Post-Thanksgiving Recipe: Turkey Queso Dip

Looking for something to do with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey?  I was.  We have tons of it.  So much, that if I didn’t get creative, a lot of turkey was going to go to waste.  I browsed tons of recipes for leftover turkey online, but none of them seemed quite right.  As we were getting ready to watch the Georgia game today, I decided to make some dip to snack on.  Then it dawned on me – queso dip!  We regularly make this dip, but surely it would only be made better by this post-Thanksgiving addition.

1 box Velveeta cheese (32 oz)

1 can original Rotel

1 cup turkey, cut up

Step 1 – Cut Velveeta into cubes.  Once cubed, place in a crock pot on low heat.

Step 2 – When cheese is melted, drain 1/2 of the liquid out of the can of Rotel.  Add Rotel and turkey to the melted cheese.  Stir.

Step 3 – Leave cheese on low heat for at least 10 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

This dip can get thick, so if you prefer a thinner dip, don’t drain as much liquid from the can of Rotel.  If you accidentally drain too much, but still want thinner dip, you could always add a little bit of salsa to the cheese mixture.  When I first thought to try this, I wasn’t sure if you would be able to taste the turkey, but the flavor really comes through.  I highly recommend this recipe if you have lots of turkey left over.  So very yummy.

Since Greenleigh loved this dip, we will definitely be making it again!

Comfort Food: Four Cheese Mac n’ Cheese (with Bacon!)

Those who know me, know that I can’t turn down a bowl of mac n’ cheese.  It’s my comfort food.  After a long week, I often want nothing more than to make a box of mac n’ cheese and relax in front of the television.  I also have a pretty intense love for bacon.  I mean, who doesn’t?  My goal has been to try a new recipe each week, so when I saw this recipe I knew it was perfect for me us.  Plus, the estimated preparation and cooking time was under 45 minutes, which is great for a week night meal.

What you will need:

1 box of corkscrew pasta, 1 lb.

8 slices of bacon, diced

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 cups 2% milk

1/2 tsp onion flakes

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 pound (8 oz.) of cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup (4 oz) shredded colby-Jack cheese

1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

8 slices Kraft Deli Deluxe American Cheese

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray broiler safe baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  I used a 13×9 glass Pyrex baking dish.

Step 2 – Bring large pot of slightly salted water to boil.  Add corkscrew pasta and boil for 8 minutes.  Drain pasta when cooked.  While the pasta is boiling, cook bacon in a medium sized sauce pan until crisp.  Remove from sauce pan and place bacon pieces on paper towel.  Pour off drippings, leaving approximately 2 Tbsp worth of drippings in the pan.  I estimated this amount.  You could remove all drippings then return 2 Tbsp if you want to be more precise.

Step 3 – Add flour to the medium sauce pan with the drippings.  Whisk together until smooth.  It was at this point that I realized I not used a sauce pan, but instead was using a saute pan.  It made whisking until smooth difficult, but it all worked out.

Step 4 – In a thin stream, whisk the milk into the flour mixture.  Gradually stir in onion flakes, salt, and pepper.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer an additional 2 minutes.

Step 5 – In a large bowl, toss together cheddar, colby-Jack, and mozzarella cheeses.

Step 6 – Remove milk mixture from heat; whisk in American cheese slices and 1 1/4 cups of the cheddar mixture.  This seemed odd to me, and I wondered how the slices were going to whisk in, but they melted and mixed in very easy.

Step 7 – Add bacon pieces to the remaining cheddar mixture.  Mix well.

Step 8 – In pasta pot combine milk/cheese mixture and cooked pasta.  Stir until Pour half of the pasta in the prepared dish.  Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese/bacon mixture.  Pour remaining pasta in the prepared dish and sprinkle the top with remainder of the shredded cheese/bacon mixture.

Step 9 – Bake for 20 minutes.  Without removing the baking dish from the oven, change setting to broil, and broil for 3 additional minutes.  Top should be slightly browned.

I purchased my cheese in the pre-shredded pouches to save time, but even with doing that, this recipe ended up taking closer to an hour than 45 minutes.  I generally try to keep my week night meals under 45 minutes, but the taste makes it worth the extra time.  I expected this to have a heavy cheddar taste, but you can really taste all the different cheeses.  Plus, the corkscrew pasta made it interesting enough that even Greenleigh wanted to try it. I ate this as a meal, but it would also make a great side dish at a large family gathering.

Perhaps the only thing missing in this recipe is a breadcrumb crust on the top…I will definitely try to add one the next time around.

Ready in a Flash: Chicken Enchiladas

You know how sometimes you need a quick recipe, but don’t want to rely on your old standbys?  Today was one of those days.  I saw this recipe when I was walking through the grocery store a few weeks ago, but hadn’t gotten around to trying it yet.  It looked easy enough and I was definitely ready for something out of the ordinary.

You will need:

10-12 sprigs of fresh cilantro

1 small tomato

2 cups shredded chicken – I took a short cut by purchasing a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and shredding that

3/4 cup refried beans

2 (10 oz) cans of enchilada sauce

6 (10 inch) flour tortillas

1 (2.25 oz) can sliced black olives with jalapeno (drained)

1 1/2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat baking dish with cooking spray.  The recipe states that this should be made in a 9×9 baking pan, but I don’t have one so I used my 9×13 pyrex dish.  It worked out just fine.

Step 2 – Chop cilantro coarsely.  Chop tomato finely.

Step 3 – In a medium bowl, combine shredded chicken and cilantro.  Once mixed, stir in refried beans and one can of the enchilada sauce.

Step 4 – Spoon chicken mixture into the center of tortillas.  Roll tortillas and place seam down in the baking dish.  Pour one can of enchilada sauce over the enchiladas in the dish.

Step 5 – Sprinkle tomatoes, olives, and cheese over the enchiladas.

Step 6 – Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes and the cheese is melted.

I was really happy with how these turned out.  We will definitely be making this again, but I will do things a little differently the next time around.  I think that  10-12 sprigs of cilantro might be a little much, but that could be because I used medium flavored enchilada sauce (instead of mild or regular).  The next time, I’ll stick with the medium flavored sauce, but cut down on the cilantro a little.  Maybe half as many sprigs?  Or perhaps another herb altogether?  It might just take some tweaking to find the right balance.

Definitely something to try if you are looking for new options for your weekly menu.  You just can’t beat 15 minutes in the oven and minimal prep time!

Slow Cooking Saturday

A culinary mastermind I am not.  I wish I could be one of those moms that makes every meal, or even just a majority of our meals, from scratch.  If only I had the time.

When I saw Michelle at I Heart Publix post this super easy Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe from Passionate Penny Pincher earlier this week, I thought, “Hey, even I can do that!”.  Unfortunately, it would have to wait until the weekend.  So here it is, my weekend project:

If only I had taken a picture of the finished product.  It was delicious, easy to make, and I have plenty left over for lunch tomorrow.  Plus, my house now has the heavenly aroma of chicken tortilla soup.  Definite bonus.

But what about desert?  Michelle at I Heart Publix came through for me again when she posted this recipe for pumpkin cupcakes earlier today.  So yummy.

I now leave you with 3 reasons why cupcakes are the perfect food:

  1. Completely portable with very little mess;
  2. Perfect icing to cake ratio; and
  3. Because they are small, you can eat at least 2 and not feel guilty.