Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

I said earlier this week that I don't have alot of Thanksgiving recipes because we do a simple dinner fare (turkey, ham, trimmings) and while that's the truth, like most other households, we have leftovers and after several sandwiches, we're left looking for something else to do with them.  I came across this recipe for Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup and immediately added it to our menu. 

Wow, this was delicious!!  It was a favorite in the soup category.  It was flavorful, creamy, hearty, yummy...

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen

1 package Uncle Ben's Wild Rice
1/2 cups Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
2 whole Carrots, Sliced Into 1/4" Thick Coins
8 ounces, weight Button Mushrooms (sliced)
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
6 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup 2% milk
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
½ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Black Pepper
1 whole Bay Leaf
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
2 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
4 cups Cooked And Coarsely Shredded Turkey

First thing, cook the wild rice according to the package.

The remainder of the recipe can be made in one stock pot. Start by melting the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic. Stir well and saute until the onion is transparent and softened. Blend in flour, cooking until it bubbles a bit. Gradually add the broth, stirring constantly.

Turn up the heat a bit and bring the soup to a low boil. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat slightly and add the cooked wild rice, heavy cream, milk, soy sauce, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, and turkey. Simmer for 20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed. Taste test to see if it needs more salt and pepper.

Serve with crackers or warm bread.

Fried Turkey

10-14 lb turkey
2 Tablespoons Lawry's seasoned salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup melted butter

Melt butter and mix with all other ingredients and using an injector, inject the turkey in multiple areas, using most of the liquid.  Use the remainder of the liquid to baste the turkey.  Let set over night.  In a turkey fryer, heated to 325 degrees, cook turkey until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, about 4 minutes per pound.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak with Diced Potato Gravy

I thought this main dish was great but served next to the creamed spinach, it was quite mild in flavor.  It was super easy to make which is always a plus in my book.

Chicken Fried Steak with Diced Potato Gravy
Food Network

2 eggs

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds cube steak, cut into individual steaks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Vegetable oil, for frying
Diced Potato Gravy, recipe follows

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the steaks, stir to coat, and let sit 10 minutes. In a paper bag, combine the flour, cornstarch, a few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove the steaks from egg mixture and put into a large ziploc bag. Close the bag and shake until the steaks are evenly coated. This may be done in batches. Let the coated steak rest on a sheet tray lined with a rack for 10 minutes.

In a deep, heavy-bottomed skillet add enough oil to reach 1/2-inch up the sides. Heat the oil over medium heat to 370 degrees F. (When a wooden spoon inserted into the oil creates tiny bubbles, the oil is ready.) Fry the steaks, in batches if necessary, flipping only once when color is golden and a poke releases no red juices, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove to a serving platter and serve with Diced Potato Gravy.


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1/2 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1 large russet potato, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley, for garnish

In a large straight-sided skillet heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the flour, stirring to combine with the butter. Add the bay leaf and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, then add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender and the gravy has thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the parsley.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Creamed Spinach

I knew instantly when I saw this recipe that I had to try it.  I was so excited that this could possibly be one of my favorite side dishes.  I mean what's not to love about it... spinach, heavy cream, and cheese, all spruced up.  Yummy!

It was great!! However, I think the recipe called for too much red pepper flakes and next time I make it, I will half the amount it calls for.  There's no way Serena could have eaten it as it was prepared this time.  I will also add more red onion because they really helped make this dish.  Overall, this dish will definitely be a keeper with a few tweaks.

I served this with Chicken Fried Steak with Diced Potato Gravy (recipe to follow tomorrow).

Creamed Spinach
Food Network

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1/2 red onion, chopped (recommend using a whole onion)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons red chili flakes (recommend no more than 1 teaspoon)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sour cream
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup packaged fried onions (recommended: French's)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Saute for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and red chili flakes and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the heavy cream, Parmesan, and nutmeg. Heat until the cream is just beginning to bubble, stirring often. Turn the burner off and stir in sour cream and spinach. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top evenly with fried onions. Bake until golden and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Sorry I haven't featured a bunch of Thanksgiving recipes.  I just don't have many.  We keep our dinner fairly simple with fried turkey, spiral ham, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans or green bean casserole, mac and cheese, rolls, pumpkin pie... 

The week before the big day though, I tried several new recipes.  One of them was Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon.  This was absolutely delicious!!!  It was juicy, flavorful, and moist.  It was easy to prepare and it was just as good the day after.  I served this with green beans and oven roasted potatoes.

Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon
Food Network

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard (recommended: Maille)
2 tablespoons honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 (3 1/2-pound) center-cut, boneless, pork loin roast
12 slices bacon (about 1 pound)

Special equipment: kitchen twine

Put an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, add the Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, honey, garlic, and rosemary and mix together until smooth. Arrange the pork in a 9 by 13-inch baking pan and spread the mustard mixture evenly over the pork. Starting on 1 side, lay a piece of bacon, lengthwise, on the pork. Lay another slice of bacon on the pork making sure to slightly overlap the first piece. Continue with the remaining bacon, until the pork is fully covered in bacon. Using 3 pieces of kitchen twine, secure the bacon in place. Roast for 1 hour. Cover the pan, loosely, with foil and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 160 degrees F. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the roast to a cutting board. Cover the pan with foil and allow the pork to rest for 20 minutes. Remove the kitchen twine and slice the pork into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bacon, Onion and Cheese Stuffed Burger

The other week as I was working from home on the laptop, comfortable on the sofa, I had the television on, primarily for background noise.  I wasn't really paying any attention to it as I was deep in my work but at some point, I got up to stretch my legs and take a potty break and I noticed an individual I had never seen or heard of.  On a slip of paper, I jotted down her name (Sunny Anderson) and went back to the work on hand.  Later that night, I pulled up Food Network, pulled up this chef and searched her top 100 recipes.  Over the course of a few minutes, I wrote down five recipes I wanted to try. 

Included in this list was a recipe for Bacon, Onion and Cheese Stuffed Burgers.  I love a good burger and like trying new variations so this was first on my "To Try" list.  I thought this was very good.  I did have trouble keeping my burger together (even though it was beautifully put together and formed, it seemed to separate during the cooking process).  That in turned, smoked up my house terribly but on the bright side, I got to smell these delicious burgers for a day and a half.  :-)

Bacon, Onion and Cheese Stuffed Burger
Food Network

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 strips bacon, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
4 burger buns
Lettuce and tomato for garnish

Preheat grill to medium.

In a bowl combine beef, garlic, hot sauce, salt and pepper, to taste, being careful not to over mix. Warm a skillet over medium heat and fry bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Keep heat on skillet and fry a pinch of the beef in the bacon fat to test seasoning. Adjust seasoning, if needed, then form 8 even thin patties, about 1/2-inch thick and set aside. Saute onions in bacon fat in skillet until tender, 5 minutes. Place onions and bacon in a bowl with cheese. Form a spoonful of bacon-cheese mixture into a ball, then place in the center of 4 patties. Top each with another patty and seal the edges. Grill burgers over medium-high heat, flipping once until desired doneness is reached, approximately 4 minutes each side for medium. Serve in buns with garnishes. Alternative: In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, sear the burgers 4 minutes on each side.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Asian Beef with Noodles

I found this recipe some time back and printed it off but didn't reference the source.  I came across it this past week when I was weeding through my recipe drawer looking for an easy week night meal. 

This was very good.  It was easy to prepare and Serena liked the noodles with the sauce (though she picked around the sugar snap peas).  It wasn't PF Chang's, nor authentic, but it was a fulfilling meal with an Asian twist.

Asian Beef with Noodles

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken in half
3 cups fresh sugar snap peas
1 cup thinly sliced sweet red pepper
1/2 cup Catalina salad dressing
1-1/2 pound top sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts

In a large saucepan, cook spaghetti according to package directions, adding the snap peas and pepper during the last few minutes of cooking; drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat salad dressing over medium-high heat.  Add beef, cook for 8-10 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness.  Add peanut butter and soy sauce; cook for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in spaghetti mixture and onions; sprinkle with peanuts.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lasagna Soup

When I saw this recipe online, I knew I had to add it to our menu.  This soup looked so good and as much as I love lasagna, it's a pain to make so it is restricted only to weekends.  I just knew I would enjoy the flavors, with an easier preparation, on a week night.

This soup was great!  Leftovers were equally as good. 

Lasagna Soup
slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 pounds sausage

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound fusilli noodles, cooked and drained

Cheese topping:
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, for sprinkling

In a large 4-quart pot, add the sausage and cook over medium heat, breaking the pieces up with a wooden spoon or spatula while it cooks. After about 3-4 minutes, add the onion. Cook the sausage and onion together, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through and the onions are soft, about 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess grease, if desired. Stir in the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and tomato paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, bay leaves and chicken broth. Add the basil.

Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

For the cheese mixture, in a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and basil. Set aside.

To serve the soup, add a scoop of cooked pasta noodles to a bowl. Top with a ladle or two of soup and dollop with a generous spoonful of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Chili

I am all about easy dinners these days.  This is the busiest time of year for me at work and in addition to that, I am wrapping up my Fall semester at the university, getting ready to take a marathon Winter semester class, and trying to get started (and hopefully finish soon) my Christmas shopping.  At home, I'm moving my daughter to the bigger of the two guest bedrooms which has proved to be a much bigger project than I had anticipated.  I've had to essentially clean out every closet to facilitate this move.  It's just been never-ending lately.

I love trying new chili recipes.  This one, done in the crockpot, was a no brainer because dinner would be ready and waiting when I got home from work.  I wasn't sure what to expect by adding pumpkin and not using your typical chili beans (pinto beans) but this recipe really worked.  I didn't add any hot sauce except to my bowl, keeping Serena's bowl mild.  I doubled the recipe so we'd have leftovers for the week.  I added 1/2 of a pound of sausage to the original recipe because I had some that I had no other purpose for.  The chili was good.  The smell when you walked in the door had your mouth watering.  You could taste the pumpkin but it was subtle.  It was definitely an interesting twist on chili, a version I would recommend my friends to try.

Pumpkin Chili
slightly adopted from Taste and Tell

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 15.25-ounce can black beans
1 can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
few drops hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saute pan, brown the ground beef. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until the onions are translucent.

In a medium slow cooker, combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, pumpkin, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Add in the cooked beef and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Serve with your favorite chili toppings, such as cheese, sour cream, or tortilla strips.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Creamy Caprese Pasta

I was looking for something easy to fix one night last week since I have been overwhelmed lately with school, work, and my home life.  I saw this recipe and thought it would fit the bill.  I was correct that it was easy to prepare but I had no clue it would be a house favorite.  We loved it!  The sauce was delicious and I think in the future, I will double the sauce.  This will definitely be a repeat~

Creamy Caprese Pasta
Tasty Kitchen

1 pound penne pasta
1 cup of your favorite pasta/tomato sauce
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.  While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce over low heat in a large saucepan.  Once warm, stir in heavy cream and grated Parmesan.  Once pasta is done cooking, drain and dump into the sauce, mixing to coat and turn off heat.  Fold in mozzarella cubes and tomatoes, then chop 3-4 fresh basil leaves and add them in too.  Once combined, spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire pasta mixture into the dish.  Top with fresh mozzarella rounds.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Creamy Feta Potatoes

I found this recipe in the local newspaper's insert called Relish.  I knew instantly when I saw it that I had to add it to our menu.  I love taters!  All types of taters - scalloped taters, au gratin taters, mashed taters, baked taters, fried taters...  I mean, I'm not sure I have ever had a tater I didn't like.  Now, combine that with my love of cheese, and it's sure to be a dish I will enjoy.

This dish was delicious!!!  I seriously can't recommend this dish enough.  I served it alongside pork tenderloin but I think it would be great next to a thick cut steak as well. 

Creamy Feta Potatoes
slightly adapted from Relish

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups finely diced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and covered with water
Ground black pepper

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add onions and saute until they start to caramelize, about 15 minutes.  Add minced garlic for the last 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Stir in cheese.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 13 x 9 -inch baking dish.  Combine cream, milk and salt in a saucepan.  Heat to just under a boil.  Remove from heat.  Slice potatoes into 1/8 -inch slices.  Place a layer in the bottom of pan.  Season with black pepper.  Cover with 1 cup of onion mixture.  Repeat two more layers, leaving enough potatoes for a top layer.  Pour hot cream over top.  The cream should reach the top of the potatoes but not cover them.  Season with pepper.

Bake 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and use a baster to baste the top of the potatoes with cream from the corners.  Return to oven and back 45-60 more minutes until potatoes are tender and cream is nearly absorbed.  Let stand up to 20 minutes before serving.  Serves 10.