Making a Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Mac and Cheese 

We’ve all done it.  Opened the door, peered in, shut it again.  Left to wonder what exactly is in that freezer.  Despite best laid plans it’s easy to lose the plot.  Our freezer is nearly 6 feet tall so it’s really not a good idea to lose the plot!  It got to the point where we couldn’t fit anything in and I was wondering how much money we were wasting by not using what we had.  

Off I went to get clear containers to organise the meats, leaving the baskets for all our fruits and veg we had harvested.  I did have to get rid of some things but overall getting it organised and knowing what the heck was in there was a success.  

One of my finds was a vacuumed bag of leftover Thanksgiving turkey.  So this post is either well overdue or too early for Thanksgiving.  😄.  Even though we seem to be stuck back in with the sticky heat of summer we did enjoy autumn weather for a few weeks.  It was wonderful and perfect for some comfort food.  Mac and cheese would do the trick.


Would you believe this onion was supposed to be a scallion?  We planted half a raised bed of bunching onions so you imagine our surprise to find proper onions growing.

While making the cheese sauce for this dish, cook up the pasta.  Preheat the oven to 375F/200C. In a separate saucepan heat up a couple of tablespoons of butter.   Coarsely chop half of a large onion and add it to the butter.


Sauté on low until the onions soften.  Then add a couple of cloves of garlic, finely chopped.  Cook for a couple of minutes then add about a cup and a half of chopped turkey.  Season with a couple of teaspoons of fresh thyme and sage.  If you don’t have fresh sage use about a teaspoon of ground sage.  Continue to season with sea salt and pepper.  Then add a half cup/4oz of dry white wine.


To make it a roux add 2 tablespoons of flour.


Stir continuously until the flour is incorporated and cooked, about three minutes.


Next add 1 1/4 cup of milk and heat through.  Don’t boil!  Once the cheese is warm enough to melt cheese add a cup of grated cheddar and half a cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Stir until the cheese has melted,


Put the cooked pasta into a baking dish and add the cheese sauce.  Mix well. Top with more grated cheese.


Cover and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and brown the top of the dish.


Serve while hot.  Now we try to eat small portions in our house but with this dish we all had seconds and there weren’t any leftovers!  Guess we needed a break from salads.  😊

Advertisements

BBQ Burgers and Family Time

Every summer there is nearly a month when the kids are gone.  A bit hard on the parents but it means the kids are off on adventures.  They do a two week overnight camp and then we usually get them for a couple of days then they are off to Florida to see grandparents with their mother and stepfather.

While we get a break from the usual back and forth of getting the kids round we miss them like crazy.  We picked them up from camp Friday evening and they had so many stories to tell.  It was non stop and it was fabulous.  But they were looking forward to home cooked food.

Our daughter must have missed the kitchen as she made breakfast each morning this weekend and baked cookies.  Yesterday morning she kicked us out and set the table with flowers and candles.  She really loves going all out.

When we picked them up they mentioned they were sick of cheeseburgers.  Shoot, as that was what I was making for last night!  Our daughter said oh we love your burgers so that’s ok.  Phew!

It was time for something different so I thought I would make BBQ burgers.  Our poblanos are coming in and I wanted to use them.  Our garden has been a struggle this year but our peppers are doing us proud.  I see a lot of hot pepper jelly in our future.  Unfortunately we’ve used up all our Peach BBQ sauce I had made so I had to use, gasp, store bought.  Peaches are showing up in the shops now so it is on my list to make another batch.

BBQ Burgers 1 2015

I had a pound of ground beef which is more than enough for the four of us.  The only issue is it’s impossible to find decent buns that aren’t enormous.  So the buns tend to dwarf the burger.  I think a quarter pound of meat is more than enough but I think I’m in the minority in this country.  My husband and I went without the bun.  In a bowl add the meat.  Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic and add that with a few teaspoons of fresh thyme.  I didn’t have enough cheddar to do slices on top but I did have enough to grate for the actual burger.  The amount I added was about a quarter of the meat in volume.  Then add a few tablespoons of BBQ.  Mix well and form into patties.  Set aside.  Cook up several rashers of streaky bacon and set that aside as well.

BBQ Burgers 3 2015

My husband brought home some fresh corn yesterday.  So exciting!  I love having them grilled.  Very easy to do, just soak for about 20 minutes in water.  Then grill for 5 minutes on each side until cooked through.  When these were halfway cooked I added the burgers.

BBQ Burgers 2 2015

Once you flip them add sliced onion that have been prepped with olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.  Add the poblanos after deseeding them.  You want the peppers to blister a little but don’t go crazy.  You want to grill the onions so they have the grill marks but aren’t burnt. When the burgers are almost done add slices of cheddar or jarlsberg to the burgers to melt.

BBQ Burgers 4 2015

Layer with BBQ sauce, bacon, onion, and pepper.  Butter up that corn and enjoy!  My husband did up some sweet potato and regular potato chips (fries) to round out the meal.  I was stuffed.  I think a bun would have sent me over the edge.  I didn’t even have room for ice cream!

Chorizo Risotto and the Strange Priorities

I don’t like cheats.  I think those that cheat should face consequences.  But when the consequences are out of whack compared to other offences I have a problem with it.

A news story that lit up the internet this week had to do with the NFL and the Pats.  In a game at the beginning of the year there were some deflated balls.  The NFL couldn’t, to their satisfaction, get the quarterback to talk about it even though he wasn’t the one who deflated the balls.  So they suspended him for four games and took away the team’s first round draft pick.  People went nuts!  The reason?  In the past few years the NFL has been grossly underwhelming with their punishments over things like rape, domestic violence, etc.  But a ball is deflated and all hell breaks loose.

And that saddens me no end.  I keep hoping the world will move in the direction that my daughter doesn’t have to worry about these issues.  I do hope the increasing outrage over these priorities will usher in a world, eventually, that doesn’t consider women and girls as second class citizens and a woman being punched so hard she is knocked out and dragged out of the lift will prompt a more swift and complete investigation than the one that happened for balls deflated.

In the meantime we just keep moving along.

This week I had some chorizo from the co-op.  I actually like chorizo very much but I made the mistake of getting the ones they make at the co-op.  I keep trying but they are either dry or mealy.  I think I need another source!  Shame really.

This is for two so double it for a family of four.

As always do the prep before you start cooking for this dish.  I chopped up half a cup of onion, a few cloves of garlic, and a few mushrooms.  Grate about 3/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese and prepare two cups of vegetable bouillon.  Make sure it is hot before you cook.

Chorizo risotto 1 2015

Heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil and saute the onions until they are softened.  Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes.  While this is started begin to grill the sausages.  Don’t worry about cooking them all the way through as they will be finished off in the risotto but you do want to get a sear on the sausages.

Chirozo risotto 3 2015

After the garlic and mushrooms have cooked for a couple of minutes add 1/2 cup of arborio rice to the skillet.  Stir for a minute or so then add 1/2 a cup of a dark ale.  I used our Irish Red for this.

Chirozo risotto 2 2015

Bring to a simmer and add 1/2 cup of the broth at a time allowing it to absorb before adding more.  When it is halfway cooked slice the sausage and add it to the skillet.  For this dish I added some frozen corn for a pop of colour.

Chirozo risotto 4 2015

When the last bit of the bouillon is added add the cheese to melt in.

Chirozo risotto 5 2015Once the risotto is al dente it is ready to serve.

Chirozo risotto 6 2015Grate cheddar cheese over the dish and serve.  It’s a shame the sausages weren’t up to snuff as the rest of it was quite enjoyable with the cheddar and ale.  I’ll have to try again with different brands.

Cheddar Cheeseburger and Grilled Onions

We have a small farmer’s market here in town.  It’s basically fruit and veg with a bit of meat thrown in here and there.  We are getting to the time of year where there is more variety though this growing year has been tough.  Too much extremes with heat and rain so the farmer’s have been struggling to grow enough to sell.  The thing I like about some of the farmers is that if you have any questions on how to grow your own food they don’t hesitate to tell you their methods. It’s wonderful.  And as they mostly follow organic practices it fits right in with our garden.  Turns out we’ve been doing garlic all wrong!  So this fall we’ll be doing it right.  🙂  Apparently we weren’t nearly patient enough!

I found some wonderful fresh garlic and sweet onions that I thought would make for a lovely cheeseburger.  I’m loving our co-op for local organic meats so we had some ground beef on hand.  I know, I should really grind the meat myself.  I’ll get to that at some point!

To start I minced a few cloves of the garlic and mixed it in with the meat with salt and pepper and some Worcestershire sauce.

Cheddar cheeseburger 1 2013

Then I grated some Irish cheddar.  I didn’t really measure anything, just eyeballed it.  I then mixed in the cheese.  Of course, given the nature of the cheese it clumped up so I had to “shred” it a bit with my hands.  It’s important to mix well but not to overwork the meat.

Cheddar cheeseburger 2 2013

I formed them into patties and set aside while I prepped the onions.

Cheddar cheeseburger 3 2013

These were small onions but I sliced them about 1/4″ thick, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and drizzled with olive oil.

Cheddar cheeseburger 4 2013

Then I kept my fingers crossed as the last time I attempted to use the grill it would barely get warm.  Have no idea why though we speculated it may have been to humid.  Whatever the reason, it worked.  Yay!  The way I do our burgers is I put them on the grill for a few minutes to brown then flip again and cook for several minutes.  I do one last flip and melt the cheese on it to finish off.  Never press the burgers as you don’t want the juices disappearing.

Cheddar cheeseburger 5 2013

Halfway through cooking the burgers I start grilling the onions.  Just until they have a bit of charring and they have softened.

Cheddar cheeseburger 6 2013

I was talking with my doctor this week saying how it is harder to lose weight now that I’ve joined the 40’s.  I don’t have a lot to lose but it’s annoying that I’m eating less and exercising more and the scale just likes to stick to a certain number.  Granted I’m gaining muscle but it should be shifting!  She mentioned that there has been research into the method of eating your carbs in the morning and scaling back by evening.  Because you need some carbs for fuel.  Though potatoes are wonderful if you keep the skin on.  Actually helps fight fat.  Anyway, I opted to have my burger sans bun.  We served them with a lovely salad and it was just the right amount to eat.  Though I didn’t have room for our gooseberry apple crumble.  Which is a shame.

Cheddar cheeseburger 7 2013

Overall it was a juicy yummy burger and a very good balance with the salad!

Roasted Jalapeno Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Last week I was stumped about what to do for dinner.  I didn’t want to do anything complicated nor did I want to do the same old thing.  It was like I had writer’s cramp.  I searched through my pins on Pinterest and finally inspiration struck.  Grilled cheese!  I made 3 kinds.  A Jarlsberg with bacon for the kids, another for me which I’ll post about, and then this recipe for my husband.  All were served with salad.

The recipe I took inspiration from was a Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese.  Of course I changed it and this is what I made:

First I needed to roast the jalapenos.  I sliced two and took the seeds out.

Roasted jalapeno grilled cheese 1 2013

I placed them under the broiler until they blackened.

roasted jalapeno grilled cheese 3 2013

One tip from the recipe I found was to place them into a plastic bag to steam while cooling.

roasted jalapeno grilled cheese 4 2013

In the meantime I cooked up some bacon for the sandwiches.

roasted jalapeno grilled cheese 2 2013

When the peppers cooled it said to pinch the skins and lift off.  Right.  Not so much.  So either I didn’t broil them enough or whoever came up with this tip has been very lucky thus far.  🙂  I had to spend a few minutes peeling the skin off.  It was a bit messy.  I also used a good aged cheddar instead of goat cheese as my husband isn’t much of a fan.  He’ll eat it but I know he likes cheddar better.  Place the jalapeno peppers over the cheese.

roasted jalapeno grilled cheese 6 2013

Top with bacon.

roasted jalapeno grilled cheese 7 2013

Make sure the outsides of the bread are buttered then grill them in the skillet.  We have a hand held cast iron griddle press that we heat up and put on the top of the sandwich to heat both sides.  Turn halfway through cooking.  Remove from the heat and cut in half.

roasted jalapeno grilled cheese 8 2013

It’s a bit of a roll of the dice on how much heat you get with this sandwich.   I had to store buy the peppers given it’s winter so they didn’t seem to have the heat.  I have a feeling if we used fresh grown ones they would have held up to the cheddar a lot better.  But my husband enjoyed the sandwich so I will make this again for him.

 

Lovely Cheesy Pinwheels

Stephane seems to be a bit of an inspiration this week with fellow bloggers as I also am blogging about something he posted.  On Monday I came across his mini appetizers as I was planning my dinner.  I wanted something to go with the mushroom soup I was making.  As I had different ingredients in my pantry than what was in Stephane’s recipe I came up with these cheesy pinwheels.  It was perfect for using up the last bit of puff pastry I had in the freezer.

cheese pinwheels 1 2013

I grated some Jarlsberg, Cheddar, and Parmesan Cheese.  You want enough to cover the puff pastry once it is rolled out.

cheese pinwheel 2 2013

Roll the pastry firmly all the way lengthwise.  If you have time chill in the fridge to make it easier to slice.  If you don’t have time then just use a sharp knife and nice even cuts.

cheese pinwheels 3 2013

Have the pinwheels about 1/2 inch to an inch thick.  Place evenly on a cookie sheet and pop into the oven at 400F for about 15 minutes.

cheese pinwheels 4 2013

Once they are golden brown they are ready to serve.  You can make these ahead of time but they are so quick to make that they are great right out of the oven.

Colcannon

I’m not a fan of cooked kale by itself. I normally have to hide it in something like I do with my chili. A few weeks ago my mum made colcannon and we all loved it so I asked for the recipe as we have an abundance of kale to eat.  This is my version of her version of colcannon.  As I have said before we aren’t very good at following recipes exactly!  🙂

I start the potatoes for the mash at the beginning.

In an oven safe skillet I pour olive oil to cover the bottom.

I then chop up celery, onion, and garlic to saute in the olive oil.  The celery in our garden seems to be more leaf than stem this year but the flavour is still really good.

Saute for a few minutes.  In the meantime, boil some water to make 2 cups of broth.  I use the veg broth that we have.  Pour into the skillet and simmer. Add a bit of mustard, we used stone ground mustard to taste. Add the kale.

Simmer until the kale cooks down.

For the mash I add salt and pepper, butter, and milk.  Spread it over the kale mixture and top with cheddar cheese.  We used Kerry Gold that says it is from Ireland.  Wonder if it is actually sold in Ireland.  Either way it is tasty.

Pop the skillet under the broiler until it is a melty lovely golden colour.

We cooked up some Irish bangers to go on the side.  I have to say both went really well with the HP brown sauce.  🙂

This took about 30-40 minutes total to put together.  It’s a great meal for autumn and the kids love it.  Though when I mentioned we were having kale for dinner to my daughter’s friends they decided to eat at home.  Their loss!