Saturday, November 30, 2013

Will This Thing Fit? Turkey Dumpling Soup

That time has come for me to make turkey dumpling soup. Immediately after the Thanksgiving feast, I freeze the carcass and save it for soup. I bring a huge pot of water to the boil, salt it (1tsp), add an onion, and then place the whole turkey carcass in it. After going for a hour on medium low heat, I turn the carcass around so the other half can render it's deliciousness into the broth. I also add two chopped carrots.
I next remove the carcass from the broth very carefully with two spoons. It is falling apart and let it cool. Once cooled I pick at the carcass and make smaller chunks of turkey to put back into the soup.
For additional flavor, I add two tablespoons of chicken bullion and skim the fat off of the top of the soup. The soup is kept at a continuous boil.
For the dumplings I mix 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, one egg and 1 1/3 cup of milk. Pour in the milk gradually, you may need more or less. Today I had to add in a bit more flour.

Drop in by tablespoons over the boiling soup. Move the heat down to low and and cover for 15 minutes. No peaking! The dumplings will float to the top and be perfect. Taste for seasoning and serve with crackers.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Left Over Day One: Turkey Shepherds Pie

The day after Thanksgiving we usually nosh on left overs. By the time I went to make dinner, there was only a few things left. Mostly dark meat, stuffing, mixed veggies, sweet potatoes, regular mashed, and some gravy. Out of that I made Shepherd's pie.
layer 1 turkey, mixed veggies and gravy

Shepherd's Pie

2 cups turkey pieces
2 cups mashed potatoes
2 cups sweet potatoes
2 cups stuffing
2 cups gravy
1 cup mixed veggies or whatever veggies you have on hand
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. On the stove top heat the gravy and pull apart the turkey pieces. Add mixed veggies or whatever leftover veggies you have on hand. Season with salt and pepper and place gravy mixture in a 9x13 Pyrex.
layer 2 stuffing

Step two add the stuffing and distribute throughout the casserole.

Step 3 cover with mashed or sweet potatoes or both. Don't worry if you have holes. Cover with cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes.

layer 3 sweet potatoes and regular potatoes

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Day! Cajun Injected Turkey, Sweet Potato Muffins, ...Delish!

We got a late start today. I blame it on the Butterball webpage. I swear it said my turkey would take 4 1/2 hours to bake?  No frying this year. The oil was just too expensive this year so back to the old fashioned way of baking. Here are some of my favorite recipes. Hope you are enjoying your holiday at home with your family. I am thankful to have my hubby home for the first time in years on Thanksgiving!
The Best Ever Stuffing

I make my stuffing on the side:)

2 large bags of Brownberry Stuffing with sage
3 stalks celery cut lengthwise into thirds and diced
2 apples diced
1/2 onion diced
1 16oz container chicken broth
1 stick of butter
giblets chopped and browned

Add the stuffing to a huge That's a Bowl. In a large sauce pan add the chicken broth, celery, onions, and apple and bring to a boil along with the butter. Fry the diced giblets in a small frying pan with some butter then add the  cooked giblets to the stuffing. Pour the broth  in small batches over the stuffing and have someone help you mix. Refrigerate covered until ready to bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. 
Hubby went a bit crazy with Emeril Essence

Cajun Turkey Injection

1 cup chicken broth
4 TBSP hot sauce
3 TBSP Worchestershire sauce
1 TBSP cayenne pepper
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP garlic powder

Normally we inject the turkeys the day before but we got really busy. Mix all of the ingredients and inject your turkey. Injecting makes for a moist turkey and delicious. In years past we have injected with Gran Marnier, pesto, even cranberry sauce juice. 
Sweet Potato Muffins
2 large sweet potatoes roasted at 350 degrees for a hour
1 can of large sweet potatoes drained
1/4 cup brown sugar 
1/4 cup milk 
1 tsp. Nutmeg
a pat or two of butter
salt and pepper
marsh mallows

I was debating making a crust on these of just plain graham crackers and butter. I opted for the standard marsh mallow. These are perfectly portioned out and bake with the rest of your sides for 25-30 minutes. 

Let the potatoes rest and peel and slice them. Place into a large bowl and add the brown sugar, milk, and nutmeg along with the salt and pepper. Mix with a mixer. Butter each of the muffin tins and add a large spoonful of potatoes. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Egg Bake Breakfast for Dinner & No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake, Cranberry Relish...

For dinner I made breakfast. I got this recipe off of facebook for crock pot eggs and hash browns along with sausage. I thought the amount of eggs, cheese and milk was excessive so I cut those down by half. (Feel free to make it with 1 cup milk and 12 eggs) I actually only sprinkled cheese on the top and it turned out delicious. Is it just me or do you see a smiley face in these eggs? is the easy recipe:

6 eggs beaten
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup milk (I used fat free)
1/2 tube sausage like Farmland
1/4 cup cheese shredded
1/2 pkg store bought hash browns

Brown the sausage and drain off the fat. Beat the eggs, add the milk. Butter the inside of the crock pot or use PAM. Add the hash browns  to the bottom of the crock pot. Pour the eggs on top of that. Add in the sausage and season with salt and pepper. Cook on low 6-8 hours. This is a perfect dish for Christmas morning or Thanksgiving morning.

Winner Cranberry Relish

1 pkg Ocean Spray Cranberries (Wisconsin Represent!)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 orange sliced

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Be sure to stir until dissolved. Add in the cranberries, turn heat to low. Listen for the popping and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Squeeze the juice out of the orange pieces and add them whole. Cool and chill until the big meal.

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 can pumpkin
2 tsp. pumpkin spice
1 pkg Philly cream cheese softened
2 cups Cool Whip
1 graham cracker crust

Having the pumpkin spice on hand saves you from putting in all of the individual spices. If you don't have this add: 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. ginger....Add these to the pumpkin and the softened cream cheese. Blend with a mixer. Fold in the Cool Whip and place into a graham cracker crust. Chill and serve cold.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My First Crock Pot Whole Chicken

I have a little three quart crock pot and had a 5-6lb chicken. I knew the chicken wouldn't fit in there right away. I cleaned it under cold water and removed the giblet pack. Then I placed it into the crock pot and put tin foil over the top and the lid over that.

For seasoning I used salt, pepper, Rosemary, Thyme, and garlic. I also put a few tablespoons of lemon juice over the chicken. I let it cook on high for 3 hours or so and the legs were ready to move. Then I was able to stuff the whole chicken into the pot. I put it on low until I came home from work. The total cooking time was well over 8 hours. The chicken was fall of the bone and very moist.

I removed the chicken very carefully and used some of the juice to make a gravy. The gravy was very easy to make with some flour and butter browned and then the liquid whisked over it.

I thought it was a good idea if you don't have the two hours to waste for it to cook in the oven but not if you are a crispy skin fan. I don't think I could have lifted it out to put it under the broiler to crisp it up.

The pot pie idea will be a good one for that Thanksgiving turkey. For the gravy save the juices from the turkey. Combine two TBSP flour and 2 TBSP butter. Brown for a minute or so to cook out the flour taste. Add the turkey juices and stir to remove the lumps. The gravy will thicken pretty quickly. Lastly add the left over peas and carrots and season with salt and pepper. You could serve this over left over biscuits or even over stuffing.

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's Chili Time!

Yesterday was a horribly stormy day here and around the Midwest. I was out of ground beef and had to head to the grocery store. This particular store used to be my go to until I discovered Woodmans. I only shop at my old store on emergencies. For good reason ground beef was $3.79/lb! With the little package I had, I still divided up into 2 portions and froze one of them. I also had some sourdough bread bowls on hand but this simple chili tastes good in any bowl and no long cooking. This comes together in under 30 minutes. Feel free to add any veggies you like. Sometimes I add green pepper.

Easy Pleasy Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion diced
1 large can stewed tomatoes diced
2 small cans tomato soup
4 small cans water
1 can Bush's chili beans in medium sauce
1 can red kidney beans drained
2 cups cut spaghetti noodles cooked and drained (optional)
2 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp salt
5-6 dashes hot sauce (optional)

Brown the ground beef and onion together in a large soup pot. Break up the meat with your spoon but leave some larger bites. Add the stewed tomatoes and juice and let simmer for a few minutes. Add cans of tomato soup, the beans, the water and the spices, ingredients and let simmer for 25 minutes on low. Taste for seasoning and salt. Before serving add the noodles and stir.  Serve topped with your favorite cheese and sour cream. Tastes even better on the second day.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pork Belly Hash with Sunny Side Up Eggs

I was a over easy girl for many years and recently re-discovered sunny side up eggs. I got home from work this morning feeling a bit sassy. I bought some pork belly for some collard greens I am going to make Saturday or Sunday and decided to make a hash. (Today was not a turkey bacon day!)

I have made hashes before with ham or chorizo but this was my first time using salt pork or pork belly. It is very, very salty which works perfectly with the eggs. I like my bacon a bit crispy, but you can adjust how well you want it done. I cut mine from top to bottom so it looked like the thickest bacon ever. I almost didn't share with my husband!

I boiled 5 medium potatoes with the skins on for 25 minutes. I drained out the water and then covered them with cold water. When they were cool to the touch I made them into cubes. You can add whatever veggies you like to your hash. If you are adding green peppers and onions, give them a quick fry in a saute pan first with some butter. to soften them up.

I started the pork belly in a dry pan first hoping it would start on its own to render the fat. It needed a little help and I added a tsp. of oil.

Next I fried the pork belly until a bit crispy and let it drain on some paper towels. Don't discard the grease. Into the hot frying pan, I added the potatoes and fried them until they had a crisp on the outside. Then I added the pork belly back in and gave it a toss and some salt and pepper.

In another frying pan, I put a pat of butter, swirled it around and then placed two large eggs in. Then I did nothing but watch them until the whites were no longer opaque and set. Since I had to share, we each got one. I love how when you break into the egg it's contents spill all over the potatoes. Yum!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

HP Warm Your Walls Party Food

11x16 photo canvas in the center
My HP "Warm Your Walls Party" is tomorrow. I started prepping the desserts today. I will update this blog as I make the food. This party is from which is a place you sign up to host parties. There is nothing to buy, you just need to invite 10 friends and tell them about a new product. In this case it was the new HP photo service featured at Wal-marts where you can make your own picture products such as canvas pictures, cards, calendars, and more.

Here is the first thing I am making, mini s'mores cheesecakes. I got the idea from the Kraft site. I however did not have the marshmallow fluff I discovered when I tried to make the cheesecakes. So if you can, buy the jarred. It will save you some time. I also used mini cupcake tins. Save yourself some time also by buying mini cupcake wrappers.

The Fluff:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
a candy thermometer
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 TBSP vanilla

Mix the water and the sugar and bring to a boil with the candy thermometer in it. The temp. needs to get up to 240 degrees (the soft ball stage) Give it a stir to make sure the sugar is dissolved.
In a clean glass bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric blender and add the cream of tartar. Beat until you have soft peaks. Once the sugar comes to temperature, add to the side of the egg whites while continuing to mix. Add the vanilla and beat for 4 minutes. The hot sugar will kill any bacteria. You can use the marshmallow fluff in any recipe calling for jarred marshmallows.

The Crust
3/4 cup gram crackers crushed
1/4 cup butter
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 cup crushed pecans

Heat the butter in the microwave for 45 secs. Add to the graham crackers, pecan, and sugar. Use a tea spoon to press into the bottom of each muffin tin. Set aside.

 The Cream Cheese Part

1 pkg. cream cheese softened
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Hershey chocolate syrup
1 jar marshmallow fluff or make your own
1/2 cup marshmallows

Combine the cream cheese and marshmallow fluff. Spoon over the crusts. top with chocolate chips and a few marshmallows. Remove from the tins and freeze until ready to serve. Top with Hershey syrup and enjoy!

Yield; 24 mini cheese cakes
Note: I also used a tea spoon to pop the cheese cakes out of the tin.

Update; My party was a lot of fun. We ate pulled pork sandwiches on dinner rolls with  baked beans. For dessert I had a hot chocolate station. I heated up the milk in a crock pot. I had a ladle, hot chocolate packets, and marshmallows waiting. It was perfect to get into the holiday mood.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Perfect for the Holidays: Scalloped Potatoes

This is a perfect dish for the left over ham you may be having. It's hard to believe some people don't like turkey? Creamy scalloped potatoes are one of my family's favorites.  Not the boxed version! From scratch. You can use the dehydrated potatoes and add your own fresh potatoes but make your own sauce. This is the same sauce I use for my chili cheese fries, mac and cheese, nacho cheese, any kind of cheese sauce. The base is also a white sauce I use on Sundays to make Sawmill gravy.

Here is the recipe. I chose not to use meat this time but like I said before, it goes great with that left over ham.

Scalloped Potatoes

8 potatoes sliced
1 1/2 cup fat free milk
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
4 oz cheddar cheese
1 TBSP sour cream
butter for the baking dish
salt, pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Boil water in a medium pan and salt it. Place the sliced potatoes in the boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Drain and put to the side. Grease a 9x13 baking dish and add the potatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper.

 In a medium sauce pan add the butter and flour. With a whisk, stir the flour until a light tan. Next add the milk, turn the heat to medium low. Continue stirring as you add the cheese. Season the cheese sauce with salt and pepper. Add the sour cream. Don't let the cheese sauce boil. Remove from the heat and pour the sauce over the potatoes. Bake for 25-30 minutes. If you like crusty potatoes, you can also put it under the broiler for a few minutes.