Friday, December 19, 2014

White Hot Chocolate Mix

It is a well known fact that my mother is a fantastic cook. Growing up, all my friends loved to hang out at our house because of all the great food. Of course, Christmas has always been Mom's shining moment. Between the thousands of cookies she bakes, and the candied bacon and sticky buns on Christmas morning, our family is easily the best-fed in the nation every December 25th.

One of my favorite Christmas treats growing up was white hot chocolate. Mom would make it with fresh ingredients on the stove. I, on the other hand, prefer instant gratification. I like to have cocoa mix on hand for whenever the mood strikes. Sure, regular cocoa mix is great, but sometimes you just want something a little more special, without having to make too much extra effort. So, here is my version of this amazing holiday beverage.

White Hot Chocolate Mix
(Print Recipe)

11 oz bag white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Finely chop the chocolate chips in a food processor or blender.

Add remaining ingredients and blend together.

Stir 3 tbsp of mix into 8 oz hot water. Store mix in an airtight container.

Just a few notes about the ingredients.

If you are lactose intolerant, look for goat milk powder. It is a little easier to digest. I have a very mild intolerance, so using goat milk instead of cow milk usually does the trick for me. Goat milk is slightly sour tasting. It is pretty noticeable with the white chocolate, so if you are not used to the taste, you might want to add a little extra powdered sugar.

If you really want something different, try substituting the cinnamon and nutmeg with a couple of candy canes. Grind them up with the chocolate chips and you have instant peppermint white hot chocolate mix! This makes an easy, festive gift, as well!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Turkey, Turkey, and More Turkey

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Now what will you do with all that leftover Turkey? Once all the sides are gone, I inevitably have a surplus of turkey meat.

The last few weeks have been extremely busy for me, so we are well past Thanksgiving by now and busy preparing for Christmas. You may be done with your leftovers at this point. I, on the other hand, just managed to finish off all of mine today. It took three weeks, but I did it! And that was after I divided all the loot with the rest of the family! That's what I get for buying a 22 pound Costco turkey.

So, for next year's planning purposes, here are two great recipes to help you use up those leftovers. The first is really a classic: Day After Thanksgiving Deep Dish Turkey Pot Pie. I never get tired of pot pie. Plus, you can easily freeze one or two for later.

Day After Thanksgiving Deep Dish Turkey Pot Pie
(Print Recipe)

2 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 cup leftover gravy
1 cup leftover turkey, shredded
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 large carrots (or about 10 baby carrots), chopped
1 medium potato
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup snap peas or green beans

In a large microwavable bowl, cover celery, carrots, potato, peas, and corn with water. Microwave on high at 5-minute intervals for 15-20 minutes, or until carrots and potatoes are soft.

In a large skillet, melt butter. Sautee onion and mushrooms. Stir in the flour and salt.

Quickly whisk in the milk and gravy. When thick and bubbly, turn off heat.

Stir in the turkey. Drain vegetables and stir into the filling.

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup ice water

Mix flour and salt with a fork. (I use one cup white, one cup wheat flour.) Whisk oil and water with an ice cube until thick.

Pour oil mixture into flour and mix with a fork. Divide into 2 balls. Roll the first on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin to lift it, lay the dough in the pie plate. Spoon in the filling.

Roll the second ball of dough and lay it on top of the pie. Fold and crimp the edge.

Use a fork or knife to make several holes in the top of the pie. Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

This recipe makes one deep dish pie. Multiply as necessary. Or, if you have two regular pie plates, just double the crust.

The second recipe is a new one I tried out this year with surprisingly tasty results! Turkey Pumpkin Chili. The pumpkin makes it nice and thick. My husband didn't even know there was pumpkin in it until I told him, after he raved about how good it was, of course!

Turkey Pumpkin Chili
(Print Recipe)

1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
OR 1 lb (about 2 cups) raw beans, soaked in water overnight

1 lb ground turkey
14 oz turkey sausage
2 cups turkey stock
14 oz can (about 1 1/2 cups) pumpkin puree
12 oz bottle beer
14 oz can diced tomato
8 oz can tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic
2 jalapenos, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp tumeric

If soaking beans, drain and rinse them before cooking. In a skillet, brown the ground turkey.

Now combine all ingredient. You can boil it in a large stock pot for an hour, until beans are soft. Or put it in a crock pot and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8-9 hours.

This is a great meal to throw in the crock pot before work. I love coming home to the smell of dinner ready to eat!