Friday, November 29, 2013

Left over Turkey Dinner Pockets

I had to pull this one back out...This is what we will be doing with our Thanksgiving leftovers. They are very easy to make and you can make use of what's left in those little bowls after a holiday meal.
Leftover Turkey Dinner Pockets
  • 1 8 count can Jumbo biscuits
  • 2/3 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/3 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1-1/4 cups diced cooked turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • 1 cup turkey gravy, warmed
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Beat egg and mix water.
Separate biscuits. On a floured surface, flatten/roll out each biscuit into a thin round. Place 1 teaspoon of mashed potatoes, ½ teaspoon cranberry sauce and a few pieces of turkey in the center of the round. Brush with egg wash around the edges.
Fold edges up and over filling. Pinch to seal turkey pocket. Place on cookie sheet. Once all biscuits are filled; brush tops with remaining egg wash.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with warm gravy.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cheesy Smothered Chicken

This dish is similar to a chicken dish you can get at a certain steakhouse. If you are like us, we enjoy the variety you can find eating out, but we're such homebodies it has to be a special occasion to blast us out of our comfort zone. I've seen several versions of this recipe floating around Pinterest and just had to try my hand at it. I looked back at my pins and couldn't even find where I pinned it to give credit where credit is due. This is definitely a keeper. Andy and I usually don't fix chicken breasts, but these turned out very moist.

3 boneless, 1/2" thick* skinless chicken breasts. *pounded
6 slices bacon
1 container sliced mushrooms
2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
Lawry's season salt

1/4 cup mustard
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp. Hellman's mayo
2 teaspoons minced onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Season chicken with Lawry's and place back in refrigerator.
Fry bacon in a skillet. Drain on paper towels and crumble when cool.
Cook chicken in bacon grease on medium heat until lightly browned (about 5 minutes per side).
Lay chicken on a baking sheet. Brush each chicken breast with the honey mustard.
Cover chicken with a layer of mushrooms, bacon crumbles and top with shredded cheese.
Bake chicken for 30-40 minutes. Cheese should be melted and chicken cooked thoroughly.

Deer Jerky

Today the house is smelling like a meat curing station. You never know what Andy is going to be up to, but I can assure you if it has something to do with food, he's just as bad as I am. He'll keep on until he fixes it and then fixes it again like he wants it. My brother-in-law Don has been treating us to his deer summer sausage for a few years. The taste is incredible. I have no idea what blend of spices he uses, but it's a good one. Andy has had it on his mind to try his hand on it. Last weekend we were walking around Gander Mountain and he was checking out all the grinder and stuffing machines. Yesterday I came home from work and he had several pounds of ground deer meat mixed up with a counter-full of spices. He also asked me to test some jerky he had processing out in the little cottage kitchen. That got me thinking that I hadn't even posted our jerky. Wow. I have really been behind.
Like I've said in the past, there is nothing wrong with simple as long as it tastes good. There are too many things in life that are hard, we like to keep cooking good and easy. Many years ago Andy found Oster Jerky Seasoning. It's a nightmare to find now, but we have always liked the way the deer jerky came out using this blend. Just ask my niece Brookie (Brooklyn). She was over one day when the dehydrator finished a batch. She sampled a few pieces and liked it. When she got ready to leave she asked Andy if she could take some home. Of course! Well, he didn't realize her idea of some was almost all. She grabbed a gallon Ziplock bag and cleaned several trays out. That girl loves this jerky! My brother would have a fit if he knew what she did.

It reminded me of the times all of our kids would devour the jerky within a day or so of making it. These particular batches were made from sliced meat, not the ground variety. It was a painstaking process. Andy thought he'd teach the kids a lesson by making them help him on the whole process. I believe they ate it even faster. Lesson not learned. Now he hides it. Even from me!
We are fortunate to have a little room we call our "cottage" on our property. It's nothing fancy, but it's the perfect place to fix foods that are pretty strong smelling. It's where I banish him to when he decides to fix chittlins'. Whenever we fix anything that can get a little messy, we like to slit a kitchen garbage bag and lay it over our work area. We like to spray a light coating of oil on all of the dehydrator trays. It makes clean up easier and the jerky just pops right off.
 Mix the whole pack of the spice/cure mixes with 1 pound of ground deer meat. Blend well.
 Stuff the meat into the jerky press.
Extrude onto trays. This option created the flat strips. There is another fitting that will form sticks. However, one time Blair and I were awarded the task to finish some jerky Andy started. Our weak arms had a hard time extruding the meat and the kids kept calling them cat turds (sorry, but true story). They couldn't get enough of them and they were gone in no time flat, no matter how they looked.
 Fill tray and continue until all meat is pressed.

Set dehydrator to 165 degrees. We recommend checking at the five hour mark and go from there. You want to make jerky that has a nice chew and isn't overly dry. Last year we started taking the timer we use on our Christmas tree lights to program the dehydrator. This is perfect when we get a late start. We use this trick when dehydrating tomatoes also.
Be sure to store the jerky in Ziplock bags or an airtight container.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pelicans on the Elk River Fall 2013

You might wonder, "what do pelicans have to do with a food blog?" Well, absolutely nothing unless you take into consideration that I got to enjoy our annual group of pelicans while they were feeding on "our side" of the river this past weekend. For three years now, we have enjoyed the white pelicans, seagulls and courmarants who have called the Elk River home from late October to early spring. When the river is dropped to winter pool, the other side looks like a huge island because the water is so shallow. Our side isn't much better, but we still have a small amount at the end of the dock.Because of that, we notice them feeding close by only every once in a while. Several hundred joined in for a feeding frenzy and I was loving it!