Apron Strings http://www.apronstringsblog.com Cooking: it's in our D & A Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:17:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Five Ingredient Cranberry Pistachio Goat Cheese Bites http://www.apronstringsblog.com/cranberry-pistachio-goat-cheese-bites/ http://www.apronstringsblog.com/cranberry-pistachio-goat-cheese-bites/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:17:09 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=8321
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Festive holiday appetizers in five minutes flat!
Cranberry Goat Cheese BItes

Festive Holiday Cheese ball – one bite at a time.

I love that during the holiday season we make and eat such festive foods!

These little goat cheese bites are perfect on any holiday buffet – they are tart and creamy on the inside and sweet and crunchy on the outside. And with just five ingredients, they come together in just minutes.

Just take a tablespoon of the cheese mixture and roll it and chill it and then roll in pistachios and cranberries. That’s it. Really!

Happy Holly Days, y’all ~

 

CRANBERRY PISTACHIO GOAT CHEESE BITES

4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
Dash of cayenne pepper sauce
3 tablespoons minced pistachios
1/4 cup diced dried cranberries

Mix together the goat cheese, cream cheese and cayenne pepper sauce. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll into bakes that are 1 heaping tablespoon each.

Spread pistachios and cranberries on a plate. Chill for 30 minutes.

Serve with skewers.

Other easy holiday apps worth checking out:

Five Easy Holiday Appetizers, Eating Made Easy
25+ Easy Low Carb Holiday Dishes, Kalyn’s Kitchen
100+ Easy Holiday Appetizers, Jeanette’s Healthy Living
5 Holiday Appetizers with 5 Ingredients or Less, Foodie Crush
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Appetizer, Cookin Canuck

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Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake http://www.apronstringsblog.com/cranberry-swirl-cheesecake/ http://www.apronstringsblog.com/cranberry-swirl-cheesecake/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:32:32 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=8326
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Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Cranberries and cream cheese are a match made in heaven.

You can find some gems while flipping through magazines waiting at the beauty salon. Like this cheesecake from Woman’s Day magazine, for instance.

This cheesecake looks so pretty and festive on a plate (you can skip sprinkling on the extra chocolate crumbs if you want a more pristine look), but the reason to make this cheesecake is the light, fluffy texture and the tart swirl on the top made from cranberries and raspberries cooked down and strained.

I don’t even normally like cheesecake, by the by, but this one has won my taste buds over.

It is a cinch to throw together, but will look like you’ve slaved for hours. A win-win in my book!

Happy Holly Days, food friends!

 

CRANBERRY SWIRL CHEESECAKE

1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 package (9 ounces) chocolate wafers (I used Nabisco Famous Wafers)
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

In a medium saucepan, bring to a simmer the cranberries, raspberries, orange zest, water and 1/4 cup sugar. Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Strain and let cool.

In a food processor, whirl the butter, chocolate wafers, 1/4 cup sugar until very fine crumbs. Pat into a 9 inch spring form pan and bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Whip with a mixer the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, flour and vanilla extract, until smooth. Mix in one egg at a time. Pour into spring form pan on top of crust. Swirl in cranberry mixture.

325 bake rest 50 – 60 min until jiggles slightly in center

Other festive holiday cheesecakes:

Santa’s Hat Cheesecakes, Baked by Rachel
Mini Peppermint Cheesecakes, I Heart Naptime
Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bars, Cookin Canuck

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Almond Joy to the World Coconut Custards http://www.apronstringsblog.com/almond-joy-to-the-world-coconut-custards/ http://www.apronstringsblog.com/almond-joy-to-the-world-coconut-custards/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:00:00 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=8295
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Coconut, almond and chocolate combine in a holiday homage to my culinary progenitor.

Almond Joy Coconut Milk Custards

Almond Joy Coconut Milk Custards

One of my first Donna Kelly family recipe experiences was her famous Joy to the World Balls, the homespun Christmas candy that is an annual highlight in the Kelly calendar. It was during the first Christmas we got to spend together, post-reunion, once I finally had the honor of being introduced to the rest of her (our) fabulous family. Do try making these in their original form, if you’re looking for a unique holiday confection! This year, I decided to try making the flavor combination in a custard form, using coconut milk and honey.  Consider it an homage to the original – well worth trying whether you follow dairy-free or paleo guidelines or not. 

ALMOND JOY TO THE WORLD CUSTARD

4 eggs
14 ounce can coconut milk (full fat)
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 ounces dark chocolate, shaved into curls
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Whisk eggs together. In a double boiler (metal or glass bowl over a smaller saucepan with about two inches of water – making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl on top), heat coconut milk, honey, and almond extract over low heat. Bring to a simmer. Add one ladleful of the coconut milk mixture to the eggs and whisk until well combined. Repeat a few more times, one ladle at a time, whisking continuously. Add the now-tempered eggs into the bowl with the rest of the coconut milk. Continue cooking while whisking until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. You have achieved nappé.  Continue whisking another ten minutes or so to thicken a bit more if desired (I recommend it), then pour into 4 ramekins and chill. Top with chocolate shavings, almonds and coconut just before serving.

 — posted by Anne

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Five Ingredient Kale Sausage and White Bean Soup in Five Minutes http://www.apronstringsblog.com/five-ingredient-kale-sausage-white-bean-soup-five-minute/ http://www.apronstringsblog.com/five-ingredient-kale-sausage-white-bean-soup-five-minute/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 22:15:44 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=8311
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Kale Sausage and Bean Soup

This flavorful soup can be on your table in five minutes flat.

Five Ingredient Fridays is a new feature of one of our favorite blogs, Kalyn’s Kitchen, and so we decided to follow suit and regularly post easy five ingredient recipes on Fridays. So, we will feature more five ingredient recipes that are quick, easy and have a minimum of processed ingredients with a maximum of flavor. Win – win, no?

This soup  is packed with flavors that will make your taste buds dance.  (Think Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana, only easier and cheaper!) And yet – grocery bag to table in just about 5 minutes flat!

You can get this on the table and finish eating dinner quicker that you can drive through anywhere! This is my current go-to quick comfort food dinner, and now that the holiday season is in full swing, who doesn’t need easy yummy recipes at your fingertips?

Weeknight dinner stress SOLVED.

– posted by Donna

KALE AND SAUSAGE STEW

Serves 4 to 6, as a main course, more as a side dish

8 ounces cooked sweet Italian sausage, without casings
4 cups diced kale
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cans (15 ounces each) white cannellini beans, drained
2 ounces Parmesan Cheese, grated

Place sausage and kale in pot and break sausage into small crumbles with a fork or potato masher, cooking over medium high heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. (NOTE: If your sausage is very lean, you may need to add a little oil to cook it.)

Add chicken stock and beans, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. This will take about 3 minutes.

Turn off heat and taste and add salt and pepper to taste as desired. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Crusty French bread optional, but encouraged.

Other quick soups to ease your weeknight stress:

Quick and Easy Miso Soup, The Soup Chick
15 Minute Tom Yum Soup, Rasamalaysia
Easy Minestrone, Lemons and Anchovies
Easy Tortilla Soup, Kitchen Parade
7 Ingredient Zuppa Toscana, Gimme Some Oven
Kale and Chickpea Soup, Budget Bytes
Turkey Sausage Kale and White Bean Soup, Skinny Taste

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Stuffed Kale Rolls http://www.apronstringsblog.com/stuffed-kale-rolls-recipe/ http://www.apronstringsblog.com/stuffed-kale-rolls-recipe/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:14:05 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=8303
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Meet the new Cabbage Rolls. Only with Kale.
Stuffed Kale Rolls

The New Cabbage Rolls have arrived. AKA Kale Rolls.

Remember cabbage rolls? So popular in the 1970’s when I was a kid. These rolls were so popular, they even appeared on our school lunch menus. And, surprisingly, they were Good!

Now all of that yummy, comforting goodness has gone 21st century: Kale Rolls. They are just as good as cabbage rolls, with more flavor because of the kale.

You do have to blanch the kale first to soften it, and then these can be prepared the very same way that you prepare cabbage rolls. I like to use a pilaf recipe with fruit and nuts, and then I tossed in some crumbled goat cheese for tartness and creaminess. The combo of flavors and textures is heavenly here.

And, if you need a festive meatless  holiday dinner for the vegetarians at your table, these fit the bill perfectly. Perfec t for a Meatless  Monday holiday meal.

Happy, happy Holidays to you!

– posted by Donna

STUFFED KALE ROLLS

Makes 8 rolls

1 cup long grain rice
1/4 cup diced dried fruits
2 tabelspoons diced nuts, such as walnuts, pecans or pistachios
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
8 large dinosaur kale leaves
2 cups marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a large stockpot to medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and then add Jeweled Rice Pilaf Mix. Stir and cook until rice is translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in 2 1/2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. Reduce to a simmer and cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until liquid is no longer visible above the top of the rice mix. Uncover and cook another 3 minutes, letting liquid evaporate. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in goat cheese.

While rice is cooking, wash kale leaves and cut out most of core, leaving the very top of each leaf in tact for rolling. At this point you can blanch the leaves in boiling water for one minute, or place in a microwave oven and microwave until softened, about 90 seconds.

Place about 1/3 cup of rice mixture at one end of each kale leaf and roll up, jelly roll style.

Spread some of the marinara in an 8 by 10 inch casserole dish. Place kale bundles on top.Drizzle with remaining marinara. Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until softened and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Other food bloggers kale rolls:

Spicy Beef Kale Rolls, Broke Ass Gourmet
Mushroom Kale Lasagna Rolls, Closet Cooking
Mushroom Kale and Sun Dried Tomato Rolls, Cookin Canuck

 

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DIY Jeweled Rice Pilaf Mix for a Gift from Your Kitchen http://www.apronstringsblog.com/diy-jeweled-rice-pilaf-mix-for-a-gift-from-your-kitchen/ http://www.apronstringsblog.com/diy-jeweled-rice-pilaf-mix-for-a-gift-from-your-kitchen/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 22:44:49 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=8282
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Jeweled Rice Pilaf Mix

Give a Savory Food Gift this Holiday Season

Persian Jeweled rice is a dish that is made for special occasions, I am guessing because it looks so festive, and the taste is exotic and unexpected. It’s not just plain old rice pilaf.

I love to give gifts from my kitchen for holiday gifts, but I wanted to make something that isn’t just the usual cookie or brownie mix in a jar. I wanted something savory that will require minimum fuss to go from jar to table.

This jeweled rice pilaf mix fits the bill perfectly. It only takes a few  minutes of prep time, and then your friends and family will think you have been slaving for hours.

I did substitute a few things to keep the cost down. Traditionally, saffron would be used, but I added a little curry powder for taste and color. And, the traditional nut is pistachios, but I like pecans. You can use whatever spice and whatever nut you like.

The flavors and textures are such an unexpected treat – sweet and salty, soft and crunchy – a party in your mouth!

Just put this mix in layers in a pretty jar and attach the directions and there you have it – the perfect food gift!

JEWELED RICE PILAF MIX

2 cups long grain rice
1/2 cup diced dried fruits
1/4 cup nuts, such as walnuts, pecans or pistachios
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley leaves

1 tablespoon candied orange peel (directions below)

Layer in decorative jars to give as gifts. Will store in cool dry place up to 3 months.

Directions for cooking pilaf:

Heat a large stockpot to medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and then add Jeweled Rice Pilaf Mix. Stir and cook until rice is translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in 5 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. Reduce to a simmer and cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until liquid is no longer visible above the top of the rice mix. Uncover and cook another 3 minutes, letting liquid evaporate. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

CANDIED ORANGE PEEL

Remove the peel from one orange with a vegetable peeler. Cut peel into thin strips. Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add orange peel strips and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove orange peel strips and let cool. Dice peel.

Food bloggers do jeweled rice:

Persian Jeweled Rice, Little Ferraro Kitchen
Jeweled Rice, Emmy Cooks
Persian Jeweled Rice, Vintage Kitchen Notes

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5 Ingredient Leftover Turkey with Cranberries and Rosemary http://www.apronstringsblog.com/5-ingredient-leftover-turkey-with-cranberries-and-rosemary/ http://www.apronstringsblog.com/5-ingredient-leftover-turkey-with-cranberries-and-rosemary/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 15:45:14 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=8252
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One more Thanksgiving leftover salad – simple as can be. 

Leftover Thanksgiving Salad

Leftover Thanksgiving Salad with Turkey, Cranberries and Rosemary

This is as easy as it gets, and yet the flavor combination is totally worth noting and repeating. Naturally you can use chicken on any other occasion, but do try it out with the rosemary and cranberries even if you don’t happen to have them (and the celery) leftover from a prior feast, as I did.  (Speaking of, I need to do more recipes where I literally have every single ingredient on hand and at the ready. This was such a nice change of pace from my typical 6 trips a week to the grocery store.)

Enjoy, those of you who are still working on that bird, or anyone else who wants some variety in their chicken salad repertoire.

TURKEY SALAD WITH ROSEMARY AND CRANBERRIES

2 cups turkey (or chicken), chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 sprigs rosemary, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
(plus salt and pepper to taste)

Mix all ingredients together. And . . .  yep, that’s pretty much it! I used about 1/4 teaspoon salt, personally. If you’re going to be storing it in the fridge for a while before eating, you might want to add the cranberries later just for maximum contrast in texture. But either way, it keeps well.  Serve in sandwich form or over greens.

Other takes on turkey salad:

Chipotle Turkey Salad from Simply Recipes
Turkey Salad with Grapes and Walnuts
Leftover Turkey Salad with Indian Spices, Lemon and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Turkey Taco Salad from The Kitchn
Curried Chicken or Turkey Salad from Chew Out Loud

– posted by Anne

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Cranberry Orange Nut Cookies Cookie Exchange and Cookies for Santa’s Milk Drive http://www.apronstringsblog.com/cranberry-orange-nut-cookies-dairy-free-vegan-and-cookies-for-santas-milk-drive/ http://www.apronstringsblog.com/cranberry-orange-nut-cookies-dairy-free-vegan-and-cookies-for-santas-milk-drive/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 10:25:25 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=8241
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Cranberry Orange Walnut Cookies

All the Christmas flavors in one little cookie.

Let the Christmas cookie season begin!

This cookie packs so many holiday flavors into one little cookie: cranberries, orange and walnuts. They truly are packed with flavor, and so many wonderful textures.

These cookies are dairy free as well, so you can serve them up to even the vegans on your cookie list!

Christmas is the one time of year that I do actual baking, so I need recipes that are easy and no-fail, like these cookies. I promise you will not be disappointed – they are like a burst of sunshine in your mouth!

We are thrilled to be joining the Cookie Exchange put together by Liz Latham at Hoosier Homemade – please visit these food blogs for their fabulous recipes!

Christmas-Cookie-Exchange-2014-Round2

And, cookies are just so much more delicious with milk, as any kid can tell you. Did you know that milk is one of the items which food banks never get enough of during the holidays? Please consider donating to Santa’s Milk Drive this holiday season by visiting santasmilkdrive.com and donating a gallon of milk.

Santa just might put you on the “nice list” if you do!

holiday_featured_thumb_0

Happy Cookie Days, All!

– posted by Donna

See the other bloggers’ fabulous cookies:

Caramel Filled Chewy Ginger Cookies from 365 Days of Slow Cooking

Italian Anisette Cookies from A Family Feast

Cranberry Orange Nut Cookies from Apron Strings

Orange Cranberry White Chocolate Stuffed Cookies from Barbara Bakes

Soft Pumpkin Cookies + Pumpkin Spice Kisses from Bless this Mess

Soft Maple Sugar Cookies from Crumbs and Chaos

Graham Cracker Log from Hoosier Homemade

Rugelach Bars from Let’s Dish

Pepper Jelly Cornmeal Thumbprints from Letty’s Kitchen

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies from Love from the Oven

Linzer Cookies from Mandy’s Recipe Box

Surprise-inside Christmas Stocking from Munchkin Munchies

Chocolate M&M Cookies from Oh, Sweet Basil

Swedish Dala Horse Cookies from Project Domestication

White Chocolate Pecan Snowball Cookies from Rose Bakes

Chocolate Toffee Cranberry Cookies from Taste and Tell

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Bars from Your Homebased Mom

Spiced Eggnog Cookies from Will Cook for Smiles

 

CRANBERRY ORANGE NUT COOKIES

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced walnuts
1/2 cup diced dried cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup smooth applesauce (not chunky)
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the walnuts and cranberries.

Whisk together the sugar, applesauce, oil, orange juice, orange zest.

mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

Scoop up 2 tablespoons and place on a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until just lightly browned.

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2014 Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup http://www.apronstringsblog.com/2014-thanksgiving-recipe-roundup/ http://www.apronstringsblog.com/2014-thanksgiving-recipe-roundup/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:09:04 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=8254
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We all need some 11th hour inspiration from time to time. If you’re still working out the kinks in your menu, here are some  favorite fun ideas.

What sweet little Thanksgiving Turkeys.

 

For starters, if you have a lot of kids in attendance, here are a few fun ideas to keep them occupied AND make some great contributions to the feasting table. As per the picture above, try making some adorable candy turkeys. Check out the video below: 

 


Another great idea for the youngsters: Have you ever churned your own butter? No, really. Donna demonstrates the simplest method ever, one that all the kids can take turns helping with:

Have any gluten and dairy-free/vegan  folks coming to your gathering? These Wild Rice Nests with Roasted Squash Eggs are both delicious and visually appealing.

Warm Wild Rice Salad Nests with Roasted Winter Squash Eggs

Looking for a classic side with a fresh new presentation? Try these Crispy Stuffing Scoops:

Crispy Stuffing Scoops

Looking for a dazzling approach to the star of the show, the turkey? There’s still time to put this Butterflied Turkey with Spicy Pomegranate Glaze.

Butterflied Turkey with Spicy Pomegranate Glaze

Or if you prefer to serve your turkey in another dish rather than roasted, check out this Turkey Marbella with Apricots and Olives – created for last year’s Thanksgivukkah but so, so good for any other fall event as well.

Turkey Marbella with Apricots and Olives

Donna’s Butternut Squash Bread Pudding with Hazelnuts and Sage is a total comfort classic.

Butternut Bread Pudding with Hazelnuts and Sage

I have such fond memories of making these Smoky Sweet Potato and Pecan Tamales with Donna a few Thanksgivings ago. Guaranteed to be a hit on any menu:

Sweet Potato and Pecan Tamales

Need some dessert inspiration that goes beyond the pumpkin, apple and pecan? Check out this Fig Tart, modeled after a Top Chef recipe:

Tart

Thanksgiving Fig Tart, inspired by Top Chef

And finally, a beloved seasonal-sweets offering – our version of Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss bars, made gluten-free!

Homemade Gluten-Free Cranberry Bliss Bars

We hope you all have a truly glorious Thanksgiving feast! Let us all be truly thankful.

 

– posted by Anne

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Easy Leftover Turkey Posole http://www.apronstringsblog.com/easy-leftover-turkey-posole-recipe/ http://www.apronstringsblog.com/easy-leftover-turkey-posole-recipe/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 21:10:35 +0000 http://www.apronstringsblog.com/?p=7935
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Posole easy enough for a weeknight.
Easy Chicken Thigh Posole

A glorious way to use up your leftover turkey!

There is something about a warm spicy soup that fills you belly and your soul on a cold winter’s night.

Posole is one of those soups. Actually, I make mine more like a thick and hearty stew than a soup. And I love old school Fritos for crumbling on top as a garnish.

Posole is a spicy corn stew and an ancient Aztec food that originated in southern Mexico – it has withstood the test of time because it is so easy and flavorful. The native people considered corn to be a sacred plant and so posole was a popular and revered dish. I used poblano chiles in this, which are very mild. If you want heat, roast a few jalepenos, too!

Making this with your leftover turkey means you can get this on your table in 30 minutes, with no sacrifice of flavor.

Happy Leftover Day, Everyone!

– posted by Donna

EASY TURKEY POSOLE

3 poblano chiles
3 cups diced cooked turkey meat
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
6 cloves garlic, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons regular or ancho chile powder (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon cumin (or more to taste)
2 cans (15 ounces each) hominy, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
A few dashes Tabasco sauce, to taste

Cut poblano chiles into strips and place skin side up on a baking sheet. Lightly brush the chiles with a little canola oil. Broil chiles about 3 inches from heat for 2 or 3 minutes, watching closely so as not to burn, until chiles are browned. Remove from oven, let cool and dice.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large stockpot. Cook turkey in two batches over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until well browned. Remove turkey from pot.

Add remaining oil to pot and add onions, stirring constantly and cooking for about 2 minutes, until onion begins to be transparent. Add garlic and cook another minute.

Add in all remaining ingredients. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve hot garnished with cilantro, avocado, cheese or sour cream, as desired.

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