Parfait! Swiss Turkey Casserole

We recently had some friends over for birthday celebrations, and the timing was perfect to do a Thanksgiving test-run while also celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving.

Air Fryer Turkey Breasts and Italian Beef Stuffing were thoroughly enjoyed, but, as with most feast day dinners, there were leftovers to be dealt with.

Enter my Aunt Buzz’s Swiss Chicken Casserole, which, as it happens, works a treat using leftover turkey and stuffing in

place of chicken and bread cubes.

INGREDIENTS
•4 cups diced cooked turkey
•1 cup diced celery
•1 cup diced onion
•2 cups bread cubes (or leftover stuffing)
•1 cup mayonnaise
•1/2 cup milk
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tsp parsley
•8 oz. Swiss cheese – cut in thin strips

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Apply cooking spray to a 2-1/2 quart baking pan and heat your oven to 350º.

Whisk the mayonnaise together with the milk, Sherry Peppers Sauce, black pepper, and parsley until well combined.

Note: because I was using well seasoned turkey and stuffing, I opted not to add additional salt.

Stir in the bread (or stuffing) and cheese, then add the turkey and toss to mix well.

Transfer to your prepared baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Note: if you assemble the casserole ahead and stash in the fridge until ready to bake, increase your baking time to 50 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through, the cheese melted, and bit s of the bread or stuffing are nicely browned.

Remove from the oven and let rest for five minutes before serving.

A nice salad and some Cranberry Relish would be just the accompaniments here.

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Air Fried Strip Steak – Plus Bonus! New (and Better!) Marinade

So…

this happened: tender, tasty strip steak in the air fryer, and most certainly one of my better marinades.

And it all started with a ‘buy one, get one free’ deal on strip steak at the butcher counter.

A couple of steaks, a couple of righteously sized potatoes for baking, and we were, almost, good to go!

It was too dark and chilly for my husband to even think about firing up the grill, so I went in search of air fryer methods, and decided to whip up a small marinade, too.

INGREDIENTS
Marinade:
•1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
•1/4 cup Arby’s Sauce
•1/4 cup barbecue sauce
•1/4 cup canola oil

Steak:
•2 strip steaks

Note: more than two steaks? Go ahead and double (or triple) the marinade amounts.

Whisk the marinade ingredients together and pour over the steaks in a large dish.

Another Note: I used my meat tenderizer on the steaks before adding the marinade.

Cover and stash in the fridge for a couple of hours, flipping the steaks every hour or so.

When ready to cook, remove from the fridge and heat your air fryer to 400º.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and arrange in a single layer in the air fryer basket.

Air fry the steaks for eight to ten minutes, turning them over after four to five minutes.

Remove from the air fryer, cover loosely in foil, and let rest for five minutes.

Nice!

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Spinach Salad With Spicy Baked Shrimp

When my husband shared this recipe from the nice folk at Betty Crocker, they were selling it as a ‘sheet-pan dinner’ which was then served over baby spinach with crumbled Feta.

It took me actually making it for dinner to realize that it is, in fact, an especially tasty spinach salad – more than suitable and satisfying for serving as a starter for four or a main course for two.

And… talk about easy to prepare…

INGREDIENTS
Sauce:
•1/4 cup olive oil
•1 tbsp Sambal Oelek
•1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
•1 tbsp honey
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt

Salad:
•1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
•2 cups halved grape tomatoes
•19 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
•Freshly chopped parsley
•Baby spinach
•Feta cheese

Note: the original recipe called for two tablespoons of chili garlic sauce, which I was flat out of, so I used Sambal Oelek and sweet chili sauce, and added some of my fave hot sauce to balance things out. Worked a treat.

Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a large bowl to combine, then add the shrimp, grape tomatoes, and chick peas and toss to coat well.

Arrange in an even layer in a 13×9 baking pan – you can, of course, use a sheet pan, but it all seems to fit fine in a glass pan, and the cleanup was a total snap – rinse out and toss in the dishwasher.

Position the rack about four inches from your broiler, then slide the pan of shrimp in and broil for five minutes.

Remove from the broiler, stir, then return and broil for another two or three minutes, until the shrimp is nicely pink and cooked through.

Scatter the parsley over the top, then serve over baby spinach with crumbled Feta.

Stoopidly good, and, really, hardly any real effort involved, so, bonus!

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Deviled Ham Spread

Sometimes, you go back to the past and rediscover stuff that is so good, it makes you (well, me, anyway) wonder, “why haven’t I made this more often?”

Such is the case with this deviled ham spread – which I cobbled together from a couple of different recipes I found on line.

Perfect on your fave cracker, and not too, too terrible slathered on a celery stick, either, or, go ahead and make yourself a sammich, you will not be sorry.

INGREDIENTS
•1 can (4-1/4 oz) deviled ham
•4 oz cream cheese, softened
•1/2 cup shredded Cheddar*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 cup diced celery
•2 tbsp mayonnaise
•1 tsp parsley
•1/2 tsp lemon juice
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/4 tsp garlic powder

*I used a Wisconsin jalapeño Cheddar

Beat together the cream cheese, Cheddar, hot sauce, and mayonnaise until well blended, then stir in the remaining ingredients.

Transfer to a container, cover, and chill for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend.

Enjoy as you will.

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Crispy Brussels Sprouts Salad

I recently got two new cookbooks from Alex Guarnaschelli, and my husband came across a crispy sliced Brussels sprouts salad that he really liked the look of.

Thing was, the sprouts were fried, and in, like, 3 cups of canola oil, which is mebbe more canola oil than I would use in a week.

But then… I got to thinking…

“Trader Joe’s sells shaved Brussels sprouts, and I bet I could air fry those suckers.”

And so, here we are.

I kept chef Guarnaschelli’s most excellent method for Water Frying Bacon, and did make her shallot, Tamari, and bacon fat vinaigrette, but opted to go air fryer all the way for the shaved sprouts, and added some cooked ditalini pasta, because, why not?

INGREDIENTS
Vinaigrette:
•1/4 cup lemon juice
•2 tbsp bacon fat, melted if made ahead
•1 tbsp lower sodium Tamari
•2 medium shallots, diced

Salad:
•1 lb shaved Brussels sprouts
•2 tbsp olive oil
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•Cooked bacon pieces
Marinated Ditalini pasta
(optional, but nice)
•Dried cherries (also optional)

Note: the only downside of this salad is that the Brussels sprouts need to be fried just before you plan to serve, though, of course, the vinaigrette and remaining ingredients can be prepped in advance, so, bonus!

Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together, stash in a small covered jar, and set aside.

Add the shaved sprouts to a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, Seasoned Salt, and black pepper.

Heat your air fryer to 375º – some air fryers to not need preheating, but I recently upgraded to a larger, combo fryer/toaster/oven which does, so check your air fryers manual.

Arrange the sprouts in a layer over the air fryer basket and cook for ten minutes.

Remove the spouts from the oven and shake or toss to rearrange them, then air fry for another ten minutes, shaking again after five minutes, until they are browned and crispy.

Transfer the sprouts to a large bowl, add the pasta and cherries (if using), and the bacon, then drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss.

Serve immediately.

 

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Water Fried (?!?) Bacon

A bit over six years ago, I posted about Water-Cooked Bacon, how very tasty it was, and how mebbe one could play around with the seasonings and even the cooking liquids.

Then… stuff happened and  never quite got back around to testing out alternatives.

And then…

I was reading a novel, and one of the main characters was cooking bacon in water for another of the main characters, and then

I got a new cookbook that called for water fried bacon in a fried Brussels sprouts salad.

It would seem, the fates had meant for me to try this all again.

Unlike the first time, I had a bit over one pound of “Nashville Hot” seasoned bacon from my market, so no additional seasoning(s) were called for.

INGREDIENTS
•1 lb bacon (try a seasoned one)
•1/2 cup water

You can keep the bacon in whole slices, but I needed pieces for the salad, so went ahead and cut mine into one inch pieces.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, then add the bacon and the water.

Give it a stir, breaking up the sliced bacon chunks, and cook for about 15 minutes, until the water has evaporated.

Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, until the fat has been rendered and the bacon is crispy.

Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain, then strain the bacon fat and save in a covered container, because…

Number 1: bacon fat is our friend!

And…

Number 2: we’re gonna need two tablespoons of that tasty Nashville Hot seasoned bacon fat to make the vinaigrette for the crispy Brussels Sprouts Salad.

Which I will go over, in detail, tomorrow.

Until then, think about all the wonderful things (other than tomorrow’s salad) you can do with these crispity bacon pieces.

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Air Fryer Turkey Breast

When we had friends over last weekend, I had a nice Fall Cocktail to offer, and was experimenting with the very tasty Italian Beef Stuffing.

What could be left, but a turkey?

But, since this wasn’t actually a holidaze dinner, I decided to go easy and make a couple of boneless turkey breasts in the air fryer. I had made one, bone-in, last year, and it was really good, but so many recipes I came across called for boneless, so…

INGREDIENTS
Seasonings:
•1 tsp Kosher salt
•1 tsp rosemary
•1 tsp Italian seasoning
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1/2 tsp dried thyme
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp paprika
•1/2 tsp smoked brown sugar

Turkey Breast:
•2 (3 lb or so) boneless turkey breasts
•Olive oil
•Cooking spray

Combine the seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl, apply cooking spray to your air fryer basket, and pre-heat your air fryer to 360º.

Remove your turkey breasts from the packaging, but go a head and keep the twine wrapping each breast in place.

Rub all sides of each breast with some olive oil, and then rub with the seasoning blend.

Position in the air fryer and cook for one hour, turning the breasts every 15 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in the center reads 165º.

Remove from the air fryer, cover loosely with foil, and set aside to rest for ten minutes before removing the twine, slicing, and serving.

The outsides of the breasts will look a bit crusty, but that’s OK; the meat inside will be moist and flavorful.

Ours was lovely with that Italian beef stuffing, rolls made by a friend, cranberry sauce, and Air Fryer Bussels Sprouts Salad.

Why wait for Thanksgiving?

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Italian Beef Stuffing

We had a few friends over to celebrate October birthdays and, since it was that weekend, I chose to make dinner an homage to Canadian Thanksgiving.

And, truth be told, I figured that it could not hurt to take a few new recipes on a test run before our Thanksgiving. Recipes like Italian Beef Stuffing, which I discovered on Rosen’s web site and had to try.

Rosen’s French rolls, Italian beef, and giardiniera are key parts of the sammich,

and also, as it turns out, this stuffing.

Which is very good, and now advances to November and our holidaze kickoff.

INGREDIENTS
•1 stick unsalted butter + more for baking
•4 Rosen’s French rolls
•1 onion, diced
•3 stalks celery, diced
•1 red pepper, diced
•2 coves garlic, minced
•10 oz Italian beef, chopped*
•1 tsp sage
•1 tsp rosemary
•1 tsp thyme
•1 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•2 large eggs
•2 cups gravy from the Italian beef

To Serve:
•Giardiniera

*From the 36 ounce tub.

Cut the rolls into one inch cubes and crisp on a baking sheet in a 250º oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Melt the butter (yes, that entire stick) in a large skillet, then add the  onion, red pepper, and celery and cook, stirring often, until the veggies are tender, about ten minutes.

Add the garlic, chopped beef, and seasonings and cook for another couple of minutes.

Drizzle in one cup of the gravy and remove from the heat and stir in the bread cubes.

Whisk the two eggs into the remaining cup of gravy and pour over the bread, beef, and veggies in the skillet and toss to mix and coat all of the bread cubes well.

Butter a large baking dish and add the stuffing.

Note: if, like mine, your chosen skillet is oven safe, go ahead and bake the stuffing in that; but, this was, however small, a celebration, and I figured our guests were well worth a nice serving dish casserole.

Bake the stuffing, uncovered, in a preheated 375º oven for 45 minutes, until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 160º.

Return the stuffing to the oven, still uncovered, and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more, until the top is nicely browned and a bit on the crispity side.

Serve as part of your feast – or just for dinner – and pass the giardiniera for folk to sprinkle over the top as they like.

Delicious!

And most certainly holidaze worthy!

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Apple of My Rye – A Fall Cocktail

We were having a small gathering to celebrate October birthdays, and I had come across an interesting looking apple cider and bourbon cocktail recipe.

Except…

I was nearly out of bourbon, totally out of apple cider, but, wait…

I did have an apple and cinnamon liquor a friend of a friend makes, plenty of ginger beer, and a fresh bottle of rye.

Perfection!

Crisp and autumnal, and so simple to mix – I like that in a party cocktail!

INGREDIENTS
•Apple liquor*
•Rye
•Ginger beer

*Note: Apple liquor is, I think, a combination of apple cider, apple juice, cinnamon sticks, and Everclear (grain alcohol). Recipes are all over the interwebs.

To make the cocktail, combine equal amounts of the apple liquor and the rye in a pitcher, then pour over ice in individual glasses.

Float some ginger beer (I prefer Fever Tree, which you can get at Target) on top, give a stir, and serve.

Simple, and oh! so tasty!

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Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

Because, of course, I get all my most authentic Asian recipes from the nice folk at Betty Crocker, courtesy of my husband’s email; I thought that this slow cooker recipe for Mongolian Beef – by way of Taiwan Barbecue, according to the B.C. folk – was just the thing to try for dinner.

And you know what?

Authentic or not – and, let us be real here – I also adapted the original recipe – this made for a pretty tasty, Asian-ish barbecue dinner.

One note: the nice folk at Betty Crocker say, pretty emphatically, not to skip the browning of the meat step, because it adds so much to the flavor. If you are concerned about gluten, by all means use almond flour or your preferred breading substitute. I already have you covered by calling for Tamari instead of soy sauce, so this should all be easy-peasy to go gluten-free.

INGREDIENTS
•1/2 cup lower sodium Tamari
•1/2 cup packed brown sugar
•1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
•1 tbsp ginger, peeled and finely chopped
•4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
•3 lb beef stew meat
•1/3 cup flour
•4 tbsp canola oil
•1 cup beef stock
•2 tbsp ketchup
•1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
•1/4 tsp dried orange peel
•1 red pepper, sliced thin
•3 stalks celery, chopped
•2 tsp rice vinegar
•Scallions, thinly sliced

Toss your stew beef in the flour to coat then, heat two tablespoons of the canola oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

Add half of the beef – you do not want to crowd the pan – and cook for three minutes, until browned on one side, then turn over and cook for another three to four minutes.

Transfer the browned beef to a plate and repeat with the remaining two tablespoons of canola oil and stew beef.

When the beef has been nicely browned and removed to a plate, deglaze the hot pan with the beef stock, scraping up any tasty browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Apply cooking spray to your slow cooker, then stir in the Tamari, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.

Stir in the beef stock and pan scrapings, along with the crushed red pepper, dried orange peel, and ketchup, then add the beef.

Cover and cook on low for eight to ten hours, until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened a bit.

Stir in the rice vinegar, red pepper strips, and the celery and cook for another 30 minutes or so.

You could, of course, serve now over rice, but I chose to stir in some sliced Blanched Asparagus I had in the fridge, and cooked for another 30 minutes.

Now, you can serve over rice, with sliced scallions scattered over the top.

Very good, but, if you have the time, go ahead and make this ahead and reheat, because as is almost always the case with a dish like this, it was even tastier the next day.

Go figure.

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