More Turkey?

Blog Post #250

Are you tired of eating turkey leftovers? I am!

Tonight, I wanted a comfort food casserole that would use up the rest of our small bird but was free of pasta or rice. Something simple but delicious.

So, of course, I headed to the world wide web to find the perfect recipe and came across one for Chicken Divan. This dish called for chicken breasts, but I was sure leftover roast turkey would work just as well. With broccoli on hand, some white wine and most of the other ingredients, I got to work and adapted the online recipe, and voila! Christmas Turkey Divan was on the menu!

The dish was a bit labour intensive — requiring quite a bit of chopping (the turkey, the broccoli, the onion and garlic) but it was totally worth it! It was delicious and a big hit with the family.


Christmas Turkey Divan


Cooked turkey cut into bite-sized chunks — (I ended up with about 3 cups of meat, but you could probably use more or less depending on what you have on hand)

Broccoli chopped into bite-sized pieces — (I had approx. 3 cups but, again, you could throw in more or less — or if you don’t like broccoli, be adventurous and sub in your favourite veggie)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter or margarine

4 tbsp flour

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of milk — (I used skim milk because that was in my fridge, but you could use regular milk or omit it and increase the amount of chicken broth)

1 cup of chicken broth

A splash of white wine — (you could omit this but it did add a nice flavour to the sauce)

1 cup shredded cheese — (use your favourite, I used Italian 3-cheese blend)

½ cup grated parmesan — (if you don’t have any on hand, you could omit it or sub in some shredded cheese)

1.5 cup of dry breadcrumbs — (I used dry bread cubes that I didn’t use in my stuffing)

Salt and pepper

Italian seasoning — (or your favourite seasoning)


Preheat oven to 350°

Using a bit of olive oil, prepare a casserole dish by oiling the bottom and sides.

Cut up the cooked turkey into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Chop the broccoli into pieces (bite-size or a bit larger). Steam the pieces until bright green and easily pierced with a fork, but not mushy. Remove from heat and run cold water over the broccoli to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

In a pot, heat up the olive oil and butter. Add in the onion and garlic, sauté until soft. Add seasoning, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until a roux is formed.

Slowly add in the liquids, whisking continually and cook until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add in the shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

Put the cooled broccoli pieces in a layer in the prepared casserole dish. Pour half of the sauce over the veggies. Add the turkey in a layer on top of the broccoli and pour the remaining sauce on top.

In a small bowl, add the bread crumbs and parmesan. Mix until combined and spread on top of the casserole. (I added a little bit of chicken broth to the dry bread cubes that I used, so they would be a little soft and the cheese would cling to them better.)

Bake in the oven until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with a green salad. Bon Appetit!


Where’s the Chili?

Chili pepperI was reading yesterday’s blog post because one of my FB friends commented that there is no mention of chili or cumin in the recipe that I posted for Bruce’s Black & White Chicken Chili! Wait —what?!  Did I just goof up? He gave me the directions verbally since he never cooks from a recipe — he always cooks on the fly, so to speak.

I asked him if he put chili and/or cumin in last night’s dinner. This elicited a long silence then a hearty chuckle — nope, the recipe was correct as written — he forgot to add in the spices! Laughing, he said maybe we should call it “Bruce’s Black & White Chicken Stew”! Hehehe!

So if you want chili for dinner tonight and you are thinking of trying the recipe previously posted, please add in 1 tablespoon of chili and a teaspoon of cumin (or season to taste) when you add the chicken back in. You could even toss in some chopped chile peppers if you want the extra heat!

Of course, you could make the “chili” just as I wrote it yesterday. It was delicious and no one missed the “chili-ness”!

From Wikipedia:
Chili con carne (chili with meat), more commonly known simply as chili, is a spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat (usually beef), tomatoes and often beans. Other seasonings may include garlic, onions, and cumin.


Black & White Chicken Chili

chiliBruce made dinner tonight! Why the excitement, you ask?  Well, it’s been quite some time since he’s wielded anything close to a spatula, so I think I’m justified in being a little overjoyed by the prospect.

Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a wonderful cook — he just doesn’t do it very often! His bouillabaisse is to die for and his chili recipe is so delectable – whether it is a traditional beef chili or his specialty “black and white” chicken chili  — it’s a real treat.

And the best part? No cooking for me!!

Bruce’s Black & White Chicken Chili

2 boneless chicken breasts
1 28 oz. can white kidney beans, rinsed
1 28 oz can black beans, rinsed
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or Hoisin sauce
Olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Sauté the chicken until browned, sprinkling in Italian seasoning if desired. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Add  onions and garlic to pan, sauté until softened. Lower the heat and add the celery, cook for a couple of minutes and then add the  peppers, stirring frequently. After a couple of minutes, add in the chicken back in, and a little more Italian seasoning if you wish. Cook on medium-low for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid singeing. Add tomatoes, stir until incorporated. Heat until mixture reaches a slow boil, stirring occasionally. Add in Dijon mustard, Balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir, add the beans and simmer for at least 1/2 hour or until you are very hungry and must eat immediately.

To serve:
Spoon into bowls, crack pepper as desired, add large pinch of grated cheese (Haberno would be fabulous). Enjoy with homemade cornbread or fresh buns and a glass of dry red wine. preferably a Malbec.


Comfort Food

I was craving macaroni and cheese (comfort food – yum) and as I was gathering the ingredients to make this delicious casserole, I found a butternut squash and I decided to add some in. Usually when I use the squash, I roast it in the oven, but I did not have time, so I peeled and chopped the squash and steamed it in a little bit of water, until soft and then pureed it before adding it to the white sauce.


2 cups Small Pasta
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Flour
¾ cups Milk
½ cups Butternut Squash Cooked and Pureed
1-½ cup Cheese (I used Kraft Habenero blend for a little kick, but you could use Italian Blend or Mozzerella)
2 Tablespoons Cream Cheese
½ teaspoons Salt
⅛ teaspoons Pepper
Bread crumbs for topping

Preheat oven to 350 F

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until pasta is tender. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter over medium low heat in a saucepan and add the flour. Whisk and cook for 2 minutes, making a roux.

Slowly add milk. Whisk until combined. Next add everything thing else. Stir until combined.

Place the pasta in an ovenproof casserole and add the sauce to the pasta and combine until the pasta is coated. Top with bread crumbs. (I omitted this because I did not have any bread crumbs on hand, but add them if you do – they make a nice crunchy topping). Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes. Enjoy!

butternut squash


Do You Want Ketchup With That?

I’ve been searching for a recipe to make my own ketchup – one that uses fresh tomatoes not canned, yields a reasonable amount of sauce and is a simple, easy-cook method. After countless hours researching recipes, I finally found one to start with.

I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

I chopped tomatoes, onions and threw them into my heavy blue enameled dutch oven, added some sugar, spices, tomato paste, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Mixed it all up and turned on the heat.

Then I sunk into the sofa with a glass of wine and my current novel. Every so often, I would wander into the kitchen to give my ketchup a stir, adjust the seasonings, refill my wine glass. After about an hour, the mixture had reduced by about half. I let it cool slightly, whirred it around in the blender, poured it into a clean (glass) jar and voilà, beautiful, flavourful ketchup!

The results were taste-tested by my family and deemed “delicious”. (The ultimate compliment came from one of my daughters, who remarked that it tasted like “ketchup”).

This means no more store-bought ketchup for us. There are so many variations that I want to try with my next concoctions! Next time, I will roast the tomatoes for a more intense, smoky flavour.

Here is a link to the recipe that I used. Please note: that I made a few adjustments – I used less sugar and olive oil. I also used less vinegar (and used equal parts red wine, cider and balsamic vinegars). I used whole spices tied in a bit of cheesecloth.

I am so encouraged by this attempt that I going to give homemade mustard a try!