Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

My friend shared this recipe with me-it is super delicious and is a make ahead and freezer friendly meal!  It has all the flavors of Thanksgiving Turkey dinners.  I think she originally got the recipe from Rachel Ray, and then slightly adapted it, and then I adapted it a little more!

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion chopped
3 celery stalks (with leaves) chopped
2 cups chicken broth/stock
1 box of chicken or turkey flavored stuffing
1-2 lbs of ground turkey
1 egg per each pound of turkey
Salt and pepper

Heat butter and oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add the onion and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender about 10 minutes.  Add the stuffing to the skillet and then add the chicken broth.  Let the stuffing mixture cool in a bowl.  ONce cool, add the turkey and egg and mix together.  You can form into loaves or, press into a 9×13 pan.   Bake at 400 degrees: 30 minutes for 9×13 pan and 45-1 hour for a large loaf.  Serve with store-bought turkey gravy.

I love that this recipe can be cooked in 30 minutes!  That is just about all the time we have on a weeknight to heat things up.  We eat this with mashed potatoes and broccoli or green beans.

What are some of your favorite weeknight meals?

Pepper Jack Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

This is actually one of the few recipes I have found on pinterest that I love, and consider a success.  I have had more than my fair share of pinterest fails.
This recipe is an easy family favorite.  It is super quick to assemble, and freezes unbaked.  We typically serve with a salad or green beans.  This is going to start making the rounds in our weekly rotation again soon with my busy schedule.
 I might experiment a bit and see if I can fully bake this casserole the night before and just quickly reheat it for dinner.  Mr. Bird and I have been getting home from work around 5:15/5:30, which means we have about 30 minutes to pull dinner together before we all get crazy hangry (hungry-angry). The turkey meatloaves and mashed potatoes I made last week were perfect for this, and I am hoping to find a few more options with the same convenience.
Ingredients
  • Box of instant stuffing (I use chicken)
  • Can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts/tenderloins
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 6 slices pepper jack cheese

Directions

  1. Grease a 9×13 baking dish
  2. Place chicken in a single layer in the dish
  3. Layer pepperjack cheese on top of the chicken
  4. Mix milk and soup and then spread on top of cheese
  5. Top the cheese with the whole bux of stuffing
  6. Drizzle melted butter on top of stuffing (you can freeze at this step if you want)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

 

Do you have any great freezer-friendly casserole recipes?

 

My Favorite Lasagna

I have been making lasagnas for almost 20 years!  It has always been one of my favorite foods.  And as an elementary schooler, I would make lasagnas and give them as gifts to my extended family for Christmas gifts.  So needless to say, I have eaten a lot, and made a lot of lasagnas over the years.  One thing that I have learned is that I like a “lighter” cheese filling in my lasagna.  Some lasagnas call for an egg/cheese/ricotta mixture but I find this too heavy and I have discovered a better way!

My favorite lasagna recipe calls for homemade béchamel instead of ricotta and a homemade bolognese sauce.  Ooh, so good, but so time-consuming.  I find that mixing a little milk with the ricotta makes a thinner and creamier filling, somewhat resembling the bechamel (i say that very loosely though).  This is a quick simple recipe that I can whip together in under 30 minutes of prep time.  It refrigerates well and is always great for leftovers.
 
Ingredients
2 jars tomato and basil tomato sauce/ marinara sauce**
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup whole milk
2-3 gloves minced garlic
1 lb cooked ground Italian sausage (i use sweet Italian, but if you like spice- hot Italian sausage is delicious!)
1 package “oven ready” lasagna noodles (you can use traditional noodles, but let’s be real, these oven-ready noodles are fast and easy)
salt and pepper
**use a sauce that you know and love.  A cheap, poor flavored sauce can ruin this dish.
Instructions:
Combine the ricotta cheese, milk, parmesan cheese and garlic (you can also throw in some italian seasoning if you want).  Combine 1 jar of the tomato sauce with the cooked ground sausage.
Grease a 9×13 pan.  Pour about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the “plain” tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan.  Add 1 layer of noodles.  3 noodles fit with room to spare (they expand as they bake).  Add 1/3 of the cheese mixture and then top with 1/3 of the sausage and sauce mixture then top with another layer of noodles.  Repeat the layering until you run out.  You should end with a top layer of noodles.  Next dump the remaining jar of sauce on top of the top noodles.  Spread over- you don’t want any exposed noodles.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes add the shredded cheese and continue cooking another 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.  Remove from oven and then let cool for 20 minutes before serving.
Do you guys have any tried and true recipes?

The Best Mix-in Cookie Recipe

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Chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorites.  But there is a bakery near one of my good friends that sells white chocolate chip and cranberry cookies.  They are delicious!  She brings me some every time she comes to visit.

 

I have been searching for a recipe similar.  I ended up tweaking a recipe a friend gave me that uses pudding mix in the cookie batter.  The results: a moist, soft and PERFECT cookie base for adding any of your favorite mix-ins.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 small package of vanilla pudding mix (but I am sure any flavor could work)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2  & 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • **essentially 3 cups of add-ins.  I like chocolate chips and pecans as well!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar.  Then add the eggs and vanilla.  Sift together flour, salt and baking soda.  Add flour to butter mixture.  Combine until blended and then gently mix in toppings.

Drop by teaspoonful onto baking sheets with parchment paper.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden.  Cool and then enjoy!

 

 

 

A New Recipe | Root Vegetable Casserole

When I am searching for a recipe and want a guarantee that it will turn out great,  I turn to Deb over at SmittenKitchen.  I have been reading her recipe blog for years, and cooked dozens and dozens of her recipes.  All of them, quickly become family and extended family favorites.  This week I tried her Root Vegetable Casserole Recipe.  Head on over to her site to see the full recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups (1/4-inch-sliced) fennel, top and core, if thick, removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 pound celery root, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 pound yukon gold, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup heavy cream (see Note up top)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or brother
  • 2 cups grated gruyere cheese (6 ounces with rind)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs or panko (what I used)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter
DIRECTIONS

“Heat your oven to 350°F. Butter a 13×9-inch deep baking dish.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large deep (ideally 12-inch) saute pan over medium heat and add the onions and fennel. Cooking, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.Meanwhile, in the largest bowl you own, combine the onion mixture with remaining vegetables, cream, stock, cheese, thyme, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper. Pour mixture into prepared dish and spread until even. Mix breadcrumbs and butter until evenly coated and distribute evenly over top of dish.Bake 1 1/2 hours uncovered, or until vegetables are very tender when tested with a small knife and the top is browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 15 minutes at room temperature and serve hot.”

 

I had a small hang up, and was unable to get celery root.  Based on reading the comments, I decided to swap out the celery root for parsnips.  It came out great.  I was glad she posted a picture of how to chop the fennel, becuase I would have been totally stumped!

Here is my fennel!  You chop just the bulb part.  I guess I should look up uses for the leafy green part. My one bulb came out to a little more than 1 cup. The recipe called for 2 cups, but I think it tasted just fine.

The dish came together very quickly!  Other than a lot of chopping, it was quick and easy.

Here it is before it was baked, and then after!  I think the 1.5 hours in the oven was perfect for my potatoes and parsnips.  My sweet potatoes were a little over cooked, so I think next time I would skip them and find another root vegetable.

This is being added to my casserole, pot luck, thanksgiving, Christmas recipe pile!  We served it as a main dish with salad.  It was yummy, filling and comforting. The perfect winter dish.

What are some of your favorite comfort foods?

 

Squash/Tortellini Soup

SummerSquash Soup

Soups are one of my favorite things to cook.  Easy to freeze, great for leftovers and perfect for making in advance!  I try to make at least one pot of soup early in the week to keep us stocked with lunch options for the week.  This summer squash/tortellini soup is one of our favorites!  I always mix up the add in’s to help create some variety.  The base of this soup is delicious- slightly creamy and full of herbs.  You can easily add extra in-season veggies or swap out the tortellini for sausage or chicken.  Or make it just a veggie soup!  This recipe is an adaptation from the Summer Squash Chowder found in the Simply in Season cookbook.

Summer Squash/Tortellini Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini or summer squash, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/3 cup butter or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (can be left out for a GF option)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup milk (can be left out for dairy free option)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package tortellini of your choice (can be substituted for corn or another summer vegetable, or you could even add some cooked shredded chicken or cooked sausage)

Directions

  1. Saute the onions in the butter/oil until browned.  Then add the zucchini, parsley and basil  and saute until vegetables are tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add the broth and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  2. Add the tomatoes, milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Just before serving, add the tortellini and parmesan cheese.
  4. Garnish with parsley if desired.

What are you favorite soup recipes?

 

A Frugal Soup Recipe

I love soups.  They are one of my favorite things to make and freeze to have on hand for a last minute quick dinner.  Just thaw, heat up, serve with salad or bread and its a yummy meal! Making a frugal soup makes me feel better if we pick up a bagged salad or a nice loaf of bread from a bakery to go with it.  We eat soups about once a week here, we all enjoy them and they make great leftovers for lunch the next day.   Often I will make a double batch of our favorite soups one to eat right away and one for the freezer for later.

This soup is one of our favorites!  Creamy, flavorful and easy to make. And its vegan-so nice and healthy! And also frugal!

Red Lentil Soup (serves 4)

  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • half of tomato (i rarely have tomatoes, so i used 1 tablespoon tomato paste)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • lemon wedge(for finishing)

Saute the onions in olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the carrots and saute a few more minutes.  Then add your spices, broth, lentils and tomatoes.  Turn your burner to low and simmer for about an hour until vegetables and lentils are cooked.  Puree using a blender stick, or pour into a blender and puree.  Serve and finish with a lemon wedge.

 

 

 

Yeasted Waffles

Hot breakfasts are a MUST for my family on Saturday or Sunday mornings.  We love waking up, making coffee and cooking up something delicious.  I have been on the search for the perfect waffle recipe.  I had read some rumblings about yeasted waffles online and finally decided to give it a go!  I will never make another kind of waffles!  These are light, crispy and delicious.  You can make the batter the night before and it will even keep in the fridge for a few days!

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon Instant Yeast
2 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Milk
1 Stick Butter, Melted and Cooled
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 EggsCombine the dry ingredients, then the milk, and finally the melted and cooled butter and vanilla.

Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge (or at room temperature).  Pre heat your waffle iron.
Separate the eggs (or not, it’s up to you) and stir the yolks into the batter. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Stir these gently into the batter as well.  Spread batter onto iron and bake 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or keep them warm in a 200-300 degree preheated oven.  Trust me, these won’t last long!

Eclair Chocolate Pudding

Hey Everyone!  Here is another great recipe.  This is a great dessertto take to a summer potluck/picnic.  It keeps well in the fridge, and is better the next day!  Another tip–feel free to use sugar free pudding, nonfat milk, fat free grahams and sugarfree/fat free cool whip for a low-cal healthier option that still tastes yummy!  If you are in a time crunch, you can use chocolate syrup instead of making your own chocolate topping.  It’s good—but making your own is super delicious and worth the effort in my opinion.

Ingredients

1 pkg.  (3.4 oz.)  Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
2cups  cold milk, divided
1 tub  (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
22 graham crackers
1pkg.  (4 oz Unsweetened Chocolate
¼ cup  butter
1-1/2 cups  powdered sugar

Directions

  • BEAT pudding mix and 1-3/4 cups milk in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in cool whip. Layer about 1/3 of the grahams and half the wool whip mixture in 13×9-inch pan, breaking grahams as necessary to fit; repeat layers. Top with remaining grahams.
  • MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in medium microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 min., stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar and remaining milk; stir until well blended. Immediately spread over grahams.
  • REFRIGERATE 4 hours and serve!
  • For a fun option add maraschino cherries on top (place them so one will be in each square)

*adapted from kraft recipes

Lentil Burrito Recipe

My husband and I have been making an effort to eat healthier and more sustainably.  This is a tricky balance because cutting out carbs and adding in high protein diets isn’t so great for the planet.  We think we’ve found a pretty good balance of cutting out most processed foods and trying to eat vegetarian 1-2 x per week.  Here is a great recipe that is easy and delicious. It is perfect for leftovers for lunch the next day as well.

 

Lentil and Rice Burritos

  • 2 cups dry lentils
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 10 full size tortillas (wheat, gluten free, or whatever you chose)
  • 2 cups of spanish rice (we love goya!)
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

To prepare the lentils, rinse them then add them in a pot with 3 ½ to 4 cups of water or use broth for more flavor.  Simmer on low for about 30 minutes–but keep and eye on them, depending on the size of lentils they may cook faster or slower.  Add your taco seasoning and mix.  Prepare your spanish rice.  Then I just fill and wrap each tortilla with about ½ cup of each the lentils and rice and a little sprinkle of cheese.  They can be eaten right away, or toast them in the oven for a little bit.

I have tried this recipe using a mix of quinoa and lentils and it is delicious and a nice twist.  I hope you enjoy!