Simple Apple Slaw on Cranberry BBQ Turkey Sliders

Well, it turns out that making an entire turkey for two people means meat for at least two weeks.  We’re still working our way through last week’s turkey.

Last night, that meant trying out Giada’s Cranberry Barbeque Sauce Turkey Sliders.  It was good, even if I edited it a bit to make it easier.  In fact, I made it a lot easier.  And the key take-away points?

  1. Making things easier is always fun.
  2. Apple slaw is something you should try, and soon.

The slaw was the winner here.  It was a fun texture, super easy to make, and the dressing was just enough to notice.  Lovely all around!sliders

Giada’s Cranberry BBQ Sauce Turkey Sliders (with apple slaw)–the easy way

Ingredients

Celery Apple Slaw:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored but not peeled, cut into 2-inch matchsticks

Cranberry Sauce:

  • 1 one-lb. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or less if you like your cranberries super tart like I do)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced

The Rest:

  • 3 cups shredded turkey (or chopped however you like your turkey on your sandwich)
  • barbeque sauce of your choice–we like Scott’s homemade kind best, but that’s a recipe for another post
  • 12 dinner rolls

Directions

Combine the cranberries, maple syrup, cinnamon stick, orange zest and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Using the back of your spoon, lightly mash the cranberries to desired consistency. Chill until ready to serve (or serve warm like I prefer it).
While the cranberry sauce is simmering, chop up the apple and celery ribs, then put them into a medium bowl.  Combine the other slaw ingredients (small quantity of dressing) in a jar or bowl and mix, then pour over celery and apples.
Place the turkey into a large bowl and pour the barbeque sauce over the turkey, stirring to coat evenly with the sauce. You can serve the meat cold or warm, so just microwave or heat in a saucepan if you prefer your turkey warm.
To serve, toast rolls in a toaster oven or actual oven until warm, place turkey onto the bottom half of the roll, add a small amount of cranberry sauce over the turkey (a little bit of tart goes a long way), and pile apple slaw as high as you can without toppling the entire thing into a heap on the plate.
sliders to mouthThen get that tasty little slider to your mouth as quickly as possible.
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Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup a la Hannah

The Pioneer Woman is the source of this recipe, as is true for many many good recipes.  And a friend pointed us towards this recipe in particular.  It’s like our friends know we love eating or something.  Nice friends.

But I call it mine because I made one HUGE change to this recipe.  Where PDubs (as we affectionately call her at home) uses 4 cups of half and half, 2 cups of whole milk, and a dash of heavy cream, I used 1% milk.  Yep, approximately 6 cups of 1% milk.  That’s a risky change, and one that probably does alter the taste and consistency of this dish.  Without tasting it, I can tell you that PDubs’ version of the recipe is more delicious.

photo by Ree Drummond (found on thepioneerwoman.com)

photo by Ree Drummond (found on thepioneerwoman.com)

Mine, however, doesn’t make me cringe as I pour ingredients into the soup.  And with the broth and sausage and potatoes, the milk difference disappeared really well into the background.  Substitution success!

Also, if you always buy the spicy Italian sausage instead of the sweet or the mild (because that’s just how you roll), I beg you not to add the crushed red pepper that the recipe calls for.  Either spice factor is enough.  Both together might be hotter than spicy chicken wings.  I may or may not know that from experience.

But wait, there’s more to the story.

You’re supposed to let this simmer for a while, right?  For 30 minutes, to be precise.  Which is supposed to happen right after you add milk to the pot.  I did that.  I was feeling super lazy and tired, so I got everything together and literally walked away until the bell dinged.  Turns out that not stirring your milk-based soup for 30 minutes makes your milk smell burned.  Then the smell of burned milk soup might make you cry, as you look at this beautiful pot of soup that you ruined.  It made me feel approximately like this sad panda:

photo from zeroturnaround.com

photo from zeroturnaround.com

Just give it a chance though.  Even if you’re lazy and sometimes forget how to be a good cook, there’s hope.  Stir it a lot and eat it anyway.  It was delicious despite the burned milk scare.  I’m not sure how that was possible, but it happened.

If a meal can be burned and neglected and substituted within an inch of its life and still taste good, I approve.  This, my friends, is a good recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup

Just in time, a fantastic recipe for butternut squash soup!  This is a great cool weather classic, and we’ve been making it once or twice a year from different recipes.  This time, I think I’ve found the winner.

The other recipes used lots of heavy cream, which is of course delicious.  This recipe opts for green apple and chicken broth instead of heavy cream, and it works.  It’s healthier than the competition and just as tasty (if different).  There’s a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon mixed with a very generous pinch of cayenne in this recipe, and those spices made the soup more complex and just more fun.  It wasn’t too spicy or too hot, but it definitely had special something.

butternut squash soupAs you can see, this is tasty with bacon crumbles and Parmesan cheesy bread.  If we had a fully stocked cheese drawer last night, I might have gone for a more traditional cheesy bread option like cheddar.

Cheesy bread or not, I hope you enjoy some butternut squash soup this season.  It just feels right to eat a giant bowl full of butternut squashy goodness at this time of year.

Sunday Party-Worthy Beef and Butternut Stew/Chili + Rosemary Apple Galette

Sunday was Cook for Lots of Folks Day, which is fun as long as it doesn’t happen every week.  In this case, it was lots of fun.  I started with a recipe I’ve loved for a few years and moved on to something new and adventurous (for me).

This is the old, familiar recipe:  Cooking Light’s Beef and Butternut Chili.  Only I think it’s more of a stew than a chili.  Call it what you will, it’s delicious and complex and rich while remaining healthy.  That’s a pretty amazing combo.

photo by Ditte Isegar (via myrecipes.com)

I usually make it with venison, but we didn’t have 4.5 pounds of venison in the freezer right now (that’s the meat requirement if you triple the recipe).  We used beef as called for, and it was just as delicious as the venison version.  (Yes, I’ve posted this before as a good recipe for venison.  It deserves another shout-out.  It really does.)

Okay, so familiar out of the way.  On to the adventurous!

The adventure came in the form of my first homemade pie crust and the new-to-me combo of rosemary and apple in a dessert.  A friend posted this recipe on Facebook (she added cranberries to hers, which seems like a great idea), and I’m sure glad she did!

I’ve been scared to make homemade pie crust for the past few years, but the rustic look of this tart convinced me to try it out.  I can do rustic.  Also, we have lots and lots of rosemary in our front garden.  It turns out that apples and rosemary are a good combo no matter which part of the meal they belong to.

This is not my food, but it looks a lot like mine did:

photo from galleryhip.com

photo from galleryhip.com

Ours went straight from oven to car to stomachs without any time for pictures.  It was a good journey.

Before the tart made it out of the oven, I realized that the crust wasn’t browning the way I wanted it to.  Fortunately, I was armed with helpful information from my Food Network addiction.  It turns out that if you brush milk on the crust and push it back into the oven, it browns up perfectly, even with only five minutes to bake.

You should bake up a pie today so you can try it out.  Call it a learning experience, not random, unnecessary pie.  There’s no such thing as unnecessary pie.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chorizo and Other Tasty Things

Yes, the stuffed squash passed the test last night at dinner.  While I was making it, I realized that I’ve cooked a whole ton of stuffed things lately.  There were stuffed pasta shells, stuffed squash, stuffed apples (that weren’t actually stuffed), stuffed chicken, and that might be it.  But that’s a lot.

Why so many stuffed foods?  Well, the stuffed foods that I picked tend to include all of my desired food types in one neat, flavorful spot.  They are usually vegetables (or fruit, or every once in a while pasta) stuffed with meat and something bready and maybe some cheese.  What else do you need?  I love it when I can make one dish that just about covers everything.  And compared to a pasta dish that contains the same ingredients, I think the ratio of ingredients is better.  It’s usually a pretty even split between meat, vegetable, and starch.

Last night’s dinner proved to be worth all 40 minutes, even if I didn’t want to get off of the couch to make it.  We had chorizo-stuffed acorn squash from Real Simple.

chorizo-stuffed-squash-ictcrop_300

photo by Jose Picayo

I was kind of dreading the cutting and de-seeding of the squash, because that can be a bear with spaghetti squash.  I’m happy to report that acorn squash is easier to work with.  And the stuffed innards were delicious.  I might have tripled the chorizo content in the recipe.  And I used wheat berries instead of bulgur.  And the chorizo was “fresh,” not cured.  And I might have completely changed the recipe.  Oops.  There were other minor adjustments due to a total lack of measuring.  It worked though, and I can also attest that this is just as delicious out of a microwave the next day.

Tonight is leftover night, so there will be more microwave action in my future.  I can’t wait!

I’m Employed!

Well, I’m technically not employed yet.  But I did get a job offer, and I’ve signed an acceptance of that offer, so it’s pretty official.  I’m really excited about it.  I get to dust off my library skills, and I even get to hang out with co-workers who like reading.  It’s going to be good.

photo from theoutreachlibrarian.com

photo from theoutreachlibrarian.com

In addition to new co-workers and schedules and an inability to wear sweatpants every day, the new job also means it’s time for me to break out the cleaning supplies.  I have three business days between now and my first day of work, and we have guests visiting this weekend, next weekend, and for Thanksgiving.  We’re really really glad we get to see friends and family.  I just don’t want them to fully experience the stink bug genocide on our floor.  I know I keep talking about it, but who likes cleaning up stink bugs?  I’ve been avoiding it.

Last but not least, we’ve returned to some fall recipe favorites from last year.  You can check those out here.  We had the chicken with brussels sprouts and rosemary potatoes and mustard sauce the other day.  Next time, I need to make double the mustard sauce, but you live and learn.  And tonight is stuffed apple night, unstuffed (recipe on the same post).  Between the Italian sausage and the apples, I’m looking forward to it.

photo from Cooking Light (by John Autry)

photo from Cooking Light (by John Autry)

Mmm.