Ina Roast Veggies 1

Preparing the Thanksgiving meal can be an overwhelming process, especially if you haven’t done it before. One of the best tools you can have to make life easier is a simple dish that will be easy to make yet deliver on flavor. Roasting vegetables makes such a great option. Roasting brings out such great flavors in vegetables it’s a wonder why we ever bother preparing them any other. One side dish recipe I suggest is one I recently tried out – Ina Garten’s Thanksgiving Oven-Roasted Vegetables. This is a combination of potatoes, fennel, and Brussels sprouts. For the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, visit Food Network’s website. Below you will find my notes from this recipe.

Ina Roast Veggies 3

1. With my produce knowledge I found ways to up the flavor ante even more. I used four different varieties of fingerling potatoes, each with their own unique flavor profile. The Brussels sprouts I used I got at the farmer’s market. They were harvested after a frost which means their flavor is sweeter. We also had just finished cooking some bacon in the oven (best way to get it super crispy) and there was bacon fat remaining on sheet pan. So I threw the split sprouts right on top of that same pan to impart them with some smoky bacon flavor!

2. The recipe calls for 2 small fennel bulbs, but the only ones I found at the farmer’s market were large. So I sliced it into wedges as small as I could making sure a piece of the core was still attached.

Ina Roast Veggies 4

3. My Brussels sprouts cooked much faster than the fennel and potatoes. At the 20 minute mark they were ready to be pulled from the oven. The leaves in my sprouts were more open, less dense, so I think that helped them cook faster as well as helping them crisp up really nicely.

4. The potatoes and fennel were finished roasting at about the 40 minute mark.

Ina Roast Veggies 2

I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the fennel with my potatoes, but it all worked together perfectly fine – besides I found myself just eating the individual vegetable. It was a nice contrast in flavor and texture with each bite.


Ina Herb Turkey Breast

In preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, I have been testing some turkey breast recipes from Food Network’s website. Earlier today I posted a review of a Guy Fieri recipe. The other one I tried out was Ina Garten’s (the Barefoot Contessa) Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast. This a simple turkey breast that is easy to make without too much fuss. It does not just a brine, just some seasoning directly on the meat right before cooking.

Click here to find the full recipe on Food Network’s website.

Here are my cooking note for this recipe:

Ina Herb Whole Turkey Breast

1. Usually I start in a blazing hot oven and then reduce the temperature. I decided to follow her instructions and go with the lower temperature of 325 for the duration of the cooking. And turned out perfectly fine.

2. I usually all the ingredients with exception of the white wine in the bottom of the roasting pan. She uses the wine to mix with the pan juices to ladle over the turkey when served. My turkey breast was plenty moist, so it is necessary, but if you want that extra flavor by all means go ahead.

3. I am glad that she calls for you to put the seasonings directly on the meat underneath the skin. I don’t usually eat the skin, so the flavor is going directly on what I do eat. If you look at the picture above you can see the herb mixture underneath the skin. Gets your mouth watering, huh?

4. I like the addition of ground mustard to the herb paste. It’s doesn’t stand out but just adds another dimension of flavor. I always have it on hand to add to my macaroni & cheese.

5. One thing I do not understand if all these Food Network chef (Guy said the same thing) say check the turkey with an instant read thermometer. This is the perfect reason to use a probe thermometer. Alton Brown has been recommending it for years. No having to try to position an instant read and then leaving a hole in the meat for liquids to drain out. A probe stays in there until after the meat has rested, so not juices will flow out. Also when you use an instant read you are opening the oven, decreasing the temperature and increasing the cooking time.

This turkey breast was amazing. I hit the perfect temperature of 165. The meat was very moist. I usually brine my turkey and this was just as moist. The only difference with the brine was the flavor of the brine was found in every bite of meat. The flavor of the herb mixture is just on the outside of the meat, so you need to cut it on a diagonal to get a taste in each slice.

I made this twice and both times came out equally as good. It’s an easy to make turkey breast for those going for just white meat this Thanksgiving.


Sausage and Herb Stuffing

Believe it or not, I have never made stuffing before. I know it’s a Thanksgiving stable along side the turkey, potatoes, and pumpkin pie. It was one of those foods from my childhood that I figured I did not like at all for whatever reason. As I am breaking down what I like and don’t like over the last couple years, it’s time to put stuffing under the microscope. I decided to try a recipe by Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa), mainly because it contains sausage, so how can you go wrong? Below you will find my notes from this recipe. Print the recipe on Food Network’s website.

Ina's Sausage and Herb Stuffing

1. If you are not using leftover homemade bread, make sure to find a store that sells day old bread for a discount and use that. Stale bread will be able to absorb more liquid that something fresh. I used a Vienna bread I found day old at a Meijer store.

2. Instead of Granny Smith, I used Northern Spy apples. I think they have a better flavor and still provide the tart punch. You could also use Honeycrisp. Make sure to pick something that hold it’s shape when cooked, you don’t want applesauce stuffing (at least I don’t)

3. The recipe calls for parsley, which is fine, but this is Thanksgiving and in my opinion the official herb of the holiday has got to be sage. There is something warm and comforting about eating sage in the fall. Plus it’s one of the few herbs remaining alive in my herb garden come November.

4. I saved some time by buying bulk Italian sausage instead of sausage already in a casing. Find a store with a good meat counter and you should be able to find sausage prepared just like ground beef. Not only did it save me time, but it was cheaper as well.

5. She recommends a 30 minute baking time and that is about what I did.

The stuffing (although really if it’s not in the bird, it’s called dressing) was a winner! My wife loves sausage stuffing, so she had no problem polishing it off. The apples and dried cranberries added a nice sweet/tart element to go along with the saltiness of the sausage and chicken broth. Would be even better with homemade turkey stock.


Food Network Thanksgiving Show Guide 2013

It’s that time of year again, time to celebrate all things Thanksgiving. If you are looking for new recipeps to try this Thanksgiving, let Food Network be your guide. There are tons of Thanksgiving programming on the network between now and turkey day with the highlight being the 3rd annual Thanksgiving Live! on Sunday, November 24th. This is a 2 hour special (from 12-2pm ET) where Food Network personalities (including my favorite Alton Brown!) will answer questions via e-mail, phone, Skype, social media, etc. It’s a fun show each year with plenty of recipes to try out.

Below you will find a list of shows airing on Food Network before Thanksgiving. You will find links to recipes that I have tried myself. All times are Eastern or Pacific. Episodes that are brand new this year as marked as such.

* – indicates recipes I plan to review this year

Saturday, November 9th

The Best Thing I Ever Made | Easy As Pie | 8am
Alton Brown’s Caramelized Grape Pie
Kona Mango Cream Pie
Turkish Borek
Shepherd’s Pie 2

Wednesday, November 13th

5 Ingredient Fix | Thanksgiving Feast from One Grocery Bag | 10am
Brussels Sprout Gratin*
Roasted Turkey Breast with Gravy
Cornbread Dressing
Ginger Pumpkin Tart*

Saturday, November 16th

Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction | Giving Thanks for Barbecue | 10:00am
Cajun Brined Turkey-Two Ways
Eggplant Casserole with Red Pepper Pesto and Cajun Breadcrumbs
Grilled Crawfish with Spicy Tarragon Butter
Grilled Potatoes with Crabmeat-Green Onion Dressing

Show re-airs Nov 18, 2013 @ 9:30am

Trisha’s Southern Kitchen> | No Fuss Thanksgiving – New | 10:30am
Turkey and Dressing Casserole
Homemade Turkey Gravy
Buttery Roasted Carrots*
Sweet Potato Pie

Show re-airs Nov 19, 2013 @ 5:30pm

Barefoot Contessa | Thanksgiving 2.0 | 11:00am
Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter
Turkey Hashed Browns
Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms*

Show re-airs Nov 19, 2013 @ 4:00pm and Nov 26, 2013 @ 12:30pm

Giada at Home | Thanksgiving Leftovers – New | 11:30am
Thankful Shepherd’s Pie*
Cranberry Barbecue Sliders With Celery Apple Slaw*
Eggs Benedict on Stuffing Cakes*

Show re-airs Nov 18, 2013 @ 3:00pm & Nov 29, 2013 @ 9:30am

Sunday, November 17th

Giada at Home | Thanksgiving Sides | 7:30am
Persimmon-Pumpkin Pie
Baked Mashed Potatoes with Peas, Parmesan Cheese and Breadcrumbs
Thanksgiving Turkeys
Sweet and Savory Root Vegetable Stuffing*

Show re-airs Nov 18, 2013 @ 3:30pm

Trisha’s Southern Kitchen | A Yearwood Thanksgiving | 8:30am
Grandma Lizzie’s Cornbread Dressing
Cranberry-Orange Relish
No-Baste, No-Bother Roasted Turkey
Sweet Potato Souffle

Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day | Thanksgiving Anytime | 9am
Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin Mac n Cheese
Ginger-Soy Carrot Soup*
Roasted Mushrooms, Parsnip, Potatoes and Spinach Casserole
Turkey and Mushroom Creamy Tomato “Gravy” With Gnocchi
Roasted, Brined Turkey Breast with Maple-Worcestershire Gravy and Fruit and Nut Rice Pilaf*

Guy’s Big Bite | Grateful Duck – New | 10am
Spice Rubbed Duck Breast
Creamy Celery Root, Fennel and Apple Salad
Cumin Roasted Carrots*
Garlicky Roasted Brussels Sprouts*

Monday, November 18th

Tyler’s Ulimate | Tyler’s Thanksgiving | 10am
Oven-roasted Turkey Breast with Leeks and Cornbread Stuffing
Roasted Turkey Gravy
Grainy Mustard Mashed Potatoes*

Secrets of a Restaurant Chef | The Secret to Brined Turkey | 2:00pm
Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy*
Sausage, Apple, and Walnut Stuffing

30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray | Keep On Giving | 2:30pm
Honey Mustard Dressed Greens with Apple and Pear
Turkey Pot Pie with Cranberry-Orange Corn Muffin Topping

Tuesday, November 19th

Down Home with the Neelys | Giving Thanks | 10:30am
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts
White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes*
Stuffed Turkey Breast

Ten Dollars Dinner | Thanksgiving | 1:30pm
Sweet Potato Empanadas
Cranberry Salsa
Turkey Taquitos*

30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray | Thankful in Thirty | 2:30pm
Easiest Ever Baked Stuffed Apples
Turkey Cutlets with Sausage and Zucchini and Tipsy Gravy

Giada at Home | Thanksgiving | 3pm
Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini
Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon
Chocolate, Chestnut and Orange Trifle

Wednesday, November 20th

Barefoot Contessa | Turkey – Not Just for Thanksgiving | 4:30pm
Creme Brulee
Perfect Roast Turkey
Thyme Popovers*
Vegetable Tian

Saturday, November 23rd

Sandwich King | Thanksgiving Sandwiches | 7am
Open Faced Turkey Stuffing Patty with Gravy and Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry BBQ Turkey Sandwich*
Mom’s Mashed Potatoes a La King

Pioneer Woman | Thanksgiving | 10am
Cornbread Dressing with Sausage, Apples and Mushrooms
Cranberry Sauce
My Favorite Turkey Brine
Green Beans and Tomatoes
Creamy Mashed Potatoes*
Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey
Pecan Pie
Turkey Gravy
Sweet Roasted Rosemary Acorn Squash Wedges*

Show re-airs Nov 24, 2013 @ 8:00am & Nov 25, 2013 @ 5:00pm

Giada's Cranberry Orange Turkey

Giada at Home | Thanksgiving Favorites | 11:30am
Cranberry-Orange Glazed Turkey
Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Risotto
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Sunday, November 24th

Barefoot Contessa | Thanksgiving Countdown | 7am
Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
Homemade Gravy
Sausage and Herb Stuffing*
Celery Root and Apple Puree

Show re-airs Nov 25, 2013 @ 4:30pm

Monday, November 25th

Alex’s Day Off | An Early Thanksgiving (Guests) | 10:30am
Stovetop Green Bean Casserole
Sugar-Cranberry Pie
Turkey and Stuffing


One of my favorite part of the Thanksgiving season is all the Thanksgiving shows on Food Network leading up to the big day. I love trying out new recipes from different Food Network personalities. It’s a great way to learn new techniques and flavor combinations that you can then become creative with. Last year I tried out a Shaved Brussels Sprouts from the Neeleys. I like the idea of chopping up the sprouts in a food processor. I have used this technique and tried out other flavors since.

Below you will find a list of shows airing on Food Network before Thanksgiving. I will review a selection of them myself so keep checking back for updates.

Guy’s Big Bite: “Thanksgiving”  | Saturday, November 10th @ 7am | Click here for recipes
Thanksgiving classics with a twist are prepared including Birthday Pork Roast, Red Devil Cranberries, Three Cheese Red Bell Pepper Ravioli, Whiskey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes.

Paula’s Best Dishes: “Thanksgiving Party” | Saturday, November 10th @ 10am | Click here for the recipes
Paula treats a group of deserving young men to a Thanksgiving meal that includes: a turkey-and-sweet potato shepherd’s pie, a harvest salad with a sweet-Dijon vinaigrette, and a cranberry upside-down cake.

Trisha’s Southern Kitchen: “A Yearwood Thanksgiving”| Saturday, November 10th @ 11am | Click here for the recipes
Trisha hosts Thanksgiving. The meal includes a roasted turkey, cranberry-orange relish, cornbread dressing, and a sweet-potato souffle.

Giada at Home: “Thanksgiving Sides” | Saturday, November 10th @ 11:30am & Monday, November 12th @ 3pm
Side dishes for Thanksgiving are prepared. Recipes include: baked-mashed potatoes with peas, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, sweet and savory root vegetable stuffing with apples and dried cranberries, and persimmon-pumpkin pie. She also makes a turkey cookie centerpiece that the kids will love.

Paula’s Best Dishes: “Turkey Time”| Sunday, November 11th @ 7am
The host’s cousin, Johnnie Gabriel, helps prepare Thanksgiving recipes including: roasted turkey with maple-apple cider, apple-cranberry stuffing, mashed potatoes with parsnips and rutabagas, and pumpkin pie.

Paula’s Home Cooking: “Southern Thanksgiving Leftovers”| Sunday, November 11th @ 7:30am
Dishes are prepared from Thanksgiving leftovers.

Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day: “Thanksgiving Before and After”| Sunday, November 11th @ 9am | Click here for the recipes
Dishes to be enjoyed before and after Thanksgiving include barbecue-turkey gumbo, bacon and brussels sprouts-mac and cheese, and egg noodles with turkey, fennel and onions. I will be giving at least one of these recipes a try (like my facebook page to find when I post my review)

Sandwich King: “Thanksgiving Sandwiches”| Sunday, November 11th @ 11am | Click here for the recipes
Jeff transforms Thanksgiving leftovers into sandwiches. Included: stuffing used as bread, and a turkey hero is made with cranberry barbecue sauce. Also, Jeff’s spin on his mom’s mashed potatoes. I want to try using the stuffing as bread recipe once I have my leftovers ready (like my facebook page to find when I post my review)

BF’s Barbecue Addiction| Monday, November 12th @ 9:30am
Bobby Flay grills a Thanksgiving feast. On the menu: Cajun brined turkey, grilled Idaho potatoes with crabmeat and green onion dressing, grilled crawfish, eggplant casserole with red pepper pesto and Cajun breadcrumbs.

Alex’s Day Off: “An Early Thanksgiving”| Monday, November 12th @10:30am
Turkey with spicy sausage stuffing, sugar-cranberry with homemade crust, stove-top green bean casserole with fried shallots.

Giada at Home: “Thanksgiving”| Monday, November 12th @ 3:30pm | Click here for the recipes
Giada switches it up, preparing pork chops for Thanksgiving. Recipes include: Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini
Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon, and Chocolate, Chestnut and Orange Trifle

Barefoot Contessa: “Thanksgiving Pot Luck”| Monday, November 12th @4:00pm
A Thanksgiving feast, featuring turkey roulade, homemade gravy, roasted vegetables, cranberry conserve, and gingerbread cupcakes with orange frosting.

Barefoot Contessa: “Thanksgiving”| Monday, November 12th @4:30pm
A Thanksgiving meal. Featured: Cornish hens, corn-bread stuffing, celery root puree, Italian broccoli.

Down Home With the Neelys|Tuesday, November 13, @ 10:00am
The Neelys celebrate Thanksgiving with recipes for stuffed turkey breast with sweet Italian sausage stuffing, white cheddar mashed potatoes, shaved brussels sprouts with bacon and walnuts, and pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting.

Cooking for Real: “Game Changing:| Tuesday, November 13th @10:30am
Turkey with quick pan gravy is made, along with cherry-lemon relish and parsnip puree.

30-Minute Meals: “Gobble It Up”| Tuesday, November 13th @2:30pm
Thanksgiving dinner with an Italian twist, featuring turkey ragu with polenta and dark greens with cranberries.

Barefoot Contessa: “Thanksgiving 2.0”| Tuesday, November 13th @4:00pm
Thanksgiving dishes are prepared, including truffle butter turkey, sausage stuffed mushrooms, roasted brussels sprouts, and turkey hash browns.

Barefoot Contessa: “Thanksgiving Countdown”| Tuesday, November 13th @4:30pm
Herb roasted turkey breast, served with sausage and herb stuffing, homemade gravy and celery root and apple puree.

Throwdown With Bobby Flay: “Pumpkin Pie”| Wednesday, November 14th @ 9:30am
A pumpkin pie bake-off against Michelle Albano, owner of Michelle’s Pies in Norwalk, Conn.

5 Ingredient Fix: “Thanksgiving” Wednesday, November 14th @ 10:00am
How to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Included: a two-day timeline, a shopping list, tips for choosing a turkey.

30-Minute Meals: “Keep On Giving” |Thursday, November 15th @ 2:30pm
On the Menu: turkey pot pie topped with cranberry-orange corn muffins, honey mustard dressed greens with apples and pears.

Big Daddy’s House: “Gobbling Good” | Friday, November 16th @ 9:30am
On the menu: mini quiche with Thanksgiving stuffing, sweet and savory turkey paninis, roasted corn and brussels sprouts succotash, and spiked apple cider cocktails.

Good Eats: “Fry Turkey Fry”| Friday, November 16th @ 11:00am
A look at deep-fried turkey. Included: how to get the best flavor and texture when deep frying the bird.

30-Minute Meals: “Thanks Me Later” | Friday, November 16th @ 2:30pm
Included: turkey cutlets with gravy, raw stuffing salad, walnut ice cream with maple cream berries.

Barefoot Contessa: “Turkey–Not Just For Thanksgiving” | Friday, November 16th @ 4:30pm
Herbed butter roast turkey, paresan popovers, vegetable tian and creme brule.

The Best Thing I Ever Made: “Easy as Pie” | Saturday, November 17th @ 8:00am
Alton Brown, Anne Burrell, Scott Conant and Sam Choy share their favorite pie recipes. Included: shepherd’s pie, grape-caramel pie (click here for Alton Brown’s recipe), Turkish borek, and cream pie.

Giada At Home: “Thanksgiving Favorites”| Saturday, November 17th @ 11:30am
Cranberry-orange glazed turkey served with roasted root vegetable salad and pumpkin and goat cheese risotto.

Deen Brothers Thanksgiving| Saturday, November 17th @ 12:00pm
Bobby and Jaime Deen cook Thanksgiving dinner for the entire family, including proud mother Paula.

Alton’s Countdown to T-Day| Saturday, November 17th @ 1:00pm | Check out my episode review
Alton makes a stress free turkey day but starting the planning 4 days ahead of time. In this Good Eats special he makes: Bourbon Pecan Pie, Butterflied, Dry Brined Roasted Turkey with Roasted Root Vegetable Panzanella, Turkey Giblet Gravy, and Whipped Potatoes

Guy’s Bite Bite | Sunday, November 18th @ 10:30am
Turkey Cordon Bleu is made, along with twice-baked sweet potatoes and green-bean casserole with homemade mushroom gravy

Fresh Food Fast | Sunday, November 18th @ 10:30am (Cooking Channel)
Honey-lemon-thyme roasted Cornish game hens, pan-roasted Brussels Sprouts with pancetta, cheddar and green onion spoon bread, and butternut squash cobbler

Good Eats “Romancing the Bird” | Sunday, November 18th @ 11am
Alton Brown’s classic episode where he finds a way to reverse the “dry turkey curse” that has plagues his family for years. Includes the instructions on how to make the Good Eats Roast Turkey, the most commented upon recipe in Food Network website history.

Thanksgiving Live | Sunday, November 18th @ 12:00pm (replayed at 6pm), Monday, November 19th @ 4pm, Wednesday, November 21st @ 10am
Thanksgiving related questions and deilemmas posed by viewers as well as offer tips, hints, and recipes to make the holiday meal a success.


Ina Garten's Beef Barley Soup

I think often people only think of beef, when they hear the words barley. While barley has many uses, I am definitely all for the beef and barley combo. I have made this kind of soup before, but I am always open to new techniques and recipes. So after an episode of the Barefoot Contessa aired this past weekend, I decided to give Ina’s Rich Beef Barley Soup a go. In this episode, Ina visits a fire station planning to serve them a meal right after their fire drill. Along with the soup she also makes sloppy joes, caramel pecan sundaes, and stilton dressing.

This soup is a bit different than you might be use to. She uses oxtails and beef stock to make a rich tasting soup. Oxtails don’t have a lot of meat on them, but they do have a lot of flavor. At the end I found the meat to be too tough to actually shred for serving in the soup.

Here are my notes from this recipe. You can print off the recipe at Food Network’s website.

1. I picked up some oxtails at the store for $3.99/lb. I was hoping for a bit cheaper but I wasn’t going to spend the extra gas to go out of my way.

2. I used my Lodge Dutch Oven to make this soup. It’s a great tool for browning meat and cooking soup in.

3. She recommends canned beef stock but I would never use canned. Too salty and the quality is poor. You are better off buying the stock in a carton, using a beef base, or using homemade.

4. I really like that she uses leeks. Leeks are overlooked. I think they have a better flavor than onions (which I know is also in the recipe, but I omitted them)

5. Give your vegetables the amount of time they need to start browning. This will increase their flavor and the overall flavor of the finished product.

6. Unfortunately I was out of bay leaves, but I did have some fresh thyme. I just threw the leaves into the pot without tying them.

7. Ina cooked the barley in a separate pot. I thought this was a waste of energy and pots. I just added them half way through cooking the soup. This also gave them a chance to take on some of the flavor of the liquid.

8. Since I was planning on eating for my meals at work this week, I refrigerate the soup when done overnight. This also give a chance for all the fat to rise to the top, so I could remove them more easily. Plus I always think beef soups taste better the next day!


This is Ina Garten’s second Thanksgiving episode. In this show she makes up a turkey with truffle butter, uses leftover turkey for turkey hash browns, roasted Brussels sprouts, and sausage-stuffed mushrooms. She offers some unique spins on classic Thanksgiving dishes, so let’s dig in.

Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter | Click here for the recipe
I have seen recipe for turkey using butter before but this one ups the anty (and the price) by using truffle butter. Not exactly a way to roast the turkey on a budget. You could replace the truffle butter with any other good quality, cheaper option, and I am sure the turkey would come out great. Ina is of my same philosophy that stuffing doesn’t belong inside the bird as it slows cooking time. She wisely uses that empty cavity to throw in some aromatics like thyme, onion, and garlic. If I ever decide to not make Alton Brown’s turkey, then I might give this one a try.

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms | Click here for the recipe
Ina offers a new twist on stuffing. Instead of stuffing it into the turkey, she choose another vessel – mushrooms. Another unique twist is that she choose to use Panko bread crumbs instead of bread in her stuffing. My wife liked this idea a lot, except maybe without the sausage.

Turkey Hashed Browns | Click here for the recipe
I am not sure why she is calling these hash browns. They are basically just pan fried cubed potatoes that she threw some leftover turkey in with some seasonings. That still probably would be good, and I am likely to try it, but I would not call them hash browns.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts | Click here for my review of this recipe
Now this dish I have done on my own. It was the first time I ever cooked Brussels sprouts, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to think. However I actually found that I didn’t despise them as I thought I would .

If you have tried any of these recipes or plan to I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.



I am not a big fan of salad dressing myself. Mainly because I don’t like mayo, which is a key ingredient in most dressings. But that doesn’t mean I won’t make a batch for my wife who does like it. She was craving some blue cheese dressing, so I went on a search for a recipe and discovered a good one by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. Below you will find my notes from this recipe. For the full recipe, visit Food Network’s website.

1. I purchase some good Roquefort blue cheese from Trader Joe’s. They had a high quality blue cheese at a really decent price.

2. I did not have tarragon vinegar. So I used the vinegar I did have, which was rice wine, and then added some fresh, chopped up tarragon from my herb garden.

3. It was easy to just dump the ingredients into a Cuisinart food processor, the dressing came together really well and fast!

My wife absolutely loved the dressing, said it was the best blue cheese she has ever had. The recipe say it serves 4, but those would be really, really generous servings. When it make this for my wife again, I will probably at least cut the recipe in half.


The following words bring a fear to the hearts of many people: brussels sprouts. Kids and adults alike run for the hills when the see these little green balls of slime being prepared. Like many green vegetables they have been given a bad rap because people just didn’t know how to prepare them right. If you overcook them, they fill the house with a terrible odor and their appearance is even worse. But if you cook them right, your taste buds are in for a delight. The best way to cook them may be to roast them. Leaving the water out of the cooking process will keep them from becoming a slimy mess. When you roast them, you add a nice caramelized flavor to those mini cabbages.

For my first attempt to cook brussels sprouts, I followed the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten’s instructions. It’s pretty basic, just oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Then roast them for 400 degrees on a sheet pan until perfection. She recommend 40 mins, I think in my oven it came out to be a little less. If you wish to see the full recipe, visit Food Network’s website. There is a video available for viewing.

The sprouts came out good. Simple and easy side dish. Ina says she likes her to be nice and salty, kind of like french fries. So a little additional salt at the table, is nice. The carmelization you get from roasting, counteracts the bitterness that sprouts can bring to your taste buds.

Recipe Grade: B+


Ina Garten Cornmeal Onion Rings I have to be up front here. I am not a fan of onion rings, or onions for that matter. But my wife likes them and saw a recipe she liked on an episode of the Barefoot Contessa. This recipe differs from other onion ring recipes in that it includes buttermilk and cornmeal. Below you will find my notes from this recipe. For the full recipe, visit the Food Network website.

1. We used Spanish Onion as Ina suggested. When in season, Vidalia onions would make a great choice.

2. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use regular milk with a little bit of lemon juice in it to bump up the acidity. Really try to use buttermilk, it’s tang will add another level of flavor to these rings.

3. The cornmeal is there to provide an extra crunch. I love Bob’s Red Mill cornmeal. It has excellent flavor!

4. As Ina says, don’t overcrowd them when frying. You don’t want them to stick together. Also you don’t want to lower the temperature of the oil too much by adding too many “cold” rings.

My wife absolutely loved these rings. The crispiness provided by the cornmeal really made these the best she ever had.

Recipe Grade: A


Eric Profile Transparent Background


I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.

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