No-Turkey-Needed Gravy

Before learning about no-turkey-needed gravy, we wanted you to know that we posted our favorite green bean recipe over on our friend Amanda’s fashion blog, Little Miss Fearless today. IF you are needing inspiration for Thanksgiving sides, go check it out!

Gravy

This is my favorite gravy for Thanksgiving for 3 reasons.

  1. You can make this recipe up to 4 days ahead of all the chaos of prep and timing dinner with the turkey being finished. Just microwave and voilá! There’s less dishes on the day of and you can look like a wiz of a host. Not hosting? You can still make this recipe and bring the gravy! It’s ground breaking – I know!
  2. This gravy is not made off the turkey grease. Yes, turkey skin might be delicious, but the grease it produces is not equivalent to bacon grease, so don’t fool yourself in thinking it’s full of flavor. This gravy is made on the “holy trinity”. A staple of many recipes and great soups the “holy trinity” is the dynamic trio of onion, carrot and celery. The color of this gravy comes from the vegetables and flour until their well browned.
  3. It’s delicious, smooth and full of flavor. You can’t beat it on your potatoes or for any meal year round.

 

Gravy

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
1 rib celery, chopped fine
1 onion, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
5 whole black peppercorns
salt and pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook until softened and well browned, about 9 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly browned about 5 minutes.

2. Gradually whisk in the broths and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.

3. Pour the gravy through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: To double the recipe, just add 50% to the cooking times.

 

No Turkey Needed Gravy
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sauce
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 rib celery, chopped fine
  • 1 onion, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook until softened and well browned, about 9 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly browned about 5 minutes.
  2. Gradually whisk in the broths and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.
  3. Pour the gravy through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.

 

5 Tips to Making Better Chocolates {Bonus: How to Host a Chocolate Party}

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I heard about a chocolate party on Saturday and immediately I knew I wanted to attend. Sure, some people party with loud music or dancing, some people pretend that Tupperwear is a party, but for me chocolate is where partying is at.  My cousin Echo over at Favorite Family Recipes invited me with the promise that the chocolates we would make were some of the best that she had ever tasted. I learned a few things about making chocolate that I can’t wait to use at Christmas truffle making time, but what impressed me most was just how much fun we had together in the kitchen. Most of us were strangers going into the party, but at the end we sounded like we’d been friends since the 6th grade with all the laughing, story-telling and tears falling. Time in the kitchen making quality food brings people together.

Here are my five take home tips from these experts over at Charmeur Chocolates:

Tip #1: When making fondant for the centers of the chocolate, you should not stir in the sugar that crystalizes on the side of the pot. The temptation is to scrape the side of the pan with a spoon to get the sugar crystals back into the fondant. But, that sugar won’t dissolve like it should, so don’t do it.
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Tip #2: . Watch the candy thermometer for a general idea of when to start testing the fondant, but don’t depend on it. Start testing the fondant before the thermometer registers 240º.  If you wait for the thermometer to register at 240º, then test the fondant to see if it is at softball stage, it might be too late and the fondant will turn into a crumbly mess.

Tip #3: When dipping chocolates, the room should be cold. We had the windows wide open on an unusually cold fall Saturday and so were all in sweaters as we dipped.

Tip #4: It’s better to dip with your hands than to dip with a tool. Andrea, the chocolate expert swears that it is faster, and you get more chocolate.

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Tip #5: It is so much more fun to dip with friends (or strangers who become your friends). I usually make my truffles on my own or just with my kids, but it was so fun to be there with a group of ladies telling stories and life experiences.  It seemed like the lone male, Forrest, from Clark’s Condensed was having a good time, so I’m going to use my Charmeur kit to throw a Charmeur chocolate making couples party for Valentine’s Day. My eight year old daughter came along too and she had a blast playing in the kitchen. I can definitely see this working with a group of young boys or girls with a few extra adults on hand.

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The great thing about the women behind Charmeur is that they want to share their passion for chocolate and time together in the kitchen with everyone. They have instructional videos and creative recipes (my favorite is the cinnamon bear chocolate) on their website.  You can purchase their chocolate making kit that comes with their patented fondant stirring tool and cute packaging materials, so that you can make delicious chocolates on your own. My favorite part of the package is that they include these wonderful flavored oils that really intensify the flavor of the chocolate.

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You feel professional stirring the chocolate with their fancy tool. I love how it magically all comes together at the end.

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I feel like so many of us rush through the Christmas season; making chocolates is a way to spend that precious time with family and friends and you get a bonus treat at the end of the day. I think the best parties should involve chocolate and now it’s OK if our grandmas didn’t teach us how to make them; Charmeur has us covered.

How to Host a Chocolate Party pinterest

Pumpkin Chili

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I like it when my toddler sees a vegetable and eats it to his delight just as much as you do. But, sometimes my best laid plans just don’t work like they are supposed to and it’s been a couple of days since he has eaten anything that is green or leafy. I don’t want all of our vegetable experiences to be hidden; if he’s part of this family he has to learn how to eat them, but sometimes I don’t have any fight left in me. That is where this chili comes into play. It’s spicy and meaty like any good chili should be plus it has the hidden pumpkin that nourishes the three year old without him even knowing.

We loved this covered in cheese with a dollop of sour cream. It’s officially made it on the chili rotation list.

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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground white or dark meat turkey
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper and jalapeño and stir until the onion has softened, two to three minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the turkey and cook until browned.  Sprinkle with the chili powder, cumin and cinnamon and stir. Add the tomatoes, pumpkin and chicken broth and bring to a boil.Reduce heat to medium-low, add the beans, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Check on it every five minutes or so and stir to make sure it’s not getting stuck on the bottom of the pan.

Recipe adapted from these two recipes: Whole Foods and the Green Forks.

Pumpkin Chili
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1½ jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground white or dark meat turkey
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1½ tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper and jalapeño and stir until the onion has softened, two to three minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the turkey and cook until browned. Sprinkle with the chili powder, cumin and cinnamon and stir. Add the tomatoes, pumpkin and chicken broth and bring to a boil.Reduce heat to medium-low, add the beans, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Check on it every five minutes or so and stir to make sure it's not getting stuck on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Recipe adapted from these two recipes: Whole Foods and the Green Forks.

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