Thrifted Find: Glasbake French Casseroles

I see these little Glasbake handled bowls at thrift stores fairly often — usually in plain white milk glass, with slight variations in the shape of the handle. They are frequently referred to as chili bowls or soup bowls, but I think their size is better suited to ice cream. Either way, they were originally sold as “French Casseroles,” intended for individual baked sides.

I was thrilled to find this beautiful set of four colors, complete with original lids, on the Goodwill online auction site. I believe they were part of a “Patioware” set that included square serving tiles — don’t think I’ll ever find those. But the colors are so cheery, I hardly mind. These rank pretty high on my list of favorite pieces!

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Hearty Kielbasa and Brussels Sprout Soup

Our family loves brussels sprouts. We eat them at almost every holiday meal, and at plenty of regular meals too. I’m thinking my daughter is the only kid in her class who is happy to see brussels sprouts in her lunch bag at school.

This year we happened to have them for dinner on both Christmas Eve (sauteed) and Christmas Day (roasted). And then a few days later, we accidentally ordered 2 lbs more in our Imperfect Produce delivery. So naturally I was looking for a different way to prepare a whole lot of brussels sprouts, and settled on soup.

Kielbasa is commonly paired with cabbage in soups, so why not use brussels sprouts instead? They bring a lot of flavor and texture to the dish, complemented by the subtle smokiness of the kielbasa and smoked paprika. Add some garlic bread and you’ve got the perfect antidote to chilly winter evenings.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb kielbasa, sliced into thin rounds
4 carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 small onions (or 1 large), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp smoked paprika
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 lbs brussels sprouts, sliced thin
salt
pepper

In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute the kielbasa in olive oil until lightly browned. Remove the kielbasa and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pot.

Add the carrots, celery and onion to the pot and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute more. Add bay leaves, smoked paprika, chicken broth and potatoes.

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the reserved kielbasa. Simmer for another minute or so until the kielbasa is hot, then serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Country Festival P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Fruit Basket P-43-B Petite Pan 

Christmas Dinner 2017

Keeping up my new tradition of documenting my holiday cookware

I’m not hosting Christmas dinner this year, but I still get to contribute to the cooking for a big family meal. I happen to have a lot of these Corning Ware mini casseroles, so I’m planning to put them to use for some individual gratin potatoes.

After seeing these casseroles repeatedly at thrift stores, I started collecting them to use as everyday dishes (when I got to 12 I cut myself off). They’re a great size for snacks, salads and recipe prep, and I’ve been dying to find some time to use them for baking. So tomorrow, gratin potatoes, and next maybe some creme brulee or chocolate pudding!

Pictured: Corning Ware French White F-15-B Oval Casserole (x12)

Favorite Ginger Cookies

There’s something about the flavors of molasses and warming spices that reminds me of holidays spent baking, indulging and making merry. This recipe, which comes from a childhood friend, combines ginger, cinnamon, cloves and molasses in a slightly chewy, slightly crunchy package that is high on my list of favorite cookies. While you can mix the dough by hand, it’s much easier — and faster — if you have a stand mixer.

Makes about two dozen

Ingredients

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Add molasses and egg, beat well.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients, then add to the sugar mixture, beating in a little at a time until well combined.

Roll the dough into balls (about 1 1/2 inches diameter), then dip in sugar to coat. Place the balls 2 inches apart on a baking sheet that’s been greased or lined with parchment paper. Bake until lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack.

Pictured: Pyrex Flamingo 909 Pie Plate, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Recently we had family coming over for dinner, but we were going to be away from home all afternoon. Perfect scenario for a slow-cooked meal! I decided to make white chicken chili with all the fixings, and it was a big hit. One nice thing about this recipe is that it’s relatively mild — despite the three jalapeños (they mellow out a lot when cooked). Then you can spice it up to taste with toppings.

Adapted from the White Chicken Chili in Slow Cooker Revolution.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped fine
3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp canned fire-roasted green chiles
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
salt
pepper
1 tbsp masa harina
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions and jalapeños until translucent and slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in cumin, coriander and green chiles. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the broth, scraping up any browned bits, and transfer to slow cooker.

Add the beans and 2 cups more broth to the slow cooker and stir. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker, making sure all the pieces are mostly submerged. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone easily, about 4-6 hours.

Keeping the slow cooker on, remove chicken and shred into bite-size pieces (discard the bones). Once the chili has settled, remove as much fat as possible by skimming the surface with a large spoon. Stir back in the shredded chicken and let sit a few minutes until hot.

In a small pot, simmer masa in 1 cup of chicken broth for about 10 minutes to thicken, then add to the slow cooker. Stir in cilantro and add salt to taste. Serve with an array of toppings.

Toppings:

  • lime wedges
  • sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce (Tabasco or similar)
  • red pepper flakes

Pictured: Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware French White F-15-B Oval Casserole, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-81-B Menuette Saucepan, Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-41-B Petite Pan (x4)

Thrifted Find: Pyrex Bake, Serve & Store Set

These versatile little casseroles are among my favorite — even must-have — Pyrex pieces. The Bake, Serve & Store Set came in three incremental sizes: 1 pint (model 471), 1 1/2 pint (472) and 1 quart (473). They’re great dishes for dips, small sides, leftovers … I’ve even heard of people using them for ice cream or cereal.

The Woodland 471 and 473 (on the right in the photo below) were two of my very first thrift store Pyrex finds — I couldn’t believe it when I saw them on the shelf at Hope Thrift. Then because I’m impatient, I bought the Woodland 472 on eBay to complete the set. I found the Spring Blossom set (on the left) on Goodwill’s online auction site — and since I was a beginner at the time, I didn’t pay attention to the model numbers and thought they were going to be larger casseroles. Lesson learned: Sense of scale can be way off in photos! I found a lot of the lids at Goodwill and Savers, which have typically been my best source of lids. Some of my current lids are chipped, so I am always on the lookout to swap them out for more pristine pieces.

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One of the nice things about the Bake, Serve & Store lids is that they can be inverted for easy stacking. The same is true for Pyrex refrigerator dishes. I can just imagine a mid-century refrigerator loaded with stacks and stacks of Pyrex!

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

The best thing about making your own hot chocolate mix is you have total control. You can go with whatever type of cocoa you like, use more or less sugar, add a favorite spice — the possibilities are endless. The basic ingredients are sugar, cocoa powder and salt, but I was inspired by Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa Mix recipe to add a little cayenne. And it’s seriously good! It’s not enough to taste spicy, but adds a layer of flavor that really enhances the chocolate.

 

Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar (baker’s sugar is nice because the grains are finer — but it’s not essential)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne

For the mix: Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined. The recipe can be scaled up to make a bigger batch if desired.

For making hot chocolate: In a small pot over low heat, whisk 2 tbsp of the mix into 1 cup of milk (or scale up in the same proportion) until hot and smooth. Don’t allow the milk to boil.

Extras:

  • Make a chocolate marshmallow latte: Decrease the sugar in the mix to 1 1/2 cups. When serving the hot chocolate, add enough marshmallows to form a foamy layer at the top of the mug.
  • Make it spicy: Increase the cayenne in the mix to 1/4 tsp (or more to taste).
  • Make it Mexican: Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon to the mix.
  • Make it boozy: Spike with your favorite liqueur (can’t go wrong with Baileys Irish Cream or Kahlua) or vodka.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex 508 Measuring Cup, Corning Ware Spice O’ Life P-81-B Menuette Saucepan, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate