food amongst family and friends

Turkey, Kale and Brown Rice Soup December 17, 2012

Filed under: Mains,Soups,Turkey — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:57 am
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Okay, when my hubby mentioned he was making this, I inwardly cringed. Turkey, kale and brown rice soup…ugh! But let me tell you, it was fantastic! Even my daughter ate it up. The recipe came from the show Giada at Home.  We modified it a bit, and this is the version we made.  The parmesan on top was a great final touch, and I’m excited for my leftover lunch today.


2T extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot
1 medium onion
3 medium carrots that were shredded (accidentally, but it worked out well) in a food processor
2 large yellow peppers, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
8 oz. ground turkey, broken into chunks
1 T mixed herbs (we used basil, oregano, rosemary, a bay leaf and thyme)
8 c low-sodium chicken broth
1, 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 c cooked brown rice
1 small bunch kale, coarsely chopped
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots, onions, carrots and peppers and sauté, stirring frequently until the vegetables begin to brown and soften slightly – 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the turkey and stir until the meat turns white and begins to color very slightly around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the herbs and stir for 1 minute.  Add the broth, tomatoes and rice and bring to a boil.  Stir in the kale and season with 3/4 t salt and the black pepper.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  Season with remainder of salt.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan.  Enjoy!  Ren


Chicken Meatballs + Veggie Sauce + Homemade Spelt Spaghetti = Dinner Bliss September 20, 2012

I love it when my life manages to work out in such a way that I get to call this a Tuesday night dinner. Last week a few of us got together for an evening of cooking in which we made (possibly) thousands of meatballs, a vat full of pasta sauce and some marinated chickens that should be coming soon to a blog near you. A freezer full of that and a strangely lucid head the night before that inspired me to make the pasta dough before I went to bed and, Voila!, homemade spaghetti and meatballs on a school night. Super Mom Awards, here I come. The chicken meatball recipe comes from Gourmet Everyday (big surprise), which Katie also found on Smitten Kitchen. The sauce is a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution one found on which is full of veggies that your family will never know about, but, more importantly, it tastes lovely, especially over meatballs (though I would add a little more salt than he says – it brings out the tomatoey flavour more). And what meatballs! So that’s the recipe you are getting here; try them in a sauce, make them big and have them with a salad, make them little and serve them as an appetizer with a roasted grape tomato skewered to the top, do what you will, but try them for sure!

Chicken Meatballs

3 slices Italian bread, torn up without crusts

1/3 cup milk

3 oz pancetta or bacon, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped (we used the food processor for this and the garlic)

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large egg

1 lb ground chicken or turkey

3 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about 4 minutes, then squeeze bread to remove excess milk and place in a large mixing bowl.

2. Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic with salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes.

3. Add pancetta mixture, chicken/turkey, parsley, and a lightly beaten egg to the bread and stir to combine. Divide into meatballs; ours made about 16-18 per batch and were pretty good sized meatballs for having with pasta, but if you want these on their own, 12 meatballs would probably be about right.

4. Bake in 400 oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on size) or until just cooked through. Freeze for later, or serve immediately.




Summer Staple – Turkey Burgers for every occassion June 5, 2012

Filed under: Mains,Make Ahead,Quick and easy,Sandwiches,Turkey — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:26 am
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This is a post in honor of my niece and nephew who just had their first baby (a boy named William). They came to visit about a month ago (pre-baby) and made us these amazing burgers, which I have since made several times. They freeze really well, but they also only take two minutes to throw together, so making a bunch in advance isn’t necessarily worth the effort. Aside from the ease of assembly, these burgers have many attributes; they are moist and stay together beautifully – I have yet to have one fall apart on the grill; the flavour is lovely, yet neutral, so you can top them any way you want to (above, we used goat cheese and sundried tomato pesto; heaven); the kids LOVE them (this is the only way my daughter eats zucchini) and they are way healthier than your standard beef burger. All in all, exactly the kind of recipe you need in your repertoire for the coming summer. Try these, you won’t regret it. Thanks for the recipe Sam and Steve, and congratulations, we can’t wait to meet William!

1 lb ground turkey (or chicken, though it’s a little harder to work with)

1 medium zucchini, grated (I use my food processor)

1 tsp each, garlic and onion powder (fresh onion and garlic could be substituted, my kids are sometimes just texture sensitive, so this adds flavour without any weird chunks)

1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika (sub hot paprika or cayenne if you like things spicier)

salt and pepper to taste

Fresh herbs – I haven’t tried this yet, but plan to once my herb garden comes into its own. The neutral flavour of the turkey and zucchini would lend itself well to whatever fresh herbs you have kicking around; sage, basil, oregano, rosemary. You could chop it and throw it right in the burger or use it as a topping.

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing with your hands until just combined. Divide into 4-6 balls (depending on how big you want them) and shape into patties. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Preheat the grill to high. Cook 5 minutes a side; burgers should be white and staying together, but still moist, and since they are not fatty, they won’t shrink in size much.

Topping suggestions:

Fresh basil, tomato and thick sliced bococcini

Goat cheese and sundried tomato pesto

Goat cheese and fresh salsa (think Katie’s nectarine or avacado salsa’s)

Goat cheese and tapenade (are you sensing my love of goat cheese yet?)

Gruyere, grilled apple slices and fresh sage






Pepperoni pizza wrap ups, with my favourite pizza dough recipe January 21, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Breads,Make Ahead,Sausage,Turkey — blisteringlydrunk @ 11:23 am
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Yet another attempt to fill my children with good energy. These are a simple, easy to sell, snack, made by wrapping pepperoni in pizza dough with some jarred pasta or pizza sauce and then sprinkling cheese on top. I used turkey pepperoni and added a healthy serving of spelt flour and flax seeds to the dough to keep things in the good-for-you category and the kids love them. I love it when I can feed them what I want and have them think they are getting something treaty. These also freeze really well, so make a big batch and have them ready to pull out for those, busy, on the go days.

Pizza Dough

This is the pizza dough recipe I have been using for years, although I change it every time depending on what flours, seeds, fresh herbs, etc. I happen to have in the house when I make it. I find that if you are going to go with more than 1/3 whole wheat, you should switch the sugar for honey and double it, but that 1/3 is really as far as you want to go if you want it to retain it’s pizza dough goodness. Feel free to add fresh or dried herbs to the dough for extra flavour, or knead in some cheese; you can also leave out the flax seed if that’s not your thing.

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup spelt flour

2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour

1 heaping Tbsp milled flaxseed

1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water and let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy.

2. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast mixture, then add spelt flour, 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour and flax seed. Stir until flour is incorporated and you have a shaggy dough.

3. Either turn out onto a well floured surface and knead for 8 minutes or strap the dough hook on your stand mixer and start it up (you will probably only need to knead it for 5 or 6 minutes in the stand mixer). Either way, you are going to end up adding at least another 1/2 cup of flour, probably closer to 1 cup, before you end up with a nice smooth, elastic dough, that’s still very soft.

4. Transfer dough to a well oiled bowl, turning to coat, then cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size. Punch down and form into a tight ball. Let relax for 2 minutes before proceeding.

At this point you can make into two round pizzas or, in my house, two mini pizzas for the girls to decorate for themselves and one cookie sheet sized pizza. I bake my pizza in a well preheated 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden and the edges of the crust are browned.

Or, you can proceed with the wraps.

Pizza wrap ups

1 recipe pizza dough

10 sticks turkey pepperoni (or pepperoni of your choice, or rolled up ham, maybe slices of sweet peppers, whatever you like on pizza really)

1 small jar pizza or pasta sauce (or homemade stuff, if you have it)

1 cup (approx) grated cheddar cheese (I used an old white cheddar, because I had it, but orange cheddar would have made my children happier)

1. Preheat oven to 425 and prep 2 cookie sheets with parchment or silicone. Cut the pizza dough into ten equal portions (you could also double this, halve your pepperoni sticks and have a smaller, snackier size wrap). Using your hands, stretch each portion of dough into an oval/rectangle shape long enough to accommodate the pepperoni stick.

2. Spread about a heaping tablespoon of sauce on each wrap. The sauce really keeps this moist, so don’t be skimpy, but keep in mind that you need to keep the edges of the dough clean or they won’t seal properly and your wraps will open up when you bake them.

3. Place a pepperoni stick in the middle of each wrap, then bring up the sides, one over the other, and pinch them together. Place on prepared cookie sheets a few inches apart and sprinkle evenly with the cheese.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 12-16 minutes, or until cheese is melted, and the dough is lightly browned all over. Let on cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, but certainly enjoy while warm.

Makes 10 wraps. Good in fridge for 2 or 3 days or in freezer for 2 months.





Chicken (or Turkey) Pot Pie with a Puff Pastry Lid January 4, 2012

Filed under: Chicken,Mains,Make Ahead,Thrifty,Turkey,Uncategorized — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:13 am
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Winter always seems to bring out the need for comfort food in me and since I had a whole turkey breast left from Christmas dinner burning a hole in my freezer, I thought I would throw this together. I found this recipe years and years ago in a friend’s Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook and have made it often. It’s easy, on the cheap (priced out below), and everyone loves it, plus the puff pastry makes it seems fancy, so it’s great for guests (double it and bake in a big lasagna pan to feed a crowd) served with a nice salad. Also, the filling can be made up to a day ahead, so all you have to do is top it with the puff pastry and bake. What I’ve listed below is the basic recipe that has all the stuff I can’t live without, however, I’ve often added a handful or two of frozen edamame beans, a potato, cubed and cooked with the veggies, fresh herbs are lovely, chervil if you can find it, or some nice greens (rapini or kale chopped finely). As always, make it your own and enoy!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or leftover cooked, chopped chicken or turkey breast) $2.44 (Costco price per pound)

1 cup chicken stock $0.50

1/3 cup white wine $1.00 (based on a $12 bottle, if you don’t have wine, you can just use extra stock, but the wine is nice)

3 medium carrots, chopped $0.35

1 cup fresh or frozen peas $0.68

1 medium onion, chopped $0.25

1/4 cup butter $0.38

1/3 cup plain flour $0.03

1/2 cup cream (I used whipping cream since I had some leftover, but half and half gets the job done nicely) $0.50

1 rounded tsp chervil leaves $0.31

1, 341 mL can of corn (canned corn is nice here, but if you use frozen or fresh, be sure to add salt)$1.39

2 eggs, used separately, lightly beaten $0.50

Half a package of frozen puff pastry, thawed (I bought PC brand puff pastry sheets this time and I don’t like them. They didn’t puff up nearly as well, so I will be going back to Tenderflake puff pastry that you have to roll out) $1.99

1. If using the raw chicken breasts, place in a small, shallow skillet, cover with stock and wine and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until just cooked through. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid for filling (top up with wine or stock if not quite enough). Roughly chop the chicken and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, place carrots and peas in a small pot with a little water and steam until just tender.

3. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium to medium low heat and then add onions. Stir until onions are starting to turn translucent, about 2 minutes, then add flour and stir another 2 minutes. Gradually add in reserved cooking liquid (or 2/3 cup stock and 1/3 cup wine) and cream (I combine them in my measuring cup), stirring constantly. Bring to a low boil and stir until thickened, then remove from heat.

4. Stir in chicken, carrots, peas, corn, chervil, and one beaten egg. Add salt and pepper to taste, then transfer to your baking dish (a deep dish pie plate will work, or I used a 3 quart casserole dish. Also, if you had big ramekins, or french onion soup bowls, this would look lovely in individual dishes, just adjust the cook time accordingly). At this point you can cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake it.

5. Preheat oven to 375. Roll out your puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is just big enough to cover your dish. Brush the edges of your dish with egg, then place the pastry over top. Trim off any excess pastry, then brush the top of the pastry with the egg as well. If you wish you can use the trimmings to decorate the top of the pie; my mom always cut out leaves and things to put on top of pies, which looks lovely, but I’m usually too lazy to do it.

6. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 22-28 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and puffy. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serves 6, total cost $10.32, cost per serving $1.72



Notes on pricing: I’m new to this, but what I have done is calculated the price per pound of each item, then weighed out what I used and calculated the cost from there. I often buy in bulk to keep the prices down, but if you were to go to the store and buy all of these ingredients, it’s obviously going to cost more. However, once you have a stockpile of basic ingredients, you can make a lot more, for much cheaper than you can purchase premade anything. Also, my eggs and my fresh veggies were organic, so you could get them cheaper, if you desired.


Sneaky burgers May 30, 2011

Filed under: Mains,Make Ahead,Pork,Turkey — blisteringlydrunk @ 11:22 am

I call these sneaky because we added a lot of veggies to the mix – satisfies the meat eaters in our lives and gets some veggies in there too.  We (Katie, Ky and I) made a whole bunch of these during one of our cooking nights.  They seriously kick butt.  I mixed mine with Coffee & Bourbon BBQ Sauce prior to forming patties.  Cheers!  Ren

Burger on the barbie1/4 of a whole green cabbage
1 c mushrooms
1 egg
1 clove garlic , minced
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts
2 tbsp chopped green onions
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger root
1-1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 lb lean ground pork
1/2 lb ground turkey

Chop up cabbage and mushrooms and cook in a pan until all the liquid is out (you might want to drain it a bit – just make sure it’s not too wet when you add to the meat).  Meanwhile, beat egg in a large bowl and combine with garlic, bread crumbs, water chestnuts, green onion, teriyaki sauce, ginger, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix in pork, turkey, cabbage and mushrooms; shape into six 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick patties. Can be frozen or cooked right away.


Meatloaf, beatloaf, I hate meatloaf! April 4, 2011

Filed under: Mains,Make Ahead,Pork,Quick and easy,Turkey — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:55 pm
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That’s still one of my favourite lines from A Christmas Story. That, and, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”  But, as it happens, I don’t hate meatloaf, and my husband loves it, so I have been working to find a recipe that I really like and I think I have finally hit it. I started with this recipe from Alton Brown, and adjusted it to use pork and turkey instead of beef and updated the flavours to suit those meats. I also topped it off with my mom’s classic meatloaf sauce, which my husband also loves (turns out he has mostly been faking it all these years and he is actually a meat and potatoes guy at the core), recipe at the bottom.  The sauce is definitely optional though, the glaze on this meatloaf is plenty for me. Also good to know, I made this into 2 meatloaves, one of which I froze after cooking for a fast weeknight dinner in the future. One loaf fed 3 hungry adults and two not so hungry small children, with an adult sized piece leftover. So this recipe could easily be halved or served for a big dinner party. If you like meatloaf, you’ll love this one and if you don’t like meatloaf, this might just convince you.


2 1/2 – 3 lbs total, combined ground pork and ground turkey (aim for about half and half)

6 ounces croutons (mine were rosemary garlic)

1/2 tsp chipotle powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp chili powder

2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

1 medium carrot, peeled and quartered

1/2 red bell pepper, quartered

4 cloves garlic

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

In a food processor, combine croutons through chili powder and pulse until finely crumbled. Transfer to a large bowl and add the meat. Next (without rinsing it) add the rosemary, onion, carrot, pepper and garlic to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not a paste. Add the vegetables, the salt, and the egg to the meat and bread crumbs and mix with your hands until well combined, but trying not to squeeze the meat too much (that makes it dry).  Dump it all onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silicone and form into two french bread shaped loaves. Bake at 375 for about an hour, at which point I would cut one of the loaves in half to check to make sure it’s done. Mine took a bit longer than an hour, but I was following a recipe that said to cook at 325, which I did for the first 30 mins and then realized that was crazy and turned the heat up.


1/2 cup ketchup

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp cumin

dash of chipotle pepper sauce

dash of Worchestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and spread over meatloaf about 10 -15 minutes into cooking.

Mom’s Famous Meatloaf Sauce

1 tsp butter

10 mushrooms, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup (approx) sour cream or plain yogurt

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup


In a small saute pan over medium heat, cook the mushrooms in the butter with some salt and pepper until soft. Add the can of soup and enough of the sour cream to make it a thick sauce. Serve over sliced meatloaf.



P.S. I just realized that this looks like a lot of work and it’s really not. I put the meatloaf together and into the oven in under 15 mins and then cleaned the prep area and had the glaze mixed and on the loaf in another 10 mins. I then had plenty of time to relax and have a drink with my brother (who was visiting for dinner) before starting some mashed potatoes and roasted carrots for the sides. And the sauce is done in about 5 minutes. So just do it already!