Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Leftover Turkey Dinner Ideas

3 Dec

After our big Thanksgiving day meal, we took a few days off from turkey.  So, last night and tonight I wanted to get through the leftover turkey.  Turkey Pot Pie and Turkey Noodle Soup.  Both turned out well!  And were rather easy to put together.

Turkey Pot PieTurkey Pot Pie

What you need:

1/4 cup butter
1 cup diced onion
2 cups cooked turkey, diced, shredded, or cubed
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups turkey or chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
2 cups frozen vegetable mix (I used a peas, carrots, green beans, and corn mix)
1 9 inch refrigerated pie crust

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until soft and translucent.  Add turkey.  Sprinkle in flour, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Stir constantly and cook for about 5 minutes.  Pour in broth and milk, continuing to stir to avoid lumps forming.  Stir in the frozen vegetables.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, and continue and continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes, until mixture thickens.

Pour mixture into a 2 quart round casserole dish.  Place the pie crust over the top of the mixture and press crust into the sides of the dish.  Cut vents in the crust.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until crust is golden and mixture is bubbly.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes to cool before serving.


Turkey Noodle SoupTurkey Noodle Soup

What you need:

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cups cook turkey, diced, shredded or cubed
8 cups turkey or chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 oz uncooked egg noodles
2 cups frozen vegetable mix (I used a peas, carrots, green beans, and corn mix)

How to make it:

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft and translucent.  Add turkey.  Pour in turkey or chicken broth.  Sprinkle in thyme, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

Bring back to a boil.  Add noodles to the pot.  After 5 minutes, add frozen vegetables.  Continue to boil for another 5 minutes, or until noodles are soft and vegetables are heated through.



Pecan Pie

1 Dec

Oh my.  I have never made a pecan pie before, and honestly, can’t even remember that last time I ate it.  I had some pecans in shell that I had been needing to use for a long time.  When my friend, Jen, commented on my Thanksgiving menu post that she was making a pecan pie, I decided it was finally time to use those pecans and make the pie.  She recommended this Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe from Martha Stewart.  I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I improvised.  Here are the changes I made:

  • I used refrigerated pie dough.  I just unrolled and placed the dough in the pie pan, and didn’t have leftover scraps, so skipped making the leaves.  I also omitted the 2 egg yolks and heavy cream used to glaze the leaves.
  • I did not have dark corn syrup, so I used light corn syrup instead.  They can pretty much be used interchangeably, it’s just that the dark can sometimes enhance the flavor.  I think it turned out great with the light.  For more on light versus dark corn syrup, you can read more here.
  • I did not have maple syrup, but I did have apple butter syrup that I had gotten at Apple Annie’s, a local apple orchard.  This syrup is very delicious, we’ve used it on pancakes and waffles.  Plus, the flavors of apple and pecan go together well, so I figured it would work.  It definitely did!  The apple flavor is somewhat subtle, but the addition of a syrup greatly enhanced the flavor of this pie.

My husband and I loved this pie.  Getting all the pecans out of the shells was not real fun, but both my kids helped a little, so that made it not so bad.  I was able to keep some nice to lay out on top, then the broken ones when inside the pie.  It was maybe cooked a little too long since some pecans on top got a little over-browned.  But, they weren’t burnt, so they were still edible.  The inside of the pie was perfect.

Pecan Pie - fully baked Slice of the Pecan Pie


I would definitely make this pie again, just probably not soon because I ate so much of it!  Also, I would use pecans already out of shell….or there might not be any bourbon left when it’s time to put the pie ingredients all together!

No-Can Green Bean Casserole

29 Nov

This was a new recipe I tried out this year.  Before, I would just used canned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup, and canned fried onions to create this yummy casserole.  However, I had a desire to ditch the cans and make it all from scratch.  I have been making my own “cream of” soup base for some other casseroles, so I was confident about that part.  Then, I found this recipe that used pan fried shallots in butter in place of canned fried onions.  I used that idea, but used onions instead of shallots.  I don’t have a great picture of the finished casserole, but you can see it in the bottom of this picture of our dinner, toward the left.  We all really enjoyed it, and this will be how we make it from now on.

Thanksgiving dinner spread with green bean casserole

Green Bean Casserole

What you need:

Cream of mushroom soup base:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk

2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and cut as desired
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 small onions, thinly sliced into rings
4 tablespoons butter

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a 3 quart sauce pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter for the cream of mushroom soup base over medium-low heat.  Stir in mushrooms, and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Mix in flour, and cook for 3-4 minutes to lightly brown the flour.  Next, whisk in the chicken broth and 1 cup milk.  Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, prepare  a large pot of boiling water and a bowl of ice water.  Blanch green beans in the boiling water for 5 minutes, then remove and place in the bowl of ice water for 5 minutes.  Drain water from green beans.

Add the blanched green beans to the pot with the thickened cream of mushroom base.  Stir in 1/2 cup milk, Worcestershire sauce, and ground black pepper.  Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

While that is simmering, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet.  Add onions, and toss in melted butter.  Cook onions in the butter, until they become a golden color.  Remove to a paper towel to cool.

Onions fried in butter

Mix in half of the cooked onions in with the cream of mushroom and green bean mixture. Remove from heat.

Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour green bean mixture into the dish.  Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Casserole should be bubbly.  Gently stir.  Add the remaining cooked onions over the top of the casserole.  Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, being careful to not overcook the onions on top.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then serve.

Thanksgiving Menu 2013

25 Nov

It’s that time of year again, and I’m excited to cook up a big meal!  Of course, it’s most likely just going to be my little family of 4, but we will still go through the leftovers in no time!  This year, I am planning on having:

  • Turkey: I got a 13.5 pound turkey for $0.49/pound from Safeway.  It was a Personalized Deal from their Just for U program, that if I spent $25, I got an 8-24 pound turkey for $0.49/pound.  I also got a 12 pound turkey from Fry’s, it was $0.79/pound when I spent $25.  The first turkey is already in the refrigerator thawing, the second turkey is in my deep freeze to eat at another time.  If you have questions about thawing your turkey, the USDA has good information here.
  • Mashed potatoes: I splurged and got gold potatoes for our mashed potatoes this year.  They weren’t on sale like russet potatoes were, but I really prefer gold potatoes.  I will leave the skins on, and prepare them like this: http://wp.me/p1ORT6-2z
  • Bread and Celery dressing: My absolute favorite!  The last couple of years I used a loaf of bread to make the dressing, but this year I will be “cheating” and bought a box of Mrs. Cubbison’s to cut down on prep time a little.  We’ll see if it measures up to my regular recipe: http://wp.me/p1ORT6-bt
  • Wild Rice and Sausage dressing: I went back and forth on making this dish this year.  However, since I have a lot of breakfast sausage in my freezer from Zaycon Foods and wild rice was on sale at Safeway, I decided it was making the list.  This is a recipe I got from my aunt, and it has been in close competition with bread and celery dressing as my favorite dish: http://wp.me/p1ORT6-bp
  • Green Bean Casserole: I will be using green beans from my freezer that were fresh green beans from a Market on the Move event earlier this year.  I will also not be using a can of cream of mushroom soup, I will be making my own creamy soup base with cut up mushrooms.  I’m undecided on the onions, I may use fresh, diced onion in place of the French’s fried onions.  It won’t have the crunch on top like with the fried onions, though.  Stay tuned for the results!
  • Cranberry sauce: Last year was my first year making cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries, and I have some in my freezer, so I will be making it again!  I don’t know what took me so long to finally make it, although I may substitute honey for the sugar in it this year: http://wp.me/p1ORT6-zh
  • Dinner Rolls:  I’m horrible at baking (I blame the altitude), so I bought brown and serve rolls from Safeway.
  • Sweet Potato Pie: Yes, different from the traditional pumpkin pie, but delicious in its own right: http://wp.me/p1ORT6-bD  Which reminds me, I better remember to thaw the pie crust!

So, what is on your menu for this year?

Cheddar Turkey Casserole

4 Dec

Cheddar Turkey Casserole


Yes, I still have Thanksgiving turkey!  This time, I wanted to make a casserole, but I don’t have anymore canned “cream of” soups, so I needed a recipe that doesn’t use them.  I searched on the Taste of Homes website, and came across this recipe.  Really wasn’t too time consuming, and was very tasty!


Cheddar Turkey Casserole
Original recipe here

What you need:

4 cups uncooked pasta, like rotini or farfalle
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cup bread crumbs

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot.

While pasta is cooking, saute garlic in butter in a large skillet until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, mustard, thyme, pepper, and frozen veggies. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted.

Drain the cooked pasta and return to the large pot. Mix in turkey and cheese sauce.

Spray a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish with non-stick spray. Evenly spread the turkey-pasta mixture into the dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  At this point, casserole can be baked or frozen:

Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until heated through.  Serve immediately.


Freeze casserole, covered, for up to 3 months.  To use frozen casserole, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake according to directions above. 

Turkey Quesadillas

29 Nov

We are still working on all the leftover turkey here!  My husband had wanted enchiladas, which I didn’t have enough time to get together, so we had quesadillas instead.  To start, I put 2 cups chopped turkey and 2 cups salsa in a skillet over medium-low heat and cooked about 15 minutes to let the salsa set in to the turkey.  Then, in a different skillet, I put a tortilla (these are the small flour tortillas from Bountiful Baskets), then some of the chicken and salsa mixture, then shredded Mexican blend cheese, and folded the tortilla over.  I cooked for a few minutes on each side until the tortilla browned.  I then served with sour cream and homemade guacamole.  It was a big hit in my house!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

22 Nov

Well, another Thanksgiving meal has come and gone for our household.  Not really gone, because we have plenty of leftovers, but the big task of cooking it all is done.  I had my 2 little helpers this morning while I cooked, and I love that I get to cook and share the joy of making food with them.  I wanted to get a picture of the whole spread, but didn’t get a chance, but here is a plate with all we had:

So, starting top at going clockwise, here is what we had:

Turkey: Fresh, organic 21.5 pound turkey from Grateful Harvest, ordered through the Sierra Vista Food Co-op.  It cost a bit more than what I normally spend, but I think it was worth it.  It tasted amazing!  Although, I did use my “cheat” this year again, using a Reynolds Oven Bag, to cook the turkey.  I added cut up onion, celery, and carrots to the bag, rubbed the turkey in olive oil and poultry seasoning.  Sometimes, I think simpler is better!  The broth the collected in the bottom I kept for gravy.  Now, the turkey carcass is split up between my 2 slow cookers with new onions, celery, and carrots, plus water, to make turkey stock.  I’m going to have a lot of turkey stock, which is good since I haven’t made chicken stock in a while.

Dinner rolls: Ordered in my Custom FarmBox from Sunizona Family Farms bakery.  We love their sprouted Khorasan bread, and these are made with the same sprouted Khorasan wheat.  Delicious!

Mashed potatoes:  Red potatoes from Sunizona Family Farms, 2 pounds.  Left the skins on, diced, and cooked until soft.  Mashed and mixed in a stick of butter, 1/2 cup milk, and 1 tablespoon fresh chives, also from Sunizona Family Farms.

Wild Rice & Sausage Dressing: Recipe here.  Used Lundberg’s wild rice blend, then celery and onion from Bountiful Basktets and fresh parsley from Sunizona Family Farms.

Bread & Celery Dressing: Recipe here.  This year, I used Special Spelt bread from the Sunizona Family Farms bakery, and celery and onion from Bountiful Baskets.

Green Bean Casserole: Recipe here.  I used fresh green beans from Sunizona Family Farms to make it.  I really like this, but I really want to find an alternative to using cream of mushroom soup in a can.  I’ll be experimenting over the year to see what I can come up with.

Cranberry Sauce:  I used cranberries and oranges from Bountiful Baskets to make this.  This was a lot easier than I thought!  Here is how to make it.

What you need:

12 oz bag of fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)
1/2 – 1 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you want it (I used 1/2 cup)
Juice of 3 oranges, or 1 cup orange juice

How to make it:

Dissolve sugar in orange juice over medium heat.  Add cranberries, and cook until cranberry skins have cracked and a gel starts to form, about 15-20 minutes.  Pour into serving bowl and sauce will set more as it cools.  


Sweet Potato Pie (not pictured): Recipe here.  I used sweet potatoes from Sunizona Family Farms.


It really turned out to be a great meal that my family and I all really enjoyed!  I hope that everyone else had a great Thanksgiving day as well!

Time to thaw those Thanksgiving turkeys!!

19 Nov

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and if you are cooking a turkey, it’s probably time to start thawing it in the fridge, if that’s the method you choose.  There have been a couple of years where I almost forgot to start thawing it out, or started it too late, so at the end, I had to put it in cold water to thaw it the rest of the way.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has a fact sheet on safely making your turkey for the holiday, including guidelines on thawing and roasting your turkey.

Let’s Talk Turkey – A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey

I ordered a fresh turkey this year, so I get to skip the thawing process!  In addition to turkey, we will also be having mashed potatoes, bread and celery dressing, wild rice and sausage dressing, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, and sweet potato pie.  The potatoes, green beans, dinner rolls, and sweet potatoes are all from Sunizona Family Farms, the celery and bread from Bountiful Baskets, and the turkey I ordered through the Sierra Vista Food Co-op.  I am so ready to cook and eat it all!

What will you be cooking and/or eating this week?

Turkey Cranberry Wreath

4 Mar


I guess I should really call this just a Turkey Wreath since I don’t normally add in cranberry.  I saw this demonstrated at a Pampered Chef party, and I believe it is from one of their cookbooks.  This is perfect to make with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, but I didn’t get to make it this year because I used my leftovers in other ways. This would also be good with chicken in place of the turkey.  The pictures I have are from when I first made it 3 years ago so that I would remember how to make it the next time.  Unfortunately, I thought to take the pictures a little too late, but it at least helps some visually.


Turkey Cranberry Wreath

What you need:

2 packages of refrigerated crescent rolls
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I usually leave these out)
1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded (I sometimes use shredded mozzarella)
1/4 C. walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, snipped
1 egg, separated

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a medium bowl, mix together turkey, celery, cranberries, cheese, walnuts, mayonnaise, mustard, black pepper and parsley.  Scoop filling over seams of dough, forming a circle.

Separate crescent roll dough into 16 triangles.  Arrange 8 triangles in a circle with wide ends of triangles toward the center on a large round baking stone. The corners of wide ends should overlap and points will extend 1 inch beyond baking stone.  Arrange the remaining 8 triangles in center, matching the wide ends together. Seal the wide end seams using a roller.  The points of these 8 triangles will overlap in the center, do not seal them together.

Lift the inner dough triangles across the filling and tuck under other side of filling.  They should go over on a diagonal, however, in my picture below, they look folded straight over.


Continue with the outer triangles, lifting them over the filling and at the opposite diagonal direction from the inner triangles.

Beat egg white of the separated egg lightly; brush over dough. Discard the yoke.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cut and serve.

Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

17 Dec


I’m finally getting around to finishing off all the sweet potatoes I had accumulated from Bountiful Baskets.  I wasn’t going to frost it, but since I had everything on hand to make cream cheese frosting, I went ahead and made it.  Funny story about making frosting, growing up, I only thought it came in a tubs at the store, I had no idea you could make it.  So, the first time my mom made frosting, I was totally impressed.  Silly, I know.  This frosting recipe will make more than you need for the cake, so store the leftover in the refrigerator until you have another use for it.

This cake turned out very moist and tasty, my daughter had no idea it was made from sweet potatoes.  This would be go to make with the leftover sweet potato dishes from the holidays, you will just want to decrease the sugar in the cake if you had sugar in your sweet potato dish.


Sweet Potato Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

What you need for the cake:

1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil or applesauce (I used Homemade Applesauce since I was out of vegetable oil)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup beer (I used non-alcoholic.  Beer may be omitted, or use water, milk, or apple juice in its place)


What you need for the frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2-4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract


How to make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

Stir together the sugar and vegetable oil (or applesauce) in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and sweet potatoes.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Stir flour mixture into the batter 1 cup at a time, alternating with the beer just until everything comes together. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting or serving.


How to make the frosting:

Beat together the butter and cream cheese.  Stir in vanilla.  Stir in confectioner’s sugar, starting with 2 cups.  Increase amount of sugar up to 4 cups, depending on how sweet you want frosting.  Spread evenly on cake.

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