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What Leftovers? Mashed Potato & Cheddar Soup with Stuffing Croutons

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‘Tis the season for leftovers, because this mama is pretty cooked out. Really, I’ve spent weeks cooking, cleaning, shopping, serving, etc… I just want to plop on the couch and ignore the impending doom that is the end of my long weekend.

Usually, I don’t get into the leftover craze. I either try to plan my meals well enough to prevent a huge surplus of food, or I divvy them up among my guests so that everyone has a second taste of the meal, but this year, I have a lot of stuffing and mashed potatoes. I chose to freeze some, but I was also in the mood for some soup. Potato soup is the perfect dish to compliment a cold beer and a good football game! This soup is so creamy and full of flavor, you will find it hard to believe that it was simple mashed potatoes in a previous life.

Mashed Potato & Cheddar Soup with Stuffing Croutons

Ingredients:

2 cups of mashed potatoes (I used roasted garlic mashed potatoes)

1 1/2  cups of chicken broth

1/2 cup of light cream

4 oz. of extra sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup of leftover Simple Sausage Stuffing

2 scallions, sliced thin

Preparation:

The Croutons—Spread 1 cup of stuffing onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, until the bread is toasted and crispy on the outside.

The Soup—Meanwhile, on the stove top, pour cream and broth into a large stockpot and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add mashed potatoes, 1 cup at a time, whisking briskly. Once all of the mashed potatoes have been blended into the soup, simmer until it’s hot.  Chop cheese into small chunks, or shred it, then add to the soup and stir until it is melted and incorporated. Once the cheese is melted, and the soup is hot, it is ready to be served.

Presentation—Spoon the soup into individual bowls, then top with the toasted stuffing and scallions. Serve immediately. This soup pairs well with a fall beer.

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My Super Renegade, Rebellious Ciabatta Stuffing

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Look out people, I’m on a rant. Yup, it’s only been five minutes since my last post, but I’m on a roll. I have been nursing my wounds all week from the news that I was not allowed to “go all food fairy” with Thanksgiving this year. Apparently, change is not appreciated in my family with regards to the Thanksgiving meal, but I have other plans. On this, the most peaceful of holidays, I am waging war on tired recipes. Today, I am thankful for my creative mind, and my cooking skills. Today, I plan to go rogue, be the lone wolf, and make a maverick stuffing! (Ok, I still plan to also serve the preferred Simple Sausage Stuffing, but whatever!)

My rebellion was a departure from all of the traditional ingredients. I swapped dried bread cubes for a loaf of fresh ciabatta bread. I’ve ditched the onions for shallots & garlic, and I tossed the celery in favor of fennel! The sausage stayed, because it’s tasty. I pureed, sauteed, tossed, and baked. Then we tasted, smiled, and let the satisfaction seep in. I have done it. I have created a stuffing that my kids adore! In fact, they cried when I swatted their hands away and stashed the new deliciousness for its formal unveiling tomorrow. Mission complete, rebellion successful, personal satisfaction.

I am now one happy lady that did “go all food fairy” this year, and I’m pretty damn proud of myself!

HA!

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Ciabatta Stuffing with Fennel & Sage Pesto

Ingredients:

3 loaves of fresh ciabatta bread

4 cups of chicken stock

1 roll of sage sausage

1 bulb of Fennel

4 shallots

4-5 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup of fresh parsley

10-15 fresh sage leaves

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 Tbsp. of olive oil

Preparation:

Cut the bread into large cubes and place them in a large roasting pan.

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Next, brown the sausage in a large skillet, until fully cooked. Drain and set aside, but do not wash the pan.

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Now, combine the parsley, sage, thyme, garlic, shallots, and olive oil in a food processor and chop until fine.

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Dump the pesto into the same pan that you used to cook the sausage.

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Coarsely chop the white bulb of the fennel into pieces (save the pretty tops), and add to the pan.

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Sautee for 5-7 minutes over a medium heat until the fennel starts to soften and the garlic and shallots have also browned a bit. Next, add the stock and stir, de-glazing the pan and scraping up all of the yummy leftover sausage bits.

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Toss the drained sausage with the bread cubes, then add the liquid mixture, pouring it evenly over the bread and sausage.Use a large spoon to toss the stuffing, ensuring that everything is well mixed, but being careful not to smoosh the bread into a paste.

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Once it is well mixed, chop the feather fronds of fennel and sprinkle them evenly over the top of the stuffing to make it look really pretty. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until it is hot and the cubes on top are brown and crispy.

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My Mother-In-Law’s Stuffing

I recently had the opportunity to write a guest post for the website http://www.justshortofcrazy.com be sure to check out my post here My Mother-in-law’s Stuffing and check out her other very helpful posts!

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Simple Sausage Stuffing

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Ingredients:

4 loaves of stuffing bread or white bread (torn into 1-inch pieces and left out to get a bit stale)

or

2 large bags of dried, seasoned stuffing cubes

One bunch of celery

3 large yellow onions

2 tubes of sausage

2 large cans of chicken broth

2 sticks of butter

4 tbsp. of fresh sage, finely chopped

2 tbsp. of poultry seasoning

Saute sausage, drain, and crumble. Set aside.

Chop onions and celery finely and saute in butter and spices until soft.

Add one can of chicken broth and simmer for about 10 minutes

Combine bread with the celery and onion mixture in a LARGE mixing bowl

Add more broth as needed until it’s just moistened. (you can also add a few basters full of juices from your turkey broth if it is too dry)

Season with salt and fresh ground pepper ( you may need to add more seasoning, if you did not use seasoned bread)

Gently fold in sausage

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until it is hot throughout and brown around the edges. Approximately 45 minutes.

***This makes enough to compliment a family of stuffing lovers and a 10-12 pound turkey.

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