Monthly Archives: November 2016

Easy delicious turkey stock / soup

I hope everyone that celebrates Thanksgiving had a wonderful day! As usual I made more food than anyone can consume in a 4 day weekend and now I am looking for room in my freezer so nothing goes bad. I also broke the unwritten “don’t stress out and make something new rule” well it actually might be written somewhere, I heard it all over the TV; every cooking show, morning news show etc. and to make it even funnier, I forgot I even bought them to make. We were scheduled to eat at 2pm. Everything was SO on time that I even said “damn I am going to make it for 2 not bad”

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Around 1:30 I opened the fridge to get a stick of butter for the potatoes and saw the package of brussels sprouts – ugh should I make them? Everyone except my husband said yes, he still raves about the only way he likes them broiled steak over brussels sprouts Click here for that post https://wordpress.com/post/cookingatclarktowers.com/2736

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My daughter was quick with a “let’s put maple syrup and bacon on them”. Thankfully I had already cooked up a pound of bacon that morning, with another intention but we didn’t need anymore food to eat; or me to make ONE MORE THING to snack on.

 

I quickly cut the brussels sprouts in half and covered them with olive, salt, pepper and some maple syrup and while the turkey was resting; put them on a sheet pan to roast for about 15-20 minutes. Transferred them to a platter and crumbled bacon on them. YUM!!!! Said everyone but my husband – can’t win them all!

So with all the leftovers and turkey stock I vow to eat & make things from the fridge/freezer till Christmas – yup I am saying it out loud; there is no need to buy anything except bread, milk, eggs, fruit and veggies. See how quickly I clarified what I meant.

Today is going to be turkey soup day! It’s cold out and I have no more room in the freezers. After the turkeys (I always make 2 smallish birds) were picked clean I had a pot on the stove for the carcass’ and added the pan drippings, leftover gravy and some fresh celery, carrots and onions; brought it to a boil and then left it to simmer for about an hour.

I didn’t have time or the energy to “deal” with it so I put the whole pot outside on the back deck. It’s quite cold here so it is fine. Now comes the fun part of skimming off the fat and throwing everything but the stock aka “liquid gold” away and storing in the freezer (when I find room) what I don’t use for soup.

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depending on how much soup you want to stock you have on hand.
3 carrots – peeled and diced
2 celery stalks – diced
8 +/- cups of stock
3/4 cup rice

throw everything into the pot and bring to a boil them simmer for 30-40 minutes till the rice and veggies are cooked.

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Garlic & Herb Compound Butter

By now you should know if you are cooking or just eating for Thanksgiving. I have hosted Thanksgiving at my home for at least the last 13 years straight. We have been as few as 7 to as many as 23. Over the years I have only changed a few things to try to make it easier on me and in return on everyone that comes for dinner.
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I used to make one large bird, now I search for anything 10 lb and under. I feel with even cooking two smaller birds at the same time not only does it take less time in the oven, I find they are much juicier. I use the same roasting pan and they fit perfectly side by side. I can also give away a carcass for someone else to enjoy turkey soup at their house.

I also enlist whoever is around Wednesday night to help peel and dice all the vegetables place them in their pots with water and store them in the cold storage area off the garage till we need them on the stove. This year I ordered fresh rolls, I usually make them but I was my local store and there was a sign up sheet for fresh made rolls from a local bakery and I stood in line long enough; plus it was super easy to just sign my name.  KP would this be considered an impulse buy?  She loves shopping with me and always chuckles at my impulse register buys. They put things by the registers for a reason hmmm!
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This weekend is for finishing up my table center piece, I make new place cards every year so I need to finish those up.

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Before

 

 

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After

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I will toast my ciabatta bread for my sausage stuffing well actually dressing; I don’t stuff my birds. I put apples and onions in mine. And I’ve also made a garlic herb compound butter to cover my turkey’s before putting them in the oven YUM!
img_4732I do have to confess, I was just going to make herb butter, but I double checked with my daughter; should I add garlic? She was like YES we are garlic – she is right we are a little on the obsessed side of garlic so if you are not you don’t HAVE to add it.

Garlic Herb Butter

4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2-3 small bunches of fresh Sage
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
Chop them all up fine
3 cloves minced garlic
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You can use just a bowl and elbow grease or bring out your food processor. Cut the butter in pieces add to the bowl of the processor, add the fresh chopped herbs and a little salt and the minced garlic. Pulse till blended.

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It smells amazing – I can’t wait to use it

Now comes a kind of tricky part, placing the butter in the saran wrap so you can roll it into a log. By moving the wrap back and forth it will eventually with a little coercing become a log I promise.  It takes a couple of hours to get to its full flavor and set up. Store it in your fridge till you are ready to prep your bird. Gently loosen the skin of the breast meat on your bird and spread the butter under the skin and all over the skin. 

Happy Healthy Thanksgiving to all of you and thanks for supporting me week after week!

Crockpot Chicken Chili

The holiday season is upon us; which is quite apparent if you have ventured into pretty much ANY store. Just this last weekend there was Christmas music playing at my local craft store while I was picking up stuff for my Thanksgiving table centerpiece. Let the games begin!
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And just because you have a huge list of things to get done on the weekends doesn’t mean you can’t take a few simple ingredients; that you might already have on hand; throw it all in your slow cooker and have a warm satisfying meal at the end of the day. And probably a lunch during the week.

img_4700The last few weekends I have been spending a few hours in the kitchen preparing meals for the coming weeks lunch and or dinner. Make a roast for Sunday dinner and then a soup/stew for the following week. It’s like a win win. You are already chopping veggies, making a mess; or at least that is in my case. I swear I use pretty much every pot, pan and cutting board I own when I get going.
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Ingredients
Boneless skinless chicken breast
1 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
2 cans of beans – great northern, navy pea beans, black beans Or any combination
1 can hominy
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can chopped green chilis
1 can Rotel
1 can cream of chicken soup
Chicken broth

Directions
Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker
saute onions and garlic till they are soft
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Top with beans
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In a medium bowl combine taco seasoning, chilis, Rotel, soup and broth. Pour over beans
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Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours
Before serving shred chicken to your liking.
Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and chives or green onions.

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Tis the season for fresh apple cider! I am not a huge fan of drinking cold apple cider, I do like warm cider and cooking with cider is delicious. My guys were working a few towns away and went by a cafe in the middle of nowhere that made cider doughnuts that they raved about. Of course it took them a few months to actually bring me one home. Honestly they were just OK – I was told by the guys that “they needed to be eaten first thing in the morning when they were fresh”  Well that wasn’t going to happen for me.

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This was a couple of years ago. A week or so ago my daughter brought home some store made cider doughnuts that were just plain terrible; there was an after taste. I figured maybe I just plain ole didn’t like cider doughnuts. On Halloween my company put out some hot and cold cider and again some cider doughnuts. Third times a charm – NOPE it was not. You would think I would just give up – not me; I had some cider in the fridge that wasn’t going to last too much longer. I decided to make my own cider doughnuts. Voila’ success – finally a cider doughnut that has great flavor, fairly easy and I finally get to taste a cider doughnut that I got to finish.
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mine was very wet – I had to use more flour on my hands and board

The only problem I had was I don’t own a doughnut cutter nor a fryer. I looked a few places for a cutter, no luck. I try not to fry too much but when I do I always use my dutch oven; it can handle the high heat. I have a ridiculous amount of cookie cutters. I riffled through them and for a 3” round cutter; now I needed a small round cutter for the hole in the center. For the people reading this that know me really well; they are going to LOVE this. The smallest and closest thing I had to a small circle was a tiny frog cutter. Since I was little I have always collected frogs; I have moved away from the mass produced ones to ones that are unique funky and pretty cool. Making in happen here in NH – just saying.
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Apple Cider Doughnuts

Ingredients:
2 cups cider
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp of each cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ground cardamom
2 large eggs
6 Tbs butter, melted and cooled
Oil for deep frying

img_4668Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring cider to a rapid boil and cook over high heat until reduced by half – cool completely

In a large bowl, whisk flours, brown sugar, salt, soda, powder and spices. In a small bowl whisk eggs, melted butter and cooled cider. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened (dough is pretty sticky). Cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour, you want the dough firm enough so you can shape the doughnuts.


Divide dough in half, on a floured surface pat each portion to ½ inch thickness; make sure to flour your hands and cutter(s) cut out about a dozen doughnuts.


Heat oil to 365’ and fry a few at a time. 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Fry holes a few at a time approx. 1 minute on each side. Drain and cool slightly. Using a paper lunch bag; if you have one on hand; add some cinnamon and sugar and enjoy!

 

 

Recipe adapted – Taste of Home