Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Leftover Turkey Sandwich Recipe

Turkey and Avocado Sandwich

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I love my husband's brined turkey with homemade stuffing, my creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, and my daughter's pies topped with whipped cream. I even love whole berry cranberry sauce straight from the can. Despite all of this abounding love I have for Thanksgiving, the feast is not my favorite part. . . it's the LEFTOVERS! I dream about the leftovers, I have a section in my Thanksgiving binder designated to leftovers, and I even plan the meal based on the leftovers (shhh, don't tell anyone I do that). My leftover repertoire includes platters of all the Thanksgiving deliciousness crammed together and then microwaved, turkey noodle soup made from homemade turkey stock, and my favorite leftover turkey sandwich.

Ahhhh, my favorite leftover turkey sandwich is the main reason why I agree to host Thanksgiving in the first place! Although I've tried to recreate it other times throughout the year, it is best the day after Thanksgiving, or maybe two days after Thanksgiving, or perhaps, if I hide a bit of white meat in the back of the fridge disguised in a cool-whip container, three days after Thanksgiving.

This recipe which I am so grateful to have acquired back on November 24, 2002 is from the food section of The Washington Post. I snipped it from my paper so many years ago and have lovingly treasured it ever since. It traveled with me across the country from Maryland to Texas and now has a prized place in my Thanksgiving binder. The description preceding the recipe says, "This whopping testament to left-over turkey is sliced with mayonnaise and layered with bacon and avocado. It takes the best parts of a club sandwich and a cobb salad and parlays them into a slightly messy stack of goodness." Oh how I agree! So today I am thankful for my family, and my health, and my leftover turkey sandwich!

My Favorite Leftover Turkey Sandwich
(1 serving)

adapted from The Washington Post Sunday; November 24, 2002

Italian or other dense, crusty white bread, warmed slightly
Mayonnaise (not nonfat)
Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Paper-thin slices red onion (optional, but essential to me)
Leftover turkey (preferably a mix of white and dark meat)
About 1/4 ripe avocado
3-6 slices bacon, fried to your liking (I like it crisp)

  1. Using a serrated knife, slice 2 place of bread. It should be thick enough so it is sturdy but thin enough so it won't get in the way of all the other flavors. Place the bread on a flat surface.
  2. Start with 1 slice of bread and slather it with about 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, being careful to spread it all the way to the edge (and even a little bit over onto the crust). Season with salt and pepper.
  3. If desired, scatter a couple of slices of onion over the mayonnaise.
  4. Slice the turkey. It can be thin or thick, as you prefer.
  5. Arrange the turkey on top of the mayonnaise. If desired, season with more salt and pepper. Press the turkey down gently. Set aside.
  6. Take the remaining slice of bread and slather with mayonnaise. Then scoop the avocado onto the bread and, using the tines of a fork, gently mash the avocado so it adheres to the bread, being careful to spread it all the way to the edge (and even a little bit over onto the crust). Season with a little bit of pepper.
  7. Arrange the bacon on the avocado, pressing it into the avocado so it sticks and doesn't slide off the sandwich.
  8. Working quickly, invert the bacon-topped bread onto the turkey topped bread. The bacon should meet the turkey. Press the top of the sandwich gently to smoosh all the ingredients together.
  9. Savor it soon!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chicken Rice Chowder Recipe

Chicken and Rice Chowder
It's never good when 'the mom' gets sick. Laundry comes to a screeching halt, dogs go unfed, and dishes, well, dishes lounge in the sink or on the counter until someone needs a clean plate. Supportive husbands help in these cases, but every man has his limits and 4 kids plus one dog plus one puking wife (sorry to be so gross, but reality is often gross) is my husband's limit. The incredible news in my house, however, is that although my doctor quarantined me to my bedroom for 48 hours (she told me to hire help. . . ha ha), my house has run relatively smoothly today thanks to my competant yet stretched to the limit husband and to my ambitious yet almost teenaged daughter. While my husband schlepped kids to birthday parties and shopped for a much needed pair of new blue jeans (let's just say his last pair was purchased in a past century), my daughter unloaded the dishwasher, sanitized the kitchen, scrubbed the bathroom, and cooked. No really, she did all that and none of it was my idea, because I was shivering in my bed under 3 quilts (maybe I should get sick more often).

During hour 40 of my quarantine an amazing smell wafted into my bedroom. Someone in my house was cooking and I suddenly realized I was starving. In fact, aside from some ginger ale and a few saltines I hadn't had a thing to eat in 2 days. After stepping onto my bathroom scale (I'd lost 5 pounds!), I shuffled out to the couch, quilt in tow, and found my daughter happily dicing, zesting, and poaching. She was making Chicken Rice Chowder and Lemon Madelines! I love my daughter! I love her independence, her creativity, and her maturity.

The soup turned out perfectly. In fact, it tasted better than mine. Maybe it was because I didn't have to cook it, or perhaps it was because I was starving, or possibly it was the extra measure of love that my daughter added to her soup. In any case, the Chicken Rice Chowder was perfectly seasoned, slightly thickened, and was just the thing to finally warm me up. This is the ideal soup to make for anyone you love whether sick or healthy.

Chicken Rice Chowder

(this recipe comes from a stained photocopy that I made years ago, I believe it is from Leanne Ely in her book Saving Dinner)

4 1/2 cups chicken broth, canned or homemade (turkey stock would work too)
1/2 cup water
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (I often use a few cups of leftover chicken or turkey)
2 teaspoons thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup brown rice (or white or leftover cooked rice works)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk

  1. In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth and water to a boil and add the chicken.
  2. Add thyme and season with salt and pepper (a bit of Old Bay or your favorite seasoning salt would work too); add rice and reduce heat.
  3. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery; cook until onions are transluscent. Add flour to the mix and combine well. Add this mixture to the broth mixture in the saucepan.
  4. Stir milk into everything and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20-30 minutes.
Beauty and Bedlam

Friday, November 6, 2009

Crock Pot Chocolate Mud Cake Recipe

Crock Pot Chocolate Mud Cake

On Thursday my husband turned 40! He had requested his favorite, German Chocolate Cake for his birthday. Because he asks for this every year I wasn't surprised. In the past, I've always used a box mix and even a tub of the coconut frosting that goes with it, but because I've recently been stretching my cake limits, I had planned to make a real German Chocolate Cake from scratch. I first went to Food Blog Search and quickly found an amazing recipe on David Lebovitz's blog. I couldn't wait to attempt this new recipe.

All was well until Tuesday morning when I went to preheat the oven to toast some bagels (our toaster is also out of commission) and found it to be stone cold. Needless to say, I was unable to bake a German Chocolate Cake from a mix or from scratch because I had no oven. We (or should I say I because my husband didn't really care and he knows that eventually he'll get a home baked German Chocolate Cake although he did patiently listen to me rambling on about the subject) considered our options: prepare the cake batter at home and bake it at a neighbor's house-no,too much schlepping; purchase an ice cream cake or a cookie cake-no, my hubby's not a big fan of either; or run on over to the Kroger and buy a bakery cake-no, too easy. My husband suggested that I wait until our oven is fixed and then bake him his German Chocolate Cake.

Sure, I said that I was fine with that idea, but really my mind continued to obsess. The viable option that I eventually thought of was to bake a cake in my crock pot. I remembered a recipe for Chocolate Mud Cake that I had ripped from a magazine years ago but had never actually made. With only a few hours until the birthday celebration I located the recipe, prepared the batter, and plopped it into my crock pot. Although it sure smelled good I still had my doubts.

No worries, my Crock Pot Chocolate Mud Cake was delicious! It consisted of a warm moist layer of chocolate cake that was surrounded by a thick fudgey liquid. I scooped some up for all of us and served it with vanilla ice cream. Yum! Although I still intend to bake a German Chocolate Cake from scratch and I am hoping my oven is fixed soon, I'm glad I tried a new recipe and was able to serve my husband a delicious dessert on his birthday.

Crock Pot Chocolate Mud Cake
(adapted from Family Fun magazine)

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2/3 plus 1/3 cup white sugar
3 Tablespoons plus 1/3 cup cocoa
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup hot water

cooking spray
vanilla ice cream

  1. Generously coat the inside of a 2 1/2 to 5 quart crock pot with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, melt the butter and chocolate chips in the microwave. Whisk in 2/3 cup of white sugar, 3 tablespoons of cocoa, vanilla extract, salt, milk, and egg yolk.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the melted chocolate mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour this batter into the crock pot and spread it evenly.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa, and hot water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour this mixture over the batter in the crock pot.
  7. Cover and cook on high for 1 to 2 1/2 hours. The larger the crock pot, the less time this cake will take to bake. Check the cake after one hour. The cake is done when nearly all of the top is set and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pot. There will be a layer of molten chocolate on the bottom and around the edges.
  8. When the cake is done turn off the power of the crock pot and remove the lid. Let it cool in the crock pot for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Makes 6 to 8 servings.