Sunday, November 22, 2015

One Great Tip, One Great Recipe...Just in Time!

Add stock, brown sugar and butter...must try
When it comes to Thanksgiving, I love things that I can do a day or two ahead of time. Recently, my gang and I had meatloaf night at my house. Oddly enough, all I had to make was a side dish and mashed potatoes. My friend Karen makes the best meat loaf and it was her job to provide the entree. 

She brought three heavenly loaves. And it was the two side items that I had to make that taught me two valuable tips. Well, one tip, and one great recipe. Both of which I will be using on Thanksgiving. 

First the tip! If you have seen the Facebook video that shows how to peel a potato with your bare hands,..I'm here to tell you it works. I washed, scored a circle around the skin, then cooked seven pounds of russet potatoes and easily pulled off the skins. No more peeling in this house for me, or my daughter in-law Kathleen who inherited  this chore when she joined the family. Go to YouTube and type "How to peel potatoes with your bare hands" into the search box. It only takes 30 seconds to watch but will change the way to do things for a life time. 
You'll never use a knife to peel potatoes again!

Now, for the recipe. I admit that brussel sprouts and carrots can be made a thousand ways. I can further add that I'm really not of fan of the sometimes bitter, round, green balls. But since my friends insisted we have a vegetable with our meat loaf, I did a little research, and then a little altering, and a new gem was born!

Pound of brussel sprouts
Pound of carrots
1 cup of chicken broth
3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
3/4 stick of butter 
5 or 6 slices of cooked, drained and crumbled bacon (this is optional but strongly recommended!)

Blanch carrots in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer carrots to bowl of ice water using slotted spoon. Return water to boil. Add sprouts and blanch until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to another bowl of ice water. Drain vegetables, and refrigerate up to 24 hours ahead. (This is the part I love)

Then, bring stock, butter, and brown sugar to a boil in a heavy large skillet. Stir until sugar dissolves. Boil until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Can be prepared 6 hours ahead;(like early Thanksgiving morning). When your ready, return to boil status before continuing. Add carrots. Cook until almost tender and sauce begins to coat, shaking pan occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add brussel sprouts and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Just before serving, toss in the crumbled bacon bits. 

Thanksgiving has become, for me anyway, a time to cook a great meal for my family while also wanting to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with them. Anything I can make ahead is on my list this year...and every year! Enjoy!


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