Holiday Sangria

holiday sangria recipe

The holidays are upon us! You know what that means. Time for cocktails! As much as I love a good margarita in the summer, there is something to be said for holiday cocktails. They always have a little bit of spice and that cozy feeling. I decided to try to turn one of my summer favorites into a winter favorite by making a holiday sangria. You can definitely make a warm Spiced Wine, but I love the simplicity of dumping everything into a pitcher and getting to the drinking part, don’t you?

Oh, and if you’re traveling this year for Thanksgiving and going anywhere near snowed-in Michigan like me, bring enough ingredients to make a few pitchers. It sounds like we might be snowed in for a few days.

Holiday Sangria Recipe:

1 750 mL. bottle red wine
1 cup Cranberry juice
1/2 cup Apple liqueur
3 Cinnamon sticks + 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Orange – sliced
2 Apples – cubed
1 cup fresh cranberries

I actually used a bottle of local West Virginia Wine from Lambert’s Vintage Wines. This particular bottle is called American Spice and it has all the flavors of the holidays (think cinnamon and nutmeg), so it was perfect for this holiday sangria recipe!

lamberts wine american spice

I also am sticking with the local theme and used this Apple Pie Moonshine from Forks of Cheat Distillery as my apple flavor in this sangria. Moonshine in sangria? When in Rome West Virginia.

apple pie moonshine

Pour your wine, apple liqueur and cranberry juice in a pitcher. Add all your fixins and stir.

holiday sangria ingredients

Let sit for at least an hour in the fridge and then serve with some ice and a few extra cranberries for pretties.

holiday cranberry sangria

holiday sangria

Cheers and happy Thanksgiving, y’all! I hope you are spending time with your families and eating until you need to put your sweatpants on!


Homemade Green Bean Casserole

homemade green bean casserole recipe

Let me start out by saying that I LOVE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE. And I mean the canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, mushy, casserole-y, classic that I eat 4 helpings of on Thanksgiving. That being said, my fiance doesn’t love it. He doesn’t like any canned vegetables. I think he is crazy, but that doesn’t mean I want him to starve. I’m not cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year (phew, thanks family!), but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to show Ben that green bean casserole can be made with fresh green beans and that he might actually like it.

Homemade Green Bean Casserole Recipe:

1 lb. fresh green beans – trimmed and cut
2 + 1 Tablespoons butter
8 oz. white mushrooms – sliced
2 garlic cloves – minced
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half & half or cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup French’s Onions
Additional 1 cup French’s Onions for topping

First, you want to get your green beans ready by snipping off the ends and cutting them into rough bite size pieces. This is optional, but I don’t like trying to maneuver whole green beans on my fork.

fresh green beans

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, add your green beans and let them cook for 5 minutes, until they’re bright green.

Use a slotted spoon to remove all green beans from the boiling water and into a large bowl of ice water. Set aside.

blanched green beans

For the gravy, melt the first 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauce pan on medium heat, then add your mushrooms.

white mushrooms

Let saute for about 5 minutes, until they’re brown and soft. Next, add your garlic and saute for another minute.

Stir in your flour and another tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle in your salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and nutmeg and let the flour get brown, about 3 minutes. It will almost look like your mushrooms are coated in a paste.

sauteed mushrooms

Add your chicken broth and bring back up to a simmer, still on medium heat, for about 2 minutes. It will thicken up quite a bit.

homemade condensed mushroom soup

Pour in your half & half or cream and stir regularly until thickened, about 8 minutes.

homemade cream of mushroom soup

Drain your green beans and add them, along with the 1/2 cup French’s Onions to the gravy.

homemade green bean casserole ingredients

Transfer everything to a baking dish.

homemade green bean casserole

Sprinkle the French’s Onions all over the top.

green bean casserole recipe

Bake at 400-degrees for 15 minutes, until the top is golden and the gravy is bubbly.

green bean casserole

baked green bean casserole

ps. Ben enjoyed this version, but I still say Long Live the Classics!


Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe:

3 Tablespoons butter
3 peeled carrots – chopped
3 celery stalks – chopped
1 white onion – minced
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 cups shredded or diced chicken
5-6 cups homemade chicken stock – Recipe below
3 cups water
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon ground sage
Egg noodles – Homemade egg noodle recipe

Chicken Stock Recipe:

14 cups water
5 lb. roster chicken + giblets – roasted meat removed, set aside
3 garlic cloves – peeled
1 white onion
3 unpeeled carrots
3 celery stalks
5 stalks of flat leaf parsley
4 Thyme sprigs
1-1/2 Tablespoon salt

Get all your veggies chopped up into large, rough pieces.

Chicken Stock Ingredients

Then, you’ll just put your meatless chicken body (that made me laugh out loud) in a large soup pot along with your rough chopped vegetables and your thyme and parsley.

Homemade Chicken Stock Ingredients

Next, you’ll cover everything with water. I ended up using 14 cups total. Add about 1-1/2 Tablespoons of salt.

You’ll let this simmer on medium heat (you want bubbles, but small ones. No big bubbles!) for about 3-4 hours until everything has reduced by about half.

Next, you’ll want to strain everything. I removed all the big pieces of chicken and vegetables with a slotted spoon and then I poured the stock into a bowl through a small mesh strainer and it was all ready!

If you’re not going to use it right away, which I didn’t, you’ll want to cool it down as quickly as possible to store in the fridge. I emptied my ice bin into the sink and then set my bowl with all of my delicious chicken stock in the ice. I added water until it was nearly to the top of the bowl and when the broth was cool, I stored it in the fridge overnight.

Cooled Chicken Stock

When you’re ready to use it, you’ll just scrape off the fat at the surface.

Skim Chicken Broth

Skim Homemade Chicken Stock

Now it’s time for soup! Melt the 3 Tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot, add your diced carrots, celery and onion.

Homemade Chicken Soup Ingredients

Cook until they become slightly tender, about 7 minutes. Add your minced garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant, another minute.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Ingredients

Pour in your 5-1/2 cups chicken stock and 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add your chicken and noodles and keep it on a low boil for another 10-20 minutes until your noodles are cooked. If you’re using homemade, thick egg noodles, you may need the full 20 minutes.

Stir in more fresh parsley, thyme and your ground sage and enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade Chicken Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe