Category Archives: One pot cooking

Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

One would think I should have posted this recipe after Thanksgiving. Sadly, Santa left an unwanted gift for me this year in the form of a stubborn cold. I could eat soup all year long but I especially crave it when I’m not feeling good. I decided to recreate this tasty “soup du jour” from a recent dining-out experience I had while said cold was just starting to incubate. This recipe could easily be made with chicken and chicken stock. However, because I did cook two birds on Thanksgiving and have packages of leftovers and gallons of broth in the freezer, I used turkey instead. Being lactose intolerant, I’m not normally a huge fan of cream soups because they are usually laden with lots of dairy (duh), extra fat and questionable thickeners. In this case, the soup is thickened a bit with flour and then finished off with a touch of sour cream to give it a creamy texture.

The original recipe called for instant rice. I had a bag of Lundberg brand wild and whole grain brown rice blend in my cupboard (purchased at Sprouts) so I opted to cook it separately in a rice cooker. I started the rice first, estimating that by the time I chopped the veggies and sauteed them, the rice would be ready to add to the pot. I wasn’t that far off, actually.

I also subbed dried, and reconstituted, porcini mushrooms only because I was fresh out of fresh mushrooms and didn’t want to make a trip to the store. On a side note, I purchased a huge bag of dried mushrooms at one of those membership-only big box stores years ago. The bag lasts forever (I actually had one bag for an entire decade…but I didn’t cook as much then) in the pantry and allows me to keep a supply on hand for any mushroom-related emergencies that may come up, like today.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions or shallots
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 3 cups (roughly 12 ounces) shredded chicken or turkey
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream


  1. If using wild rice blend, begin cooking it separately according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stock pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the flour, salt and pepper. Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly until the flour is entirely incorporated.
  3. SLOWLY add the broth one quarter cup at a time. Thoroughly mix each quarter cup of broth into the veggies until a paste forms. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any bits that might have stuck. Once you have a nice consistency in the bottom of the pan, pour in the remaining broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for about five minutes.
  4. Add rice, meat and sour cream. Stir to combine. Adjust cooking time based on what kind of rice you are using (5 to 7 minutes for instant; 15 to 20 minutes for white rice). If rice has been pre-cooked, just gently heat through.

Serves four

Nutrition per serving (approximate)

354 calories; 9 g fat; 87 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrates; 36 g protein;3 g fiber; 378 mg sodium; 577 mg potassium.

Adapted from: Eating Well

1 Comment

Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Brown rice, Chicken, Low fat, One pot cooking, Soup, Turkey


Tags: ,

Grandpa’s Christmas Eve Spaghetti Sauce

Grandpa Joe

For as long as I can remember my family has happily eaten the same dinner on Christmas Eve; a meatless marinara sauce that lists Italian tuna fish packed in olive oil as the star ingredient. Because we grew up on it, my siblings and I never found the combination of marinara sauce and tuna fish odd. As a matter of fact, we would beg for the “Christmas sauce” on other special occasions as it was a rare treat for us. Over the years as we have added family members through either marriage or birth, some may have initially been reluctant to try the dish, but one-by-one they’ve been won over.

The ritual of a meatless Christmas Eve is popular in many parts of Italy and is certainly where the tradition of this dish originated. My mother’s grandparents immigrated from Italy through Canada. Mom recalls her grandfather, Bill, making the sauce. My Grandpa Joe (pictured) continued the ritual until his death in 1995. Mom made it every year I was growing up and continues to do so to this day. Now that my siblings and cousin are of sauce-making age, the recipe has truly been handed down through at least 4 generations.

I’ve made the sauce myself on a few occasions. There has only been one Christmas I haven’t been able to spend with my parents. Based on the splattered fax of the recipe my Dad sent me in December of 1996 that I just pulled out of my pantry, I’m guessing this was the year. I may have been in New Orleans, but Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the sauce!

I’m not certain that the sauce really needs to cook for so many hours. However, to honor the tradition I am posting the recipe true to the way it has been cooked in my family from time immemorial.

I would love to hear about any Christmas Eve traditions you have. Please post a comment for me!


  • one small onion, finely chopped
  • three cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • one 6 oz can tomato paste
  • two 28 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • one tablespoon Italian herbs (basil or oregano or both)
  • 1/2 cup sturdy red wine (Chianti or burgundy)
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • High quality grated cheese (Asiago, Parmesan or Romano)
  • One 6 oz can Tonno (tuna packed in olive oil), drained well


  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan or dutch oven until fragrant. Add onions and garlic; saute on medium heat for about five minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Saute over low heat for about five minutes, stirring frequently so the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and stir well. Cook over low heat for about 2 hours. Watch closely so that the sauce doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the wine, butter and a handful of the grated cheese. Stir often and continue cooking another hour or so.
  4. Add the tuna to the sauce and cook one more hour.
  5. Serve over a sturdy pasta like gemelli, fusilli or penne. Garnish amply with freshly grated cheese.

Serves four.

Kat’s tip: Double or triple the recipe for larger quantities and for leftovers. Seriously if you’re going to cook something for several hours you may as well. Freezes well.


Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Holiday, One pot cooking, Scratch cooking


Tags: ,

Elegant Spinach Swirl Turkey Meatloaf

Last night I hosted my mother’s birthday dinner at my house. During the menu selection process, she gave the green light for this elegant meat loaf. I adapted this recipe from a Turkey Store cookbook that I sent away for some 15 years ago. The loaf is actually easy to prepare and looks great on the table. As a matter of fact, I almost posted this recipe as a Thanksgiving Day substitute for folks who didn’t want to go the whole turkey/turkey breast route. The best part is I prepared the whole thing earlier in the day and just popped it in the oven at the appropriate time. This freed me up to spend time with my Mom and the rest of the guests.

The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups cheese. In the past I used to omit the cheese altogether to keep the dish leaner. In honor of La Mama, I added 1/2 cup cheese which was enough to get a hint of a cheesy taste without it being overwhelming. Cheese lovers may want to add the whole amount. I also used homemade marinara sauce in lieu of plain tomato sauce because I happened to have a jar in my fridge.

I paired the meatloaf with baked potatoes and a simple dish of steamed green beans. Mashed potatoes, brown rice or any other green vegetable would work well too. Everyone (even my Very Traditional Brother who admittedly doesn’t usually like meatloaf) commented on much they enjoyed it. Best part of all, La Mama felt spoiled…as she should have.


  • 1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 10 oz. thawed and well drained frozen spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded


Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Mix turkey, bread crumbs, onion, eggs, 1/4 cup tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Roll out a 12″ x 18″ sheet of aluminum foil or wax paper. Shape the meat mixture into a 10 x 8 inch rectangle. Arrange spinach on turkey mixture to within 1/2 inch of edges; sprinkle with garlic salt and cheese. Roll up rectangle carefully, beginning at 8 inch side and using foil to lift. Press edges and ends of roll to seal. Place seam side down in pan. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. Drizzle with remaining tomato sauce. Bake 15 minutes longer.

Serves eight

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 17, 2011 in Low fat, One pot cooking, Turkey


Tags: ,

No-Roux Turkey and Andouille Gumbo

Cajun style gumbo thickened with okra

It has been my tradition every year to make turkey broth from the frame and then use it to make turkey gumbo. Exactly one year ago I spent hours trolling the ‘net for other gumbo recipes. In the long run, I decided I like my recipe the best for ease of cooking and minimal cooking oil.

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I make my turkey broth the same way I do my chicken broth. I trim as much meat as I can off the frame, break it up to fit better in the pot and let it simmer for a few hours. Armed with boatloads of turkey broth and lots of dark meat from two turkey frames, I ought to be swimming in gumbo by tomorrow.

I posted my chicken gumbo recipe before so I’ve adapted it for the post-Thanksgiving tradition. Assuming you’ve made the turkey soup and picked out the leftover meat, this recipe may take a couple of hours to cook but it’s mostly unattended and the results are worth it.

I marked this as one-pot cooking because technically, you could cook it all in the same pot. You could brown the sausage first in a large stock pot, added the veggies to saute and then started stirring in the broth. I prefer to saute the veggies in a non-stick pan since I’m still scarred from my first attempts at this recipe when I used fresh okra and it burned. If you ask me, fresh okra is a pain in the pan to cook with; its slimy, takes forever to cook and burns in the blink of an eye. These days I’m pretty committed to using frozen okra. It cooks up quicker and is WAY less messy to work with. Just another little tip from Kat to keep your cooking easy 🙂


  • 3 1/2 quarts turkey broth
  • 2 to 4 cups leftover turkey (white and dark meat)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen okra, chopped (see footnote)
  • 1 can small can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 to one pound andouille or smoked sausage, diced
  • 1 tablespoon The Pampered Chef® Creole Rub, Old Bay Seasoning Mix or other Cajun spice medley
  • Parsley


  1. Chop vegetables and sauté in a non-stick pan over medium heat until onions are soft (about 5-10 minutes)
  2. Add okra and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly until slime is gone being careful not to let the mixture burn (about an hour for fresh okra or 10-15 minutes for frozen and then thawed okra)
  3. Sprinkle flour evenly over vegetables and stir until flour disappears
  4. Add tomato sauce. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Transfer mixture to large stock pot and slowly add 6 cups of turkey stock. Cook 30 minutes.
  6. Add 8 cups of stock, sausage and seasoning mix. Simmer on medium heat for one hour.
  7. Add turkey. Cook for 30 minutes over low heat. Stir often to avoid burning the bottom.
  8. Garnish with parsley. Add salt, pepper and season to taste.
  9. Serve over rice

Tags: ,

Turkey Tortilla Soup – Low Fat and Healthy

Finish that leftover turkey for good!

The kitchen is clean, the china is put away, the floor has been mopped and Thanksgiving is over. But the leftovers remain. If you’re feeling like you overdid it yesterday, this recipe brings a light, clean and healthy way to use up the remaining turkey. It’s low calorie, low-fat and high on protein. Bonus points for it being a warm meal that is filling, too.

The cleanest way to make this soup is with homemade turkey stock. I’ve posted my sinfully easy way to make homemade broth before. Exactly the same process can be used with the turkey bones. Be warned you will need a really big pot for this. My family does a pretty good job of getting all the stuffing out so I throw the whole bird in, stuffing bits and all. You may be surprised at how much meat comes off the bones. Be careful when straining the broth; turkeys have some skinny, sharp bones that chickens don’t have. Obviously you don’t want these ending up in your soup.

I love to use dark meat in recipes like this because it strings up so nicely. This recipe words equally well with leftover chicken or turkey. Likewise you can get away with using canned chicken broth; just watch the sodium content.

Traditionally tortilla soup is topped with tortilla strips, hence the name. This soup is so flavorful that I usually forgo them but I have been known to top the soup with diced avocado, cilantro or shredded cheese.


  • 2 cups turkey (dark meat), chopped or diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups broth (chicken or turkey, homemade preferrable)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup corn, frozen and thawed

Optional garnishes:

  • Crumbled tortilla chips
  • Diced avocado
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Shredded cheese (cheddar, fiesta blend or queso blanco)


  1. Heat the olive oil in large dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers and saute until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the diced chile peppers, tomatoes, broth and spices; bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes
  5. Add the turkey and corn; simmer 5 to 10 minutes until heated through

 Serves four

Nutritional info (sans any garnishes)

Calories 238  Total Fat 8.8 g  Cholesterol 59.5 mg  Sodium 822 mg  Potassium 414 mg  Total Carbohydrate 15.7 g   Protein 25.1 g

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Low fat, NaBloPoMo, One pot cooking, Soup


Tags: ,

Kat’s Easiest White Bean Chili Ever

White bean chicken chili topped with chopped cilantro

I commented before how I had three or four different recipes for butternut squash soup. Turns out I have even more versions of white bean/chicken chili. You may wonder why I’m posting about chicken while the rest of the world is already talking turkey. The answer is that I still have some cooked chicken on hand from my marathon soup weekend. I guess I could freeze the chicken and save it for later. But truthfully, I’m just not ready to talk turkey yet. I already have my T-day menu planned out and its fairly simple. After Thanksgiving, turkey leftovers will be abounding and I’m sure I’ll be up to my eyes in turkey soup. My guess is you’ll be hearing a lot more about turkey then.

In the meantime, the recipe I am posting today reportedly was one of the top ten recipes from the Seattle Times in 1994. Unlike some of the other versions I have, it honestly doesn’t get any easier than this. If you have cooked chicken (or turkey leftovers) on hand, you could be eating dinner in under 30 minutes. I normally don’t go for canned beans. Even if I did, I certainly would always rinse away the extra sodium. However, this recipe calls for dumping in the entire can; beans, juice and all, which gives you a head start on a thicker chili and cuts cooking time.

If you’re in a hurry for dinner some night, this recipe could be the ticket.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion — peel/chop fine
  • 2 medium garlic clove — peeled/chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper — chopped fine
  • 30 ounces white beans, canned — undrained (two 15 oz. cans)
  • 4 ounces green chiles — canned/diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 14 1/2 ounces chicken broth — canned, low sodium
  • 8 to 12 ounces roasted chicken breast meat — cut in 1/2 in. cubes
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro — minced
  • 6 tablespoons salsa — optional


  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper and sauté 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the white beans, chiles, cumin, chili powder and broth.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the chicken and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the lime juice and top with chopped cilantro.

Use a tablespoon of salsa to garnish each serving of chili, if desired.

Serves 6

Nutritional information: assumes 12 ounces cooked chicken

Calories 201.4 Total Fat 3.3 g Cholesterol 32.9 mg Sodium 42.6 mg Potassium 630.5 mg Total Carbohydrate 23.0 g Protein 20.0 g

Recipe By : Seattle Times – Best 10 Recipes of 1994


Tags: ,

Chicken and Lentil Stew

Ingredients for chicken and lentil stew, check!

Watch out world, Kat is about to add another bean under her belt! Remember the bean mausoleum? Somewhere on the back of that shelf, there is a Tupperware container of dried lentils that is about to see the light of day. This is momentous because I don’t really cook with lentils. Now that I think about it, even though I almost always have them on hand, I don’t recall actually adding them to a recipe. Until now.

On a separate note, while much of the blogosphere is busy posting T-day recipes and tips, I am busy trying to use the last of the cooked chicken from the two batches of soup I made for the germ ridden people I know. Each cooked chicken yields about 24 oz of meat. Harkening back to my Weight Watcher days, and depending on how much protein I want in my dish, that is enough chicken to make two or three recipes with four servings each which I can store in the freezer. Multiply that by two chickens and I’ll have a pretty healthy stockpile to choose from. Which is good because December is a busy month and I operate much better when I can throw a pre-cooked meal in the microwave. Otherwise, historically I end up subsisting on Christmas cookies and wine.

P.S. I’m giving myself bonus points for finding another way to use up some of the kale that I bought.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large celery stalk
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 12 ounces cooked chicken, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dried lentils, picked through
  • 4 cups kale, ribs and stems removed


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until the onions are soft.
  • Add the carrots and celery. Continue cooking about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the mushrooms and cook another two to three minutes.
  • Add the chicken, lentils, thyme, oregano and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.
  • Drop the chopped kale on top of the stew. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the kale softens.
  • Stir through and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serves four
Nutritional info:
Calories 214.0  Total Fat 5.0 g  Cholesterol 32.9 mg  Sodium 93.7 mg  Potassium 835.6 mg Total Carbohydrate 23.4 g  Protein 21.3 g

Tags: ,