Turkey and White Bean Soup

I love Christmas, the atmosphere, music, lights and the food. But what I don’t like is when other areas of my life, not holiday related, seem to go crazy. I want to just spend every day listening to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, go shopping and make Christmas cookies. But sadly adult responsibility dictates the activities of the day. Because of this chaos dinner is often an even bigger struggle. During the year most weeks I have meal plans and keep fairly organized around meal times but this month everything related to organization seems to go out the window and I am often left wondering what to make. Thankfully this disorganization happens during such cold months when cold bones crave warm soup. Soup is one of those things that is simple to just throw together and often times you don’t even need a recipe. This soup was the result of the throwing of ingredients together from leftover ingredients and hoping that it would turn out and the result hit the spot with us. I chose to make it rather spicy because after walking home in freezing weather I knew my husband could use the extra warmth. I might not enjoy the busy days but sitting at home with a warm bowl of this after the crazy day some how makes it all worth it.

Turkey and White Bean Soup

1 or 2 chiles depending on how hot you want it
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp oil
236mL (1 c.) salsa verde
1 tin of drained and rinsed cannellini beans
340g (2 c.) diced cooked turkey
473mL (2 c.) turkey stock*
handful of chopped coriander
*Can substitute chicken stock

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Holiday Leftover Ideas

After a long week of indulging in Holiday food does every one feel the food coma coming on? Or is it just me? We had our Thanksgiving celebration on Sunday since Thursday wasn’t a holiday for us and it was fantastic. But as usual I have been left with tons of leftover turkey. Half of the turkey has already been divided out as lunch meat and the rest I have been having fun cooking up different recipe ideas for more blog inspiration. Today I wanted to share a few ideas for you to use up some of your leftovers. Some of them are inspirations from my kitchen and others have been inspiration I have taken from some of my blogger friends. Remember a wasted bit of leftovers is wasted money so finding ways to use up each of your ingredients is a great way to make sure you don’t over spend this Holiday season.

Turkey and Stuffing Pasty Healthier Turkey Tetrazzini
Chicken and Stuffing Casserole Turkey Risotto
Hawaiian BBQ Turkey Pizza
Cranberry Sauce Crumb Bars Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Using the Turkey Carcass to Make Stock

I am all about finding ways to save money so utilizing every part of a meal is important to me. Which is why this confession is a bit embarrassing. I have never before boiled up the turkey carcass to make stock. That is until now. Now that I think about it all these years has been such a waste throwing it away and the broth can be used to make a wonderful soup for the cold winter days or used in any recipe calling for stock. I am going to be using some of mine in a risotto tonight. To give it a gorgeous golden colour you need to use onions that still have the skins on them. I didn’t do that this time because in the spirit of using up leftovers I had 6 onions that needed to be used that had been sliced for my attempt to make my own fried onions for my green bean casserole. Needless to say with all the work that needed to be done for my meal I decided this was a bit of an ambitious thing to try to do. So the colour of my stock wasn’t what I would have liked but the flavour was nice and strong and I am looking forward to the dishes and soup I am going to create with it.

What is your favourite soup that you would make with this gorgeous stock?

Turkey Stock

1 turkey carcass
4 Lt. (16 c.) cold water
2 large carrots, chopped
2 onions, quartered (do NOT peel)
1 Tbsp crushed peppercorn
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp garlic powder

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Turkey and Stuffing Pasty #SundaySupper

When we started making our move to the UK I have to confess I thought we wouldn’t be celebrating things like Thanksgiving any more. It isn’t a holiday here so I guess I just assumed we would let it slip by. But I was so happy to be embraced by a loving family here who were more then excited to include an American holiday into their lives. It has remind me what the true meaning of Thanksgiving is. A time to be thankful for what we have been blessed with in our lives. And I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am that I have married into the Hunter family. It isn’t often that you can say that you are best friends with your mother-in-law.

This Sunday Supper we are inspiring you with amazing ideas of what to do with Holiday leftovers. So in celebration of the merging of this American holiday with my British family I wanted to make a dish that resembled this merger by making a Thanksgiving pasty.

This pasty (a traditional English hand held pie,) is such a perfect blend of holiday food but in a different form to my usual sandwiches. And it was so simple to put together since I used pre-made pastry. I hope you give it a try this year. And don’t forget to take a moment out of the usual madness of the holiday and focus on the people (or pets) that bless your life. Even during the hardest times in our lives if we stop to think about it we can find things we are thankful for. So this year I want to say publicly that I am so thankful for my UK family. Thank you for making my move to another country, away from my family, one that has been filled with so much joy.

Turkey and Stuffing Pasty

500g pack shortcrust pastry
200g (1 c.) cold, cooked leftover turkey, chopped
236g (1 c.) cold, leftover stuffing
59mL (1/4 c.) gravy
2 tbsp cranberry sauce
1 free-range egg, beaten to glaze

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Leftover Stuffing Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

So there is only one last ingredient, leftover from my holidays and that is my cornbread stuffing. I use to really struggle with ideas about what to do with my leftover stuffing, until two years ago when on a whim I decided to use it instead of pastry on a meat pie, the result was amazing. Now I am sure I am not the first person to come up with this idea but up until that point I had never thought about it. But ever since then I have had a lot of fun using up stuffing, so much so that I actually make too much on purpose just so I can have the leftovers. I have used it in replacement to breadcrumbs in dishes like a Chicken Bake and have come up with a new casserole dish every year.

It is interesting to me, that something as ordinary as leftovers can become such a fun traditional challenge. It’s amazing to see how much I have grown in my cooking skills since the first time I started to push myself to be more adventurous. I use to be very dependent on recipes, if I couldn’t find a recipe on how to do it I would have never even thought to give it a try. But as the years go by I have found my confidence at just throwing ingredients together has greatly improved. To be honest I think that cooking is a lot more to do with confidence then it is to do with skill. Once you have the confidence to give it a try all it takes is practice and you will find that each time it gets better and better. I have found that these days 90% of my experiment dishes turn out as a success, while only 2 years ago that figure would have probably been around 50%. Yes sometimes you have an odd meal that isn’t your best but think of it this way, the more you experiment the better you will get. And more experimenting means a wider variety of dishes coming out of your kitchen and that is the best way I have found to stop the family from wanting to eat out. When your cooking is better and has more variety then a restaurant does it will mean that it can get harder to convince people to want to eat out, it isn’t an impossible dream for your cooking abilities. The other day I finally convinced my husband that I was tired and didn’t want to cook so we went out, and after his first bite he grumpily said, ‘You could make this better and it would have cost less’. Oh well!

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