Thanksgiving Leftovers: The Bubble & Squeak Edition

Guest Post!  Big Thanks to my friend Angie Vee for writing our post today! Enjoy!

Bubble & Squeak

Bubble & Squeak

I’m an American.  Exaggeration is second nature and I lack a verbal filter.  My mouth spouts every subversive thought my brain concocts and I only worry about whom my opinions offend after.  So, when a friend asked me to write about “that weird thing you (sic) do with Thanksgiving leftovers” for her fancy, respectable foodie blog, I felt honored – and, a little bit apprehensive.  Why?  Because I frequently say things like this:

Black Friday was particularly vile this year.

There, I said it.  Black Friday is the adversary to good will; the thief of joy and holiday cheer.  All across America on this day, shopping centers are transformed into a kerfuffle of terror reminiscent of Germanic folklore’s ultra-gory Krampuslauf.  Turning on the TV, I can hardly tell the difference between video feed of otherwise good neighbors behaving badly at local big box stores or scenes from George A. Romero’s 1978 zombie massacre, Dawn of the Dead.

Angie 1

This meme says it all.

Well, count me out.  Alternatively, a few years ago my Hubbins and I decided to start a new post-Thanksgiving tradition – leftover turkey dinner for breakfast, only crispy and fried!  That’s right.  CRISPY!  And, FRIED!

You see, the British do this wonderfully bizarre thing with their leftovers called Bubble & Squeak.  Sounds adorable, right?  They toss the leftover ingredients from last night’s roast into a mixing bowl, mash them together like a meatloaf mix, form little croquettes, and then shallow fry ‘em up for breakfast the next morning.  It’s called bubble & squeak because – you guessed it – the croquettes actually bubble and squeak in the frying pan.  (Those Brits are so clever.)   Usually, the mishmash is loaded with whatever leftover potatoes, cabbage, veggies, etc. are on hand.  Now, apply the same process to your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Ange 2

First, shred the turkey and chop the veggies.

(There were no leftover veggies this year, so you’ll just have to pretend.)

Angie 3

Then, toss some turkey to the cat.

Next, add the stuffing or dressing and bind it all with mashed potatoes.  Mix well with your bare hands.  No need to add any additional seasonings.  Roll the mush into little balls and smoosh them with the palms of your hands.  (Referring to those little smooshed goo balls as croquettes will surely impress your friends.)

Angie 4

Dusting each croquette with flour or bread crumbs prior to frying is optional because they turn will out delicious either way.  The important part is that they are browned and crispy on all sides.

Angie 5

Shallow fry, approx. 4-6 min per side.

Angie 6

Oooh!  Bubbles.

 Finally, we top the patties of fried goodness with leftover gravy, cranberry sauce, or creamed corn.

Angie 7

There, now you have it.  Thanksgiving leftovers, the bubble & squeak edition!




Indian Mushroom Matter


I. Am. Tired. Of. Turkey.

Please don’t misunderstand – I love a classic American Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and (way too much) pie.   I enjoyed exactly this meal with gusto a few days ago.  I enjoyed my leftovers.  I sort of enjoyed my leftovers of leftovers.  But seriously, folks, it’s time to move on… far and away to visit entirely new flavor combinations.  For dinner tonight, Crowded Earth Kitchen is drawing inspiration from India.

My favorite Indian take-out restaurant meal is Mushroom Matter, sometimes called Mutter or Matar.  This meal is often described as “mushrooms and peas in curry sauce.”  The problem is, the word curry is about as specific as the word soup.  Curry isn’t a dish, it’s an entire food category.  For this German-American cook, creating a delicious curry sauce to coat nutritious mushrooms and peas was a fun challenge.  This particular curry is made from easy to find ingredients, and has enough kick to be interesting, without scaring a curry novice away.  Go ahead and put that leftover turkey in the freezer!

picture1051 Ingredients (Serves 4)

3 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped

2 large or 3 small cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped raw almonds

picture10541/3 cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

picture10561 tablespoon peanut butter (real, not hydrogenated)

2 tablespoons water

1 pound white button mushrooms, cleaned and halved

2 cups frozen peas

Basmati rice, cooked according to package instructions

Fresh cilantro to garnish


Step 1) Make the paste which will serve as the base of your curry.  To do this, combine tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, almonds, and 1/3 cup water in a sauté pan (see above).  Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, until all ingredients are cooked and softened.  Cool, then puree in a blender or food processor.  Set aside.

Step 2) Add olive oil to the sauté pan and heat over a medium flame.  Add cumin, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, and cardamom.  Fry spices in olive oil for one minute with constant stirring.  Add peanut butter and stir for one more minute.

Step 3) Add paste from step 1 back to the pan.  Add mushrooms and two tablespoons of water.  Stir and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, but keep the pan covered as much as possible.  The mushrooms will cook down and release their liquid into the curry.

Step 4) After 15 minutes, add frozen peas to the pan.  If the curry seems too thick (it should be a sauce at this point, not a paste), add a little bit of water.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, until peas are hot.

Step 5) Serve over cooked Basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.  You may certainly use regular brown or white rice if you wish, but Basmati rice offers an enticing popcorn aroma and unique taste that is just wonderful with Indian Mushroom Matter.  Enjoy!


Grandma’s Beef Rouladen


My amazing Grandmother left this world yesterday.  She was a wonderful artist, an enthusiastic collector of curiosities, and loved her family fiercely.  She was an excellent cook, and was happy to feed any and all who found their way to her kitchen table.  She wasted nothing, and could conjure a meal for a crowd out of just about any unlikely combination of ingredients found in her pantry.  I aspire to someday cook as well as my Grandmother.

Today I’m sharing a recipe for Beef Rouladen, a German dish and beloved comfort food that Grandma made.  I’m working from memory, and may have inadvertently taken a few liberties with her exact recipe, but this is how I remember the dish.  Enjoy, and celebrate your loved ones this Thanksgiving.  I certainly am.

WIN_20141122_131936Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 pound thin sliced (1/4 inch) top round steak

4 slices bacon, cut in half

1 small onion, sliced thin

2 dill pickles, cut into 4 spears each

WIN_20141122_134750Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups beef stock

16 toothpicks


Step 1) Trim round steak into 8 rectangular pieces, each approximately 6 or WIN_20141122_1353077 inches long and 3 or 4 inches wide.

Step 2) Lay a half piece of bacon on top of each piece of round steak.  Place a pickle spear and a few onion slices crosswise near one end of the steak, as shown above.  Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Step 3) Beginning at the end nearest the pickle and onion, roll each piece of steak as you would roll up a sleeping bag.  Secure each roll with two WIN_20141122_191113toothpicks.

Step 4) Brown the rolls in a nonstick pan over medium heat.  This will take about 3 minutes per side (“sides” being above and below the toothpicks, as shown).

Step 5) Place browned rolls in a crock pot, and cover with beef stock.  Slow cook on “low” for 5 – 6 hours.  Serve with cabbage and yams as shown, or enjoy with spaetzle.

I love you, Grandma.


Pecan Vegetable Tart


This dish takes a little while to prepare, but the effort is worth it!  If you happen to be vegan, or are hoping to impress your vegan dinner date, than this dish is for you!  The sweet and crunchy, high protein pecan crust is layered with colorful, savory root vegetables and topped with a sprinkling of balsamic dressed greens.  What’s not to love?

picture496Ingredients (makes one, 9 inch round tart)

1 1/4 finely chopped pecans

3 tablespoons vegan butter substitute

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

picture4951 yellow beet, peeled and sliced very thin

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 red onion, sliced thin

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white sugar

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup thinly sliced beet greens


Step 1) Combine finely chopped pecans, vegan butter substitute, whole wheat flour, and brown sugar in a medium size mixing bowl.  Cut together using a pastry cutter (shown) or using two forks (held side by side in one hand, as a “homemade” pastry cutter).  When you are finished, the butter should be cut into tiny pieces smaller than picture499peas, and should be evenly distributed.

Step 2) Press the pecan mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch tart pan (a pie dish would also work fine).  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

picture498Step 3) While crust bakes, begin caramelizing onions.  Cook sliced onions in olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  After 10 minutes, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon sugar, stirring frequently.  If onions begin to stick, add 1 tablespoon of water and stir.  Continue cooking over low heat until onions are soft and take on a caramel color.  Add balsamic vinegar to pan, and immediately remove from heat.

Step 4) Combine lemon juice and 2 picture500tablespoons sugar in a shallow bowl.  Dip very thin slices of yellow beet in the sweetened lemon juice, shake off excess juice, and set on a towel to dry slightly.

Step 5) Assemble tart.  First, layer towel-dried beet slices over the pecan crust, as shown.  [It’s important that your beet slices aren’t wet, or your crust won’t be crunchy!]  picture501Second, Arrange caramelized onions over beets.  Do not discard the vinegar in the sauté pan – we’ll use that in a few minutes!

Step 6) Bake tart in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Step 7) During the last two minutes of baking, add thin slices of beet greens to the (cooled) sauté pan coated in balsamic vinegar.  If the pan is dry, add an additional tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.  Without heat, simply stir the greens around a bit to pick up the flavors of the balsamic vinegar and the caramelized onions.

Step 8) Remove tart from the oven, garnish with greens, and carefully cut into wedges with a sharp knife.  Bon Appetit!


Kumquat Stuffed Dates


I can’t in all good faith call this a “recipe.”  It’s a simple serving suggestion, but a darn good one to use for that appetizer you told your boss/neighbor/Aunt Mildred that you would bring to the meeting/block party/bridge club, and then forgot ALL about.  If you have ten minutes and opposable thumbs, you’ve got this!

In case you’ve never tried them, kumquats are delightful little grape-size citrus fruits.  Just pop one in your mouth for an amazing burst of flavor reminiscent of a tart orange.  Tuck one into a sweet date, and the flavor combination will make you smile.  They are in season right now – give them a try!

picture642 Ingredients (Makes 24 bite size appetizers)

24 Noor Dates, pitted

24 small kumquat

Maple syrup or honey to drizzle over the top as a garnish, optional



Gently open each date and tuck a kumquat inside.  Dates are sticky, so the easiest approach is to pull each date almost in half, and then mold the date back around the kumquat with your fingers.  Easy peasy.  Arrange on a serving plate, or tuck them by the half dozen into small storage containers (shown left) for unique lunchbox treats.

Thanksgiving Pie


Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we love sampling foods and enjoying food related stories from the far reaches of the world.  If you want pie, we invite you to come and visit our speck of earth, the American Midwest.  The old saying “as American as mom and apple pie” conjures up images of a simple life, picking apples on the prairies and plains of America’s heartland and baking them into fresh pastries with your apron-clad mother or grandmother.  As much as I hate clichés, I live in the Midwest, own two aprons (one of which belonged to my Great-Grandma), and take good care of my apple trees.  Do with that what you will.

This recipe for Thanksgiving Pie merges an American favorite with an American holiday – the Thanksgiving holiday.  Celebrated every year on the last Thursday of November, Thanksgiving remembers harvest dinners shared by pilgrims arriving from Europe and the Native American people who kept those pilgrims alive through their first winter in the New World.  The history is tainted by the fact that this kindness was not reciprocated later, but the holiday is still observed with a modern approach of generally being thankful for our blessings now.  For many Americans, it’s a lovely day involving a lovely meal.  This pie blends three autumn harvest flavors… apples, cranberries, pecans… and reminds me of Thanksgiving all year ’round.  I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 8)


1 1/4 cups white flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/3 cup cold, unsalted butter (please use real butter for this!)

3 tablespoons vodka

2 tablespoons cold water

1 egg


6 cups peeled, sliced apples (I used 8 small, Macintosh apples)

1/4 cup cranberries (frozen are fine)

1/4 cup pecan halves (I used raw, unsalted)

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)


Step 1) Combine 1 1/4 cup flour, salt, and allspice in a small mixing bowl.  Add cold butter.  Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry cutter, until mixture resembles a bowl of pea-size crumbs.

Step 2) Sprinkle water and vodka over butter mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Don’t dump the liquid all in one place!  Gently incorporate until a ball of dough forms.  If you need to use your hands, that’s fine.

picture803Step 3) Roll dough on a lightly floured countertop using a lightly floured rolling pin until the dough is approximately a 12 inch circle.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle, no matter what some cookbooks tell you (we’ll fix it later, don’t worry).

Step 4) Fold the dough over the rolling pin to transfer to a deep dish pie pan.  Simply pat the dough lightly into place.  If the dough tears, don’t freak out, just patch it back together with your fingers.  I won’t tell anyone, and seriously, nobody will notice if your crust isn’t picture perfect.  Carry on…

picture805Step 5) This is why we don’t care if the crust is a perfect circle… use a small knife to slice off all of the dough that hangs past the edges of your pan!  We’ll make it look all fancy in a moment, but for now, we just want the dough even with the edges.

Step 6) Using a tiny cookie cutter or other mold, cut tiny shapes (approximately 1 square inch) from the dough scraps.  Set shapes aside.

Step 7) Cover your pie crust with a towel, and make your filling… Combine your apple slices, cranberries, pecans, sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and cardamom in a large bowl.  Mix gently until ingredients are combined.

picture810Step 8) Sprinkle the bottom of your pie crust with shredded coconut.  This is entirely optional, and you really won’t taste the coconut.  This steps helps to absorb excess liquid from the pie filling.  If you don’t like coconut, try sprinkling the bottom of your pie crust with finely ground pecans.

Step 9) Pour your filling into your pie pan.  Isn’t it pretty?

picture813Step 10) Brush beaten egg around the top edge of your pie crust, and stick on the little dough shapes you cut a few minutes ago.  Just work with what you have, and try to space your little dough shapes evenly.  There, look at that lovely pie crust!  No perfect circle required.

Step 11) Bake your pie on a low rack in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy!

Cocoa Chile Cornbread


I was in the mood for something a little zippy with my coffee this morning, so I made us some Cocoa Chile Cornbread.  While it looks like chocolate cake, it actually offers a flavor combination more suited to enchilada sauce than frosting.  Cornmeal offers texture, cocoa powder offers warmth, and a whole, ground Ancho chile offers just enough heat to let you know you’re enjoying something special.  Ole!

picture534Ingredients (fills a 9 inch pie dish)

1 cup white flour

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup sugar

picture5352 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 eggs

1 dried, whole Ancho chile (not expensive; available in spice shops)


Step 1) If your Ancho chile has a woody stem, remove the stem.  Then, taste one of the seeds.  Every pepper is unique!  If the seed is too hot for your liking, remove the seeds from the chile.  If the seeds taste agreeable to you, use the whole chile.  With or without seeds, grind up the chile in a small blender or food processor.

picture540Step 2) Combine all dry ingredients, including ground chile, in a large bowl.

Step 3) Add milk, oil, and eggs to dry ingredients and mix well.

Step 4) Pour batter into a greased, 9 inch pie dish.  Bake in a preheated, 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving.  Enjoy!

Review: How To Bake A Chocolate Soufflé

Review: How To Bake A Chocolate Soufflé

Reblogging a book review… happy reading!


how-to-bake-a-chocolate-souffle-blue-coverTitle:  How To Bake A Chocolate Soufflé

Author: Carly Ellen Kramer

Publisher:  CEK, 2014

I like to think of myself as something of foodie and a home chef. I have interests in food history, learning about the art of cooking, and advocating for fair distribution of food throughout the world and healthy food choices. I enjoy reading various food blogs and I especially enjoy the blog Crowded Earth Kitchen, as the author’s viewpoints closely mirror my own. I was pleased to hear that the author of CEK was to release her own novel, How To Bake A Chocolate Soufflé. Food and books, my two favorite things – what could be better than a food novel? I posted about my excitement here on Cross Country Reading, and I was thrilled to receive a copy of the book in return.

I will be honest, though. As much as I love food, foodie fiction is a new genre to…

View original post 260 more words

Stuffed Delicata Squash


A one-cup serving of delicata squash contains more than a full day’s worth of beta carotene, is high in fiber and vitamin C, and offers up a wealth of antioxidants… all for only 40 calories.  This hearty, sweet yellow squash serves as the perfect base for a satisfying filling of tart cherries, earthy shiitake mushrooms, and crunchy celery in a wild rice blend.  Enjoy!

picture409Ingredients (makes 2 servings)

1 delicata squash, about 7 inches long

1/2 cup wild rice blend

1 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup dried tart cherries

1/4 cup chopped celery, leaves included

picture4291 large shiitake mushroom


Step 1) Bring wild rice blend and vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is tender.  Check every 10 minutes.  Add additional broth or water (2  tablespoons at a time) if rice is picture430beginning to dry before it is tender.

Step 2) While rice is cooking, poke whole squash deeply with a fork about 10 times.  Microwave the whole, uncut squash for 6 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes.

Step 3) Carefully cut squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Lightly season the squash halves with salt and pepper if desired, and set aside.

Step 4) Add dried cherries, chopped celery, and sliced mushroom to wild rice blend during last 5 minutes of cooking.  Cover.

Step 5) After 5 minutes, spoon rice filling carefully into each squash half.  Done!

Wine-Braised Pork Chops with Apples, Yams, and Roasted Red Cabbage


Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, meat products are not standard, daily fare.  By global standards, meat is an expensive indulgence.  In honor of this reality, Crowded Earth Kitchen strives to feature occasional meat dishes prepared very well.  This dish hits the mark.  First, this recipe calls for braising, a cooking technique in which meat is slowly simmered in liquid.  Braising is best used with bone-in cuts of meat which have not been overly trimmed.  This means that we can skip right over the most expensive pork chops at the market and opt for more economical, lightly trimmed chops.  Second, this recipe strikes a nice balance between meat and plant-based foods, offering a variety of colors, flavors, and textures through caramelized yams, sweet crisp apples, and savory cabbage.  Let’s get started!

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 bone-in pork chops, 3/4 inch thick

1 teaspoon coconut oil (or olive oil)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup semi-sweet white wine, such as a pinot grigio

1 large yam

1 sweet, crisp apple, such as Honeycrisp

1 head of red cabbage

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt


Step 1) Melt coconut oil in a large sauté pan with a tight fitting lid (or use olive oil).  Place pork chops in pan and season with pepper.  Brown over medium heat for 4 minutes on each side.

Step 2) Add white wine to the pan with the pork chops, cover pan with a tight fitting lid, and braise over low-medium heat for 1 hour.  If your lid doesn’t fit tightly and the wine evaporates, add a bit more wine and cover again.  There should always be wine on the bottom of the pan – don’t let your pork chops dry out!

Step 3) Give your pork chops a head start of about 20 minutes before continuing.  Poke your yam a few times with a fork, and microwave it for about 4 minutes.  It should be partially cooked.  Set it aside and forget about it for a little while.

picture591Step 4) While the pork chops are still braising, grease a roasting pan with 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil.  Cut head of cabbage into 1 inch slices and place on pan.  Flip slices over so that both sides are lightly coated in oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.  Turn off the oven, but leave your cabbage in the oven to stay warm for the next few minutes…

Step 5) By now, your pork chops should be done.  Remove them from the pan and set aside.  If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, let it simmer with the lid off until almost all of the liquid evaporates.  Slice your apple and your partially cooked yam into 1/4 inch thick slices, and add to sauté pan.  Cook on each side for 1 minute.

Step 6) Layer your cabbage, pork chops, yams, and apples on a serving platter or individual plates.  Enjoy!

Six Meals from a $6 Turkey (Part 4 of 4): Savory Turkey Salad


Savory Turkey Salad

Are we tired of turkey yet? Good. We should be. That means we’ve been cooking abundantly with a nutritious, seasonal food, just as cooks have been doing throughout human history.  The difference is, we have freezers now, so  we don’t actually have to eat turkey for days or weeks in a row in order to be economical and health conscious cooks.

After making three turkey soups, turkey Stromboli, and turkey bread pockets, you should still have a little bit of turkey left.  Pull it out of your freezer some night, let it thaw in your refrigerator, and make this simple salad for lunch!

Ingredients (Makes 1 entrée salad)

1 cup cooked, chopped turkey

1/2 cup chopped apple

1/4 cup shelled, roasted walnuts

2 tablespoons diced celery

2 heaping tablespoons vanilla yogurt

1/4 teaspoon crushed herbes de provence

2 cups spinach leaves


Combine all ingredients except for spinach leaves.  Toss with a fork until well combined.  Arrange turkey mixture over a bed of spinach leaves.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and garnish with lemon peel.  Done!

I hope you’ve enjoyed saving money and stocking your freezer with our Six Meals from a $6 Turkey series!  Next time on Crowded Earth Kitchen… dessert!

Six Meals from a $6 Turkey (Part 3 of 4): Stromboli and Bread Pockets


Turkey Stromboli

If you’re cooking your way through our Six Meals from a $6 Turkey series, you already have an impressive stash of winter soup in your freezer (or, you’ve made friends with plenty of neighbors!).  Today we’re going to build up our supply of healthy, frozen foods even further with two bread-based meals: Stromboli and Bread Pockets.  These meals are simple to prepare, and will provide a hot and hearty dinner on a busy winter night… all for pennies a serving.  What’s not to like about that?

Ingredients (Makes 1 large, 4 serving Stromboli -and- 2 large, individual size bread pockets)

1 recipe of Simple Bread, prepared through Step 5.  We need the Simple Bread dough for today’s recipes, not fully baked loaves of bread!

4 cups cooked, shredded turkey

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

1/2 cup diced bell pepper (red is pretty, but green is often less expensive and tastes the same)

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion


Step 1) Take a little more than half of your Simple Bread dough, and roll it on a lightly oiled surface into a rectangle.  I made my rectangle of dough approximately 16 inches long and 10 inches wide.  As you can see, it wasn’t a perfect rectangle… and it still turned out just fine.  Don’t stress about the measurements – just make a rectangle.

Step 2) Layer spinach leaves, 2 cups of shredded turkey, diced bell pepper, and 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of your rectangle, leaving a 1 inch border on all sides.

Step 3) Roll up your Stromboli the long way, to make a long, thin loaf.  To do this, gently lift one of the long sides, and fold it into the center so that the edge of the bread dough is covering half of the turkey filling.  Then, fold in half again so that the other long edge is on the bottom of the loaf.  Fold the short ends under.

WIN_20141027_183946Step 4) Place your Stromboli on a large baking pan which has been lightly oiled and sprinkled with cornmeal.  The cornmeal is really useful in preventing bread dough from sticking to the pan!

Step 5) Bake your Stromboli in a preheated, 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Carefully remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.  [Stromboli may be wrapped and frozen whole (when fully cool!), but I prefer to slice the Stromboli into 2 inch slices, and freeze the individual slices.  To reheat, just place the desired number of frozen slices on an oiled baking sheet and set the baking sheet in an oven which has NOT been preheated.  Set your oven to 350 degrees.  When your oven reaches 350 degrees, check your Stromboli – they should be hot and delicious!]

Step 6) While your Stromboli bakes, roll your remaining Simple Bread dough into two circles, approximately 9 inches in diameter.

WIN_20141027_181430Step 7) Combine ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, and onion in a medium bowl.  Mix well.

Step 8) Add 2 cups of shredded turkey and 1/2 cup shredded cheese to the sauce mixture, and toss with a fork until combined.

Step 9) Place half of the turkey mixture on each circle, keeping the mixture on HALF of each circle.  Leave a 1 inch border.

Step 10) Fold each empty half circle over the other half, where the turkey mixture is located.  Pinch the edges together to form two sealed, half-circle shaped bread pockets.

WIN_20141027_182634Step 11) Set the bread pockets on another baking sheet which has also been lightly oiled and sprinkled with cornmeal.  Let sit until your Stromboli is removed from the oven, then place your bread pockets in the already hot, 375 degree oven.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Step 12) When bread pockets are fully cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil and freeze.  Reheat the same way you would reheat the Stromboli, as directed above in Step 5.

Join me in two days for one final turkey recipe.  See you then!


Six Meals from a $6 Turkey (Part 2 of 4) Three Soups Day!


Thanks to our most recent kitchen adventures, we now have refrigerators full of broth and turkey.  It’s time to turn most of that broth, and some of that turkey, into three delicious soups!  Today we will prepare big pots of the following three soups:  Sweet Potato Kale, Turkey Dumpling, and Vegetable Barley.  You will have plenty for now and even more for later, so share!  Accompanied by homemade soup, tomorrow would be a great day to meet the new neighbors or go visit that old friend.  Your kitchen will soon be filled with the fragrant and soothing winter aromas.  Are you ready?

picture318Sweet Potato Kale Soup (makes 12 cups)

This soup is a colorful, nutritional powerhouse!  While sweet potatoes and cannellini beans are nutritious in their own right, few vegetables are as packed full of vitamins and powerful antioxidants as kale.  This leafy, picture311cruciferous vegetable really is a “superfood.”


8 cups of turkey broth

6 cups chopped kale

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 cups cooked cannellini beans

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


Step 1) Simmer broth and sweet potatoes in a large pot until sweet potatoes are tender (not mushy), about ten minutes.

Step 2) Add kale and cannellini beans.  Simmer a few more minutes until warmed through.

Step 3) Place 1 cup of soup in blender, along with onion, salt, and pepper.  Puree and return mixture to soup pot.

That’s it – so easy!  This soup freezes well, and is delicious served with a hearty slice of sourdough bread.


picture321Turkey Dumpling Soup (makes 12 cups)

Dumplings are a cold weather comfort food best enjoyed fresh.  If you are going to freeze this soup, freeze it without the dumplings.  The dumplings themselves will only take a few minutes to make, right before you enjoy them!


8 cups of turkey broth

3 celery ribs, chopped, including leaves

3 carrots, chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup milk

4 cups diced (cooked) turkey


Step 1) Combine broth, celery, carrots, and onion in a large pot.  Bring to a gentle boil.

Step 2) In a small bowl, combine flour, pepper, allspice, and baking powder.  Add oil and milk.  Mix with a fork until just picture319combined.

Step 3) Using two teaspoons, drop dumpling dough into gently boiling soup as shown.  Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.  Do not stir or lift lid for 10 minutes.

Step 4) Stir in diced turkey and heat through.  Enjoy!


picture323Vegetable Barley Soup (makes 12 cups)

Barley makes a satisfying, low cost addition to plant-based meals.  A good source of fiber, barley also contains important minerals such as manganese, selenium, and iron.  This soup freezes well, and actually tastes best after the flavors have been picture312allowed to blend for a day or two.


8 cups of turkey broth

1 cup pearl barley

3 carrots, chopped

3 celery ribs, chopped, including leaves

6 cups chopped kale (or, collard greens make a tasty substitution)

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend


Step 1) Bring broth and barley to a boil in a large pot.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Step 2) Add carrots, celery, kale, pepper, and seasoning blend.  Simmer until carrots are tender.

Done!  If you have leftover turkey broth, freeze it in small (2 cup) containers.  Broth makes a savory addition to many recipes, and your checkbook will thank you for avoiding those overpriced cans at the market.

Six Meals from a $6 Turkey (Part 1 of 4)

picture292You will never find a less expensive turkey than you will in the month of November.  I used a supermarket coupon delivered right to my mailbox, and picked up a 12 pound turkey for $6.  Over the next four posts, we will make six entrees, each serving four people (with leftovers!), with this $6 turkey.

That’s $1 a night for a family, or 25 cents per person.  Are you with me?

Today we’ll bake our turkey, divide the meat into four portions (freezing three portions), and we’ll make a whole lot of turkey broth.  Don’t worry, this requires very little attention – you won’t be trapped in your kitchen all day.  On November 7th, we’ll make large quantities of three different soups, perfect for freezing or sharing with loved ones.  November 9th we’ll make an awesome turkey Stromboli for dinner, and also a few BBQ bread pockets to freeze for hot lunches later this winter.  November 11th we’ll lighten things up with a savory, main dish salad.

Let’s get started!

Ingredients for Today

1 thawed turkey, approximately 12 pounds



1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Step 1) Make sure your turkey is not frozen.  Most supermarket turkeys are sold frozen, and take a few days to thaw in the refrigerator.  I let mine thaw in the fridge for 3 days.  Whatever you do, do NOT leave a frozen turkey at room temperature in an attempt to make it thaw faster.  This can make you sick.

Step 2) Realize that your turkey is simply an ingredient, and will be picked apart in short order.  Your turkey will not be starring in a live performance of a Charles Dickens novel, so don’t get all stressed out and precious about it, OK?  Nobody cares if this turkey is perfectly browned, or perfectly shaped, or perfectly carved.  Nobody.  It just needs to get done.

Step 3)  Place your turkey on a large pan with sides.  An official roasting pan is great if you have one.  A jelly roll pan or other large pan will work fine, too.  Just make sure your pan has sides.  Make sure there is nothing weird inside of your turkey, like a plastic bag of gravy (not that I’ve, er, ever forgot to check).

Step 4) Brush your turkey all over with a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil.  This will help keep your turkey moist.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on your turkey.  This is as fancy as we need to be.  It’s an ingredient, remember?

Step 5) Place your turkey in a preheated 325 degree oven for 4 hours.  This is a bit longer than a thawed, 12 pound turkey should take, but I don’t like to take any risks with undercooked poultry.  If you have a meat thermometer, stick it in the meatiest part of your turkey, but not against a bone.  When your turkey is done, the temperature should be at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

picture293Step 6) Using a carving knife, and then using your fingers, pull all of the meat off of your turkey.  Take your time – this isn’t difficult, but will take a little while.  Divide the turkey into four, quart size containers.  You can separate light meat from dark meat, or mix it all up, whichever you prefer.  Place three containers in your freezer, and picture294save one for soup day!

Step 7) Place your turkey carcass in the largest pot you have and cover with three gallons (12 quarts) of water.  If you don’t have a large enough pot, you can divide your turkey carcass approximately in half, and cover each half with 1 1/2 gallons (6 quarts) of water.  If you have any vegetable scraps in your freezer (onion peels, carrot ends, that sort of thing), add them to your pot.

Step 8) Bring your pot to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.  Simmer for at least 8 hours… the longer, the better!  While your broth is cooking, gather up a bunch of storage containers (I use quart size yogurt containers).  Also, make room in your refrigerator and/or freezer.

Step 9) Using a ladle, a sieve, and your patience, strain all of the broth into storage containers.  Refrigerate and/or freeze.  You’re done for today!

Planning Ahead

On Soup Day (two days from now), we’re going to turn this broth and one portion of turkey into three different soups.  You’ll need the following ingredients on hand:

1 large bunch of kale (or other green, if you prefer)

1 bag of carrots

1 bunch of celery

2 sweet potatoes

2 onions

1 can of cannellini beans

1 cup of flour

1/3 cup of milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

salt, pepper, baking powder, allspice, and salt-free seasoning blend

See you in two days!

Bye, Europe… Until Next Time


Sunset in Chimay, Belgium

This is a really tough post to write.  I’ve managed to avoid it for a few days, but we’re firmly in November now, and it’s time to hop back across the Atlantic, bringing countless recipes, photographs, memories and experiences home.  I have fallen madly, desperately in love with Europe, and will return for more adventures soon!

Next time on Crowded Earth Kitchen, we’ll begin our culinary journey through the holiday season.  Holiday celebrations being beautifully diverse, we will have plenty to share.  Until then, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite photos from the 2014 European Food Tour.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos and recipes of the past four months… I’ve sure enjoyed sharing them with you!


Aarlanderveen, Holland


Gouda, Holland


Berlin, Germany


Berlin, Germany


Cologne, Germany


Fehmarn, Germany


Dachau, Germany


Munich, Germany


Allgau, Germany


Rødbyhavn, Denmark (en route)


Lichtenberg, France


Salzburg, Austria


Geneva, Switzerland