Monthly Archives: November 2019

Thanksgiving debate – Stuff or not to stuff

The great Thanksgiving Day food debate has started; does it ever really end?

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Spatchcock Turkey

The Thanksgiving Day debate I have overheard at work and the grocery stores even at the butcher just yesterday. Turkey, Ham, Lamb, Beef or even lasagna? I have never not had Turkey so the others don’t even cross my mind. To brine or not to brine. I’ve done both and prefer not! Stuffing or Dressing and is it a bread stuffing or meat stuffing? I haven’t stuffed a bird with anything except apples, garlic, herbs and onions in years! Bread or meat I grew up on meat but I have gone back and forth for many years but the last 20 or so has been bread. It took me a few years to decide what “my” go to stuffing; actually dressing was going to be. I tried several over the years and asked all in attendance their opinions. We have all agreed to what I now make.

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Fried Turkey

And now for the sides, is there such a thing of too many sides? I used to think so but I am over that now. I think even last year I said OK we are not going to do so many. That didn’t work at all; I argued with myself why each veggie needed to be on the table. Whether it was someone’s favorite,  my favorite or even for color. You eat with your eyes first! My sides are always and will always be carrots, butternut squash, rutabaga aka turnip, and peas. I know I will add sweet potatoes in some form because that was always on my in-laws table.

A couple of more debates that I find quite funny is; the frozen or canned pea debate. I can’t even believe that one exists because canned peas are super mushy and not even a nice green color, no thank you! Hey Mom did you serve canned peas when I was a kid? I am sure I just didn’t like them because they were green; just checking!  Green bean casserole, homemade or the Campbell soup recipe one with the french’s fried onions on top? I have never made nor will ever try either way. I don’t care for green beans, they taste very bitter and too green for me. Kind of like I am eating grass so they are totally out!
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turkey rice soup – tis the season

And last but not least the Cranberry sauce debate some want the canned and others want freshly homemade sauce. I grew up on; the canned and have made fresh several times over the last few years. I personally don’t add it to my plate but I am all over it for the leftovers. Adding it to a sandwich or the Egg rolls I made last year; I am all in! I am already thinking about what I am going to do with the leftovers!    

The only thing I am debating at my house is whether or not I will be making or buying my rolls. I would love to hear what you are debating about for your menu; maybe it is cooking or going out?

Here are a couple of ideas for your leftovers. See the links for Turkey Rice soup, Leftover Thanksgiving egg roll’s and

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Leftover Thanksgiving Egg Roll

 

Creamy Alfredo Sauce

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I have been using up some PTO the last couple of weeks with long weekends and had some grand illusion that I would spend at least some of it making food, taking pictures, writing and banking a few blogs in case the holiday season got a little out of control and I couldn’t write. Then I got this fast and furious cold that won’t go away hello cold and flu season grrrrr.

IMG_4824.JPGYesterday I headed out pretty early in the morning for most of the day; we were out dress shopping for my future daughter-in-law. She has an idea now of her perfect dress but is still waiting for the “yes to the dress” moment.

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I dice up my chicken breast so there is more surface area for the seasoning and fry pan!

My last stop was going to be the grocery shopping and I had a craving for fettuccine Alfredo before I got there so I added a few things to my list. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I had or even wanted it. I used to make it all the time; now it’s just a faded memory. Maybe I needed a little comfort food – that sounds about right!
IMG_4826.JPGTo make it a whole meal I grabbed some broccoli and chicken breast a loaf of bread and voila dinner! Well almost my daughter put away all the groceries while I chilled out on the couch and came very close to napping before I ventured into the kitchen

Creamy Alfredo Sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  3. 2 ounces cream cheese optional but does make the sauce creamier
  4. 3-4 cloves fresh garlic minced
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese freshly grated
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Stir over low heat for about 2 minutes until melted and it starts to lightly simmer.
  2. Whisk in the garlic, salt, and pepper for one minute.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add in the Parmesan cheese, continue to whisk until melted.
  4. Serve immediately with your favorite pasta
Adapted from sweet and savory meals
Adapted from sweet and savory meals
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

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Puff Pastry Apple Hand Pies


Hand pies, dumplings, turnovers, empanadas, spring rolls and egg rolls pretty much anything that you can pick up with one hand that has either sweet or savory ingredients inside; I am a fan!
Out of everything I listed in my opening statement I have made them all but two of them. One of the two has been on my list to try to make but I haven’t gotten around to it; the other I think it is just easier to go to a bakery and buy them. I want to learn how to make empanadas and turnovers I am content with someone else doing it. At least for now!
Quick story from my childhood. My mother owned a cleaning company when I was a kid and I would go with her to a couple of offices at night; one was next to a Mom and Pop store/deli. The Mom of the store was a very sweet lady and she knew my favorite was Hostess apple pie and an orange crush. As you can tell I was a health nut way back then too. She would try to save me these items, or at least that was what she said when I came in that week. Now as an adult I very rarely drink soda but orange crush is still on the list, I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a hostess apple pie. I think I had one as an adult but it was many many years ago.
I do prefer to eat homemade or restaurant made items versus processed; but if I was on a desert island and all they had was hostess and crush – I would be pretty OK!
I’ve mentioned many times using up items I have on hand and last week I had some apples on the counter that no one seemed to be grabbing and frozen puff pastry sheets in the freezer that had been in there awhile. Apple hand pies sounded perfect to me; and they were! 

puff pastry apple hand pies
Yields 12
easy to make and eat
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup granulated sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 3 crisp apples or whatever you have on hand; cored and cut into ¾” dice
  4. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  6. pinch of ground cloves
  7. 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  8. 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  9. 1 tbs all purpose flour
  10. 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  11. 1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water, for egg wash
  12. 1 tablespoon Sugar in the Raw
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt and cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the apples have softened and released their juices.
  3. combine the lemon juice and flour in a small bowl and stir to the dissolve the flour.
  4. Remove the apples from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and flour mixture. Pour the apple mixture into a medium bowl and set aside to cool while you prepare the pastry. Make sure you allow them to cool, I did not and it made a mess.
  5. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry on a floured cutting board. Roll the sheet into a 12-inch square with a rolling pin. With a sharp paring knife, cut six 5-inch circles from the pastry, using a dish or a bowl as a guide and discarding the scraps. Place ¼ cup or less of the filling on one side of each circle, leaving a border around the edge of each circle. Brush the edges of the circles with the egg wash and fold over, making half circles. Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Place pies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and chill for 15 minutes. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with the sugar in the raw, and make 3 small slits in each pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. Make sure your apples are cooled. Some of the filling may come out while preparing and/or baking it's fine.
Adapted from ina garten
Adapted from ina garten
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

Pasta e Fagioli

It is a soup kind of day in my world today! what does soup mean to you?
Soup to me is fridge clearing, a welcoming stove top aroma and a warm comforting hug in a cup,  It is just plain home to me!

I am writing this while having my morning cup of tea about an hour before I generally post for you and yes for me. I use my posts as kind of a recipe holder. I find it so much easier to google cookingatclarktowers.com and search for a recipe then to riffle through all of my collected paperwork of recipes. So I do it all the time and if someone asks me for a recipe If I don’t tell them to google it I send them the link. 
IMG_5441I am not sure what recipe I will be making in a few minutes but this one is one of my top 5 that I love to eat. I am actually going through the ingredient list and wondering if I have everything on hand and I think I do so while I am re-posting this recipe from a couple of years ago I am fairly certain this will be on my stove top shortly. 
IMG_5439I finally planted my garlic yesterday I hope it stands a chance to grow. I am a couple of weeks later than I normally get it into the ground and I am looking at the temperature at 7:49 am est and it is 32’F yikes I may not get any next year. Fingers crossed! 
IMG_5440Pasta e Fagioli Soup makes approximately 12 cups – freezes nicely

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground turkey (your choice – chicken, beef, sausage all would be great)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounce low sodium beef or chicken broth plus a little more as needed or use water
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
28 ounce can tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried marjoram – or substitute with more oregano
1 cup ditalini pasta – or substitute with another small pasta
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can northern beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and fresh crack Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, crumble in the meat and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain fat and transfer to a plate and set aside.
Heat remaining olive oil add carrots, celery and onions over medium-high heat until tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic saute another minute or so. Reduce heat to low
Add the tomato sauce, broth, tomatoes and all the spices plus the meat back into the pot. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.

Prepare pasta according to the directions on the box. Add cooked drained pasta to the soup along with both cans of beans. Allow to meld for a few minutes.
Serve warm with grated parmesan or romano cheese.

IMG_5446Macros = 1 cup using ground turkey
Calories 221
Fat 7.54
Carbs 21.25
Protein 18.2