Turkey, Cranberry and Stuffing Bagel Sandwich

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Can we even believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away? Where has this year gone? The old saying goes something like this “Time flies when we’re having fun …”. Apparently, I’ve been having a blast!

I’m really in the mood for Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving and I’ve been hosting  Thanksgiving dinner for the last several years. I actually have two 23-1/2 pound turkeys to pull out of the freezer to start defrosting this afternoon. Yep, that’s right, a little over 46 pounds of turkey. It’s usually a large crowd and it’s always good to have turkey leftovers. I’ve already been thinking of what I can make with all the turkey that I do have leftover … my wheels have been turning.

Dennis and I can usually be found at Einstein’s Bagel most mornings of the week where we enjoy a bagel and coffee … coffee for me, Diet Coke for Dennis. Not that I don’t enjoy a Diet Coke, I do. This morning as we were enjoying our bagel, I decided to purchase a cranberry bagel to use for a sandwich for lunch today.

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That got me thinking about making this a sandwich with all the Thanksgiving goodies on it …. turkey, stuffing, apples (sometimes found in stuffing), celery (also found in stuffing), sage, and whole cranberry sauce. Doesn’t that just sound heavenly? I thought so too, which is why I came up with this sandwich idea for lunch.

First, I heated olive oil in a small saucepan and placed 4 sage leaves into the hot oil, sprinkling a tiny bit of kosher salt onto the sage.

 

Next, I chopped a stalk of celery, sliced half an apple and placed some whole cranberry sauce in a small dish.

 

This sandwich can be made using your Thanksgiving leftovers. I did not have leftover stuffing as of yet, so quickly made a box. I added the chopped celery to the stuffing once it was done. I bought the stuffing that cooks in 5 minutes, which worked out perfectly since this was for my lunch. I have quite a bit of stuffing left over, but I know Dennis will enjoy this with his dinner tomorrow night.

I started with a cranberry bagel and spread a little cranberry sauce on the bottom. On top of the cranberry sauce, I laid a few slices of turkey and sprinkled kosher salt and pepper on the top. On top of the turkey, I placed two small spoonfuls of stuffing. Over that, I laid several slices of apple. On top of the apple, I sprinkled sage that I had crisped in olive oil in a small saucepan on my cooktop.  I then added more cranberry sauce to the top slice of my bagel and placed it over the sandwich.

 

Oh my goodness, this was so good! If you have Thanksgiving leftovers, I’d consider making a turkey and stuffing sandwich on your favorite bread or cranberry bagel.

 

Ingredients

  • Cranberry bagel
  • turkey (2-3 slices)
  • 2 spoonfuls of stuffing
  • 1 celery stalk, diced and added to stuffing
  • 2 tablespoons whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 apple, sliced
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper

Directions

  1. Slice half an apple into thin slices
  2. Heat olive oil in small saucepan and add sage leaves. Add a pinch of salt to the sage. Cook until sage is starting to crisp. Remove from heat.
  3. Mince celery to add to stuffing, if it is not already part of your stuffing.
  4. Slice bagel in half and spoon cranberry sauce onto each half.
  5. Place turkey on bottom half of bagel, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Add stuffing to sandwich.
  7. Top stuffing with apple slices.
  8. Crumble crisped sage over apple slices.
  9. Top sandwich with top half of bagel.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

I Discovered a New Cheese at the Market Today

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While I was at Ralph’s Grocery Store this morning to pick up Italian sausage for my Thanksgiving stuffing, I stopped at their beautiful cheese counter. I wanted to see if they sold a cheese that I absolutely love and wanted to include on my cheese board for Thanksgiving day. That is not the cheese I “discovered” today, but is called Humboldt Fog Cheese. The kind woman that works in Ralph’s fine cheese department offered to cut a fresh wedge of the Humboldt Fog for me, as they needed to put more out. I did look at the wheel of Humboldt Fog to see what the cost would be for the entire wheel. It was $112 … perfect for a huge party, but way too much for what I needed and there’s no way we could’ve eaten that much cheese before it went bad. Ralph’s in Carmel Valley has the most beautiful cheese department, with a very large selection.

After she handed me the Humboldt Fog, she showed me some other interesting cheeses that they offer. One was the Kentucky Bourbon cheese. This is my new discovery.

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They had a few small wedges in a basket. It’s nice to buy a small piece if you aren’t sure you will love it and want to try it out before investing in a larger wedge. This Kentucky Bourbon cheese was so good! I will definitely be heading back to Ralph’s for that larger wedge to include on my cheeseboard for Thanksgiving. The kind woman in Ralph’s cheese department mentioned that you could really taste the Bourbon in this cheese and she was right. It is definitely not overpowering, however, it’s just right.

Ralph’s Grocery Store is part of the Kroger Family. In Arizona, the Kroger store was called Fry’s. I hope there is a Kroger near you, so you can find this cheese and try it!

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This cheese tastes wonderful all on it’s own, but would be fantastic on a turkey sandwich. It would also make a wonderful grilled cheese sandwich, yum!

Until next time, Kris

 

Chicken Sausage, Kale and Burrata Rigatoni

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Dennis and I went out for dinner and to a movie on Friday night. We decided to try the restaurant at Nordstrom since it was directly across from the Arclight Theater, Dennis’ favorite. The Nordstrom at UTC Mall near our home was rebuilt and had their grand opening on October 12th. (My good friend, Marie, and I did head there on opening day … there was no way we were going to miss that!) Apparently, Nordstrom doesn’t remodel, they rebuild. This new Nordstrom is supposed to be designed after their flagship store and has a wonderful full-service restaurant and bar, called Bazille. We most definitely enjoyed our dinner there. I did tell Dennis I’d also like to try the restaurant at lunch to see how the menu differs. We do love the restaurant at the Nordstrom location at Fashion Valley as well, which is called Cafe Nordstrom. It is a more casual restaurant, but we love it just as well.

While Dennis and I were perusing the menu, he came across a menu item and said to me “This homemade chicken sausage and burrata pasta is right up your alley. It’s so you!” Immediately, I went to find this item on the menu and Dennis was right, that was definitely a dish I would love, so that’s what I ordered. (I guess after 30 years of marriage, he knows me pretty well.) After trying this dish, I knew I had to try to make something similar to share with all of you.

I baked two Italian chicken sausages in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. I turned them halfway through so they would be browned on both sides.

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Once the sausages were cooked through, I cut them in diaganol slices and then in half, before adding them to my sauté pan.

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Note: I did not use any oil in my non-stick sauté pan. For no other reason than, I just didn’t want to. Next, I poured a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes over the sausages and added Italian seasoning, kosher salt and red pepper flakes and mixed everything together.

 

I let the sausages cook together with the tomoatoes and seasonings while my pasta and kale cooked together in a large pot of boiling water.

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I did not drain the noodles and kale once they were done. I used my spider and transferred them to my sauteé pan.

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(spider)

I tossed the pasta and kale together with the sausages and tomatoes before placing it in my serving bowls.

 

Once I put my pasta in the pasta bowls, I laid a serving of barrata cheese over each serving. One burrata ball has four servings, so I cut it into quarters.

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Dennis is really looking forward to having this again tomorrow. I’ll be at book club, so it’s the perfect dinner for him to enjoy while I’m out. I also walked some over to my friend and neighbor, Laura’s, house. I thought her husband, Joe, would enjoy this pasta while she was at book club with me. As it turns out, pasta is one of Joe’s favorite things … same as me. I could eat pasta every day.

Ingredients

  • 2 Italian Chicken Sausages
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 10-ounce bag kale
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 ball of burrata

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Bake sausages for 20 minutes, turning over half-way through.
  3. Cook noodles and kale together in large pot of boiling, salted water.
  4. Cut sausages on the diagonal and then cut each diagonal slice in half.
  5. Add sausages to sauté pan.
  6. Pour diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, kosher salt and red pepper flakes over sausages and cook on medium while pasta cooks.
  7. Add pasta and kale to sausages and tomatoes and toss together.
  8. Top each serving with burrata cheese.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Rosemary Burger (Bun free) with Blue Cheese

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I love the taste of rosemary, as well as the smell of rosemary. If I am out and about and spot a rosemary scented candle, I can’t seem to pass it up. Rosemary makes me think of fall, and as we know, fall is here. I decided to season my hamburgers tonight with fresh rosemary and top it with blue cheese. I wanted nothing more on the side of my burger than a simple arugula salad and sliced tomato for tonight’s meal. The flavoring in this burger is so good, I wanted to forego the bun.

I mixed 1 pound of extra lean ground beef together with kosher salt, pepper, ground mustard, onion powder and fresh, minced rosemary. I cooked my burgers on the stovetop in a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter that I melted together.

Once the burgers were done, I served it with arugula dressed with a slight drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. I also enjoyed sliced tomato as a side to my burger.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra lean (93%) ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • blue cheese
  • Directions
  1. Mix ground beef together with salt, pepper, ground mustard, onion powder and rosemary.
  2. Form into 3 patties.
  3. Melt butter into olive oil.
  4. Place burgers into hot oil and cook on first side 3-4 minutes, flipping and cooking 3-5 minutes on the second side.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Pumpkin Spice Granola and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Last week I picked up a box of pumpkin spice granola and a bag of white chocolate chips while I was grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. I took a picture of them, sent it to Dennis, and said “I’m going to make cookies out of these two items for your softball team.” Last week, they had a bye, so I decided to make the cookies for him to take to tonight’s game. It’s a late game, so they may need a little pick-me-up before they start.

I just may have to make these cookies to for my Thanksgiving gathering as well. They will probably make an appearance on the dessert table, amongst the pies, cupcakes, or whatever else we decided on this year.

I started with my basic chocolate chunk cookie recipe, except I used light brown sugar instead of dark.

I began by placing 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder in a bowl and setting it aside. Next, I creamed together 1 crisco butter flavored baking stick, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract. I then beat two eggs into the butter and sugar. Once the eggs were combined well, I slowly added my dry mixture. I add it slowly to avoid a snowstorm in the kitchen. After the flour mixture was incorporated into the wet mixture, I added the white chocolate chips. I mixed this together and then added the pumpkin spice granola and mixed everything together one last time.

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I placed the dough into the refrigerator for 2 hours … I would chill it at least 30 minutes, but this is not a required step. I learned that cold dough makes a fluffier cookie, however.

I preheated my oven to 375 degrees and dropped the cookies onto my baking sheet using a cookie scoop. While the first batch was baking, I placed my mixing bowl back into the refrigerator until I was ready to make the next batch. I baked my cookies for 12 minutes.

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These cookies are wonderful for this time of year, or you could make them with another type of granola any other time.

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Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Crisco butter flavored baking sticks (1 stick)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs (I use jumbo size)
  • 1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips (this is a 10 ounce bag)
  • 1 cup pumpkin spice granola

Directions

  1. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl, set aside.
  2. In another bowl, cream together Crisco butter stick, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla until creamy.
  3. Add eggs and beat together.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix.
  5. Stir in white chocolate chips and mix.
  6. Stir in granola and mix.
  7. Place dough in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees just before you are ready to bake the cookies.
  9. Drop by rounded teaspoon or cookie scoop onto ungreased baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 12 minutes.

This recipe make 3-1/2 dozen cookies.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Prosciutto, Pear and Aged Goat Grilled Cheese

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Friday evening, Kylie and I were at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few items and they were sampling a grilled cheese sandwich with their aged goat cheese and prosciutto. I knew I had to make this … because it tasted to so good. I also knew I had to make it my own some how so I could blog it and share it with all of you.

First of all, I didn’t know there was such a cheese as aged goat. Welcome to my world, aged goat cheese! Oh boy, this stuff is fantastic! I use creamy goat cheese all the time, for so many different things. Tonight, I’m going to use it with pesto pasta – yum! Anyway, I knew I had to purchase this goat cheese and I’m so glad I did.

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I used Trader Joe’s Rustica bread for my sandwich for a couple reasons. First of all, that is the bread they used when sampling the sandwich. Second of all, I always buy this bread because it is one of my favorites.

I started with two slices of Rustica bread and spread the outside of each half with softened butter and the inside of each half with Dijon mustard.

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This may just be my favorite Dijon mustard

On top of one side I placed 1/4 cup of shredded aged goat cheese. I then placed a few slices of a pear on top of the cheese, following that with arugula.

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I topped the arugula with prosciutto. I used two slices of prosciutto since that is a serving according to the package nutrition information.

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On the second slice of bread, I added a little more of the shredded goat (1/8 cup), so that the cheese would melt to both sides of the bread. I placed the other slice of bread on top of the sandwich and grilled it on my griddle pan.

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This was one tasty grilled cheese sandwich! I actually thought it was a bit elegant … something I may serve to friends if they came over for lunch. One of these sandwiches, with a glass of white wine … or heck, I’d say, champagne, would be fabulous.

Ingredients

  • Prosciutto (2 slices)
  • 2 slices Rustica bread (or bread of your choice)
  • Pear (3-4 slices, depending on the size of your bread)
  • Aged Goat Cheese (1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup … more, if you desire)
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (2 per slice of bread)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, more if you need (for the outside of the bread)
  • Arugula (a handful)

Directions

  1. Spread two slices of bread with softened butter. Place buttered side down on a bread board.
  2. Spread the inside of each slice of bread with Dijon mustard.
  3. Place 1/4 cup shredded aged goat cheese on one slice and 1/8 cup on the other slice.
  4. Lay pear slices over bottom slice (the one with 1/4 cup of cheese).
  5. Lay arugula over pear slices.
  6. Lay “folded” slices of prosciutto over arugula.
  7. Place top slice of bread on sandwich.
  8. Grill until golden and toasted.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Nachos for National Nacho Day

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Instead of having Mexican food tomorrow (Taco Tuesday), I decided we’d have Mexican Monday. Well …. actually, Kylie decided – in a way. She said “Mom, can we have nachos tonight for dinner?” I said “I was going to make grilled cheese, but you can have nachos instead if you want.” She said that would be great, it’s National Nacho Day and she wanted to celebrate by having nachos for dinner. Until this afternoon, I had no idea there was a National Nacho Day! Nachos are not something I’d normally make for dinner, but it’s Monday night football and our favorite team, the Green Bay Packers are playing.

Kylie suggested a rotisserie chicken for our nachos. She wanted to shred the meat for her nachos. I chose to cut the chicken in cubes for the other pan of nachos. We have a lot of nachos left over, so, if any of my friends out there are nearby, are hungry, and want to watch the Packers, come on by ,,, I have food. Needless to say, Kylie and Dennis will be eating nachos all week long.

(Note: I used only the breast meat off my rotisserie chicken. I saved the thighs and drumsticks for another time.)

I wanted to make my nachos in a cast iron skillet, that I could place in the oven for a bit until the cheese melted. I thought it would be great to cook in the cast iron skillet, as well as serve the nachos out of the cast iron skillet. Kylie had another idea for the pan she was making. She wanted to use a sheet pan, lined with foil. (Actually, she wanted to use a skillet of mine that I didn’t want in the oven, so suggested the sheet pan, lined with foil.) When I was in Wisconsin a couple weeks ago, I noticed my Mom had a smaller size cast iron skillet. I think this is something I need to definitely invest in. Sometimes, you want a little less and not such a big serving. I’ll have to ask her where she found them. I bought the ones I have at Home Goods. I’ve seen really small cast iron skillets that you could use for a molten cake. Those would be perfect to have if you wanted to serve nachos to several people. It would be super cute to serve each person their own individual cast iron skillets filled with yummy nachos. Food for thought.

It was a lot of fun to work side by side in the kitchen with my daughter. She didn’t want “any seasonings or anything fancy in my nachos” – her words. She knew I just couldn’t put together something for dinner without a little seasoning of some sort. Apparently, she knows me well. Better than anyone, I’d have to say.

We heated non-fat, refried beans on the stove to add to our nacho platters. We started building our nachos with the tortilla chips. For the nachos I was preparing, I sprinkled a bit of chili powder over the chips. On top of that, we placed spoonfuls of the refried beans. Once the beans were strategically placed over the tortilla chips, we added a can of green chiles and half a can of sliced black olives. On top of that, the chicken went on. Over the chicken, we placed the shredded Mexican cheese blend. I decided to use lite cheese, instead of full fat. (I do this more often than not. You can choose to use lite shredded cheese or full-fat. It just depends on what you enjoy.)

Once the cheese was on, we layered the pan again starting with the chips. Kylie said “This is a little like making a lasagne.”

I placed the skillet (and Kylie’s sheet pan) into a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes and our nachos came out perfectly.

Once they were done, I sprinkled fresh cut tomatoes and diced avocado, as well as a drizzle of salsa and a dollop of sour cream. I did put out a few jarred jalapeños for those that wanted a little heat.

We dished up our nachos and sat down to enjoy the Packer game. We are watching it now, as I’m typing this blog post. I have a feeling that the Detroit Lion fans are a bit happier than the Green Bay Packers fans at this point in the game. Who knows, there’s still a half a game to go. Come on Green Bay! Go Pack Go!!

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Time for dinner!

Cast iron skillet nachos on the left, Kylie’s sheet pan nachos on the right. Kylie did an amazing job on her nachos, they were perfect!

Ingredients (All ingredients are as much or as little as you’d like.)

  • tortilla chips
  • chili powder, a couple pinches
  • chicken (shredded or diced)
  • non-fat, refried beans
  • lite shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 can mild green chiles
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • sour cream, for topping
  • chopped tomatoes, for topping
  • chopped avocado, for topping
  • salsa, for topping

Directions

  1. Heat refried beans.
  2. Layer nachos in a cast iron skillet or sheet pan.
  3. Top chips with a sprinkling of chili powder (each layer).
  4. Layer beans, chiles, black olives and chicken over chips.
  5. Sprinkle shredded cheese.
  6. Repeat layers once more.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris