Turkey, Apple, Almond Butter Sandwich

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These days have been some great ones recently.

I have forbidden myself from doing any work, so I have gotten in some good relaxation time.  And on top of that, I have been in hog heaven (or turkey heaven?) with all of my Thanksgiving leftovers.  Turkeys need to be roasted more often just for the sake of leftovers.

If you are looking for some ways to use up your leftovers, you have come to the right place.  I have been doing some experimentation with my leftovers, but I always find myself gravitating back toward the sandwich.  There are so many possibilities with sandwiches.

Stuffing? Sandwich.  Cranberry sauce? Sandwich.  Green bean casserole? Sandwich. If you have a question about what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers, the answer should always be: put it on a sandwich.  So many choices, yet leftovers always seem to run out before I can get to make all my concoctions.

If you are looking for a sandwich that uses turkey but with a less Thanksgiving twist, here is a great sandwich for you.  You get juicy turkey, crisp apples, melty cheese, and rich almond butter.  It is wonderful.

TURKEY, APPLE, ALMOND BUTTER SANDWICH
Adapted from Bev Cooks

INGREDIENTS

4 slices multigrain bread
1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
Turkey
Salt and pepper
Almond butter
Sliced cheddar cheese, optional

DIRECTIONS

Preheat broiler.

Spread almond butter on all slices of bread. Layer turkey on two pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Top with apple slices and cheddar cheese.  Broil until warmed through and cheese is melted, about 3-6 minutes.

Makes 2 sandwiches.

Apple Stuffing

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Last Thanksgiving, we went a little stuffing crazy. According to official psychologist-in-training expertise.  Which, to me, is a perfectly acceptable form of going crazy along with pie crazy, cheese crazy, Diet Coke crazy, and cranberry crazy.

So last Thanksgiving we had a lot of stuffing: 3 types (And I tried lobbying for a fourth).  First, we had our traditional stuffing both “dry” and “wet” due to differing personal preferences, and we tried out this new apple stuffing. This apple stuffing turned out well: rich tasting due to adding an egg, and the apples added a little bite and sweetness.

This year’s Thanksgiving menu is still in it’s draft phase, and I have had dreams of so many different types of stuffing to try.  Oyster, sausage, fig, pear, sourdough, naan- there are some many possibilities with this bread dish.  I think we definitely need a full week long Thanksgiving celebration with at least one full day dedicated to only eating stuffing.

I highly recommend making lots of stuffing this Thanksgiving- that way you have plenty leftover.  There is nothing better than stuffing on a sandwich.  Bread on bread is always the way to go.

Yeah, if you couldn’t tell, I really love stuffing.

APPLE STUFFING
Slightly Adapted from Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS

3-4 tablespoon butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 apples, chopped (peeled if desired)
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
8 cups bread cubes
1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth
1 egg

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan.

In a large skillet, melt butter. Add leeks and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add apple and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 6-9 minutes. Season with sage and rosemary. In a large bowl, stir bread cubes and apple leek mixture together. Pour in chicken broth until desired stuffing consistency is reached. Stir in egg.

Spread mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Sausage & Apple Tater Tot Bake

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Cliche time: I can’t believe it is already November.  Last week I remember looking at my calendar and when I saw November was days away, I was certain that I was missing a page in my planner.  This semester has gone by so. fast.

But since it’s November, it means that Thanksgiving is that much closer! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays (only topped by the month long celebration of Christmas that follows).  It seems like a holiday made for food blogging: the entire day when you only think about food. If you are in the midst of planning your turkey day menu, keep an eye out this upcoming month while I share some favorites I tried for Thanksgiving last year and have been testing this past month.

While I count down the days until Thanksgiving break (21 days), I need good meals to help me through my work.  And sometimes you just need some tater tots in your life. So today let’s tot it up!

So everyone needs a good tater tot every now and then.  Even better for these cooler months is a tater tot bake that is a warm and filling dinner.  And this dinner is easy to boot (we got to start saving our energy for the big T-day this month).

And did I mention there is cheese involved here? Tater tots and cheese.  Now that I have you hooked in- let’s even add in some fall apples on top of that.  And sausage.  And green onion.  It’s warm, cheesey, and wonderful.

SAUSAGE & APPLE TATER TOT BAKE
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest via Baked by Rachel

INGREDIENTS

2 large Gala apples, sliced
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
5-6 cups frozen tater tots
~1 cup grated white cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine apples, sugar, nutmeg, lemon juice, flour, and butter.

In a large skillet, brown sausage in pan. Combine with apple filling and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet, place tater tots in an even layer on the bottom. Top with apple sausage mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes in oven. Top with cheddar cheese and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5-9 minutes. Serve immediately

Serves 3-4.

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, and Apple Tartlets: Secret Recipe Club

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I love this time of year.  Fall is just beginning, the temperature are cooling down, and the leaves are starting to change colors (at least for you people outside of Lubbock who have actual foliage).  Texas weather will be like a Katy Perry song for the next month or so (hot and then cold, yes and then no), but this time of the year just feels magical.  One perk around this time of year in Texas are the many county fairs that pop up.

I missed Lubbock’s county fair last year, but this year I definitely plan to hit it up. State fairs are great for many reasons- one particularly is the snackage.  Deep fried wonderfulness and plenty of chances to spill powdered sugar all over yourself.  No need to sit down for a meal, just buy a bunch of snacks, walk around, people watch, go on the Ferris wheel, and have fun.

Snack power!

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Denise’s blog, Creative Kitchen Adventures.  Lots of good recipes there to choose from- take a look around.  Being a snack-fiend, I was immediately drawn to her appetizer section.  These tartlets are definitely a little bit fancier fare than county fair food, but sometimes we got to class it up around here.  And the only real way to class up my life is through bite-sized appetizers.

The combo of toppings on these tartlets is fall perfection: sweet caramelized onion, meaty mushrooms, sweet apples with a little bit of bit sugar, and lots of cheese.  Put this on top of buttery puff pastry, and you will immediately feel like you have died and gone to heave.  And you will be at peace with your premature death.

No need to wait for a party to make these (although they are great finger food), just make a bunch and call it dinner. Class.

Then wash it all down with a corn dog, some cotton candy, deep fried Oreos, and lots of powdered sugar.  Because it’s fall.

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CARAMELIZED ONION, MUSHROOM, AND APPLE TARTLETS
Adapted from Creative Kitchen Adventures

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons butter, divided
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 large apple, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 ounces Gruyere/Fontina cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 sheets puff pastry (1 pound total)
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large skillet melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer onions to a bowl. In the same pan melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and add mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8-12 minutes, until softened and liquid has evaporated. Add mushrooms to bowl with onion.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pan and add apple and sugar. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add to mushrooms and onions. Let cool slightly, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in thyme, Gruyere, and chives. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Place a sheet of puff pastry on each baking sheet. Cut each sheet into 16 squares with a pizza cutter. Arrange tartlets so they are spaced apart and brush with beaten egg. Top each tarltlet with 1 tablespoon of the filling. Bake for 25-27 minutes until golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through.

Makes 32 tartlets.

Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month!


Apple Dessert Nachos

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We all need to take a moment to process something.

I found my first gray hair last week.

Graduate school has been having some interesting effects on me.  First, I have been getting stress pimples, and my face looks like a moody adolesent.  And now it’s giving me gray hair like the elderly.  How is this fair?  In my 20’s I’m supposed to be in my glory beauty days!

There is no other answer to how to cope with this problem than to stuff my face with sweets.

I have a huge sweet tooth, and it’s soothing for me to make extravagant, detailed step by step homemade desserts from scratch.  But when I am busy or am having a gray hair crisis, I just ain’t got time for that.  At these times when I need a dessert ASAP, these dessert nachos are a perfect solution.  I can make ’em, eat ’em, and get back to watching to see what shennanigans the housewives are up to this week.

Ice cream + apples + heath bar pieces + caramel sauce = sweet tooth fix.

This is a mix and match dessert: take what you like and plop it on top of apples and ice cream. I suggest this general formula of fruit, ice cream, crunchy or chocolatey topping, and warm sauce. I also added whipped cream and a marachino cherry after I snapped my pictures, which was a great decision. Although these are nacho-like, I chose to eat this with a fork since it goes a little messy with my hands.

Plus, this is a healthy dessert because it has an apple, right? Right.

I now have to go buy gray coverup and pimple cream- life is unfair.

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APPLE DESSERT NACHOS
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

Apple, sliced
Vanilla ice cream
Heath bar pieces
Caramel sauce, warmed
Whipped cream

DIRECTIONS

Layer apple on a plate or in a bowl. Top with softened vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle heath pieces on top. Drizzle caramel sauce on top. Dollop whipped cream on top. Yes, it is that easy.

Apple Omelette

Lately I have been craving breakfast foods all day long.  Since I don’t actually eat breakfast (unless a Diet Coke counts as breakfast), I like to eat this omelette as a light lunch or as new way to spice up breakfast for dinner, which is one of the world’s best inventions.  This isn’t a traditional omelette- it’s almost more like an eggy pancake.  Either way, it’s delicious.

Also, this omelette is a perfect way for me to use up a part of an egg. Since I eat alone most days and am bored by leftovers, I am always scaling down recipes.  This means lots of recipes only need half or a fourth of an egg.  It was always a pain to try and use up the remaining egg, and I can only eat scrambled eggs so much.  This omelette is an easy way to make a yummy dish using only part of an egg.  Or if you do not have an egg remains problem, you can always use a full egg.

For any of you who are afraid making the dreaded, finicky omelettes: fear not.  Many years ago, I once made an omelette.  And I did not like it- probably because I followed the recipe instructions and didn’t cook my eggs as much as I like.  So, this omelette is not hard- the flip is a little tricky- but just make sure to cook it according to how you like your eggs.  I definitely go against the rule and like my eggs very well done.

APPLE OMELETTE
INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Salt
1 small apple, chopped
1 teaspoon melted butter, divided
DIRECTIONS
In a small bowl, whisk milk and flour together.  Whisk in egg, granulated sugar, and salt.  Fold in chopped apple.
Heat small skillet over medium heat.  Brush the pan with half of the melted butter.  Pour in egg mixture and cook for 2-4 minutes.  Pour remaining butter into the pan and fllip (I do this by sliding it on to a plate which is sometimes easier).  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Serve with additional apple slices or top with a pinch of cinnamon if desired.
Serves 1.

Apple Barley Kugel

I have an upfront disclaimer about this kugel: I have no idea what kugel tastes like.

All I know about kugel is this:  I saw Ina Garten make it on the Food Network one day, and I wanted to eat it.  Kugel is a Jewish casserole that can be sweet or savory, typically made with egg noodles and eggs.  Ina made a sweet kugel, full of cheese and sugar.  I will take any opportunity I can get to mix a little sweet into dinner, so the idea of a sweet kugel casserole holds a huge appeal for me.  Both cheese and sugar for dinner?  I think that gets a hell yes. This is my extent of knowledge and forethought about this dish.

I took a general inspiration from my vague memories of Ina’s television segment, figuring out this combination by trial and error.  A kugel typically uses egg noodles, and while you can too, I am just not a huge fan.  I much prefer a chewier pasta or grain.  This time I used barley as my base and loved it.  Barley adds extra chewiness and nuttiness to the casserole that I love.  For the sweetness I included apples and currants, two of my favorites.  With a dash of almond extract, this is a great savory but sweet casserole.  While I am not 100% certain this kugel is completely authentic, I can vouch for its tastiness.  And it’s a perfect winter dish: a warm casserole, with a little sweetness.

PS: 25 days until the big day, 1 weeks until my vacation starts!  I am so looking forward to enjoying this long break with lots of holiday cheer.  Mom better get her shopping shoes and elastic pants on.

APPLE BARLEY KUGEL
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup dried pearled barley
1 cup water
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 apple, chopped
1/4 cup currants
DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Season with a generous pinch of salt and add pearled barley.  Lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until barley is barely al dente.  Drain off any remaining water and chill in refrigerator.
In a large bowl, beat eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, salt, cinnamon, sugar, and almond extract together. Fold in apple, currants, and barley.  Grease a small baking dish or two individual baking dishes.  Pour kugel mixture into pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and golden brown.  Cool for 5 minutes.
Serves 2 as a main dish, 3-4 as a side dish.

Apple Grilled Cheese

Some might say that I take the apple a day adage quite seriously due to the fact that I eat at least one, sometimes two, apple a day.  But alas, it does not keep the doctor away.  Or maybe it’s my hypochondriac tendencies contribute to that…

All self analysis aside, I do know one thing about myself: I love apples.  This is obvious given that I end every dinner with an apple (it’s often my safety net if a new recipe I try fails miserably).  More specifically, I always end dinner with a Pink Lady.  As a self proclaimed apple connoisseur, I have tried all kinds of apples- all colored delicious, Gala, Fugi, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Macintosh, and more- but my favorite is without a doubt the Pink Lady.  It is tart, sweet, and has a strong “apple” taste.  I have been known to go to several grocery stores until I find good quality Pink Ladies. If you have never had a Pink Lady apple, here is the perfect time to try it out.

This is a perfect sandwich for any apple lover.  Apples and cheese may seem like a strange pairing perhaps, but they just work.  While apple and cheddar is often the traditional combination (anyone ever had apple pie with cheddar cheese- I am dying to try the combination myself), many types of cheese pair well with apples.  This time, I used the wonderful, creamy cheese that is brie.  Goat cheese, fontina, or blue cheese would also be interesting combinations for this sandwich.  The brie gets melty and goeey, the apples are slightly cooked but retain a crunch.  And just to make sure you get that apple taste, slather on some apple butter.  It’s apples to the max in this hot sandwich.

APPLE GRILLED CHEESE
Adapted from Heat Oven to 350
INGREDIENTS

4 pieces sourdough bread
2 tablespoons apple butter
1 Pink Lady, cored and sliced
2-3 ounces brie, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
Salt
1 tablespoon butter, divided

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
On two slices of bread spread the apple butter.  Divide the apples slices between each slice. Season with a pinch of salt.  Layer brie on top.  Drizzle honey on top.  Top with remaining slices of bread.  Spread 1/2 tablespoon of butter on the two top slices of bread on each sandwich.
Place sandwich butter side down in hot skillet.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.  Spread the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter on top pieces of bread.  Carefully flip sandwiches and cook 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.
Makes 2 sandwiches