I’ve done a few of these Thanksgiving round up posts in the past and was going to skip it this year until I found myself googling “slow cooker Thanksgiving side dishes” last night.

Jim has an office lunch tomorrow and they don’t have much in the way of a kitchen for cooking or reheating.

I figured if I was still in the planning stages, maybe some of you are too.

So here we go with some Last Minute Thanksgiving Suggestions!

Click HERE, there’s more!

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It’s finally happened. We’ve lost our ever-loving spatchcocking minds and have flattened Thanksgiving dinner!

If you’ve been around this website for awhile, this should come as no big surprise.

Remember last fall when we were spatchcocking chickens left and right for Buttermilk Roast Chicken and my favorite Smothered Chicken?

Well, we proved then that spatchcocking, which is flattening or butterflying the bird, creates a more even cooking surface for a moister, more tender chicken.

Happily, the same is true for the good old Thanksgiving Turkey!

Spatchcocking is the answer to a tender, juicy bird that cooks in less than HALF the time that it takes to roast a traditional turkey.

Unless you stuff your bird, which you obviously can’t do with a flattened bird, I see no downside to this method.

In fact, this was by far the best turkey I’ve ever cooked.

Here’s what you need:

The obvious things….a turkey (preferably a fresh one so you don’t have to deal with those days of thawing in the fridge), butter, salt & pepper. Extras that I recommend for better cooking and better flavor are a carrot, a celery stalk, onion, and bay leaves or thyme.

If this is your first turkey spatchcocking experience, you will most likely need to buy a pan large enough to accomodate the flattened bird.

I’ve shown the photos below not to promote these brands but so you can see that my pan on the left is quite large (15×21) with the cooking rack being just slightly smaller.

A regular cookie sheet will not do the trick. This pan is double the size of my next largest baking pan.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Chicken á la Crème or Poulet á la Crème, as Jacques calls it, is the first recipe I’ve tried from my wonderful new Jacques Pepin Cookbook.

It is beyond delicious!

My friend Cody gave me this cookbook for my birthday back in September and I’ve been ogling the recipes, beautiful photos, and Pepin’s own illustrations waiting for a day off to shop and cook.

As you can see, Henry (or perhaps for this post we should call him Henri) has decided that he likes Jacques just as much as I do.

He gave the new cookbook quite the full cheek rubbing treatment.

The interesting thing about the recipe for Chicken á la Crème, is that even though it tastes rich and luxurious, it does not take special ingredients or very long to prepare.

In fact, this recipe should take just about 45 minutes start to finish.

Here’s what you need:

Chicken, Mushrooms, White Wine, Heavy Cream, Butter, Flour (GF is fine), Fresh Tarragon, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Chicken á la Crème Shopping List

In the preface to this recipe, Jacque mentions that his mother used to prepare this dish with a whole cut up chicken and that is what I have here. I’ve ditched the back and wings into my freezer bag for making stock so I have 2 breast halves, 2 thighs, and 2 legs.

The recipe in the book uses 6 chicken thighs so you can see that you have some options to use the chicken that you prefer, have on hand, or happen to see on sale.

You could probably even use the good old boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I have a hard time imagining anything not being delicious in this sauce.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Yesterday my friend Larry was telling me about a group of people out in North Dakota or someplace who sit around and make up those “national days” of the year then put them on Twitter. 

You know…Black Cat Day, followed by Crazy Cat Lady Day, Eat Pie Day, etc.

Why should those folks get all the power? I think we need a national Baked Winter Squash Day.

We can even give it a hashtag so it is Internet Official.

This isn’t a recipe so much as a method. I wasn’t even going to post this, thinking that it was too basic, but judging by the number of people in the grocery store THIS MONTH who have randomly asked me, “What do you do with that? Is that a gourd? Can you eat it?,” I think this post is right on time.

Winter squash come in many sizes, shapes, and varieties. Pumpkin, Acorn, and Butternut are three of the most popular. If you have a farmer’s market that is still going, you can find really cool varieties that don’t always make it to the supermarket.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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This is definitely one of those weeks where I have to work on being more patient and learn to let a few things go…

I apologize that there was no post this week. I’m traveling but had recipes planned for you. Unfortunately Microsoft and Best Buy royally screwed up and incorrectly locked us out of our word processing software. Everything I had done is held hostage in my computer. I am unable to edit or post printable recipes. Jim has spent 3 days and many phone calls to try to fix this.

Hope to have a new recipe for you by Monday. Meanwhile, use that search bar and cook something you’ve never tried before.

And until I can get you new recipes, here’s a picture of my Minnesota cat friend!


Every day when I come back to my friend Karl’s house, his cat runs down the driveway yelling at me about her day.

Have a great weekend.

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We’ve never done a TBT – Throw Back Thursday here at Idiot’s Kitchen but today is the day!

I’m often asked two questions about this website:

1.) What is my favorite recipe?


2.) What is the most popular recipe?

The favorite is a hard one to answer because…well, I like food.

The most popular is easy…

According to the google and all those other little widgets that keep track of these kinds of things, it’s Baked Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions by a LANDSLIDE!

So, if you’ve never made it, now’s your chance to throw way back to the beginning days of Idiot’s Kitchen in 2011.

Here’s the orignial post for Baked Italian Sausage.

I still do everything in the recipe the same way (except I now have GF pasta) and this remains at the top of our list of favorite meals.

In fact, I just bought the ingredients today to make this on Sunday night when I get home from a crazy weekend of playing ballet. This is MY kind of comfort food!

Oh, and as long as we’re throwing back…

How cute was baby Henry?


GAH! Those ears!

Happy Thursday and Happy National Cat Day!

TBT – Baked Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions

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Last week when I posted the recipe for Braised Pork Chops with Carrots I gave you just a little sneak peak at what turned out to be my favorite part of the meal…

Corn, Zucchini & Spinach Gratin!

While I love the traditional creamy, cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin, I feel like those are just a little too sinful for everyday eating.

However, this lovely gratin is chock full of vegetables. Corn, zucchini and spinach are all packed in there making this a much healthier alternative.

But don’t worry, we didn’t skimp on the cheese or cream.

Here’s what you need:

Corn, Zucchini, Spinach, Onion, Garlic, Fresh Thyme, Eggs, Milk (not pictured), Heavy Cream, Olive Oil, Cheddar Cheese, Pecorino Romano Cheese, Nutmeg, Salt & Pepper

Click here for a Corn, Zucchini & Spinach Gratin Shopping List

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Prep the vegetables by finely chopping 1 small onion (about 1 cup) and 2 cloves of garlic.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Sorry that posting here at Idiot’s Kitchen has been a bit light lately.

I have a couple of times in the orchestra season where my schedule gets completely crazy. This is one of those times.

There’s not a lot of time for anything other than flute playing, driving to and fro, and in the case of last week, flying to Minnesota THEN driving to and fro.

Thankfully there are recpies like this Crockpot Beef Stew to get us through those crazy times.

In a sign of just how busy I was when I made this, I decided about halfway through to take a few quick photos with my iPhone just in case this stew turned out to be something worth sharing.

Happily, Crockpot Beef Stew turned to taste awesome, make a ton, and is even better leftover.

Some of our usual photos like the ingredient lineup are missing here, but hopefully it’s not too tough to get the idea.

Here’s what you need:

Beef Stew Meat/Chuck Roast Cubes, Onion, Carrots, Celery, Frozen Corn, Potatoes, Frozen Peas*, Red Wine*, Diced Tomatoes*, Beef Broth/Stock*, Fresh Thyme*, Dried Oregano*, Bay Leaves*, Salt & Pepper* (* ingredients not pictured, sorry!)

Click here for a Crockpot Beef Stew Shopping List

Stew is not a precise science so don’t worry if you are a little short of this or that ingredient. These are all approximate measurements.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Braised Pork Chops with Carrots is one of my favorite recipes from my dad.

Both of my parents are good cooks and, aside from scarring me for life by refusing to buy me an Easy Bake Oven, one of the reasons I love food and cooking.

I’m not sure where this recipe came from (for some reason the American Heritage cookbook comes to mind) but I do know that the original recipe had the carrots stuffed inside the pork chops.

You only have to attempt to stuff carrots in a pork chop once to know it’s not the best idea.

By the time the chops were browned and turned in the pan, all the previously stuffed carrots had fallen out.

Never one to waste a lot of energy on futile things like carrot stuffing, Dad pretty quickly decided those carrots would be just as good spooned over the top of the chops. And he’s right!

This is another great recipe that is certainly worthy of cooking for company but also easy enough to put together quickly on a weeknight for the family.

Here’s what you need:

Pork Chops, Carrots, Onion, Thyme, Chicken Broth, Olive Oil, Flour (GF is fine), Salt & Pepper

Click here for a Braised Pork Chops with Carrots Shopping List

Cutting the carrots and onion into a nice, small dice is key. I’m using half of one small onion and 3 skinny carrots – about 1/2 cup each.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Easy Carrot Salad!

My mom used to make this when I was a kid and it was my job to grate the carrots. I never minded because whoever did the grating got to eat the little carrot nubs too.

We always called this Carrot & Raisin Salad but I was afraid that if I put raisins in the title, people like my husband would skip right over this recipe.

Besides, the last time I made this, I used Craisins or dried cranberries instead of raisins and I think I might like that even better.

This is one of those good old fashioned salads – super simple to make and it goes with everything!

Here’s what you need:

Carrots, Celery, Lemon (optional, not pictured), Raisins or Craisins, Mayonnaise, Salt & Pepper

Click here for an Easy Carrot Salad Shopping List

(Shhhhh…the kitchen helpers are snoozing.)

Click HERE, there’s more!

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