Monthly Archives: November 2011

Food Coma Heaven!

I am sure the last thing most people even want to think about right about now is food! Lucky for me, I don’t have that problem! Today is my first day attempting to return to somewhat normal eating habits…all the amazing leftovers make it way too difficult though! It’s hard to have one thing and not another, and by the end, my plate(s) seem as full as they did on Thanksgiving! Pizza, chinese and Dairy Queen have made appearances the last few days as well, in an effort to take a break from leftovers, but tonight will be a different story! I would like to share a few of our favorite family recipes and turkey leftover recipes with you guys so you don’t get bored eating all that turkey! The first recipe is courtesy of Josh’s family, the tried and true cheesy potatoes…amazing every time! This is no dish for the faint of heart and those ‘watching their weight’ that’s for sure, but it is definitely worth every calorie, trust me!

Cheesy Potatoes

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 (16-ounce) bags frozen diced potatoes or hash brown potatoes
  • 1 medium container sour cream
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 packages (or 1 large) cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp cheddar myself)!

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in large skillet over medium high heat, add onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, mix together potatoes, sour cream, cream of chicken, and half the cheese. Add in onion and butter mixture, spread into a 9X13 dish, top with remaining bag of cheese and bake for 50-60 minutes, until top is golden brown. Ah-mazing!

And now, here are a few of my favorite ways to use up some of that leftover turkey!

Turkey Enchiladas (also courtesy of the Hover clan)

  • 2 cans cream of chicken
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 1 package cheddar cheese
  • 1 package tortillas
  • cumin to taste
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked or leftover turkey
  • black olives to top
Heat oven to 350. Combine cream of chicken, sour cream, half the cheese, cumin and chiles. Half the mixture. Add pieces of shredded chicken or turkey to one half. Roll in tortillas, put into baking pan. Put the other half of the mixture on top. Put rest of cheese and olives over and bake for 25-30 minutes, until cheese is bubbling.
Buffalo Turkey Mac & Cheese
  • 1 pound shells or elbow macaroni
  • 2-3 cups shredded leftover turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 5 T butter
  • 2 T Flour
  • 2 t dry mustard powder
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 bags cheddar cheese, again, I prefer sharp!
Pre-heat oven to 350 and cook pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, melt 3 T butter in large skillet, sweat onion until soft, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic then turkey and cook a few minutes more, then add in 1/2 cup of the hot sauce, simmer about 2 minutes. In another skillet, melt remaining butter, add in flour and mustard, cook for about 1 minute, then slowly, whisking constantly, add in the milk.  Stir until smooth and then add in remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce, cook about 2 minutes. Then whisk in the cheese and cook until melted and smooth. You can layer the three placing half the pasta in the bottom of a greased 9X13 pan or casserole dish, then the chicken mixture, then remaining pasta and pour the cheese sauce over top or just mix everything together and then spread it into the prepared pan. Either way, bake it about 30 minutes. You can add blue cheese and/or panko bread crumbs on top before baking  for a bit of a crunch and/or browning if you’d like!

And lastly, the most simple, yet delicious way to use up that leftover turkey is to make one fantastic sandwich! Having good bread is key here, as is having good, homemade stuffing (not that I’m bias at all, but my gram’s is the BEST)! Spread two slices of good, hearty bread with mayo, layer on stuffing and turkey, assemble sandwich and enjoy! It is as simple as that and is always great, every time!

And for the record, the pumpkin cheesecake recipe, courtesy of Paula Deen was delicious! Great texture, very creamy and not too rich at all. Her recipe can be found on Food Network or through google…I didn’t change a thing! The only thing I would recommend to do different would be to bake the cheesecake in a water bath. Place the springform pan in a larger dish and fill half way up with water and bake that way. This should prevent some of the cracking that happened to mine! I’ve got to say though, appearance didn’t matter much since it tasted so good! And any cracking was easily disguised with whipped cream anyways!

Sour Power!

Slight change of plans for our holiday this year. We had planned on spending Thanksgiving with Josh’s family in Michigan, until Josh realized he has a very important hockey game to coach tonight and didn’t want to miss it! He also has a tournament to coach beginning Friday morning, so going for one day seemed like too much of a hassle! Their family’s Thanksgiving is huge, I mean huuuuge…so big that they have to rent a hall that can hold  at least 75 people! They also alternate between Battle Creek and Port Huron every year. They are super cute about everything, going in early to decorate, creating a menu and delegating which couples/families bring what, etc. Such a fantastic tradition and a great chance for the entire clan to get together and celebrate…big bummer we are missing it…but there is always Port Huron next year! Josh’s sister Mandy makes this lemon pie that is his absolute favorite and since he can’t be with his family this year, I figured I’d make it for him so he can at least have some ‘taste of home!’ The key to this pie however, is having time and patience! It is a pretty difficult recipe overall but mostly takes a long time…standing over the stove and stirring constantly…not one of those you can just throw together and wait for it to bake! But for him, it’s worth slaving over! So here is the recipe:

Lemon Truffle Pie:

  • pie crust (either pre-made or you can make your own), baked and cooled
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is definitely best)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 6 ounces white chocolate
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese
  • Whipped cream
  • Slivered almonds

In a medium saucepan, mix together the sugar, flour and cornstarch. Gradually add the water until it is smooth and heat over medium until thickened and boiling, stirring constantly. Once boiling, reduce to low heat and cook 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and temper/add 1/4 of the hot lemon mixture into the egg yolks, stirring constantly (so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs), then add the egg yolk mixture to the lemon mixture and return to low heat and heat until boiling, stirring constantly (this takes a very long time, do not raise from low, just be patient and wait for it to come to a boil…this is the hardest part)! Once boiling, cook for 2 minutes, remove from heat and add in butter, lemon juice and lemon zest. Once butter is melted, add 1/3 of the hot lemon mixture to a small sauce pan and melt the white chocolate over low heat until just melted. Set aside the remaining 2/3 lemon mixture and let it cool. Once the white chocolate is melted, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, add in white chocolate mixture. Beat until well blended. Top the baked and cooled pie crust with the white chocolate mixture followed by the lemon mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Serve topped with whipped cream and slivered almonds. Big tip for making this pie is to have everything ready and out because things move quickly once everything starts happening! I have everything measured out in bowls, eggs beaten, cream cheese fluffed, etc all before beginning because you do not have any hands free to do it while stirring and waiting!

This is a very rich and decadent pie from what I understand…I am not a big fan of lemon or pie in general (it’s not chocolate after all) but I am told that this pie is amazing…so for the lemon lovers out there, I say it’s worth it! I will take a picture of the finished pic with the whipped cream when serving tomorrow to post for you guys! I also made a pumpkin cheesecake, recipe courtesy of Paula Deen but have yet to taste it so I don’t want to share the recipe if it isn’t even good! My top cracked pretty good so it is unappealing which makes me hesitant…I definitely should have gone with my gut and used a water bath for cooking…lesson learned for next time! Nothing a little whipped cream can’t cover up…I’ll let you all know how that one turned out! Have a great Thanksgiving and please share any and all fabulous recipes with me! I am always looking for new things to try!

Savor the Moment!

Usually, I opt for the sweet breakfast choice over the savory, any day of the week…I’m talking 9 out of 10 times…give me a muffin or chocolate croissant please! Yesterday was an entirely different morning, for some reason I decided to make an uber rich and savory breakfast and it turned out fabulous! Josh and I went out to a steakhouse Friday night and ended up, through quite a mishap of giving our entrees away to another table, etc, with 3 large entrée steaks…so for once, we ended up having leftovers, a rare event in our lives! I was trying to think of something fun to do with the steak because re-heating a steak doesn’t sound too appetizing to me! I got the idea from a combination of  the ever popular dishes ‘chicken and waffles’ and ‘steak and eggs’ and came up with ‘steak and waffles!’ We both absolutely love anything mushroom or Marsala so I decided this would be the ‘syrup’ for the waffles. We made savory herb waffles and topped them with steak slices, Marsala sauce, and a fried egg. I just might swing towards the savory breakfast club if they could all be this good!

Waffles (makes 6):

  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Marsala Mushroom Sauce:
  • 1 container Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 small onion or shallot, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup Marsala
  • 3-4 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 t chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onion and mushrooms in some olive oil and/or butter until softened, add in garlic. Cook a few more minutes, then add in Marsala, scrape up any browned bits on bottom of pan, add in herbs, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cook a few more minutes. Uncover, add cream and cook, stirring until desired thickness (took me about 8 or so minutes). To assemble: top the waffles with the steak slices, then the Marsala sauce, followed by a fried egg!
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My favorite part about this was the fried egg, when you cut into it, the yolk from the egg oozed out all over the steak, mushrooms and waffle. I contemplated adding in a different cheese with the waffle batter or using blue cheese with the Marsala sauce but I think it would have been too rich, this was a very hearty and savory dish already. It was a great way to use leftovers instead of throw them out, that’s for sure!
On another note, I made the stuffed pumpkins again last night, however I substituted ground lamb for the ground beef, added in carrots and peas with the mushrooms and used fresh rosemary and thyme from our garden…they were even better than the first time! They had a Shepard’s Pie feel to them but were stuffed in a pumpkin! I am really loving this recipe, not only because of how amazingly delicious it is but because of how versatile it is and how you can play around with it! Had to get one last round of pumpkins in there before the season officially ends! My next task is going to be to make enough baked mostaccioli and meatballs for Josh’s family’s Thanksgiving of 75+ people! I am going to have to channel my inner Gram for help with this one!

Bake Shop Cookies!

My cousin had a gorgeous baby girl October 21, 2011…she may be a tiny little thing but she is perfect! I finally made my way over to meet the little peanut in person yesterday and decided to bring over some fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies! I tried out a new recipe, and they ended up being the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made…beating my old tried and true recipe I used to bake religiously! I cannot thank my old colleague and friend enough for the outline for this recipe! This recipe produces, in my opinion, the best textured cookie ever (I’m talking bake shop good…hence the name I gave this recipe)…what I’ve been searching for and experimenting to get for ages now; a slightly crunchy exterior giving way to a chewy, soft and moist middle. They even looked like they came out of a package…however I of course forgot to take a picture…no worries though, I will definitely be baking these again soon!

Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Barely adapted from Anna Olson, Food Network Canada

  • 3/4 cup salted, butter, room temp (if you use unsalted, just add about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • chocolate chips, to taste (I love chocolatey cookies so I use an entire bag)
And just for fun, the old recipe I used to use, uses a ‘secret ingredient’ of vanilla instant pudding. These cookies are definitely very good as well, very soft and chewy but not the same texture as the new recipe, which I just love so much!
Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies:
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened (same as above, add salt if you use unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • chocolate chips
I will definitely still make these from time to time just because I’ve been making them this way for so long now, I can’t abandon this recipe completely! This recipe is delicious however, very soft cookies, no crunch when you bite into them really at all…just very light and fluffy! Enjoy, and if you make either or both, let me know what you think!!