Thanksgiving Leftover Risotto – Turkey Squash Cranberry Risotto

photo-nov-24-10-01-43-amI roasted a 22 lb Turkey for Thanksgiving and so after a wonderful meal and cleaning up the kitchen, I began the annual process of making turkey stock from all that “will not become a meal.” Since we are not big fans of turkey soup and the giant turkey led to a large quantity of turkey stock which, by the way was majorly yummo!, I started looking a for fun and delicious way to use all the turkey stock I made.

So after boiling the stock down for two days and defatting it on thephoto-nov-25-11-14-31-am porch I was ready to find something new and exciting.  I love cranberries, I have tons of turkey and lots of stock.  I also have about two cups of cut up, raw butternut squash…  So I thought about it and decided on Cranberry Squash Turkey Risotto!  I googled it and found a few recipes but none we right for me so I just decided to give it a go…

I call it..

Thanksgiving Leftover Risotto

photo-nov-26-4-55-06-pmCranberry Squash Turkey Risotto – Thanksgiving Leftover Risotto

Warm four cups of fresh turkey stockphoto-nov-26-3-40-48-pm

In a large sauce pan capable of holding the whole finished meal –

Heat two glugs of olive oil and cut up any leftover onions or a large onion add to heated oil on low and saute a bit.

  • Add 2 cups chopped butternut squash or other orange squash

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  • Add ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon sage, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion (I use more of each so suit yourself… but go easy on the sage… I think too much will ruin a dish.)
  • 2 diced cloves of garlic
  • A few pinches of fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook over low heat until squash is mostly done – nice and soft, but not completely falling apart.

  • Add one cup or more (up to 2 cups – full bag) rinsed cranberries

Cook two or three minutes until the cranberries just begin to pop their skin

Remove mix to a bowl

Start the risotto…

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  • 1 cup rinsed rice… Risotto is nice but any rice will work for this…
  • Slowly…1/3 cup at a time, add the warmed turkey stock until you have added all 4 cups
  • Add about a pound of shredded turkey leftovers
  • Add squash / cranberry mixture

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Let simmer on low for 20-30 minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, whatever you still have left-over from Thanksgiving



Way Tasty Super Easy Cranberry Sauce Recipes

cranberry sauce recipes by Chad CurrinWay Tasty – Super Easy Cranberry Sauce Recipes!
Forget that canned cranberry sauce this Holiday Season! Serve cranberry sauce with some zip!

Basic Recipe:
1 cup sugar
1 cup whisky, rum or other liquor
12 oz. cranberries (a typical bag size at the market)
1. Stir together the liquor and the sugar and bring to a boil.
2. Add Cranberries and return to a boil
3. Turn Heat Down and let boil for 10 minutes
4. Turn Heat off and allow to cool 1 hour
5. Pour into Ball Jar or other container. Allow to cool to room temp
6. Refrigerate at least 2 days before serving.

My favorite liquor to use is Whisky by far. Adds Great Flavor. Malibu Rum is excellent with pineapple & mango variations.

Even More Fun Ideas…
1. Grate 2 Tablespoons of orange rind. Heat the orange rind in a small, stick proof pan with NO OIL for 1-2 minutes until really soft. Add with the cranberries. Follow normal directions. Excellent with Whisky as the liquor.
2. Add 1 20oz can of pineapple or 1 ½ cups fresh pineapple along with the cranberries.
3. Add 1 15. Oz can of diced mangos or 1 generous cup diced fresh mango.
4. Add 2 teaspoons ginger. Great with whisky.

Some of my favorite combos:
Whisky Orange Cranberry Sauce
Whisky Pineapple Ginger Cranberry Sauce
Malibu Rum, Mango, Cayenne Pepper Cranberry Sauce
Like your food hot??
Try Adding 1 Tablespoon of Cayenne Powder
Really Daring??? Try adding ¼ cup cayenne powder – (This cranberry sauce alone will be very hot when eaten alone but with turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes…it is strong enough to impact!

I like to experiment with different varieties of cranberry sauce. You add a little to a big bit of turkey, stuffing and potatoes so you need your cranberry sauce to pack some flavor or it will get lost among all the other flavors. Cranberry Sauce should be bold! So be daring and try any of these yummy liquor filled cranberry sauces.

I love to use either Whisky or Malibu Rum in my cranberry sauces but just about any liquor will do. It is so simple to make. Cranberry Sauce takes about 20 minutes to make and should cool to room temperature and then be refrigerated for 24 hours before serving for the best consistency.

Try some recipes and then try your own. Please leave comments about your successes, failures and favorites.

Chicken Florentine Lasagna with a pan roasted garlic sauce

Photo Apr 08, 5 55 27 PMThis one is a definite keeper… I was trying to figure out how to use a bunch of chicken and fresh spinach I had in the fridge… from that

Chicken Florentine Lasagna with a pan roasted Garlic Sauce

The key to a dish like this is the sauce.  My family doesn’t like a super heavy sauce and most of the white sauces on the market are pretty much flavorless and they compensate with a ton of fat and salt.  This white sauce isn’t exactly “light” but it isn’t heavy either and it features the great nutty flavor of roasted garlic.

Pan Roasted Garlic Sauce:

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  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 6 large garlic cloves peeled and halved
Photo Apr 08, 2 58 20 PM Roast the onions and garlic halves in a cast iron pan on medium heat without any oil until they get nice and seared.  Garlic taste different depending on how it is prepared and cooked.  This method will bring out the awesome nutty garlic flavor.  If you don’t have a cast iron pan – get one (or toast them in a toaster oven)Once they are nice an seared, turn off heat and let cool slightly so that you can remove the garlic and mince it up then return the garlic to the pan with the onions
Photo Apr 08, 3 46 22 PM Now add:

  • a stick of butter (cut up)
  • several glugs of olive oil.
  • a generous pinch or two of salt
  • one crushed up piece of bacon


cook all of this over low heat for a few minutes for the flavors to marry.

Photo Apr 08, 4 18 49 PMPhoto Apr 08, 4 24 11 PM add:

  • 1/2 cup flour

mix and heat, stirring constantly.  It is important to cook the raw, grainy raw-flour taste out.  This just takes a couple of minutes but keep stirring. add:

  • 1/2 gallon warmed milk


Whisk and keep whisking until it is all well mixed and thickens to a nice consistency for sauce, like a red sauce would be for a lasagna.

Photo Apr 08, 4 25 37 PM Photo Apr 08, 4 28 01 PM Turn off heat add:

  • 1/2 cup nice sharp cheese – Romano or some hard italian dry tasty cheese
  • a tablespoon or so of finely cut or dried basil

Once you have made the white sauce let it set while you build your lasagna but with Chicken Florentine Ingredients.

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 Now layer your Chicken Florentine Lasagna.Coat the bottom of the lasagna pan with your garlic sauce

Lay your lasagna noodles

Add enough sauce to cover the lasagna

Add generous portions of chopped or shredded chicken, crushed bacon and lots and lots of raw spinach (it cooks way down) and Romano or other hard cheese. Mozzarella is kind of bland.  You can definately use it but your hard grated cheeses are much more flavorful.

Photo Apr 08, 4 52 37 PM Photo Apr 08, 4 42 24 PM  now repeat the process.  lots of everything is just enough…
Photo Apr 08, 4 58 36 PM Photo Apr 08, 5 38 03 PM  Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until bubbly all around the edgesLet stand for 15 minutes







Ethiopian Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce

ethiopian-flagEthiopian BBQ sauce does not exist.  It is completely my creation.  My goal was to create a BBQ sauce based on a fusion of Ethiopian Spices and flavors and a traditional tomato sauce based bbq sauce to be used in all the yummy ways bbq sauce is used: pulled pork, pulled chicken, chicken bbq, meatloaf, meatballs, etc.

This can be made mild, medium or very spicy.  Ethiopian food IMG_4832tends to be spicy.  Most Americans I have met can not tolerate much heat and so I will show you how to make it in three levels of heat.  You should know that the spice mixture referred to a “Ethiopian Berbere” creates very delicate layers of flavor and heat.  The goal of this sauce is to share the really wonderful Ethiopian flavors.  Your first experience with the sauce should be sweet and tangy with a hint of smoke.  As these flavors develop and mature on your palette the heat will kick in- not all at once but a little over time. It will taste significantly hotter when you simply taste the sauce then when it is mixed with pulled pork and put on a bun.  Trust me… there is heat but it is a wonderfully flavor. The heat will not hurt you and many believe it is very good for your GI tract.  This is a bbq sauce of complex layers of heat and flavor and is both sweet and savory.

In a large pot add and cook over low heat until the onions are translucent:

  • 1T olive oil
  • 1T minced garlic
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1t Applewood Smoked Salt
  • 1t Sea Salt

(If you don’t have smoked salt you should get some and try it, but you can simply use 2t sea salt)

when the onions are just about translucent, add:

  • 1T granulated garlic (garlic powder is fine too but NOT garlic salt)
  • 1/2t hickory smoke
  • 1/4 cup berbere

mix this into something resembling a loose crumbly paste.  Stir this constantly for about a minute, then quickly add:

  • 3@ 28oz. Tomato Sauce (salt free – flavor free – just pureed tomato)

stir until the paste is well mixed in with the tomato sauce – at least a minute

then add:

  • 20 oz crushed pineapple with juice
  • 18 oz molasses
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 1/2t fresh ground black pepper
  • 1T mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup berbere (for medium heat – for mild omit this, for really hot add 1 cup it is so worth it)
  • 1t Cayenne (omit for mild – use 1T in very spicy version)
  • 1t Hot Hungarian Paprika
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 oz tomato paste

Bring all of this to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly.  Turn the heat down to simmer and continue to stir until it stops bubbling.

Use an immersion blender or immersion stick to puree everything into an even consistency and whip it up.  This step is very important.

Then use within a week or so or use medium Ball Jars and use a boil water canning method.






Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Spring Rolls - rolledThese are fun in the same way that tacos are fun…everyone gets to make what they want with what they want in it.

Julienne a whole bunch of veggies… cucumbers, carrots, red peppers, orange peppers, jalepeno peppers, bean sprouts, whatever you like.

You will also need mint leaves and a head of iceburg lettuce and a couple sauces, rice wrappers, and rice sticks.

Put all the veggies on the table along with the wrappers and bowls of warm water to soak the rice wrappers.

spring rolls ready to serve

When you are ready to eat:

Place the rice wrapper in the bowl for 5-10 seconds on each side.  Place the wrapper on your plate and place some of the cooked rice sticks (rice noodles), then some veggies and fold up the wrapper around your veggies like you would a burrito.







Place a couple of mint leaves on your rolled up spring roll, then roll in a lettuce leaf then dip in a sauce of your choice.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls - rolled




Peanut Sauce

Hot Peanut Sauce

Nuoc Mam

Duck Sauce

Spicy Seasame Cayenne Sauce

(Sauce Recipes coming soon…)


Thai Green Curry over Ginger Jasmine Rice

This is an adaptation of a recipe I got at the Thai Cooking Class I recently took.  I learned it their way, then fiddled around to make it my way.  This is a pretty mild recipe.  I usually like things hotter but this has a lot of nice flavors and you can easily “heat things up” if you so choose.


Thai Chicken Curry over Ginger Jasmine Rice This recipe uses three things: a nice coconut milk curry sauce, julienned chicken and vegetables, and rice.

I made the sauce first and julienned the chicken and vegetables while the sauce was cooking.  Then about 20 minutes before dinner I put on the rice.



Thai Green and Red Curry Sauce:

Heat some coconut oil and some peanut oil over low heat.  Add:

2 T diced fresh ginger (about a 1″ piece skinned and diced)

2 T diced garlic (a couple of big cloves)

2 T green curry paste

2 T red curry paste

1/4 t  (1 t spicer version) cayenne powder

1 t (or 2t if you want to spice it up a bit) teaspoons ginger powder

2 T Galangal ( a sweet ginger)

1T curry powder

a pinch of salt

heat ginger and garlic over medium low heat and give them time to soften and become fragrant.  Then stir in all the ingredients.  It doesn’t really look mixed well.  No worries.  Heat every thing up – do not boil – just let things get nice and hot.

Then add 1 can of coconut milk

Photo Feb 19, 5 31 25 PMKeep heat medium low and mix well.  I use my immersion blender at this point to get everything pureed and whipped up a bit.  NO worries if you don’t have one, but I LOVE mine.  Makes it extra creamy.

Chicken and Veggies:

YOu can use any veggies and protein combo you want or keep it vegetarian.  I like mine best with red peppers, green beans and chicken.

Julienne the chicken and veggies.  Beans I cut into 1″-1 1/2″ pices.

Cook the chicken in a skillet or cast iron anything.  a little peanut oil, a little coconut oil and throw in the chicken strips, cook nicely then add the cut veggies and cook for 4 minutes or so.

Add sauce, mix well, let simmer for 20 minutes.


Make your jasmine rice with a little or a lot of giner and cayenne.


Serve with fresh lime.  YUMMY…








Ginger Peach Whisky Cupcakes

Ginger Peach Whisky Cupcakes – Makes 6 Jumbo Cupcakes

ginger-peach-whisky-cupcakesThis was a test batch of Ginger Peach Whisky Cupcakes

The idea was to create a cupcake that is for Whisky what a Rum is to Rum Cake

Mix Dry Stuff:

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 cup regular white flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Mix Liquids in blender until mixed:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 T Whisky
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Oil (or butter. I used coconut oil because I like it)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T peach jam (or peaches diced up small – I make a lot of jam and like to use it in my baking)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil plus a small glug.

Beat Liquids.  Add dry stuff and mix for about 30 seconds on your kitchen aid.  Then mix on medium for about 2 minutes

Scoop into 6 cupcakes

Bake at 350 until done – light golden brown – about 20 min.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, heat on low heat:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 t ginger powder
  • 2 T Peach Jam – (I make lots jam and like to find ways to bake with it)
  • 1 cup 10x Sugar
  • 1 T Sour Cream, Butter Milk or Cream
  • 2 T Whisky
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Heat until nicely blended.

When cupcakes have slightly cooled, remove cupcakes from any paper or wrap,

Scoop a few tablespoons topping over the cupcake.  For a slightly more “adult” version, pour a tablespoon of whisky over the cupcake before pouring the topping on.

The next time that I make it I will add 1 T ginger instead of 1t.  3 T Whisky instead of 2T.


Arancini – Cheese Stuffed Galic Parmesan Rissotto Balls

Mozzarella en Carrozza with dipping saucesArancini – Cheese Stuffed Galic Parmesan Rissotto Balls


First you need to make and cool some risotto –

in a pan warm 3.5 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

in a separate pan – Heat  1/4 cup olive oil and add

several minced garlic cloves

1/2 cup diced yellow onion, stir until onions are soft and translucent

add 2 cups Arborio Rice and stir until roasted – about 4 minutes

then add 1/2 cup white wine (careful the wine will steam when you add it)

once the wine is nearly fully incorporated, add 1/2 cup broth at a time and stir until about incorporated… repeat until rice is soft and all the broth has been incorporated.

turn off heat and add

1t salt

6 T butter

1T of each granulated Garlic and Onion powder

1/2 cup to 3/4 parmesan, pecorino and/or Romano cheese.

Let Cool Completely…

Photo Feb 23, 3 41 07 PMCut cheese into slices or make into balls by rolling (doesn’t work great but it helps…)

Place about 1/4 cup Rissotto in your hand and flatten

Place a nice piece of cheese in your hand over the rice

Close fist and continue to roll into a ball so you have a nice risotto ball with cheese nestled in the middle.


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Place Arancini balls on a plate to set for 5 to 10 minutes

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Heat a few inches of  Vegetable oil in a shallow pan

Roll Arancini balls in a mixture of eggs and milk, butter milk or cream, then lightly dust with bread crumbs

Fry in pan for just a few minutes until golden brown (usually about 4 minutes)

Photo Feb 23, 4 18 22 PM

Mozzarella en Carrozza with dipping sauces

Serve with Tomato Sauce, Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, or Spicy Red Pepper Jam or any other dipping sauce.

Mozzarella en Carrozza

Mozzarella en CarrozzaThese a fabulous Italian gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  Add a side sauce of Tomato Sauce or Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto






Slice some homemade mozzarella cheese (or store bought)

Remove the crust of some really nice white Italian bread.

Photo Feb 23, 3 12 32 PM







Place a few chunks of mozzarella between two pieces of de-crusted bread and firmly squeeze the edges together so the cheese is well trapped in an Italian bread pocket!

Dip each “sandwich” in a mixture of eggs and milk, cream or butter milk, then dust completely with breadcrumbs.

Photo Feb 23, 5 10 54 PM







Fry in a shallow pan of REALLY HOT oil until golden brown.

Mozzarella en Carrozza with dipping sauces







Serve with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, Pesto, or Spicy Red Hot Jam.

Super Soft and Lovely Corn Bread Muffins

I have worked to come up with a really nice corn bread recipe.  I love corn bread muffins but I don’t like when they get too chalky or dry. These are really moist and really yummy.










Sift together dry ingredients:

1 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Coarse Ground Corn Meal

1/2 Cup Masa Harina Flour – finely ground

1 cup flour

1/2 t salt

1T Baking Powder

1/4 t Cayenne Pepper (optional. doesn’t add real heat but enhances other flavors)

1/4 cup sugar or honey

Mix Liquids:

1 cup milk

1 T Lemon Juice

(whisk together to make butter milk and thicken)

1/2 cup softened butter (really soft so it mixes with liquids)

1 cup yogurt (or sour cream because I am trying to gain weight)

(whisk together again)

Lastly whisk in 1 T vinegar (I like my coconut vinegar but any will do) and

2 eggs


Fill muffin cups 3/4 full (they will rise but not much….these are yummy and dense but not dry at all)

Bake in preheated 425 degree over for about 20 minutes