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Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving
















We had a quiet, but wonderful Thanksgiving. I did have a few mishaps that I learned from.
  • I accidently bought filo dough instead of puff pastry, so the tops to the pot pies weren't what I was hoping.
  • Don't forget the whip cream for the pie!
  • The planning ahead was SO worth it, because I wasn't overwhelmed that day.
  • Oh, and I need to keep dollar bills around to occasionally stick in my husbands back pocket or shirt or something for a tip, because that man is amazing. He was always in the kitchen at the right time, washing dishes when I needed them, and cleaned up every mess I made. I feel very blessed to have married such a great guy!
The pictures above are just random pictures from the day. I'm going back to the old posts to add pictures of what some of the recipes actually looked like while I was cooking. I made the Pumpkin Pie above with a whole wheat crust. The kids decorated our formal dining room table for dinner. Elijah and I ran the Turkey Day 5K that our town puts on each year. And Analise is enjoying some of the wonderful breakfast the local French Bakery delivered to us. It was waiting for us when we got home from the race: Quiches, criossants, chocolate criossants, fruit tarts, and a baguette. It was heaven. That is definitely going to be a new tradition! :) Hope yours was happy as well!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Tettrazini




More turkey leftovers! As I said in my previous post, this is the first year I've even had leftovers to do anything with. So I have to confess a mistake I made. I did that thing you are never supposed to do....I skimmed this recipe, and didn't really read it that thoroughly. Mostly when I skim, I'm looking to see if there is some appliance or gadget I might not have, or if the prep time is misleading and it's really one of those recipes that takes a whole afternoon. Never did I suspect that this recipe is actually already doubled, for you to freeze one and serve one. I thought I was being so smart, and decided I was going to double the recipe. Well, I ended up with 4 Turkey Tettrazzinis, a house full of giggles calling it the "Quadzzini incident", but thankfully no more turkey leftovers!! And hey, if you live in the neighborhood, I have 3 Turkey Tettrazzinis in the freezer if you need dinner some night. :)

I think you could very easily make this vegetarian. Just leave out the meat, and use veggie broth. I want to increase the mushrooms and peas in this recipe personally, especially for a vegetarian version. I'm going to try all of that next time I make it. I think will all the dairy it would still be very filling. yum!

Turkey Tettrazzini
Serves 8
*MAKES 2* (giggles from the fam....)

coarse salt and ground pepper
6 tablespoons butter
1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch think
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine
3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh)
1 pound linguine (I used whole wheat)
about 4 cups shredded turkey, or chicken (About 1 rotiserrie chicken)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed and drained ( I just put them in frozen, it worked)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for pasta). In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.

2. Make sauce: In same saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour; cook, whisking, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, gradually add milk, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and add 2 cups Parmesan and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions for al dente; drain and return to pot. Add sauce, chicken, peas, and mushrooms. Toss well to combine. (I did this differently. I put the noddles in the pan, then the mushrooms over the top, then the sauce over the top of that. I just thought it gave it more color.) Divide between 2 (ahem) shallow 2 quart baking dishes; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Freeze (see below) or bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

To FREEZE
Cool pan to room temperature. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 3 months.

To Bake from FROZEN
Bake, covered with foil, at 400 degrees, until center is warm, about 2 hours. Uncover, and bake until top is browned, about 20 minutes more.

To Bake from THAWED
Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Bake, covered with foil at 400 degrees, until center is warm, about 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until top is browned about 20 minutes more.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Salad on Greens

For some reason this year, I decided I WANTED the experience of having turkey leftovers. Mind you, I don't actually like turkey, but I do like a challenge. So a 20 pound bird I did make. And I do have leftovers for my leftovers. So this post and the one to follow soon will have the recipes I made for my family with the leftovers. Dad liked this curried salad a lot.

Curried Turkey on Greens
Would be great to pack in a lunch box, and is ready in 10 minutes.
Serves 2

1/2 pound leftover roast turkey, shredded
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
coarse salt and ground pepper
5 ounces Bibb lettuce torn into bite size pieces (about 8 cups)

In a medium bowl, combine turkey, celery, grapes, yogurt, lemon juice, and curry powder; season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture over lettuce.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Harvest Turkey Pot Pies







We're eating this individual pot pies on Thanksgiving, but you might like to give them a try with your leftovers. Freeze a few for an easy dinner over the busy December month too!

The great thing about these, is if you have some vegetarians in the crowd, you can easily leave the meat out, since you're making one for each person.

Harvest Turkey (or Vegetarian) Pot Pies

Serves 8

Ingredient


2 Tbs. olive oil
12 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
3 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 lb. butternut squash, cubed
5 small red potatoes, sliced
1/2 lb. green beans, halved
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
optional - 2 cups turkey shredded


3 Tbs. cornstarch
1 17.3-oz pkg. vegan frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed



Directions


1. Heat oil in pot over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery, garlic and thyme. Cover, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, increase heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes more, or until mushrooms begin to brown. Add wine; simmer 2 minutes, or until liquid evaporates.

2. Add squash, potatoes, green beans, corn and 5 cups water. Cover, and simmer 7 minutes.
Whisk cornstarch with 1/2 cup liquid from vegetable mixture. Stir cornstarch mixture into vegetables. Simmer 1 minute, or until thickened. If using turkey, stir in turkey. Seperate into two seperate containers if making half vegetarian. If making ahead, cool, and refrigerate up to 2 days.


3. Preheat oven to 425F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Cut 4 circles from one puff pastry sheet. Repeat with remaining sheet. Cut 1-inch hole in center of each circle. Cut leaves from dough scraps, then chill tops and leaves 15 minutes. Adhere leaves to tops by brushing with water. Bake 15 minutes, or until brown and puffy. Store cooled tops up to 2 days in airtight container.
Reheat filling, and warm tops in oven, if needed. Ladle filling into small pie dishes or ramekins.




4. If eating today, top with crusts, and serve. If you made ahead of time, reheat filling, and warm tops in oven. Ladle filling into 8 ramekins. Top with crusts.

Nutritional Information for Vegetarian Pies
Per SERVING: Calories: 465, Protein: 11g, Total fat: 20g, Saturated fat: 5g, Carbs: 62g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 483mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugars: 7g

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Curly Kale with Caramelized Onions




This is one of the sides we are eating for Thanksgiving. It's an ideal dish to make a day or two ahead of time, because it actually tastes better after it sits.

Curly Kale with Caramelized Onions
Serves 8


2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.)
3 lb. curly kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 12 cups)
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chopped almonds

Directions
Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft and beginning to brown. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute, or until fragrant.

Stir in kale and 2 cups water. Cover, and cook 30 minutes, or until kale is tender. Season with salt and pepper. If making ahead, cool, and store in airtight container. Just before serving, reheat kale mixture, then drizzle with vinegar, and sprinkle with almonds.

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories: 127, Protein: 5g, Total fat: 6g, Saturated fat: g, Carbs: 17g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 120mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 3g

Honey-Pecan and Pecorino Salad

Things are going pretty good with the thanksgiving prep. I made the nuts and vinaigrette yesterday for this salad. I also cooked a 20 pound turkey (wanting leftovers) so that it's ready for me to make the pot pie filling. I didn't get to the kale, due to a flat tire, and a doctors appt that took three times longer than it was going to. I also didn't get to the pie crust, but I feel like I made up for that by getting both of the pies made completely before 9am this morning. :)

Here is the recipe for the salad we will eat tomorrow.

Honey-Pecan and Pecorino Salad
Serves 8

ingredients

Honey Pecans
2 Tbs. honey
1 cup whole pecans
2 tsp. chili powder (I cut this in half, it just seemed like way too much to me)
1/2 tsp. salt

Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette
2 Tbs. vinegar
4 tsp. honey
2 tsp. mustard
2 Tbs. oil

Salad
8 cups mesclun salad mix
1 bunch green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 oz. pecorino cheese

Directions
1. To make Honey Pecans: Bring honey to a simmer in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in pecans, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until pecans are coated in honey and most liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat; stir in chili powder and salt. Transfer pecans to plate to cool, then store in airtight container or set aside.

2. To make Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette: Whisk together vinegar, honey and mustard. Add oil; whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

3. To make Salad: Toss mesclun, green onions, cranberries and pecans with vinaigrette. Shave cheese into curls over salad with vegetable peeler. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Planning a Thanksgiving Feast


It's that time of year again, and some of you other foodies might be doing the same thing I am......planning out a week of cooking. Some of you might not know where to start. All I can say is - just go for it. It's like anything else, you learn a little each year, and get better every time. Those grandmas who don't have to look at recipes anymore, and have system that works like clockwork, didn't come by that easily. There's a reason we associate that with our 70 year old gradnmas. When they were my age, they burned turkeys, left guests waiting for food 2 hours too long, and learned from their mistakes. That's where I'm at. This year it is just my family of 5 and we plan to eat in our pajamas. :) That gives me the freedom to make mistakes, as my family is very forgiving. It also gives me the opportunity to cook as if I have guests coming.....and learn from my mistakes.


Last year we had some wonderful friends to visit, and the meal was fabulous. I also had 4 extra hands to help me and I know it wouldn't have worked out so smoothly had I been by myself. So I'm going to go for it this year. Not as big of a spread, because 2 adults and 3 kids can only eat so much, even in leftovers, but I'm going to give it my all. Below is my plan of attack, and in the days to come you'll find recipes on here to follow. I'd love to hear about your plans in the comments too! Are you going somewhere? Are you the hostess? What are you making this year?


Menu
Harvest Turkey Pot Pies
Curly Kale with Carmelized Onions
Honey-Pecan and Pecorino Salad
Duchess Potatoes
Sesame Twists
Pumpkin Pie with homemade Whipped Cream

This is what I'll be working on each day....always depends on the kids what I actually get done. Sometimes things get bumped to the next day, sometimes if it's a good day I attack some parts early, even if it's just getting some chopping and prep done. the Whole Wheat Pie crust, pie, and whipped cream is something that I definitely might make on any given day.


Grab your aprons......

Monday
Grocery shopping!


Tuesday
Cook turkey
Whole Wheat Pie Crust and Pie

Curly Kale with Carmelized Onions
Prepare Honey-Pecans and Honey Mustard Vinaigerette for Salad


Wednesday

Turkey and vegetarian pie filling

Duchess Potatoes
Prepare dough for Sesame Twists

The Big Day
Run The Turkey Day 5K with my 7 year old son :)
Bake Sesame Twists
Assemble Salad
Reheat Kale
Assemble Pot pies, top with crusts and bake
Make whipped cream

and we're off!! :) See you tomorrow with some recipes. Have a fun week everybody!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Spinich, Basil, and Tomato Frittatas

I first came across a recipe like this for making mini fritattas in a South Beach Diet cookbook, and I just love the idea. It's an easy way to make something ahead of time whether you have company, or just want to get a jumpstart on a busy week. Mini frittatas are made simply in your cupcake pan! As easy as that. You can use the recipe below, but feel free to use what you have on hand, or what you like. Sometimes I saute up a bunch of veggies, or use leftover sauteed veggies from dinner the night before. The nice thing about these too, is if you do have picky eaters, it's easy to leave ingredients out of a few for those that like it simple. Top with salt and pepper, serve some fruit on the side, and YUM!

Spinich, Basil, and Tomato Frittatas
serves 4-8
from Delicious Living July '07

4 eggs
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon reduced-fat (2 percent) milk
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups (1 ounce) baby spinich leaves

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat four 1-cup ramekins or eight 1/2-cup muffin cups with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg whites. Add milk, pepper, salt, basil, tomatoes, and cheese.
3. In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil; saute garlic over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add spinich and saute 1-2 minutes, until spinich is wilted but still a vibrant green. Add spinich mixture to egg mixture. Ladle into prepared ramekins or cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until eggs are cooked thoroughly. (They will expand while cooking and will collapse while cooling.)
When cool, remove from cups. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

Per serving: 70 calories, 55% fat cal., 4g fat, 2g sat fat, 110mg chol, 6g protein, 2g carb, 0g fiber, 193mg sodium

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Almond-crusted Chicken Tenders


The food section in the Denver Post has a section called "Dinner Tonight, Lunch Tomorrow" and this picture caught my eye. Because even though I am not a chicken fan, I LOVE fish that has any kind of nut crust on it, so I thought I would try this. They were great, and so was the dip. Leftovers for lunch the next day though? Not so much.

Almond-crusted Chicken Tenders
From "The Harvest Eating Cookbook," by Keith Snow (Running Press). Serves 4. Double this recipe for leftovers.

Ingredients
1/2 cup egg whites (from about 4 large eggs)
1 cup crushed almonds
2 pounds organic chicken tenders
Olive oil for frying
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
A twist of ground black pepper
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons honey
Directions
Place the egg whites in a shallow bowl and beat. Place the almonds in a second shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken tenders in the egg whites then dip each one in the almonds to coat them evenly.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken four pieces at a time and cook for about 5 minutes per side until cooked through and golden brown. They will be firm to the touch when cooked.
Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining chicken until all used. Set aside.
Combine the yogurt, mustard and honey in a bowl and mix well. Serve with the chicken as a dipping sauce

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Slow Cooker Mixed Bean Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings

My dear friend Julie passed this recipe on to me a few years ago. I love a good hearty meat free meal. This one also has hardly any dairy in it. But you won't miss it! It's filling. Remember, don't lift the lid to stir or peek when the slow cooker is on! Every time you open the lid you have to add 20 minutes to your cooking time.

Slow Cooker Mixed Bean Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings

Ingredients for soup
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 ounce can garbonzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 16 ounce package mixed frozen vegetables
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz can reduced sodium chicken/vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours, or high 4-5 hours. At the end of cooking time turn the slow cooker on high while you are making dumplings.

ingredients for dumplings
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons skim milk
2 teaspoons oil

Stir flour, cornmeal, baking powder and sugar in a medium bowl. In a small bowl combine egg, milk, and oil. Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto soup. Cover, and cook 30 minutes more without lifting the lid.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Per serving: 279 calories, 14g protein, 5 g fat, 47g carbs, 30 mg chol., 694 mg. sodium

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Caribbean Chicken

I recently went through my recipe cupboard (I know) and organized, sorted, and filed. It's a hard process for me, sort of like sorting pictures for someone else. :) I get attached to recipes, or the IDEA of making them, and it's hard to let them go. Alas, I am also a minimalist, and these two things don't mesh well. So about once every year I end up sorting through them, usually when I'm starting to get excited about planning for the holidays as I am now.

So I came across countless random scraps of recipes torn out of newspapers and magazines. Some I had to toss, some I pulled out to try so I could decide if they were worth keeping. Sometimes I tear out a recipe, and don't end up using it for years.

Such is the case with this Carribean Chicken recipe. No credits, no pictures, just a scrap of newspaper, so I'm not sure who to give credit to. Strangely, I expected my kids to love this, and they just didn't. Rob and I thought it was good, but I'm not sure if it's KEEP it kind of good if they weren't into it, and I'm not a big meat eater anyway.

The chicken is moist (I used organic). The individual packets are fun. The rice is fun and sweet. The hot sauce is so subtle, you don't have to worry about the kids not liking it for that reason. (I actually left it off theirs, but wouldn't if I made it again). I put brown rice in the rice cooker in the afternoon so it was ready when I was making dinner.

Carribean Chicken

4 sheets (12"X18" inches each) heavy duty aluminum foil
4 cups cooked rice
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1 (15 oz) can pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice, undrained
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon caribbean jerk seasoning (see note below to make your own)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees or preheat charcoal grill. Spray sheets of foil with nonstick cooking spray. Combine rice, red pepper, onions, coconut, pineapple, brown sugar and lime juice. Center 1/4 of rice mixture (I put more, to use it all) Rub jerk seasoning over chicken; place on top of ingredients on foil sheet.

Bring up sides of foil and double fold. Double fold ends to form a packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside packet.

Repeat to make four packets. Bake 18 to 22 minutes on a cookie sheet in oven or grill 16 to 20 minutes in covered grill. Makes 4 servings.

Note: You can buy Cariibean Jerk seasoning in the spice section of supermarkets. I just made my own. Combine 1 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a small bowl; mix well.