Tasty Turkey Chili

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Turkey Chili - Perfect for a Wintry Day!

Okay, so you have a busy schedule. Maybe you have a job, possibly you have two? Then there are those kids. Don’t forget to take the dogs out for a walk. Homework, anyone? Oh yes, save some quarters, your laundry pile now has its’ own zip code.
Time to cook? No way…
Unless you have a slow cooker, commonly known in these parts as a “crock pot.”
Nothing gourmet here. Easy to prepare, no special skill required as long as you can operate a can opener. This is the perfect recipe for the young lad or lass out on their own for the first time. It works great for the mom or dad that has to juggle cooking with all the normal demands of life like, oh you know, ballet/work/karate/work/soccer/work/football/work/after school club of your choice/work. Then there’s your boss. No stress in your life. Nope. Not a bit. Heck, this recipe will even work for you!

Don’t forget these safety tips:
Make sure the turkey is thoroughly cooked. The poultry must reach 165 degrees F. (74 degrees C.) A cooking thermometer is a wise investment and will give you piece of mind when cooking turkey.
And the biggie: Wash your hands after you touch raw turkey. Every time. Don’t handle raw turkey, then pick up a spoon or something… and then wash your hands. You’ll probably pick that spoon up later and risk a night in the emergency room.

Note: I use ground turkey for this recipe. I cook it separately with no added spices. This way, I can see the pink disappear as the bird cooks. Once everything has that odd-looking, white-ish color, I know it is time to check the temperature. Adding spices before this point might mask some raw turkey.
Now for the recipe (remember – nothing gourmet, just good)

Ingredients
2 pounds ground turkey
2 cans white beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can diced tomatoes with green bell pepper, onion and celery
6 oz. white cheddar cheese, cut into one ounce chunks
To Taste:
Tabasco Sauce – go big or go to Denny’s…
Chili Powder
Black Pepper
Water

Directions
In a large skillet, cook the ground turkey until done. (165 degrees, remember?)
Drain the grease and place the cooked turkey into a large crock pot.
Dust the turkey with chili powder and black pepper,
Add the three cans of beans and the cheese.
Add the spices to your taste. Make it as spicy or as mild as you prefer.
Now, add enough water to cover what is in the crock pot. It will reduce, no worries.
Cover the crock pot and cook on low.

8 hours later, give it a good stir. Add water if you need to but it will probably be ready to eat!

Serve with a good hearty slice of bread and a glass of red wine.

Buen Provecho, amigos!

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Turkey Enchiladas with Molé Sauce

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Tempting the Snowmen with Turkey Enchiladas with Molé Sauce.

The Eastern Shore farms would not be able to harvest as well as they do without the migrant workers. These Latino workers put in a hard day’s work so that you and I can buy those fresh vegetables. As a tribute to their culture, I decided to combine the traditional “American” turkey with a special sauce found throughout Mexico. This sauce is made in homes throughout the land and there are as many recipes as there are “casas.” Here is my version of…

Doug’s Famous Molé Sauce
4 red arbol chilés
2 New Mexico chilés
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. white onion, coarsely chopped
1 c. mango, peeled and cubed
1 c. cocktail peanuts
1/2 c. walnuts, shelled, chopped
2 c. chicken stock
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon clove
3 oz. dark chocolate
1/4 c. heavy cream

Turkey Enchiladas
4 cups turkey breast, roasted, shredded
2 cups Colby Jack cheese, shredded
3 cans green chilés (use the small cans)
8 flour tortillas (8 or 10 inch diameter)

Prepping the Peppers
Prepare the arbol and New Mexico chilés by placing them in a medium sauce pan filled halfway with water. Heat until the water starts to boil, then remove from heat and cover for 30 minutes.

Put on some gloves or put your hands in plastic baggies when handling the peppers. No need to get the oils from the peppers on your hands. It can be a tearful experience…
Drain the water and carefully remove the peppers. BE CAREFUL – THEY MAY STILL BE HOT.
Remove the stems. Slice open the peppers and scrape away the seeds. The skin/pulp is what you will need. Set aside until needed. (see recipe.)

Getting started on the Molé Sauce
Using a large sauce pan, heat the vegetable oil and then sauté the onion, mango, peanuts and walnuts, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent.
Add the chicken stock, followed by the arbol chilés and the New Mexico chilés, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and clove. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Cover. When cool, place in refrigerator and let the flavors meld together overnight.

The next dayFinishing the sauce and putting together the Turkey Enchiladas
Puree the sauce mixture, then strain into a medium sauce pan. Add a little more chicken stock or water to the mash if you are not getting much liquid dripping through the strainer. You want about a cup of liquid when you are done. Discard the solids.

Add the chocolate and the heavy cream. Using medium heat, stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Warm up the sauce until the chocolate and the cream have been totally incorporated. The sauce should be smooth and may look like a thick chocolate drink. Be careful to not scald the sauce! Remove from heat in order to assemble the enchiladas.

Steam the tortillas. I wrap them in damp paper towels and heat them in the microwave oven for 20 seconds or so. You could use a steamer if you want. You just need them pliable enough so that they roll up without cracking.

Take one tortilla, place a half cup of turkey and a half cup of shredded cheese in the center. Top with a touch of the green chilés, to taste. With a spoon, spread the mixture evenly on the tortilla. Roll the tortilla up like a cigar, but not that tight! Place in a baking dish large enough to hold 8 of the rolled up tortillas.

Complete all of the tortillas, placing them in the baking dish. Top with a little more cheese if you like, then slather the molé sauce on top and cover with foil. Bake (reheat, really) in the oven at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes.

This recipe makes 8 enchiladas and enough molé sauce for a lot more. Use what you want then freeze the rest for another time. Pairs well with black beans, corn and a nice glass of Toasted Head Merlot (2007.)

If you want a real adventure, pour some sauce in a coffee mug and take a swig! Buen Provecho!

Divine Turkey Fettuccine

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A quick and easy dish - great during Winter!

So the snow started falling, the temperature was dropping, and the last thing we wanted to do was to leave the comfort of the warm parsonage. With leftover baked turkey in the fridge (seems like we always have leftover turkey this time of year…) I pre-heated the oven with the goal of making a decision on what to cook  by the time the oven signaled it was at temp.  Here’s what I did:

Divine Turkey Fettuccine

8 oz. Fettuccine noodles

dash of salt

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken and Mushroom Soup *

8 oz. frozen broccoli florets, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 cups baked turkey, chopped or shredded

2 tablespoons poultry seasoning

8 oz. Colby Jack cheese, shredded

* I always use Campbell’s brand soup.  I am not compensated by them in any way; I just like their soup!

Directions:

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the box.  I add a dash of salt and a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the water before heating. The salt helps “tenderize” the noodles and the oil helps in keeping pasta “foam” from rising too much.

In a medium sauce pan, heat the cream of chicken soup. Don’t forget to add that can of water if the directions on the can call for it!

While the noodles and the soup are cooking, get a large bowl, cutting board and a sharp chef’s knife. If you don’t have a “chef’s knife,” any large knife capable of safely chopping vegetables will do.  Just make sure it is sharp. No need for an unexpected trip to the hospital…

Take the frozen broccoli florets out of the package and place them on the cutting board. Using your chef’s knife, carefully chop the florets into small bits.  You could thaw the broccoli first, but it’s easier to chop them up when they are still frozen. Put the chopped broccoli into the large bowl.

To the broccoli, add the minced garlic. Stir it in well – this way much of the garlic gets trapped in the little broccoli buds as the florets thaw.  Mmmm, tasty!

Now take your leftover turkey, placing it on the cutting board of coarse, and chop or shred it into small, tasty morsels.

Season the chopped turkey with the poultry seasoning. You can add salt and/or pepper if you like. Never hurts. Add the chopped and seasoned turkey to the broccoli. Mix with your wooden spoon! (Why “wooden” spoon? – because Chef Rudolf always insisted on using a wooden spoon – for everything!)

Now the good part…

Add the shredded Colby Jack cheese to the broccoli – turkey mixture. Like the old commercial says: “Behold,the power of cheese!”

By now, your noodles should be done cooking. If you haven’t already done so, drain the water.

Using your favorite cooking spray, grease up a large casserole dish or 11×13 glass baking dish.

– Put the noodles in the baking dish.

– Spoon the turkey/broccoli/cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Mix it into the noodles a bit if you want. It’s up to you.

– Pour the hot soup on top. It will seep down into the nooks and crannies, making for a fabulous, creamy texture!

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Uncovered.

At that point, check the top. If it’s starting to look too brown from the cheese cooking, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Continue baking for ten more minutes.

When the timer dings, you will have a great meal ready to warm you up on a cold evening!

Happy eating!

A Slice of Cherry Pie is a Wonderful Thing

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A little bit of Internet research has brought me to one of the top 50 food blogs in the world.  I’m not sure who makes those distinctions, but I will say that “A Slice of Cherry Pie’ is a great food blog worthy of kudos, allocades and probably a huzzah or two. It’s very comprehensive and well written, by a regular person no less. Inspiring photographs are a plus; makes me wish I had Emeril’s patented “Smell-o-Vision.”

The current post involves a leftover turkey recipe that adds cranberry and cheese, similar to my Ultimate Turkey Sandwich.  Instead of my focaccia bread concept, however, Julia Parsons (the cook behind the blog) uses a puff pastry to create a classic ‘parcel’ in miniature. I will have to try it and give you an update.

To check it out yourself, go to A Slice Of Cherry Pie and see food from the UK perspective!  I have provided the link in my blog roll for your convenience.

 

The Ultimate (Leftover) Turkey Sandwich

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Ultimate (Leftover) Turkey Sandwich

A variation of the turkey sandwich from the Chesapeake Bagel Shop, this is a great way to upgrade the inevitable turkey sandwich you will be making the day after Thanksgiving!   Use the focaccia bread (see previous post) for a savory, crunchy base.

For vegetarians (of all types,) as in 75 percent of my household, the sandwich is great without the turkey, too. Vegans can replace the lettuce wih bean sprouts and seasoned / baked tofu for the turkey. My wife just slapped some butter on the focaccia bread, grilled it on a skillet, then added the tomato along with a little Havarti cheese. She loved it. Everyone wins, except maybe the turkey 🙂 but that argument is for someone else’s blog.

Here’s what you do:

Slice about 3 inches of focaccia bread off of the loaf.  Then slice that piece in half, lengthwise forming two planks about a half inch thick or so.

Top the base with:

– shredded lettuce

– slice or two of tomato

– a little red onion slice, spread about

– cheddar cheese

– turkey (ahem…or other meat substitute)

– two or three pieces of crispy bacon (sorry vegans, can anything really replace bacon?)

The Ultimate (Leftover) Turkey Sandwich

Then spread a little cranberry jelly (or relish, even better) on the top plank of focaccia and top off the sandwich.

Viola!  You are ready to enjoy the savory bread, coupled with the sweet taste of the cranberry and the salty taste of the bacon.

Happy eating!

Turkey Mac-N-Cheese-azini

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So remember the fab crock pot turkey?  I do.  It was great the first day; made a great sandwich the next day.  Then I took a break from poultry for a few days. (Too much of a good thing, as they say.)  Now we are back at the ranch and the turkey has beckoned. “Do something wild and unexpected before I go bad!”  Nothing like turkey with an attitude!?

Here’s recipe:

(Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.)

16 oz. bag of wide egg noodles

1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken and mushroom soup

2 medium carrots, 1 small yellow onion, 1 green bell pepper – chopped well

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 oz . cheddar cheese, shredded

Leftover cooked turkey, chopped into small, bite-size morsels

Follow the directions on the package to cook the noodles.  I boiled them for 10 minutes, which worked well. While the noodles are cooking,  use a medium sauce pan to saute the chopped vegetables with the olive oil, adding the minced garlic along the way. In a small pot, heat the soup.  Now the easy part…

After draining the noodles in a colander, return them to the big pot.  Add everything else, cheese last.  Why cheese last?  Because that makes the recipe sound more complex and exotic.  So yes, YOU can add the cheese whenever you want, but the transitive property of equality (algebra, if you are wondering) does not apply to cheese placement, IMHO. Just add the cheese last and move on.  There’s more…

Stir the ingredients gently – you don’t want to hurt those noodles, do you?  Once it looks like all of the noodles have a coating of cheese and/or soup, and the vegetables are fairly evenly spread throughout the mixture, then put the whole thing in a large glass casserole dish, at least 9 x 13.  Cover (tent, actually) with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Serve with ice tea, no lemon.

Was this a hit?  My 16 year old daughter ate two helpings.  This makes enough for 8 people, or 5 really hungry teenagers.

For a twist, next time I am going to either add another can of soup or up the cheese.  Probably add some fresh ground black pepper, too. You can always add more vegetables, too.

Try it and let me know how it goes!

Slow-Cooked Turkey – for those on the go!

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This was a hit.  Less than ten minutes to prepare, cooked in the crock pot while I was at work, and less than ten minutes to make ready for the dinner plates.  Even clean-up was fast and easy!  Try it sometime and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

– Small Turkey (make sure it will fit in your crock pot…or use as an excuse to get a bigger cooker!)

– one half cup of water.

– just enough olive oil to lightly coat the bird.

– sun dried tomatoes, just a few – chopped up finely.

– to taste: minced garlic, chopped onion, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.

Directions:

After washing and drying the turkey, place in slow-cooker, skin side up.  Make sure there are no gravy packets stuffed inside, or a wayward neck bone stuffed in the front.  I forgot to check once, and I still remember THAT smell…  Add the half cup of water to the pot. Coat the turkey lightly with olive oil.  Add the sun dried tomatoes, onion and spices to the skin, and don’t worry if some fall off, as long as they stay in the crock pot!  While it looks like you are seasoning the skin, you are really making the start of a good gravy!

Cover the crock pot; turn on low.  Come back 8 hours later. (I came back 9 hours later and it was just fine…)

Using large forks or tongs, pull the meat from the bones and place in a separate serving dish.  Once you have the all the meat in a serving dish, use a ladle or large spoon to transfer the remaining liquid to a sauce pan.  It is okay if some  meat, onion and tomato end up in there, too, but leave out the rest, as in the bones and fats, etc.  Bring to a low boil, add a little corn starch if you like, and you will have a nice, savory gravy.

Whatever is left in the crock pot is ready for the trash can.  Once cool, clean up is fast and easy!

Goes well with baked potatoes (make sure you poke them with a fork BEFORE baking…see title…and a green vegetable of your choice.  I used green beans.  Our 7 pound turkey made enough for over 10 dinner plates. I didn’t crunch the numbers, but dollar for dollar this looked to be the best buy as far as turkey. Heck, a pound of sliced turkey at my grocery deli runs about $4.50 to $7.00 a pound, depending on brand, and I didn’t pay more than 10 dollars for a whole bird.

Thanksgiving is coming up. If you are feeding four or less, this could be just the idea you have been looking for.

Gobble gobble!