Friday, December 30, 2016

Top Recipes of 2016

2016 has been chock full of tasty recipes, and I'm so grateful for every reader that has stopped by Gas Stove Girl this year! In fact, the blog hit a big milestone - over 100,000 all-time page views! I am looking forward to even more deliciousness in 2017, and until then here is a round up of your favorite Gas Stove Girl recipes from the past year. Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Tasty New Year!! 

A perfect recipe to warm you up this winter, this soup is a fun, creative mash-up of classic chicken and rice soup with spicy Indian curry. A little bit spicy and a whole bunch of flavor, it's no surprise this was the top reader (and writer!) favorite this year!

Who says pumpkin is just for the Thanksgiving season?! These waffles are lightened up with a bit of oat and wholesome wheat flour, a great low-guilt recipe to kick off the new year. 

These doughnuts, oh lawdy. Tender, fluffy, and extra sweet, this recipe is my best copy-cat version of the decadent Dunkin Donuts Blueberry Cake donut. That sweet glaze with juicy fresh blueberries is, literally, the icing on the cake! 

The ultimate mash-up of my two favorite carbs - soft pretzels and bagels! Turns out, it's not that hard to make either of these, and it's even more fun to make them into one salty, chewy bread. Put this recipe on your bucket list - I know you can do it! 

There was a clear trend this year of me taking two or more of my favorite things and combining them into one irresistible dish. This dip is no different! Creamy, dreamy spinach and artichoke dip, plus hearty smokey hummus - what could be better?!

Have your pie and drink it too! I think that's the saying ;-) This rich cocktail is loaded with all the wonderful spices of pumpkin pie, thanks to pumpkin liqueur and Rumchata - this cinnamon cream liqueur is decadence in a bottle!

A simple homemade ice cream recipe loaded with everyone's favorite spread - Nutella! The name says it all. 

Here I go again! Two of the best Mexican dishes, smashed together to create a spicy, fulfilling breakfast (or brunch...or dinner, for that matter). Don't skimp on the salsa or sour cream!

An adult spin on a childhood classic, these popsicles are glasses of frozen sangria on a stick! Sweet, tangy, boozy, and delightful. 

Whether you are serving these over pasta for dinner or dipping in marinara as an appetizer, Chicken Parmesan Meatballs are a must make recipe! All the flavors of chicken parm, packed down into tender little meatballs. And let's not forget the pièce de résistance...these meatballs are STUFFED with CHEESE! Yes, please!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese

I think I'm going to be on Santa's naughty list this year...

Look at this mac and cheese!

I don't want to make sweeping declarations on this site, buuuut...borderline best thing I've ever made? Right here: Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese is the answer to all of life's problems.

Let me tell you all the reasons why this dish makes me all heart-eyes-emoji. First, there is cheese. 12 ounces of cheese, to be exact. A mixture of sharp cheddar and melty, dreamy monterey jack in a homemade cream sauce. A generous portion of leftover pulled pork, most likely cooked low and slow in a Crockpot until fork tender and smokey. Barbecue sauce, a lot of it, and honestly it better be Sweet Baby Ray's because there isn't any other BBQ sauce worth eating. All of this layered between beds of al dente whole wheat pasta - and we aren't really going for "nutrition" here...I just like the toothy bite of whole wheat pasta and how it holds up so well against rich, decadent ingredients.

Now, this all seems well and good, but every masterpiece needs a cherry on top. Do you see that golden brown, crunchy topping? That's a mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs, butter and ((pause for dramatic effect)) French's crispy onions! YES - those salty, greasy nuggets of goodness that typically go on top of green bean casserole are going on top of our pulled pork mac. Heavenly!

So, if you ask me, that should all be enough to convince you to add this to your dinner menu ASAP. But if it's not, let me just add that I have had dreams about this dish. I can't get it off my mind. When we had our first bite, the hubs and I went wide-eyed, speechless, eating as much as fast as we could. You want this, you NEED this. Let's indulge :-)

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Lemon Cake with Cranberries

It's cake time!

That's my favorite time, in fact. Especially when it involves this delicious Lemon Cake with Cranberries!

In my humble opinion we don't use fresh cranberries nearly enough, particularly in baked goods. When cooked for a long period of time, they become juicy and sweet, yet are still delightfully tart.

Cranberries and citrus also go together that peanut butter and jelly or New Year's Eve and champagne! Though typically paired with orange in muffins or loaves, I happened to find myself with an abundance of lemons to go with half a bag of leftover cranberries. Thus this cake was born, and man am I glad it was!

There's no denying that there is lots of fresh lemon flavor in this cake. Not only will we rub a tablespoon of freshly grated lemon zest into our sugar (lemon sugar! genius! distributes flavor into the entire loaf! YAS!), there is also plenty of lemon juice in the cake plus a sweet lemon glaze on top. We are in it to win it!

Be sure to work this cake into your holiday breakfast plans! Sweet, tart, festive, and delicious.

P.S. Don't those cran-bebes look like jewels studding the cake?! Swoon!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mexican-Style Beef and Chorizo Stew

Well, it's official C.O.L.D. here in Boston. But that's OK! Seriously, it is. That means we can eat soup and stew every night of the week and not feel bad about it.

I love wrapping myself up in a big cozy blanket with a big bowl of soup next to the Christmas tree on the couch--for me, that's what the holiday season is all about! It doesn't take much to keep us warm this time of year. And today, I'm bringing you a recipe that is going to warm you up from the inside out!

In an effort to mix up a classic, I set ahead and made this aahh-mazing recipe for Mexican-Style Beef and Chorizo Stew. A classic beef stew with the flavor turned way up. It's like beef stew meets spicy taco soup. Yum, yum, and more yum!

The base, of course, is meat and potatoes. Stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces, plus a bunch of diced red potatoes to be exact. As for the heat, a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis and a heavy pinch of chili powder and cumin are just what we need. Why stop there, though? It's cold and snowing and we want spice! Diced chorizo--that's right, that smoky hot cured sausage--is the answer.

Now, generally, when I start making something new, I kind of don't know when to stop (or rather, I don't want to stop). That was just the case with this stew. Once I had sausage in the pot, the dish was begging for a can of a hearty beans. I used pinto beans because they are mild and tender. They just melt in your mouth after simmering on the stove for an hour or so. Finally, as a slightly sweet balance to all that flavor, I dumped in a bunch of whole kernel corn. Alas, I had it.

Oh, and of course, it's worth mentioning the leftover potential here. It's a crazy time of year, so having a few meals tucked away in the freezer for whenever we need them is a game-changer. This stew is delicious the day you make it, just as (or, possibly, more) tasty the next day (lunch!), and tailor made for freezing and reheating all month long. Thank you and you're welcome.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Fried Pumpkin and Sage Arancini

AKA Festive Balls of Happiness!

That's what these are, and I would love it if I could perhaps insist that you add these to your holiday party menu.

Fried Pumpkin and Sage Arancini is the exact type of recipe we need in our arsenal this type of  year. Indulgent and bursting with flavor. Crunchy yet creamy, salty and a tiny bit sweet. This is the recipe that will take center stage on your buffet table and impress your guests for days after.

About a year ago, we first dipped our toes into the world of homemade arancini. It was a little bit scary, but we learned a lot. We learned that arancini, in any form, is totally delicious and will most definitely fly off the table. We learned you can't eat just one. We also learned that, no matter how much we doubt it, arancini is actually not all that difficult to make. With a little planning and a little patience, we all can do it - seriously, we can!

I should also tell you that you can make these ahead, freeze 'em, and then reheat them when you are getting ready to serve them!  Simply follow the entire recipe below, cool the arancini completely, then store in between layers of parchment paper in a freezer bag. Once frozen, they will keep for about 2 months. When ready to serve, place them on a rack set over a baking dish and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes until hot throughout. See!? As if the golden brown crust and oozing centers didn't convince you, this proves that these really are the perfect party appetizer!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Recent Eats - Volume 4 and Thanksgiving in Review!

A round-up of my favorite bites and other food drama from the past few weeks

And just like that, Thanksgiving has come and gone! Are you in full-on Christmas mode yet? I wasn't into it, but then my husband encouraged me to start decorating and, needless to say, I couldn't stop! We still need to trim the tree and put some outside lights up, but there is certainly holiday cheer all around. Now, what should I bake...?

Keep reading to see what tasty bites I've been eating this month (and yes, there is a turkey involved)!

Thanksgiving 2016

If you follow me on Instagram, you will see that I successfully hosted my first Thanksgiving! The day could not have been better! We had my parents and sisters as well as my husbands parents and sister for a total of 9 people, ourselves included (dog, cat and tortoise not included). As a first-time hostess, living in a 2 bedroom apartment outside of Boston, this number was perfectly manageable.

What was on the menu?

- Turkey! I wanted to go the easiest route possible without having an abysmally dry bird. Using the method outlined below actually resulted in a moist (seriously! not dry!) and super flavorful turkey.

First, I'd recommend getting a fresh turkey. Most major grocery stores have both fresh and frozen options, and choosing the fresh one meant no worries about defrosting or cooking a frozen bird. Just be sure to buy it the week of (we bought ours Sunday evening to cook on Thursday) and that the expiration date is after Thanksgiving.

As for the size, the internet is at odds with how much is a good amount. Between one and two pounds per person should be more than enough. For 9 meals, we had a 17+ pound turkey and I'm sure I don't have to tell you that, yes, we are still working through leftovers. I'd recommend getting as close as you can to one and a half pounds per person for dinner and a few days of leftovers. Cooking time is also dependent on the size. The best estimation I found is 13 minutes per pound, but if you stuff/truss it that may vary.

Here's how I prepped and cooked it (grab a detailed printable copy here). Take the bird out of the refrigerator,unwrap it, and remove giblets and neck 1 hour prior to cooking to rest and come to room temperature. Place your turkey in a rack in a roasting pan un-trussed, but tuck the wing tips under the bird. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine half a cup of salt with the zest of one orange and one lemon, as well as a teaspoon or so each of dried rosemary and thyme. Rub the salt all over the turkey - skin, cavity, under the skin if you're feeling frisky. Melt 1 stick of butter in a small saucepan and brush the butter all over the turkey skin. Stuff some chopped carrots, celery, and onion plus a sprig or two of parsley in the cavity. Carefully pour in about an inch of chicken broth in the bottom of the pan. Put it in the oven and pray (kidding/serious). After 45 minutes, remove the bird and baste it in more melted butter. At this point, I loosely tented mine with a double thickness of aluminum foil to prevent burning. Every 30 to 45 minutes after this, take the bird out and baste it with some of the melted butter as well as some broth from the bottom of the pan. When you are in the last hour of cooking time, remove the foil. Once a thermometer plunged into the thigh read 165 degrees and the pop-up thermometer in the bird popped, I removed the turkey from the oven (it was about 4 hours and 15 minutes for my bird), tented it again with foil and allowed it to rest 1 hour before carving (during this time, we did a mad blitz to warm up the sides and make the gravy).

- Gravy! Nothing crazy here...and semi-homemade. The process was quite simple and quite delicious: I skimmed the fat off the bottom of the roasting pan but left in the rest of the delicious drippings, melted in half a stick of butter then sprinkled 3 heaping tablespoons of flour on top. Using a gravy spatula, I whisked it all together over medium-low heat until no clumps remained. After that, whisk in about 3 cups of chicken broth and heat until starting to thicken. Then, as a little cheat, I add 1 jar of store-bought turkey gravy. This extends the amount of gravy and binds the whole dish together. Season as appropriate - too simple!

- Stuffing! Well, actually, it was "dressing" and it came straight from the wonderful Pioneer Woman's A Year of Holidays Cookbook. I left out the cornbread and used only ciabatta and Italian loaves, then I added a big tablespoon of fresh chopped sage and a bit of lemon zest. My Dad said this was one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable dishes - a win in my book!

- Grandma's Carrot Casserole! That's the one in the casserole dish that is oozing delicious cheesy sauce all down the sides and has the beautiful crunchy golden brown topping. I plan on getting this on the blog soon because it would be AH-mazing with a spiral ham! Christmas, anyone?

- Garlic Green Beans! Crunchy, buttery, tossed with garlic, a bit fancy and yet oh so simple. Bonus - no oven space required! I strongly recommend at least one dish that doesn't need the oven, and this recipe comes from Ina Garten. It's foolproof!

- Parker House Rolls! If it isn't broken, don't fix it! That's my motto with these rolls. I went with the par-bake brown and serve method. It was wonderful to get these done two days ahead of time. Again from The Pioneer Woman...she saved my Thanksgiving ;-)

- Candied Sweet Potatoes! My Mom brought these all the way from Long Island to Boston and they were addicting! Tender sweet potatoes, swimming in a glorious glaze of brown sugar and butter. It's true perfection.

- Potato Casserole! My mother-in-law brought this dish. It is a classic family recipe and it FLEW off the table. In fact, I think my younger sister had 90% potato casserole, 10% other offerings on her plate...

- Dessert! Pecan Pie (Pioneer's the BEST), perfectly smooth Pumpkin Cheesecake, and the most beautiful double crust apple pie, courtesy of my sister-in-law! Team work makes the dream work.

- Drinks! Apple Cider Sangria, beers of all kind, red wine and white wine! Something for everyone. Pro-tip: I spent a lot of time researching the best wines to pair with turkey/Thanksgiving dinner...grab a bottle each of Reisling and Pinot Noir! Yep! Something for everyone.

Icelandic Candy

Cory and I honeymooned in Iceland, and other than the fact that it's one of the most breathtaking places I've ever been - they also have the MOST delicious chocolate. Seriously. It's sweeter and smoother than American chocolate. And I think it ruined me. I had one bar called Florida that just rocked my world. I've been talking about it a lot recently so I finally scoured the depths of the internet and found a site that delivered!

It may seem crazy, but ugh! This candy. Imagine a super crunchy Kit-Kat, drenched in the best chocolate ever mixed with crunchy rice, then coated in a thin layer of coconut. More, please!

Maine Brew Bus

For our first anniversary, I treated Cory to a little weekend getaway in Portland, Maine. The trip revolved around one big activity - the Maine Brew Bus! If you love craft beer and find yourself in southern Maine, we absolutely recommend grabbing a tour on the brew bus! The craft beer industry in Maine is absolutely exploding, and the brew bus takes you to three different breweries - designated driver and new friends included. We had 4 tastings at each brewery, plus a mid-tour snack. Our snack was a Kale, Potato and Feta hand-pie from a local bakery. It was like spanikopita but in a buttery, flaky pie crust! I'm still dreaming about it and also very interested in recreating it at home! Fingers crossed for a recipe soon...

Pumpkin Sage Arancini

Speaking of recipes I owe you guys, this is one for the ages! Creamy, dreamy pumpkin risotto, bursting with fresh sage and grated parmesan, all wrapped up in golden brown, crunchy ball. This is a showstopper recipe and it turns out - it's not nearly as hard as it looks! But are they tasty? Well, let me just say, there are not enough words to describe how unreal these tasty bites truly are. Come see me next week and I promise you won't be disappointed!

Tell me - what did you make for Thanksgiving? What else are you eating and drinking this holiday season!?