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Easy keto beef jalapeño skillet

Here’s a quick, simple keto recipe involving ground beef and jalapeños. Yes, those jalapeños are making another appearance because I still have about a half gallon left from the gargantuan bottle I got at Costco.

Anyway, I’ve discovered the heat and vinegar infusion from the jalapeños gives the ground beef a really good flavor. So here goes one of the easiest recipes ever.

Ingredients for keto beef jalapeño skillet

1 lb ground beef
½ onion, chopped
½ cup nacho sliced jalapeños (remove seeds)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
8 oz grated cheddar cheese
Sour cream for garnish (optional)

Cooking instructions

In a medium skillet, brown the onion and jalapeños in oil or bacon fat. Chop the jalapeños up as they are cooking (or before if you prefer).

Add the ground beef and season with salt and garlic powder.

Stir all the ingredients together and cook until the hamburger is done.

Spread the cheese on top.

Put the skillet in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Dinner is ready! Add sour cream if desired.

This makes four servings for me and is a good recipe for meal prep or freezing for later.

Keto chicken jalapeño popper casserole

I love keto jalapeño poppers but they’re kind of a pain to make. And I love chicken but sometimes it gets a little boring. So I decided to put the two together in a casserole using shortcuts that eliminate the hassle.

All the ingredients combine together beautifully and yet the individual flavors don’t get lost. You can still taste the jalapeños, the cheese, the bacon and the chicken. And it’s so rich and filling, a modest serving will keep you satisfied for hours.

Shopping for ingredients

I decided the biggest shortcut would be to use a rotisserie chicken so off to Costco I went. (Leftover turkey would also work well in this recipe.)

After picking up the chicken, I went over to the produce section for the jalapeños. How can this be—no jalapeños! Rather than go to another store, I decided to get the next best thing which was the biggest jar of sliced jalapeños I’ve ever seen. This turned out to be shortcut #2.

nacho sliced jalapenos

I almost succumbed to shortcut #3 by buying a bag of crumbled bacon at Costco, but I decided to cook my own.

Chicken jalapeño popper casserole recipe

18 oz cooked chicken, cubed
12 oz bacon, cooked and chopped
6 large jalapeños, roasted and chopped, or
1 cup sauteed nacho sliced jalapeños, chopped
(Save a few jalapeño rings for the topping)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese + extra for topping
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream
½ cup chicken stock or water
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

8×8 inch baking dish, greased
Combine ingredients as follows and bake at 375 degrees 30 to 40 minutes
Serves 6

Assembling the casserole

If using fresh jalapeños, cut in half, remove seeds, add a little oil. Roast on a baking sheet in the oven at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.

If using jarred jalapeños, rinse and dry them, then saute in butter until soft. Save a few rings for the topping and chop up the rest.

chopped sauteed jalapenos

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream and spices.

cream cheese, sour cream and spices

Then stir in the cheese.

cheese added to cream cheese mixture

Mix in the chicken broth or water to thin it out a little.

Mixture should be quite loose.

Add cubed chicken, chopped bacon (reserving some for topping) and all the chopped jalapeños.

Pour mixture into greased baking dish and top with a little extra cheese.

Sprinkle on reserved jalapeño slices and reserved bacon.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly.

Enjoy!

Keto low carb skillet pizza in 10 minutes

Faster than you can say “DiGiorno” you can make yourself a low carb pizza. Okay not that fast, but faster than you can heat up the oven for that frozen pizza. My skillet pizza only takes ten minutes from start to finish. That means I can satisfy my pizza craving any time I want. And because it’s low carb and high protein, it fits into my keto diet.

Low carb

This pizza uses a low carb tortilla for the crust which is only 6 net carbs. I like using Mission Carb Balance low carb tortillas.

Mission Carb Balance flour tortillas
Mission Carb Balance flour tortillas
Carb Balance tortillas nutrition info
Carb Balance tortillas nutrition info

The next most carby ingredient is the sauce.

Sometimes I make my own from tomato paste which is really low carb. But most of the time I use the lowest carb sauce I can find (that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg). Surprisingly, Great Value marinara sauce has 6 net carbs per ½ cup serving. I only use 2T for the pizza so that comes in at 1.5 net carbs.

High protein

The next macro I like to focus on is protein. Altogether with the toppings I’ve chosen, this pizza has around 30 grams of protein, the minimum for muscle protein synthesis. You can read more about that here.

What you need to make low carb skillet pizza

10 inch skillet with lid
1 pat of butter
2T marinara sauce
1 oz grated mozzarella
1 oz grated cheddar
½ oz grated asiago
16 slices of pepperoni (1 serving of Great Value pepperoni)
Olives (optional)

Watch my video to see how I make low carb skillet pizza

See me make low carb skillet pizza

How to make a keto skillet pizza in 10 minutes

Heat up the skillet over medium heat.

Add the butter and put the tortilla on top.

Add butter to hot pan
Add butter to hot pan
Tortilla in pan
Tortilla in pan

Spread the sauce over the tortilla.

Marinara sauce on tortilla
Marinara sauce on tortilla

Cover with all the cheese.

Cheese on top of skillet pizza
Cheese on top

Top with pepperoni and olives.

Pepperoni added to pizza
Pepperoni on top
Olives added to pizza
I like Kalamata olives for their extreme olive taste

Cover the skillet and turn the heat down to low.

Cover skillet with lid
Cover skillet with lid

Set the timer for 8 minutes.

8 minute timer
8 minute timer

And presto! Your crispy thin crust pizza is ready to eat!

keto low carb skillet pizza on plate
Perfect every time!
Crispy crust

My cold brew coffee recipe

No doubt about it, cold brew coffee is really hot right now. For me there’s nothing more refreshing than cold brew coffee poured over ice with billowing swirls of half and half.

Iced coffee is my favorite drink and I used to just make it in an electric drip coffee maker and then refrigerate. But I started noticing a bitter taste no matter what type of coffee I used. So I went on the hunt for a better brewing method.

Through a lot of trial and error, I finally devised an easy method for making cold brew coffee without the mess.

The benefits of cold brew coffee

The main benefit of cold brew coffee is the taste. It’s mellow and smooth, not sharp or bitter, because less acid is released.

The next benefit is that less caffeine is extracted with this method. That might not be considered a benefit by some but it probably should be.

Too much caffeine is bad for your adrenal glands, and that’s a concern for me. So I use half decaf to bring the caffeine level down even more.

My half decaf blend

Equipment for making homemade iced coffee

Only a couple of things are needed for making cold brew coffee at home that you might not already have: a 64 oz wide mouth mason jar and this metal filter.

Finding this filter was a game changer. It strains out all the sediment without having to use an additional paper filter inside.

cold brew coffee filter and jar
Cold brew coffee making supplies

It’s also nice to buy plastic lids for the mason jars. I prefer those to the two-part metal lids that come with the jars.

You probably already have a funnel which helps when transferring the brewed coffee into a storage vessel of your choice.

How strong do you like your coffee?

Before getting to the recipe, you need to determine how strong you like your coffee and I have a little test to help you figure that out.

Using a Mr Coffee-type drip maker as an example, if you use one scoop of coffee for two cups of water, then follow the recipe below for regular strength coffee. If you use one scoop of coffee for one cup of water, then double the amount of coffee. The filter can hold up to 2¼ cups of coffee grounds.

My recipe for cold brew coffee (one gallon)

Use one cup of coffee per gallon of water.

One cup of coffee in the filter
One cup of coffee in the filter

Place the metal filter in the mason jar and put one cup of coffee inside. Take a one gallon bottle of water and pour water over the grounds until you reach the top of the jar. Put the remaining water aside until the next day.

Pouring cold water over coffee grounds
Pouring cold water over coffee grounds

Put a lid on the jar and stick it in the refrigerator. Let brew for 12 to 24 hours. I go up to 24 hours. Beyond that it starts to get bitter.

Coffee ready to brew in the refrigerator
Coffee ready to brew in the refrigerator

And that’s it, simple as can be.

Twenty-four hours later, I take the jar out and balance the filter on the jar to let the coffee drip out.

Coffee after brewing for 24 hours
Coffee after brewing for 24 hours
Draining the coffee filter
Draining the filter

After a few minutes, I take the filter to my trash can, dump it out then rinse it.

Then I put a funnel into the plastic gallon water jug and pour the brewed coffee inside where it mixes up into the perfect strength, ready for drinking.

Pouring brewed coffee into plastic jug
Pouring brewed coffee into plastic water jug

If you don’t want to store yours in a plastic jug, you can get glass carafes. I just find this method more convenient and there’s one less thing to wash.

Cold brew coffee stored in plastic gallon jub
Cold brew coffee stored in plastic gallon jub

As soon as I’m finished making one batch, I rinse out the jar and repeat.

How long can you keep cold brewed coffee

I would say the coffee is fine for at least a week, maybe even ten days, in the refrigerator. Always keep it refrigerated so things don’t start growing in there.

I keep about a week’s worth on hand. I usually make coffee for four days in a row, then I wash everything in the dishwasher so it’s ready for the next time.

cold brew iced coffee
Cold brew iced coffee

My favorite yellow squash recipes

This year I planted my first vegetable garden in many years. My motivations were to save money on food and be able to eat nutritious organic vegetables within minutes of harvesting. One of my choices was yellow squash because it’s low carb, easy to grow and has lots of vitamins.

I was so excited watching the little sprouts rise out of the ground and couldn’t wait for my babies to start bearing fruit. I resolved to keep on top of the situation by picking the squash while they were still quite small.

Every day I got such satisfaction watering the plants and charting their progress: the first leaf, the first blossom, the first tiny squash developing. I longed for the day when I could start harvesting.

Well that day finally came and nearly every day afterward I’d pick four or five little squash and sauté them up for my dinner. Things were under control. I got this, I thought.

Then the inevitable happened. Not content to stay neatly in their little plot, virtually overnight my babies had grown into monsters, seemingly bent on world domination. They began choking out my other vegetables, spilling out of the garden and marauding across the sidewalk.

And with it came squash. Lots and lots of squash. I gave away as much as I could but was still left with a small mountain. By this time I was ready to find some new recipes for all that squash, and here are my favorites—roasted yellow squash and jalapeño soup, tamale squash pie casserole, and pepperoni pizza squash.

Roasted yellow squash jalapeño soup

Roasted yellow squash jalapeno soup

Roasted yellow squash jalapeno soup

Ingredients

1½ lb yellow squash, cut into ½” slices
3 jalapeños
1 chopped onion
4 or 5 cloves of garlic
1T ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1½ cans of chicken broth
4 to 6 oz half and half
olive oil
salt and pepper
sour cream and chives to garnish

Instructions

Place the squash, jalapeños, onion and garlic and in roasting pan. Drizzle with olive and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 425° for 30 to 45 minutes, until they look like this.

yellow squash jalapeno soup2

Roasted squash, jalapenos, garlic and onions

Peel the skin off the jalapeños. You can also scrape out the seeds if desired. Put all the vegetables in a saucepan with cumin, oregano and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Purée the vegetables with an immersion blender. Add the half and half. Turn the heat back on until soup starts to bubble.

Pureed yellow squash jalapeno soup

Pureed yellow squash jalapeno soup

Serve with a little sour cream on top and a sprinkling of chives.

Spicy yellow squash jalapeno soup topped with sour cream and chives

Spicy yellow squash jalapeno soup topped with sour cream and chives

Tamale squash pie casserole

For this recipe I used squash instead of corn and it came out great! This tamale pie is a little bit spicy and very cheesy.

A slice of tamale squash pie

A slice of tamale squash pie

Ingredients

1 lb hamburger
1 chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
black pepper
1 to 2T chili powder
1 lb yellow squash, sliced
1 7-oz can green chilis
1 lg can olives, sliced
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp cayenne pepper
olive oil
grated cheese

For the corn meal topping:

¾ cup corn meal
2 cups water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp chili powder
1T butter
grated cheese

Ingredients for tamale squash pie

Ingredients for tamale squash pie

About a pound of squash for tamale pie casserole

About a pound of squash for tamale pie casserole

Instructions

Cook the onions in a large skillet with olive oil. When they start to brown add the hamburger, garlic, salt and pepper. I also threw in a few jalapeños for good measure.

Browning the meat, onions and garlic with a few jalapenos

Browning the meat, onions and garlic with a few jalapenos

When the hamburger is cooked, add the chili powder and cook for about a minute. Then add the squash, green chilis, olives, tomato sauce, sugar and cayenne pepper.

Vegetables added to browned meat

Vegetables added to browned meat

Simmer for 25 minutes then stir in a generous amount of grated cheese.

Adding grated cheese to tamale squash pie

Adding grated cheese to tamale squash pie

Ten or 15 minutes before the meat mixture is done, start cooking the corn meal in a pot with water, salt and chili powder. Stir constantly until it starts to thicken up. At that point add butter.

(I actually used organic polenta because I couldn’t find organic corn meal. The polenta is a coarser grind than corn meal and has more texture. Why organic? Because it’s non GMO.)

Adding butter to cooked corn meal

Adding butter to cooked corn meal

Add even more cheese.

Putting cheese into cooked corn meal

Putting cheese into cooked corn meal

Spread the corn meal over the meat.

Note: If you’re not using an oven-proof skillet, you’ll need to transfer the meat into a buttered casserole dish.

Cooked corn meal goes on top of meat mixture

Cooked corn meal goes on top of meat mixture

Top with—yes—more cheese. I probably use about 8 oz of cheese altogether.

Cheese goes on top of the corn meal

Cheese goes on top of the corn meal

Pop the casserole in the oven at 375° for 40 minutes. This is what it looks like when it’s done. Saucy with a thin crunchy shell on top from the melted cheese.

Tamale squash pie casserole

Tamale squash pie casserole

Let it cool for a little bit before serving.

A serving of tamale squash pie casserole

A serving of tamale squash pie casserole

Pepperoni pizza squash

This is by far my favorite recipe with all the flavor of pizza and none of the carbs. It’s so good I don’t even miss the crust, and the quickest to put together of the three recipes. The amounts are left off because you can make as little or as much as you want.

Pepperoni pizza squash

Pepperoni pizza squash

Ingredients

yellow squash cut into slices
marinara sauce (my favorite one is Bertoli Organic Olive Oil, Basil & Garlic)
quattro formaggio grated cheese
pepperoni slices
olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh basil leaves (optional garnish)

quattro formaggio and pepperoni

Quattro formaggio and pepperoni

Instructions

Sauté the squash in a frying pan with olive oil, salt and pepper until browned.

Sauteed yellow squash

Sauteed yellow squash

Transfer to a baking dish to cover the bottom in one layer.

First layer: squash

First layer: squash

Put enough marinara sauce on top to cover the squash.

Second layer: marinara sauce

Second layer: marinara sauce

Then sprinkle with cheese.

Third layer: cheese

Third layer: cheese

Top with pepperoni.

Fourth layer: pepperoni

Fourth layer: pepperoni

Bake in a 350° oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Baked pepperoni pizza squash

Baked pepperoni pizza squash

Garnish with basil leaves torn into pieces if desired.

I’m eating this whole thing!

The perfect bite

The perfect bite

Heaven!

Too easy spicy baked chicken

I always keep a bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs on hand for those times when I don’t feel like cooking something elaborate. Today is one of those days when I want something tasty without dirtying up a pan. This dish goes from freezer to plate in an hour.

I just put a piece of foil over the toaster oven baking sheet, throw two pieces of frozen chicken on top, and season. The real magic is in the seasoning, and this is my latest favorite combination of flavors.

hot sauce, sea salt, smoked paprika, ground cumin

Hot sauce, sea salt, smoked paprika, ground cumin

Directly on top of the frozen chicken I squirt some Tapatío hot sauce followed by sea salt, smoked paprika and ground cumin. In the toaster oven it goes, 350 degrees for one hour.

Frozen seasoned chicken thighs on foil

Frozen seasoned chicken thighs on foil

One hour later, cooked spicy smoky chicken

One hour later, cooked spicy smoky chicken

The hot sauce is tangy and the paprika is sweet and smoky, kind of like a barbecued potato chip. Altogether, it’s really good.

Sweet potatoes with garam masala

Sweet potatoes with garam masala

To go with it I’ve got some leftover sweet potato. I microwaved it, topped it with butter, salt and garam masala. It tastes a little like pumpkin pie and for some reason I’m really liking it with the chicken.

Here’s the completed dish

I poured some of the juice over the chicken. Yum-my!

Baked spicy chicken with sweet potatoes

Baked spicy chicken with sweet potatoes

You should give this recipe a try when you want something fast and fuss-free.

Butterscotch pots de creme in 5 minutes

Faster than you can say “instant pudding,” you can make butterscotch pots de creme from scratch, without a double boiler! It’s insanely easy to do and it only involves a blender and a microwave.

This is a variation of a recipe by the Pioneer Woman for chocolate pots de creme. Oddly enough, her recipe does not use any milk or cream, which I guess makes it “faux pots,” or something like that.

Anyway, I found her recipe when I was searching for a quick yet impressive dessert for a dinner party. It calls for chocolate chips, but I only had butterscotch chips so I used those with some half and half.

Check it out.

Ingredients to make butterscotch pots de creme

butterscotch pots de creme ingredients

Quick butterscotch pots de creme recipe

  • butterscotch chips, 12 oz
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of half and half, scalding hot
  • whipped cream, lightly sweetened
  • vanilla cookie (optional) for garnish

Put the butterscotch chips in a blender. Add the eggs, salt and vanilla. It’s very important that the eggs are room temperature. Mix the butterscotch chips and eggs together until they are well blended. Heat the half and half in a microwave until scalding hot (about two minutes). Remove the cap from the blender lid. With the blender running, pour the half and half slowly into the blender. Blend thoroughly, about two minutes. Pour immediately into demitasse cups or dessert dishes. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and vanilla cookie if desired.

Step 1: Put butterscotch chips in a blender

butterscotch chips in blender

Step 2: Put eggs, vanilla and salt in with the butterscotch chips and blend

Make sure the eggs are room temperature

eggs and butterscotch in blender for pots de creme

The eggs will cook with the addition of the hot half and half. You need to pour it in slowly so the eggs don’t scramble.

Step 2: Add the scalding hot half and half

Pour slowly through the lid while the blender is running

pouring cream in blender for butterscotch pots de creme

Step 3: Pour into dessert cups

Leave room for whipped cream!

butterscotch pots de creme without garnish

Put in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Step 4: Garnish with whipped cream and a vanilla cookie

butterscotch pots de creme

This is a very sweet dessert, so when I made the whipped cream for the topping, I only used a smidgen of sugar (1T per cup of cream) and added a pinch of salt.

When chilled, the pots de creme do not set up thick like pudding. The texture is thin, truly like a little pot of cream!

Baked chicken with homemade pesto

Here’s a really simple recipe with just two main components, chicken and pesto.

I’m always looking for ways to use the abundant basil growing in my yard. My favorite thing is to make homemade pesto. And I discovered it’s really delicious on baked chicken.

A generous coating of pesto seems to insulate the chicken and makes it come out extra juicy and flavorful. Even after baking, the pesto retains its fresh basil taste.

Spaghetti and pan roasted broccoli florets complete the meal.

Homemade pesto recipe

Ingredients for pesto

ingredients for homemade pesto

A few simple ingredients make an aromatic pesto:

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups tightly packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese that you grate yourself
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put pine nuts in the blender

pine nuts in blender for pesto

Add fresh basil

basil in blender for pesto

Consider growing your own basil. It can be kept in a pot indoors or planted in your garden. Either way, it’s very easy to grow. I love being able to go to my garden any time I want to pick fresh basil!

Pour in the olive oil

adding olive oil to basil for pesto

Invest in a good quality extra virgin olive oil. As you can see from the first picture above, I buy Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Costco. It’s very reasonably priced and has an intense olive taste. And unlike many olive oil brands out there, it’s been proven to be 100 percent pure extra virgin olive oil.

Next comes the garlic

chopped garlic in blender for pesto

Okay, I cheated here a little bit and used chopped garlic in a jar.

Grated parmesan cheese

parmesan cheese in blender for pesto

I recommend buying chunks of parmesan cheese and grating it yourself. I grate mine, put it in plastic bags and store it in the freezer.

And finally, salt and pepper

parmesan cheese in blender for pesto

I use either kosher salt or sea salt.

Blend everything together

blending pesto

This takes a minute or two. You may have to stop a couple of times and push the basil down.

The final product

fresh homemade pesto in blender

Look at that gorgeous color!

Now grease a baking dish with olive oil

grease pan with olive oil

Place the chicken thighs in the pan

raw chicken in baking dish

Put salt and pepper on both sides. I like using chicken thighs because they tend to stay moist even if you bake them for a long time.

Coat the chicken generously with pesto

chicken coated with pesto before baking

You may not need to use all of the pesto. If you have any left over, it’s great on eggs, sandwiches and salads.

Place the chicken thighs into an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Bake for about 90 minutes. Chicken is done when the juices run clear.

The chicken is ready

baked chicken pesto

Dinner is served

pesto chicken, spaghetti and broccoli

To finish the plate I added whole wheat spaghetti and pan roasted broccoli, with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. I put some of the pan juices over the spaghetti and chicken.

Simple, tasty and healthy. What more could you ask for?

pesto chicken with spaghetti and broccoli

Super easy caramel apple dump cake

If an apple cobbler and a dutch apple pie got together, they might taste something like this Caramel Apple Dump Cake.

I love experimenting with dump cake because it’s so quick and easy to make and it always turns out great. If you don’t have time to make an apple pie or apple cobbler, you can prepare an apple dump cake in no time at all. You might even decide you like it better!

So follow along with me as I show you how to make a Caramel Apple Dump Cake.

Why dump cake is an easy dessert recipe

For those who don’t know, dump cakes are so named because you just dump the ingredients in layers into a pan. You don’t need a bowl or a mixer, just the one pan that you are going to bake in. That’s it! One baking pan, five ingredients, 50 minutes in the oven and you have a scrumptious dessert suitable for any occasion.

What you need to make caramel apple dump cake

caramel apple dump cake ingredients

Pictured here are all the ingredients you need to make a Caramel Apple Dump Cake. Crushed pineapple, spice cake mix, butter, chopped pecans and caramel apple pie filling. Note: I didn’t have crushed pineapple so I whizzed up the slices in food chopper.

You also need a 9″ x 13″ baking pan coated with cooking spray.

Caramel apple dump cake recipe

  • 20 oz can of crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 21 oz can Caramel Apple Pie Filling
  • 1 box of spice cake
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 stick of butter cut into thin slices

Layer the crushed pineapple in the pan. Cover the pineapple with the caramel apple pie filling. Spread the dry cake mix over the top of the pie filling. Spread the chopped pecans over the cake mix. Cover the cake mix with thin slices of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 48 to 53 minutes. Bake until the crust is brown, but not too dark.

Step 1: Spread the crushed pineapple over the bottom of the pan

Be sure to spray the pan with cooking spray first

crushed pineapple layer for apple dump cake

Step 2: Spread the caramel apple pie filling over the pineapple

apple pie filling layer in apple dump cake

Step 3: Layer the dry cake mix over the top of the apple pie filling

cake mix layer of apple dump cake

Step 4: Add a layer of chopped pecans over the dry cake mix

pecan layer of apple dump cake

Step 5: Spread thin slices of butter over the top of the pecans

butter slices on top of apple dump cake

The finished caramel apple dump cake

After baking for about 50 minutes

serving of caramel apple dump cake

How’s this for an easy dessert? I recommend serving the Caramel Apple Dump Cake while it’s still warm. It can be served by itself or made extra special by adding a scoop of softened vanilla ice cream.

Want a bite?

closeup of caramel apple dump cake

Fresh out of the oven, this Caramel Apple Dump Cake will delight your taste buds. The caramel apple filling has just a hint of cinnamon and brown sugar. The pineapple blends in so nicely with the apples and adds a subtle tanginess. All the juices have bubbled up and the butter has melted down through the cake mix to form a soft crust/topping with the chopped pecans for texture.

Enjoy!

Turkey soup from leftover turkey

Use Thanksgiving leftovers to make turkey soup

Thanksgiving’s over and you’re left with a few turkey scraps and the carcass. You might be tempted to throw it out, but don’t! That bird still has one more trick up its wing. Here’s an easy soup recipe you can make with your leftover turkey and carcass.

If you’re just too tired to think about cooking something else right now, no problem. Just wrap up the turkey carcass and scraps and put them in the freezer for a couple of weeks and come back to this recipe. Otherwise, let’s get started making a hearty turkey soup.

My original recipe from Thanksgiving leftovers

Stretch your food dollars and make homemade turkey soup

I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to make Thanksgiving dinner, and even luckier that my hostess sends me home with the carcass and some leftover meat. So I came up with this turkey soup recipe that’s foolproof and tasty every time. And you wouldn’t believe how wonderful it smells while it’s cooking! Savory poultry seasoning is the key.

And you’re not limited to just using turkey leftovers at Thanksgiving. This is a great recipe to make year round using leftover chicken carcasses. Think about those yummy rotisserie chickens you can get at the market, Costco or Sam’s Club. Wrap up the carcass and stick it in the freezer. When you get two or three of them, go ahead and make this recipe. You’ll get a few extra meals from those $5 chickens. How’s that for stretching a buck!

homemade turkey soup from carcassIngredients

  • Turkey carcass and leftover turkey (cut into chunks)
  • 12 oz carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1½ onions chopped
  • 5 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2½T poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 6 chicken bouillon cubes
  • ½ stick of butter (2 oz)
  • ¼ to ½ cup of regular or whole wheat flour

Instructions

  1. Place the turkey carcass in a large pot along with the vegetables, rice and seasoning. (The leftover turkey meat, butter and flour will be used later.) Put enough water in the pot to nearly cover the turkey carcass. Bring to a boil and cook for about an hour. The veggies should be tender.
  2. Remove the turkey carcass from the pot and take the meat off the bones. Put the turkey scraps back in the pot along with the leftover turkey meat.
  3. In a small frying pan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook 3 to 5 minutes to make a roux. Gradually add some broth into the roux and stir all the lumps out. When the roux is about the thickness of gravy, gradually add it into the soup. Mix well and cook until the broth is thickened, about 15 minutes or so. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Poultry seasoning, the key to a flavorful turkey soup

Poultry seasoning, a blend of sage, marjoram and thyme, makes a tasty soup with leftover turkey. Here’s a good recipe to make your own poultry seasoning blend with spices you probably already have in your cupboard.

Pictorial for making turkey soup from a carcass

Put the turkey carcass, spices and vegetables in the pot with enough water to almost cover the carcass.

Turkey carcass prior to making soup

Turkey carcass prior to making soup

Remove the carcass after boiling for an hour and take the meat off the bones.

meat removed from turkey carcass

Meat removed from turkey carcass

Make the roux. This is what it looks like after cooking for about five minutes, prior to adding broth.

Making the roux for turkey soup

Making the roux for turkey soup

Add broth to the roux until it’s about as thick as gravy, then mix the roux into the soup.

Roux with broth added

Roux with broth added

Cook the soup for about 15 minutes after adding the roux.

Homemade turkey soup

Homemade turkey soup

Time to eat!

Savory turkey soup from leftover turkey

Savory turkey soup from leftover turkey 

Cream of carrot soup with pie spice

A warm and spicy cream of carrot soup recipe

Here’s a simple recipe I invented for carrot soup seasoned with pumpkin pie spice. I thought the naturally sweet carrots would go well with the warm blend of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in the pumpkin pie spice. And they’re perfect together!

By itself this cream of carrot soup is a good appetizer or you can serve it with other sides to make it a more balanced meal. I’ve served it with a grilled cheese sandwich, or three-bean salad or a piece of broiled chicken.

It’s easy to make and you can whip it up in no time. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.

Here’s what you need for cream of carrot soup

ingredients for cream of carrot soup with warm spices

Carrots, onion, chicken bouillon, sour cream, white and black pepper and pumpkin pie spice. I get the pumpkin pie spice from Trader Joe’s.

The cream of carrot soup recipe follows:

Ingredients

1 lb carrots peeled and sliced
1 onion chopped
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1T pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp white pepper or more to taste
water to just about cover vegetables
1 cup sour cream
salt to taste

Instructions

Cream of carrot soup with warm spices

Cream of carrot soup with warm spices

  1. Combine everything except the sour cream into a pan and cook at least 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or regular blender.
  2. Then add sour cream and blend again. You may need to add a little extra water if the soup is too thick. Heat the soup to bring it back up to temperature (almost boiling).
  3. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired. Enjoy!

Step by step pictorial for cream of carrot soup

Cook the vegetables in broth with spices.

Cooked vegetables for carrot soup

Cooked vegetables for cream of carrot soup

Use an immersion blender to purée the cream of carrot soup. You can also use a blender but this is easier.

Puree carrot soup with immersion blender

Puree carrot soup with immersion blender

Purée until it looks like this.

Carrot soup after it's pureed

Carrot soup after it’s pureed

Add sour cream and blend again with immersion blender.

Blending sour cream into carrot soup

Blending sour cream into carrot soup

The finished cream of carrot soup.

Cream of carrot soup with sour cream blended in

Cream of carrot soup with sour cream blended in

Garnish with sour cream and serve!

Cream of carrot soup with pie spice

Cream of carrot soup with pie spice

The finished cream of carrot soup is smooth and creamy, warm and comforting.