Le Turkey Trot

Yeah, it’s Saturday.

That leftover turkey that we didn’t eat on Friday because we had enough on Thursday and didn’t want to look at it again, was looking right at me when I opened up the fridge looking for lunch.

What to do with it?

No, I didn’t  want to head back to the store. Not for the nth time this week.

So I rummaged around to find a few things to riff with…let’s see…

Mashed potatoes & ricotta with shaved parmesan an egg, salt and flour make a lovely gnocchi dough. Dumplings would be lovely on a grey day like today.

In the past, I have looked up a zillion recipes, but in the end I wind up estimating because I rarely plan to make it, I just make it with what I have. Today, I used

  • about 16 oz of ricotta
  • an egg
  • a cup and a half of AP flour
  • 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes
  • teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

I mixed it up in a bowl. It’s a sticky, wet dough. I decided not to get fussy. I just wanted to eat, not win a pasta making contest. So I rolled it out onto a tray that I had covered in a dusting of flour.

From there, I created ropes with my hands and then and cut off little pillow shapes approximately the same size and shape.  To cook them, I added them to a big pot of boiling, salted water and waited for them to float. That was all there was to it.

When they were all cooked I added them to a dish that I could put into the oven.



Even dogs sleep after turkey.

I took my leftover turkey and shredded it by hand, adding it to the dish and giving Ozzie (the very patient dog, sitting at my feet, staring up at me, intently with those beautiful brown eyes) what I didn’t want to put in the casserole. Rummaging further in the freezer, I found a 1/2 a bag of frozen peas — so I threw that in. I was looking for the classic Turkey Tettrazini cheat — Cream of Mushroom Soup — but we don’t have that in the house. However, I did find — way in the back —  a can of some Broccoli Cheese soup that I must have purchased for some recipe and never used. Carpe diem?!

I poured that into the pot right over the dumplings and shredded turkey and peas and added a little left over cream (from the mashed potatoes earlier in the week.) Popped it into the oven at 400 degrees while I cleaned up the dishes. It took about a half  hour to get all hot and bubbly.  It came out smelling divine. I shredded a little bit of fresh parma on top and served it for lunch.

The verdict? My son, who loves to eat around the vegetables even at 15 — ate the whole thing. Almost licked the bowl! My daughter, the vegetarian — ate some unadorned gnocchi/dumplings that I left on the side with a little vegan butter and shredded parm.

Not bad for a Saturday leftover riff, eh?

What’s in your fridge?


I’m calling it the “Turkey Trot” but you can call it delicious. 


What do you do with Tumeric? Carrot/ginger/tumeric soup!

So, we were having one of those conversations. He was looking at our spice rack twirling bottles around looking for the garlic I think, and he came across the bright orangey-yellow bottle. “TUMERIC?” he asked. “What do you use this for?” I bought the turmeric, a yellow spice used in Indian cuisines – to make a curry dish.  (Did you know you that curry is just a blanket name for a mixture of spices? You can make your own, adjusting it to your taste. Read this.)

Tumeric is a root that grows in southeast Asia. It looks kind of like ginger (and is actually in the ginger family) but it has brightly colored flesh. I have not seen it in our local Wegmans in root form, but it is easily available in a jar in the spice section — dried and ground into a powder.

Well, the bottle just sat there, barely used — until one day, I had the best breakfast one morning at our local vegan restaurant Strong Hearts. Their “scrambled eggs” are actually tofu scrambled with turmeric, onion, and peppers. Really delicious. For a week, I ate scrambled tofu 3 or 4 times!

And here it is, that time of our lives where rebooting, rethinking, reworking is what it’s all about. And, since chronic inflammation in the body is the root cause of so many of our aches and pains, I’ve been following the advice of Dr. Weil and adding more anti-inflammatory spices to our diet. We’re all going to grow old, might as well feel as good as you can as long as you are able, right?

Anywho, when my DH asked what I used it for, I told him about the fake eggs and the curry and also how good it is for fighting inflammation.  He reminded me to pick up more fresh ginger (as we like to drink carrot/ginger juice.)  That got me thinking that I should make something with carrot, turmeric and ginger in it. A quick search on the internet of those three ingredients brought me to this incredibly simple, really tasty recipe.

From thought to eating it took me about 45 minutes to reach a state of pure satisfaction! Since this was the first time I made it and I had all the ingredients — I decided to keep on the straight and narrow — AND FOLLOW THE RECIPE EXACTLY. (Gasp!)  Here it is — you must try it!

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad (with bacon!)

Does this look amazing or what?

I’ve “massaged” my kale (with avocado and salt — yummy!) — I’ve steamed it in chicken broth and dressed it with garlic — but I’ve never seen a salad with raw Brussels sprouts and kale shaved and combined. This I have to try.  I’ll bet you could use any dressing that suits your mood. By the way, I always learned that you called these petite cabbages “brussel sprouts” — but according to The Grammarist — it’s actually correct to call them Brussels sprouts.  I guess you learn something new every day.

Shaved kale & brussel sprouts in a salad!

Here’s the original recipe.  Can’t wait to try it!

Summer Eggplant Risotto

20140608-142105-51665329.jpgI poked around in the fridge for inspiration. Leftovers can always save time when you are hungry!

The other night, I diced an eggplant and sautéed it with some garlic, roughly chopped sweet onions, and a can of Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes. (They are my favorite!) I served that over pasta — but the kids didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I did. I had about a cup and a half of that mixture left over and since it had sat for 2 days in the fridge, the flavors had intensified.

Over in the pantry was a bag of arborio rice (Italian short grain rice) and a container of chicken broth.  Why not put my leftovers into a risotto?  Certainly, people make risotto with eggplant all the time!

So, here’s what I did.

I took two tablespoons +/- olive oil and poured it into my big skillet set at medium high.

1 1/2 cups of arborio rice went right in the pan to toast up before cooking. (Browning the rice a bit gives your dish a nuttier taste.)

After about 5 minutes of “frying’ the rice I added about 1 cup of chicken broth and stirred it while it cooked. I lowered the heat to medium and over the next 20 minutes or so, I continued to add more broth (I used 32oz – 4 cups total) slowly, stirring as the rice absorbed the liquid. What you’re looking for is a creamy consistency — not the dry, white rice that you get in a Chinese restaurant! Keep in mind that risotto is supposed to be cooked “al dente” — which means that it is a little firm and chewy even though it is a very starchy, rice dish.

I added my left over eggplant/garlic/onion/tomato mixture right into the pan. Then I shaved parmesan cheese right into the rice, a few pinches of salt, and I stirred it together. All in all, it took about 25 minutes from the time I started until I was ready to eat. Not bad, eh? It was as good as it looks. And I have some left over — tomorrow, I can just add a little broth and zap it in the microwave.

Next time I make this, I want to add fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella right at the end.