Friday, February 28, 2014

Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini from The Belle

Missy, here. Last week I shared a recipe for making turkey in the slow cooker. Today I'm sharing the recipe I used to make turkey tetrazzini with the leftovers.

One of the reasons I bought an iPad last year was because I wanted it to use while cooking since I look up recipes online so often. I soon discovered the Food Network app. It's a little slow starting, and it has its flaws. But overall, I really enjoy using it. I've kept a recipe box online for ages, and those recipes pull up on my iPad. The app even has a little slider you can move to keep track of which step you're at in your recipe.

The recipe for my leftovers was found using the app. Click here to see the recipe from The Pioneer Woman show. I didn't use the mushrooms because my daughter would have rejected it. I'm sure they would have really added a lot and look forward to making again WITH mushrooms. I also just used the cheese I had on hand. And used regular bread crumbs instead of panko.


 Let me just say this was more time consuming than I thought it would be. Still, it's worth the effort!

Turkey Tetrazzini
Adapted from Ree Drummond

1/2 stick butter
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 pound mushrooms, quartered (again, I didn't use these)
1 cup dry white wine (NOTE: I decreased this to about 1/2 cup since I had no mushrooms to absorb)
1/2 tsp. salt
ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
4 cups (1 box) chicken broth
8 oz. package cream cheese softened
3 cups leftover turkey--mine was shredded
1 bag frozen green peas
1 cup grated cheese (I used Light 4-cheese Italian)
1 cup  finely chopped kalamata olives (Ree used black, but kalamata are my fav)
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
4 slices bacon, fried and chopped
1 box thin spaghetti noodles, broken and cooked al dente
1 cup plain bread crumbs

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Whew. Now, after that huge list, take a deep breath. Maybe take a nap.

Okay, we're back. Now, some prep work. I'm going to share a tip I learned ages ago on a cooking show. I think it was from Melissa D'Arabian (Food Network Star winner). She said you can keep bacon in the freezer. When you need a slice, you just cut across one end (across all the slices), so there's no need to try to pull off one slice. Cut about 1 inch for one slice. Then toss it in the skillet to fry. I made 4 cuts for 4 slices of bacon.

Crumbled in the pan for cooking until crisp. Then drained on paper towels.

Cook the noodles according to package directions until al dente.

Chop/shred the turkey. And chop the olives.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat and add the garlic.

Add in the wine, salt and pepper (and mushrooms if using), and cook them, stirring 

occasionally, until the liquid reduces by half. This took several minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the garlic and wine and stir to combine (like making a roux).

Pour in the broth, stir and continue to cook until the sauce is thickened, several minutes.

Add the cream cheese and stir until it mixes in. It takes a bit to get smooth.

Add the turkey, peas, cheeses, olives, and bacon.

Stir until combined, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the spaghetti noodles. If the mixture is too thick, splash in some broth (I didn't need any 


Pour into a large casserole dish (sprayed with cooking spray) and spread evenly.

Sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and bake it until the  golden brown and bubbly, about 20-25 


This was DELISH! Creamy and cheesy. And would have been even better with the 

mushrooms. I may be making this again sometime when my daughter is away. Worth the 

effort on the prep work. And a great way to use leftover turkey.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fun, Delicious, Fast Breakfast, Well, Kind of!!!!!

Okay, this was a morning exercise that took too long because I wasn't exactly organized.

(Read: Ruthy wrote too long and should have started her breakfast in a cup project EARLIER!!!!)

But these were so stinkin' delicious that I have to share it with you.

Basic ingredients!!!

2 packs of refrigerator Crescent rolls
2 packages of pre-cooked breakfast sausage
8 eggs, whisked, seasoned with salt and pepper
Shredded cheese

Spray muffin pans with baking spray. This DID NOT HELP the clean-up at all, so go ahead and skip this part.  (laughing in upstate!!!)

Lay out crescent roll triangles, form and cut to kind of fit in muffin pans.

Cut up a sausage into each "muffin" cup.  Sprinkle with cheese. Add a dollop of egg mix. (A turkey baster works great for this!!!! My mini-ladle made a mess.)

Top with more cheese.

Bake in 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes. (I'm really not sure about this, and it will depend on your cupcake/muffin pan size. But when the crust is golden brown and the filling/egg is set, you're good!!!

 How beautiful are these breakfasts-in-a-hand????  And they melt-in-your-mouth with the crescent roll dough. Just wonderful and the kids loved them!

The down side?

This pan. Yuck. Even after soaking, it needed scrub-scrub-scrubbing.  But I got it done, most of it, anyway! What's a smidgen of egg or crust here or there?????


The kids loved 'em and the adults enjoyed them as much, so we have a hit on our hands!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Everything is Better in Texas, including the Espresso Kahlua Chocolate Cheesecake

Helllooooooo, Yankee Belle Cafe!
 The Fresh Pioneer is back and I've got the most delicious recipe. I think the original title is Cappuccino Cheesecake, but I didn't think that was descriptive enough. That sounded a bit like a lightly flavored coffee. NOOOO, this is some seriously STRONG cheesecake. The original blog post where I found it is over on Smitten Kitchen. I think she said one might need to take a break and jog around the block a few times while consuming a slice. This isn't for the faint of heart! 

Now, before I get started, let me just say that my Texas friend Christalee was also trying out this recipe AT THE SAME TIME. I made that all caps because I said I was going to try it, and she said she would too. All is well and good, yes? But we're homeschooling moms and juggling households and writing and kids and appointments and hungry peeps, so when we SAY we're going to do something, it doesn't always mean RIGHT THIS MINUTE, or even sometime in the next week. But oddly enough, we actually ended up making the cheese cake almost simultaneously, two thousand miles apart. 
(Here she is with her handsome husband, Greg. Aren't they adorable? This was at something called a Denim and Diamonds themed Christmas party. I'd never heard of such a thing. I had to Google. Like with a foreign language. Google translate said it had nothin' so I went ahead and asked.... The answer is basically: BLING. And more BLING. But she took off her blinged out jacket for the pic, so just use your imagination.)

Anyway, so, I think we started making cheesecake-making noises on a Monday. And then I got distracted, and then I had to go shopping, and then someone ate some of the ingredients and then I had revisions and then I made something else and... finally, I got everything together. 
And this is only some of it. 
MMMMM. Gratuitous chocolate picture.
So, starting with the crust, as all good cheesecakes do: 

1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies 

(I used graham crackers because I couldn't find any wafer cookies that came in chocolate. Apparently, Oregon is a vanilla wafer state.)
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup  dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
7 tablespoons hot melted unsalted butter

 Crush the cookies and add in the brown sugar, butter, and chocolate. I used a tiny little grinder I have and almost killed it. A food processor would be dandy. Press into the bottom of the pan and push a few inches up the sides.
Uh oh. A lego criminal is scaling the side of the cheesecake pan!
 Now, there's a thick layer of ganache at the bottom of the cheesecake. (What is ganache? Heaven. that's all you need to know.)

1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
20 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur
Melt the whipping cream and chocolate together, and add Kahlua.
Pour TWO CUPS of the ganache into the bottom of the cheesecake and let it chill for 30 minutes. (You'll need the reserve for the decorations.)
 Ok, now we're ready to assemble the filling. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Beat together the first three ingredients first, then add all the rest, one at a time, mixing well after each.

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee crystals
1 1/2 tablespoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses (all I could find was the normal stuff)
3 large eggs

 (Christalee used egg substitute and  everything worked just perfectly.)
 Here I am, holding up a spoon of cheesecake batter for Edna's approval. She said, "A few more minutes." So Thor kept a-going.
Wait, you don't remember who Thor is?
He's been working VERY hard to learn all the ins and outs of being a good mixer. Here, he's reading Edna's Sunbeam manual. See?  No bitter rivalry! Edna is the kind of mixer that will help you out when you need it.

 Here, she says the ganache is set and read for the cheesecake to be poured in!
 Mmmmmm...... Put the cheesecake on the middle rack and bake until browned at the edges, and moves just a little at the center, about one hour.
 Sour cream topping:

1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 Oooooh, looking pretty!
 Now leave it to cool for 15 minutes. Don't turn off the oven, we'll need it.
 Spread the sour cream mix on the top and pop back into the oven.
Bake until the topping is set, about 15 minutes more.
 Chill the cheesecake for about 3 hours. Now put the ganache into a piping bag or tool and decorate. Add espresso beans.
 Hm. Well, I wasn't really sure about this cheesecake. I admit I didn't wait the entire 3 hours. And the flavor was VERY strong.
Huh. Even worse. the kids were loving it, and I was thinking I'd wasted $25 on a cheesecake that tasted like a gingerbread cookie soaked in coffee.
So, I was whining to Christalee about the cheesecake. (Specifically, I said, "Don't make the cheesecake! BAD! BAD!")

But she was already started! We were living parallel lives. (Except one of us was a lot cooler because she was TEXAN. I think it makes a difference in the kitchen. It's a genetic thing. Something you pick up in the air or something. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. I bet The Tex will back me up on this.)

 Can you believe this?? This is hers. Gorgeous, tall, not sloppy and oozing. (P.S. Note her cornflower blue mixer in the background. That's Alice Leavitt (that means 'baker', of course), but you can call her Alice for short. She and Thor have been having Skype dates. Thor doesn't talk much, but I don't think Alice minds.
 Another picture of perfection.
A slice, note the specks of espresso. Funny, I think Christalee had to take this at 3AM because every other attempt was marred by photo-bombing children. Mostly fingers and spoons but I did see one whole face headed in with the mouth wide open. I don't blame them. I would have elbowed her out of the way, too.

 Shot of the inside. No oozing. No mess. THIS is what happens when you make an uber-complicated recipe and you're Texan.

To be fair, I did let it chill overnight and tried it again. It was MUCH better the next day. Still not a flavor I was crazy about, but I tend to like my cheesecakes fruity, not chocolaty. As for everyone else, they devoured it. Gone in two days. 

OK, I hope you enjoyed this transnational bake-a-thon! And many thanks to Christalee for sharing her photos (especially the Denim and Diamonds one!). 

Until next time!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Crazy, Busy Fun and Mac & Cheese

This has been a crazy week, culminating with a birthday party this past Saturday. Of course, we didn't know it was going to be crazy when we scheduled the party, but hey... Sometimes you gotta roll with the punches.

My friend, Karen, was the first to arrive, determined that I should be properly attired for the event.
This wasn't quite what I had in mind, but at least she proclaimed me fabulous. :)
I hate having my picture taken with Karen. She's so tiny. 
And looks exactly the same as she did when we first met a dozen or so years ago. Disgusting.

So in planning this event I thought, "This is my party. I can have whatever I want." Of course, as usual, I forgot to take pictures of the spread. But then, when you're wearing pink antennas on your head, one can't be expected to remember everything. So I will have to tell you what was on the menu.

Texas Style Barbecue Brisket (you can find that recipe here)
Cowboy Beans
Grown Up Mac n Cheese (recipe to follow)
Various appetizers

Ooo, that reminds me. I had to play with my cupcake corer again and made this fabulous raspberry filling. 
In a medium saucepan, I mixed together 2/3 cups of sugar, 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, 3/4 cups of water and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in a 12 oz. package of THAWED frozen raspberries and fill cupcakes.

They were absolutely divine with buttercream icing. Not too sweet, with just the right amount of tartness.

But I digress. Cupcakes will do that to you. 
However, it's this amazing macaroni and cheese I want to tell you about. 

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Tabasco sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 qt. whole milk 
  • 8 oz. Havarti cheese, grated
  • 1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 12 oz. white American cheese, grated (at least that's what the recipe calls for. I see no reason why you  couldn't use yellow American)
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, or similar, crushed
  • 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 

Cook your macaroni in boiling, salted water for 6 minutes. Reserve a 1/2 a cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and rinse under cold water and set aside.

Melt 4 Tbs. (half a stick) butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. You'll see that I used a skillet. Why? Because the font on the recipe was very tiny and I failed to break out my readers until later, so I though it said skillet.

Whisk flour, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and cayenne into the melted butter and cook, still whisking, for 1-2 minutes. 

Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce begins to boil and thicken, about 5 minutes. 

Reserve 1 cup each of the cheddar and American cheeses and set aside.

Stir the remaining American, Cheddar and the Havarti into the sauce mixture until the cheese melts.
Stir in the macaroni, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to make a creamy sauce. Personally, I didn't use any of the water. It was just fine without it. 

Salt to taste.

Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan, or whatever you like. I choose my cast iron casserole pan.

Melt the other 4 Tbs. butter in microwave. Stir in the crusted crackers and Parmesan.

Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the macaroni.

Followed by the cracker mixture.

Cover with aluminum foil (I used a lid) and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove foil/lid and continue baking until browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Now for you less-than-adventurous people, I again feel the need to say that just because there's a little hot sauce and a little cayenne, that does NOT mean this dish is spicy. Yes, it has a bit of a kick, but nothing that would make you say, "Hey, this is spicy." Not with all that cheese. It's merely flavorful. I promise.

It was a great evening, hanging with friends and family. All my kids and grandkids were in the house, along with some of my favorite people. Oh, and the dogs.

Maddie has grown quite comfortable in her new home. And she loves playing with our Golden Retriever, Dixie. You can ignore the fact that Dixie is baring her fangs. She's harmless. Maddie on the other hand...

Of course, all that play wears a puppy out.

Even sorting laundry can be very tiring.