Archive | November, 2009

Leftover Turkey Casserole

30 Nov

Do you still have turkey in your fridge?! We certainly still have a lot, hence this recipe. I originally made this last year at Thanksgiving with my leftover rice stuffing and turkey. So this year, I made my own rice, mixed it with some leftover rice I had in the fridge, added in some sauce, veggies and cheese and voila! A dinner that will fill bellies and leave you feeling satisfied! Gotta love that. AND! Its seriously 4 steps. SERIOUSLY. Don’t you love when things come together so nicely like that? Thats what I’m talkin’ about.

Leftover Turkey Casserole

2 cups precooked turkey, cubed
2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1-2 cups fried onions (you know you have some leftover from that green bean casserole!)
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds (optional)

STEP 1: Cook 1 1/2 cups rice according to packaged directions. Easy!

STEP 2: Steam broccoli-arrange them on a plate, put a little water at the bottom of the plate, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until they are cooked to your liking.

STEP 3: Mix it all together! This means you mix the rice, broccoli, turkey, soup, salt and better all together. Pour it into a baking dish big enough.

STEP 4: Top it off and bake! Cover the top of your filling with cheese, fried onions and almonds. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until all that cheese is melty and ooey gooey! Oh how I love food.


Breakfast or Dinner Mini Skillets

28 Nov

YUM! My sweet potato, ham, egg and cheese mini skillet! Sweet and savory is oh so good!
My husbands extra large mini skillet with plain mashed potatoes, ham, scrambled eggs and cheese!
If you have leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, this is a great meal for you! Its a fast, no-fuss breakfast, or in our case dinner! We had turkey AND ham for Thanksgiving yesterday (meaning double the meaty leftovers) so I used ham in these mini skillets along with the leftover potatoes. Boy oh boy are the sweet potatoes fabulous with the ham, cheese and egg! My husband was not as adventurous and had plain mashed potatoes in his skillet, but still was equally as delicious not to mention filling!
We happened to have individual sized cast iron skillets, but you can definitely use one large one for your whole family. I purposely chose to do ours separately because I wanted a soft-centered, sunny side up egg and my husband wanted scrambled. Everything worked out well for our dinner and we made a little dent in our leftovers without getting bored of the same thing again and again. Below is the recipe for 1 mini skillet so double or triple where necessary.
Breakfast or Dinner Mini Skillets
1 tablespoon butter per person
2 tablespoons finely diced onion
1/2 cup prepared mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes per person
1/4 cup cooked ham per person
1-2 eggs
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small skillet, melt butter and cook onions for 2 minutes. Add in your choice of potatoes and flatten to create a thin layer. Cook 3-5 minutes or until potatoes have browned to your liking. Top with ham and eggs (whisk eggs for scrambled!) Sprinkle salt and pepper on eggs. Bake until eggs are done to your liking. (Mine took about 8 minutes and my husbands took close to 20). Turn oven off, top with cheese and keep mini skillets in oven until cheese has melted. Serve with left over rolls and butter or toast.

Italian Turkey and Vegetable Soup

28 Nov

A perfect recipe to make with your Thanksgiving leftovers especially if you’re feeling under the weather, like I have these past few days. This is a great soup that will fill you up and not make you feel guilty after eating a bowl or two. Its really tasty and comes together pretty quick! I had this for lunch today and it was the perfect amount for 2!
Italian Turkey and Vegetable Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
leftover turkey (I used about 1/2 cup cubed)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup dried pasta (I used spaghetti that I broke into smaller pieces)
grated parmesan cheese
In small pot, heat oil. Sauté vegetables for 5-7 minutes or until onions start to soften slightly. Add in all seasonings, chicken broth and tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft. 10 minutes before serving, pour in pasta. Serve once pasta is fully cooked. Top soup with parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake

27 Nov

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Man, I stuffed my face, but it was well worth it! Yesterday, I was responsible for making cheesecake! Some may be intimidated by this, but honestly, cheesecake only takes a few ingredients and about 15 minutes. As far as the fancy swirls on top go, its just a matter of running a butter knife through your batter. Super simple and not so hard as maybe you thought! My family gobbled this up in no time, along with whipped cream, ice cream, and 3 other pies! Luckily there were 20+ people! Oh, and we have lots and lots of leftovers, so stay tuned for more recipes today and tomorrow using up that turkey, potatoes, and stuffing!
Pumpkin Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake
For the crust-
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
For the pumpkin cheesecake:
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
For the chocolate cheesecake:
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare a water bath for a 9-inch springform pan (find a baking dish larger than the spring form pan and put some hot water in it). Cover the outside of your spring form pan with aluminum foil if its not leak proof! (I had to put 2 layers of foil and tape!)
In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until completely moist. Press into bottom of spring form pan until level. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, whip 2 packages cream cheese until smooth. Mix in flour and sugar. Continuously mix and scrape sides and bottom of bowl to prevent lumps. Add vanilla, pumpkin puree, egg and pumpkin pie spice. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl and mix again to ensure batter is smooth. Pour into bowl and set aside. (If you scrape the bowl out really well, then you don’t have to wash it before you mix up your second flavor)
Replace bowl to stand mixer and whip the other 2 packages cream cheese until smooth. Mix in flour and sugar. Continuously mix and scrape sides and bottom of bowl to prevent lumps. Add vanilla, egg, and melted chocolate. Stir until chocolate is evenly mixed into batter and is uniform in color. Scrape sides and edges of bowl to ensure batter is smooth.
Pour half of the pumpkin cheesecake onto graham cracker crust keeping the batter on one side. Pour half of the chocolate cheesecake onto the other half of the crust. Pour rest of pumpkin cheesecake batter on top of chocolate cheesecake batter already in crust. Pour rest of chocolate cheesecake batter on top of pumpkin cheesecake batter. Using a butter knife, cut into the batter moving back and forth to create a swirl design on top, being sure not to scrape the crust at the bottom. Place spring form pan in water bath and into preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until cheesecake hardly jiggles when slightly shaken. Cool until cheesecake is at room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Serve cold.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

24 Nov

I first tried this recipe when I was in college and after the first bite, I knew I needed the recipe. So, a few years went by and I completely forgot about it UNTIL my old roommate, Brandielle, posted it on Pioneer woman’s site and I found it! Man are these good. So good, in fact, that we made them two days in a row-by my family’s request. When you dig into these little cakes, the center oozes out warm fudgy heavenly goodness. Its especially delicious with ice cream!

These little babies are really quick to whip up and take common ingredients that everyone usually has in their pantries all the time. (The best kind of recipe, in my opinion). So, if you’re looking for your chocolate fix, this will certainly fit the bill!
Molton Chocolate Lava Cakes
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking squares (equals 2/3 cup chocolate chips)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 tablespoons flour
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 4 custard cups with non-stick cooking spray and place on baking sheet. In microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour. Divide evenly between baking dishes. Bake 13-15 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. Let stand 1 minute before removing. Serve warm with ice cream.

Fantastic Food Fridays: Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

21 Nov

This is the first of many Fantastic Food Fridays! I’ve decided to blog several times a week, but specifically on Fridays! Look forward to many new and great recipes to come, especially on Fridays!

Man, am I excited for Thanksgiving! So much so that we had a little preview for dinner tonight, except minus the huge turkey. Usually for the holidays I make wild rice stuffing, but I thought I’d experiment with a Jiffy cornbread mix and leftover sausage I found in the freezer. I’ve never had cornbread stuffing before and after today, it won’t be the last time! Super easy and super delicious! This stuffing was sweet and savory goodness, especially with the gravy! Tasty tasty tasty stuff! If you are having a smaller crowd for Thanksgiving, this is the perfect sized recipe that would taste fantastic with all the traditional sides. Not only that, it’s a great weeknight easy dinner recipe that only takes about 25 minutes!
Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
1 Jiffy cornbread mix
1/2 lb. sausage (use your favorite kind)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 1/2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
salt & pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 egg, beaten
Bake cornbread according to packaged directions. Set aside to cool. In large skillet, cook sausage until browned and fully cooked. Drain sausage on paper towels, leaving 1 tablespoon of drippings in skillet. Return to heat. Melt butter in skillet and sauté onions, celery, carrots, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Return sausage to pan. Crumble cornbread into skillet and stir. Pour in chicken broth and egg. Stir until stuffing is moist and evenly mixed. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until top starts to brown.

Waste Less Food TIPS!

19 Nov

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to stretch a dollar and how I can use everything I buy so I don’t waste a thing!

In these economic times, I know we (my little family of 3) aren’t the only ones struggling out there, financially. I guess struggling isn’t exactly the word….hmm…we are frugal. We have a budget because we have other things to pay for and future things to save for. This isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, it makes me feel good to find the sales and the better deals. AND, it makes me feel even better being able to completely clean out my fridge, knowing I ate all the produce I bought without throwing anything out! There is nothing worse than throwing away rotton food. You could have used it, you just didn’t.

Well here are a few things I’ve realized as I’ve gone through the ‘poor college student’ phase, or the ‘poor married college student phase’ or the ‘tight budget small family’ phase. If you have any other tips, let me know! Email me, or comment! We’d love to hear them!

1. Before you go grocery shopping, clean out your fridge! Know what items you still have and get rid of the rotting fruit or vegetables in the crisper drawers!

2. Look through your cupboards and organize items together-ie-all pastas together, all canned vegetables together, etc..

3. Steps 1 & 2 are important because this step is to take inventory! Write down everything you have and figure out meals you can make without taking a trip to the grocery store(this is called using what you have!)

4. With the other items you haven’t yet assigned to particular meals (specifically fresher items that will spoil), think of meals or snacks you could make by adding a few more ingredients and then start a grocery list of items you are missing.

5. Be sure to cook/bake with the fresher ingredients that are stored in the fridge FIRST! Why use canned vegetables if you have fresh?

6. If things are really on the verge of spoiling (like fresh tomatoes that are really soft) make a meal and freeze it (like some marinara sauce or bolgonase).

7. If you’re planning to make a specific meal and you think you need to run to the grocery store for that one thing you’re missing, think again! See if you can swap the ingredient you’re missing for something you already have.

8. Do not disregard leftovers! If you are having trouble re-inventing the same-ol’ things, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do!

I promise that with a few extra minutes of planning and organizing, that you all can save money by using EVERYTHING you buy!