Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Stuffing Sandwich and Turkey Soup

Thanksgiving leftovers are the best, but sometimes I get a little sick of eating just turkey with a little cranberry sauce. In the past few years, I've made a couple of dinners out of leftover Thanksgiving turkey and they have become my favorite way to enjoy Thanksgiving well past the 4th Thursday of November. 

The first recipe I'm going to give you isn't really a recipe, but it is so good that I've even bought pre-made stuffing, turkey and cranberry sauce from my store's deli to make this sandwich. It is that good! If you have any leftover mashed potatoes, add those in too! It will be messy but perfect!

The second recipe is for my turkey soup. I like to let the turkey bones simmer for at least an hour, if not an hour and a half (which is perfect to do during a football game!) and I usually add in some rice and frozen corn to add some extra density to the soup. I make a big batch and then freeze some to eat in the coming weeks. 

Give these recipes a try on the day after Thanksgiving. Your family will love them!

Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich
Makes as many sandwiches as you have leftovers

Leftover turkey meat, sliced into strips
Leftover stuffing
Leftover mashed potatoes
Leftover cranberry sauce
Sourdough or Rye bread

Place bread slices on a cutting board. Lay turkey on one side of each sandwich. Spread a spoonful of cranberry sauce on the turkey, then top with a layer of mashers and stuffing. Top with the other slice of bread. Squish on a heated panini press if you would like, or just enjoy as is.

Turkey Soup
Makes at least 8 servings

Leftover turkey carcass
Any leftover chicken stock
Leftover turkey gravy
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp dehydrated onion
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 c. frozen corn
1/2 c. white rice

Pick any excess meat off the carcass, then place in a large stock pot, breaking into pieces if needed. Set meat aside for later. Pour in any leftover chicken stock and add enough water to cover all the bones. Add in garlic powder, sage, dehydrated onion, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and let cook for at least an hour, up to an hour and a half. 

Remove carcass from the stock pot and scoop out any pieces that came off, saving the broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then add in the onion, celery and carrots. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, then add the rice and up to 1 c. of leftover gravy. Cook for another 10 minutes then add the corn. Simmer for a final 5 minutes, then add turkey meat. Heat for a few minutes to warm up turkey meat, then serve hot with any leftover rolls.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fall Fruit Salad

Fruit salads are always a hit in my family. Unfortunately, most of the time they have Jell-O involved, which I'm not a fan of. I wanted to create a salad that was tasty but still loved by the family, and I think I've done it.

This salad has apples as the base, with some persimmons and pomegranate seeds to add some color and flavor. I added walnuts for some extra crunch and tossed it all in a cranberry orange dressing. I ate bowlfuls of this salad and I just wanted to eat all of it!

I used Opal apples because they have crunch but have a great, almost watermelon-like flavor. If you prefer, any crisp apple like Fuji, Pink Lady, or my favorite Honeycrisp would work beautifully. For the persimmons, you want to be sure to get the Fuyu persimmons which are eaten when they are a bit more firm than the other varieties. Pomegranate seeds are usually sold in fall in little containers by the bagged salad or pre-cut fruit in your store so you won't have to split open and knock out all the seeds of a whole pomegranate. If you want to get the seeds from a whole pomegranate, then you will need seeds from about 1/4 of a regular pomegranate. 

This fall fruit salad would be perfect for Thanksgiving or any family meal. It's festive and tasty, perfect for your table.

Fall Fruit Salad
Serves 4

2 apples, cored and chopped
2 Fuyu persimmons, top cut off and cored then cut into cubes
1/4 c. pomegranate seeds
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

1/2 c. whole cranberries
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. sugar

In a small saucepan combine all ingredients for dressing. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then simmer for 5 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat, let cool for 10 minutes, then strain using a mesh strainer. Using the back of a wooden spoon, squeeze all the juice out of the cranberries. Set dressing aside.

In a large bowl, combine apples, persimmons, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts. Drizzle dressing over fruit, then toss to combine. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Extra tip: the cranberries used in the dressing that are left in the strainer make a great spread for a stuffing and turkey sandwich, perfect for the day after Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Apple Sage Stuffing

Ok, so stuffing (or dressing, as my honey would call it) is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I love love love stuffing. The soft bread cubes are strangely delicious, especially with onions and garlic and sausage. 

My favorite addition to stuffing is chopped apples. They add a sweetness and extra crunch to the stuffing that I just love. I also use chicken Italian sausage instead of regular pork sausage to lighten things up a bit. If you prefer to use sage sausage (like my man does), simply reduce the amount of sage to 1/2 tsp.

Give this stuffing recipe a try for your Thanksgiving dinner. Your family will love it!

Apple Sage Stuffing
serves 6

up to 2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chicken Italian sausage
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 Fuji or Pink Lady apple, cored and chopped
1 large bag of stuffing mix
2 tsp ground sage
1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large stock pot, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add chicken sausage and brown until no more pink remains, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, leaving some of the fat, then add onion, garlic and celery. Add a little more olive oil if needed to prevent the vegetables from browning too quickly. Cover to help cook the vegetables a little faster. Stir every few minutes until the celery and onions are soft, but not mushy.

Add apple and cook for another minute. Add sausage back in, along with the stuffing mix, minus the seasoning packet. Turn heat off and toss to mix. Add in salt, pepper and sage and toss again. Pour the chicken stock in, half a cup at a time, tossing in between additions to soak the bread cubes. Add enough stock to make the cubes soften and almost mushy. 

Pour stuffing mix into a 9x13 ceramic baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Cover with foil, and bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes to crisp up the top. Serve hot. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Barley Beef Soup

I love hearty veggie filled soups in the colder months. I swear, I make a batch of soup every week, whether its a veggie puree or a chunky soup. What can I say, I love soup!

I especially love this barley beef soup. It's filled with so many good things in it, from tons of veggies to deliciously filling barley. In most barley beef soups I've had, the barley gets cooked to mush, which isn't very tasty. By using regular pearl barley and cooking it longer, you get nice perfect pearls of barley that aren't mushy. 

This soup also has a more tomato-y taste to it rather than a heavy beefy taste, which I like a lot. If you aren't a fan of bouillon, feel free to add in 4 cups of beef stock instead of the water. I like it better with the stock, but sometimes the bouillon is what you have on hand. This soup also freezes well, and it makes quite a bit, so be ready with containers to freeze this tasty soup!

Barley Beef Soup
Serves 6
recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

3/4 lb. stew meat
1 tbsp olive oil
4 c. water
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tbsp beef bouillon
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 c. frozen mixed vegetables
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1 c. pearl barley (not quick cooking)

In a large Dutch oven, brown stew meat in olive oil over medium high heat. Remove from pan, then add onion, carrots and celery. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions begins to brown. Add water, beef bouillon, oregano, garlic, bay leaf and barley. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer covered for 1 hour. 

Stir in all remaining ingredients. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve with rolls. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Apple and Walnut Salad with Walnut Cider Dressing

My inspiration for this salad came from the classic pear and blue cheese salad I always read about when fall comes around. Since Mark is allergic to pears, I decided to switch it up and use some honey crisp apple slices. To make super thin slices, I used a mandoline, but if you don't have one, feel free to just chop the apple instead.

I skipped the blue cheese to make it a bit lighter, and added some fresh pressed apple cider to the dressing for some extra sweetness. This has got to be my favorite salad dressing! I love the ginger and mustard undertones with the delicious walnut oil. If you can't find walnut oil, feel free to substitute in olive oil. It won't be quite the same, but it will still be good.

Apple and Walnut Salad with Walnut Cider Dressing
serves 2

1/2 apple, sliced
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

1 tbsp apple cider
2 tbsp walnut oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp salt

Lay a handful of your favorite greens onto a plate or in a bowl. Top with apple slices and walnuts. Add all ingredients for dressing into a jar, seal with lid and shake to combine. Drizzle over salad and eat.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Caribbean Spiced Pumpkin Soup

It's been a while since I've cooked and taken a picture of it, well since I finished my last book. I've been busy working on hats and jewelry for my Holiday Gift Festival, which was last weekend and went pretty well. It didn't have as big of a turnout as I was hoping, but it was my best show yet!

Starting this week, I want to cook every day since I've been eating out a lot lately, alternating with being sick and downing gallons of chicken noodle soup. It's time for me to get my cooking groove back, starting with the Caribbean spiced pumpkin soup.

I love pumpkin in fall (as does everyone else, it seems!). I prefer my pumpkin to be on the savory side, although I will never say no to pumpkin pie. This soup hits the spot with some allspice, ginger, coriander and a sprinkling of cilantro added in, along with coconut milk to make it extra creamy. Make a batch of this soup tonight to satisfy your pumpkin cravings.

Caribbean Spiced Pumpkin Soup
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 c. vegetable stock
1 15 oz. can pumpkin 
half a 15 oz can of full fat coconut milk (about 1 c.)
chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, garlic and cilantro. Stir to coat in oil and let cook for 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock, ginger, allspice, salt and coriander, and let simmer over medium heat, covered, for 10 minutes until carrots and onions are soft. Add in pumpkin and coconut milk. Puree using a hand blender or in a regular blender, being careful since the soup will be hot! Pour back into saucepan and bring up to barely a simmer over medium heat. Serve hot with a few leaves of cilantro sprinkled over the top. 

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