I’m sure, like good little minions, you saved your ham/turkey bones from Thanksgiving, lovingly wrapped and stored in the freezer. We had a ham (cause Hubby is a pirate, and we all know they only eat ham), so that’s what I used. First, carve as much of the meat off the bones as possible. (No one will judge if you nibble at it like a mouse during this process).
Next, you will need a giant cooking pot with water, about 2 or 3 carrots, half to a whole onion, and either 2-3 stalks of celery, or use the inside of your celery that’s not really good for much else. I threw in a couple cloves of garlic for fun, and you can add a whole jalapeno or two if you want something spicy.
Throw that all together, and you can add your tupperware for your almost-free soup, which you all have in your freezers at all times, right? Get it started boiling, then go do something constructive. I let mine boil for about an hour. You want to cook it until the meat comes off the bones easily. If you cook it too long the cartiledge will start to disintegrate, which is disgusting, so try to avoid that.
Oh, this is just me showing off how much ham is in my freezer:
Most of the time when you make soup stock, you are told to scoop out those veggies that have been boiled to death in the broth, and throw them out. What is the point of that?? Put those in the blender with some of the broth, and blend it all up.
You end up with this veggie mush you can mix right back into the broth. It makes it much thicker and more flavorful. Note: if you are using turkey bones, be VERY CAREFUL to get all the bones out before doing this. You don’t want bone shards in your soup. I swear, I’ve seen muslin bags designed for this exact problem; you put the bones in the bag, then throw it in the pot with everything else. An internet search has turned up nothing, so maybe I’m delusional. Or need more coffee. I can’t have all the answers.
Here’s another quick trick. To clean your blender, rinse it out, then add a drop of dish soap, and fill it with water. Put it back on the base and turn it on for about a minute. This gets the blades really clean while the food is fresh.
Look at that! A double-whammy of helpfulness! IS THERE NO END TO MY GENIUS?
I’m sure by now you are probably sick to death of all the turkey that is filling your fridge. You probably should have taken my advice and not made a turkey to begin with, but it’s too late now. Lucky for you, I have dozens of recipes to hide it in! Most of these are chicken recipes I blogged awhile ago, so I’m just going to link to them here, and tell you to substitute turkey for chicken. It’s the equivalent of a “back flash episode” on a sitcom, but there may be some new material showing up at the end. In fact, probably, so scroll on past the list of the recipes you loyal minions have already committed to memory, and the rest of you use this as motivation to read everything I’ve ever posted. Yes, they are all gems such as these:
1) Broccoli Cheese Casserole – just add some turkey for more protein, and let all the gratuitous cheese cover up that turkey flavor.
5) Turkey Soup
6) Turkey Salad
Oops, I think that’s everything. I have no idea what I was thinking of earlier when I said there might be new material down here at the end. Maybe I was hoping I would come up with something by now, but instead I made dinner. You can always make turkey sandwiches also. Um, turkey pizza? Yuck, no. Turkey pasta salad would probably be good. Phew! Ok, well The Office is on. The End!
*UPDATE* New Recipe!! I finally thought of one! Turkey and dumplings – the lazy way (my specialty):
Your basic ingredients are shredded, leftover turkey, chicken broth, and a can of biscuits. You can add celery, carrots, and onions to the broth if you want, but you should keep the amount small, and chop them up pretty fine.
The trick is to get your broth BOILING, then open your can of biscuits, and tear a couple into small pieces, and drop them into the broth. I usually only use about 2 biscuits for dumplings and bake the rest, but it depends on how large a batch you are making. They plump up, so keep that in mind when you are tearing your pieces. You don’t want the whole pot to turn into a giant glob of biscuit goo. I usually cook it for about a half hour, then pull out a dumpling to test for doneness. I KNEW I had another recipe!
I read lots of articles on how to save money. I get sick of reading “stop going out to eat!” Uh, no crap. Maybe you could tell me something useful? Apparently common sense isn’t as common as we’d all hope, because lots of things I’d consider basic ways to save money (“Paint your own nails instead of getting manicures!”) make up entire articles on other sites. Not this site! I believe you all have brains of your own, and don’t need me to spell every little thing out for you. You’re welcome.
One idea I have read many places, whether it’s saving money or eating healthier, is batch cooking. Most articles referring to this suggest that you, for example, make two casseroles, eat one and freeze one. I think this idea is on the right track, but with a couple flaws. 1) I only have the freezer space available in my side-by-side. I don’t believe that buying a whole other freezer is worth the tiny amount I’d save by buying and freezing my own vegetables while they’re in season, not to mention the extra electricity it would take up. Plus think of the clutter! Uck! And what if the power went out and all that food got ruined? Forget it. It’s sounds like one more hassle I don’t need. 2) If I made 2 casseroles, don’t I now need 2 casserole dishes? At least? If I was doing that habitually I should either buy stock in Pyrex, or get a ton of those aluminum catering dish things. It sounds pretty wasteful and cluttery, again.
Obviously I wouldn’t be writing a blog post just to complain. Well, I would, but I’m not at the moment. I put all the clever little gears in my brain to work on the best way to do batch baking, and have I got a bitchin’ idea for all of you! (That’s your reward for fighting your way past my ranting. Give yourself a pat on the back!) Why should you cook just the same thing when batch cooking? My plan is to bake lots of basic elements that can be made into tons of meals. So we start off with veggies.
During this time of year, lots of veggies are in season, and therefore super cheap. I hate cutting vegetables, so I bought probably about 20 pounds of broccoli, zucchini (or courgettes, if you’re feeling fancy), cauliflower and other veggies that were around $0.88 per pound. I busted out my food processor, and let it chop them all to bits for me! Usually, I wouldn’t get it dirty just for that, but I was also baking my Tomato Glut Sauce the same night, and I knew it would be getting dirty regardless.
This is my oven with pans of veggies and sweet potatoes in it cooking. At the same time, I had the crock pot going with beans, and a pot of soup for dinner.
I’m calling these “beans noir” because they looked pure black and white in real life. This was a mix of black beans, northern beans, and black eyed peas.
All those little bitty chopped bits that always occur when you chop vegetables? Where can they go?
That’s right! In the soup! This is the chick that pioneered the almost free soup. Of course it’s going into soup! Plus, little bits of green stuff in soup make it look more appetizing, and like you did lots of work to make it. It’s all psychological, people.
I baked an oven full of veggies, an oven full of meat (mostly chicken), made a pot of soup, and a pot of beans in one night. The rest of the week, all I had to do was basically microwave food, and then eat it. The whole idea here is to minimize the amount of time I have to spend in the kitchen, and to heat up the kitchen only one day a week. I’ll post what I made with the batch cooking later this week. Noms!
I’m sure you’ve all been wondering what I’ve been up to, and how I’m feeling. (I have the most thoughtful stalkers ever!) Well, I’m sick, and I have been for awhile. I’ve been coughing for a few weeks, to the point where I have now lost my voice, and my abs are killing me. As a result what topic has been foremost in my mind? The recent mid-term primary elections, you ask? Surprisingly no, I’ve been thinking about what to do when you’re sick. (It was pretty obvious, I’m surprised you didn’t guess it).
First off: Soup. Of course! Nothing feels better to a sore throat than nice, hot soup. You can go with your basic chicken noodle, or tomato, but I made a spicy Indian lentil soup. I cooked a whole bag of lentils, then set them to the side. I peeled and chopped up 3 small carrots and 1/4 of an onion, and started sauteing (I have no idea how to spell that, or how to fix my spell checker, so deal with it) them in some olive oil. I threw in a couple of sliced jalepenos, but it wasn’t very spicy, so I would add more next time. Cook them all until soft, then throw in a can of broth. I used beef, but you can use chicken (that old stand-by for colds), or vegetable if you’re vegetarian. I let it simmer for a little bit so the veggies would pick up the flavor, then added 2/3s of the lentils back to the pot (the other third will be in tomorrow’s dinner). For spices I used about 2 tablespoons of cumin, which sounds like a lot, but mine was not very strong. Add the cumin gradually and taste it along the way so it’s not over-powering. I also added garlic salt, chili powder, and about a teaspoon each of dill and parsley. That may sound weird, but it gave it a really authentic flavor. With some brown ‘n serve rolls on the side, my tummy and throat were both happy.
Next: Tea! Tea is full of antioxidants which are supposed to make you healthier, plus the heat and hydration are very helpful for my poor abused throat. There are immune boosting varieties available, plus my favorite, blueberry! When I was sick back in the day, Mom used to make us tea with honey and a little bit of whiskey. Probably best to do this at home, not the office. I’m assuming you’d get odd looks if you pulled a bottle of (insert name of whiskey here) out at work. If not, tell me what you do for a living. I may join you.
Also: Ginger! You can take a fresh ginger root, peel off the ucky outer peel, and then suck on a chunk of ginger to help a sore throat and clear you sinuses. You can also shave little bits off the ginger into a coffee mug, fill with boiling water, and let it steep for awhile to make a tea. It can be a bit spicy, but it definitely helps.
The basics: bed rest (which I’m not getting, because I’m at work), sleep (which I’m not getting because I have a puppy), decongestants (which I can’t take because they make me loopy), and cough drops (which I am SICK OF!). Being sick is never fun, and that’s why I’m a cranky lady. No one can tell though, because irritation doesn’t come across well through whispering.