Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Galore!!

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? I don't know about you, but I have tons of turkey leftover still! In reality, it took us three nights of Thanksgiving supper to finish up all the leftovers we had. I have a horrible habit of making way to much food. It's not that I don't know how much people eat, or how much I really need to make, I have a problem with making EVERYTHING! My table included an 18lb tukey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes with a brown sugar and pecan topping, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed celery, corn, bacon braised Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie AND pecan pie. Did I mention that this was for three adults and two kids? Oh and I had planned on making even more food but was talked out of it. Like I said, lots of leftovers!

So now that everything is gone but the turkey, it can be hard trying to get it all eaten up. You can always freeze the cooked breast in slices for later use or you can take just about any recipe and use turkey instead of chicken.

You can shred it up and use it to make Tostada's.

You can chopped it up and add it into Soup.  Or even a salad or two.

You can even slice it and make some great sammies.

Still have more then just turkey left over? You can mix your veggies together with leftover gravy and turkey, cover it with biscuits and bake for an easy pot pie, or even cover it with leftover mashed potatoes for a turkey version of shepherds pie.

When you use your imagination, you can find lots of idea on how to get things out of the fridge without feeling like you're eating the same old leftovers AND without throwing them in the trash!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicken and Pasta a la Ruby

Chicken and Pasta a la Ruby is a dish that was inspired by something my husband once had at Ruby Tuesday. It was as if Chicken Parmesan and baked Ziti had a baby and covered it with alfredo sauce to keep it warm at night. This is comfort food to the max and definitely fills your belly on a cold night. This dish does take a little bit of effort but it's something you can do the morning of and still have it taste wonderful after you bake it. You can easily make this a quick dish by buying jared sauces but I tend to make my own. In the ingredients, I've said to use your favorite jarred pasta sauce but to make a quick sauce for this dish all I do is sautee some onions and garlic, add in a big can of crushed tomatoes, some oregano and parsly, let it simmer to thicken a bit and I have sauce that took very little effort.

What You Need:

Parmesan crusted chicken
1 jar favorite tomato pasta sauce
1lb ziti shapped pasta
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs flour
salt and pepper

What To Do:

Make the parmesan crusted chicken as directed and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cooked the ziti noodles until just barely done. You want them to have a slight "crunch" to them because they will continue to cook and absorb the sauce when you bake it in the oven. When the pasta is done, drain it and stir it together with the tomato pasta sauce. Transfer the pasta to a 13x9 pan with deep sides.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter together with the olive oil over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add in the garlic and cook it for about 30 seconds or until it's fragarant. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute to remove some of the flour taste. Slowly whisk in the milk so that you don't get lumps. Once the milk is all combined, turn the heat up to medium high and bring it just to a simmer so that it begins to thicken. Slowly whisk in the parmesan cheese and continue cooking until the cheese is all melted and you have alfredo sauce.

Pour about 2/3 of the sauce on top of the pasta. Place your parmesan crusted chicken on top of that and drizzle the rest of the sauce over the chicken. Bake in a preheat 350 oven for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. If made early in the day and cold, bake for 1 hour.

Turkey Club Sammies

Since Thanksgiving is just a few days away I thought I'd give you an easy after Thanksgiving meal to use up some of your turkey. It's a very simple sandwich that I like to serve with some oven fries. Turkey Clubs are a quick go to meal in my home and my husband absolutely loves them and asks me to make them quite often. I make them right on top of my griddle but they would be awesome done in a panini press too! Want to use up some more leftovers?? Skip the tomato and slather on some leftover cranberry sauce. YUM!

What You Need: (Per Sammie)

1 thick slice of turkey breast (two if it won't cover the bread)
2-3 thick cut slices of bacon
2 slices provolone cheese
2-3 slices tomatoes
2 slices bread
thousand island dressing for dipping (optional)

What To Do:

I use my electric griddle and cook the bacon until it's nice and crispy. I then sear the turnkey in the drippings that the bacon leaves behind. It heats it through and gives it some more flavor. Butter the slices of bread and place one, butter side down, on the griddle. Top with a piece of cheese, the tomatoes slices, bacon, turkey and last slice of cheese. Top with the other slice of bread, butter side up and cook like you a grilled cheese sammies. Serve with thousand island dressing for dipping if desired.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Steak Au Poivre

I am a carnivore to the 100th degree. I love love love steak in particular. Steak Au Poivre, traditionally is a fillet mignon, seasoned with crushed peppercorns and served with a sauce made from cognac and cream. I make mine using Ny Strip steaks because they cook up quicker then the thicker fillet mignon. Do yourself and favor and make sure you buy a good cognac because it will make a huge difference. Also be very careful when adding the cognac to your pan. It has a decent alcohol content and will flame up very quickly. Always remember to take the pan off the heat before adding in alcohol, especially when you cook with gas. You run the risk of having the bottle explode in your hands.

What You Need:

2 -4 steaks (Ny strip is a great choice, fillet mingon is classic)
2 tbs peppercorns
1 tbs butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 c cognac
1 c cream
Salt and pepper

What To Do:

Crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or use a heavy bottom skillet to crush. You want a nice coarse crush to the peppercorns. Season the steak with salt and the crushed peppercorns and set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat with the butter and olive oil. Sear the steaks for a 2-5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your steaks and the done-ness you desire. Remove the seared steaks from the pan and set aside to rest.
Remove the pan from the heat, especially if you cook with gas. Add the cognac and set a flame. Be very very careful when lighting the cognac as it will flame up really quickly. Once the flames die, add in the cream, bring to a boil and whisk until thickened. About five to six minutes. Serve over the steaks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tilapia Al Forno

Fish is something all Americans should be eating more of, but if you're like my family, fish isn't something we eat very often. I'm not the hugest fan of the taste so I'm always looking for a way to almost cover the taste up without covering it cocktail sauce. Cooking fish fillets al forno is something I can handle. I still taste the fish underneath but the crunch from the panko, the flavor from the garlic powder, and the fruitiness from the extra virgin olive oil, make this a fish dish I can handle!

What You Need:

4 (6oz) tilapia fillets
1/3 c olive oil
1 c panko bread crumbs

Salt and pepper
½ tsp garlic powder

What To Do:

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Season each of the fillets with salt and pepper and place on the back sheet.
In a small bowl, mix together the panko with the garlic powder and olive oil. Divide the panko among the four fillets so that the crumbs form a crust on top of each of them.
Bake 8-12 minutes for until the fillets reach 130 degrees. Let rest for 2 minutes before serving.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Roasted Fennel and Apples

Fennel and Apples are such a classic combination. When you cut into a fennel bulb, the scent of anise hits you. When eaten raw in a salad it has an unmistakable crisp flavor but when roasted it becomes sweet as the anise flavor mellows out. We all know what apples taste like, and most people think of cooked apples as dessert but they have a great savory quality to them as well. Roasted together with some great herbs it makes the perfect side dish for any kind of pork dish.

What You Need:

1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
3-4 large apples
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp sage
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
veg oil

What To Do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees with a sheet pan left  in the oven to preheat as well.
Cut the apples into quarters and remove the seeds. Cut each quarter into half so that you get a total of eight pieces out of each apple.
Cut off the tops of the fennel (of the fennel fronds) and discard. Thinly slice the bottom off of each bulb to remove the dry end. Then cut each of the bulbs into quarters and remove the small core at the bottom. Finish slicing the fennel so that it's roughly the same size as the apples. Combine them together in a large bowl some veg oil, a big pinch of salt, some pepper and the rest of the herbs and garlic powder.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven and drizzle just just a touch of veg oil. CAREFULLY dump your bowl of apples and fennel onto the sheet pan and spread out into a single layer. Preheating the pan lets them start to cook and crisp as soon as they're in the oven. Roast for about 35-45 minutes or until golden. Serve along side pork chops or a pork roast for the perfect meal.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Savory Palmiers

From left to right: prosciutto/parmsean,
olive tapenade, roasted tomato pesto
Most people know Palmiers as these sweet crunch cookies. My mom as a little girl, would walk down to the local bakery with her grandfather just to get these yummy "elephant ears." Palmiers, however, do not have to be a sweet treat. They can make terrific savory appetizers too. Just like the Olive Tapenade from last week, these savory palmiers are quick and easy to make, and the combinations are nearly endless. This recipe is actually three different ways of making them.

What You Need:

1/4 c olive tapenade
1/4 c roasted tomato pesto
6 slices prosciutto
2 tbs parmesan cheese
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

What To Do:

Lay our your puff pastry dough and spread the tapenade, OR the pesto over the top, OR lay the slices of prosciutto over the pastry and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Roll one of the long sides of the pastry to the center of the sheet, followed by rolling the opposite side into the center. Then slice with a serrated knife about 1/4 inch thick. It's easier to slice them if you flip the whole thing over. They won't unravel as much that way. Place the palmiers onto a parchment line sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until puffy and slightly golden.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Olive Tapenade

With the holiday's right around the corner, many of us will be having large more formal suppers. Appetizers are usually involved and an olive tapenade is something that is very easy to put together and yet is considered to be something fancy. I like using Kalamata olives, however just about any olive you can get from the olive bar in your local grocery store will work just fine. I like serving mine on top of crostini which is just a baguette that has been sliced on the bias, then drizzled with olive oil and placed in the oven to get cripy. When it comes out and is still warm, rub it a clove of garlic. Serve the tapenade on top of the crostini.

What You Need:

1 c pitted Kalamata olives
1 tbs capers, drained
2 anchovy fillets
juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

What To Do:

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped and well combined. Seriously, that's it. You can't get much simpler then that!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Taco Burgers

Hubby's been wondering why I haven't been making him burgers lately. When I told him the grilling season is over, he wasn't two happy. He loves hot, juicy burgers so last week I made them two nights in a row and he was very satisfied. The first night I made Cowboy Burgers and the next I made these taco burgers. There is salsa and spices mixed into the ground beef which not only makes them juicy but packed with flavor too. If you enjoy taco's as much as my family does, these burgers are going to become a huge favorite in your house too!

What You Need:

1lb ground beef
1/4 c chunky salsa
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt and Pepper
1 c shredded cheddar cheese or 4 slices
4 slices tomato
sour cream
4 hamburger buns

What To Do:

Preheat a grill or pan over high heat. Meanwhile, combine the ground beef with the salsa, cumin, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper Make into 4 patties.

To do this quickly and easily, make 4 even balls out of the ground meat and place them onto a cutting board. Take a small dessert or salad plate and use it to press the burgers into a patty. It makes even round patties every time! Don't forget to press an indentation into one side of each patty to help keep them flat. Because these patties have salsa in them, they are going to be a little more fragile then you're used too so be careful when handling and cooking them. Cook your patties to your desired done-ness, only flipping once. Top each with the cheddar cheese during the last minute of cooking to melt it. Top each bun with a burger, lettuce, tomato and a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

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