Turkey Noodle Soup

In an attempt to cure my cold, I whipped up a batch of turkey soup from the Christmas turkey carcass. Going home with the leftover turkey makes Christmas dinner last that much longer.  Having it in soup form just makes it that much more awesome.

I love making soup stock.  I love throwing in all the vegetables together with the carcass and a few spices and then waiting for it to marry and become soup magic.

I diced onion, celery, carrot and garlic. I sauteed them in a little olive oil, added the turkey carcass, peppercorns and a bay leaf. I then filled up my big soup pot with water until the carcass was just covered. When the water started to boil, I turned the heat down to a simmer and left it on the stove for three hours.

During that time, we bundled up ourselves and our sweet girl and took her for a ride in her new sled.

She screamed the entire time we were outside. She did not want to be in her snowsuit, she did not want to wear the penguin hat and she did not want to be in the sled! But Todd and I enjoyed ourselves for the brief period we were outside.  So that counts for something.

And when we got home, our apartment smelled amazing (well Todd said it smelled good. I still couldn’t smell anything. Boo)

When the stock was done, I strained it and added a new batch of carrots, onion and celery, some cooked macaroni and turkey.

It was delicious!

But then we forgot the pot on the stove over night.

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Christmas Feast

I have been patiently waiting for Christmas to come, not because of presents but because of my mother-in-law’s cooking. She is a wonderful cook. And her stuffing is the best stuffing I have ever had.

Seriously. It’s amazing.

I tried to make it once and it was severely lacking. My husband pretended he liked my version because he’s nice like that, but I knew the truth. No one makes turkey stuffing like my mother-in-law. No one. And this year did not dissapoint!

BUT…. I came down with a sinus infection Christmas Eve and couldn’t taste anything. It was very tragic. Especially since I loaded my plate up with turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, pickles, and salad and couldn’t taste  any of it.  And to add insult to injury, I was most excited to try the roasted beet and carrot salad she had made for the first time.  It looked beautiful. A festive jewel toned dish with bright reds, purples and orange.

Im sure it was delicious.

 


Cinnamon Bread Pudding, Please!

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“Eat Street” has ruined food for me. I watch that show and I salivate as they parade through all these cities eating wonderful food and I’m stuck at home eating pepperoni sticks and drinking Boost. The problem with Eat Street and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is that they showcase food that I CAN’T have.

Because I don’t live in Chicago or Portland or San Francisco .
(yes, Calgary has food trucks which are pretty fantastic and which I have enjoyed from time to time. But that’s not the point).

And so when Eat St. was going on and on about bread pudding, I just had to have some. And since I don’t bake I had to call upon my friend Kristine to recreate the gooey, cinnamony, bread pudding.

Kristine found this recipe. She used cinnamon bread from Cobb’s bakery decreased the amount of ground cinnamon that the recipe called for, added a little nutmeg and omitted the raisins.

This was an amazing dessert. Moist, sweet, warm and gooey. All the things bread pudding should be.


The Chicken Pot Pie Fiasco

I can tell you right now that my mother is going to be annoyed by this post. I can already envision her shaking her head and furling her brow, wondering how anyone can screw up chicken pot pie.

So I’m apologizing to her in advance.

I have been dreaming of chicken pot pie ever since I read this blog post from the Under the High Chair blog, two weeks ago.  I’ve been salivating just thinking about the combo of chicken, leek, garlic and lemon topped with a flaky pie crust. Yummm….

I’ve never made chicken pot pie before. I’ve never worked with puff pastry.  And I’ve never quite grasped the roux technique (insert mother’s sigh here).

And so this whole meal was a disaster.

I forgot to take the puff pastry dough out of the freezer, so it never thawed properly. I didn’t have an egg for the egg wash, so I used milk instead. Which is okay I guess, but my brush was dirty. So I had to use a combo of my fingers and paper towel to coat the pastry- neither pretty nor elegant. I forgot to buy the wine and tarragon. I somehow managed to spill a bag of sugar all over the floor, and despite sweeping it up, I had sugar stuck to the bottom of my feet.  My baby was fussy and gnarly due to having a cold, so I spent a large amount of time attending to her. From start to finish it took more than 3 hours to make this, when it really shouldn’t have taken more than an hour.

By the end, I was exhausted, hungry and had sticky feet.

And to top it all off, the finished product wasn’t as awesome as I was hoping. Because I think I’m smarter than the recipe and don’t measure, there was waaaaay too much lemon and dried thyme. I used the juice of half a lemon which made it too tart and overpowered the other flavours. Also, my casserole dish was too big for the filling and so when I put the pastry over top, it made a large crater and the centre never browned.

And when I went to cut into it, somehow pastry went flying everywhere, hitting my husband. To which he responded “Do you think you’ve made a big enough mess???”

Ugh. And as a write this, the disaster that is my kitchen, begs to be cleaned.

(Sigh) At least the puff pastry leaves turned out nice.

Next time, I’m using a pie plate, will thaw out the pastry, use wine and fresh tarragon and will add a bit of asparagus for colour and flavour. And I will most definitely cut back on the lemon!


White Bean and Cucumber Salad

I quickly realized that my neglect in all things culinary had gone on way too long, when Todd announced that he was happy eating a vegetable tray for supper. A vegetable tray! Geesh! And I hadn’t even cut it up myself. It was store boughten and was supposed to be for light snacking, not main course.

So in an attempt to better take care of my husband, I dug out the old slow cooker and created another delightful, slow cooker chicken dish. (Yes, again with the slow cooker. But I love it. I really do. It makes my laziness seem somewhat less lazy and taste really, really good.) But I’m not going to feature it this time.  Mostly because I didn’t have half the ingredients, having never made it to the store.. And thus, wasn’t completed impressed with the finished product.

However, to accompany the mediocre chicken dish, I threw together this wonderful little bean salad. It’s light and it’s fresh. The flavours are mild allowing for the lemon and herbs to really stand out. It  reminds me of summer, when I can just run out to my little balcony garden and pick a couple handfuls of fresh herbs. I think the original recipe came out of the Oprah Magazine and called for shrimp and dill (which I omit because of the husband’s deadly shellfish allergy).  I have experimented with different herbs and vegetables, but the winning combination is fresh parsley and mint.

White Bean and Cucumber Salad

  • 1 Can of white beans (I used white kidney beans), rinsed and drained in a colander
  • Half a cucumber, peeled, quartered and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 of a red onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley and fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil (or two healthy glug, glugs of olive oil)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and serve!

And if you have any leftovers, add a spoonful or two of greek yogurt and some canned tuna. Mix together and spoon into a pita pocket for lunch.


Chicken, Sausage and White Bean Stew

 

 

This dinner came together rather haphazardly.  I had originally intended to make jambalaya. I had a craving for it after my mother-in-law made an amazing batch of it and had been thinking of it ever since. (Confession: I kind of just like saying the word “jambalaya” really loud. It will be the name of my future cat) But I was lacking some key ingredients. This crock pot spicy stew/soup was the result.

Chicken, Sausage and White Bean Stew

  • 8 chicken boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 package of spicy italian sausage
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 each red, yellow, orange peppers
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1 can white kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can of diced green chili’s
  • half carton of chicken broth
  • fresh thyme and rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp each of chili powder, paprika, cumin and crushed red chili’s
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • cilantro

Put chicken thighs into crock pot. Brown sausage in frying pan, remove with slotted spoon and add to crock pot. Add all the ingredients except for avocado and cilantro. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Serve with rice and garnish with avocado and cilantro.

A little bit of lime would have made it perfect!


Healing the Heart Through Food, Friends and Family

Has it really been almost two whole weeks since I last posted? Not cool, not cool at all.  But in all honesty, I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking lately.

Life has taken a turn and I’ve found myself out of my element and out of my kitchen. We’ve recently had a tragic and sudden loss in our family, and many lives have been turned completely upside down. Add to the mix, my husband and I seized the opportunity to build a dream house on an amazing lot with access to a lake. But this has come with the cost of last minute stressors, spontaneous meetings interrupting the dinner hour, and hurried trips back and forth in questionable weather from my mother’s in Ponoka to our home in Calgary. And, as my dear friend Tanya eloquently put it “…and now Baby K. (my daughter) has chosen to become complicated….”.

With sadness in my heart, food just doesn’t taste the same.

I haven’t been motivated to cook that much. But I have done a lot of eating and have enjoyed meals that others have lovingly created. My friend Jessica concocted an amazing potato, bacon and corn chowder that was rich, creamy, and full of flavour; topped with caramelized beets that melted in your mouth. The neighbour boy brought over a jar of piping hot chicken soup thick with noodles, rice, and assorted vegetables, which we lived off of for days. Kendra baked for two afternoons to make sure that we had sweet treats and a stash of baking in the freezer. Lasagna’s, baked spaghetti, pots of chilli and hearty stews showed up in abundance, ensuring we were never without at dinner time. There has been endless trays of meat and cheese, vegetable and fruit platters, squares, desserts, and the most amazing almond bark I’ve ever tasted.

I have observed something quite poignant in the past month. In times of great sadness, when we’re at a loss of how to heal the hearts of people we love, we feed their stomachs instead.  I am very thankful for all of the people who rushed to their kitchens, showing their love and support for us, one dish at a time.