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turkey gumbo

I usually use the leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make enchiladas, chili or tacos. This year… Turkey Gumbo!

The thing about gumbo is that you have to start with roux. The thing about roux is that you have to stir constantly … for a long, long, long time! And the thing about stirring constantly, is that I hate having to do that!

auto stirring piece of crap

Several years ago I received an automatic pot stirring thing-a-ma-jiggy, called the StirChef Saucepan Stirrer. It has sat in the box and never been opened … until yesterday, when I made this gumbo. I’ve had it so long that the batteries that were included – were corroded.

how many pots

Guess what, I should have left it in the box. It was useless. It only fit into the smallest of my saucepans and the paddle turned so slowly, seriously ridiculous!

Here are some of the reviews I found on Amazon:

“I spent one dollar on this at a thrift shop and I still feel like I was ripped off. It is no surprise they are already out of business. The thing doesn’t even fit on all but one of my saucepans.”

“I just set this up for the first time to make a roux… what a joke!
It fit the pan and that is THE ONLY thing that was a positive. As soon as those worthless paddles hit that hot oil and flour, they began to dissolve!”

“Attaching the StirChef to my new 4qt saucepan, I turned it on to stir some chopped vegetables for 10 minutes at low heat. After about 4 minutes the flimsy plastic blades began to melt, adding an interesting but unwanted taste to the vegetables.”

bad gadget

Evidently this lame product is a collector’s item of some sort. On Amazon it sells for nearly $90 new and $60 used. Mine has only been used once. I’m willing to sell it for a mere $45.99.

Any interested buyers out there? No? OK, maybe you’ll be more interested in my Gumbo recipe.

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November 30, 2013   1 Comment

Thanksgiving leftover trio – part one

If you watched the live Food Network Thanksgiving show last week, you might have seen the round-table discussion at the end of the show. I didn’t see it live, but caught a bit of it online.

Thanksgiving eggs benedict

Some of the leftover ideas the chefs tossed around sounded fabulous – Thanksgiving Eggs Benedict” w/Gravy, Sweet Potato-Cranberry Shortcake, and Turkey Gumbo. Since this was a rapid-fire sort of affair – as in “everyone was talking over everyone else” – there were no recipes given.

Those were the three dishes that caught my fancy, so I thought I’d use their suggestions and create the recipes myself.

Today, the “Benedict” breakfast.
Tomorrow, the gumbo.
The shortcake on Sunday.

Get those leftovers out and make these recipes along with me…

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November 29, 2013   No Comments

skinny homemade turkey sausage

sausage salad

It’s easy and healthy to make your own sausage at home. Begin with lean ground turkey and you’re halfway there. You’ll yield about a dozen sausage patties with this recipe, and you only need 4 for the salad. Save the rest for another couple of meals… maybe to accompany your eggs the next morning.

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March 26, 2013   1 Comment

… with a chance of meatballs

You gotta love the versatility of your basic meatball. Thrown into pasta, stuffed into a sub sandwich, or tossed with a little sauce for the perfect toothpick ready party food – all options are delish!

And when you substitute ground turkey for the usual beef or pork… you can have your healthy meatball and eat it too.

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August 31, 2012   4 Comments

new easier taco salad

Initially, I was going to label this “new and improved” taco salad. But after going back and looking at the original taco salad I posted in November, 2010, I determined that it isn’t improved, just different, and a whole lot easier!

I love this dressing, it is so smooth and creamy. Feel free to add whatever else you’d like to the salad toppings; black beans, diced red or green onion, and pickled jalapenos are just a few things that come to mind.

I used the multi-grain Tostitos Scoops as my chips of choice. Connor thought that was a waste of the perfectly formed Scoops, so I dumped out the package and picked out all the broken pieces, so we wouldn’t waste a single “Scoop”!  Then I had the brilliant idea of making Individual Taco Salad Bites as a party appetizer. If you decide to make these cuties for your next party – be sure  to chop the lettuce finer, place the shredded cheese in the “Scoop” first, then the rest of the ingredients and fill at the last minute to keep them from getting soggy too quickly.

I used some of this delicious Jalapeno Olive Oil that I’d bought last year at The Olive Press store which was located inside the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma, California. But any olive oil you have or prefer will do nicely.

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July 20, 2012   1 Comment

day 4 – take your lunch to work

This sandwich was originally going to be made with brie cheese, because I know better than anyone just how much Marissa loves brie. But hey, since Marissa is not here to eat the sandwich, I switched it up and made it with Swiss cheese. To turn it back into a brie sandwich, just take a wedge of brie, slice off the rind, cut off a few slices and let the the cheese come to room temperature before putting the whole thing together.

Oh, and I am having so darn much fun playing with the artistic effects on Photoshop, as you can see in my super cool photos – above and far below.

On a personal little side note: Happy 27th Anniversary to my very patient husband, David. I’m looking forward to our celebratory dinner at Binkley’s tonight. (no need  to worry, we’ve hired a driver because, trust me, there will be plenty of wine-parings involved)  xoxo

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May 4, 2012   2 Comments

turkey lasagna

Everyone has their favorite way to eat up their leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I’d guess that a good old turkey sandwich would be the hands-down winner for most of us. I like my sandwich one way and one way only – on white bread that is slathered in Miracle Whip with sliced turkey breast only. I don’t eat any of the leftover sides, I just relish that sandwich and I am as happy as can be. If I haven’t remembered to purchase a jar of Miracle Whip before Thanksgiving so that it is ready to be cracked open on the Friday after… well, someone (someone who is not me!) is going to the store to get me my Miracle Whip! Mayo will not do! I buy the smallest jar because this is the only thing I ever use it for, leftover turkey sandwiches.

Connor, on the other hand, makes a sandwich that looks like this…

He’s got the required white bread, but tops it with turkey (white or dark), then spoons on the gravy and the stuffing, tops that with the other slice of bread and heats it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Interesting, but not to my taste.  Marissa also must have the breast only and tops her’s with cranberry sauce and eats some stuffing and maybe some gravy on the side.  Finally there is Dave, he will eat it all and will eat it any and every way, sandwich or a full redo of the Thanksgiving plate.

After a couple or three sandwiches, I am through with the turkey, then it is time to remake it into an entirely different meal, such as this lasagna. Now this is how you get rid of leftover turkey!

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November 27, 2011   No Comments

what to do with all that….

Turkey!?! Is it too early to begin worrying and wondering what you’re going to do with your leftover turkey?  Since Thanksgiving is one week from today, I don’t think so.  After turkey sandwiches,  I think leftover turkey works best treated with a Mexican or a Western flair, so that’s what I’ve provided for you today.

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November 17, 2011   1 Comment

anasazi beans

Last month my dad was in Colorado visiting friends and shopping for beans. OK, not exactly shopping for beans, but he had offered to pick up some anasazi beans for my cousin, Dennice, and some pinto beans for a friend of his. Dennice was thinking he’d get her a pound or two of beans, but in my dad’s usual style, he brought home a 10-pound bag. Really, who needs 10-pounds of dried beans?  I offered to take three pounds off her hands, at $1.20 a pound, they were a steal. If you haven’t seen anasazi beans before, they are pretty cool looking, but honestly, they taste about the same as a kidney bean and once cooked, they lose most of their good looks. Plus they are a lot more expensive than plain-Jane kidney beans as you can see from THIS LINK on Amazon.  Anasazi beans have been available commercially only since 1983, check out THIS LINK to learn more about them… and just about every other bean you might be even remotely interested in. So, feel free to substitute kidney beans in this recipe. And if you don’t want to go to the time (overnight soaking) and trouble of starting with dried beans, use three 15-ounce cans of kidney or pinto beans, drained and reserving the liquid. You’ll be adding that liquid (or the cooking liquid from the dried beans) to the chili. If you don’t have a full 3 cups of liquid to add, supplement with either tap water, vegetable broth, or chicken broth.

The thing that makes this chili special is the blend of three pure chile powders; California, ancho, and chipotle. Do me a favor – go pull out the jar or can of McCormick or Shilling chili powder you have in your spice cabinet. Now look at the ingredients; it probably reads something like this – Ingredients: chili peppers, cumin, oregano, salt, garlic, and silicon dioxide. That’s right, plain chili powder is more than just plain. So buy a selection of pure chile powders and you will be able to control the season of things you use chile powder in. If you want to kick it up a bit, add more chipotle chile powder, to taste. Most grocery stores now carry all three of these chile powders, and you can always find them at Cost Plus World Market.

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October 9, 2011   1 Comment

sweet chili sauce

It’s been exactly one year to the day since I wrote about what I now refer to as “the big fancy Fry’s”.  On that post, I also told you all about Kobe beef, which Fry’s had on sale during their grand opening last year. And with that beef, I made some pretty terrific meatloaf. Today I am taking another stab at both the Kobe beef and the meatloaf with a new, but not necessarily improved, version. I say that because I really love both recipes. This time around, I’m using half Kobe (or regular ground beef is perfectly fine) and half ground turkey.  And instead of the Pomegranate-Chipotle Tomato Sauce, which took some time, I’m using a ready made product that makes this meatloaf “easy-breezy” and will make a great addition to your pantry.

The product I’m talking about is Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce. It can be found at all Asian stores and most grocery stores in the Asian aisle.  This chili sauce is not too sour, just sweet enough, and has a somewhat gelatinous texture. Don’t worry, I’m not advising you to run out and purchase a bottle just for my meatloaf recipe.

Once you’ve dipped a chilled shrimp into Mae Ploy, you’ll never buy cocktail sauce again for your shrimp cocktails.  And crab cakes get an thrilling boost when dipped in it. Same thing goes for coconut-breaded shrimp.

This sauce is the perfect accomplice for crunchy wontons or egg rolls and it is a marriage made in heaven partnered with crab rangoons!  Don’t get me started… how about Teriyaki hot wings or  jalapeno poppers, or even as the new “secret” ingredient in your next batch of barbecue pork or cocktail meatballs… the list goes on and on…  Go pick up a bottle – start with the meatloaf and then be sure and share with us what other uses you’ve come up with! [Read more →]

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September 6, 2011   4 Comments