Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chef Chris Black to the rescue with delightful Thanksgiving recipes

Looking for some new recipes to spice up your Thanksgiving meal? Try out these two irresistible dishes created by LongHorn Steakhouse's Executive Chef Chris Black.

The dishes work well with an alternate entree, too. Chef Chris Black celebrates "Steaksgiving" with a standing rib roast. Oh, my…just imagine the leftovers from that!

Mushroom Stuffing


  • 2 cups Shiitake mushrooms, sliced ¼” thick
  • 1 cup green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup celery, sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. fresh sage, rough chop
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • Cornbread


  • Heat oven to 350F. Grease 9x13 baking dish.
  • In a saute pan warm the EVOO.
  • Add mushrooms, onions, celery, sage, S&P. Sweat vegetables over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Cool mixture in refrigerator.
  • Crumble cornbread into bite size pieces. Scramble eggs in a bowl and combine with cornbread, cool vegetables, stock and heavy cream. Pour into baking dish.
  • Bake for 35 minutes.

Feeds 4 people.

Cornbread for Mushroom Stuffing

  • 1 cup self-rising white cornmeal
  • ½ cup self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk, more or less
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons green onion, minced
  • Dash hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • Pepper or garlic powder, if desired

  • Heat oven to350F. Heat 9” Cast iron skillet.
  • Combine the cornmeal and flour with the salt and sugar.
  • Blend in the egg and add enough buttermilk to make a thick batter.
  • Add any green onion and other optional ingredients you want.
  • Grease skillet well.
  • Pour batter into hot skillet and bake about 45 minutes. Until tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.

Brown Butter Cake

  •  sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

·       Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle. Butter and lightly flour an 8 1/2-by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
·       Heat butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it begins to foam, then you can turn the heat down to low. This will help to control the browning process, when the milk solids turn color to deep brown, it will be done.
·       Transfer to a shallow bowl and chill in freezer until just cool, about 10 minutes.
·       Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
·       Cream together the cooled brown butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
·       Add eggs 1 at a time, continue to mix well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
·       At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated.
·       Transfer batter to pan, smoothing top, then wrap pan on counter to settle batter. Bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan 30 minutes, then invert cake onto a rack and cool completely, right side up, 1 hour.

Feeds 5 people.

Wine Poached Pears

·       2 cups white wine
·       1 cup sugar
·       1 lemon, juice and zest
·       ¼ star anise
·       ½ stick cinnamon
·       1 vanilla bean, split
·       20 each black peppercorns
·       4 ripe pears, Bartlett, Bosc or Sekel

  • Combine all of the ingredients except for the pears, in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  • Add the pears and cook for about 25 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife.
  • Cool the pears in the poaching liquid.
  • Remove cool pears.
  • Return liquid to a pan then heat to reduce to a syrup.
  • Cool. Drizzle over pears and cake. Top with whipped cream.

Feeds 5 people.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Urban Accents Gourmet Gobbler Turkey Brine Giveaway

Urban Aceents has a great bunch of gift packs available for the holidays that any foodie would be thrilled to get. But, hey, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Instead of talking Christmas, let's back up. Thanksgiving is also quickly approaching and another new product being offered by the gourmet spice company is a turkey brine kit. One of these bad boys = a pretty awesome turkey for your meal centerpiece on Thanksgiving.

So far, I've really enjoyed the products I have tried from Urban Accents, including several of their meat glazes and the corn on the cob seasoning. The folks at Urban Accents were kind enough to send me some samples of their newest products, including the Gourmet Gobbler turkey brine kit that I'll be giving away to a reader. The all-in-one kit will help ensure you'll have a moist and juicy bird! Want to win it? Follow Chicago Foodie Sisters and Urban Accents on Facebook and then leave a comment below about your favorite Thanksgiving ever…what made it so special? The food? The people? The location? Contest ends at noon on Thursday, November 20.

Now back to Christmas, be sure to visit and check out some of the great gift ideas!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Returning to Round the Clock for lunch

When we had a new place open up in Lansing called Loubie's, I was really excited about going there for breakfast. I loved the skillet I had there and made it back for breakfast several more times. It has since changed names to Round the Clock, but still operated by the same family and the same great breakfast items I liked are still on the menu.

It wasn't until this past month that I made it there to dine in for lunch. I still was tempted to order breakfast since I know how good the breakfast items are, but I decided to try something new and look over the lunch menu. I was meeting my friend, Michelle, and arrived a few minutes before she did. While I waited for her, I had one of these fresh, warm rolls with butter. Michelle's lucky she arrived when she did because I probably would have eaten the second one, too. I love warm rolls and these ones were well worth the carbs and calories.

There's a big menu and it took Michelle and I both a long time to decide. I decided on a classic club sandwich. At first, I saw that the price was about $9 and thought that was a little high for a sandwich, but then I noticed that it also included a soup or salad, fries and a dessert, in addition to those yummy rolls. That's quite a bit that you get for $9.

I've heard people rave about the lemon rice soup, so I had to give it a try. It was tasty. I like lemon rice soup, but I think it would be even better with some nice chunks of chicken breast. :)

Michelle had been hoping for some tomato soup and a grilled cheese, but the other option was potato soup, so that's what she tried out.

She settled on a classic BLT.

I got a classic club sandwich, which I thought was really good. I love when I order a turkey sandwich that has nice thick slices of turkey rather than thin, floppy lunch meat. I'd order this again for sure. The fries were also seasoned a bit, which was an added bonus.

Michelle got a piece of cheesecake as her dessert. I did, too, but took mine to go and then it was inhaled by one of my kids before I got a bit. So, I can't give a report on the dessert, but it looked pretty good. I'm glad I ventured out of the comfort zone and gave the lunch menu a try. It ended up being a good amount of good-quality food at a good price. I'll keep it in mind for a lunch spot next time I want to head out for a quick lunch close to home.

Round the Clock
17601 Torrence
Lansing, IL

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mom's Classic Meatloaf

Once in a while I get a taste for meatloaf like my mom used to make. That happened recently, so I just had to make some. Her recipe is pretty simple and what I like best about it is that she'd cover the top with ketchup before cooking.

1 1/2 pound ground round
2 eggs
1 envelope onion soup mix
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the ground round, eggs, soup mix, water, bread crumbs and salt and pepper. Shape into a loaf. I put mine into a foil lined loaf pan. Then cover the top with a thick layer of ketchup. Bake for about 1 hour at 400 degrees.

And of course, when you have meat you have to have potatoes. I decided to make some loaded mashed potatoes from scratch. I peeled, diced and boiled about 8 medium potatoes in salted water. When they were done I mashed them with a masher and added milk, sour cream, shredded co-jack cheese and bacon. Yummo!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Panera's You Pick Two

I love everything about Panera. I love sandwiches and they have a great variety of cold and hot sandwiches on wonderful fresh breads. I love their salads that come in big portions with a variety of fresh ingredients. I love their soups and that they serve a big chunk of French bread to dip in them. that they have lemon slices out near the soda fountain to put in my water. I love the quiet atmosphere where I can tuck myself away in a corner and surf the internet while I enjoy my lunch. 

It's one of those places I reserve for my quiet time. I don't think my kids have ever even eaten there. It's where I go to relax when I'm by myself, like I did last week when I dropped my son off for his theatre arts class at the Munster Performing Arts class. I dropped him off and had about 50 minutes to myself and decided to stop over for a sandwich at Panera. However, I usually go for the You Pick Two rather than ordering just a sandwich. The only downfall is trying to make a decision with so many options available. This time I got a 1/2 turkey panini with a 1/2 cobb salad. It was my first time trying the salad and I really liked it. Now it's going to be even harder choosing between that and the broccoli cheese soup when I get a sandwich off the You Pick Two menu.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Denny's offering seasonal menu

The folks at Denny's have a new menu full of fun seasonal holiday items. Take a peek:

America’s Diner serves delicious and affordable festive fare

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Oct. 6, 2014) – As the holiday season approaches, Denny’s is celebrating some of America’s favorite festive flavors with the introduction of its limited time “Season’s Flavorites” menu. Featuring a tasty twist on traditional holiday fare, the new menu combines sweet and savory seasonal bites with a serving of Denny’s everyday value and variety, making dining out delicious and affordable for the whole family.

“For more than 60 years, eating at Denny’s has become a much-loved holiday tradition and a time for family and friends to enjoy great food and quality time together,” said John Dillon, @DillonJohnW, vice president of marketing for Denny’s. “We believe that time spent at the table should be about making memories and being with your loved ones, which is why each year we strive to offer a hassle-free holiday celebration that combines the festive flavors our guests know and love, with the same value and variety that we provide every day.”

Denny’s most iconic dish has been given a fall-inspired makeover with the Build Your Own Holiday Slam™ featuring two delicious new additions: the Gingerbread French Toast and sinfully sweet Pumpkin Pancakes. The new Pumpkin Pancakes Breakfast offers guests a seasonal taste with two fluffy pumpkin pancakes topped with pumpkin whipped cream, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and served with two eggs cooked to order, hash browns and a choice of two bacon strips or sausage links.

For a savory twist on tradition, the new Hot Turkey Dipper is guaranteed to hit the spot; tender sliced turkey breast topped with melted Swiss cheese, Onion Tanglers™ and mayo sit inside grilled ciabatta bread and served with a choice of stuffing or wavy-cut French fries with cranberry sauce and gravy. For a classic feast, the Holiday Turkey & Dressing Dinner offers tasty sliced turkey breast, savory stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce served with a choice of two sides and dinner bread.

Of course no holiday dinner would be complete without a sweet treat to finish your meal. Guests may indulge in Denny’s decadent new Red Velvet Milk Shake, featuring vanilla and red velvet ice cream and a swirl of cream cheese icing, or Red Velvet Pancake Puppies®, made with white chocolate chips and sprinkled with powdered sugar. For a budget-friendly bite, Denny’s offers Pumpkin or Pecan pies for just $2 a slice from the 2,4,6,8 Value Menu®, or take the festive flavors to-go with a whole pie for just $8.99.  

Comedy is also on the menu with Denny’s new animated web series, “The Grand Slams” featuring a delicious cast of characters - Egg, Pancake, Sausage and Bacon – based on the brand’s most iconic dish, The Grand Slam™. Guests can get to know the breakfast bunch by visiting, where they can follow the gang’s adventures during the holiday season.  

Launched nationwide, Denny’s “Season’s Flavorites” menu is available all day, every day; the menu includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and late-night items. For more information please visit