Goals for 2012 and Turkey Pot Pie

Well it is finally snowing outside, for a while if was not feeling like a winter wonderland that we are used to. It should be a relaxing weekend since I do not have any big plans, I might even open up a book to read which I have not done in a long time. Snow, a fire, and a good book sounds like the perfect weekend to me.

Some studying is in order since I plan on taking the test for Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC) in the spring. The CNSC examination measures an individual’s knowledge of safe and effective multidisciplinary practice in nutrition support (tube feedings and parenteral nutrition).

I do not make typical New Years resolutions, however I think that it is important to implement obtainable goals each year in order to stay motivated and make forward progress:

My goals for 2012:

  1. Take CNSC exam in the spring.
  2. Blog three times per week for increased consistency, and implement more nutrition related information.
  3. Continue with current gym schedule (3 times per week).
  4. Participate in at least one run per year (5K-10K)

Turkey and Biscuit Pot Pie

Ingredients

For the filling:

Cooking spray

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless turkey breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (I used Jenny-O precooked from Meijer).

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups lowfat milk

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup peas, thawed if frozen

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

For the biscuit crust:

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk

 

Directions

To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a large shallow casserole dish, or 6 individual casserole dishes with cooking spray.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the green beans, garlic and pepper and cook for 2 minute more.

Add the milk. Stir the flour into the broth until it is completely dissolved and add to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes more. Add precook turkey, peas and thyme and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish or individual dishes.

To make the crust: Put the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse about 12 times, or until pebble sized pieces are formed.

Add the buttermilk then oil to the food processor and pulse until just moistened. Do not over mix. Drop the batter in 6 mounds on top of the turkey mixture (1 mound on each individual dish, if using) spreading the batter out slightly. Bake until filling is bubbling and the biscuit topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

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January 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm 1 comment

Plymouth Detroit Shopping and Eats

It is time to shop till you drop.  Holiday shopping prior to Christmas always is very stressful, too many people and hunting for hard to find gifts. This year I did a lot of my shopping online, and local stores. This made my shopping experience much more enjoyable. My mom, sister and I took a week day off to shop and eat in Plymouth, MI which is the next town north of where I live. Plymouth is a very cozy and family oriented area with many quaint shops, restaurants, galleries, and historical landmarks.

We started with lunch at Comparis On The Park, which is a small family owned italian restaurant. They have a wonderful lunch menu to pick from with not only italian choices (pasta, pizza, and calzones), but other options like burgers, sandwiches, soup and salad. I ordered off of the lunch special menu and picked the goat cheese ravioli. It was truly melt in your mouth. I also tried a small amount of the dishes the my mom and sister had; all of the food was delicious. Comparis  leaves you wanting to come back for more.

After our stomachs were nice and full we started our shopping adventure.  The home stores were full of Christmas decorations and unique gift options for family and friends.  We found a second-hand store that sold vintage fur coat, clothing and antique items.  This was one of my favorite stores due to the variety of items.  It was also just plain fun to play dress up!  I could have spent hours in this store but we had to move on.

We also went into a doggie bakery, and a knitting store. After many more stores later we stumbled upon Cupcake Station to re-fuel with something sweet. With a wide variety to choose from it was a tough decision, so I decided to go with a classic: carrot cake. I am really glad that I did, it was one on the best cupcakes that I have ever had. I bought three more in different flavors for the husband, they were devoured in a couple of days.

Plymouth is the perfect place to shop with family and friends, and eat some great food too. Happy shopping everyone!

January 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm 2 comments

Thanksgiving leftovers

Unfortunately I had to work on Thanksgiving day, however I had a lot be thankful for.

I am thankful that I had a long weekend home with family and friends, that I was able to spend time shopping and cooking with my mom, and that I was able to still have a Thanksgiving dinner with everyone that I love.

The menu consisted of:

Parmesan Artichoke Dip

Roasted Turkey and Gravy

Herb Stuffing

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce

Glazed Carrots

Big Dog Salad

Dessert: Pumpkin and Apple Pie

Of course I took home leftovers, but who wants to eat Thanksgiving leftovers for 5 days, well I found a yummy recipe that solves this problem.

Turkey (or chicken) Lasagna with Sage and Three Cheeses

(About 8 servings, adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

Ingredients:
3 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
5-6 cups diced, cooked turkey (or chicken)
16 oz. container reduced-fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups turkey gravy (can use gravy from a jar or cream of chicken soup if you don’t have leftover gravy)
1 cup good quality coarsely-grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
3 T finely chopped fresh sage, or more (or use about 1 T dried rubbed sage)
1 pkg. lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups grated low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated low fat cheddar cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Put 3 cups turkey stock in large pan and simmer until reduced to 2 cups. While stock reduces, dice leftover turkey and finely chop sage.
When the stock has reduced, let cool for a minute and then whisk in the gravy, sour cream, sage, garlic powder, and onion powder and simmer about 5 minutes without letting it come to a boil.  Turn off heat and stir in one cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese and the diced turkey.

Spray a 12″ x 9″ casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray, then make a single layer of dry lasagna noodles. Spoon half the sauce over noodles. (It will look like a lot of liquid, but don’t worry.)  Sprinkle over half the mozzarella cheese and half the cheddar cheese.

Make another layer of dry lasagna noodles, then top with rest of sauce, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese.  Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake one hour.After an hour, remove foil and bake 30-45 minutes more, or until noodles are soft when tested with a fork, lasagna is bubbling, and cheese is melted and slightly browned. Let sit 10-15 minutes, then serve.

December 3, 2011 at 2:30 am 1 comment

Food to warm your heart

Dinner was so comforting, and would have been perfect on a rainy day. It was very good regardless of the weather outside, and will be making this again (maybe on a rainy day next time).  I have never attempted chicken and dumplings before, but this recipe was relatively easy and quick to make. It was even faster since I used pre-cooked rotisserie chicken that I had in the freezer. Helpful tip: de-bone a couple of rotisserie chickens found at the deli at your grocery store, and place in food storage containers, freeze until ready to use within 4 months.

Chicken and Dumplings

(Servings 4-6, Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)

INGREDIENTS

Chicken and Vegetables:

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds pre-cooked frozen rotisserie chicken, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 quart chicken broth (low Sodium)
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or vermouth (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp of heavy cream (optional)
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Ground black or white pepper

Dumplings:

  • 1 cup cake flour (can sub all-purpose flour, but use cake flour if you have it, your dumplings will be fluffier)
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup+ 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh herb leaves such as parsley, chives, and tarragon (optional)

METHOD

Add oil to large pot and heat to medium-high. When it is hot, add the onion, celery, carrot and thyme and sauté until soft, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the flour and mix well. The flour will absorb all the fat in the pot and will stick a little to the bottom. Turn the heat to medium-low and stir this constantly for 2-3 minutes. Do not let it burn.

Add the sherry and chicken broth to the flour vegetable mixture. Mix in pre-cooked chicken meat, increase the heat and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer while you make the dumplings.

Make the dumpling batter by sifting together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add (optional) chopped fresh herbs. Add melted butter and milk to the dry ingredients. Gently mix with a wooden spoon until mixture just comes together. (Note: do not overmix! or your dumplings will turn out too dense.)

Drop dumpling batter into the simmering stew by heaping teaspoonfuls, over the surface of the stew. (Note that the dumplings will easily double in size as they cook.) Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes. The dumplings must be steamed with the lid on in order for the dumplings to be light and fluffy, so do not uncover the pot while cooking. If after 15 minutes they are still not cooked through (use a toothpick or skewer to test) cover pan again, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Gently stir in peas, parsley and cream, if using. Ladle portions of meat, sauce, vegetables, and dumplings into soup plates and serve. Note that the stew will continue to thicken the more it sits.

November 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

Football and Food

The weekend began with waking up at 6am in order to tailgate at the MSU Vs. Minnesota game. We ended up getting there around 9 am to meet up with friends, and eat some delicious food which included Philly steak sandwiches. My cousins were also close by tailgating, so we headed on over to say hi. The game was slightly boring so we ended up leaving at half-time, plus MSU played very disappointingly, however ended up winning the game. We looked at new cars then went to my parents house for dinner.

Normally I am a cold cereal or english muffin person in the morning, it is fast and easy when you have to get up and ready for work in the morning. I was ready for a change related to this cold weather that has come upon us, so I found this recipe a while ago and today was the perfect time to make it. It includes pumpkin, which I am a big fan of this time of the year and will be trying to incorporate more often into my recipes.

The name of the recipe says it all, if you like pumpkin pie you have to make this for breakfast. The smooth creaminess of the pumpkin was so good with the coarseness of the oats, and the subtile crunch of the brown sugar topping. Add a hot cup of coffee and there cannot be a better way to start your morning.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

(Servings 6-8)

  • 2 cup old fashioned oats, not quick cook
  • 2 Tbs whole flax seeds, optional
  • 5 Tbs brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tsp butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cup milk

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 4 tsp butter, softened
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 8×8 baking dish.

In a medium sized bowel combine the vanilla, butter, pumpkin,milk, brown sugar, salt and spices. Whisk thoroughly. Add oats and stir until combined.

Pour mixture into baking dish and place into oven. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the topping: chopped pecans, butter, and brown sugar. After the oatmeal has baked for 15 minutes, remove and pour topping mixture evenly over dish. Bake and additional 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

November 6, 2011 at 7:44 pm 3 comments

Time to recover (Vegas)

Last week was our trip to Vegas to celebrate Ryan (Roy’s good friend) and I’s October birthdays. We had a great time with a lot of shopping, eating, and of course some partying. Well lets just say staying up till the wee hours of the morning really messes with ones normal routine, and had to recover for a couple of days upon return to real life. I am happy to be home and back to blogging and cooking.

Being picked up at the airport by the limo, let the party begin!!

Peppermill Restaurant, best breakfast in Vegas and walking distance from our hotel.

Jean-Philippe Chocolates and Pastries – Bellagio

Bellagio was one of my favorite hotel/casinos, full of art including the botanical garden, entertainment, and luxury. It is a great place to sit down with a friend for a dirty martini. Runner up – Aria resort and casino is fairly new and very modern, with a truly unique shopping center next door, Crystals at CityCenter™. Some of my favorite brands included Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Versace just to name a few.

For our last night we celebrated at PURE in Caesars Palace.

Thanks to my wonderful husband for this trip and the great friends that made it so memorable!!

This week I planned simple meals since it has been so busy,

Dinner: I used left over beef sirloin roast that was frozen to make this dish

Beef Barley Soup

(Adapted from – Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

(6-8 servings)

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pounds beef sirloin roast (precooked from crook pot)
  • 1 small yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups Homemade Beef Stock Homemade Beef Stock Or Beef Broth
  • 1 bouquet garni of rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 acorn squash, peeling and cut into 1/2- inch pieces
  • 2 small parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as cultivated white, cremini, yellowfoot, chanterelle, hedgehog, or black trumpet, cut into 1-inch pieces (I omitted since Roy does not like mushrooms)
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onions, stirring constantly, until well caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Place meat in pot, and add stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Add bouquet garni, barley, and vegetables, and simmer for 1 hour, adding more stock if necessary. Adjust seasonings.

November 5, 2011 at 2:20 am 1 comment

Birthday Weekend = 30

Yes it is true, I am officially 30 years old as of Saturday October 8th, 2011. I do not feel any different and no I am not freaking out. Maybe I will have my breakdown at 40 years old?

My birthday weekend stated with a shopping trip with my mom in Marshall Michigan, where my husband grew up, and in which his family still resides. Marshall is a national historic landmark district, beautiful old homes line the streets and downtown has many shopping and dinning options.

If you go to Marshall you must experience Schuler’s Restaurant and Pub, which has provided fine food and drink since 1909. This is personally my favorite place to dine while in Marshall, the food is always good and the service is excellent. The restaurant portion provides a great atmosphere for a special occasion, while the pub provides a casual area to grab some lunch or late night grub and drinks!

We took advantage of the outdoor seating to soak up the sun one last time before dare I say it – Winter.

I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato basil soup, while my mom decided on the fish tacos. Both were excellent choices!

After lunch we headed over to the Honolulu House Museum, currently the headquarters of the Marshall Historical Society since 1962. The house was built-in 1860 by Abner Pratt, the first US consul to the Hawaiian Islands. The architecture reflects the first owners love for the tropics with a blend of Polynesian, Italianate, and Gothic Revival, however this style of house did not fare well in the hash winters of Michigan.

The Brooks Memorial Fountain, a lovely Greek Revival structure which features a regular evening color light show. Located at the entrance of the downtown area, this fountain was given to the city in 1930 for its centennial celebration by Harold C. Brooks in memory of his father.

We spent the majority of our time shopping in many of the antique and home interior stores. I ended up getting art deco bookends as a gift from my mom from one of the antique shops. Wine tasting at the Flower Haus/Warner Wines provided a great ending to a wonderful day.

Of course I had to cuddle with the Quinster when I got home.

Saturday started with trail riding with family and friends,then a plane ride with Roy’s uncle, and great food made on the grill by my dad =  A PERFECT 30th BIRTHDAY!! Thanks everyone for making this day so special.

Friends Scott and Kay.

My horse Checkers.

Sunday I made breakfast with my family, and picked pumpkins and vegetables from the garden.

Breakfast was cinnamon waffles with raspberry topping, and sausage.

The end of a wonderful weekend.

October 13, 2011 at 12:56 am 2 comments

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