November 24, 2014

Cast Iron Cornbread | WHAT TO MAKE FOR THANKSGIVING



I’m not big on bread, but for thanksgiving you have to have cornbread. My family has two types of cornbread. This version and then a pan fried cornbread which is just water and cornmeal fried using olive oil. Sounds simple but it is so delicious with greens. My nephew who tends to be a picky eater always requests that my mother make several corn cakes for him during thanksgiving. 

We also have traditional cornbread, which I love making in a cast iron skillet. It just taste so much better when it’s baked in a cast iron skillet. The crust around the outside comes out perfect and I prefer a pie slice rather than a square slice or muffin. That is oddly specific I know, don’t judge me lol. Anywho, you can bake it in whatever you want it will come out great either way.

Tip: Save your butter milk by portioning out what you're not using by freezing ziplock bag. 

What you’ll need
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 2/3 cup white sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 cup buttermilk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 cup cornmeal 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease your pan. Use olive oil or butter. If you are using a cast iron skillet pop the greased pan in the oven to warm once the oven is hot until you are ready to pour in the batter for baking.


Melt the butter in a pot on low/medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Add eggs and beat until well blended. Make sure mixture not too hot! You don't want the eggs to cook. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in the pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and no lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool a bit before serving.

If you have questions about what you should cook for any occasion let me know! Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

Brownbelle’s Thanksgiving Menu 
  • Turkey Roulade
  • Cast Iron Cornbread 
  • Holiday Spiced Sangria 
  • Sage Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Sage Mashed Sweet Potatoes | WHAT TO MAKE FOR THANKSGIVING



If you've been following me for a millisecond you know I love fresh herbs. This dish is a small twist on traditional mashed potatoes perfect for thanksgiving. This recipe was a happy accident, sage happened to be the only herb that I had on hand while I was making this dish one evening. The sage complimented the sweet potatoes so well, I loved it so much that I have been making it with sage ever since.  

What you'll need
  • About 1 lb of potatoes
  • 3 Sprigs of fresh sage, 1-2 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • Heavy cream as needed

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Add to a pot and fill with water just until the potatoes are just covered.

Add three cloves of garlic, 2-3 sprigs of sage and 1-2 sprigs of thyme or rosemary. Cook until tender.

Strain water and remove herbs. Add the butter and begin to mash with a spoon.

Once butter is incorporated, whip until smooth adding heavy cream when necessary.

If you have questions about what you should cook for any occasion let me know! Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

Brownbelle’s Thanksgiving Menu
  • Turkey Roulade
  • Cast Iron Cornbread
  • Holiday Spiced Sangria
  • Sage Sweet Mashed Potatoes

November 20, 2014

Holiday Spiced Sangria | What to make for Thanksgiving


I make about three batches of this sangria over the holiday season.  It is always a hit and couldn’t be easier to make. The best thing about this sangria is having leftovers. The more it sits the spicier it gets! When I have time I like to make the spiced apple cider a day or so in advance so that it really infuses with all the flavors.  I usually stack the carafe with slices of orange and apple, which not only look great, but I love eating them after the sangria is finished.

What you’ll need

Spiced Apple Cider
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/3-cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves or 3-4 whole cloves
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • zest of 1 orange
Sangria
  • 1 bottle inexpensive Spanish red wine
  • 2 cups spiced apple cider
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2+ cup brandy
Bring all the spiced cider ingredients up to simmer. I leave it on the heat for about 5-10 minutes then take it off the heat and let it cool completely.

If you don’t want to sangria to continue to get spicier, strain out all the ingredients. I usually leave them in because I love the flavor.

Mixed the cider, oj, and 1 bottle of Spanish red wine into a carafe/pitcher.  Add in a healthy ½ cup of brandy.

Serve over ice and garnish with an apple slice.

If you have questions about what you should cook for any occasion let me know! Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

Brownbelle’s Thanksgiving Menu
  • Turkey Roulade
  • Cast Iron Cornbread
  • Holiday Spiced Sangria 
  • Sage Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Slightly modified from this recipe.

November 18, 2014

5 Simple Steps For Hosting Your First Thanksgiving


So it’s your first time hosting Thanksgiving at your place. Maybe it’s just friends, your significant other or even your family coming to town, either way, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Check out these five simple steps to killin’ it this turkey day.

1. Plan ahead

Write everything down, I mean everything! Make a detailed list of the ingredients you will need and then do some digging to see what you may already have at home. Don’t forget about cookware, do you have the right pots and pans? What about serving dishes, folks and knives? Also don’t forget about the aftermath, do you have foil and plastic wrap?

2. Don’t try to do everything yourself

Thanksgiving is all about the potluck! Let people know what you are making and ask them to fill in any gaps. What you should do is, make the staples. Shoot for the main meat dish (turkey, lamb, etc.), stuffing, and one or two big sides, think macaroni and cheese or green beans. Along with place settings, cleaning your place and other prep, you’ll have your hands full.


3. Ask an expert

If there was ever a time to go to specialty and artisan shops and get those fancy things you’ve always had your eye on, this is it! You’re having company, treat them to all of your favorite things and really enhance your meal and leave a lasting impression. Get the right cut of meat, better quality cheese and an excellent wine that will enhance a simple dish.


4. Skip dessert

Buy dessert. Baking is a whole other beast to tame. Find a great bakery or a baking inclined guest and have them take the lead on dessert, a pie or two should do the trick.


5. Leftovers

Go the extra mile to impress your guests and buy extra Tupperware for them to take leftovers home. No one wants collard greens juice all over their car seat, so stop by the dollar store and pick up extra Tupperware its cheap, easy and makes you look pretty brilliant.

Happy hosting! 

If you have questions about what you should cook for any occasion let me know! Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

Brownbelle’s Thanksgiving Menu

  • Turkey Roulade
  • Cast Iron Cornbread
  • Holiday Spiced Sangria 
  • Sage Sweet Mashed Potatoes

November 17, 2014

Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese | What to make for Thanksgiving


You can’t have Thanksgiving without mac & cheese. I’ve been told this mac & cheese is bougie, but I don’t care ‘cause, well...smoked cheese. In my humble bougie opinion all mac & cheese should include a selection of cheese. One kind of cheese is not enough! In this recipe I used a mixture of smoked gouda, smoked cheddar, and sharp cheddar cheese.

What you’ll need

  • 1 box elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 8oz smoked gouda cheese, grated
  • 8oz smoked cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & Pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cook macaroni, in boiling salted water until tender. Strain and return to the pot.

In another pot, melt the butter over medium/low heat and add diced onion and minced garlic. Cook until onions become translucent. Stir frequently, you don’t want the onions to brown. Sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly for about 3-4 minutes. Add milk in a steady stream. Stir constantly, until thick and smooth.

Remove your pot from the heat and stir in the cheese. Save a handful of the cheddar to put on top at the end.

Add macaroni and cheese into a bowl, stir until it is well combined. At this point I like to taste to see if it needs any salt. I like to add pepper as well.


Pour everything into a baking dish and add a the cheddar cheese that you saved on top.

Bake until golden brown.

If you have questions about what you should cook for any occasion let me know! Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

Brownbelle’s Thanksgiving Menu
  • Turkey Roulade
  • Cast Iron Cornbread
  • Holiday Spiced Sangria 
  • Sage Sweet Mashed Potatoes

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