Christmas Day! No. 336-337: Sun-Dried Tomato and Fennel Stuffing & Gruyere-Thyme Rolls

Christmas Day is so magical, especially with family and with toddlers!

We kicked off the weekend with traditional pierogis and then launched straight into our McC family Christmas traditions.

Cinnamon Rolls & Mimosas

For the past eight years Mr. McC and I have had cinnamon rolls and mimosas on Christmas morning. For the past few years we have thrown pepper crusted bacon in the mix and I have to tell you, it's a winning trifecta.

Last year my sister-in-law, Athena, walked us through homemade cinnamon rolls. It was a blast and I vowed to never eat them from a can of dough again.

Rolling the log

This year I tried out Pioneer Woman's variation and loved it. She has wonderful, simple, no nonsense instruction down to a science. I topped the rolls with this classic Betty Crocker frosting recipe.

Ready to eat

I'm not counting these rolls as a new recipe, but hope that having two recipe options here is helpful for you all! If you need a new Christmas morning go-to breakfast, consider these crowdpleasers.

No. 336: Sun-Dried Tomato & Fennel Stuffing

Have you seen Tiffani Thiessen's cooking show on Cooking Channel? It's adorable. She's adorable. Her family is adorable. And her food is delicious.

Mr. McC watched her Christmas special earlier in the holiday week and told me about this stuffing. Once I saw the recipe I knew we had to have it for Christmas dinner to go alongside our incredible smoked turkey.

Ingredients

Two 1-pound loaves white or sourdough bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch pieces (You may think this is too much bread - it's not! Use all two pounds)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus more for the baking dish
3-4 bulbs fennel, trimmed and coarsely chopped, plus chopped fronds for garnish
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

To make

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter/spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.

Spread the bread evenly on a baking sheet (I used two sheets) and bake, tossing once or twice, until toasted, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine the chicken broth, sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the toasted bread with the fennel and the broth mixture until the bread is coated and has fully absorbed the liquid.

Put the stuffing in the prepared baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover the stuffing and brush it with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake, uncovered, until browned on top, about another 20 minutes. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve hot.

No. 337: Gruyere-Thyme Rolls

Also from Tiffani's special, these rolls sounded savory and delectable. Plus, any time I can shortcut some dough I'm alllllll in.

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray, for spraying the muffin tin
Two 7.5-ounce cans refrigerated biscuits (Or one jumbo can like I used)
1 cup shredded Gruyere
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

To make

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-count muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Cut the biscuits into quarters. Put them in a large bowl, add the Gruyere, olive oil, thyme and garlic and onion powders and roughly toss together to coat the biscuit pieces.

Evenly distribute the biscuit mixture among the cups of the muffin tin. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

The results

If I'm being honest, I made the stuffing but it was Mr. McC who made the rolls. When it came time for me to get them together and in the oven I had a hot mess of a toddler clinging to my body. So, Mr. McC to the rescue!

The rolls are super easy and a great contribution to a dinner party any time. If you have biscuit dough and cheese in your fridge, you can whip a version of these up in a jiffy.

The stuffing is a fantastic combination of flavors. It's great as-is, but I'm curious what would happen if I added a 1/4 to 1/2 pound of cooked and well drained Italian sausage...mmmmmm...?

No matter who made what these were both amazing and delicious additions to our Christmas meal. Mr. McC made another incredible turkey on his smoker/grill and my parents made cranberry-fruit salad and parsnips/carrots. All in all, a Christmas dinner to be proud of.

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