Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Leftover turkey potpie

This is the Thanksgiving equivalent to the kitchen sink burrito. You can use a bunch of your leftovers, and it really is easy. Everything should be cooked, and unfrozen.

preheat oven to 375

cut up turkey - white or dark meat
cooked veggies (peas, carrots, corn, broccoli, green beans, creamed onions..... almost anything will work except squash)
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour (does not need to be wheat, and you can sub cornstarch - you will need MUCH LESS cornstarch)
1 cup milk (does not need to be dairy - but should be UNSWEETENED. I have used Coconut Dream and Soy Dream)
1 cup turkey broth
pie crust (alternatively, you can make without crust, and serve as a stew)

put turkey - however much you have - in the bottom of an oven-safe pan. I bake this in a dutch oven, but it can be baked in any sort of pan, whatever size you need - or have. Add veggies.

In a sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in flour until it is all coated and forms a paste. Add milk, slowly, while whisking, over medium-high heat. You want it to be simmering (bubbling) but not at a rolling crazy high boil. Once the sauce has thickened - and is almost paste-like, add the broth slowly, continuing to stir with the whisk. You want this sauce to end up the consistency of very heavy cream. Once you have it where you want it, pour over the turkey and veggies, put the pie crust on top (or skip the crust, but maybe cover with a lid or some foil) and stick it in the oven for about 45 minutes.

Cheddar Bay biscuit puffs

I had a recipe for Cheddar Bay biscuits, but of course I didn't have any of the ingredients, so I had to make some adjustments. I baked them in mini muffin tins, next time I might use paper muffin cups because they were very flaky and a little difficult to get out.

3 cups Bisquick
1 cup water with
1/2 cup butter - melted and added to water first to cool the hot butter
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

stir until all ingredients are moist and fluffy
divide into mini muffin tins
bake for 10 minutes at 350

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Ravioli

1 package won ton or mandoo wrappers
1/2 cup pumpkin (or other squash) puree
1/2 cup ricotta
2 Tablespoons parmesan
1 tsp garlic puree
1 egg
small cup of water, 1/4 cup of flour for counter
butter and garlic and/or extra parmesan for topping.

Mix pumpkin puree, ricotta, parmesan, garlic and egg together thoroughly.

Clean counter area thoroughly, then dry and dust with flour. Spread out a row of won ton wrappers.

Place a small spoonful of filling towards one corner of the wrapper, leaving at least 1/4 inch of dough around the edge exposed for sealing.

Dip your finger (or a pastry brush) in water and trace around the filling, then fold the other half of the wrapper over to create a triangle or half circle, and press all around the edge, sealing shut. (Can also use a small juice glass pressing down lightly to get a good seal - don't press too hard or it will go right through the dough!)

When you have a row of ravioli ready, drizzle a small amount of olive oil in the boiling water and drop the ravioli in one by one, carefully. Put in enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but this is a process that takes time - you need to cook one serving at a time or they will stick together. Don't try to cook 2 dozen ravioli at once!

Once the bottom of the pan is covered with raviolis, turn the heat down to low and stir the water gently to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You do NOT want the water to be at a rolling boil. A low simmer is fine. Watch the ravioli - when they start to float they are almost done (it can happen very quickly!) After about 2 minutes they should be cooked, and will need to be plated - and eaten - right away.

Top with parmesan, or some browned butter and garlic, and fresh ground pepper.

Friday, November 22, 2013

leftover turkey: Turkey Enchiladas with 5 minute enchilada sauce

recipe makes 6 turkey enchiladas

Enchilada Sauce

14oz can of stewed tomatoes (NOT Italian tomatos with oregano and basil)
1 packet of Taco Seasoning
1 tsp of cumin (or more, to taste)
1 cup of broth - chicken, turkey or veggie

Put all in a blender and blend thoroughly (I left mine going for a few minutes on high)

six 8" tortillas, set to the side to warm to room temperature

2 cups finely chopped leftover turkey meat - light or dark meat, it doesn't matter. Make sure all bones and cartilage are removed before chopping!
14oz can black beans DRAINED
1/2 cup of shredded cheese for filling
1/2 cup shredded cheese for topping

mix well

place a pile of this filling across the tortilla, and roll tightly, careful to keep the filling from falling out the ends. Place snugly next to each other in a 9" square pan
Pour enchilada sauce over the top ad cover with foil

350 for 20 minutes, remove foil, cover with cheese, bake another 10 minutes, turn off oven
let sit in warm oven or out, for another 5-10 minutes

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Making milk and lowering cholesterol

For the last few years, my husband has been under a doctor's care and taking twice-daily medication for alarmingly high cholesterol. Last year he heard a story on NPR that scared the heck out of him, and one day - with no warning, without his doctors knowledge (or mine for that matter) - he decided to stop taking his meds.

When I found out, I was - to put it mildly - very, very concerned. He reassured me that a friend he played cards with had informed him during a game one night that having a bowl of plain oatmeal every morning would bring his cholesterol down below 200 without medication. And also, that if he had a pair of nines he should double down. He took both pieces of advice, and lost the card game......but he was determined to try this oatmeal thing. He also agreed to stop eating ice cream at bedtime. I only stopped arguing about it because I wasn't about to start grinding up pills and sneaking it into his applesauce. He wasn't going to take those pills anymore, and the oatmeal couldn't hurt, so I decided to let him go for it and just beg him to get his number checked after a month to make sure everything was okay

Darned if he didn't lower his cholesterol.

One night, as I sat next to him with my pint of Haagen Dazs (because my cholesterol is just fine, thanks) he said he was going to start making smoothies every morning with the Vitamix. "Great!" I said. Last year, I got romanced into buying a Vitamix at Costco and I am always trying to get more use out of that thing. It cost a small fortune and I still wasn't wholly convinced that it was worth the investment.The kids, however, love it, and delight in watching the instructional DVD (I wish I was kidding) and reading the recipe book trying to come up with something even funkier than what is already being described.

Which is hard to do.

We have made smoothies, ice cream, soup, pesto, hummus - all the usual blender stuff. But it still wasn't getting much use. I mean, how many times a week can you make hummus?

We also made almond milk, which was the one thing that really made me feel like I was getting my money's worth. You can probably make almond milk in your blender at home if it's got enough power - just add 1/4 cup almonds to one cup water (adjust to desired consistency). I started out using whole almonds which I bought in bulk. Eventually I switched to almond slices because the skin of the almonds made the milk kind of gritty and I didn't like that.

Making almond milk this way was cheaper and allowed me to make just what I needed. I didn't have extra almond milk going bad, and I was keeping those cartons out of our landfill. I used it for making cream sauces - especially for meat and other savory dishes. It had a great nutty taste, and was much better for us than using dairy. It was a winning idea all around.

My husband used the almond milk a lot to make his daily smoothie.

And then one day, probably inspired by that instructional DVD, he decided to make Oat milk. I sat back and watched worlds collide. He threw a scoop of dry, uncooked oatmeal in the blender, added water, and put the Vitamix on high until had the right consistency. Then he went ahead and added the rest of his ingredients.

He abandoned the bowl of oats every morning, opting instead to throw them in his smoothie, and his cholesterol remains under 200 - as long as he skips ice cream at bed time.

As for doubling down when you have a pair of nines, we've agreed not to do that anymore.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The simple things

I love a lot of things. My kids, my husband, my family, my friends, my dog......

And I have lately been struck by the urge to buy stuff I love. Stuff I cannot afford. Stuff from places like Anthropologie and Sundance and Garnet Hill and the car dealership in town (photo to come - I'm working on affording a second car now that the Mini Cooper has been sold).

In my efforts to have a life that reflects the pretty pictures I pore over online and in catalogs, I have been tearing out page after page, saving links and jotting down notes. Here is the first installment of things that have made me smile this week. And some of them were free........

Guys. Have you ever been to the North End of Boston? No? Can you just take a moment and jot this down? NORTH END BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS. Aaaaaaand go.

The North End is one of my favorite places on earth, and not just because it is the place Sam kissed me for the first time. (In swirling snow, on a cobblestone street lit by a gas lamp at midnight on our way to get a cappuccino  Yeah.) This summer we were there several times, and on one trip I went into this tiny store to buy tea and spices. I asked if they would ship, and if so could I have a business card, and the man behind the original wood counter, ringing me up on the original cash register that was all brass and round buttons and clanging numbers, rustled around on the register and gave me one of these:

GUYS LOOK AT THE PHONE NUMBER. I totally want to call the operator and ask for Capitol 7-0786

Okay, speaking of Anthropologie, my mom has finally caught on to my blind devotion to all things Anthro. The esthetique of this company just does it for me, man. So she dutifully went to Anthro to choose an anniversary gift for us me to commemorate 14 years of wedded bliss. It was a copy of "Happier at Home" which is - by all accounts - a wonderful book and I just can't wait to dig in. But first I have to take photos of the packaging it came in. Most notably, the envelope that contained the packing slip.

The blue-lined envelope with sewn edges and string closure. Ermahgahd.

I want to frame it.
Is that wrong?

In other catalog news, an item I bought from Sundance is still making me happy after all these.....months.

I love my bathroom - it is all white, and we ordered a cast iron claw foot tub for it.  Next to the tub is a beat up wooden table (can we just call it shabby chic?) and I put this epergne on top, filled with soaps and scrubs and lotions and towels. It makes me feel so fancy, to sit in my fancy tub and choose a bath salt from my fancy baskets. I should be wearing a tiara.

Okay, enough with the material stuff. I have one last thing to share that made me feel like a domestic goddess today (Minus the domestic. And the goddess, actually.)

I made tortilla chips.

Are you totally underwhelmed? Sorry. For me, this is just a step below hunting and foraging for my dinner. So you go back to canning the homemade preserves you made with fruit from your orchard and have a nice day. You may be yawning, but I am feeling empowered. I don't bake my own bread, or make my own tortillas, and if I want chips for my salsa, I buy a bag. UNTIL TODAY.

It was embarrassingly easy, and way cheaper and more delicious than store-bought corn chips. Probably because I made them with flour tortillas.

First, I poured some oil in a pan and heated it up. While it was heating, I made guacamole. Guacamole is avocado, smooshed with lemon juice, a dash of hot sauce and a sprinkle of salt. Like so:

Okay, is the oil getting hot yet? Good.

Take a flour tortilla

Cut it up

Toss it in the oil (You can cook more than this I just put in a few for the photo)

They should puff up right away. If they don't the oil isn't hot enough.


Cool on some paper towels. You can salt them if you want but I don't think it's necessary. They will be hot for quite a while, so don't get too excited. They need to drain and cool a bit!

A very fulfilling Sunday around these parts. Delicious and aesthetically pleasing FTW. I'm not going to find my house on the pages of any design or homemaking blog, but hey. It works for me.

Here's to taking baby steps!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quick and Easy Crisp

This is my go-to dessert for parties - a fruit crisp (which is a variation on a fruit cobbler) can be prepared without gluten, sugar, or dairy. It is super flexible, really easy to make, and yummy year round. (Though I prefer to eat hot desserts in wintertime, this is really good with summer fruits that are overly ripe). You can use fresh, frozen, or canned fruit.

Today this fruit crisp took me exactly 5 minutes to throw together, and 40 minutes in the oven. Measurements are approximate - I'm bad like that. Use enough fruit to fill your pan (I used a 9" square glass pan) about 2/3 of the way full. Make enough topping to cover the fruit.

Preheat oven to 350F. No need to grease the pan unless you want to.

2 cups frozen rhubarb
2 cups frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup applesauce
4 TB water


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature (can substitute as needed with non-dairy shortening of choice: margarine, coconut oil, etc.)
2 cups oatmeal (not instant)
1 cup brown sugar (can use another granular sweetener like stevia if preferrred)
2 TB flour (optional)
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Dump fruit in pan. Spoon applesauce over the top. Sprinkle with water. You can also sprinkle with sweetener if you would like.

Put ingredients for topping in a bowl and using your hands or a pastry blender, crumble it up, distributing the shortening evenly throughout the oats and sugar.

Spread topping over fruit and bake for 1 hour (or if using canned fruit, until top is brown and insides are bubbling :)