28 October, 2010

Ta Da! Turkey Pot Pie

ta-da (tä dä′) interjection
Informal used to suggest the sound of a fanfare: an exclamation of triumph or pride accompanying an announcement, a bow, etc.

A turkey (chicken) pot pie will always remind me of my sister. She LOVED them when we were kids and I HATED them for the simple fact that they had peas in them. And the only vegetable I don’t like (that I know of) are peas. However, I have recently learned to tolerate peas if they are fresh or frozen. But, no thank you to those mushy green things in a can that don’t even deserve to be called a vegetable.

You may question me (yet once again) on calling this dish a simple plate. I promise its very little work resulting in loads of “wow factor". And let me be honest, that is how I like to do things. To make this recipe even easier, I suggest cooking the turkey and cutting the vegetables a day or hours ahead of time and then throwing it all together when you are ready.

Serves 4-5, with a side of mashed potatoes
1 tbsp butter
½ cup onions
1 cup celery
1 cup carrots
1 cup mushrooms
1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
1.5 cups of chicken stock
1-2 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon sage*
1 teaspoon thyme*
2 cups cooked turkey (1.5 pounds), diced
2 Frozen pie shell** (they usually come as a pair)

*if you don’t have these seasonings use an all spice or poultry seasoning
**you can make your own but this crosses the baking line for me
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, drizzle olive oil on the turkey breasts and season with an all spice /poultry seasoning or salt and pepper. Roast the turkey for about 20-30 minutes or until the middle is no longer pink. Take the pastry shells out of the freezer and let it defrost. Dice turkey and vegetables and set aside.

Heat a stock pot on medium to high heat and add 1 tbsp butter. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, celery, carrots and cook for 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for five minutes. Add turkey, flour, sage thyme, salt and pepper and combine. Add chicken stock and peas and let simmer/thicken for about 10-15 minutes. (You can add more flour if you want a thicker consistency.)

Three cheers for no more frozen pot pies!
Crack an egg and roll it around the bottom of the pie shell, remove and set aside. This trick will help avoid a mushy bottom. Beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water and set aside. Add turkey and veggies to the pie shell. The contents will seem like too much and overflow the pie shell. Top the contents with the second pie shell and gently form a seal. Brush the top shell with the egg yolk and cut a couple slits in the top for venting. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pie shell is light – medium brown.

19 October, 2010

The Shutdown and The Breakfast Burrito

My husband started a 40 day “shutdown” at work last week. Excuse the terminology but it basically means this for him: waking up at 4am,  home at 6:30pm and bed at 7:30pm for six days a week for the next 40+ days. Many of you have probably experienced this type of work schedule and if this is normal for your significant others please excuse my whining. So I am doing what any good wife would do and providing support not by waking up with him at 4:30am but by making sure he has a nutritious meal ready when he gets home. To my “light eater” followers, please excuse the hearty fare that will likely be posted in the next 40 days. And to my hearty eaters; well, eat your heart out.

Today I am posting a weekly favorite in our home, the breakfast burrito. Don’t let the name fool you as we eat this for breakfast, brunch and dinner. And recently I have found that if I use a couple more eggs, I can make a “breakfast bowl” for hard working hubby to bring to work the next day.

Serves two plus a breakfast bowl:
Olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced*
*yellow and orange peppers work also
1.5-2 cups of diced potatoes
Morning Star veggie breakfast sausages (or any breakfast sausages)
4-6 eggs
Splash of milk
Shredded cheese, Mexican blend
Flour tortillas
Sour Cream and Salsa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop potatoes into small cubes and microwave for about 2 minutes or until semi soft. Spray a baking sheet and the potatoes with olive oil and put in the oven for about 10-12 minutes and switch to broil for the last 2-3 minutes to brown the potatoes. While the potatoes are in the oven, crack eggs into a bowl and beat lightly with a splash of milk and set aside. Heat or cook your breakfast sausages, crumble and set aside. Heat skillet on medium/high and add olive oil. Add peppers and cook for about five minutes. Add eggs to the skillet and let them set up (about 3 minutes). Use a push/pull motion to move them around and let them set up again. Repeat this until the eggs are fluffy but not dry. Turn the heat to low/off and add cheese, potatoes and sausage to the skillet. Pile the tortilla with egg mixture and top with sour cream and salsa.

Use the leftovers for a breakfast bowl to send or bring to work for a nutritious start to someone’s day.

08 October, 2010

Fan Mail Motivation

Today I take a break from recipes, to give a shout out to my fans. Although this list is short for now, I like to focus on the quality and not the quantity. On those nights when I am just not feeling it and I want to throw my hands up and order take out (yes, this does happen); I think about the fans. 

One of my biggest blog fans is my Aunt Kitty. She continues to offer great feedback that motivates me to ‘keep on keeping on’.

One of Aunt Kitty's favorite Simple Plates is the "Egg and Tomato Toast" http://simpleplates.blogspot.com/2010/07/egg-tomato-toast.html

On a regular basis Aunt Kitty saunters over to her local café and demands (requests) they create this toast for her. After a couple months of this, she sent me the email below letting me know that “We are famous”. The owner has decided to add Aunt Kitty’s breakfast and my Simple Plate to the menu.   
Aunt Kitty's Original Email:   So I'm having my usual Friday morning breakfast with my friends at the BirdMan Coffee & Books when the owner comes to me with a new menu.  "I hope you don't mind," she says, "but on my new menu, I've added your breakfast special.  I changed it a little.  Instead of using the sourdough bread, I found these great low-calorie bagels that are thin so I made it a breakfast sandwich.  Can I call it 'The Kitty Cat Special'?" Here's a picture of it, and it was delicious this way, too! She's going to offer it both ways!  Yay, you!

How exciting! First stop: Simple Plate makes the menu in St. Francisville, Louisiana.
Next stop: Famous food blogger extraordinaire. Thank you all for your support.

04 October, 2010

Game Night Taco Soup

My husband and I flew out to Georgia this past week to surprise my Mother In Law for her birthday. She seemed very happy about the visit and not at all overwhelmed by her week long surprise house guests. Now that's love! We had an awesome visit with a bit of rain that made for a perfect setting for our traditional family game night.

The rain caused a craving for something hearty and warm and my mind turned to a soup that my grandmother used to make for me. This soup is easy to throw together for a crowd and can please very diverse palates from the adventurous to the particular. This recipe serves about 8-10 hungry gamers.

Optional toppings: shredded Mexican cheese, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips
1 lb ground meat
1.5 packets of taco seasoning
2 -15 oz cans pinto beans
1-28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, sliced in rounds then halved
10 oz bag of frozen corn
4-6 cups of water or broth

In a medium size stock pot, start browning the ground meat. With about five minutes left for the ground meat to cook, add onions. Next add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add taco seasoning and stir until combined. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer for about five minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add zucchini and turn heat down to simmer. Let soup simmer for about 15 minutes, add corn and beans and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until ready to serve. Serve soup topped with cheese, avocado, sour cream and tortilla chips.