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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.

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.