Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

November 27, 2021

Note: This is a repost from last year because this soup is my favorite way to use up turkey after Thanksgiving. The broth is so good if you make it from your turkey carcass, but if you don’t have it don’t let that stop you. This is the ultimate healthy comfort food. 

I didn’t intend for this to be a blog post. This dish started as me just using up the turkey carcasses we froze after Thanksgiving.

But then I tasted it.

As usual with home cooking, simple ingredients, slow cooked, with flavor make the best best dishes. And this soup was SO delicious I had to share it. So here we are. If you don’t have a turkey carcass left over, consider just making this with chicken. It is that good you can’t wait until next year.

I made a huge pot of Turkey stock yesterday in our lobster pot and cooked for 3+ hours. If you have never made stock, check out my post here.

While it simmered, I cleaned out the fridge and tackled organizing projects in the kitchen. So basically, a clean fridge plus a delicious soup with crusty bread on a cold rainy day = the perfect evening. Plus making stock is so great for using up all those veggies in the veggie drawer that have seen better days.

Sometimes it can be hard to sell my family on soup for dinner, but everyone took a bite of this and raved. It is totally thanks to the delicious broth that adds so much depth of flavor, plus the comforting, stick to your ribs feeling from the creaminess of the butter and milk and cream.

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I hope you still have a turkey carcass you can use up! If not, just pull this post up next year. You’ll be so glad you did!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (find printer version here):

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice blend*
  • 1 small yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 2 ribs celery , diced
  • 6 Tablespoons butter , divided
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 4 1/2 cups turkey (or chicken) broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey meat, diced (can substitute chicken breasts, see step 5)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or half & half)
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.

  3. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until slightly tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

  4. Stir in the broth, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. *If using chicken breasts, add and bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to boil for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, then remove chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.. If using pre-cooked turkey, skip to next step.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add turkey meat (or chicken meat) and cooked rice to the soup.

  7. In a separate medium saucepan melt remaining 5 Tbsp butter over medium heat.

  8. Add flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken.

  9. Add this mixture to the soup pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in heavy cream or half & half. Serve warm.

Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch’s Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Crème fraîche, Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes

November 18, 2021

You guys. These are the BEST mashed potatoes. I am thrilled to share them, crazy about them, and hope someone out there gets to try them.

But first a little back story:

After we had our twins, we decided to get our Thanksgiving meal from a good restaurant. It felt smart and easy and we all enjoyed the day and still cooked a few sides and apps. It was so good we did it again when they were 1. The next year, my sister passed away right before Thanksgiving, and in our grief, we got it again. The next year Covid still had us turned upside-down so we ordered it again, but a big hole was felt by my sister and me and my mom (even though she had still always made her stuffing because we can’t have Thanksgiving without it). We missed our traditions.

So this year we are finally taking it back, and it feels like we have emerged from some kind of tunnel and I can see the light.

So with that backstory, I was so exited to find some ways to update the classics on our families Thanksgiving menu. When I saw this post from Ali’s Kitchen it looked beautiful! She used scallions and cilantro, but I had so many herbs on my deck I decided to use a combination of scallions, thyme, parsley, and cilantro. Then I thought about the chicken that I made from Mimi Thorisson’s cookbook with creme fraiche, shallots, garlic and lots of herbs. Ali’s potatoes call for buttermilk but I thought they would be so good with creme fraiche.

I was right. Oh my gosh, the tang it gives the potatoes is almost like a hint of lemon. (Some lemon zest would be a fun addition to these flavors too).

So let’s talk mashed potatoes. My no-fail way to make them is always to peel and cube Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, and then put them in a pan with water, then put that over medium high heat and bring that to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife and they feel tender.

Once you have mashed the potatoes, stir in the butter, salt and pepper, and creme fraiche. I really can’t get over how good these are with this tangy, creamy addition.

To make the herby mixture, heat 3 T. oil in a pan, and add scallions, garlic and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the rest of the herbs, salt and red pepper flakes. (These are optional but I almost recommend serving kids some of the potatoes with out the herby mixture and letting the adults have it with the heat.) Keep in mind you can use any combination of your favorite herbs here, but this combination was really good.

I hope you get to try these they are swoon – worthy. And I hope your Thanksgiving is full of food, family and fun.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Crème fraîche, Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

5 lbs. Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 T. unsalted butter (add more to taste if preferred)

2   7-8 oz packages Crème fraîche

3 T. salt, divided + more to taste

milk, if needed for texture

pepper

For the Herby Garnish:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced, to yield a heaping half cup or so
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional but so good)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Place potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Return the potatoes to the pan and sprinkle 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp pepper over them and add 2 T. butter. Mash the potatoes, stirring to incorporate the butter and salt. When mashed, stir in the creme fraiche and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

To make herb topping, heat pan over medium heat with 3 T. olive oil. Add scallions, shallots, and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add parsley, cilantro, and thyme. Add salt and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes more until onions are browned a little and everything is fragrant.

When you are ready to serve, put hot potatoes in a bowl and swirl it around to create peaks and valleys. Spoon herby topping while it is warm all over. If needed, put tin foil over it until you are ready to serve.

 

 

Cream of Mushroom Soup

November 12, 2021

When I was little, I loved Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Pouring the thick white base with lines from the can still formed onto its sides that was studded with chewy mushrooms.  Adding the milk, and whisking until they were sort of combined, bumps were fine. It was heaven.

To an eight year old.

As a grown up, it’s pretty gross.

The good news is that it is very quick and easy to make a cream of mushroom soup from scratch that is filled with the creamy umami goodness that it’s canned cousin slightly possesses.

You start with browning a mix of cremini and shiitake mushrooms, and after reserving a cupful for later, you add the aromatics of shallots and garlic…

Then you add the dried tarragon, which goes so well with mushrooms I pretty much add it whenever I am cooking with them.

Then add broth, simmer for 10 minutes…

At this point you have some options that are all based on personal preferences. You could eat it like this, or to have a bit more of a refined soup, you can insert your immersion blender and go. Some people like to completely blend the soup so it is a thick, creamy base with the reserved mushrooms added back in. But I guess as a nod to my Campbell’s soup days, I like little chewy bits of mushrooms in my soup.

So I like to process it until it is chunky, not creamy.

This is the perfect dish to serve to guests who may be visiting for Thanksgiving, or to have a steamy bowl set at each place setting to set the meal off. If you want to get really fancy, you could thicken it a little (find out ways to thicken sauces here, my favorite is to mix a little flour and butter together to make a roux) and use this as a base for your green bean casserole, which is one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Or just make it on a rainy Friday in November like today.

It’s the perfect recipe for when you walk by beautiful mushrooms in your grocery, and it only takes a few more minutes then the stuff from a can. But your inner child will still love the stick-to-your-ribs comfort food feeling you get. I promise.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Ingredients: 

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups mushrooms – a mix of cremini (or button) and shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, roughly chopped or sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 4 shallots, minced (about 3/4 -1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat oil on medium heat. When hot, add butter, and once it has melted add the mushrooms, tossing to coat in the butter and oil. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove one cup of the mushrooms to add back in later.

Add shallots and garlic to pot, and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Add the tsp. salt, tarragon, and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Once soup has cooled a bit, use an immersion blender to puree the soup. (You can also use a standing blender, but I like my soup with chunks rather than totally smooth, so I prefer the immersion blender.) Once it is your desired level of thickness, stir in cream, pepper and add extra mushrooms and parsley to the pot. Taste and check for seasonings and serve.

 

 

Mussels with White Wine, Leeks & Chorizo

October 30, 2021

 

I love ordering mussels at restaurants. Fortunately there are so many restaurants near us in Portsmouth NH and Portland Maine that have them on their menus. They are sort of an interactive food, since you are eating the sweet, meaty mussels and then using the shells or some crusty bread or a spoon to scoop up the aromatic broth they are cooked in which tastes like heaven- acid from the wine, aromatic garlic and leeks, and the earthy taste of the ocean from the mussels. I love the spicy kick from the chorizo so much that I love adding it but they are good without it if you don’t have it or don’t love spice.

They are also really easy to make at home. Once you find a good fish monger who carries them like Whole Foods or specialty stores all you need to do is sort through them to make sure you are only cooking healthy, living mussels (aka the ones that are tightly closed and smell briny and not fishy). Then find some yummy base flavors like onions, leeks, garlic, wine, herbs, and you’ll end up with something delicious.

Then put a lid on them and they cook very quickly.

They are easy, fast and cheap to make at home, but they feel like a bistro/restaurant quality meal. I think the main reason home cooks shy away from them is the difficulty in figuring out if they are good or not. So here is a quick guide to help and once you do it a few times you get the hang of it (adapted from this post here if you want to learn more).

I hope you get to make them soon! Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

BUYING FRESH MUSSELS

  • Prime mussel season is from October to March.
  • Mussels are alive and are kept on ice at the market. They will often come in a mesh bag with a tag indicating harvest location, date, and use by date. If the mussels are loose in the case, you can ask your fishmonger to show you the tag.
  • Let your nose be your guide! Mussels should smell like the ocean and sea air: briny and fresh. They should not smell overly fishy.
  • The shells should be closed tightly. If you find any mussels in your bag with open shells, gently tap them on the counter, wait a minute, and see if they close. Discard any mussels don’t close, or those with chipped or cracked shells.
  • Transport mussels home from the market in an open-topped bag that can breathe. Tightly tying them up in a plastic bag without air circulation will risk smothering and spoiling them.

 

Mussels with White Wine, Leeks & Chorizo

Ingredients:

2 pounds of mussels

1 Tablespoon butter

2 leeks, light green and white parts washed and sliced

3-4 garlic cloves

1 cup chorizo, sliced lengthwise and then in 1/2 inch sliced or crumbled

1 cup white wine

2 cups stock (chicken, seafood or vegetable all work)

3 stalks fresh thyme leaves

3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Sort mussels, removing any that are open. Soak in a bowl of water with a 1/4 cup of flour for 10 minutes.

Melt butter in wide pan, then add leeks. Saute for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add chorizo and cook 2-3 minutes, then add white wine and cook a few minutes, then add chicken stock, thyme, parsley and mussels and cover. Cook 8 minutes. Remove lid and stir in cream, then pour into a serving dish. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

 

 

Apple Kale Salad with Honeycrips, Cheddar & Cinnamon Vinaigrette

October 14, 2021

I first saw this salad on How Sweet Eats and it is just so pretty I had to try it. And it was so good I had to blog it! It is the perfect fall celebration and since we just went apple picking last weekend we have lots of apples to make more. Its the smokey pepita clusters that do it for me. If you are having any trouble finding the pepitas try the bulk section of your local grocery store.

The smokey-sweet-salty combo is so good I’m thinking of trying it on everything. And the pecans are good enough to make for the holidays.

And I love getting my kale already washed and sliced. It made this salad come together so quickly.

The earthy kale, sweet apple, cinnamon vinaigrette all come together with a delightful crunch from the toppings. It feels amazingly healthy and a symphony of fall flavor at the same time.

This fall has been totally glorious, and after the fresh, easy cooking of summer I am craving having time to cook cozy cold weather meals. But it has been so warm this salad works perfectly. This is definitely happening again soon at my house, and I might even mix it up with some goat cheese or sliced chicken breast on top. I hope you get to try this one because it is going into our annual fall recipe pile.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Apple Kale Salad with Honeycrips, Cheddar & Cinnamon Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

SMOKY HONEY PEPITA CLUSTERS

  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt

SWEET AND SPICY TOASTED PECANS

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

CINNAMON SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

SALAD

    • 4 to 6 cups chopped tuscan kale
    • 2 honeycrisp apples thinly sliced
    • 3 ounces freshly grated sharp white cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

SMOKY HONEY PEPITA CLUSTERS

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Microwave the coconut oil and honey together until melted, about 30 seconds. Stir the pepitas in a large bowl with the honey mixture, salt and smoked paprika. Place them on the baking sheet and smooth them out with a spatula – you still want them clustered so you can break them apart after baking!
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and toss slightly. Let cool completely before breaking apart.

SWEET AND SPICY TOASTED PECANS

  • Heat the pecans in a nonstick skillet over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant and toasty. Stir in the honey, red pepper flakes and nutmeg. Let the honey bubble and stir for a few minutes, then transfer the pecans to parchment paper and let them cool completely.

CINNAMON SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

  • Whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, shallot, garlic, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. This keeps great in the fridge for a few days!

SALAD

  • Massage the kale with a tablespoon or so of the dressing and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. I like to season the kale at this point with salt and pepper too. Slice the apples and combine the apples, cheese, pecans and pepita clusters with the kale and toss well. Serve with the vinaigrette!

Recipe reposted from How Sweet Eats 

French Onion Chicken Meatballs

October 6, 2021

 

Recently someone asked me what my food philosophy is, or my POV. And I thought about it and realized it is somewhere between that romantic rustic country kitchen – one with a fire going, with some dogs and a bowl of rising bread nearby – and ‘I have 20 minutes in between getting home from the grocery store and leaving for football practice to make dinner’. What do we call that POV? Old world meets new world? Classic meets modern? Anyone else feel that way?

Either way, this dinner perfectly fits this food philosophy. The feel of a slow cooked french onion soup with the stick to your ribs in a healthy way chicken meatballs? Yes please. I actually wanted to make this recipe because it combined my husbands two favorite things and let me tell you, he was thrilled with the leftovers.

But the best is that it is a pretty quick recipe since it has you bake the meatballs while the the onions are cooking, cutting your cook time in half. Multitasking is the middle name of whatever we’re calling my food perspective. Can I get an amen?

Our crew was split down the middle for a carb vehicle for these meatballs – team egg noodle vs. team mashed potatoes. I was part of the later and loved how the gravy soaked into the potatoes, but both teams pretty much won since everyone loved this dish. This would also be AH-mazing in between some crusty bread for a twist on a meatball sub.

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If you haven’t already memorized your favorite meatball recipe, may I suggest that it is a huge help when you are rushing and you just need to get food on the table? We put meatballs into our favorite simmer tomato sauce, into soups, and into the oven to bake so frequently that it helps to memorize certain ratios – for every 1 pound of the meat of your choice, it is 1 tsp. salt, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1/4-1/2 cup cheese, 2 cloves of garlic (use that garlic press and it is so easy) and a handful of chopped parsley. This is also pretty close to how I make mini-meatloaves too. So whether you are making chicken, turkey, beef or other meatballs, it is always the same format, and once you have it down it goes really fast. Also, stale bread in the Ninja blender makes the best breadcrumbs.

This is the perfect busy night, crowd pleasing dish. We’re so excited to add this to our dinner rotation, hope you get to try it soon!

French Onion Chicken Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE MEATBALLS

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, for baking sheet

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 c. shredded Gruyère

1/4 c. bread crumbs

2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley

1 large egg, beaten

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

FOR THE SAUCE

4 tbsp. butter

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 c. low-sodium beef broth

2 tsp. freshly chopped thyme, plus more for garnish

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 c. shredded Gruyère

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a large baking sheet with foil and rub with oil.
  2. Make meatballs: In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, Gruyère, bread crumbs, parsley, egg, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 16 meatballs, then place on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden and cooked through, 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile make sauce: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook until very soft and golden, 25 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add broth and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until slightly thickened, 10 minutes.
  4. Add meatballs to skillet and sprinkle with Gruyère. Cover and cook until meatballs are warmed through and cheese is melty, 5 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with thyme.

Recipe from delish.com