Turkey Club Casserole

Another great leftover turkey recipe. It’s like a turkey blt with pasta. I really liked the diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano seasoning.

Turkey BLT CasseroleTurkey Club Casserole from Pinterest
1 box whole wheat pasta ( I used penne)
1 (7 oz.) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano seasoning
1 c. diced turkey (or chicken if you don’t have turkey)
1/2 c. diced bacon
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans cheddar cheese
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper

Cook pasta and drain. Add all other ingredients and stir. Place in a 13 x 9 baking dish and cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Leftover Comfort Food

If you make a turkey for Christmas, here is a recipe I made using leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. If you don’t have turkey, I am sure you could easily substitute chicken. I thought it was delicious.

Turkey & NoodlesTurkey and Noodles from Pinterest
12 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. diced onion
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. frozen egg noodles
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
4 c. diced turkey
3 large carrots

Heat broth to a boil. Add salt, onion, carrots, and pepper. Add frozen noodles and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 10 minutes. Add flour and milk. Cook until juices are somewhat reduced and slightly thinned. Add meat. Cool slightly before serving.

Notes:

  • Freezer recipe – Just thaw and reheat at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
  • I used dry egg noodles. It worked just as well and was cheaper to purchase.
  • I used reduced sodium chicken broth. You could make your own with the leftover turkey bones. You could also use 2 parts broth/1 part water to reduce cost.
  • I used skim milk. It had to cook a little longer to thicken but it worked.
  • I used frozen carrots.
  • I add a couple of celery stalks. I think you could also had some spinach to this recipe.

Festivus

What gets you in the holiday spirit? Is it watching that classic Seinfeld episode where we learn that Frank Costanza invented his own holiday entitled Festivus? Is it watching your favorite holiday movie? Is it shopping and wrapping presents?

I have always enjoyed listening to Christmas music while baking. In my college days, it meant staying up into the middle of the night baking Chocolate Crinkles, red and green colored Snickerdoodles, and Chex Mix.

Since I recently asked all my friends what their favorite Christmas songs are, I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

  • A Christmas Festival by The Boston Pops – I’m a sucker for classical music at the holidays. This song also reminds me of playing it when I was in the Wayne High School concert band.
  • Sleigh Ride – This song makes me think of The Northland Symphony Orchestra. I served on the board of directors for several years. Although I wasn’t able to make it to this year’s concert, I’m sure Jim Murray included this piece featuring the percussion auxiliary instruments of sleigh bells and the clapper.
  • Put a Little Love in Your Heart by Al Green and Annie Lennox – Ok, maybe it isn’t a traditional Christmas song but it is in the movie Scrooged. Although I was totally scared by it when I saw it in the movie theatre as a child, it was just one of the many holiday movies I’ve seen with my family. We usually go Thanksgiving weekend or Christmas Day to see a movie together.
  • Carol of the Bells by Mannheim Steamroller – Chip Davis, a fellow University of Nebraska-Lincoln alum, did a great job arranging this piece. It always makes me think of my Grandpa Fletcher. He is a huge fan of this group and a great lover of music.
  • Christmas/Sarahevo 12/24 by Trans-Siberian Orchestra – A few years ago, we went to one of their concerts for my mother’s birthday. Not only do they play cool Christmas music but they put on another show entirely of their non-Christmas stuff. I bet they played for three hours. You can catch them in Kansas City on December 22nd. But don’t forget to bring canned goods for Harvesters.
  • All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey – Sure, lots of artists put out Christmas albums remaking classics but Mariah invented a Christmas modern day classic.
  • Rocking Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee – Doesn’t it make you want to reenact the puppet/record player scene from Home Alone?
  • You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – It’s Dr. Seuss – enough said!
  • Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by N’sync – It makes me wish all the boys would be joining JT when I see his tour next July.
  • O Holy Night from Home Alone – E.T., Indian Jones, The Boston Pops – I love John Williams. My sister and I were talking about although he will never be compared to the likings of Bach or Beethoven, his classic movie scores will probably go down in history as our generation’s contribution to musical history.

Like holiday music, no Christmas gathering would be complete without a cheese ball. I made this one for my Volunteer Services Team holiday party. It was a big hit served with Grinch drinks (Sprite and lime sherbet).

Peppermint Oreo Cheese BallPeppermint Cookie Cheese Ball from Pinterest
1 – 8 oz. cream cheese brick
1/2 c. softened butter
3 T. brown sugar
2/3 c. powder sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 a bag mini-chocolate chips
Peppermint chips/peppermint bark/broken candy cane
5 holiday Oreos

Blend together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Then, add dry ingredients (except Oreos and peppermint). Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then, roll in crushed Oreos and peppermint bark.

Serve with apples, graham crackers, Oreos, and pretzels.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Need a last minute Christmas gift but don’t want to fight the crowds? Here’s a little recipe I’m making for friends. It’s a copycat for the Tastefully Simple Beer Bread.

Creative Commons photo by @joefoodie

Creative Commons photo by @joefoodie

Homemade Beer Bread from Pinterest
3 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (12 oz.) can or bottle of beer
3 T. butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients and package pretty. Recipient will need added beer and stir. Then, pour into greased bread pan. Top with melted butter and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Note: Another good gift idea is my homemade hot chocolate recipe.

HIMYM

If you are a fan of How I Met Your Mother, you most likely got the HIMYM reference. I actually didn’t start watching the show until about a year ago on Netflix but ended up watching all the seasons consecutively by the end of Christmas break. I used to think the story was Marshall (Jason Segal) telling his children how he met their mother Lily (Alyson Hannigan). Although a friend set me straight, I hadn’t figured out how to get into the show in syndication. I realized it is one of those shows you really need to watch straight through to get all the references in futures episodes.

I think one of the reasons this show resonated with me so well because I could relate to the Ted character. As a single 36 year old, I’ve dated more than my far share of guys. It’s frustrating too because I’m a good girlfriend and the type of person you set down with. I’ve even had relationships with serious boyfriends end because they didn’t share my vision for wanting children. My friends are also a little like Lily and Marshall. So many of them found their perfect matches (although years after college). They also continue offer encouragement that I will find the person I’m meant to be with. On occasion, I know they’ve even wanted to yell at me – “break-up with that guy”.  And we share a few little secrets that only REAL friends would do for you.

I was super excited heading into the finally season because we got to meet the mother. Unfortunately, this season isn’t what I had in mind. I should have known when I read in Entertainment Weekly they would be flashing forward to Ted and “The Mother” that we would be stuck in Barney and Robin’s wedding for the entire season.

This recipe comes from the season 9 premiere in which Lily and “The Mother” meet on the train. “The Mother” befriends Lily by calming her down with cookies. Lily says, “Sumbitches” when she bites into the first one and “The Mother” informs her that is what the cookies are called. May you enjoy these cookies as much as my co-workers did today.

SumbitchesSumbitches by “The Mother” on How I Met Your Mother courtesy of People magazine
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
36 bite sized chocolate covered caramels

Beat together first four ingredients. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add to creamy mixture slowly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Shape 2 T. of dough around candy and place three inches apart on baking sheet. Cook for 13-14 minutes at 350 degrees.

Notes:

  • I used Rolos but you could use Milky Ways.
  • The recipe didn’t say whether or not to soften the butter. I did.
  • I refrigerated for an 1 1/2 hours before baking.

Tater Tot Muffins

I work seven days a week so it is always a present surprise to get two un-requested days off from my part-time job. When I didn’t request it, the welcomed days off allow me to cook up a few new recipes. I loved this recipe so much that I had to put the leftover immediately in the fridge to prevent me from eating too many.

Tater Tot Omelet CupsTater Tot Omelet Cups from Pinterest
36 Tater Tots
8 eggs
1/4 c. milk
Your choice of breakfast meat
Cheddar cheese

Thaw tater tots in the microwave. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray and place three in tots per cup. Smash down with a fork or glass bottom. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with breakfast meat. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Pour eggs over each cup. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes and run a knife around the edge of each cup.

Notes:

  • I lined each of muffin cup with a silicone muffin cup. My muffins popped right out and no messy clean-up.
  • I used mini-tots. If you do that, make sure you put four in the bottom of each muffin cup.
  • I used pre-cooked bacon and Carl Budding ham in my muffins. But you could easily use diced peppers, sausage, spinich, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, basil, zucchini, etc.
  • I used skim milk and regular eggs. Again, you can make it healthier using egg substitute or egg whites.
  • I used 2% cheese but you could probably use fat-free cheese and not have any weird melting issues.
  • I halved the recipe and only made six cups.