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Red Wine Pinto Beans With Bacon

Dried beans are budget- and pantry-friendly, and we probably all have stashed more of them this year than usual. This dish based on onions, celery, carrots, rosemary, and red wine, amazingly reminds us a lot of our favorite beef stew. Though it does contain bacon, it’s still more plant-foward and planet-friendly, making it a great alternative when you need a bowl of comfort food on a cold evening.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Spatchcocked Turkey Stock

For Thanksgiving this year we spatchcocked a turkey two days in advance and brined it in buttermilk. It was delicious, and had the added benefit of giving us time to make this homemade turkey stock in advance, which we then used in Day-Before Gravy (trying to simultaneously make gravy and get the meal on the table is quite stressful for me, so making it in advance is key!).

This recipe includes instructions for browning the raw turkey parts, unlike most recipes that assume you’ve already roasted your turkey.

Yield: 7 to 8 cups Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Pressure Cooker Ham Hock & Bean Soup

If you serve ham at the holidays, don’t discard the ham bone — it beautifully flavors beans and soups, and this easy pressure cooker recipe is a great way to take advantage of it. After the craziness of the holiday, you can put the soup on, put your feet up, and get ready for some comfort food.

Yield: 5 to 8 servings Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Laure’s Crab & Corn Chowder

Vacationing with my cousin Laure usually means you’re in for some amazing food. Last week we stayed with her and her husband, Tim, in a cabin in Grand Teton National Park. Our first dinner at the cabin was this delicious and easy chowder, which smelled so good that a red fox peeked in the sliding glass door to see what was cooking.


Slow Cooker Ham Bone & Beans

Simmer onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, and a ham bone in broth in the slow cooker for hours.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings Total time: 8 hours

Slow Cooker White Bean Soup

This soup of garlic, onion, celery, carrots, navy beans, bay leaf, and rosemary makes getting through the winter a little easier.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings Total time: 8 hours

Tomato Sauce with Vegetables

On my road trip earlier this year, a family friend invited us to his lake house and served pasta with a tomato sauce much like this one. He sautéed his vegetables first, and said that you can use bell peppers, zucchini, or any other veggie you have on hand.

Once you run everything through the food processor, you’d never know the veggies were there, except the flavor of the sauce is a little richer. This is a great way to use up leftover vegetables, especially if you have kids who need more veggies in their diets.

Yield: 4 servings Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Erin’s Red Broccoli Salad

Our friends Erin and Matt have a lovely home in the country, surrounded by pastures and horses, and on the occasional holiday, a fireworks display on each horizon. We love gathering with friends there, especially when dishes like this are on the table.

Red onions, grapes, and bacon lend the red color to the otherwise green salad of broccoli, celery, and green onions.

Yield: 8 servings

Laure’s Shrimp Gumbo

My cousin Laure lives on the gulf coast. As my grandmother got older and less able to cook a Thanksgiving feast for the family, Laure started a new tradition. She would prepare seafood dishes like this one and take them to Grandma’s to serve the family. We now congregate at her house every year.

This stew of tomatoes, onion, celery, okra, and shrimp is thickened with a roux and seasoned with Old Bay, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic.

Yield: 6 servings Total time: 2 hours

Chilled Salmon Salad

Chill baked salmon and combine it with diced celery, red onion, dill, capers, and raspberry vinegar.

Yield: 4 servings Total time: 30 minutes