Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I always buy more turkey than my family can possibly eat for Thanksgiving dinner.

You know why, don't you? I want the leftovers.

There are few meals I enjoy more than hot turkey and gravy served on toast. And if there's some leftover cranberry relish and sweet potato casserole, then I'm even happier.

Quite often I cook a turkey breast in my slower cooker*, and during the last few months have discovered two new leftover recipes I want to share. One is a simple turkey salad; the other is a turkey soup filled with vegetables and noodles.

I made the turkey salad in late summer and have fallen in love with it. I started with a recipe from Food Network Magazine and adapted it. I don't have measurements, but the ingredients are simple: chopped roasted turkey or chicken, chopped celery, light mayonnaise, dijon honey mustard, sliced red grapes and toasted, slivered almonds.

I adapt how much I make according to who's eating it. Often, I'll make just enough for my lunch. I love to eat the salad on bagel chips or reduced-fat Wheat Thins. I don't include dijon honey mustard, grapes or almonds in my chicken salad, so this recipe has been a wonderful change for my tastebuds!

Turkey Noodle Soup is also different from other soups I make with lots of egg noodles and a splash of Worchestershire sauce to perk up the taste. My usual after-Thanksgiving soup uses up the vegetables from Thanksgiving dinner, but this recipe includes carrots, onions and celery. It doesn't take long at all to mix up this soup, which my family really enjoyed.

* Cooking a turkey breast in the slow cooker couldn't be easier. Rinse the thawed breast with water (I hold mine over the trash can so I don't have to clean the sink after rinsing) and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker; I always use a slow cooker bag to line the crock. Put about a teaspoon or two of butter on top and close. Do not add liquid to the slow cooker; it's not necessary. Plenty of broth will accumulate in the bottom of the crock. Cook on low for about 8 hours.

You do have to use a smaller turkey breast if you cook in the slow cooker. If it's a little too large for your cooker when frozen, it will usually be a bit smaller once it's thawed.

Turkey Noodle Soup
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 14 oz. cans reduced-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups uncooked egg noodles (I use No Yolks)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Splash Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 cups shredded turkey
Heat large saucepan or soup pot and coat with cooking spray. Add carrots, onion and garlic and saute about 5 minutes until onion slightly browned. Add celery and pepper; saute 3 more minutes.
Add chicken broth, egg noodles and Worchestershire sauce and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add in turkey and cook another 3 minutes. Discard bay leaf before serving.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Tasty Turkey Salad
  • Roasted turkey, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Reduced fat mayonnaise
  • Dijon honey mustard
  • Sliced grapes
  • Slivered almonds, toasted
Combine turkey, celery, mayonnaise and mustard until desired consistency. Gently fold in grapes and top with almonds.
I do not have specific measurements for this. I just mix in ingredients until it looks and tastes like I want it to.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not your ordinary pumpkin pie

If you're like me, you have a set menu for Thanksgiving and very seldom change it.

I make the same vegetables (corn, butter beans, field peas and mashed potatoes), the same sweet potato casserole and the same cranberry congealed salad that mama always made for us. We also must have crescent rolls at my son's request. I've experimented with dressing the last several years but have settled on a favorite recipe, although my children still want me to also make Stove Top stuffing for them. I do it because that means Reggie and I get more leftovers of the homemade stuff.

I also make pumpkin pie for dessert. It's a simple recipe from the pumpkin can. Nothing hard about it. My family loves it with whipped cream on top. We've actually eaten it for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. We're stuffed after supper, so why not enjoy it while we're hungry? In other words, we love this pie.

So why change things? Well, why not? I've always wanted to put a different spin on my pumpkin pie, so over the weekend, I experimented with Pillsbury's very simple Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie. I basically followed the recipe, except I divided the topping between the bottom of the pie and the top, and I used a graham cracker crust instead of a traditional pie crust.

The pie is delicious. The nutty topping and the graham cracker crust add a delicious twist to the pie. The topping is also very pretty, and makes you think a pecan pie is underneath!

If you're up to something new on your menu next week, (something different but not radical!) give this pie a try.

Check back next week for some ideas on what to do with your turkey leftovers.

Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie

1 graham cracker pie crust (can probably fill the two-extra serving size because I had extra with the regular size)

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin (no pumpkin pie mix)
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 425 degrees.
In large bowl, mix filling ingredients until well blended. Pour into pie crust.
Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; bake 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix streusel ingredients.
Sprinkle streusel over pumpkin filling. Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Adapted from Pillsbury

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Like stuffed peppers?

I must warn you for future columns. I'm in a soup-loving mood. And this week's recipe is a good one; I promise.

I love stuffed bell peppers. It's been years since I made my own because my family and I really enjoy the frozen Stouffer's version. I serve them with spaghetti topped with cheddar cheese. It's a favorite meal at my house.

Imagine those wonderful flavors in a soup. It's as delicious as it sounds.

I read several recipes before deciding how to make my soup. You can certainly do the same to fit your family's tastes.

The recipes I read used anywhere between 1/2 pound of ground sirloin to 2 pounds of ground beef. I opted for 1 pound of ground beef (it was on sale).

A few recipes used tomato sauce. I chose tomato soup.

Some called for onions and 1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper; others suggested 2 cups. I used 1 cup and didn't add onion.

Most recipes used water and beef bouillon. Some used chicken broth. I used a can of reduced-fat beef broth.

I also added a little bit of brown sugar, as suggested in one recipe, and I added the cooked rice at the end of the cooking time rather than letting the rice cook in the soup. The rice was the perfect texture that way. And to make the process even easier, I used a bag of microwave rice.

I was also lucky enough to have locally-grown bell peppers for my soup, thanks to farmer Tom Griffin's Saturday morning vegetable stand on Ward Boulevard.

To make this delicious soup even better, we sprinkled grated cheddar cheese on top, once it was poured into our bowls. The cheese melted beautifully and stuck to the spoon. Just the way I like it!

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup is really delicious, and it's so easy to make. The entire process takes less than an hour. Serve with some bread and fruit, and you have a complete meal.

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 141/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 103/4 oz. can tomato soup
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 14 oz. can beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice in the microwave bag)
  • Grated Cheddar cheese
Brown beef, drain and rinse.
In soup pot, mix beef, tomatoes, tomato soup, salt and pepper, bell pepper, beef broth and brown sugar. Let come to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until peppers are tender. Mix in cooked rice and stir to blend.
Pour into bowls. Sprinkle with cheese (about a tablespoon).