Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Using Turkey Leftovers

For Christmas this year, we hosted dinner - it was our first experience cooking a holiday dinner as well as our first experience cooking a turkey. I like cooking to be somewhat challenging, so I wasn't content with just any old turkey (plus I don't really like turkey). It had to be an exceptional turkey! So, we made a Tyler Florence recipe... fresh sage and butter rubbed under the skin of a maple-roasted turkey shingled with smoked bacon on top and homemade sage cornbread stuffing inside. We totally misjudged the time and dinner ended up being later than planned but it turned out great. It was super moist, just the way I like it! But it was a 13.5 pound turkey served to just four adults and one toddler, so there was plenty of turkey left. After two days of leftovers, we had eaten all of the side dishes but still had quite a bit of turkey. So I decided to adapt a chicken salad recipe and make turkey salad for dinner last night. The cold, creamy salad made a nice change from eating hot turkey. (And I still had turkey left after making this, so the remaining turkey went into the freezer and I expect we'll do something like turkey club sandwiches with sometime, whenever we recover from turkey burn-out.)

Turkey Salad with Walnuts and Grapes

1/2 c. Miracle Whip
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
2 c. turkey, broken or shredded into bite-sized pieces
1 c. seedless green grapes, quartered or sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1/2 c. walnut pieces

Combine the Miracle Whip, sour cream, lemon juice, and honey in a medium mixing bowl. Add turkey, grapes, onions, celery, and walnut pieces and stir gently until mixed in. Add more Miracle Whip if needed.

Note: I used a mix of dark and light meat, but it could be made any way you prefer.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Poppy Seed Bread

My mom has been making this delicious bread for as long as I can remember. She makes it every Christmas season and it was usually part of our traditional Christmas breakfast (which also consists of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, sliced peaches from a can, and orange juice... eclectic but yummy!). Of course I have to carry on this tradition, so I've got a loaf tucked away in the freezer waiting for us to eat this Christmas morning.

Poppy Seed Bread

1 pkg. white cake mix
1 small pkg. instant coconut cream pudding
1/2 c. oil
1 c. boiling water
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. poppy seeds

Combine all ingredients and mix for about 4 minutes with an electric mixer. Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Yields two loaves.

These freeze beautifully!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Orange Juice Balls

This unique no-bake "cookie" (it's not a true cookie, but I'm not sure what else to call it) tastes delicious served right out of the freezer. Other recipes I've seen only call for refrigerating the balls, so it really just depends on your preferences. I served these at a party last week where they sat out for about 5 hours and still tasted fine, but were a bit mushy at that point.

Orange Juice Balls

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 c. melted butter
1 box (12 oz.) vanilla wafers, finely crushed
1 c. finely chopped pecans
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 c. coconut

Beat orange concentrate and butter together until well combined. Mix in vanilla wafers and pecans. Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Form dough into small balls (use approximately 1 tablespoon of dough per ball) then roll in coconut. Freeze on wax paper in an airtight container until just before serving. Yields about 7 dozen.

Time-saving Tips:
To easily crush the vanilla wafers, place about half of them into a gallon ziplock bag and use a rolling pin until finely crushed. Repeat with remaining wafers.

Use a Pampered Chef small scoop or something similar to get perfectly-sized balls. This was a lifesaver - the scoop shaped them for me into a mostly round shape and they all ended up roughly the same size.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Baking

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is the holiday baking! Growing up, we had some great recipes that became traditions that were made every year for as long as I can remember such as Sugar Cookies, Poppyseed Bread, and White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels. New traditions later would come along like English Toffee or Spiced Pecans. Now that I have my own family, I am enjoying sharing some of these same traditions with Peter and this year we will be making a few recipes from my own childhood as well as a few new ones. (It is my goal to share all of these recipes on the blog at some point this month, but we'll see if that actually happens or not!)

My baking list:
Sugar Cookies
Poppy Seed Bread
Orange Juice Balls
Oreo Truffles
Buck Eyes

Technically, some of these items probably don't count as "baking" since they aren't baked, but who cares. So far I've got the first three recipes made and will hopefully complete the last two this week. The Buck Eyes are for a cookie exchange that I'm attending next Tuesday morning so that definitely needs to be completed soon!

What are some of your favorite holiday food traditions? Please feel free to include entire recipes in your comments. I love finding new recipes!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Turkey Muffuletta

Ever had a muffuletta at a sandwich shop or other restaurant? It's a delicious, unique sandwich that is popular in New Orleans. A muffuletta is traditionally made with Italian meats like salami and ham. This recipe however uses turkey, a healthier meat choice. It tastes fabulous and is a favorite in our house.

Turkey Muffuletta

1 loaf (16 ounces) Italian bread

1/3 c. olive oil
3. Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh minced basil or 1 tsp. dried basil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

3/4 lb. sliced deli turkey
6 oz. Swiss or provolone cheese, thinly sliced
1 jar (7 oz.) roasted sweet red peppers, drained and chopped
1/4 c. pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped
1/4 c. black olives, chopped
1 large tomato, sliced
3 Tbsp. shredded Romano cheese
1 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Optional: chopped red onion

Cut bread in half lengthwise; carefully hollow out top and bottom, leaving a 1-inch shell (discard removed bread or save).* In a small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, basil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Brush over cut sides of bread. Combine chopped red peppers, green olives, and black olives. If using red onion (it adds some nice color and flavor), combine with the peppers and olive as well. In the bottom bread shell, layer turkey, cheese, pepper-olive mixture, and tomato. Sprinkle with Romano cheese, oregano, and black pepper. Replace bread top. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Healthy tip: for a low-carb version, try omitting the bread and cutting the turkey and cheese in bite-sized pieces. Toss all filling ingredients with a green salad topped with the dressing. I haven't actually tried this (we love bread), but it can't be bad!

*A good use for the saved bread is homemade bread crumbs. The bread can be reduced to crumbs in a food processor and then toasted in a toaster oven or in the oven on a baking sheet at low heat. Whenever I've done this, I use the crumbs within a few days so I'm not sure how long these would last stored in a container (not having the preservatives that store-bought bread crumbs have). It would probably be best to freeze the bread or bread crumbs if they won't be used within a few days.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home December/January 2008 issue.