DeeDee’s Turkey (or Chicken) Salad with Fresh Cranberries

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My daughter-in-law in St. Louis sent me a recipe for using up my leftover Thanksgiving turkey and we all loved it.  This salad combines sweetened, orange-flavored fresh cranberries and crisp almonds to dress up some leftover turkey.

Since I used up all the turkey to make the salad right after Thanksgiving, I thought I’d make another batch for dinner today using chicken breast.  It was delicious.  It’s a very easy recipe to put together and makes wonderful sandwiches.  Her recipe called for wheat bread slices, but I had some good bakery dinner rolls on hand and they worked well, too.

Make up the cranberry mixture and refrigerate a couple of hours ahead of time to get the best flavor.

Dee-Dee’s Turkey (or Chicken) Salad with Fresh Cranberries

½ cup fresh cranberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 Tblsp. orange juice
1 Tblsp. grated orange zest
2 cups cooked turkey (or chicken breast), chopped
2 Tblsp. parsley, chopped
2 green onions, tops and tender green parts, sliced
¾ cup mayonnaise
Salt/pepper to taste
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 wheat bread slices, dinner rolls or bread of your choice
4 large red-leaf lettuce leaves

In a food processor with metal blade, process cranberries with sugar, orange juice and orange zest, using on-off pulses until coarsely chopped.  Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours.

In a medium bowl, combine turkey, parsley, green onions, mayonnaise and salt/pepper.  Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.  At serving time, stir the cranberry mixture and almonds into the turkey/chicken mixture and spoon onto bread slices.  Top with lettuce.  Makes 4-6 servings.

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Cinco de Mayo Egg Sandwich

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Since I was a child, I’ve enjoyed a fried egg sandwich with salt, pepper and a bit of mustard on soft, white Wonder-type bread.  It’s even a good meal when I’m not feeling well if I omit the pepper and mustard.

I wanted to make an egg sandwich that was more substantial and put together a good one with a Mexican flair – just in time for Cinco de Mayo.  The cheese is available in my local grocery …
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…and I enjoy the soft pretzel buns that my bakery carries.  Fry the egg the way you like it best – I like mine golden brown with the yolk fried hard.

CINCO DE MAYO EGG SANDWICH

  • Servings: One Sandwich
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  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup sliced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup sliced onion
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 large soft bun
  • 1 egg
  • 1 oz. Mexican cheese in small slices
  • Several cilantro leaves

In a small skillet over medium low heat, heat olive oil and add the red pepper and onion slices.

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Sprinkle lightly with salt/pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender.  Remove vegetables from skillet and place on the bottom half of the bun.

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In the same skillet, break the egg, stir the yolk with a fork, and cook until yolk is set.

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Turn egg and cook on the opposite side until lightly browned.
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Place egg on top of vegetables and immediately place cheese slices on top of egg.  Add several cilantro leaves on top of cheese.

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Place top of bun on sandwich and serve immediately.  Delicioso! 


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Waffle-Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Back in the 1940s, long before I’d ever heard of a panini, my grandma made a grilled cheese sandwich that was pressed flat by – a waffle iron.

My paternal grandmother lived in rural Vandalia, Ohio, a two-hour drive from our home in Cincinnati.  Grandma worked as a cook in a large Dayton (Ohio) high school and brought home huge wholesale-size cartons of food.   On one of our trips, she introduced us to Velveeta cheese.  The only cheese we had at home was what we called “rat’s cheese” which came in thin slices from the butcher shop wrapped in white paper.   Mother used it in her macaroni and cheese and we had it with Ritz crackers and Pepsi on the rare occasions when we had guests come to play 500 rummy.

What fun it was when Grandma pulled out a 5-lb. box of Velveeta cheese, a loaf of bread and real butter (Grandma never used anything but real butter and cream) and made sandwiches for us on her 1930s era waffle iron.  My little sister and I were fans immediately, so when we went home, Grandma sent along a big box of Velveeta and the old waffle iron.

During summer vacation, after sleeping late, my sister and I would come downstairs to the kitchen table to find the waffle iron, a loaf of sandwich bread, margarine and Velveeta cheese.  Since we were combining breakfast and lunch, we were allowed to make as many sandwiches as we wanted.  There was nothing more delicious.  The cheese melted through the waffle indentations and sometimes got crispy.  The sandwiches were hot, melty, crisp and delicious.  We each ate 3 or 4 servings of what we called “toasted cheese sandwiches” and probably kept Mother short on bread all summer.

I still have the original waffle iron but don’t trust the electrical connection.  Instead, we make our sandwiches on a 1980s model waffle iron with heat regulator and non-stick surface (showing a little age itself).

My daughter and I don’t use Velveeta any more.  We enjoy using a variety such as Fontina, cheddar, mozzarella, Havarti, etc., sometimes several kinds mixed together, with good bread and butter.

The sandwiches are as delicious as ever, but we limit ourselves to just one apiece for lunch.  And the luckiest person is still the one who gets a little bit of the cheese that oozed out onto the grill and crisped.

Pork BBQ and Strawberry Glaze Pie

menusignToday’s lunch menu included an easy Pork Barbecue and an equally easy Strawberry Glaze Pie. I like to buy about 2 lbs. of lean boneless pork ribs (called Pork Loin Gourmet Ribs in my store).  The ribs are cooked overnight in a slow cooker, then the next day the meat is pulled, combined with a sauce and baked in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.  I like the slow cooker for cooking the pork but prefer the flavor and consistency of the barbecue when it’s baked after the sauce is added.

MOM'S PULLED PORK BARBECUE

  • Servings: Approx. 10)
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  • 2 lbs. boneless country style ribs

Trim any fat from meat and place in slow cooker.  Let cook 8-10 hours on low. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F Remove meat from slow cooker, drain and allow to cool until it can be pulled apart.  Place the pulled pork in a 9×9 baking pan. Make the sauce:

  • One 24 oz. bottle of catsup
  • 2 Tblsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tblsp. dried minced onions
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Pour the above sauce  ingredients directly on top of the pork in the baking dish. withsauce Mix well and place in preheated 300 degree F oven.  Bake uncovered for two hours, stirring occasionally.  Barbecue is ready at this point but can be covered and kept in a 170 degree F oven until ready to serve. Serve on buns with coleslaw on top or on the side.

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STRAWBERRY GLAZE PIE

Preheat oven to 410 degrees F. Roll out pastry for a single crust, 9″ pie (see my Sure-Fire Crust recipe).  Prick the crust with a fork on the bottom and sides. piercingPut a piece of aluminum foil loosely on top of the crust and fill with dry beans.  I keep a jar filled with a pound of dry beans which I use over and over again. beansBake crust @ 410 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and lift out foil with beans.   Place the pie plate back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Strawberry Filling and Glaze

  • 5 cups of fresh strawberries, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tblsp. cornstarch

Hull strawberries and if they are small they can be left whole.  Otherwise, cut in half to make fairly uniform pieces.   Place one cup of strawberries in a small saucepan. Crush berries with a big spoon or potato masher.  Add water.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue simmering for 2 minutes.  Pour the berry mixture through a sieve into another small saucepan. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch – slowly whisk this mixture into the berry/water mixture and place on medium heat.  Cook and whisk constantly until mixture is thick and clear – about 2 minutes. In the baked pie shell, place one-half of the strawberries and top with one-half of the glaze. Repeat with remaining berries and glaze. glaze2 Chill for at least an hour – an inverted pie plate makes a good cover.

coverServe with whipped cream or topping. slice A really tasty lunch – and the leftovers are good, too!

Rye Bread and Reubens

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My daughters say they have never found a restaurant version of the Reuben Sandwich that is as good as the one I make, mainly because of my insistence on very lean, good quality corned beef, and because of my homemade rye bread.  They like this rye bread, called “Modest” probably because it is a light rye with no caraway or other strong flavor.

MODEST RYE BREAD

  • Servings: 2 7-1/2-inch loaves plus 4 large rolls
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  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 package fast-rising yeast
  • 3/4 cup non-fat dry milk
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tblsp. molasses
  • 3 Tblsp canola oil
  • 2-1/4 cups water heated to 130 degrees F

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, place 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of rye flour, yeast, dry milk, and salt.  Mix to blend and add molasses, oil and 130 degree F water.  Beat on medium speed with regular beater for 3 minutes.  Insert dough hook and beat another 6:30 minutes, adding flour as needed to make dough elastic and not sticky.

Place dough in oiled bowl, cover and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.

Punch down dough and form into loaves.  I like to divide the dough in thirds and place a third in each of two loaf pans which measure 7-1/2 x 3-3/4 x 2-1/4 inches.  This size makes a nice size slice for making the Reubens.  The remaining third is usually made into large hearty rolls to eat with dinner.

Cover the bread/rolls and let rise 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake this size loaf for approximately 25 minutes and the rolls for approximately 12 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.

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REUBEN SANDWICHES

  • 1 lb. good quality corned beef, sliced thin
  • 1/2 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
  • Rye bread

To make the sandwiches, I prefer to bake the bread a day ahead of time so it’s more manageable to divide into thin slices (cut off the heels and cut about 12 slices).  Butter a slice of bread and place butter-side-down in a skillet, add a layer of corned beef, a slice of Swiss cheese and a spoonful of sauerkraut, add second slice of buttered bread.  Grill, browning on each side, at a medium high heat to give the beef and cheese a chance to warm before the bread gets too brown.

Serve immediately.  My daughters like to add Thousand Island Dressing to their sandwiches.  The two loaves of bread are about right for the quantity of corned beef, Swiss and sauerkraut, depending on how thick you make your sandwiches.