Friday, November 22, 2013

Of course you'll have leftovers, so now what?

With the holidays pretty much here, Thanksgiving being the first.... comes family reunions and large get-togethers which mean lots and lots of food and great things to eat, right? But after family and friends leave,  you're left with the remnants of the fine meal you had but your family might not want to have the same menu over and over, so what to do? Here are some ideas to try.....

TURKEY GUMBO.-  We're going "southern" again and you'll see this easy recipe bring people together over a very flavorful and filling winter treat. Plus, this can be made with uncooked or leftover turkey. I used to make this for one of my Private Chef clients and only used a whole Turkey breast, but today I'll be using leftover cooked turkey legs for a quick dish on a rainy day, here's the recipe.

Note: Just like all my recipes, I change then according to what I feel like, what I have on hand or any special requests I've gotten, so change it up if you need to. Use chicken, pork, etc. other veggies, etc. You'll need:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I like to use a garlic press)
1 small yellow onion, chopped 
1-2 cups fresh, cut up or 1 (16oz) package frozen bell pepper strips  
1 cup fresh, cut up or (6oz) package frozen cut okra 
1 cup fresh or frozen corn  
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, along with the liquid
1 turkey leg / turkey breast /  chicken or your choice of meat (uncooked)
1 cup cooked rice (brown or long grain rice) can be leftover from another day
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce to taste, can be bottled or home made, whatever you have and like (optional)
You can add other veggies like peas, green beans, baby corn, whatever you like.....

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add peppers, okra, corn and tomatoes (veggies) and stir well. Arrange the turkey leg in the middle of the pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring now and then until the turkey separates easily from the bone, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the turkey, discard any bones and then shred the meat and return the meat to the pot. Stir in the rice, salt, pepper and hot sauce and cook about 10 minutes more, taste it and see if you need to adjust the seasonings. Serve.

If you're using cooked meats, I would add the cold meat just the same so the broth will have more flavor. If you have any bones I would also add them and then remove once it's all cooked. Keep checking the Gumbo and adjust as you go and ALWAYS... taste, taste, taste at every level.

Yes, I know this isn't a complete Gumbo (no fillet after all) but you'll love the flavors, it's easy to do, you can make it in a crock pot or stove top and it's great with some cornbread.... freezes well for another day when you don't have time to cook and economical too. Easy to make for a crowd as well.

TURKEY CHILI.- Another great dish that anyone can make and everyone will love! A non-traditional version since it's a white chili, but be sure to try it, the flavors in this dish are really great! Also, same rules apply here... change it anyway you think will work, ok?

1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 lbs ground turkey breast (or other meat)
1 green bell pepper, chopped 
1 medium yellow onion, chopped  
1 teaspoon ground coriander 
2 tablespoons ground cumin  
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1/2 teaspoon salt  
1-3 bay leaf 
3-4 cups tomatillo sauce or 1 (28-ounce) can tomatillos, drained and chopped  
1-2 green chilies, chopped or 1 (4oz) can diced green chiles, drained 
you can also use Poblano Chile strips or other type of green chili
1-3 jalapeƱo, seeded and finely sliced  
2 cups chicken broth, either home made or store bought
3 cups cooked beans (Great Northern beans, cannellini or  your choice) drained  
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (you can also use Parsley)
Grated cheese, for garnish 
Sour cream, for garnish
Heat some of the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add turkey and cook, stirring, until browned. Transfer to a plate and return the pot to the  heat. Add more oil, then add bell pepper, onion and cook until golden brown. Return the turkey to the pot and add the coriander, cumin, oregano and salt. Stir really well to combine then add the bay leaf, tomatillos, chiles, jalapeƱos and broth. Now reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for about 35-40 min. Stir in the beans and cook for another half hour or so and then put in the cilantro. You can now serve chili into bowls and garnish with cheese and sour cream.

I will be looking into other "recycling" options for the holiday foods so you can take advantage of buying in bulk or cooking a lot without worrying about what to do with all those leftovers. Don't forget that you can always eat some and freeze the rest in either a casserole dish or in individual portions (using freezer bags or containers) and have them ready for an impromptu meal when time is short.

So go ahead and make a big meal, you will have time and $ savings and on those days when you get home, it's late and don't feel like ordering in (or maybe it's the end of the month), you know there is something pretty great waiting for you right at home. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment