Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Hello. My name is Alissa and I am an oatmeal-aholic. I am. *sigh*

My all time favorite oatmeal flavor is cinnamon apple. However, my recent new oatmeal passion is this Banana Nut Oatmeal.

I love oatmeal with all of my heart. I actually look forward to having oatmeal every morning. It’s my favorite breakfast and my favorite thing about chilly mornings. Nothing is more cozy to me than a warm comforting bowl of oatmeal. It’s like getting a hug from your favorite person while wearing wool socks in front of a cozy fire in a fabulous log cabin with Otis Redding on repeat on the record player.

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’ve been making this delicous Banana Nut Oatmeal every morning lately which is the perfect marriage between banana nut bread and creamy oatmeal.  It is also a fabulously healthy way to start your morning during this crazy holiday winter season. The chia seeds and flax seeds help boost the nutrition, fiber content, and protein content which will help you stay full throughout the morning.

I typically work out in the mornings and have to hurry myself getting ready and end up eating breakfast at work while checking my emails. That is why I prep my breakfast the night before. I add all of my oatmeal ingredients to a microwave safe container and simply add liquid in the morning when I get to work and heat ‘er up! So whether you are rushed or have some spare time, this breakfast is perfect for you.  You can either throw all of the ingredients into a bowl and refrigerate overnight before making it in the morning or you can cook it in a saucepan on an oven and fill your home with amazing aromas. This recipe also serves 4 hungry people. You can either make the whole batch and eat leftovers all week, or cut it down and make it for solo servings.

But trust me, this breakfast is so delicious that none of it will go to waste if you make extra! Invite me over and I will help you out! I’ll bring the coffee!

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or regular cow’s milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax meal
  • 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Instructions

  1. Stovetop – Place water, almond milk, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chia seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, and cinnamon to the saucepan. Turn down heat and allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Dice up one banana and add to saucepan and stir. Allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes, adding a bit of water if needed. Remove from heat. Spoon into four bowls, topping each with remaining sliced banana, chopped pecans, and coconut palm sugar.
  2. Make Ahead – Place all water, almond milk, salt, chia seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, and cinnamon a large bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir and spoon out into four separate bowls. Dice a banana on top of each bowl and add water to desired consistency. Microwave each bowl for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir oatmeal and top each bowl with remaining sliced banana, chopped nuts, and coconut palm sugar.

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea, Wild Rice, and Kale Stew (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea, Wild Rice, and Kale Stew // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This Black Eyed Pea stew provides all the good luck that you’ll need for the new year.  Well, don’t quote me on that. You may need some other luck besides this stew.  So cross your toes and buy a rabbit foot.

Southern tradition is to eat black eyed peas for luck and greens for wealth.  This Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea, Wild Rice, and Kale Stew has both, plus it is cooked in a slow cooker so you’ll free up plenty of time to do other things, like catch up on some light readings or past episodes of New Girl or really nothing at all.

In fact, I barely put pants on today. *yaaawn* Best. day. ever.

I feel extremely lucky to be able to laze around with my favorite person and my favorite dog while this delicious stew cooked away in the background. It is the perfect bowl of lucky and hearty goodness on a super sleepy and chilly day.

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea, Wild Rice, and Kale Stew // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Cheers to everyone. I hope 2015 brings warmth and love to everyone! I’m truly lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life. Now I’ve gotta go serve me up a big bowl of stew!

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea, Wild Rice, and Kale Stew (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 8 hours (not including overnight soaking for dried peas)
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black eyed peas
  • 1 large ham hock
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 cup dried wild rice mix
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups of chopped kale leaves, stems removed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Soak dried black eyed peas overnight by placing them in a large stockpot and filling with 6 to 8 cups of water.  Pick out any bad black eyed peas that look shriveled and float up to the top. After soaking overnight, drain and rinse the black eyed peas.
  2. Add soaked black eyed peas and remaining ingredients (except kale) to large slow cooker (crockpot). Stir to combine. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and the ham hock from slow cooker. Carefully use two forks to shred off the cooked ham from the bone. Return shredded ham and kale to slow cooker.  Stir to combine and allow the kale to wilt, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Green Chili Chicken and Kobucha Squash Enchilada Casserole

Green Chili Chicken and Kobucha Squash Enchiladas (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Are you feeling adventurous? Of course you are. It’s after Christmas and we are revving up for the New Year. It is time for those New Year’s resolutions…such as trying new veggies!!!!

Drum roll please……….First up is Kobucha Squash!

Green Chili Chicken and Kobucha Squash Enchiladas (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This amazing and delightful winter squash looks like a green pumpkin and is actually referred to as a Japanese pumpkin. It is often used in Thai curry and is quite flavorful. In fact, I think it tastes better than butternut squash and WAY better than regular orange pumpkin.

*GASP* Yah you heard me.  I’ve just found the better pumpkin replacement. Get on it, friends.  It even packs a lower calorie count than butternut squash with only 40 calories in a single cup compared to 60 calories per cup for butternut squash. It also has half the carbs of butternut squash (7 grams versus 16 grams). This puppy is WAY healthier than sweet potatoes too!

Once you cut into this green pumpkin, you are greeted with bright orange flesh which provides a fabulous dose of beta-carotene and vitamin A! The Kobucha contains plenty of other awesome attributes such as being loaded with fiber, iron, vitamin C, and some B vitamins. Can I get an AMEN!

Green Chili Chicken and Kobucha Squash Enchiladas (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Green Chili Chicken and Kobucha Squash Enchiladas (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Well-stocked grocery stores or farmers markets will have Kobucha Squash. If you are unable to locate this awesome gem of a veg, you can substitute the Kobucha Squash for Butternut Squash.  If you don’t have butternut squash, you also could use sweet potatoes.

Now lets talk about this Green Chili Chicken and Kobucha Squash Enchilada Casserole. They are literally the best enchiladas I have EVER made. Literally. The roasted Kobucha Squash help make these comforting and creamy without being doused in tons of cheese. Also, I like making this dish more lasagna style with layers of tortillas, filling, cheese, and sauce instead of nice and neat rolled up enchiladas. To me, it is much easier and just as super tasty.

Green Chili Chicken and Kobucha Squash Enchiladas (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

These enchiladas do take some prep time.  However, most of the steps can be done ahead of time. You can marinate the chicken up to one day ahead of time. The Kobucha Squash can be carved and cubed several days in advance, placed in a container, and refrigerated. (Note – I recommend microwaving the Kobucha Squash for 2 minutes to make it easier to carve up.) You can even roast the chicken, shred it, and refrigerate it in advance too. To be honest, this whole casserole can be assembled up to one day in advance and cooked the next day, making it the perfect dish for entertaining or for an easy weeknight meal.

I hope you enjoy this amazingly flavorful, delicious, and nutritious dish. And give yourself a big pat on the back for branching out and trying a new veggie!

Green Chili Chicken and Kobacha Squash Enchiladas (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs chicken thighs or chicken breast (preferably organic)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • juice of 1 lime (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 3 cups cubed Kobucha squash (butternut squash or sweet potatoes could be substituted)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 4 oz canned diced green chilis
  • 16 oz gluten-free tomatillo salsa verde
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 8 to 10 gluten-free corn tortillas, cut into quarter sections

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Place chicken thighs in a medium bowl. Combine coriander, cumin, chile powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add half of spice mixture to chicken and reserve the other half.  Add half of lime juice to chicken. Toss chicken with spices and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes or refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
  3. Place cubed kobucha squash and diced onion in a separate large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Stir in remaining spice mixture. Place cubed winter squash as a single layer on rimmed baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Stir vegetables and place back in oven to cook for an additional 25 minutes. At this time, add chicken to a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes. Remove both the roasted squash and baked chicken from oven. Turn down the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Using two forks, shred baked chicken. Place shredded chicken, roasted squash and onions, juice of half a lime, 1/4 cup diced cilantro, canned green chilis, and 1/3 cup salsa verde in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Spray or grease an 8X11 baking dish. Place 1/3 cup salsa verde in bottom of baking dish. place 10 to 12 quarter sections of tortillas in bottom of dish on top of salsa verde in a single layer, slightly overlapping each other.  Spoon out half of shredded chicken mixture and smooth over the tortillas. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of salsa verde and 1/2 cup cheese on top. Layer with 10 more tortilla wedges. Spread out remaining chicken filling on top of tortilla wedges. Top with remaining tortilla wedges. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheese and remaining salsa verde.
  6. Place baking dish into preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve with extra salsa verde, chopped cilantro, and greek yogurt.

Notes:

  • For dairy free version, do not use cheese.
  • For vegetarian version, replace chicken with 2 cups cooked black beans.
  • These enchiladas can be prepared up to 1 day ahead of time through step 5. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before placing in middle rack of preheated oven. Cook for at least 30 minutes.

Broccoli, Apple, and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing

Broccoli, Apple, and Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Welcome the season of “How Many Parties, Booze, Snacks, Sweets, Treats, and Good Times Can I Shove Into My Face and Schedule”.

But there is one big problem with this season.

My stomach. She’s such a fun killer.

Broccoli, Apple, and Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Broccoli, Apple, and Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Given my cranky belly and gluten intolerance, I often go to holiday parties and find that there is hardly anything that I can eat without severe consequences. Lately, my trick for getting through party after party is to bring a delicious, healthy, and festive dish that I can eat and enjoy. By doing this I hopefully won’t be the one over in the corner munching on a pound of carrots and staring like a voracious dog at others eating seven layer bars, molasses cookies, sausage balls, and chocolate covered pretzels…. “No no no, I’m good. I LOOOOVE carrots. I hate other delicious things. No go on. Please keep eating. Please, I’m fine. I’m FIIIINE.”

This Broccoli, Apple, and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing has been my go to Christmas salad this season.  It’s incredibly delicious with great crunch from the broccoli and brussels sprouts and crisp apple. Plus the savory tahini-maple dressing will have you wanting to lick the spoon! I have taken this salad to four different parties and have had great responses. It also holds up very well as leftovers for lunch the next day.

Broccoli, Apple, and Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Oh and look how festive this salad looks! Greed, Red, and White! Sometimes I even add dried cranberries for more red pop!

So Happy Holidays to you and yours!  Make a plan during this holiday season and don’t get overwhelmed!  You can do it!

Broccoli, Apple, and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 broccoli crowns, florets only, chopped
  • 1/2 lb brussels sprouts (about 2 big handfuls), stems removed and discolored leaves discarded
  • 1 large honey crisp apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta (do not include for dairy free option)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Tahini-Maple Dressing

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Chop the broccoli into small bite size pieces and place in a large bowl. Use a sharp chef’s knife or mandolin slicer to slice the brussels sprouts as thin as possible. Alternately, a food processor’s slicing disk could be used. Add the brussels sprouts to the large bowl with the broccoli.
  2. In a separate small jar or bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup together to form a paste. Add water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is creamy and pourable like vinaigrette (not too watery). Pour the dressing over the broccoli and brussels sprouts and toss to combine.  (The salad can be made a few hour ahead of time to this point and refrigerated).
  3. Add the chopped apple, feta, and sliced almonds to the salad and toss lightly.  Serve immediately.

Notes

  • For paleo friendly, vegan friendly, and dairy free, do not include the feta cheese.
  • If you don’t have tahini, almond butter could be used.
  • For added protein and a complete meal, add some cooked quinoa or shredded chicken.

Smoky Brussels Sprout and Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Breakfast is a hallowed time in our home. Not brunch…breakfast. I primarily blame my husband for this tradition. He isn’t one for typical traditions but when it comes to breakfast on the weekend, it is sacred, it has to be from a skillet, and it happens before 9AM.  He was the crazy friend in college that would wake up one too many friends knocking on their door at 7 AM saying “it’s BREAKFAST TIME”.

AT SEVEN AM…

in COLLEGE. uuuuuh.

God bless him.

But now that we are in our mid-thirties, 7 AM is not that early to me anymore. My hubby still wakes up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (ugh) on Saturday or Sunday morning and says, “It’s BREAKFAST TIME”.  Usually there is a dance that goes with this statement as he pulls out his most prized flea-market find, an old Griswold cast iron skillet that he lugged back from MARFA, TEXAS on a PLANE.

God bless him.

Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Sunday mornings in our home consist of putting on a record, firing up the cast iron skillet, and brewing a pot of coffee. Currently, I have Sturgill Simpson on repeat and this Brussels Sprout and Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet heating up. This breakfast skillet is similar to a breakfast hash that I get at my favorite breakfast spot in KC called Urban Table. There is something about getting breakfast served to you in a skillet, am I right?

Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I love the flavors of this breakfast with the smokey bacon, seared brussels sprouts, caramelized onions, and sweet potatoes.  I season the whole shabang with a spicy kick from the chipotle powder and smoked paprika, adding to the smokiness of the bacon.

Oh and a few cook’s notes –

1. Be sure to dice your sweet potatoes rather small so that they cook all the way through quickly.

2. If your brussels sprouts are humongous, just quarter them. Basically you want them to be just a bit larger than the sweet potatoes because the brussels sprouts will cook faster than the sweet potatoes. Cooking pieces that are slightly larger will allow them to be done at about the same time.

3. If you are serving this to tiny tots or people with a spice intolerance, I would hold off on the chipotle powder and use chili powder or nothing.  Chipotle powder is quite spicy.

4. To finish the whole thing off, cook the eggs separately to each persons desired consistency.  I love my eggs either poached or sunny side up, but the Breakfast Man likes over-easy eggs.

5. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, cry yourself to sleep and hope that santa brings you one. But never fear, you can make this in a regular skillet OR you could even roast your veggies (tossed with olive oil) in a 450F preheated oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.

Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So throw on some warm socks, brew a pot of coffee, and pull out your skillet. BECAUSE IT IS BREAKFAST TIME!!!!!

Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

  • Servings: 2 to 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 slices of smoky thick cut bacon, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup of small brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 to 4 large eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add bacon and cook until the fat is rendered and the pieces are just crisp (not burned!). Remove the bacon slices using a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
  2. Reduce the heat under the skillet, add the sliced, sweet potato cubes, and halved brussels sprouts and stir to coat with the bacon grease. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until the sweet potato has softened. Add bacon and spices to the veggie skillet and stir to coat. Turn off heat.
  3. In a separate skillet, poach or fry eggs to desired consistency. Spoon out portions of the brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes onto separate plates and top with eggs.

Cook’s Notes

1. Adapted from my favorite breakfast at Urban Table and How Sweet Eats’ Brussels Sprouts Breakfast Hash.

2. This dish serves 2 GENEROUSLY or 4 smaller portions. If serving a crowd, serve with a fruit salad.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Bread // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I was an only child until I was almost 11 years old. Then came my brother…and then a sister four years later. And then… four years later my mom asked me “Do you want another brother or another sister?” and my unfortunate response was “Neither”.

But despite my lack of enthusiasm…sixteen years ago today, my youngest sister was born. I was in college.  In the midst of college finals and stress and sleepless nights, I had just gained a new sister. I went home for Christmas break and stayed up all night with my newborn sister, watching 24-hours of Christmas Story over and over and over so that my mom could get some sleep.

And that’s when I fell in love with that little bundle of joy. I was so happy to have her in my life.

She was so tiny, so beautiful, so new.

And so LOUD! Holy crap.That kid could cry!

Newborns.

Yikes. Talk about insta-birth control for a college kid. Ovaries on shutdown mode. Thanks!

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Bread // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Bread // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Over the years, watching her grow up has been amazing. She is a talented young girl who is super creative and has the biggest heart. I was always worried that the age difference between the two of us would be hard to stay close. When I moved away 6 years ago, it killed me to know that I wouldn’t be able to go to her sports games or see her get awards or be there for her birthdays. I was missing out on all those little moments.

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Bread // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I was really lucky this past weekend because I was able to see her and my other sister and brother for Thanksgiving! I couldn’t get enough.

I whipped up a double batch of this pumpkin bread and took it to Thanksgiving for breakfast since pumpkin is one of her favorite flavors. It is moist, light, fragrant, and nutritious! Aaaaand did I mention that it was gluten free and dairy free? Double bonus.  But seriously, friends, I was blown away by how perfect this pumpkin bread turned out.  It uses only two flours: oat flour and almond flour.  Arrowroot powder is also used to keep the loaf from being too dense. It is simply amazing.

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Bread // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This recipe makes a double batch which is super helpful during the holidays. You can always give a loaf away to a friend as a gift, or wrap it up tightly and freeze it for later. I promise that you WON’T regret having two loaves.

So Haaaaaappy Birthday to my lovely and beautiful little sister. I am so glad that you were born, because I gained a sister and a friend. Hope you have a wonderful day!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten free oat flour*
  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond flour*
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • one 15oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filing)
  • 6 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare loaf bans by applying butter and then set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (oat flour through nutmeg). Whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs and maple syrup until slightly frothy. Stir in vanilla, canned pumpkin, and melted coconut oil (or butter). Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in 3/4-cup of pecans into batter.
  4. Transfer batter to the loaf pans and smooth the tops with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle remaining 1/4-cup of pecans and coconut palm sugar on the tops of the loaves. Place the loaf pans on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until a toothpick or butter knife inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool in the loaf pans for about 15 minutes. Turn out the loaves onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

*Notes

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free)

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This year was my third year to host Friendsgiving here in Kansas City.  The first year, we had 11 friends and no kids gather in our small home and bring an amazing assortment of food…including jello shots. Over the years, some friends have moved away and others have moved in. We love welcoming new friends into our hearts and home. This year was much bigger with 15 adults and six children, as many of our friends have become parents. No jello shots this year. Womp Womp. Although the dynamic was slightly different, the joy and love was tremendous.

Friendsgiving 2012

Friendsgiving 2014

Time management is key to hosting a low stress and enjoyable holiday party. By organizing my dishes and using slow cooking techniques, I was able to enjoy the beautiful day and amazing friends that came to our home.

I spent the day preparing for a full house in my tiny space. Since my kitchen and my oven is quite small, I chose to roast a 7-lb pork shoulder in a roasting oven (life saver), roast a 4-lb free range chicken in my oven, and cook my cornbread dressing in my slow cooker. During the great cooking adventure, I did lose a breaker and a fuse a few times (and ended up placing my slow cooker with the cornbread dressing in a spare bedroom!). But it all turned out great and I kept my wine glass FULL.

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So let’s get to this Cornbread Dressing, shall we?

Apples, Fennel, and Pecans! Yeeeeeeaaaas. And don’t forget sage!

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

There are several parts of this dressing that can be made ahead of time. The Gluten Free Old Fashioned Cornbread can be made up to 2 days ahead. The aromatics in the dish (onions, celery, and fennel) can be braised in a little olive oil up to two days ahead of time as well. I mixed everything together and placed into my slow cooker and allowed to cook while I was getting other things together. This also kept the cornbread dressing warm until it was time to eat.

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Slow Cooker Apple, Fennel, and Pecan Cornbread Dressing (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 batch of old fashioned skillet cornbread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 bulb of fennel, slivered
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 medium apples, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare cornbread at least one day ahead of time. Crumble up cornbread and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Allow to sit out at room temperature and dry out. Alternately, preheat oven to 250F and scatter cornbread in a single layer on the rimmed baking sheet and bake (stirring often) for about 1 hour or until the cornbread is dried out.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel, onion, and celery and cook, stirring often, and beginning to soften. Add apple, pecans, and herbs. Cook for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in dried out cornbread and 1 1/2 cups of broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Spoon cornbread dressing mixture into a large slow cooker or crock pot. Cook on low for about 4 hours. Keep warm until ready to serve.

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