Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weekly Recipe Roundup

When my freezer reaches a certain overflowing capacity, I feel the need to get creative with my weekly menus to try to clean it out. We have a "bread" basket in the freezer that Wes despises. Imagine about 5 different bags of hot dog buns - all with 1 bun inside, a few random dinner rolls packaged and saved, a few mismatched buns, and not enough of any one thing to create a meal. I'm proud to say the bread basket is down to the nubs now, as in you can almost see the bottom! No rest for the weary though, Wes won't be pleased until it's completely bare. Until then, I'll forge on to create hot dog bun sandwiches and any other bread-related entree I can come up with.

It just so happens there are 2 other baskets in said freezer that are also filled to the brim. For whatever reason I've developed this Depression mentality and can't throw anything away. I seriously feel like my grandmother as I freeze and save every scrap of leftovers. Waste not, want not, right?

On to the recipes. I had some leftover turkey from my pre-Thanksgiving feast and wanted to use it in something before it froze into an unidentifiable blob. I wanted an easy casserole that I could prepare ahead of time and then just stick in the oven. I typically use noodles in my one-pot casseroles but I had the idea that brown rice would be a good and healthier alternative. So brown rice, turkey, frozen corn, and peas it was. I wanted to make my own condensed soup so I wouldn't have to rely on old Campbell's. Maybe you'll whip up something similar with your T-day leftovers!

Turkey & Rice Casserole

1 1/2 cups cooked and shredded turkey
2-3 cups cooked brown rice (for more flavor use 1/2 chicken broth when cooking)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (any flavor will work)
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup diced onions
1 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano

Preheat oven to 350 (if you've made it the night before and are reheating, preheat to 375).

In a medium saucepan, heat oil. Add onions, basil, and oregano cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Add flour and cook 1-2 minutes to cook out the flour taste. Gradually add the chicken broth and continue stirring until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, mix cooked turkey, rice, peas, corn, and 1 cup of cheese. Pour broth mixture and stir to incorporate. Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish or a 8x11 pan. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, or until heated throughout.


I had serious doubts about this next recipe. As I was making it ahead this weekend I worried that it would be completely bland and not well received. I decided to make some adjustments as I went along and this Easy Cheeseburger Casserole turned out really good. I mean like good-enough-to-make-again, like I'm-looking-forward-to-my-lunch-tomorrow-good, and I'm-going-to-blog-about-it-good. I'll post my altered version below and I'll site the inspiration recipe too.

Easy Cheeseburger Casserole
adapted from Tammy's Recipes

1 lb turkey
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes (fire roasted are my preference)
1-2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or a blend
3/4 bag wheat egg noodles, cooked

Brown turkey with onion and garlic until fully cooked. Drain.

Raise heat to medium-high and add carrots and red peppers. Cook until peppers begin to get a little soft, 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes and spaghetti sauce until mixture reaches your desired consistency. Turn off heat and gently stir in cooked egg noodles and 3/4 cup cheese.

Transfer mixture to a 9x13 baking dish. Top with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until heated throughout. (If you made this ahead, cook for about 30 minutes to make sure it's heated all the way.)


I did get off the casserole binge and moved on to one of Wes' kind of meals - meat and potatoes. There are some bloggers out there that you just trust and know their dishes will strike your fancy as well. A picture is one thing but a tried and true recipe speaks volumes. Generally someone makes the cut for me after I've successfully tried 3 or 4 of their recipes. One of these said bloggers for me is "The Review Lady". She posted this recipe for Sweet and Tangy Oven-Barbecued Chicken and I immediately added it to my list of things to try. I have a tendency to look over the less complex recipes but thankfully I didn't skip over this one. I didn't realize until after I had made the sauce that the quantity was for 2 breasts and I had 5 but I managed with what I had. Clearly I didn't have quite the amount of sauce but even being skimped, it was still present and very flavorful. The flavor really stayed with the chicken, which is often my complaint with oven grilled chicken. Next time I would probably make 1 1/2 times the amount of sauce just to see what the extra sauce would add.

The potatoes in this picture were these Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes. The flavor was really good but I think the recipe needs a little tweaking to make them a little more creamy - an easy fix with more milk. Cooking the potatoes in the broth really amped up the flavor though and took away from the boring potato taste. The sour cream added a nice richness, even though I used reduced fat. It does make a lot, so this would be a good Thanksgiving option.

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes
adapted from Pillsbury

4 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 T. butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 - 1 cup milk or half and half

Put potatoes, broth, and butter pieces in a large crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours, or until potatoes are fork-tender. Mash with a potato masher or mixer. Add remaining ingredients, except milk, and continue to mix (be careful not to over mix). Add enough milk for your desired consistency. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

You can leave the potatoes in the crock pot on the warm setting for up to 2 hours. Stir and check consistency before serving.


  1. Just came by your blog...thanks for sharing these recipes....they look great!


  2. I'm trying the Easy Cheeseburger Casserole tonight!

  3. I'm usually not a huge casserole fan (bad childhood memories!), but your turkey and rice one looks super tasty!

  4. Thanks for the kind words! If you are someone who doesn't mind her food touching, I love making the chicken with extra sauce and using some of it with the potatoes. We actually made this Wednesday night before I left town with your clementine and pomegranate salad (which Mark describes as his "favorite" salad).
    p.s. I've got a belated email coming your way...sorry for the delay in responding!

  5. I would love those casseroles. Casseroles are my ultimate comfort food, I think.

  6. Crock pot potatoes!!!! That is brilliant!