Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Make Your Own: Turkey Stock

Sunday night a friend invited us over for a big turkey dinner.  It was delicious-and I got to take home the turkey carcass!

I love making my own stock, because it makes me feel very, very thrifty and the flavor that it adds to dishes is really incomparable.  This recipe is my own-and you can individualize it even further to suit your family's tastes or to coincide with what you had on hand.  For this recipe, you will need a very large stockpot.

Start by giving a rough chop to the veggies you'll use to flavor your stock.  I used carrots, celery, potatoes, and a large quartered onion.  The larger you make the pieces, the easier they will be to separate out later.

Put all your turkey scraps into a stockpot along with the veggies.  Sprinkle generously with salt & pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon each dried ground sage and dried thyme.  Add 3 quarts (12 cups) water.

Bring this to a full boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Turn down the heat to medium-low, and continue to simmer for 3 hours.  This is what mine looked like after 3 hours:

Taste for flavor after 3 hours, adding more seasoning as necessary.  Continue to simmer until the stock reaches your desired level of concentration.  I prefer my stock very strong, so that when I cook with it I have to add water.  I feel like this allows me to control the flavor more-a stronger and weaker turkey flavor depending on the dish.

After stock has reached the desired strength, let cool to room temperature.  Strain to remove large pieces of vegetables and turkey scraps.  Refrigerate overnight, and then skim the top layer of fat off the next day.  Because I rarely use the stock within the next few days, I freeze it in jumbo muffin tins:

After the stock freezes, I pop the individual pieces into a large ziploc bag, and defrost as needed.  Enjoy!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This is sheer comfort food.

I know some of you may wrinkle your nose at just the words "Tuna Noodle Casserole" but I promise this recipe will change your mind about this age-old, classic dish.  Even the most picky eaters will love!  This is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
(8 servings at 9 PointsPlus each)

-12 oz whole wheat egg noodles
-1 T olive oil
-1/2 yellow onion, chopped
-6 carrots, peeled and chopped
-2 T all purpose flour
-2 3/4 cups skim milk
-1/2 cup (4 oz) 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
-2 T Dijon mustard
-salt & pepper to taste
-1 cup frozen peas, thawed
-1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, divided
-1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
-2 (5 ounce) cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked
-cooking spray

1.  Preheat broiler & then cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt & fat.  Drain.
2.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add onion & carrot; cook 6 minutes or until carrot is almost tender, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with flour & cook one minutes, stirring constantly.
3.  Gradually stir in milk; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until slightly thick.  Stir in cream cheese, mustard, salt and pepper.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
4.  Remove pan from heat.  Stir in noodles, peas, 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and tuna.  Spoon mixture into a shallow broiler-safe 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and breadcrumbs.  Broil 3 minutes or until golden.  Let stand 5 mintues before serving.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chicken & Tortellini Soup

Call this a come-back post.  It's been months since I've updated this blog, and after popular demand (or by request of Laurie & Lisa, you choose) I've decided to stop being lazy and start blogging my recipes again.  Only this time, everything is going to be bigger and badder.  I'm putting a little more effort into how I present recipes on my blog, and cleaning it all up a bit.  I originally found this recipe on the Becoming Betty blog, via Pinterest.  Her recipe seemed perfect as written, but I modified it according to what I had on hand and the effort I was willing to put in with measuring out amounts of veggies.  The result was a hearty soup that made SO much that I'm freezing over 5 servings.  A small family could easily halve this recipe.

Chicken Tortellini Soup
(10 servings of 1 & 3/4 cup; 8 PointsPlus/serving)

-2 T light-tasting olive oil
-2 medium onions chopped in your food processor
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-7 stalks of celery, chopped in your food processor
-7 carrots, peeled and sliced into small rounds
-1 T italian seasoning
-1 dried bay leaf
-3 quarts (12 cups) fat free chicken broth
-20 oz package Buitoni mixed cheese fresh tortellini
-3 large chicken breasts, cooked & diced to bite sized pieces (I cooked mine for 20 min in boiling water)
-2 chicken bullion cubes
-salt & pepper, parmesan cheese to taste

1.  Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, Italian seasoning, and bay leaf.  Cook and stir constantly for 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened slightly.  If you cut your carrots thicker, like me, then this will take a little longer.
2.  Pour in the chicken broth and add the bullion.  Bring the liquid to a boil.
3.  Add the tortellini and simmer for 5 minutes until al dente.  Fold in the cooked chicken and simmer for 2 more minutes.
4.  Season with salt & pepper; serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.