Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole

Use leftover turkey and cranberry sauce for this delicious meal!

Serves 8


6 cups water
Salt to taste
3 cups uncooked wild rice blend
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, hot
Ground nutmeg to taste
Pepper to taste
2/3 pound yellow squash, grated (with skin and seeds)
1/2 pound cooked turkey, shredded
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs (such as sage, thyme, rosemary or oregano)


Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish; set aside.

Bring 6 cups salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Add rice and bay leaves and stir briefly; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves; fluff rice with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Whisk in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper; set sauce aside.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add squash, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Add reserved cooked rice, sauce and squash and toss to combine. Add turkey, cranberries, walnuts, herbs, salt and pepper and toss again, just until combined. Transfer rice mixture to prepared dish and bake until hot throughout and just golden brown on top, 20 to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

t'afia's best cheesecake

This recipe is from Monica Pope, head chef of our favorite restaurant t'afia.  I just asked her for her cheesecake recipe one night at the restaurant, and lo and behold she printed it out and handed it to me.  She even said "sure, no problem" when I asked about blogging it.  She's very cool.  So, here you are.  I had to scale it down to 2/3; she must use a very tall springform pan.

t'afia's best cheesecake

Crust ingredients:
2 cups nuts, usually walnuts, ground
1/2 c butter, melted
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c flour

Cheesecake ingredients:
2 lbs cream cheese
2 cups sugar
3 T cornstarch
4 eggs
2 vanilla beans, scraped

My favorite variation:
substitute up to 1/3 of the cheese with goat cheese (chevre), or any other soft mild cheese

Other variations listed (just ideas, no specific directions):
Lemon-blackberry with pinenut crust; white chocolate with hazelnut crust; mandarin orange with pistachio crust; fig puree with walnut crust.

1.  Press crust ingredients into 8" springform pan.  Wrap pan base in foil.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  It will be lightly colored and puff slightly.

2.  Cream the cheese with sugar and cornstarch, making sure all the cheese gets mixed in by scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula periodically.  Add eggs one at a time and vanilla.  Mixture should be very fluffy.  (I've used vanilla extract and it works ok, but the real vanilla is nice and there's no faking the little black flecks.  Quite charming.  If you've never used vanilla bean before:  just cut a slit lengthwise down one side with a paring knife and scrape out all the stuff in the middle.  That's it.)

3.  Bake in a water bath (roasting pan with boiling water to come halfway up the side of the pan) until lightly brown.  A knife will not come out clean, but the mixture on the knife will not be liquidy; it will be gooey.

4.  Cool at room temperature and then refrigerate a few hours before serving.

*This has a very smooth, creamy texture.  If you want it firmer & denser, as some people like my husband prefer, skip the water bath.  Bake it at 500 for 8 minutes, then open the oven door and let the oven cool to 200.  Bake at 200 for an hour, or until the edges are set and the center jiggles like jell-o.  Doesn't need to brown quite as much as the variation above since it's not done cooking yet.  Prop open oven door with a wooden spoon and let it sit there one hour.  Cool at room temperature and then refrigerate.

*Easy strawberry topping:  Puree a few handfuls of strawberries (frozen work fine) in the blender with some lemon juice and sugar to taste.  Or mixed berries.  Or any berry you want.

*Let me know if you tinker with any of the variations!  They all sound delicious.

*The original recipe, before I scaled it down:  Crust unchanged.  3 lbs cheese, 3 c sugar, 5T cornstarch, 6 eggs, 3 vanilla beans.  It felt audacious to modify her recipe, as if I know what I'm doing.  But the original version spills over the top of my pan, so what's a girl to do?

Chicken (or turkey???) Enchiladas

I posted this recipe on my personal blog last year, but I thought it might make a good disguise for leftover turkey.  Keep it in mind this weekend!

 (Don't worry, you don't have to make that many.  That's a quadruple recipe.  Yes, I'm a crazy person.)

Chicken Enchiladas

2T oil
1 onion, chopped
1 lb cooked chicken, diced
2t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
1 can rotel
salt & pepper
2 cans cream of chicken soup
(or cream of whatever. in a pinch i've used cream of celery or cream of cheddar)
1 cup sour cream
1 4 oz can diced green chiles
12 oz grated cheddar
14-16 flour tortillas

1. This time I tried chopping the chicken (gently poached, or buy a rotisserie chicken at the deli) in the food processor. I used the regular 4mm slicing disc and it turned out great! A timesaver, since I was quadrupling the recipe this time. Chop the onion first with the chopping blade and dump it into the skillet, then put on the slicing disk and do the chicken while the onion cooks.

2. Cook the onion in the oil until tender.
3. Add chicken, chili powder, cumin, rotel, and salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes.
4. Mix soup, sour cream, green chiles, and 2/3 of the cheese.
5. Put a little bit of soup mixture into 9x13 baking dish (or a bigger lasagna pan, like 10x15, if you have it). Just enough to cover the bottom. This keeps the enchiladas from coming out too dry.

6. Make an assembly line. I don't recommend doing this part at the stove, as in the picture, unless you happen to enjoy cleaning your stove. Do as I say, not as I do.

 7. Spoon 1T of soup mixture onto a tortilla. (If you want to use corn tortillas, you need to heat them to soften.) Don't use too much soup mix or you won't have enough left to go on top. Top with chicken mixture.

8. Roll 'em up. Don't cram too many in a pan or they won't get any sauce. 12 in a 9x13 works well.
9. Top with rest of soup mixture and rest of cheese.
10. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until warm, or refrigerate and bake later.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Beautiful, Yummy and (Shhh...Easy) Dinner

Homestyle Roasted Chicken

1 lemon
2 sprigs rosemary
1 (4- to 5-pound) whole chicken
10 small red potatoes, halved
3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
1 yellow onion, cut in 6 wedges
1 (1/2-pound) yam, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Pierce lemon all over with a fork. Place whole lemon and rosemary sprigs into cavity of chicken. Truss chicken with butchers' twine and place breast-side up in a large roasting pan. Arrange potatoes, carrots, onions, and yams around the chicken. Pour both and wine over chicken and vegetables, then drizzle chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover chicken tightly with foil and roast chicken and vegetables for 30 minutes.

Reduce to 350°F. Remove foil and set aside for later use. Continue to roast chicken, basting periodically, for 1 1/2 hours more. Transfer chicken to a platter and set aside to let rest for 20 minutes. While chicken is resting, cover vegetables with reserved foil and continue to roast for 20 minutes more.

Carve chicken and serve alongside the roasted vegetables, drizzled with pan juices, if you like.

No Knead Dinner Rolls

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm (105 to 115°F) milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour

To get started, make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature. Put whole wheat flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a large bowl and stir well. Add milk, butter and egg and beat with a spoon until smooth. Add all-purpose flour and mix until fully incorporated and batter is smooth. Cover bowl and set aside in a warm spot to let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, lightly grease a 12-muffin tin with olive oil and set aside.

Stir the batter gently to deflate it. Spoon even amounts of the dough into each cup of the prepared muffin tin and set aside in a warm spot until the dough has risen just over the top of the muffin tins, about 1 hour more.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake rolls until golden brown and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Broccoli Salad {{Lynsey}}

I've finally gotten around to posting an actual recipe here. Slacker!

But, I could not keep this recipe all to myself.

I’m addicted to this salad!!!! This is an original concoction of mine and I’m so pleased with how the recipe turned out.

It’s soooooo good. I make it and keep it in the fridge. When I have the urge, I open the door to my wonderfully awesome salad that is waiting to take me to broccoli heaven.

My girls love it too. They could eat broccoli and cauliflower right off the stem so I knew that they would love this salad. But, they REALLY like this salad.

Broccoli is in season right now, so this is perfect timing.

This salad is also super good for you and has nutritious ingredients in it. It was the perfect addition to our roasted chicken and rosemary & balsamic vinegar red potatoes. I had some leftover so the following day, I shredded up the remaining chicken and put it in the salad for lunch. That was delish as well.

I’ve had similar recipes that call for mayo and sugar for the dressing. But, since I’m mayo-a-phobic, that won’t work for me.

Here is the recipe:

Broccoli Salad

3 heads of broccoli cut up into florets
1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins if you don't have cranberries)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup raw cashews
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 cup shredded carrot (I peeled a whole carrot into the salad with a peeler)
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Optional: shredded chicken for added protein (the picture is shown w/ chicken in the salad)

½ cup cold-pressed olive oil
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
4 T organic maple syrup
3 T whole grain mustard
1 lime squeezed
salt, pepper, onion powder

Cut up and add all of your veggies and nuts. Mix up dressing and whisk together so dressing is mixed well. Pour on top of salad and mix together. Yum!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

sweet potato pancakes

last night i made sweet potatoes for dinner. we had 1 1/2 leftover- so this morning we made sweet potato pancakes. these are light and airy, and very yummy.

here's what we did:

1 1/2 baked sweet potatoes (i'm pretty sure just one large one would work)
2 cups white whole wheat flour (this is NOT white refined flour- it is from the white variety of whold wheat)
2 Tbsp coconut oil
4 eggs
about 2 tsp vanilla
1 can coconut milk
*milk to thin*

put flour into a large bowl

in a food processor, whip up the sweet potatoes and coconut milk. transfer to a bowl and mix in oil, vanilla, cinnamon and eggs (already beaten). add the wet to the dry.

grease up a skillet and go to town. this made up 16 medium size pancakes for us. so i'll be freezing quite a few.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~side note: if you don't have coconut milk try a plain yogurt- that's just what i had on hand. pancakes are forgiving- go with what you have!~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday, November 15, 2009


It doesn't get more basic than this.  A good stock is handy to have in the freezer and is the key to taking a lot of recipes from "OK" to something special. 

Chicken Stock:

Anytime I cook with a whole chicken, I make a stock from whatever is left.  If I butcher it before cooking, I'll save the back and use it raw.  But even if I just roast the whole chicken, it works fine.  Pick off the meat that you can use leftover and use the rest for stock.  If you are buying chicken just for this purpose, sometimes you can find chicken backs for very, very cheap.

1 chicken carcass
1 onion, quartered (don't bother to peel or chop into tiny pieces)
1 carrot, or a handful of baby carrots
1 stalk celery
1 bay leaf
1T crushed garlic
1T sea salt

Cut the chicken up into 1" pieces, chopping the bones with big heavy scissors or a meat cleaver.  It's not the end of the world if you skip this step; it is messy and takes a few minutes.  But the bone marrow is good for you, and more of it will get into your stock if the bones are chopped up.

Put everything in the crock pot, cover with water.  Cook on low overnight.  Let cool and freeze in 1-2 cup amounts.

I usually start this after dinner, getting it started while I'm doing the dishes, and leave it until morning.

If you need it the same day, cook in a stock pot on simmer a couple of hours.  30 minutes will do in an emergency, but longer is better.

Vegetable Stock:
 Don't be afraid to chop into really large chunks.  There's no need to spend all day peeling and dicing.  5 minutes hands-on prep time, max. From the Bittman book again.

1/3 c olive oil
2 onions, quartered
4 carrots, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
1 parsnip, cut into chunks (optional)
2 potatoes, quartered
2 T crushed garlic, or 6 cloves
15-20 mushrooms, halved or sliced
Small bunch parsley
2-3 sprigs thyme
1/4 c soy sauce
10 black peppercorns
1/2 c white wine (optional)
salt & pepper

1.  Best method:  Preheat oven to 450.  Coat onion, carrots, celery, parsnip, potatoes, garlic and mushrooms with oil.  Roast until browned, about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice.
2.  Faster method:  Brown same ingredients in a skillet.
3.  Combine roasted vegetables with herbs, soy sauce, peppercorns, wine, salt & pepper and 2 quarts water in a stockpot over high heat.  Put roasting pan on another burner with 1 quart water.  Bring to a boil and scrape up any stuck food bits.  Add to stockpot.
4.  Simmer until vegetables are very soft.  Strain and adjust seasoning.


Risotto has a bad rap for being difficult.  It really isn't.  It's a bit high-maintenance in the stirring department, so I like to do as much prep work ahead of time as possible.  Don't make this along with several other items that need attention during the last 10-15 minutes before serving.  But it's mindless; just stand there stirring frequently.  I can be doing that while I chat with guests or watch the kids color.  Easily made vegetarian; one of my very favorite meatless dishes.  I don't have a lot of vegetarian recipes that feel hearty without lots of cream and cheese.  Risotto definitely feels like "real food," and it's even vegan if you use olive oil and skip the parmesan.  For some reason this feels seasonal and appropriate to me year-round.

This is my basic recipe, combined from recipes in The Best Recipe and Mark Bittman's vegetarian cookbook (which I reviewed here).  This is my favorite combination, but I'll list other versions below.

Risotto with Mushrooms and Asparagus

1/2 c dried porcini mushrooms
5 cups stock, veggie or chicken
Few saffron threads, optional
6 T butter
2 c Arborio rice
salt & pepper
1/2 c white wine
1 c chopped fresh mushrooms
1/2 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces

1/2 c grated Parmesan, plus extra for passing

1.  Rinse the dried mushrooms, soak in hot water to reconstitute.
2.  Warm the stock in a saucepan, keep it over low heat.  Add saffron if using.
3.  Heat 3T butter in dutch oven or nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, cook until soft.
4.  Add rice and some salt, cook until glossy and coated, 2-3 minutes.
5.  Add wine, let bubble away.  Add 3 cups broth.  Drain mushrooms, chop and add to rice along with half of the soaking liquid.  Let simmer.
6.  Meanwhile, saute the fresh mushrooms and asparagus in the other 3T butter over medium-high heat until lightly brown and almost crisp, about 7-10 minutes.
7.  When the stock is almost evaporated, add more, a ladle (1/2 cup or so) at a time.  This is the high maintenance part.  You don't have to stir constantly, but don't leave it for more than a minute.  It will stick quickly.  Start paying close attention about 20 minutes after it started cooking.  You want to taste frequently and catch it when it's "al dente."  It should be tender and creamy but have a tiny bit of firmness in the center.  This will take another 10 minutes or so.  If you use up all of the broth start adding hot water.
8.  Stir in the mushrooms, asparagus, and parmesan.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve immediately, with extra parmesan at the table.

Basic: either chicken or veggie broth, no veggies added
Just mushrooms, no asparagus
Frozen peas:  thaw and add in last 5 minutes
Carrots, beets, potatoes, broccoli, etc.:  Briefly boil until barely tender,  quickly saute in butter, stir in at last minute

breakfast cookies

***the original recipe can be found at i have to say. thank you randi for such a great idea!***

i tried a modified version of these cookies the other morning for breakfast and they were delicious! the kids were so excited about the idea of cookies for breakfast!

breakfast cookies

2 ripe mashed bananas
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup liquid coconut oil

mix together

3/4 cup whole wheat flour (ww pastry flour optimal if you have it on hand)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder

stir into wet ingredients (or just dump it all in the bowl together like i did)

next add
3/4 cup blueberries (i used frozen)
1 - 1/2 cups traditional oats

drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

very easy and very yummy! i think next time i'll add shredded zuc or carrot to up the nutritional factor. i always feel so accomplished when i can get a vegetable in before 9am.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fish-House Style Green Tomato Pickles

Thought some of you might have some green tomatoes and this recipe is good with pinto beans. It will also give you a chance to can something simple.


2 qts. quartered green tomatoes
2 c. chopped onion (might want to use onion rings) 3/4 c. chopped hot peppers (see
2 c. sugar
3 tbsp salt
2 c. vinegar
1 tsp celery seed
Put tomatoes, onions and hot peppers in large pan. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat immediately and put in hot, sterile jars and seal. (I place the lids in warm water and it seems to help with sealing.)

NOTE: For spicy but not hot pickles, reduce hot pepper to half (I used 1/4 c.) or less the amount called for and fill measure with chopped sweet peppers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pumpkin French Toast

I'm obsessed....seriously, I love pumpkin!

1/4 c flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
3/4 c milk
1/3 c pumpkin (use the rest of the can for pumpkin scones!)
1/8 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
3 eggs
1 T butter
9 slices of bread

Mix batter. Coat grill with butter. Dip bread into batter. Cook for about 5 mins on each side.
My Little Helper!

It's a thick delicious batter. Sooo good! Top with maple syrup. Here's a trick I just learned to make your expensive, real maple syrup last longer. Oh man, I'm in love!

From Health Begins with Mom
I melt butter in a small saucepan and add the same amount of maple syrup. (So, that may be 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of maple syrup if I need a 1/2 cup of syrup in the end.) As it heats through, I stir it vigorously until it is completely combined and a pretty light brown color.
Not only do I get to skip buttering the pancakes... who wants to butter that many pancakes anyway? The children get more syrup on their pancakes, but only half of it is maple syrup. And the syrup is wonderfully warm, sweet, and buttery. Yum!

Honeymoon Green Beans

When Christian and I first got married - back before we became homestead-bound dairy farmers - we loved to take honeymoons. I think we took three by our first anniversary. Sigh.

Our third honeymoon was a week in a small backyard apartment on the North Shore of Oahu. We went out for some meals, but I also threw together a few in our little kitchenette. Our favorite one we named honeymoon tofu. Since then I make it more often with green beans in place of the tofu, as you really need the nice, dried (baked) tofu which is hard to find out here in rural Texas. Our green beans are growing like gangbusters, though, and we felt like honeymooners again last night as we tucked into this favorite. This is the first time I ever tried to measure ingredients, you may need to adjust slightly.

Cook a pot of rice and set green beans on the stove to steam.

While they are cooking, mix the honeymoon sauce in a small bowl:
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
a little less than 1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp jelly or jam, any flavor (on the honeymoon it was raspberry, but last night I used blueberry - it doesn't matter)

YOu may need to add a touch more water to smooth it out - just kind of eyeball it.

Top the rice with a portion of beans then spoon the sauce over. This is enough sauce to feed four. You might also try the sauce with cubed chicken - I imagine that would be good.

Hm. I just realize that fully three of my recipes here have been peanut butter based. How weird is that? I guess it must be my secret pantry weapon.