Turkey Wild Rice Soup

Next week is the big day. It is opening night for home cooks. You have been crafting and honing your skills all year and next Thursday you will take the stage for the big monologue you have been rehearsing so long for. I am excited! How about you? Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner? If so I hope you break a (turkey) leg!

Turkey or Chicken Wild Rice Soup

After the big dinner there are sure to be leftovers. You can only eat so many turkey sandwiches, am I right? This soup will transform your leftovers into something better than a sad cold turkey sandwich.

While this does take nearly an hour to make, the cooking time involved isn’t active cooking time. It is time were you can crack open a bottle of wine and play a mean game of Scrabble with your guests still in town. Or scarf down that last slice of pumpkin pie straight from the pie plate. No judgement from me.

Leftover turkey and any leftover carrots and celery from the relish tray will all be used up in this soup. Warm up any leftover dinner rolls or biscuits and have yourself a tasty little dinner. Enjoy your leftovers!

Turkey or Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 50 minutes
2 cups cooked and shredded turkey or chicken
1 cup wild rice, rinsed
3 cups water, divided
1/2 cup basmati rice, rinsed
6-8 cups turkey or chicken stock (directions to make your own)
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt or season to taste

For the wild rice
1. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium sauce pan, add rice. Return to boil, cover, turn down to low-medium-low, simmer for 45 minutes or cook according to package instructions.
2. Drain the rice and add to the soup.
For the basmati rice
1. When the wild rice has 15 minutes cooking time left add 1 cup of water to medium sauce pan. Bring to boil. Add rinsed rice, cover, and turn down to low. Cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork before adding to the soup.
For the soup
1. After starting the basmati rice, bring 6 cups of stock to boil in a large soup pot. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Boil for 10 minutes to soften the vegetables
2. Turn down to low. Stir in shredded turkey or chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the meat through. Stir in rices before serving.

Turkey or Chicken Wild Rice Soup

TELL ME! What is your favorite way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers? 

Another way to use up leftover turkey

Turkey, Bacon, and Vegetable Stuff Shells

Turkey, Bacon, and Vegetable Stuffed Alfredo Shells

Posted in Gluten Free, Holidays, Soups | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Oven Roasted Turkey

With Thanksgiving only sixteen days away it is time to start thinking about the menu. It’s Turkey Time! This year I am hosting my first official Thanksgiving dinner. I AM SO EXCITED! Like any good thespian I had to have a dress rehearsal before the big show so I invited a group of friends over to break bread with.

I am happy to report that my trial Thanksgiving run was successful. Lucky for me and lucky for you because over the next two weeks I will share my favorite Thanksgiving-worthy dishes with you.

Oven Roasted Turkey

Obviously we will start with the turkey. Don’t stress about the turkey! Just remember that a turkey is basically a giant chicken. Have you roasted a chicken before? Then you can roast a turkey no sweat. Just to make sure I wouldn’t mess things up I consulted my favorite site The Kitchn.

When it comes to cooking a turkey there are about a bajillion ways to do it. I kept it super simple. I let it thaw in the refrigerator for five days before roasting and I totally skipped the brine (the horror!) since I didn’t have a large enough container to brine it. My turkey still was juicy and flavorful without the brining step.

I chopped up some of my favorite herbs and combined them with softened butter and rubbed them under the turkey skin giving the meat lots of flavor. Periodically throughout the roasting time I basted the turkey with the drippings to help keep it from drying out. These drippings included a little chicken stock and a cup of chardonnay. I couldn’t be happier with the end result. And the gravy was fabulous!

Questions about thawing your turkey? Check out the USDA guidelines.

Roasted Turkey

recipe guidelines from The Kitchn’s How to Cook A Turkey: The Simplest, Easiest Method 
1 turkey, any size, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, 2 minced and 2 smashed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chicken or turkey broth
1 cup dry white wine

1. ONE HOUR BEFORE COOKING: remove the giblets and neck from the inside of the turkey. Place the turkey, breast side up, in the roasting pan. Let sit for one hour to take the chill off the bird.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lower oven rack to the bottom 1/3 of the oven
3. In a small dish combine butter, 2 cloves minced garlic, the herbs, and salt
4. Slide your hand between the turkey skin and the breast meat to loosen it
5. Rub the butter mixture under the turkey skin
6. Pour broth and wine into the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the two smashed garlic cloves
7. Place the turkey in the oven and turn down the temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast the turkey for 13 minutes per pound. Basting every 45 minutes. Start checking the temperature of the bird at the half-way point.
8. Tent the breast with foil if it is browning too quickly

To ensure the bird is cooked all the way through check the temperature in the breast, the inner thigh, and outer thigh. At every point the temperature should be at least 165 degrees F. If there is one (or more points) that is below temperature, roast for another 20 minutes before rechecking.

Once the bird is up to temperature remove from oven and tilt it to drain out any juices from the cavity of the bird. Transfer the bird to a cutting board, tenting with foil, allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Save all the turkey drippings to make a fabulous gravy! (recipe coming soon!)

The Kitchn had a FABULOUS video showing how to carve a turkey. Check it out below!

HAVE YOU ROASTED A TURKEY BEFORE?  Share your tips, tricks, success stories, or failure stories below. I’d love to hear them! 

Oven Roasted Turkey

Pair this with Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes and the Best Darn (gluten free) Turkey Gravy Ever

Posted in Gluten Free, Holidays, Main Dishes | Tagged as: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Harvest Cider Mule

TGIF! I am totally throwing it back to my retail days in college where they played this song non-stop but seriously Friday, I’m in love with you. It’s Friday I’m in love. Today I am sharing a tasty cocktail AND I have a giveaway to a FUN 5K happening in December.

Harvest Mule

Fridays were made for happy hour and boy do I have a delicious fall happy hour drink for you today! This is my fall riff on the infamous Moscow Mule. Vodka, lime, and ginger beer are so refreshing during the blazing hot summer months but I needed something a tad cozier for the fall.

Apple and ginger work so well together so I thought why not apple cider + ginger beer. Well lemme tell you, it worked! I have made a vodka version and a spiced rum version. For science you know. And both were uber tasty. Do you prefer a vodka drink? A cider drink? Well you can have it both ways. After you throw back a few of these mules you can’t blame me if you start singing songs that remind you of the good times.

Harvest Mule

Last month I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner with my friends and I really wanted a signature Thanksgiving cocktail to serve. So I needed to test my idea with various alcohols. When I was testing this recipe I shared this shot on Instagram and said I was testing cocktails. I followed it up by saying the cocktail was just rum and vodka mixed. :) Some days the temptation for a drink like that might be there.

The formula for this drink is really easy. 3-2-1 This way you can easily scale it up for a party. Apple cider (3), ginger beer (2), and vodka or rum (1). Truth be told I probably did more like 1.5 on the vodka. So you could do it in ounces, cups, or gallons whichever you prefer. ;)

Serve this at all your fall gatherings. Thanksgiving included! Cheers!

Harvest Mule

Serves: 1
3 ounces Apple cider
2 ounces Ginger Beer
1-1.5 ounces Vodka or Rum

Mix together and serve over ice



The Ugly Sweater Run is returning for the third year to Omaha on December 14. Pull out your ugliest sweater, I know there are plenty out there, and lace up your running shoes for a fun family friendly run.

My daughter, Sasha, has wanted to run a 5K with me for the longest time and I figured this noncompetitive run is the perfect one for us. If you want to run with your kiddos the good news is children under the age of 5 are FREE!

Sea of hats

Ugly sweaters, a run through downtown Omaha, and beer at the finish line are all fun reasons to do this race.

FOUR lucky readers will win ONE FREE entry to this cozy race. Good luck and look forward to seeing you at the finish line!

Enter to win using the widget below. Giveaway ends Friday, November 14, at 12 am Central Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received two free entries to the race. That being said it is a race I would have considered doing with my daughter anyway! 

Posted in Beverage, Gluten Free, Holidays | Tagged as: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pretzel Dogs

Did you have a happy Halloween? We certainly did. We went trick-or-treating for about an hour, it got pretty chilly outside, then came back home and handed out candy while the kiddos did “inventory”.

Halloween 2014

Sorry for the cruddy photo -it was already dark out when we were ready to go. This year we have Spiderman, the Woodmen Tower, a pink flamingo, and baby skeleton. Everyone but Felix picked out their costume. I noticed that people in my neighborhood were handing out lots of non-candy items. Pretzels, popcorn balls, fruit snacks, Ramen Noodles, Pop-tarts, juice boxes, Little Debbie’s, Cheezits, Rice Krispy treats, and breakfast cereal are all the non-candy items my kiddos received trick-or-treating. You won’t believe which non-candy item my kiddos were most excited about. RAMEN NOODLES. Yup they were dancing for joy over a package of Ramen Noodles. This food blogging mama found that hilarious.

Woodmen Tower Costume

Sasha, my creative artist, wanted to be a building for Halloween. We came up with the Woodmen Tower since it is an iconic building in downtown Omaha. Her costume was a hit. In fact she received extra pieces of candy everywhere we went. At one point she said “I think I will be this next year too.” Ha!

Did you grow up in a town that had a shopping mall? My hometown did not have a shopping mall. If we wanted to go to the mall we had to take a thirty minute drive south to the “big city.” If we did have a mall, and if I would have hung out there after school, I would have totally stuffed my face with those buttery mall pretzels. You know what I am talking about.

Pretzel Dogs

The fun part about writing recipes and posting them online is that I am constantly thinking about different recipes to try. Restaurant copycat recipes are fun category of recipes to make. And recipes that I can use in my daughters’ lunches are even better.

Most days my daughters bring their own lunch to school. They seem to be happy to eat sandwiches every day but I want to give them something more than a sad sandwich. That’s where these pretzel dogs came in. What child, or adult for that matter, wouldn’t be delighted to open up their lunch pail to this fun lunch?

This is a recipe where the kiddos can easily help. Let them roll out the pretzel dough and wrap around the hot dog. I have found that if I let them help they are even more likely to gobble it up. Sous chefs and clean plates are a good thing in my book.

These were a hit in the lunch box but I also think they would make a great snack for tailgating or football watching. Beer + pretzels were made for each other. Cheers!

Pretzel Dogs

1 1/2 cups warm (110ºF) water
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
kosher salt for tops
16 bun length hotdogs, pre-boiled

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and kosher salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or until it begins to foam
2. Add in the flour and butter to the bowl and using the hook attachment mix on low until the ingredients are combined
3. Increase to medium speed and mix until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl about 5 minutes
4. Remove the dough from the bowl, spray with nonstick spray, return the dough to the mixing bowl
5. Cover it with plastic wrap, place in a warm draft-free place for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size
6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside
7. In a large pot stir together water and baking soda. Bring to boil
8. Divide dough into 16 even portions. Roll out each portion into a 15-18 inch rope
9. Starting at the end of the hotdog roll the rope around the hotdog. Continue until all hotdogs are wrapped
10. Working in batches, drop 3-4 pretzel dogs in the boil water at a time, boil for 30 seconds. Remove to prepared baking sheet.
11. Brush each pretzel with the egg wash. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
12. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Pretzel Dogs just like Auntie Anne's


Posted in Main Dishes, Snack | Tagged as: , , , , , | 14 Comments
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