Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey Tetrazzini

Although I didn't have to make anything for Thanksgiving this year I was lucky enough to acquire some leftovers. Since everyone has another day or two to use the rest of their turkey from Thanksgiving I wanted to share this recipe with you before it was too late. I posted a leftover turkey recipe last year to kick off our first official post for Flavors by Four so I thought it was fitting to bring you another one a year later. This casserole is delicious, the mushrooms are juicy and tender, the bacon brings a nice salty crisp texture and the sauce is creamy. Keep in mind this takes over an hour to make so be sure to give yourself some time.

3 Cups Chopped up Left Over Turkey (White or Dark Meat)
4-5 Cups Chicken Broth
1 1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
4 Strips Pre-Cooked Bacon - Cooked & Crumbled
1 lbs Spaghetti
8oz Cream Cheese - Softened & Cubed
1 Cup White Wine
8oz Mushrooms - Sliced
4 Cloves of Garlic - Minced
4 Tbsp I can't Believe It's Not Butter
1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Grated
1 Cup Colby - Jack Cheese - Shredded
1/2 Cup Flour
Pam Spray
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 F and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove for the pasta. When the water is ready break your spaghetti in half and cook according to package till al dente. In your largest pan melt the margarine over medium heat. When it is melted, add the garlic and saute 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add the mushrooms and saute 3-5 minutes salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the wine and simmer until the liquid reduces by half. This could take between 8-10 minutes.
By now your pasta should be done cooking. Drain, rise, return to the pot & set it aside. Once the wine has reduced you can add in the flour mixing well the entire time to get all the lumps out. Add 2 out of the 5 cups of the chicken broth to the pan. Continue to cook until the mixture becomes thick and a roux has formed stirring as needed which will take at least 10-15 minutes.
Once it has thickened you can reduce the heat to medium low and add the softened cream cheese cubes. Keep mixing until almost all of the cream cheese cubes have melted completely this will take about 10 minutes. It will be creamy and thick now so add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth you have left over to keep it moist.
Start adding all of your other ingredients into the mixture one at a time, stirring well to combine. First the peas, then the crumbled bacon, then both of the cheeses and finally the left over turkey. Also add in another 1/2 cup of chicken broth to keep everything loose which will make it easier to mix into the pasta. Salt & Pepper again to taste.
When you are finished adding all of the ingredients dump it all into the pot with the cooked spaghetti. Add one more cup of chicken broth. Mix everything really well. Make sure all of the pasta has been incorporated especially the spaghetti on the bottom. If it looks a little sloppy that's fine, if not you may need to add that last cup of chicken broth to it. The more moisture the casserole has now the better it will do in the oven because you don't want it to dry out at it bakes.
Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with Pam and pour the entire mixture into the dish. If you need to carefully continue to mix everything together or add more chicken broth while it is in the baking dish. Sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs and bake for 25 minutes until it is bubbling and brown on the top.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend!! Enjoy!! - Nicole

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cranberry Turtle Bars

The countdown has begun.  Will everything get done in time for dinner at 1:30 tomorrow?  My list of things to do is a mile long today and of course I had to add hair dying and a manicure to the list today besides taking my youngest to the oral surgeon to see about her possible wisdom teeth removal.  The only thing cut from today's list is a trip to the gym which is the one thing that should stay on the list but isn't possible. 

Thanksgiving is such a fun day.  My aunt and uncle come from out of state and its the only time all year we see them.  Sam came home from school last night and it will be so nice to see her for a few days.  My other daughters Kathryn and Kelly will be here too along with Kelly's new husband, Aaron.  Unfortunately Nicole who will be spending the day with her in-laws and we will miss seeing her and John.  My sister Sally and niece Shannon will be coming along with my dad and stepmom and Scott's parents.  Each of us has a lot to be very thankful for especially that we can all still be together for Thanksgiving. 

I made these for Nicole and John's housewarming party last weekend.  They were delicious!  This recipe is from

For the base:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes

For the topping:
2 sticks unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 12 oz bag frozen cranberries (not thawed)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
4 oz bittersweet chocolate

First chop the pecans and toast in the oven.  Set aside and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9x13 baking pan with foil, leaving a 2" overhang on all sides.  Butter or spray sides but not the bottom of the foil with baking spray.

To make the base, blend flour, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor, then add butter and pulse until mixture forms pea sized lumps.  Pour into prepared pan, then press down firmly all over with a spoon to form an even layer.
Bake in middle of oven until golden and firm to the touch, 15 to 17 minutes, then cool in pan.

While base is cooling, melt butter in 3 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Boil over moderately high heat stirring occasionally until caramel registers 245 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 8 minutes.
Carefully stir in cranberries.  At this point the caramel will seize up.  Allow the caramel to melt back down, stirring as necessary to prevent burning.  Boil until caramel returns to 245 degrees.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, then stir in pecans until well coated.

Working quickly, spread caramel topping over base using a fork to distribute nuts and berries evenly.  Cool completely.

Lift bars in foil from pan and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into six vertical strips, then five horizontal strips to form 30 bars.  Melt chocolate in microwave on low temperature stirring until smooth.  Drizzle chocolate over bars.  Let stand at room temperature until chocolate sets about an hour or put them in the freezer for a few minutes if you can't wait to eat them.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Susan

Linked at: http://eatathomecooks.com

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Traditional Corn Bread

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I can't believe it's less than a week away, this year has really flown by. The obvious reason why I love Thanksgiving would be the abundance of delicious food. But I think one of the main reasons why I love Thanksgiving is I can enjoy being with my friends and family without the stress of buying and wrapping presents. For years our family ate two dinners on Thanksgiving and there were even a few years I ate at three different houses. So in 29 years I've had my share of turkey and almost every side dish imaginable. My all time favorites would have to be my mom's sweet potato casserole, the dutch apple pie my uncle brings from Pennsylvania and my grandma's mashed potato. Every family has their own set of must have side dishes to accompany their traditional roasted turkey. This corn bread would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving day table.

1 Cup Indian Head Yellow Corn Meal
1 Cup Sifted Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2/3 Cup Skim Milk
2 Egg Beaten
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 F. Grease a 9x9 inch baking dish with a leftover butter wrapper, make sure to get in the edges and corners. In a large bowl combine the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking power and salt. In a medium sized bowl combine the milk, oil and the beaten eggs.
Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the bowl with the mixed dry ingredients. Using a few swift strokes combine the two sets of ingredients together until smooth. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until it is golden brown on top and begins to crack. Let sit 5 minutes to cool before slicing into squares.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies

Here is yet another pumpkin recipe. If you are tired of the usual pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving then these would make a nice change.  Pumpkin is so much better when mixed with something else like cream cheese and chocolate.  The brownie part of these bars was so rich it tasted like fudge in a cake like way - not the too sweet candy way.  I will definitely be making these again.  These are from

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter, cut up
2-1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with foil extending the foil over the edges of the pan.  Grease the foil, set pan aside.

In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and the 1 tbsp butter with a mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add the 1/2 cup sugar.  Beat until well combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in 1 egg, the pumpkin, 1 tsp vanilla, and cinnamon until well combined.  Stir in 1 tbsp flour.  Set aside.

In a small bowl stir together the 1-1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan combine chocolate and the 3/4 cups butter.

Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.  Gradually add 2-1/4 cups sugar, beating with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined.  Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the milk and the 2 tsp vanilla.  Gradually beat in flour mixture until combined.

Spread chocolate mixture evenly in prepared pan. 

Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of chocolate batter.  Using a knife, gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate batter.

Bake about 60 minutes or until center is set when pan is gently shaken.  Cool in pan.  Use foil to lift uncut brownies out of pan to cut into squares.  Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

Enjoy!  Susan

This is linked to www.gooseberrypatch

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spinach, Tomato, Basil and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

By now you may be completely sick of our pumpkin, apple and butternut squash obsession. So to break things up I figured I post something that has no association with fall flavors what so ever. That way when our next post is a pumpkin dessert or hearty fall dinner you won't judge us. John and I eat chicken I'd say 4 nights a week so things obviously can get repetitive. I'm always looking for a new recipe that will transform our regular everyday chicken breast into something creative and flavorful. This dish is perfect to add to your regular dinner rotation. Give it a try tonight!

1 Package of Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts (4-5)
15oz Ricotta Cheese Part Skim
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Grated
1/2 Pint Grape Tomatoes (Split in Half)
2 Cloves of Garlic - Minced
1 Cup Baby Spinach - Chopped / Stems trimmed
10 Fresh Basil Leaves - Chopped
2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
2 Eggs for wash
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
You can begin by prepping your veggies. Chop your spinach and basil, slice your tomatoes and mince your garlic. Then preheat the oven to 400 F. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese.
Add the spinach and basil. Mix gently to combine. S & P both sides of each chicken breast. On a cutting board carefully make a slit in the largest section of each chicken breast. Be careful not to cut all the way through or all of the stuffing will come out the bottom when they are cooking. Fill each breast with as much of the mixture as you can.
Put your breadcrumbs in a shallow dish, if they are plain be sure to add the Italian seasoning and give it a good stir. Put the eggs in a bowl and scrambled them. Carefully dip each breast in the egg than the panko making sure to cover the sides and the top, shaking off any excess. Heat up the olive oil in a large oven safe pan over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and brown the bottoms for about 5 minutes. In the past I would've tried to flip each breast but it always is disastrous so don't bother because everything will get crispy and brown in the oven while they bake.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes uncovered. When they are done please learn from my lesson and be extra careful. I burned my hand very badly and it actually left a scar on my palm for weeks. I guess I wasn't thinking after I took the pan out of the oven I grabbed it with my bear hand since it wouldn't normally been that hot I wasn't thinking.  Good thing the chicken came out delicious because it distracted me from my burn.
Enjoy!! - Nicole

This is linked to

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling

I saw these in the October Food Network Magazine and knew I wanted to try them.  Luckily I had to bring a dessert to a meeting I was going to so my husband and I didn't need to eat them all ourselves.  The pumpkin taste is very light when mixed with the cream cheese and goes very well with the chocolate.  I have a question.  Why can't they make buttermilk in a pint container like they do with heavy cream and half and half instead of a quart container?  It doesn't last very long and I always end up throwing half the buttermilk away. 


1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

To make the cookies:  Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg, then the buttermilk, and vanilla.  Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Drop scoops of batter about 1 tbsp each onto prepared baking sheet spacing them 3 inches apart.  Bake until edges are set but the cookies are still soft, about 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let the cookies cool about 2 minutes on baking sheets until transferring to cooling racks.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl with a mixer until smooth.  Slowly beat in the confectioners sugar until smooth.  Add the pumpkin, cinnamon and salt and beat until smooth.

To assemble whoopie pies, spread heaping spoonful of filling on flat side of a cookie and sandwich with another cookie.  Repeat with remaining cookies. 

Enjoy!  Susan

This is linked to

Friday, November 4, 2011

Apple Cider Sauerkraut Pork Chops

This is a great fall dinner that is easy to prepare and has a great flavor. I got this recipe from my mom but I decided to make it my own way. She uses a thicker cut of pork and gravy instead of apple cider. I really enjoyed my version, its lighter and quicker although I like my mom's way as well. This pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes and green beans. 

4 Thin Sliced Pork Chops
1 Apple - Sliced
1 Cup Apple Cider
1 1/2 Cup Sauerkraut
1 Cup Plain Breadcrumbs
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Begin by preheating your oven to 375 F. Salt and Pepper both sides of the pork chops. Put a large pan over medium heat and add your olive oil. Dip the pork chop first in the egg wash and then into the breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess and place them in the pan. Brown each side for 5 minutes.
When they are finished cooking pour the apple cider into the bottom of the pan. Place a heaping spoonful of sauerkraut on top of each pork chop. Slice up the apple, putting two large slices on top of the sauerkraut. Cover the pan and roast it in the oven for 15 minutes. This will alllow the apples to soften, the sauerkraut to warm up and the pork chops to become tender from the acid in the cider. Delicious!!
Enjoy!! - Nicole

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