Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Leftovers

Head over to The Art of Manliness to check out my post and make your comments on your favorite turkey leftovers!

(Full Text below)

Enough is enough - I’m going on a diet.  

Those are typically the words that come out of my mouth every Friday morning after the Thanksgiving holiday.  Certainly, my actions the day before pretty much always set me up for such a statement.  After a day of overeating and watching football, I tend to feel a bit slower in my step.

But, as in most years, it never fails that I tend to push that diet off to the week ahead.  After all, there are so many leftovers from Thursday’s feast that I’d be a fool to let it all go to waste.  Ah, the power of procrastination.

Yet, the idea of repeating the exact same meal from the day before often loses its luster on my tired taste buds.  So instead, I seek out ways to re-use all of that goodness before I stare down a week of grilled salmon and salad.
In other words, don’t be bored with your meals, or even worse, let great food go to waste!  Entertain your family and friends one more time around with these great ideas for turkey leftovers!


Turkey Rotel - a comforting casserole filled with cheesy carbs, vegetables, and tender turkey.  A great make-ahead dish that can be prepped for dinner later in the day, or simply frozen and used for a meal on a busy weeknight.   (Prep 15 minutes, Cook 45 minutes, Serves 4 - 6)

1 lb Dried Spaghetti
½ Stick Butter
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Onion, diced
1 Jalapeno, finely diced
1 Cup Frozen Peas
1 lb Velveeta Cheese, chopped
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/3 Cup Milk
4 Cups Leftover Turkey, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cook spaghetti according to directions on the box, or al dente; 10 - 11 minutes.  Drain pasta and set aside.  Meanwhile, melt butter into a skillet over medium heat.  Add bell pepper, onion, and jalapeno and sauté until tender, 4 - 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, including the cooked pasta, and mix thoroughly until the cheese is just melted and ingredients are well combined.  Add the entire contents of the skillet into a greased casserole dish and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.  Serve.

Turkey and Sausage Gumbo - a delicious and hearty soup that makes use of all of that wonderful leftover turkey, including the white and dark meat.  (Prep 15 minutes, Cook 1 hour, Serves 4 - 6)

¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Onion, finely diced
1 Green Bell Pepper, finely diced
4 Cloves Garlic, finely diced
1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
32 oz Turkey (Chicken) Stock
1 16 oz Bag Frozen Okra, cut
1 lb Andouille or Smoked Sausage, sliced
4 Cups Leftover Turkey, chopped
Hot Cooked Rice, to serve

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, slowly cook the flour and oil together, creating a roux about the color of a dull penny; 20 minutes.  Next, add bell pepper and onions and sauté until tender, 4 - 6 minutes.  Add garlic and tomatoes; continue to sauté for another five minutes.  Slowly add the stock and increase the heat to medium high until the mixture begins to simmer.  Add okra, return to a simmer, and cook for another 10 minutes.  Finally, add sausage and turkey and heat through - 10 minutes.  Serve with hot cooked rice.

Smokey Turkey Quesadillas - these tasty bites are perfect for enjoying more football with friends.  Simple, clean, quick and easy - just the way cooking’s supposed to be.  (Prep 10 minutes, Cook 10 Minutes, Serves 4 - 6)

2 Cups Leftover Turkey, chopped
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
4 Tablespoons Butter, separated
4 Large Flour Tortillas
4 Cups Pepper-Jack Cheese, grated
Sour Cream and Salsa, to serve

Combine the first three ingredients into a bowl and mix until evenly combined; set aside.  Meanwhile, melt a tablespoon of butter at a time into a non-stick skillet.  When butter has melted, add one tortilla into the pan.  Arrange ½ cup chopped turkey, and 1 cup of cheese onto one side of the tortilla.  Using tongs or a spatula, carefully fold over the other side of the tortilla to cover the ingredients.  Allow the tortilla to cook and slightly brown on one side, flip and repeat on the other side.  Remove from pan, cut into even wedges, and serve with sour cream and salsa.  Repeat process for remaining ingredients.

Turkey Cobb Salad - I like to consider this as somewhat of an ‘indulgent’ salad.  Filled with tasty bits of turkey, crispy bacon, and creamy blue cheese dressing, this is a great way to get started in moving towards the direction of a ‘diet’ - even if it is a bit heavy.  Keep in mind that many of these ingredients can be prepped ahead of time; making this meal more of an ‘assembly’ rather than an actual dish that requires cooking.  (Prep 10 minutes, Cook N/A, Serves 2)

4 Cups Romaine Lettuce, chopped
1 Vine Ripe Tomato, diced
½ Red Onion, finely diced
4 Slices Crispy Cooked Bacon, chopped
2 Hard Boiled Eggs, diced
1 Cup Leftover Turkey, chopped
Blue Cheese Dressing, to serve
Create a bed or even layer of lettuce onto a large plate or serving platter.  Next, top the salad evenly with remaining ingredients.  Serve with blue cheese dressing on the side.

Pesto + Turkey Submarine Sandwich - an upgrade on the traditional turkey sandwich, the pesto adds a sweet and savory flavor that enhances the delicious turkey.  Pile these ingredients high on a loaf of Italian bread, and slice into individual portions to serve your hungry guests.  In a pinch, most grocers offer pre-prepared and jarred pesto to save time.  (Prep 10 minutes, Cook N/A, Serves 4)

Fresh Pesto

2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled
¼ Cup Pine Nuts or Walnuts, toasted
½ Lemon, juiced
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Combine the first five ingredients into a food processor and pulse until evenly chopped.  With the processor running, slowly stream in olive oil until fully incorporated and smooth; season with salt and pepper.  Add cheese, and pulse until combined.  (Keeps in the fridge up to 3 days)

Turkey Submarine Sandwich

1 Large Loaf Italian Bread
Fresh Pesto
1 lb Leftover Turkey, sliced
Iceberg Lettuce, sliced
Vine Ripe Tomatoes, sliced
Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar

Using a bread knife, carefully slice the loaf of bread in half, creating a top and bottom side.  Smear the bottom side with pesto sauce, and add a layer of mayonnaise to the top side.  Begin layering sandwich starting with the turkey, lettuce, tomato, and onion.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and splash with vinegar.  Place top side of bread on top of sandwich and slice into individual servings.  Serve.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pan Roasted Chicken Breast with Roasted Tomatoes and White Beans

After a long weekend on the road, this was the perfect, no fuss, one-skillet dinner to wind down on a Sunday.  Some big news to hit tomorrow, so I'm off to bed early to tackle the day with all I got.
Pan Roasted Chicken Breast with Roasted Tomatoes and White Beans - this rustic, Italian inspired dish evokes all of the flavors of comfort food without the guilt. Utilizing a bone-in chicken breast adds flavor and keeps the chicken moist. We create a nice crispy skin on the outside of the chicken by pan searing the breast, skin side down, on the stovetop. After that, the flavors meld together while finishing off and roasting in the oven. This dish pairs well with a crisp Pilsner (Beer) or dry Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc (Wine).
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 8 oz Bone-in Chicken Breast, skin on
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Italian Herb Seasoning Blend
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
4 Cloves Garlic, peeled
1 Cup Canned Great Northern/Navy/White Beans, drained
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On the stove top, preheat skillet over medium high heat; add oil and heat until oil shimmers in the pan and just begins to smoke. Add chicken breast, skin side down, and sear (do not touch) for 3 minutes. Flip chicken breast, and add cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves to pan. Season the entire dish lightly with kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, and Italian herb seasoning. Add the skillet to the oven and roast, 18 - 22 minutes, internal temperature should be 160 degrees F. With 5 minutes remaining, add beans to skillet with the tomatoes, stir and add back into the oven to heat through. Remove skillet from oven and plate, discarding garlic cloves. Serve.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Seafood Gumbo

There's just something about the Fall season that puts me in a New Orleans state of mind.  I suppose it has something to do with the Cajun style of cooking that seems to satisfy my cravings for comfort food.  Regardless of the reason, I can attest that a day of cooking Seafood Gumbo is a day well spent.

For me, it typically tends to happen on a Saturday or Sunday.  Once I get the urge, I head down to Little's Fish Company and pick up a mess of the best seafood I can find - shrimp, crawfish, crab, fish, etc.  That's what I like about Seafood Gumbo - the thick roux and base is simply just a carrier for whatever seafood you can find.  It's rustic, real, and delicious.

Keep in mind that a big pot of gumbo is meant to be shared.  I enjoy inviting 10 - 15 of my closest friends over for a day of watching football, drinking beer, and eating this delicious creole creation. 

Of course, I should come clean that everyone has their own 'style' when it comes to making this dish.  Mine is a melange of many different versions and experiences, ranging from my New Orleans friend's 95 year old grandma, to a simple quick shrimp gumbo that's been in my family for years.  Regardless of your method, one thing is certain - it's ALL about the roux.

Creating a dark, thick roux takes time and patience.  In fact, as the roux begins to darken and caramelize, the chances of burning the roux (and ruining the dish) increase each minute.  For that reason, I like to have all of my ingredients prepped and ready to go.  After that, I stand by my pot for 45 minutes, cold beer(s) in hand, and make sure that I get this most crucial element just right.  After that - it's simply just a matter of 'stirring and dumping' to complete the rest of the meal. 

Seafood Gumbo  

1 lb Andouille Sausage, cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices
3 Cups Okra, cut into ½ inch slices
1 Cup Vegetable Oil/Butter/Shortening
1  Cup Flour
1 Large Onion, finely diced
1 Large Bell Pepper, finely diced
2 Celery Stalks, finely diced
1 Tablespoon Creole Seasoning
1 14.5 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
10 Cups Seafood Stock

1 lb Lump Crab Meat
1 lb Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb Crawfish Tail Meat
Hot Cooked Rice
Scallions, sliced

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned; remove and set aside on a plate. Next, add okra and sauté until just tender, about 3 - 4 minutes; remove and set aside on a plate. Combine oil and flour, stirring constantly, to make a dark brown roux, about the color of chocolate; 30 - 35 minutes. Add the onions, peppers, celery, and seasoning; sauté until tender, about 8 - 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, followed by the seafood stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add sausage and okra back into the pot, cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, or until okra is just cooked through. Add the crab meat, shrimp, and crawfish; stir to make sure the seafood is immersed in the liquid. Turn off heat, cover, and allow the seafood to gently cook for 10 - 15 minutes. Shrimp and crawfish tail meat should be firm and bright in color. Serve in bowls topped with white rice and garnished with sliced scallions.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

MOONSHINE for sale!

With Have Her Over for Dinner, I helped teach guys that simple, affordable, and impressive cooking was realistic at home -  even for the every day guy.  Now, you can smell great while doing it! 

After a year of development, I'm happy to announce the launch of MOONSHINE; a gentleman's cologne.  Manufactured in Grass, FR and hand crafted right here in the USA - the scent is masculine - woodsy - with notes of black pepper, tobacco, gin, leather, and patchouli.  A lighter aroma that's not overwhelming, yet still memorable.  As we like to say, Repeal Her Prohibitions.

A perfect gift for any man - check it out at

Ok, headed back into the kitchen!