Eggplant Parmesan

This dish is one of my go-to vegetarian meals when I am planning on having company over. I have cooked it for several years, but it wasn’t until the last year or so that I got it down to what is now my favorite version. My husband and kids love this recipe, as well as many of my friends who have tried it. It is an excellent meal for Lent during days of abstinence from meat. Let’s get started!DSC_0128

You will need:

  • 2 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (I use a tomato basil one from the jar for this recipe. Feel free to go homemade if you have a great recipe you love!)
  • 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • canola or olive oil spray
  • 1lb pasta of choice (I used rigatoni- it’s one of my favorites with eggplant.)

Preheat the oven to 450*F and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick circles. Some will be larger than others in diameter, and that’s perfectly fine. Brush with olive oil on both sides, and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side until grill marks are set. Do not cook until soft. You want these to stay mostly firm.

Once the eggplant is grilled, set aside on a plate and get the breading mixture together. Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, basil, oregano, and salt into a bowl and mix together. Scramble the two eggs plus milk in a separate bowl. Dip the eggplant into the egg mixture, enough to coat both sides, and then place into the bowl of the breadcrumb mix. Coat the eggplant with the breadcrumb mix generously, making sure to cover as much of the eggplant slice as possible. Set on the sheet pan and repeat this process until all slices of eggplant are coated.

Next, spray the eggplant slices with canola or olive oil. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes at 450*F. Once the 25 minutes is up, the eggplant will be nice and golden brown. Go ahead and top each slice with a generous spoonful of sauce, and then top it with about 2 Tbsp of cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. *Side note: during the eggplant baking process, start the pasta water with about 10 minutes left in the initial 25 minute baking time. This will give enough time for the water to come to a boil, and for your pasta to cook while the eggplant is finishing off during the 5-7 minute cheese melting process.

Once your pasta is finished, toss it with 1-2 cups of the pasta sauce. Serve the eggplant parmesan alongside the pasta. No knife necessary-just a fork and an appetite for something delicious is all you’ll need!

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Everyone in my family loves this recipe. I used to wonder what was missing from my eggplant parm, and come to find out, the step I take to grill it beforehand really makes a huge difference. It adds a ton of flavor and really makes the eggplant stand out. I have been cooking a lot more due to my Lenten commitment of not getting takeout or fast food. It is very welcomed, and something I think I will stick to even after these 40 days are up.

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do. There are usually zero leftovers after I make it, and I hope it is the same for you! If you end up making this recipe, please leave some feedback on how it turned out.

As always, thank you for your support.

Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Mark 1:12-15

The Best Vegetable Curry…Ever.

My entire family just gobbled up this veggie curry. I wrote this recipe specifically for this Lenten Season. This is a wonderful meal for Ash Wednesday, meatless Fridays, and days we fast.  It is filling, nutritious, and family friendly. Without further delay, let’s get started!

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You will need:

  • 2 teaspoons each: ground ginger, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, curry powder, and paprika (all are easy to find in your regular grocery store seasoning section. Don’t be intimidated by the new spices. You will love them!)
  • 1 teaspoon each: chili powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (please don’t skip this- it adds just the right amount of warmth without being spicy)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of frozen green peas
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 1 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of lite coconut milk
  • 1 cup of Basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 8oz container of plain yogurt (I used Greek- I keep it on hand and I enjoy the tang)
  • 2 large pieces of naan bread
  • 4 Tbsp canola or mild tasting oil of your choice
  • 1 Tbsp butter (optional…but I like it)

Preheat your oven to 375* F. Follow these steps in order to make sure everything is ready around the same time.

The first step is to get the vegetables in the oven. I like to roast the vegetables before putting them into the curry. I have found that this boosts the overall flavor and texture versus letting the veggies cook in the curry.

Place the sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and chickpeas onto a sheet pan. Toss them all lightly with a mild tasting oil of your choice. I use light tasting olive oil (I keep it around for salads), but canola oil would be perfect here too. Do not season these vegetables at all. They will go into the curry sauce at the end. Roast them for 40 minutes at 375.

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Next, you’ll want to rinse the rice. Basmati rice is absolutely wonderful alongside curry. However, it needs to be treated a certain way in order to come out at its best. The key is to wash away as much starch as possible from the grains. This will allow for each grain to be individual in the end and not sticking to each other.

To achieve this, pour the rice into a bowl and cover with cool water. Swirl it around with your hand until the water is cloudy. Carefully pour out the water without dumping out the rice. Repeat this process 3-4 more times until the water is clear. Once the water is clear, let the rice soak for 20-30 minutes while you carry on with the recipe.

Now, it’s time to get the curry together! Set a deep skillet or shallow dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the butter and oil until heated through. Next, add in the onion and garlic. Stir around until the onion is softened, about 3-5 minutes.

Once the onion has softened, lower the heat to med-low and add in all of the spices. Stir around and let the spices cook for 2-3 minutes to really let their flavors come out. After the 2-3 minutes is up and your kitchen smells amazing, add in the tomato sauce + half a can of water (this ensures all of the tomato sauce comes out of the can, and it also adds a little more liquid to the curry), coconut milk, lime juice, and lime zest. Stir until combined. Cover and let it cook together while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Now, back to the rice! Bring 1 3/4 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add in a pinch of salt. Once the water is boiling, add in the rinsed, soaked, and drained rice. Bring it back to a boil for 1 minute. Put the lid on the pot and set the heat as low as it can go. Let the rice cook for 15 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, get the veggies out of the oven and transfer to the curry (leave the oven on so you can warm the naan bread during the last few minutes before mealtime). Go ahead and add in the 1 cup of frozen peas. Give everything a big stir. Cover the pot and let it cook together while the rice finishes (about 10-15 minutes).

Once the rice is done cooking, leave it covered, but remove it from the heat and let it sit for five minutes. Get your plates out during this time, and warm the naan bread straight on the oven rack for 2-3 minutes.

Once the five minute is up on the rice, take the lid off and fluff it with a fork. It should be perfect!

To serve: put 1/2 cup of rice on one side of the plate, and fill the other half of the plate with the veggie curry. Top the curry with chopped cilantro. Put a nice dollop of tangy yogurt on the side of the plate next to the curry. Tuck a piece of naan bread near the rice. I eat this dish with my hands using the naan as my utensil, and I also go for a spoon or fork with the rice and curry. It is enjoyable from many angles!

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I really hope you love this recipe! It is absolutely wonderful, and I wanted to share something vegetarian friendly and easy to use for our meatless days during this season of Lent. My kids loved it, especially my 11 month old, and we had plenty of curry leftover to freeze. That’s right, this is freezer friendly! Just put what you don’t eat into a gallon freezer, and reheat for 30 minutes to 1 hour on med-low heat with 1/2 cup of water when you’re ready to eat it next.

If you make this recipe, please let me know how it turns out. I am going to be posting a few more vegetarian recipes over the coming days.

As always, thank you for supporting me. I really enjoy sharing recipes with all of you. It makes me feel like I am doing something creative and useful.

Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

53 Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

John 6:53-54

 

 

Instant Pot 10 Minute Taco Pasta

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have read that I am pregnant. I am thirteen weeks along as of Tuesday, and I am so very excited to welcome our new child in August! We find out if we are having a boy, or our fourth girl, on the 10th. Although we’d love to add a little boy to the family, we will be delighted to have another hilarious little girl running around our house.

Every pregnancy is different. This time around, I am more nauseous. I find myself craving food for 10-15 minutes, and if I can’t get it within that time frame, I become nauseous again and don’t want to touch it. It is a vicious cycle. I saw this recipe on my sister’s Instagram and asked her to *please* share it with me. She loves her Instant Pot as much as I do, and she’s also on a busy schedule with work, kids, sports, school, etc. She also loves food as much as I do, so I trust what she makes to be delicious! This recipe takes a whopping ten minutes, and the whole family was impressed. I hope you love it!

10 Minute Taco Pasta

You will need:

  • 1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning (or you can make your own. Recipe for 1 packet is as follows: 1 tbsp chili powder,  1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp dried oregano)
  • 1 lb ground beef (or turkey if you’d prefer)
  • 1/2 lb small pasta (medium shells, elbow macaroni, etc)
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (colby jack is also okay)

Turn the Instant Pot to saute. Brown the ground beef until it is cooked through.

Once the meat is cooked, add in the tomato sauce, beef broth, taco seasoning, and pasta. Give it a big stir. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and seal the pressure valve. Set the timer for five minutes on high pressure.

Once the timer goes off, do a quick release on the pressure valve. Be sure to block the steam with a towel or an oven mit so you don’t hurt yourself. Keep kiddos away from this too. Once the lid is off, add the shredded cheese on top of the taco pasta. Put the lid back on and let it sit there for 5 minutes to melt while you get the plates ready.

The taco pasta has a lot of flavor, and there’s a little kick from the red pepper flakes if you opt to make your own taco seasoning. If you don’t think you’ll like the bit of spice, omit the red pepper flakes from the recipe completely. I served this alongside a big side salad full of tomatoes, cucumbers, crunchy lettuce, and cool buttermilk ranch dressing. It was the perfect complement to the taco pasta.

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Our whole family loved this recipe. I hope you do too! It takes no time at all to make, and it really tastes delicious.

As we make our way into February, I can’t help but focus on what I want to work on during this Lenten season. It is such a great opportunity to do some fine tuning and personal work on ourselves. I am always one to sacrifice something in my life during Lent, and I also try and add in more prayer, or to attend daily Mass.

I hope you enjoy the weekend. Give this recipe a try, and if you have a minute, please let me know what you think! I will try and post more of these quick ones. I know I appreciate them after a long day.

Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

Mal 3:1-2

Tex-Mex Delight

The title of this recipe just makes me smile! I am from Texas, and there is nothing like Tex-Mex style food. This whole recipe makes enough for 2 9×13 pans. We had one today for lunch, and one is covered with foil and in the freezer to bake off for another day.

This recipe is definitely more on the healthy side. It is made with brown rice, black beans, steak (or chicken, or no meat at all if you prefer!), homemade enchilada sauce, and topped with just a little cheese and cilantro. It is wonderful to eat and the whole family loves it! I started the process the night before, and you will understand why as you move down the steps.

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You will need:

  • For the main filling:
    • 2 cups of black beans (overnight soak)
    • 4 cups dry brown rice (8 cups cooked)
    • 1.5-2 lbs flank steak (marinate overnight)
    • 2 14oz cans of low sodium chicken broth
    • 2 bay leaves
  • Enchilada sauce:
    • 2 8oz cans of tomato sauce
    • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
    • 1 14oz can of low sodium chicken broth
    • 2tbsp flour
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp minced garlic
    • 3 tbsp chili powder
    • 1 tbsp cumin
    • 1 tbsp onion powder
    • 1 tbsp oregano
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1tsp pepper
  • Toppings:
    • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
    • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
    • Fresh lime slices
    • Avocado (if you can or want)
  • Equipment:
    • 2 9×13 pans, either foil or glass (you can also put this into meal-prep containers)
    • Blender
    • Large pot to cook beans
    • Rice cooker, instant pot, or large pot

To start, the night before I put a 1lb bag of dry black beans in a bowl covered in cold water to soak overnight. This hydrates the beans and ensures a quicker cooking process. It also helps to clean the beans as well. The next day, give them a rinse under cold water to rinse off any debris from the soak. If you want to use canned beans, go for it! I like to use dry because they are less expensive and do not contain any extra sodium. I buy bags of store brand dry beans like it’s crazy. They are so inexpensive and easy to make!

At this point, move the drained beans over to a large pot. Pour in the 2 cans of chicken broth, and add two bay leaves. Let the beans come to a boil for 1 minute, cover the pot, and put the heat on low. The beans will cook for two hours. During this two hours, you will do most of the cooking for the remainder of this recipe. I don’t season the beans right here because I end up freezing the rest for recipes down the road. I keep them simple for now, and season upon individual use.

My little taste tester approved of the beans 🙂 DSC_0725

Moving along to the enchilada sauce. Start by heating a pan over medium heat. Add in 2 tbsp of olive oil, followed by 2 tbsp of flour. Whisk this around until it looks like a creamy roux. This will need to cook for 5 minutes. Stir it constantly. This is going to ensure the enchilada sauce thickens a bit more than a typical enchilada sauce. This is necessary so the dish is not watery at the end of baking.

After the five minutes is up, add in the 2 tbsp of minced garlic. The roux will start to bubble. Make sure you are stirring the garlic around and not letting it sit. Do this for about one minute. After that minute, pour in the can of diced tomatoes, two cans of tomato sauce, and 1 can of chicken broth. Stir this around until it is well incorporated.

Now, to spice things up! Add in the chili powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Give it a good stir. This will change the color dramatically. It will go from a bright red to a dark red. Let this simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. After the five minutes is up, transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until it is smooth. It will turn the familiar bright red/orange color we all recognize on enchiladas 🙂 Leave the sauce in the blender for now. We will come back to it in a bit.

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For the brown rice, I cook mine in the Instant Pot. This recipe is no-fail. It is 4 cups of brown rice to 2 14oz cans of chicken broth. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Natural release for 5 minutes. Quick release after that, and voila! It is perfect every time. This specific style will make sure it is fully cooked and chewy. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, cook the rice according to the package. It usually takes 30-45 minutes in a standard pot. Go ahead and transfer 4 cups of rice to the bottom of each of the 9×13 pans. DSC_0688

If you are a vegetarian, or want to skip the meat part of this, move along to the assembly portion. This recipe is definitely vegetarian friendly 🙂

For the meat, I am using flank steak. I love this cut of meat because it is so perfect for this style of meal. I highly recommend marinating it for at least 8 hours (better if overnight) in something acidic. The meat has longer fibers and is typically a bit tough if not marinated properly. I love to use a marinade called Mojo Criollo by Goya. It is super cheap and makes any and all meat extra tasty. If you cannot find this at your local store, you can order it on Amazon. I use one bottle for 1.5-2lbs of flank steak. Cut the steak in half and put it into a gallon bag, or shallow Tupperware bowl. Cover with the marinade and let it hang out in the fridge overnight. You can also make a marinade I have used before by mixing 2 cups of orange juice, 1/4 cup of lime juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. It is really worth it to marinate it overnight. Please don’t skip this step. It makes all the difference.

Once your meat as been marinated properly, grill it on both sides for 5 minutes. You can also flat sear it in a regular skillet if you don’t have a grill pan. I cook this steak to rare, or medium rare. After it has cooked, let the steak rest on a plate lightly covered in foil for 10-15 minutes. When it is time to cut the steak, cut it into thin strips one way, and then cut it the opposite way to create little squares. It will be cooked again during the baking process at the end, so don’t freak out if it is too pink for your liking. Trust me on this!

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Time to assemble the dish! If you haven’t already, go ahead and chop up your bunch of cilantro. You will want to separate it into two halves. Take about 2 tbsp from each half and set aside. This will go on top at the end.

Sprinkle the halved cilantro on top of the brown rice sitting in the dishes. One half per one dish. Next, add in one cup of black beans (drained) into each pan. Split the cut steak in half, and add in one half to each pan on top of the beans. Pour 1-1.5 cups of enchilada sauce on top of the steak. You will have extra sauce- I’ll discuss that in a bit.

Give all of this a big stir until it is well mixed. Once it is all mixed together, top each pan with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and sprinkle the remaining cilantro on top. Bake at 375*F for 20 minutes. You can save the cilantro for after baking if you want. I personally don’t mind if it has been in the oven.

 

If you don’t want to eat it right now, you can cover with foil and put in the freezer for up to six months. Just put a label on it with what it is, and how long to cook it.

I like to eat mine with a side of sliced avocado and a wedge of lime. This is a delicious meal and something I really love to make. I am not a fan of brown rice, but I will eat it in this recipe every time.

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For the extra beans and enchilada sauce- freeze them! Put them both into gallon freezer bags and store for up to six months for another use. When freezing the beans, make sure to add in 1-2 cups of the liquid they cooked in. This makes reheating a lot easier. The enchilada sauce will be thick when reheated. You can add 1/2 cup of chicken broth or water to thin it out. They both reheat perfectly!

I hope you love this as much as my family does. My kids asked for seconds, and it makes plenty of food for a large family. Not to mention, this dish is pretty healthy!

Always remember to pray and give thanks for the food we are given. Taking small steps to make food ahead of time is easy to do, and it allows for us to spend time with our families without being totally stressed out. Have a blessed week!

Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

John 1:29

Bacon & Cheddar= Best Friends Forever

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we have been invited to a Christmas Eve Pajama Party at our good friend’s house. We are going to Mass at 4:00 pm, and then coming home to change into our cool pajamas, grab the food I prepared ahead of time, and get everyone loaded up in the van. It is a busy time of year and while I would love to have made some extra fancy dish to bring to the party, I went the more realistic route and said, “Ok. What is quick, delicious, and will please a crowd?” I instantly thought of a cheese ball. Now, I have had my fair share of delicious ones, and I have also encountered some I regretted trying, but the one I am sharing with you today is always a crowd pleaser.

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You will need:

  • 2 8oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 slices of bacon, chopped (you can cook your own bacon and chop it, or buy the pre-cooked stuff and zap it in the microwave- both work great!)
  • 1 bunch of green onions, diced
  • 1 package of Ranch seasoning mix

To get started, add all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Stir around until it is well incorporated.

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Next, lay out a piece of plastic wrap. Pour the mix onto the plastic wrap, and lay another piece of plastic wrap on top. Use your hands to shape the mixture into a ball. Once it is mostly circular (as good as you can get it) fold the plastic wrap in on itself until it is all nice and neat. Put the cheese ball into the fridge for 4 hours, or overnight.

Once the ball is nice and firm, unwrap it and place it onto a serving platter. There will be lines from the plastic wrap, so if this really bothers you, you can take a butter knife or the back of a spoon and smooth it out. Surround the cheese ball with an assortment of crackers. I like to do one type of butter cracker, and one type of baked cracker with sea salt.

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I know that a lot of cheese balls are typically rolled around in some sort of topping. I’ve seen toasted panko, pecans, bacon, etc. I have found that if a cheese ball is rolled around in something tasty, then guests will just eat the outer part of the cheese ball and leave the inside be. I prefer to mix all ingredients into the cheese ball and enjoy it like that so each bite has a little bit of everything. This cheese ball has yet to survive a whole party- it is usually gone within the first hour.

I hope your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are full of peace, joy, and love. Although I am going to Mass at 4:00pm with my family, I will be going to the midnight Mass alone. It is my favorite tradition for myself, and it always brings me to tears. I am praying for all of you, and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year!

As always, thank you for your support.

Lots of love,

Chelsea

@thecatholickitchen

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:41

 

 

Cookies Galore

Less than week until Christmas. I love this time of year! Our neighbors host a cookie day every year where we go and make dozens of cookies. The kids roll out sugar cookie dough and use Christmas themed cutters to create their batch. After the cookies bake, we all spend time decorating them. It’s so much fun, and we really love doing it every year.

One of the features of cookie day is bringing your own cookie recipe to share. You can either make them ahead of time, or bring the ingredients over to bake then and there. I decided to make a batch of good old-fashioned shortbread cookies to take over. I have made several recipes over the years, but this one is just unbeatable. It is simple, fast, and goes great with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa.

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You will need:

2 cups of flour

2 sticks of unsalted butter (1/2 lb) at room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350*F

Cream the butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy.

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Add in the flour, salt, and vanilla. Mix until incorporated.

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Pour the dough onto a floured sheet of parchment paper. Shape into a cylinder with your hands, and then use the parchment paper to roll it up and smooth it out into a cylindrical log. Gently press in the ends of the dough so they are flat. You can also do this with plastic wrap if you don’t have parchment paper.

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Roll up the log, tuck in the ends, and put into the refrigerator for 30 minutes (this is important in order for the cookies to hold their shape when they bake).

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One it is chilled, slice into 1/4 inch pieces, and quickly roll into a ball. Press down gently between your palms to flatten them a bit.  This is a rough cookie shape, but it is one I always use for shortbread if I am just making basic cookies. You can also roll the dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle and cut it into bars. The less you handle the dough, the better.

Bake at 350*F for 12-14 minutes, or until pale golden. Top them with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and enjoy 🙂

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I hope you love these cookies as much as I do. Sometimes I like to add a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans into the dough for a little change. They are also delicious dipped into warm melted chocolate.

This is a great recipe to let the kids get involved with. They can dump the ingredients into the bowl and help form the dough into a log. Kids love to be a part of things, and it’s a great opportunity to spend some time together while talking about the real meaning of (Christ)mas. My kids are still little, so we have to keep building on the story every year with more detail. It’s so funny to hear the little ones try and remember everything. Their imaginations are hilarious 🙂

As always, thank you for your support.

Lots of love and many blessings,

Chelsea

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:38

Cast Iron Cornbread

I have been sick for the last ten days! I can’t seem to shake this cold. All I have been wanting is take out, soups, and any and all southern cuisine I can get my hands on.

This week’s feature is not a from scratch recipe. I will never claim to have a super secret ultra special cornbread recipe….because there is only one cornbread that exists in my life- and it is Jiffy cornbread. Yes. The blue and white $0.59 box next to all of the other corn muffin mixes. It is my favorite, will always be my favorite, and can never be replicated no matter how good your grandma’s cornbread recipe is. Point made I hope.DSC_0604

Now, even though I don’t have a special homemade recipe, there is a method to my cornbread madness that I swear by, and after you go through these steps, you won’t want to make cornbread another way.

 

Cast Iron Cornbread

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cast iron skillet

2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix (or, mix up a batch of your favorite recipe…if you must)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of milk

1/4 cup of a good frying fat (vegetable/canola oil, shortening)

Preheat your oven according to recipe directions. Place the fat of choice  into the cast iron skillet, and put it into the oven to get nice and hot. I have used vegetable oil, canola oil, and shortening. They all work beautifully. I had shortening on hand, so that is what I used.DSC_0676

Mix the corn muffin mix as directed on the box. Jiffy is super easy, so if you want to let the kids help, this is definitely a recipe to let them have a go at!DSC_0652

Let the mix hang out in the bowl for a bit. It will thicken and become a little aerated. This is what you want. However, if it is too thick (like mashed potatoes) add in more milk 1 Tbsp at a time until it barely falls off the spoon. You don’t want it too thin like cake batter, but you don’t want it too thick like mashed potatoes. Somewhere right in the middle where you can slowly pour it out of the bowl.

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Once the oven is preheated, carefully take out the cast iron skillet with the hot oil and set it on a heat-safe surface.

Gently pour the cornbread mix into the hot oil. It will begin to bubble on the sides. This is exactly what you want.

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Put the cornbread into the oven and bake as directed where the the top is golden brown and the sides are just separated from the skillet. DSC_0735

While the cornbread is fresh out of the oven, butter generously. I like to take a stick and rub it all over the top and against the sides of the skillet. Let the butter melt into the space between the skillet and the cornbread. The butter will sizzle against the heat and absorb into every little crevice. The bottom and sides will be nice and crispy, and the inside will be fluffy and buttery. You will probably be salivating at this point. Welcome to the team. It happens to the best of us.

Slice into triangles and serve alongside some chicken soup, my red wine braised short ribs, or just by itself with a cold glass of milk or sweet tea.

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I hope you and your family enjoy it. This method will work with any cornbread recipe, so if you have a super special homemade recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation- go for it! You really can’t beat the crunchy bottom and sides.

As always, thank you for your support. I hope you and your family went to Mass today to start the week off feeling encouraged and uplifted. Please pray for me to get over this cold. I am tired of feeling under the weather.

Lots of love,

Chelsea

22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness.

Galatians 5:22