Thanksgiving Leftovers…Turkey Tetrazzini!

Happy Sunday everyone! Is anyone else in full holiday mode? After a busy November and hosting our first Thanksgiving, I am ready for the Christmas season to begin (let’s be honest…I’ve been ready since about the November 1st!). Our home is decorated, we are slowing putting gifts under the tree, and a Christmas holiday station has been playing in my care for about 3 weeks!

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Despite my anxious desire to dive into Christmas, we were stuck with a few extra days of Thanksgiving looming over our tummies. Does anyone else find leftovers from Thanksgiving completely overwhelming?! Jeff and I are not huge leftover people. We typically keep leftovers for a day or two, then they slowly find their way to the back of the fridge or into the garbage can. I’ve been trying to be better about re-purposing leftovers, and Thanksgiving was no exception this year! After hearing my mom talk about turkey tetrazzini, a dish that utilizes leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, I thought what a great idea… I need to give this a try!

Turkey Tetrazzini typically uses a base of either cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, or a homemade white cream sauce. Cheese is another prominent ingredient as well as a few vegetables (need a little fiber in there, right!) and of course lots and lots of turkey. My recipe takes a little lighter spin on this classic dish. It is easy to make and definitely warm, comforting, and the perfect way to utilize some of your extra holiday ingredients. This will definitely become a new tradition in our home for after-Thanksgiving leftover meals, and I hope it will for you too!

A Little Lighter Turkey Tetrazzini

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 oz whole wheat spaghetti pasta
  • 2 heaping cups organic baby portabella mushrooms, washed and roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup white onion, diced
  • ¼ cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • ¾ cup 1% milk
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cups turkey, shredded
  • 1/3 c frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese + a little extra for the top
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese + a little extra for the top
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (optional) with 1 tsp butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta as directed on back of box. I suggest undercooking slightly, as this will also gain some cooking time in the oven.

In a large sauté pan, sauté diced onion and mushrooms in olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to help draw moisture out of mushrooms. Sauté 4-5 minutes or until onions become slightly translucent.

Add cream of mushroom soup, chicken stock, parsley, garlic powder, red pepper, salt, and pepper to pan. Stir for a few minutes until soup starts to thin out and bubble. Stir in milk and bring to a low simmer.

Add frozen peas and shredded turkey. Cook for ~5 minutes until peas become soft and tender. Mix in cheese and stir until cheese is fully melted.

Once pasta is cooked to your liking, drain and add to your cream sauce with a 1-2 Tbsp of pasta water to help thin the sauce. Lightly toss pasta into the sauce then transfer to a medium sized baking dish. Top with extra cheese and bread crumbs (optional). You may season the breadcrumbs to your liking with herbs, spices, or just plain salt and pepper. Place small droplets of butter on bread crumbs and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until bubbling. Once bubbling, let sit under the broiler for another 5-8 minutes until the top begins to golden and become crisp. Let cool for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!

 


Holiday festivities… and food!

Hi everyone! I hope y’all had a fun and relaxing weekend. Jeff and I started a serious journey towards finding out perfect home this weekend and let me tell you…. STRESSFUL. I don’t know if I ever pictured house hunting to be this stressful, but boy do I see why we have avoided it until now. With that said, yesterday I was in dire need of a little relaxation and down time.

Jeff worked through the afternoon, which gave me time to plan a nice little Memorial Day dinner for both of us. No, I didn’t pull out the grill (although I’d highly recommend it if you make the burgers!) because sitting in front of a hot grill in 100 degree weather just didn’t seem all that appealing.

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When it comes to festive foods, you know I like to keep it simple, flavorful, and fun! I had been thinking about making sliders for a while so I went with mini turkey burger sliders as our main dish and a unique, tangy “potato salad” for our side. Who doesn’t love burgers and potato salad?!

The potato salad is definitely not your traditional potato salad. I added a little roasted corn and sauteed green beans for added color and flavor. The dressing is super delicious, tangy, and easy to make. It can also be used to marinate chicken, other meats, or dress other salads/veggies! Make it ahead of time to save yourself some extra work if planning for a party or barbecue!

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For the turkey burgers, I decided to do a few sliders wrapped in romaine lettuce for myself and mini buns for Jeff. I like the added crunch of the lettuce and found this to be a great alternative to a regular bun if you tend to eat gluten-free or want to minimize your carbs for other health reasons. The burgers were flavored with green chile and shredded cheddar cheese, nut other flavor combos such as feta and basil or blue cheese and bacon would also be great to try!

I hope you give these recipes a try and maybe add them in to your next barbecue. The 4th of July is right around the corner, so planning ahead will help minimize stress and hopefully lead to a fun and relaxing party!

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Tangy Dijon Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Yields ~1/4-1/3 c dressing depending on how careful you are with measurements!

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Directions

Put all ingredients into a mason jar or small container with a lid. Agitate by shaking vigorously. Store in a cool area until ready to use.

Green Chile Cheddar Turkey Sliders

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Yields ~8-10 sliders depending on size

  • 1 lb ground lead turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 can diced green chiles 
  • 1/3 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 c diced yellow or white onion
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch chile powder

Directions

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with hands or roughly with a fork. Roll and press patties about the size of a larger, thick cookie or muffin top. Place on parchment paper until ready to cook.

In a large pan (or on a grill), spray the surface to prevent sticking. Heat the pan to medium heat and place about 4-5 patties in the pan. Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear and there is a golden brown color on the surface. Serve with toppings of choice.


Making the most of Memorial Day weekend!

Ok, so long weekends are the best right?! I don’t think there is one person that I talked to today that wasn’t excited about having a little extra time this weekend to spend with family, friends, or soaking up the Arizona heat.

Summertime holiday weekends are typically filled with cookouts and fun activities, but do you ever get sick of the same old hamburger, hot dog, potato salad menu? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good potato salad, but sometimes I just want something a little different!

Today I’m going to pull some of my favorite recipes for cookouts and summer time parties. I’m also going to give you some tips on how to liven up these recipes even more and tailor them to whatever function you are attending or hosting!

  1. Instead of regular burgers, try these turkey burgers with a fun twist!

Simple Turkey Burger

  • For a spicy flare, add 1/2 can of green chilies, a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, a and a pinch of chili powder.
  • For a more salty/savory burger, mix in 1 Tsp of dried thyme and 1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese!

2. Instead of regular pasta salad, try this creamier avocado pasta salad!

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Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad

  • Add various veggies that you enjoy; you don’t have to just stick to what is in the recipe! Try cooked green beans, snack peas, red pepper, etc!

3. For dessert, skip the typically cupcakes or cookies and go for something fun, festive,           and light!

Banana ‘Nilla Party Parfait

  • Add different fruit that fits the occasion. For example, for Memorial day, add blue and red fruit (such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries) for a more patriotic look!

4. Need another side that will keep well for leftovers? Take a spin off the normal salad!

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Fresh and Fast Lemon Broccoli Salad

  • Swap the golden raisins for cranberries or use green apple instead of Gala for a more “tart” and crisp bite!

 

 


Gluten-Free Gooey Banana Bread

Hi everyone! Whose excited it’s the weekend?! Sorry this post is a little later than I wanted it to be, but this week has been eventful and busy so it kind of got put on hold.

Y’all know I’m a huge fan of banana bread. The gooier, the better! This recipe gave me something decadent and special to look forward to each night this week (sad to say I finished it off yesterday!), so I thought it was necessary that I share it and hope you guys like it too!


This is the first time I have attempted to bake gluten-free, and I was pretty darn happy with the outcome! I really enjoy trying new things with baking, and I haven’t found much of a need for coconut flour until this recipe. The base of the recipe is bananas and coconut flour. It is extremely moist (hens the gooey) and tastes great both warm and cold. I actually preferred it cold, so I kept the pan in the refrigerator and just took a few bites throughout the week!


One thing to note, coconut flour definitely absorbs more liquid. If you choose to bake or cook with it, remember it is going to absorb more moisture, so use less flour! I think this is maybe why my past attempts at using coconut flour were so unsuccessful.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me comments or picture of recipes they have tried! I love the feedback so please keep it up! Happy Saturday everyone, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Gluten-free Gooey Banana Bread

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 medium brown bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 capful vanilla extract (~1/8 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch pink salt
  • a few dark chocolate chips

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mash bananas with 1 egg and brown sugar. Once sugar has mostly dissolved, mix in olive oil, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, vanilla, and almond milk. Whisk together until well incorporated.

Add coconut flour and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. The batter should still seem fairly wet. Grease a bread or loaf pan and spread batter evenly on the bottom. Top with a few dark chocolate chips.

Bake bread for ~35 minutes or until the ends start to pull away from the pan and turn golden brown. The middle should still seem a little gooey. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving. Will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator covered with foil. Can be reheated or served cold!


Controlling the Cocktails

This is going to be a fun post… really! I think ya’ll are going to like!

Now, I know everyone may not be on the same page here so if you are like me and look forward a refreshing cocktail Friday after a long work week then you should probably keep reading. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, maybe this post isn’t for you but please go ahead and read anyway! A lot of what I’m going to talk about can still be applicable for those who do not consume alcohol.

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Fruity Summer Wine Spritzer: 4oz white wine, splash of Lemon La Croix sparkling water, ice, frozen blueberries, frozen peaches

When 5 o’clock hits on a Friday, you better believe I’m thinking one of two things: 1. How fast can I get home to see my pup and hub. 2. Where are we going to dinner tonight. I think I’ve mentioned before that Friday is typically Jeff and I’s date night, so I am always looking forward to putting on a cute outfit, enjoying a fun and yummy dinner, and yes… finishing it off with a cool and refreshing cocktail!

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Because of the lifestyle that I choose to live, I am fairly adamant about not “over-doing” it with any type of alcoholic beverage. I am by no means promoting the consumption of alcohol, but having a glass of wine on a Friday or making a fun summer drink to enjoy on the patio with my husband I think is completely OK for me. I know for some, it is hard to find a balance with consuming alcohol, especially for those who are “dieting” or watching what they consume. That is why this post is going to be so fun! I’m going to give you some easy tips to cut back the calories, and have a fun and refreshing drink responsibly that won’t make you feel “guilty” or ruin your health efforts.

Whether it is altering a drink recipe, or just simply knowing your limits, there are many ways to keep you beverages under control and fitting into your lifestyle if you choose!

Tips to cutting down the calories:

  1. Choose your mixers wisely. Stick to things that are natural and have minimal added sugar. Skip the premixed drinks and make a cocktail on your own or order something with minimal ingredients. Utilizes fresh fruit for flavor, soda water or essenced sparkling water for bubbles, or a splash of 100% juice for a little sweetness.
  2. Don’t over-do it. Nothing is worse than someone who has been over-served so don’t be that person. Enjoying a glass of wine with dinner is one thing, but downing a bottle of wine in an hour is another. I hate feeling out of control, so for this reason I am fairly frugal with how many cocktails or beverages I will consume in one sitting. Are your friends bugging you because you aren’t “keeping up?” Order a tall sparkling water and ask for a little fresh lime and mint. The next time you are asked “where’s your drink?” smile and politely hold up your pretty little “mock-tail”. No one will know the difference! One last little note — NEVER drink and drive.
  3. Cut wine with sparkling water or soda water. I know this sounds odd.. but have you ever heard of a wine spritzer? Order 1/2 glass of white wine and ask for it to be topped off with a little sparkling water and a few ice cubes!

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If you are looking to make something special for your next dinner party or social event, try one of these fun and flirty cocktails with a “healthy” twist! I also provided an alcohol-free “mock-tail” that looked unbelievably yummy!

Grapefruit Mocktail

3 oz red grapefruit juice
3oz cranberry juice
2 oz seltzer water or sparkling water
1 lime wedge
Mint leaves

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Recipe & picture from Health Magazine

Basil-Cucumber Gin Cooler

2-inch piece of cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp agave nectar
1 1/2 oz gin
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
ice cubes
splash of seltzer
1 thin slice lemon, for garnish
1 thin slice cucumber, for garnish

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Recipe & picture from SkinnyTaste

Watermelon Cucumber Mint Cocktail

2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
½ medium cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
10-12 leaves fresh mint
2 tbsp date syrup*
2½ tbsp fresh lime juice
⅓ cup vodka
*Date syrup: 10 medjool dates pitted and soaked, 1 1/2 cups water

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Recipe & picture from Hummusapien