A whole lotta turkey
After taking a quick look back at all my facebook status entries since I joined a few weeks ago, I am amused that so many have to do with food. But really, as a mother who is at home with little people, a large part of my life involves food. Learning about food, trying not to eat unhealthy food (like the peanut M&M’s on my desk here), menu planning, grocery shopping, teaching about food/cooking to whoever wants to help, providing nourishing choices for our household to eat, snack breaks, sitting for meals…you get the idea. A tremendous part of the day is related to food. So I suppose it is not too strange that I blog or talk about it often.
I am not sure how it happened but I feel like I’ve turned into a ‘hippie’ in so many ways. I used to think it so strange that people ate anything but cereal for breakfast every day, that there were wives who actually cooked real dinner every night of the week, that it was possible to ‘plan’ meals for weeks at a time, that people actually used freshly ground flour, that people could make anything tasty that had whole wheat in it, that using fresh garlic really tasted better than garlic powder-but now, I understand those and many other strange things and realize although I did not inherit a cooking ‘gene’ as my mother informed me more than once, it is possible to immensely enjoy whole foods, cooking, recipes and (duh!) eating too.
Since some of my favorite posts to read are about people’s tips, shortcuts and food ideas, here are a few I thought I’d share today. I thawed a turkey last weekend to cook up (but it took longer than I expected so we had to serve pizza to our guests which was LAME compared to a full Thanksgiving dinner like I’d planned). In case you too have a gigantic turkey hiding in your freezer that your neighbor gave you when you already had 3 from the holidays, here’s what my 20 pound turkey provided:
1 turkey dinner Sunday night (with potatoes, gravy and salad)
1 enormous batch of turkey brown rice veggie soup (enormous as in two dinners worth frozen in my freezer and dinner for my neighbors on both sides)
1 large batch of creamed lentil, pea, turkey and veggie soup (tonight’s dinner along with enough to freeze for another meal)
6 cups (individually frozen in 1 cup bags) of chopped turkey meat for random use in casseroles or salads
I figure that is roughly about 8 dinners. That’s a pretty good return and pretty healthy too. My last turkey made a big turkey dinner and then 4 trays of turkey tetrazini for the freezer. Not so healthy but nice to have. I’m personally sick of tetrazini. Everytime I get to have a night off and need to leave dinner for Christopher and the kids, they get a tetrazini. They all dig it, so it works out all right.
So here are a few ‘recipes’ if you could call them that, to share, and one important note. Instead of using canned broth which I cannot stand and besides it’s expensive, I always, always use “Better than Boullion“. It is like concentrated paste and stays in the fridge for a long while. It does not have extra yuckies like boullion often does such as MSG. And 1 tsp mixed with 1 cup boiling water makes a cup of great broth. Obviously not like homemade but my much prefered second choice.
Also, so that my kids cannot pick them out, I personally mince quite small veggies that go in soups. This works best for my kids, you could surely do them bigger.
Creamed Veggie Soup (with turkey) – all this is is Bob’s Red Mill’s package of dried lentils, peas, barley and pasta.
I cooked a heaping cup of the legume/grain mix with several cups broth, a finely minced onion, 4 large carrots, a zuchinni, a red bell pepper and a few celery sticks (I put these all in the food processor together till they were tiny).
After it was all soft (about 40 minutes) I pureed it in my blender. I then added a few cups of shredded, diced leftover turkey and a cup of milk to make it creamy-that was optional of course. Heat it back up in the pot then serve.
Even my picky 3 year old ate his whole bowl. This is shocking.
Turkey Brown Rice Soup –
After dinner tonight, in my (favorite, heavy, seasoned, still-dirty-from-the-previous-soup) large cast iron dutch oven that Kim just gave me, I tossed in:
a bit of olive oil
a huge pile of finely food processed veggies (same ones as above)
8-10 cups of broth as described above the first recipe
4-5 cups of chopped turkey
a cup of brown rice and another heaping cup of a grain mixture (Israeli couscous, orzo and red quinoa)
I put on the lid, went for a half an hour walk, came back and remembered the leftover gravy in the fridge, tossed that in too then 15 minutes later added a few grinds of fresh pepper and a tad bit of salt and turned off the stove.
This made about 4 or 5 dinner’s worth of soup. My pot was all the way full. And the kids had some for snack after our walk.
I didn’t do this tonight but last turkey I did, everyone loves it but me. I’ve had it too much. And it’s not super healthy. It’s adapted from my friend Deb’s recipe.
Cook 10 oz of whole wheat spaghetti noodles, drain.
While they are cooking chop and saute one onion in a bit of butter.
In a big bowl, toss in the noddles, the onion, a few cups of chopped turkey leftover, a good pinch of fresh rosemary (or other favorite herb), 2 cans cream of chicken (or celery) soup, 1 soup can full of milk, 3-4 cups of shredded monterey jack or mozzarella or parmesan cheese, a cup or so of frozen peas and/or a 1/2 cup cooked chopped broccoli.
Stir it all up. Pour it in a 9×13 dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Till it’s all bubbly and hot.
This freezes awesome, I often make it triple or quadrupled.
I realize we aren’t really in turkey eating season, but thought I’d share anyway. Happy cooking!
Very nice!! Too bad I seriously did not inherit the cooking gene either and can’t cook to save my life!! Maybe you can give me some lessons when I move home 🙂
Oh my thanks for the great ideas!! Can’t wait to try adding all that grain to the soups. I too did not inherit a cooking gene as my family teases my mom that she can’t cook (although she came up with mostly good dinners every night while I was growing up). Its so nice to get some fresh ideas – THANKS! (Glad you had a posting – I needed a tableforsix fix – hey that is about food too!! 🙂
Thanks for all the great recipes and for the suggestion of the stock. I will get some soon. I cant wait to try these out!
Awesome ideas! I have two extra turkey’s in my freezer right now, that I have had no idea what to do with them! I know what we are eating all of next week!!
You are the coolest! Congrats on your many, many meals! Is the pot working for you now? Are you getting the hang of it? Cast iron took me a while to figure out….