Creamy Turkey, Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Creamy Turkey, Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
Serve 4

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
Seasoning (your preference–I used Penzey’s Sunny Paris.)
1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock (I used homemade, no salt added chicken stock)
1/2 cup white wine
8 ounces shredded cooked turkey (or chicken)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat a 10″ non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil.
  2. Sautee onions until beginning to soften and turn translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms. Let them cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes, then stir together.
  4. Add garlic and carrot.
  5. While the mushrooms are cooking, melted the butter in a small saucepan. Add flour to form a roux.
  6. Add milk, and stir over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Remove from heat.
  7. Add shredded turkey to mushrooms.
  8. Add stock and wine. Bring to a boil.
  9. Stir in the roux. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. As it cooks it will thicken.

Nutritional data:
Calories:       222
Fat:                7.7g
Sat fat:           4.3g
Chol:              46mg
Sodium:         54mg
Carbs:         16.5g
Fiber:            1.5g
Protein:      16.4g

The Many Lives of Beer Can Chicken

I try to be efficient with my time. Why only cook one meal when you can easily prepare for two meals simultaneously?

Beer Can Chicken (aka Beer Butt Chicken)
Serves 2? 4? 8? 16? Depends on how hungry everyone is!

Get your grill going to about 350F.

Take a whole chicken. Rub the outside with some olive oil. Sprinkle your favorite seasoning on it. I used Penzey’s Bouquet Garni.

Find an empty beer can. If you don’t have an empty one, buy some beer and pour half the can into a glass. Insert the can into the open end of the chicken. It will stand upright on its two legs and the half-full can of beer.

While working, drink the beer in your glass. Repeat as needed. Grilling is hot work!

If you prefer to not use beer, use any empty soda can and your choice of liquids. I have used orange juice, cola, ice tea, wine and margarita mix. The options are endless.

When the grill is hot, place the bird on the grate as in the picture. Use indirect heat if possible, and place the bird on a pie tin to catch the drippings and prevent a flair up. It will be done when the breast meat has an internal temp of 165F (or when the internal juices run clear.)  This will be approximately 90 minutes.

Nutritional Data (per 6 ounces of meat, skinless and boneless):
Calories:       180
Fat:                 4.5g
Sat fat:            1.5g
Chol:             128mg
Sodium:          75mg
Carbs:              0g
Fiber:               0g
Protein:          36g

The meal as I served it to the family.  Beer Can Chicken, Sweet-Sour Cucumbers, Corn on the Cob, and my Zucchini-Potato Pancakes.

Sweet-Sour Cucumbers
Serve 8 (Approximately 3/4 portions)

5 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, slice very thin
Kosher salt

In layers, slice one cucumber, add a slice of onion, and top with a sprinkling of salt. Repeat until the cucumbers are all sliced. Place a plate on the cucumbers and top with a heavy weight (a gallon of water is ideal.)  Let sit on the counter at room temperature. Occasionally drain off the liquid. The idea here is to dehydrate the cucumbers so that they absorb the dressing when you add it.

1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons table sugar
2 tablespoons Splenda

Dissolve together. You will probably need to microwave this to get the sugar fully dissolved.

After the cucumbers have been sitting for 3-4 hours, and all liquid is drained off, quickly rinse with cold water, and then press with the plate to remove the water. Pour the dressing in the bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional Data (per 6 ounces of meat, skinless and boneless):
Calories:          31
Fat:                0.2g
Sat fat:           0.0g
Chol:             0.0mg
Sodium:           3mg
Carbs:            6.5g
Fiber:             0.9g
Protein:          0.8g

After the meal, strip all the meat from the carcass of the bird. Add to a large kettle, with a medium onion chopped in large pieces, 2 large carrots chopped, 2 ribs of celery, a bay leaf, 2-3 cloves garlic crushed, and 1 tsp whole peppercorns.  Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 2 hours and pour through a colander. Chill overnight and remove the thickened chicken fat.  You should have about 1 quart of low-sodium chicken stock. (I doubled everything for my batch as pictured above.)

Then, the last step …

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Serve 4 (1 3/4 cups per portion)

1/4 cup wild rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces raw mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 quart chicken stock
1 tsp sage (or other preferred spices)
1/4 tsp table salt
8 ounces cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt

1.  Prepare wild rice according to directions. You will need about 1/4 cup dry rice. This will take about an hour.
2.  While the rice is cooking, prepare the mushrooms, carrots, onions and garlic.
3.  Heat the olive oil in a large soup kettle. Add mushrooms, onions and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic.
4.  Add flour.  Cook another 2 minutes, stirring.
5.  Add wine.  Mix, then add 1 quart chicken stock. Bring to a boil.  Add chicken, and reduce to a simmer. Add spices and salt.
6.  When the rice is done, add to the soup. Stir in Greek yogurt.
7.  Taste and adjust spices and salt as needed.

Nutritional Data (per 6 ounces of meat, skinless and boneless):
Calories:       257
Fat:                7.5g
Sat fat:           2.2g
Chol:              48mg
Sodium:         240mg
Carbs:              30g
Fiber:              1.9g
Protein:         20.8g

We just got done feeding this soup and a bowl of salad to four teenage boys and a teen age girl. They all agreed that the soup was a good meal.

Wild Rice, Cheddar and Spinach Pie

 Wild Rice, Cheddar and Spinach Pie

Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
3 whole eggs, whisked together
Cooking spray

1.  Preheat oven to 425F.
2.  Heat a non-stick skillet, add the oil. Saute the onions until beginning to brown (about 4-5 minutes.)
3.  Add garlic and spinach. Stir together for 1-2 minutes.
4.  Remove from heat, and put onion/spinach in a large bowl.
5.  Add 3 cups cooked wild rice and cheese.  Stir to mix.
6.  Add eggs, stir until evenly mixed.
7.  Spray a pie pan with cooking spray. Spread mixture into pan, smooth and place in oven for 25 minutes.  When baked, remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

My suggestions for improving/adding flavor:
Replace the cheddar with an equal amount of feta or bleu cheese.
Add Kalamata olive (especially if using feta cheese.)
Add green Spanish olive (especially if using bleu cheese.)
Add bacon or diced smoked ham.
Add jalapenos (especially if keeping the cheddar cheese.)
Increasing the cheese to a full cup.

Nutritional data for the pie as I made it:
Calories:         295
Fat:                  8.7g
Sat fat:             3.1g
Chol:              115mg
Sodium:          114mg
Carbs:            41.7g
Fiber:               3.4g
Protein:          13.2g