Monday, November 28, 2011

Leftover Thanksgiving: Chicken/Turkey Soup

What is a better way to use your massive amount of leftover turkey (or chicken in our case) than to make a big batch of homemade soup? It is perfect for the cold winter months, it breaks you free from the turkey sandwiches we all know you have had too many of, and it is pretty healthy when it comes down to it. We made a big batch of chicken soup this week and used up the rest of our chicken, carrots, and celery. Officially ending the Thanksgiving season.

For our soup recipe you need:
2 Liter chicken broth
1 Liter water
A roasting chicken or leftover turkey
3 Tbs oil
2 onions, medium diced
2 carrots, cut into rounds
2 celery stalks, sliced at least 1 cm thick
thyme and other herbs


Separate the bones and skin from the chicken or turkey meat.

Mix broth and water and bring to a simmer. Add the bones and skin and reduce the heat to low. Let cook partially covered for 30 minutes.
Strain the broth to remove all skin and bones. Keep broth separate and put your soup pot back on the stove over medium.

Add the oil, onions, carrots and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes or until vegetables start to soften.

Add broth back to the pot and add the chicken (or turkey) meat, and seasonings. We used a little thyme, Nature's Seasoning mix, and basil.

Let entire soup simmer and either serve then or save in the fridge for a later date. If you want you can cook noodles and add them to the soup. Only add noodles to the soup you will be eating, if you leave them in the soup overnight they will become very bloated and soggy.

We got so excited about eating we never took a picture of the finished product. Oops :(

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Leftover Thanksgiving: Hot Turkey Sandwiches

Hot turkey sandwiches are super fast and easy to make. They are a simple way to use up some of your leftover turkey and gravy after American Thanksgiving. Serve them for lunch or dinner and with your other leftover sides such as mashed potatoes and green beans.

Lay white bread out on a plate. Heat up turkey slices in the microwave. Place the turkey on the bread, heat up the gravy and pour over the the turkey.

Serve with green beans and mashed potatoes.

Yes, we really just made an entry about something so simple but it is good and many people don't think about making hot open-faced turkey sandwiches. He had never heard of them until this week!

Leftover Thanksgiving: Tacos with Corn Tortillas

We made these recipes with Thanksgiving especially in mind, and the leftovers that you might have and need to get rid of over the next week. Making interesting meals, instead of just turkey sandwich after turkey sandwich will get you through your leftovers without getting fed up with the massive amounts of boring turkey. Like we said in our previous post Thanksgiving Day Dinner, we made two chickens and therefore this recipe was made with chicken meat. Turkey works just as well, so don't let it fool you! Make a little Mexican out of your all-American Thanksgiving Dinner!

We felt that we needed a change from our regular flour tortillas and so we decided this time to try corn tortillas. What we found out is that it is much much much easier to mix up the dough and roll out than flour tortillas. We might just have a new favorite :)

For ~ 6 medium sized tortillas you need:
2 cups corn flour (or masa harina)
1 1/4 cup boiling water + 1-4 tsp more
1 tsp oil
1 tsp salt

Mix the salt and the flour (don't mix up cornmeal and corn flour, cornmeal will not work!) Add 1 1/4 cup boiling water and oil and mix with a fork. It will be hot so wait a few minutes before you try to knead it with your hands (he learned this lesson the hard way!)

Once the dough is cool enough knead it with your hands for  2 to 3 minutes. The dough should stick together but not be sticky. You will need to add more boiling water to get it to this state. Do this slowly, adding only 1 tsp at a time. We had to add 3 tsp to get our dough the perfect consistency.

Roll the dough into balls (we like medium sized tortillas so we made balls halfway between a golf ball and tennis ball in size). Use a tortilla press or roll out using a rolling pin. Best is to put plastic wrap or parchment paper over and under the dough while rolling so it is sure not to stick.

We rolled out our dough and then used a plate as a circle outline to cut our tortillas into proper tortilla shape.

Heat a pan (no oil) on high heat (best is a cast iron skillet but we do not own one) and wait to add the tortillas, one at a time, until it is very very hot. Cook on each side for about 1 minute. Put the tortillas in aluminum foil or wrap in a towel to keep warm.


For the taco insides we used:

1 1/2 cup chopped chicken (or turkey) leftover from Thanksgiving
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
Seasonings like pepper, salt, garlic powder, oregano and bail

 Heat a pan on medium with a small amount of oil. Add the chicken, mushrooms, onion, bell pepper and onion. Cook until hot and onions start to get soft. Add seasonings and tomatoes. Finish cooking through.

Serve on the corn tortilla with lettuce, sour cream, cheese, and hot sauce. We did not have any sour cream or cheese but our tacos were still delicious. Eat alone or with rice and beans.

Enjoy this different type of recipe to use up your turkey!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Dinner

We could not write a blog entry today and ignore Thanksgiving. For that reason, we thought it would be nice to share with you our Thanksgiving dinner. Of course for her, Thanksgiving is a tradition which cannot be skipped, no matter where you find yourself on the fourth Thursday of November. For him, Thanksgiving is still rather new, but he is willing to go along with it, including finding a way to tape the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade so she could watch it when she got back from work!

There was so much food at Thanksgiving that we could not take pictures of it all, but here we will share with you our secret to what we consider the perfect turkey (chicken in this case), stuffing, gravy, and caramelized carrots.

First, the stuffing. For great homemade stuffing we use a recipe from her mom, which she grew up with.

4 cups bread (any type is ok as long as less than 25% is something other than white and the bread should be left out overnight to dry out if it is sandwich bread)
1 stick butter
1 medium onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tbs parsley
1/2 tsp herb mix
1 egg


Tear the bread into smaller pieces. You can cut it into the cubes but she grew up with it being torn so cutting just does not seem right! Melt the butter on the stove over medium. Add the onions and cook until they are glossy. Mix the onion/butter mix with the bread, add the celery, parsley, herb mix (I use Nature's Seasoning), and an egg. The mixture should be rather moist but not wet. If you do not think it is moist enough add another egg.

After the stuffing is ready, prepare the turkey (we used two chickens). Wash the turkey, take out anything that came with it (heart, neck, etc). Rub the outside and the inside of the turkey with salt. Stuff the inside (both back and front) of the turkey. Do not pack it too densely. It will not cook through if you do this!

Put the turkey on a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 400 F. Lower the temperature to 350 F for as long as suggested for a turkey your size. We made two chickens which took in total 2 3/4 hours.

Four times during cooking we took the chickens out of the oven and brushed the juice they were sitting in. This gave them an extra brown skin.

To make the gravy, use the drippings that came off your chicken. Remove as much fat as you can and then use 1 Tbs of the drippings with 1 Tbs flour and heat on the stove until it starts to bubble, not longer! Add 1 cup of chicken broth, mix well and let cook until thickened. Much better than the canned stuff!

Besides chicken we also ate caramelized carrots. A dish which he found extremely disgusting and weird at first but has learned to eat and enjoys (as long as it is only served once a year).

The original caramelized carrot recipe is from her family, although she is not sure who came up with it. This recipe calls for maple syrup. Maple syrup is expensive in Germany and we don't have much use for it so instead we used brown sugar.

For our recipe you need:

4 large carrots, chopped
1/2 stick butter
3 Tbs brown sugar

Chop the carrots into round slices. Heat butter in a pan over medium. Add the carrots, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until they start to get soft. Add the brown sugar, stir and continue to cook until completely soft and caramelized.

Those were the main parts of our Thanksgiving dinner. We also had mashed potatoes, corn, green beans and carrot cake! Now we are very full and need to take the traditional Thanksgiving Day nap.

We hope that everyone else celebrating Thanksgiving had a disaster free day in the kitchen and a tasty meal!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Onion and Garlic Lover!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fruit Smoothies

Fruit smoothies are a great lunch or dessert. They are quick to make, easy to clean up from, and can be made, for the most part, as healthy or unhealthy as you wish. We have made various fruit smoothies over the past two weeks, usually just mixing whatever we think sounds good. Here are two recipes which we actually took the time to write down and take pictures of.

Strawberry-Orange Smoothie:

3/4 cup strawberry frozen yogurt
1 cup orange juice
1 Banana
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup crushed iced

Add all ingredients and blend. Easy peasy!

Sour Berry Smoothie:
1 heaping cup of frozen mixed berries
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup strawberry frozen yogurt
1 Banana
1/2 of a lemon's juice (only use this much of you really like sour!)
1 1/2 cup crushed ice

 Once again, just mix, blend, and enjoy.

There are a ton of smoothie possibilities out there.
What is your favorite?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cheater's Enchiladas

This is the lazy man's version of enchiladas (hence the name, Cheater's Enchiladas) which was perfect for us the other night when we wanted to use up the tortillas and ground beef we had. These enchiladas are good, especially for the minimum effort they require, but they are not great. We recommend trying the same recipe with corn tortillas and enchilada sauce if you have the ingredients available.

3 Large (burrito sized) flour tortillas
1 1/2 Cups tomato sauce
1/2 lb ground beef
1 Cup shredded cheese
1/2 Cup sour cream
1 Onion, chopped
4 Hot peppers, chopped
1 bulb garlic
salt, pepper, and other seasonings

Cook the ground beef with the onion, peppers and garlic. Add seasonings such as pepper, salt, oregano and basil. Pour 1/2 cup tomato sauce into the bottom of an oven-safe dish.

Once the beef is finished, lay out a flour tortilla (it i easier to bend them if you heat them up in the oven for about one minute first). Place 1/3 of the ground beef, a small amount of cheese, and two spoonfuls of sour cream into the tortilla.

Wrap like a burrito and place in the dish with tomato sauce. Repeat for the remaining two tortillas.

Once finished, pour the rest of the tomato sauce over the tortillas, use the rest of the cheese on top, and bake covered at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Serve this Mexican treat with Mexican rice, beans and the rest of the sour cream.

Käsespätzle (Cheese Spaetzle)

Perhaps the most typical traditional dish of all traditional Schwäbisch foods (see Fleischküchle , Potato Salad, Schupfnudeln). Spätzle is a type of noodle made from flour, egg and water. It is served in a variety of ways, plain, with gravy, and our personal favorite, with cheese. He grew up with Käsespätzle which is good for her because that means he knows how to make it, and make it well! One of the foods that won her over when she first came to Germany, the traditional Schwäbisch foods are one of the main reasons why she came back to this area of Germany when she had the choice.

Try making Käsespätzle... just do it. It doesn't take many ingredients, it doesn't take much time, and even without the proper Käsespätzle maker it is easily possible. Super tasty and a comfort food, it is like the mac and cheese for the fancy (or if you are not in the USA, for the Germans).

200 g Flour
125 ml Water (luke warm)
2 Eggs
1 Onion, chopped
1 Cup cheese (any type works, we used Gouda)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs butter

Our Spätzle Press
To make Spätzle you will need a Spätzle press or something with the proper holes. The traditional Spätzle press comes with three metal discs, each with different sized holes. The press makes food Spätzle noodles but it something frustrating to work (you need both hands to work it which makes pouring the batter in hard). There is now a new Spätzle maker on the market which looks like a water bottle and lets you mix the batter inside and then just flip over and squeeze. We have only tried this type of maker once and it worked great.

If you do not have a proper Spätzle maker do not fear! A colander also works.

Before mixing the ingredients, boil a pot of water on the stove and preheat your oven to 350.

Combine the flour, water, salt and eggs. Beat well. Before you start making the Spätzle, make sure that you have a bowl or plate to but them as soon as you pull them out of the water. You do not want to leave them in while you search for the proper equipment.

Then scoop about one cup of the batter into whichever type of maker your are using.

Press the batter out

Let the batter come out as long strings into the water and cook for a very short amount of time.

You know when the Spätzle is done when it comes to the top of the water. When the Spätzle is finished, scoop it from the water into the bowl or plate you have waiting.
Just in

 Before or while cooking the Spätzle cut up one onion and grate cheese.

Cook the onions on the stove over medium heat with butter, until they are nice and brown.

Once all of the batter has been used, drain any collected water on the bottom of your bowl, mix the Spätzle with the onions and cheese in the pan on the stove and heat until the cheese is melted.

Place the entire mixture into an oven-safe dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and everything is hot through.

Cheese Spaetzle (Käsespätzle)
Serve as a side dish or as the main course. This is only one version of Spätzle (and our favorite). It is also very common to serve the Spätzle plain (with no cheese on onions) and  with something like Schnitzel which comes with gravy to mix with the Spätzle.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Quick Skillet Dinner

Skillet dinner is not beautiful looking. It isn't really the thing you would serve at a dinner party, or actually to anyone not in your immediate family. But, it is quick, very tasty and gives you a warm and comfortable feeling. So we advise you to make it...just maybe don't roll it out for first time visitors :p

Skillet dinner is super flexible. You can add and leave out ingredients to your liking. For ours we used:

3 cups pasta (spiral) 
1 lb (500 g) ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 bulb garlic, chopped
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes, in sauce
Salt, pepper, other herbs and spices

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Cook ground beef, onion and garlic in a pan over medium-high heat. Once the ground beef is almost fully cooked, add beans, corn and tomatoes. and any herbs or spices you wish. We used salt, pepper, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to pan on the stove. Mix well, finish heating thoroughly.

Serve with salad and bread and done! In the time it makes to cook pasta you have an entire meal.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Potato Rösti

He swears they are potato Rösti, she says they are obviously potato pancakes. For this entry we are going with Rösti and will break out the potato pancakes or latkes closer to Chanukah.

We actually ate these for breakfast. They also work as a side to a regular meal.

To make about 6 potato Rösti you need:
2 medium potatoes
1 egg

Peel or do not peel the potatoes. It is up to you. Then grate them into a bowl. Add one egg, a good amount of salt and pepper, and enough flour to hold everything together. You really have to use your hands, mix it up, and decide if you need more flour or not. Do not add too much flour! It ruins the taste.

Heat a pan with about 1 Tbs butter on medium-high (our stove goes up to 9 and we used setting 7). You want the pan to be hot enough that the potatoes will get a nice brown outside, but not so hot that they burn before the inside is cooked.

Scoop the potato mixture and place in the pan in small groups. She makes patties, he says that to make a proper Rösti you can not make it perfectly round.

Cook for about 3 minutes or until a golden brown layer has formed. Turn and cook on the other side.

Eat plain or serve with your choice of topping.

She eats her Rösti with sour cream and Cholula hot sauce.

                He likes apple sauce (she approves! Tasty!)

Or Nutella... (she says ewww!)

What do you eat with your potato Rösti? We are always open to suggestions!

Chunky Apple-Lemon Muffins

I am still on a muffin craze, loving my new silicon muffin cups. Luckily for our stomachs, I spend more time looking at muffin recipes than actually making them. He, I think, is only into my muffin craze because it means there are more muffins laying around to eat. About a week ago I decided to break out my muffin cups again and this time use up the apples we had lying about.


2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 eggs
10 Tbs butter (I used 1/2 c applesauce instead, it makes me feel less guilty :) )
1 Tbs lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup milk
2 medium apples
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). 
2. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, butter (or applesauce!), lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk. Mix the creamed ingredients into the flour mixture.
3. Peel and cut your apple into reasonably sized chunks. We liked the big apple pieces in our muffins; however, if you make them too big there is not enough muffin to keep it together and you end up with muffin pieces. Fold the apples into your batter. 

4. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups.

5. Mix the 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the tops of the muffin batter. 

6. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 

This recipe makes about 16 muffins.

These muffins are more cake-like than muffin-like meaning they are DENSE! That does not mean the flavor is not good, it is, it just means you need to expect to feel like you are biting into a cupcake with a muffin flavor.

If I make these again, I think I will use the topping from the banana muffins instead of cinnamon and sugar. To learn how to make that topping check out the amazing banana crunch muffin recipe here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

She had never heard of spaghetti aglio e olio until him. She still can't say the name for the life of her, so usually she says, "Are you going to make that pasta you like?" or "Are we going to eat that pasta with lots of oil?" Now, except for feeling extremely guilty every time she eats it because although probably not much more unhealthy than everything else, it looks extremely unhealthy, she loves it. It is his favorite way to make pasta, so put us together and...well, we eat it a lot. (He says: not unhealthy! Not oily - just sooooo goood!)

Don't let everything just written scare you away. Seriously, this pasta is delicious, and haven't they always said that olive oil is the good kind of oil? The only real warning we can give to you about this pasta is that you have to like garlic. No, scratch have to LOVE garlic. Also, if you are with someone else make them at least take a bite, otherwise, they will not want to get anywhere near you for the rest of the night. That said, do not serve this on a first date!!!

Making spaghetti aglio e olio is easy peasy. All you need is:

2 bulbs garlic
Lots of olive oil
Salt, pepper, oregano, basil
Red pepper flakes if you want it to be hot

Cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the package.

While the spaghetti is cooking, heat up a pan with a generous amount of olive oil (sorry folk, we never measure so can't help you much. What is important is that it is enough to cover the amount of spaghetti you make). Let the pan with the olive oil get very hot, then add the garlic, cut up in small squares (do not use a garlic press, for this recipe you want chunks).

Let the garlic sit until it gets brown, add a good bit of salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and as an option red pepper flakes. Cook until hot and seasoning is also a bit brown.

Drain the spaghetti, add it to the pan, mix until olive oil is covering it all. Serve with bread (rolls best) for dipping into the leftover olive oil.

This is how he makes it. When she makes it (which is almost never because he has mastered the ratios of ingredients) she adds chopped up onion to it.

We guarantee that eating this will protect you from any is that garlicy!