a thousand recipes though, so get to work practicing! I’m starting my daughter young with me so by the time she is a bigger kid she will be comfortable on her own. I’ve been cooking independently to some degree since I was eight years old and she is four. She’s well on her way.
Check out the result and the kiddo enjoying the fruits of her labor.
Last weekend I made a six pound eye round roast and it fed us for five meals with another in the freezer for a future date. Today, I pulled a family pack of sweet Italian sausages from the freezer and these will feed us for two meals plus be used as an ingredient on Sunday for under five dollars. Today it will be sausage and pepper sandwiches, tomorrow a sausage and pepper frittata, and finally the key ingredient in my sausage stuffing for thanksgiving part two on Sunday.
Yesterday for thanksgiving we went to my parents house and only brought the desserts, but we love turkey and our own recipes for the sides so on this Sunday we will be having a second thanksgiving feast which will then feed us for the rest of the week via leftovers, which we live for. My husband gets so amped for my turkey which was perfected after seven years of working as a cook in a group home. I had a lot of time to experiment and cooking two turkeys to feed the crowd I was able to do some comparing and contrasting recipes and have discovered what I consider the ultimate turkey recipe, look out for that soon. Anytime is a good time for turkey, if you have an extra in your freezer or pick one up for the Christmas sales give my method a go.
But anyway, last night we came home with a turkey carcass since my parents were going out of town for the weekend and wouldn’t have time to do anything with. The turkeys remains promptly went into the crockpot with water to make a nice, fresh turkey stock. It’s boiled away overnight, I find 24 hours in the crock pot yields delicious, rich stock and gets the last bit of life out of the bird.
Altogether it yielded six pints of fresh stock for us. It will be a nice treat to have fresh turkey stock to make our own thanksgiving sides with, that is not usually the case. I have a supply in my freezer in Mason jars that I won’t even need to touch, but fresh is always the best.
To prep the sausages, I seared them off over high heat in two batches. I have 18 sausages total, and I will use 12 for two nights worth of sausage and peppers and the remaining 6 will be reserved for stuffing. With searing them, I’m just looking for nice, rich color on the outside. They won’t be cooked through, after a sear they go into the oven to cook through for about 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees.
You could bypass the browning process but I find it makes the difference of great sausage with a crusty skin vs limp or chewy skin. After that, the ones for sausage and papers get sliced and I sautéed sliced peppers and onions in the same pan I used for browning so as not to waste that good remaining flavor, add the sausage back in and top with tomato sauce and simmer for fifteen minutes or so.
You could serve it with rice, pasta, mashed potatoes or on a sandwich like we are having tonight. Tomorrow the leftovers will be mixed with shredded cheese and eggs and baked to create a frittata.
Have a look at this sandwich, no one is going to be upset to eat one of these. I served it with simple green leaf lettuce dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sometimes simple can get the job done just fine.