Posted in Recipes

Crockpot Cranberry Sauce

With Thanksgiving and Harvest Dinners right around the corner, I thought I’d share my favorite cranberry sauce that’s easy and delicious. Just set it and forget it!

Crockpot Cranberry Sauce: Makes 1 – 1 1/2 Quarts

  • 2 (12 ounce) bags fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4 clementines (or mandarin oranges), zested
  • 1 cup water (or orange juice)
  1. Add all ingredients in a crockpot and put on low for 6-8 hours, or until it reaches your desired consistency. Just set it and forget it, stirring occasionally to check the consistency!

Tip: If you’d like to fully utilize the zested mandarins, peel the remaining peel off, and blend the pieces with the water to use for the cooking liquid! (Or you can just eat them for snacks, live your life!)

Posted in Recipes

Crockpot Beef Stewp

Mack… What in the higgity heck is a stewp? I’m so glad you asked, imaginary other half of this conversation! Stewp is a very technical professional culinary term for something not quite a stew, and not quite a soup. Therefore, stewp. Tell your friends.

I needed something easy and hands off to feed a crowd, the crockpot came through for dinner while we were out adventuring in an apple orchard.

Crockpot Beef Stewp: Feeds 6

  • 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into chunks of desired
  • 6 baby red potatoes, chunked
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp worsterchire sauce
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 quarts stock (use whatever you like! Beef is obviously traditional, but I had chicken stock on hand that I needed to use up)
  1. Add in all of your vegetables (minus the garlic) to the bottom of a large crockpot.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, dry seasonings, worsterchire, and enough stock to thin the mixture to a ketchup like texture.
  3. Slather your seasoning paste on your chuck roast, and place the chuck roast on top of your vegetables.
  4. Tuck your bay leaves into the crockpot, and add enough stock to come halfway up the meat, and set your crockpot to low.
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the meat is tender and shreds easily.
  6. Stir thoroughly, adjust seasonings as necessary, and enjoy while hot!

Try this recipe over rice, cooked pasta, or with some crusty garlic bread! It’s great for warming the bones after an autumn adventure.

Posted in Recipes

Chewy Chestnut Brownies

I’ve been craving chocolate and had some chestnut pieces I had to use up from syrup making, why not use the two together?

Chewy Chestnut Brownies: Makes 12

  • 1/2 cup butter (we used avocado butter)
  • 8 oz dark chocolate (we used vegan dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla or chestnut syrup
  • 2 eggs (or egg replacement)
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used all purpose you could also use whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup roasted chestnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. To a microwave safe bowl, add your butter and chocolate. Microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted. For my microwave, it took about 3 – 30 second bursts.
  3. Allow to cool slightly, then mix in your sugars thoroughly.
  4. Mix in your vanilla, and 1 egg, mixing completely before adding the next egg and mixing until well combined.
  5. Add in your flour, mixing until just combined.
  6. Fold in your chestnut pieces gently.
  7. Grease a 9×9 square pan well (or a muffin tin) and add in your batter. If using the muffin tin, add about 2 oz of batter per cup.
  8. Bake for 30-45 minutes, rotating your pan halfway through to promote even baking.
  9. Allow to cool, then enjoy!
  10. Try topped with whipped cream or even with edible cookie dough!

Posted in Recipes

Granola Cups

A great meal prep breakfast for the kids, and a great non-traditional way to enjoy granola!

Granola Cups: Makes about 15

  • 3 cups of your favorite Mack’s granola (Fruit Cave is really good for this. If you can’t use our granola, just find a looser granola at the store, steer away from granola clusters.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice
  • 2 eggs (or egg replacement)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup applesauce of choice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup apples, diced (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350F, and grease 2 muffins pans. Set aside.

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together your eggs, milk, syrup, vanilla, and applesauce until thoroughly combined.
  3. If using, add your chopped apples to the wet mixture.
  4. Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Using a 2 oz scoop (or 1/4 cup measure), add a scoop of the batter to each muffin cup. Your batter will probably look quite loose, don’t panic! Your granola will absorb everything.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating your pans at the 15 minute mark to promote even baking.
  7. Once fully baked, allow them to cool completely at room temperature.
  8. Meal prep them out into containers or add to an airtight container and store.
  9. Enjoy!
Posted in Recipes

BBQ Sauce

Slather on anything and everything!

Ribs, chicken, vegetables, your neighbor, beans, a flip flop, etc!*

It’s generally advised to only put on things that are safe/Legal to eat. Try not to torment your neighbors.

BBQ Sauce: Makes 2 Cups

  • ¼ cup BBQ rub (see bonus recipe)
  • ¼ cup Stock ( I use vegetable)
  • ¼ cup Brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 cups ketchup
  1. Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan, simmer over medium low/low heat for about 30 minutes, or until it reaches your desired thickness.
Posted in Recipes

French Toast Jammer Bake

A good way to add sweetness and a pop of fruit to your french toast, and great for meal prepping! It’s also a good way to use up bread that’s going a little stale.

French Toast Jammer Bake: Makes 4-5 Jumbo Cups

  • 1/2 loaf bread of choice, cut into cubes (we used whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup jam of choice (we used blackberry for this batch)
  • 2 eggs or egg substitute (we used 1/3 cup plant based egg)
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (we used oat milk)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your jam, eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. Toss the cubes in the mixture, stirring to coat evenly.
  4. Grease a jumbo muffin pan, and spoon about 1/4 cup – 1/3 cup of the bread into each cup.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating your pan after 15 minutes to promote even baking. (Tip: You can use a regular muffin pan, just reduce the amount in each cup and keep an eye on your cooking time, it’s likely you’ll need a little less time in the oven, about 15-20 minutes.)
  6. Allow to cool slightly, then serve warm. (Or if making ahead of time, let them cool completely and store in the fridge.) Try with maple syrup or whipped cream!

Just a quick note: I’ve found the best way to remove them from the pan is to carefully run a rubber spatula around the outside of the bake and then scoop from the bottom.

Enjoy!

Posted in Recipes

Three Bean Stew

I’ve recently started to try to cook less often. Seems counterintuitive for a chef, doesn’t it? However, kitchen burnout is a very real (and real annoying) thing, so I’ve tasked myself to cook less often to help me have energy to cook more creatively. With cooking less comes the “I still need to feed the boys” so I’ve started making more of each thing I make so we have leftovers. This one is great for a crowd, packed with protein and veggies, and freezes decently well.

Three Bean Stew: Serves 5-6

  • 3 cups cooked beans of choice (canned, or dried beans that you’ve already cooked, For this batch I used pinto beans, kidney beans, and great white northern beans – around 1 cup of each.)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cups of stock (I used chicken)
  • 1 1/2 cups protein of choice (I used some homemade ham but you could easily use shredded chicken, cooked sausage, or a vegan protein like tempeh!)
  • 1/2 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp adobo seasoning (I get a salt-free version from The Spice House)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup baby spinach or chopped kale
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Feel free to add in any other veggies you may want as well, I often use this recipe to help me clean out the fridge. Carrots, broccoli, zucchini, peas, and corn are all things I commonly add!

  1. Set a large stockpot over a medium heat and add in your oil, onion, garlic, pepper, protein (make sure your protein is fully cooked, or to make sure to cook it through during the sautéing stage), and any other hardy vegetable (like carrots or celery) that you may want to add.
  2. Cook until your vegetables are a light golden brown around the edges, and then add in your dry seasonings and lemon juice (or vinegar).
  3. Deglaze the pan with your chicken stock and add in your beans.
  4. Simmer everything together until tender until you reach your desired consistency. I sometimes like to cook it until it’s mushy and soupy, and sometimes I keep the beans more whole. This batch, I stopped right in the middle.
  5. About 3 minutes before you reach that consistency, stir in your spinach or kale, and allow to finish cooking.
  6. Adjust your seasonings to taste, and enjoy while it’s piping hot! Try serving it with garlic bread or over rice. Delicious.
Posted in Recipes

K’s Cukes… Er… Pickles

I am a pickle fiend. I’ll fully admit to that. It got to the point that when we visited family in Ohio, they’d pick up an extra jar of pickles just so I wouldn’t eat all of theirs. Needless to say, it’s about time that I shared my favorite homemade pickle recipe.

K’s Cukes – Makes 1 Quart

  • 1/2 pound pickling cucumbers, sliced into your desired shape, (I generally do spears)
  • 1 clove of garlic, smahed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp sambal (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp fresh herbs of choice (dill, rosemary, thyme, etc. My favorite for this recipe is rosemary.)
  1. Place your cucumbers, garlic, herbs, and bay leaf into a heat safe jar or plastic container (large enough so the cucumbers can be completely submerged in the pickling liquid.)
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add your remaining ingredients and heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
  3. Carefully pour the pickling liquid into your jar or container and allow to sit on the counter until cooled.
  4. Top your container with a lid and store in the fridge. You can eat them right away, but I like them best after 3-5 days.
  5. Enjoy!

Posted in Recipes

Creamy Dreamy Dressing

A little more protein, a lot of flavor! A good way to get your kids to eat their greens. Quick, easy, and also good for dipping!

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite hummus (we love roasted garlic hummus or caramelized onion hummus)
  • 2 tbsp pesto (try using our pesto recipe!)
  • 2-4 tbsp apple cider vinegar (to taste)
  • 2-4 tbsp water (to thin to your desired consistency)

Simply add your ingredients to a jar or container, cover tightly with a lid, and shake, shake, shake until smooth! Get the kids in on it and have them put a little bit of the work in! If the hummus is being stubborn and doesn’t want to shake, stir until smooth. Store in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. (Though I can never keep it around that long!)

Posted in Recipes

Herb Garden Pesto (Nut & Dairy Free)

I love harvesting herbs from my garden, seeing them grow is so satisfying! However, sometimes they grow faster than I can use them. This is a great way to use a bunch up at once!

Herb Garden Pesto: Makes 8-12 ounces

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chives
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp roasted garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Simply add all you ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth!

Use it on pasta, roasted veggies, as a salad dressing, marinate some mozzarella with it, mix it into foccacia dough, or for anything else your pesto loving heart desires!