Secrets to the best mashed potatoes | Simple Bites #eatseasonalholiday

Secrets to the best mashed potatoes {Eat Seasonal Holiday Edition}

Mashed potatoes are premium comfort food, that is a given, but they don’t always get the right treatment to ensure they are fluffy and well seasoned. This post can help.

Back when I put myself through culinary school, money was tight. I frequently relied on samples from class to get me through a day; which was easily feasible. We had opportunity to eat most everything we prepared and you know how I dislike waste! I must have been particularly hungry the morning we were learning how to make the best mashed potatoes (yes, that was actually a topic covered in a class) because I can remember every little detail of the process.

It seemed a torturous wait before we could serve ourselves from the enormous pan of steaming spuds, but the wait was well worth it. Creamy potatoes, skillfully seasoned, without a lump to be seen. It was the dead of winter. I had been up since 5 am in order to make it to class on time. Yet the memory of spooning up mashed potatoes while perched on an overturned milk crate remains one of my happiest ones from culinary school.

Today I’ll share my teacher’s secret to fluffy mashed potatoes. Then stick around, because the #EatSeasonal group of girls are throwing a virtual potluck for the holidays.

[Read more…]

How to reheat turkey (and keep it moist) on www.simplebites.net

How to reheat turkey leftovers and keep them moist

This past weekend was the unofficial launch of the holiday season for us. There were are few small signs to note the commencement, though nothing particularly unusual for a late November day.

I planted a Christmas amaryllis and placed it on a warm window sill, to be turned each day. From deep in the walk-in closet, I unearthed strings of lights for the eves and a wreath, for the front door. While the boys rakes the last of the leaves in the back yard, I baked shortbread in the kitchen and sent out hot cocoa to warm their tummies.

In the evenings, I splashed cranberry syrup in a glass with a little gin and tonic and sat down to plan, really plan, my cookie swap, as well as make a list of holiday baking essentials. For Sunday dinner dessert I opened up a jar of mincemeat and serve mini tarts with tea. It felt like the right thing to do.

These are the day of shortbread and spice, cocoa and cranberries. It’s a time of careful list making and time-saving tricks, like today’s post for storing and reheating turkey while still keeping it moist. It’s a classic kitchen trick, nothing I can take credit for, but a solid one, nevertheless, and a tried and true method  used by my mother-in-law every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

[Read more…]

coconut pecan sweet potatoes 1

Coconut-Pecan Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes

This time of year we eat a lot of sweet potatoes at our house. Since the weather turned and the leaves started falling, we’ve been enjoying Sweet Potato Quinoa Tacos, Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili, and even a few Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes here and there.

We also normally include a Sweet Potato dish in our Thanksgiving meal line-up. We don’t, however, have a favorite family recipe that we rely on every year.

Thinking back on recent holidays, I’m noticing the tradition that is evolving is one that includes trying a new sweet potato recipe every year. Over the past few years we’ve tried everything from the classic casserole to sweet potato tamales.

coconut pecan sweet potatoes 2This year’s Thanksgiving menu is definitely going to include these Coconut-Pecan Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes. Not only are they delicious, they are also incredibly easy.

[Read more…]

Entertaining tips on www.simplebites.net

12 hosting tips for putting your best plate forward

It feels like Thanksgiving crept up on me this year, and as fate would have it, my kitchen is going to be swirling in a chaos of renovations on the upcoming long weekend.

I won’t have a functioning cooktop, but I will have an oven, so Maple Pecan Pie is still on the menu. Whew. Actually we are dining with family both Saturday and Sunday, so I won’t have to wrangle any sort of mid-construction holiday dinner in my own kitchen. (PS. Stay tuned for a full kitchen tour coming soon when everything is back in place.)

If you’re welcoming guests on Thanksgiving weekend – or any day, for that matter – then today’s simple entertaining tips are for you. I’m a big believer in details, and know that even small gestures can make a big difference when receiving guests.

[Read more…]

Squash-Roasted Turkey Roulade on www.simplebites.net

Squash-Roasted, Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Roulade with Cider Gravy

It’s officially the holidays. That is the only way I could get away with such an elaborate recipe title as the one above.

Yes, Canadian Thanksgiving is exactly one week away and I’ve been working on a turkey dish well worthy of your holiday dinner table. If it sounds complicated, don’t worry, it’s not, and roasts up in half the time as a whole turkey.

Today’s recipe is a whole turkey breast that has been flattened and filled with a bacon, herb and cranberry stuffing. The roulade is wrapped with bacon to keep it moist and tucked into a half of a spaghetti squash.

The turkey roulade and the squash roast up together in a time-saving 2-for-1 dish and a simple apple cider gravy tops it all off. It’s a seasonal and scrumptious way to bring turkey to your table this Thanksgiving.

Bacon & Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Roulade with Cider Gravy on www.simplebites.net #recipe #dinner #thanksgiving #turkey

The recipe as written, with two turkey breasts and one whole squash, would make a feast for about 8 people, but it can easily be divided in half, if you are a smaller group.

Oh, and plenty of the work can be done in advance, so important for these wonderful food-centric celebrations. Hit the jump to see how it all comes together, then grab a pen and paper and start a shopping list!

[Read more…]