Perfect stuffed mushrooms

The best stuffed mushrooms | a simple recipe from alaskaknitnat.com
Photo Credit: Stacy Spensley Flickr via Compfight cc

Perfect stuffed mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 carton of Costco baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup panko flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Chop stems finely and mix with the onions. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onions until the liquid has been drawn out of the mushrooms and the onions are soft, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool in a mixing bowl.

In the same pan, add another tablespoon of butter and stir in the panko flakes. Sauté until the flakes are lightly browned, about two minutes. Place flakes in the mixing bowl with mushrooms and onions.

In the same pan add the loose sausage (remove from casings if necessary). Cook until meat is browned, about 7 minutes. Place the meat on a cutting board and chop finely. Add to the mixing bowl.

Toss in the Parmesan, parsley and cream cheese and mix thoroughly (hands are best). Add salt and pepper.

Stuff each mushroom with a heaping amount of filling and place on a baking sheet. Top with more grated Parmesan.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

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DIY Cassie Skirt – a LuLaRoe sewing hack

If you’re a mom in her 30s then you’ve probably encountered the direct sales brand, LuLaRoe. Recently my Facebook feed has been overloaded with pop-up shops and online shopping parties for a women’s clothing brand that touts fun prints and comfortable fit.

I finally went to a LuLaRoe party at a friend’s house. It was sort of like Avon – my girlfriend hosted a shopping party and a sales rep was on-hand to talk up the brand and get you excited about buying things. If you bring a friend, you save 10 percent!

Although I found some cute styles and they were pretty comfortable, it was the price that I wasn’t impressed with. Thirty-five dollars seems like a good price for a skirt, but when I saw the fabric quality and the way they were constructed I concluded it was probably about $1.50 worth of materials and a whole lot of upselling on the part of the sales rep.

One of my coworkers has been sporting LuLaRoe’s Cassie skirt and it looks fabulous on her. It’s essentially a tube of jersey fabric with a wide waistband.

And it was pretty dang easy to make! This project took me about 45 minutes from start to finish and it cost me less than $5.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
It’s 1 degree out!

Copycat Lularoe Cassie Skirt

What you’ll need:

  • 1 yard of jersey (stretchy) fabric. I’d suggest a non-directional pattern to make it easier
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric scissors

Step 1: Determine the stretch of your material. My material was stretchy in both directions but one way was definitely more stretchy. You’ll want the stretchy direction to go side-to-side, around your hips (instead of up and down stretch).

Step 2: Take the fabric and stretch it around your waist. This is how I determined how wide to make my skirt. I marked from the edge of the fabric to where it met when wrapped around my waist once. For me it was 30 inches.

Step 3: Cut a piece from your fabric that’s the measurement you came up with plus 2 inches – for me that was 32 inches. Remember the stretch should be horizontal.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

Step 4: Fold down the top edge by 7 inches and cut across for the waistband. My waistband measured 32 inches long and 14 inches tall (you’ll be folding it in half later). Set this aside.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

Step 5: Pin your two side edges, right sides together, from top to bottom. Using a zig-zag stitch, sew with a 5/8″ seam allowance thus creating a tube. It should essentially be a pencil skirt with raw edges on top and bottom. Trim the seam edges. Try on your tube to figure out if you want to trim the bottom. My skirt hit just above my knees, which is what I wanted.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
Bottom edge of skirt, pinned with 1/2-inch hem.

Step 6: Determine the bottom of your skirt and inside out, pin up a 1/2-inch hem. Sew around starting at the side seam with a straight stitch using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Turn right-side out.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
Waistband sewn together at the side.

Step 7: Take your waistband and pin the side edges together, right sides together. Sew using a zig-zag stitch with a 5/8″ seam allowance. Trim seam edges.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
Waistband is inside-out and placed over the top of the skirt, which is right-side out.

Step 8: Keep your waistband inside out and place it over the top of your skirt (which is right-side out). Pin the top edge of the waistband to the top edge of the skirt. Sew using a zig-zag stitch with a 5/8″ seam allowance.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

Step 9: Flip the waistband up and fold in half so the raw edge is now inside the skirt. Turn inside out.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

Step 10: Pin the raw edge of the waistband to the seam you just made. You’ll be pinning through three layers of fabric. Sew a zig-zag stitch just next to the stitch you made before. This will ensure the seam you’re currently making won’t show on the outside of the skirt.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
This stitch is made adjacent to the first waistband seam. This ensures it doesn’t show on the outside of the skirt.

Step 11: Turn right-side out and you’re done! The waistband is extra tall, so either wear it that way or fold it down to create more tummy control.

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com

DIY Cassie Skirt - a LuLaRoe sewing hack. Make this cute pencil skirt in under an hour! Pattern from alaskaknitnat.com
Glamour garage door shot.

Quick dinner: creamy pesto with chicken

Pesto. I love pesto. I’m a traditionalist and tend to prepare it in the classic Genovese way but recently a friend told me his method, with cream and white wine, and I thought I’d try it.

I loved it! Pesto can sometimes have an overpowering garlic taste (it does contain raw garlic) so this version provides the flavor of pesto but is a little smoother.

If you use the Costco basil pesto then it’s a super quick meal, just perfect for a weeknight.

Looking for a flavorful weeknight meal? Try this simple creamy pesto with chicken from Alaskaknitnat.com

Weeknight meal: creamy pesto with chicken

Ingredients:

Looking for a flavorful weeknight meal? Try this simple creamy pesto with chicken from Alaskaknitnat.com

  • 1 lb. spaghettini
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2/3 cup pesto
  • 3/4 pound leftover rotisserie chicken, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon (optional)

Looking for a flavorful weeknight meal? Try this simple creamy pesto with chicken from Alaskaknitnat.com

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high flame. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat. Add the wine and let simmer for about 3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the pesto and chicken.

Drain the pasta. Add to the sauté pan and toss till evenly coated with sauce. Add salt and pepper. Squeeze a lemon over the top. Serve with a side salad.

Baked broccoli fritters – how to use frozen broccoli for good, not evil

Since starting a full-time job a year ago, I’ve had to get creative with dinners. I have a limited amount of time before I put my son down for bed.

This evening I came home from work with absolutely no plan and a near-empty fridge. My freezer, however, was chock full of random Costco impulse buys: tamales, gyoza, hash brown patties, broccoli.

I contemplated the frozen broccoli. Why, why did I buy this? It’s never as good as fresh broccoli. It’s sort of chewy and crumbly. So I decided to get creative.

I fried up some hash brown patties, chopped up some thawed broccoli and came up with a seriously delicious side dish that’s sure to please the whole family. My husband ate five of them!

Baked broccoli fritters - the best way to use frozen broccoli | recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com
Photo Credit: famfriendsfood. Flickr

Baked broccoli fritters

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. frozen broccoli, thawed and set to drain
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 frozen hash brown patties
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 grated sharp cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the butter in a sauté pan and cook the onions till soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.

Place onions and garlic in a mixing bowl to cool. Place hash brown patties in the pan and brown on both sides. Crumble up and add to the mixing bowl. Finely chop the broccoli and add to the mixing bowl.

Once all the ingredients have slightly cooled, add the egg, bread crumbs, cheeses, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Lightly grease a baking pan (I used a silpat mat instead). Form mixture into small patties. Bake 15 minutes, flip and bake another 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

Chicken lasagna with artichokes and white sauce

Every once in a while I have the wherewithal to make lasagna with homemade noodles. This evening I decided to try something different. Instead of traditional red sauce and ricotta I made a creamy béchamel sauce and layered the spinach noodles with shredded chicken and marinated artichoke hearts. The marinade from the artichokes added a tangy flavor to the dish and the creamy sauce was pure deliciousness. You can of course use store-bought noodles, but there’s something fancy about fresh pasta.

Chicken lasagna with artichokes | the perfect Sunday dinner from alaskaknitnat.com

Continue reading Chicken lasagna with artichokes and white sauce

Poblanos with corn and cream

Every year my family takes a trip down to Nayarit, Mexico to my parents’ vacation home, Casa Colibrí. Their housekeeper, Moña, is an expert cook and I look forward to her authentic Mexican dishes every time we visit.

I have tried to replicate several of her recipes in the past, including fried cauliflower and guacamole. I’ve attempted other dishes but there’s something about the fresh ingredients of Mexico that I am unable to replicate many of her recipes.

Here is one more attempt at one of her classic dishes, chiles rajados con elote y crema, or in English, sliced chiles with corn and cream. In Mexico, crema is a thick consistency, almost like yogurt or sour cream, but with a sweet cream taste. I’d say crème fraîche is the closest thing here in the states, but I have a hard time finding that in Anchorage, so I’m trying it with heavy cream.

Moña serves this for breakfast or lunch. It can accompany fried eggs or rice. It’s a versatile dish that’s got a slight amount of heat, which is mellowed out by the sweetness of the corn and cream.

Poblanos with corn and cream | An authentic Mexican dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner | recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 poblano chiles
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken or vegetable bullion
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Poblanos with corn and cream | An authentic Mexican dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner | recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Slice the peppers into strips and remove the seeds and pith. Add oil to a pan and heat over medium-high flame. Sauté the peppers and onions until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook till fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the corn and cream and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle in the bullion. Turn heat down and simmer for a few minutes until sauce has thickened slightly. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve. 

Poblanos with corn and cream | An authentic Mexican dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner | recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Alaska Knit Nat’s top 6 posts

Today my Facebook page reached 1,000 likes!

Alaska Knit Nat turns 6 | My top 6 blog posts

As Alaska Knit Nat enters its seventh year, I thought it would be fun to dig into the archives and pull up some of my favorite posts from years past.

I started Knit Nat AK in November 2010 with the intention of cataloging my craftiness.

“It’s mainly for my own benefit,” I wrote in my first-ever post. “I make so much stuff I can’t keep track of it all. In addition to knitting (hence the Knit Nat title), I cook, sew and repurpose things. This blog is a catalog of all things Craft.”

So here’s my top 6 posts since 2010. Enjoy!

Continue reading Alaska Knit Nat’s top 6 posts

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