Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Category Archives: Turkey

Taco Pizza

My children love taco night.  When I say “taco” I mean the ones you buy in the box that have crispy and soft taco shells, a taco seasoning packet and some taco sauce.  They don’t want adventurous fish or chicken taco’s.  And that’s okay, because I can enjoy that ground meat mixture in a corn shell taco just as much as an elaborate one.

I ended up with leftover taco meat and toppings and decided to switch it up and throw it on top of some pizza dough.  It made my children happy not once but twice this week when dinner was served. 

It also made my life a little easier knowing dinner would be quick and easy to throw together.

You don’t need to have leftovers from taco night to make this, you can just follow the basic recipe below and make the pizza by itself.  Yum!

 

TACO PIZZA:

  • Fresh Pizza Dough (either homemade or purchased) *please do not use the one in the can in the refrigerated section.  Many grocery stores now sell fresh pizza dough if you don’t want to make your own.
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey or beef, browned and drained
  • 1 Packet of Taco Seasoning (follow packet directions for adding to the beef or turkey mixture)
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Freshly Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Taco Sauce (I buy the bottle in the taco section of your grocery store)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a skillet, begin browning your meat.  Drain of all fat, add the taco seasoning packet and the amount of water instructed on the packet. Stir together, remove from the heat and set to the side.

Add a little olive oil to a sheet pan and some to the outside of the pizza dough.  Work your dough into a rectangular shape on the baking sheet.  If you use a pizza stone, which is an even better choice), work the dough out to fit the size stone you are using.  I used a standard size sheet pan and worked my dough to fit the size of the pan.

Using a slotted spoon, cover the top of the pizza dough with the ground meat mixture.  Top that with the cheddar cheese.

Place on the bottom rack of the oven and bake until the bottom is nice and crusty.  If the top of the pizza dough is not browned enough, move it to the top rack and place it under the broiler for a minute or two to make it the color/crispness you are looking for.  Be sure to watch it closely since it takes only seconds to burn!

While the pizza is baking dice up your tomatoes and shred some lettuce. 

As soon as the pizza is done, remove the oven and place on a cutting board.  Top with the tomatoes, lettuce and sprinkle with over some taco sauce, using just enough so that it doesn’t make it too soggy.  You don’t want it dripping in the sauce!

Add whatever other toppings you like such as sliced black olives, diced onion, avocado, cilantro, or sour cream.

Enjoy!

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Chicken & Cilantro Cakes

A few months ago I visited one of my favorite food blogger sites: Kathy at Polwig.

She had just updated her cooking section with a dish she called Chicken Cakes with Herbs and I knew right away I wanted to give them a try.  I did and exactly as her post described they were not only simple, easy and delicious, but my family too requested I make them again several times that week. 

Kathy’s recipe calls for two herbs: chives and basil.  By the time I made them the second time for my family I was out of these herbs and my garden was long done, so no fresh basil to pick from.  I did have a large bunch of fresh cilantro sitting in my fridge so I used that in place of the chives and basil.  It gave it a completely different twist, and when I decided to make these into slider style cakes and top them with some fresh Pico de Gallo, it became pure heaven.

I will tell you this, these are delicious anyway you choose to make them.  Simple and tender, you can use Kathy’s version with chives and basil, add the fresh cilantro like I’ve tried, or add whatever fresh herb you want as the dominant flavor in this dish.  Fresh rosemary might be good, too. 

I’ve made these with both ground chicken and ground turkey and both were equally delicious.  Unlike other burgers or bites made with lean ground turkey or chicken these are not dry in the least.  I lend that to the addition of the grated mozzarella cheese. 

My next venture with these is to vary the cheese and see what else I can come up with.  No matter how you make them, I bet your family will be begging you to make them over and over again.  Simple and delicious.  Perfect.  These are great as a main meal or even made smaller for an appetizer with a dipping sauce.  Maybe some honey mustard, ranch or chipotle sauce.  Yum.

If you haven’t checked out Kathy’s blog you really should.  She shares her family, home and her kitchen with you.  If you want something different and unique for dinner or lunch, check out what she has to offer.  Her recipes are varied and not the ordinary everyday dish.  I bet you will enjoy her blog as much as I do.

To see how to make these tasty bites, visit her blog for the recipe Chicken Cakes with Herbs.  I followed her recipe exactly, switching out the chives and the basil for a bunch of fresh cilantro.  Other than that, they were exactly the same.  Give them a try and see what you can come up with.  The possibilities are endless!

Thanks, Kathy for a great recipe.  My family loves them!

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

This is one of those simple meals I throw together for a night when I know I’m not going to have time to cook.  Tuesday is the day of the week this works best for me since it’s always a busy day at our house. 

You can just as easily make this on the stove, but I like the ease of the slow cooker for this because I start it early in the day and don’t need to stir or do another thing to it.  Dinner is ready and I can just serve it up.  It’s also a favorite in our house since all of my children love taco anything.  Well, everyone except my daughter.  She will eat tacos and nachos but won’t eat this soup. 

There are several different ways I make this and the options to change it up are unlimited.  I’ll give you the basic recipe I’ve followed for years, and one you can find almost anywhere, and then the options you can choose from to change it up.

SLOW COOKER TACO SOUP:

Serves 6 (with leftovers since it’s always better the next day!)

  • 2 lbs. Lean Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
  • 1 28 oz. Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced
  • 1 Can of Corn, drained
  • 1 Can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Packet Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
  • 1 Packet Goya Sazon (in the orange box) *optional
  • 1 1/2 cans Water (use the empty tomato can to measure) 
  • Top with some shredded cheddar, sour cream and broken up tortilla chips.

Preheat your slow cooker. 

On the stove, brown the ground beef or turkey along with the onion.  When done, drain with a slotted spoon and add to the slow cooker.

Then add all the other ingredients, stir well and cover.  Set to cook on high for 4 or 5 hours or low for 6 to 7 hours.  Once the soup begins to bubble in the slow cooker it’s done.

You can of course eat this just as is.  But it’s even better if you add some shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and a few crushed up tortilla chips.  Stir it all together and enjoy!

Option #2:

Replace the beef or turkey with leftover shredded chicken.  You can also throw in a can of green chiles if you want a little spice, or leave them out.

Option #3: 

Replace the same amount of regular petite cut tomatoes with Fire Roasted Tomatoes instead.  This adds a delicious smokey flavor to the soup.

Option #4:

Replace the 28 oz. can of tomatoes with 1 15 oz. can of Rotel and 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes.

There are probably a million on variations you could make to call this your own.  Start out with the basic recipe, which is good just as it is, and go from there.  Enjoy!

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Turkey & Cheese Crescent Rolls

My oldest son loves when I make these. 

They are simple and delicious, but also, very rich.  Even my bottomless pit teenaged son can barely eat a whole one alone. 

You make them with canned crescent rolls and what ever lunch meat and cheese you have.  The varieties for what you can stuff in here is endless. 

Turkey & Cheese Crescent Rolls

Serves 4 (normal people) or 2 (hungry people)

  • 1 Can refrigerated Crescent Rolls
  • 6 Thin slices turkey breast
  • 4 Slices Cheese (I used Yellow American)
  • Wax paper for rolling out dough

Preheat oven to the level indicated on the can of crescent rolls.

Open crescent rolls and divide entire roll in half so that you have two sets of 4 crescent rolls.

Take one half of roll and place between two pieces of wax paper.  Roll into a rectangle, getting it as thin as possible. If you get any tears in the dough just pinch them together again.  

Once flat, place two pieces of cheese and top with 3 slices of turkey.  Fold up into a rectangle pinching all sides together to seal completely.  Do the same with the other section of dough so that you end up with two sandwiches. 

Place seam side down on an ungreased baking pan.

Place in oven and allow to cook for 13 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and flaky.

When done, remove baking pan and allow to cool for ten minutes.  Remove to a cutting board and cut each piece in half giving you 4 individual sandwiches. 

Serve and enjoy.

Chili – Great for funerals!

Every time I make chili  it reminds me of something you would take to a funeral.  I have never once in my life brought chili to a funeral.  In fact, I have never once been to a funeral where I had to bring a dish of any type.  So I’m not sure why it reminds me of funerals.  Maybe it’s that I have always longed to be from down South where everyone brings a covered dish to potlucks and funerals and such.  We don’t tend to do that much in the North.  At least I never have.   Maybe it’s because Chili would be an easy dish to travel with for something like a funeral or potluck.

Of course when I think of funerals, I also remember one of my most embarrassing moments.  (There are many of these for me.  Sometimes on a daily basis). 

My husband and I had to attend the funeral of a friend’s father who had passed away.  We went the second night of the viewing and arrived about a half hour after it started.  While I won’t say it was crowded, there was certainly enough people to witness my less than graceful maneuver.

My husband took a seat and I handed my jacket and purse to him.  Being the good Catholic girl that I am, I proceeded up to the casket to kneel and say a quick prayer.  Catholics pray for the release of a soul from purgatory, so this was important business I had to see to!   It’s important to note that the service was an open casket.  Remember that for later.

I approached the casket and right in front of it was an ornately carved, wooden kneeling bench that was perched on the top of a small wooden platform.  I kneeled down ready to do the sign of the cross when all of a sudden I felt the bench shift.  One of the legs was not fully on top of the platform it had been placed on, and of course I was the first lucky person to kneel down on it. 

You know that instinct that you have when you are about to fall ass over elbows?  You know the one where you automatically reach out in front of you with your hands to grab on to something to help stop yourself from falling on your face?  That’s what I did.  The problem was the only thing in front of me to grab on to was the casket.  The casket that was open.  The one with my poor friend’s father in it.   As I felt the bench slip I grabbed the edge of the casket and knew immediately this was a mistake.   The casket shook, the bench made a loud bang as the top of it hit into the front of the casket, and the hinged open top of the casket began vibrating.  I clung to the side of it with all my strength until I could feel it stabilize, praying all the while that the top of the casket would not come crashing down on my fingers.  This probably was only about a ten second episode, but it was the longest ten seconds of my life. 

Things finally stabilized and I could feel my face burning with embarrassment.  I wanted to climb into that casket and pull the top down on myself so I wouldn’t have to turn around and face all of those people sitting behind me.   I immediately did the sign of the cross and began to pray;

Dear Father in Heaven, please don’t let anyone have seen that!  Please don’t let them all be looking at me now!  Forgive me for almost flinging this dearly departed man out of his resting place and launching him across the funeral home head first!  Please don’t let this bench give way when I attempt to stand, causing me to fall face first into this openly waiting casket.  Please erase the last ten seconds from every single persons mind that is sitting in this room.  Please!  In the name of Jesus Christ my Saviour.  Amen.

I stood up VERY carefully.  Thankfully, God had answered one part of my prayer and allowed me not to fall face first on top of the deceased.  I took a deep breath and turned around to meekly return to my seat.  The one next to my waiting husband.  My eyes immediately locked with my husbands and I saw him with this small smirk on his face as he slowly shook his head and looked down.  I knew what he was thinking.  That this could not have happened to anyone other than his extremely graceful wife.   It was so typical of something that I would do. 

I immediately sat next to him and whispered between my teeth, “Don’t say a word or I will punch you.  Not. One. Word.” 

Shortly after I had returned to my seat I saw the funeral director go up to the casket, look down at the kneeling bench and re-arrange it so that it was sitting securely in place.  On his way down the aisle he stopped next to my seat, apologized and asked if I was okay.

“It’s okay!  Really, I’m fine”, I repeated.  This is what I said.  What I thought was, “Sure! Come fix the stupid thing AFTER I almost buried myself alive!  And make sure you stop to apologize to me so that EVERYONE can look over at me as I become even more red in the face.”  

My husband and I stayed long enough to pay our respects and then left.  I knew he could only hold it in so long.  As soon as we got into the car and shut the doors, he put the key in the ignition, gave that little smirk and looked over at me and started laughing.

“Oh. My. God,” I said.  “Do you think anyone saw me?”  I really didn’t need an answer because I already knew EVERYONE saw me. 

I realized as we were driving home I had never said a prayer for this poor, deceased man!  Oh sure, I prayed.  But I prayed for myself and my growing embarrassment.  I never prayed for this poor man’s soul!  All this time he could be stuck in purgatory so much longer because I had never prayed for his heavenly release!  I envisioned he was probably looking down on me thinking, “You stupid imbecile!  Because of your clumsiness you never prayed for the release of my soul and now I’m stuck here!  Too bad the casket lid didn’t come crashing down on your fingers!” 

As soon as I got home I said my prayer.  I apologized for my less than graceful showing of respect for this man and begged for the release of his soul.  I hope someone upstairs got the message.  I already felt bad enough as it was!

So if you have a funeral to attend you might want to try this recipe.  It travels well and tastes delicious.  Just try not to power launch the deceased out of the casket when you attend.  It’s really tacky!

CHILI WITH BLACK BEANS:

  • 2 Lbs. Ground Turkey or Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 Can black beans
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 28 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Begin by browning your ground turkey or beef in a large pot or dutch oven and drain the fat.

Dice up the green bell pepper and the onion.  Rinse and drain the can of black beans.  Now add all the above ingredients followed by the crushed tomatoes and all of your spices.  Stir it all together, cover, and simmer it on low for an hour, stirring occasionally.

I like to serve this with some Frito Scoops chips, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese on top.  I tone down the heat of the chili because of my children, but my husband always adds a few dashes of hot sauce to his serving.  Also, I prefer the black beans to Kidney Beans.  They have firmer texture and tend to hold up better.  I always find the Kidney Beans to become too mushy.  But that’s just my weirdness.

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