Turkey and Mushroom Stroganoff

You may have seen in my recent post that Jake and I had a belated mini Thanksgiving meal this year. So, that means I’m a little behind the eight ball on using leftovers for other dishes. Nevertheless, here it is. I found a turkey and mushroom stroganoff. It calls for ground turkey, but I figured it must still be delicious with the fresh citrus roasted turkey we made. (Spoiler alert – I was right!) I had also make some homemade turkey stock using the turkey bones; I used the stock in the recipe, too.

(Here’s the link to the recipe.) I made a couple of modifications based on what I had on hand and what I felt like (not) doing. Haha – I was feeling a bit lazy.

Here’s what I used:

  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
    • Original recipe called for 2 cloves. I just happened to pull out 3 from the fridge and used them all.
  • Chopped up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving
    • I used approximately 3/4 cup
    • Original recipe called for 1 lb of ground turkey
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups broth
    • I used 2.5 cups of homemade turkey stock (with leftover bones from Thanksgiving)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional spice)
  • dash of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 brick of cream cheese
    • The original recipe called for 1/2 cups sour cream (or greek yogurt)
  • 3/4 package of pasta shells
    • The original recipe called for 1 package egg noodles, which I would have used if I had it on hand.

I used a large sauce pot to first cook the onion, mushrooms, and already-cooked turkey pieces in a drizzle of olive oil. I cooked until the onions were translucent and mushrooms were soft.
I then added in the garlic, butter, spices, and Worcestershire sauce. Note that the original  recipe calls for making a rue with the butter and flour separately, but I didn’t want to dirty another dish. So, I put the butter in early with the other ingredients just listed.

Once everything was incorporated and the butter was melted, I mixed in the flour and made sure it was incorporated/coating everything. This should make everything a bit pasty/sticky.
Then, I added in the broth and cream cheese. I broke up the cream cheese and stirred until most of it was melted down.
I let everything simmer and let the flavors incorporate for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, in a separate pot, I cooked the shells in some salted and oiled water until al dente.
Finally, it was time to serve! We ate this with a side of the leftover green bean casserole and stuffing from Thanksgiving. I had also left a couple of larger pieces of turkey to slice and lay on top. Lastly, I garnished with a sprig of parsley.

This was so good! I would definitely try this recipe again. Next time, I would still keep the cut up turkey breast instead of ground turkey, but perhaps I’d use more and shred it. Also, I would love to try this with sour cream or greek yogurt instead of the cream cheese.

Hope you enjoy!
Sincerely,
Fu’d

Leftover Lo Mein Pseudo-Arancini

Yep, you read that right. This was a total experiment. Jake and I had leftover shrimp lo mein from our favorite local Chinese food joint. We had about three quarters of the large container left and I didn’t want it to go to waste.

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Leftover lo mein

The problem was that I didn’t feel right eating lo mein on a Monday night. To me, it seems like a pig out junk food. And since my diets always start on a Monday ;), I felt like I needed to mask it somehow. I decided to pulse it in the food processor, which essentially riced it, and then make it into an air-fried ball. I call it pseudo-arancini because arancini is traditionally made with rice. I’ve actually never made arancini before, but I figured this might be unique and potentially yummy.

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After pulsing the lo mein in a food processor

I mixed in two eggs and and about 1/3 cup panko breadcrums. I chose panko because I didn’t want to add in too many other flavors to the already-flavored lo mein. I initially started with one egg and approx. 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs. I then added the second egg and additional breadcrumbs because the consistency wasn’t sticky enough for a ball to hold together.

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Mixing the riced lo mein with egg and panko
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Egg and panko incorporated to make a sticky mixture

I was trying to decide what should go in the middle of the lo mein ball. From what I’ve read, traditional arancini usually has some sort of cheese, meat, and/or peas. I didnt think that cheese fit in this case and I wasnt feeling the meat or peas. I decided to go with mini frozen chicken and vegetable dumplings I had in the freezer. They are only about 1.5 inches wide, so the size worked out well. I microwaved them first so they weren’t frozen and used one in the center of each ball.

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Mini dumplings from BJ’s Wholesale Club, used as the filling for the balls

I then simply formed a ball of lo mein around the dumpling. (Be prepared to get messy hands.) I started first by taking a bit, compacting it and flattening it. I then placed the dumpling in the middle and started to cup my hand so the lo mein would begin to wrap around the edges. I took another scoop of lo mein with my other hand, put it on top of the dumpling and just began shaping it. I kept compressing it and rolling it with both cupped hands until a ball shape was formed.

When satisifed with the shape, I rolled the ball in some more panko bread crumbs. Finally, I refrigerated the balls for about 30-45 minutes so they would firm up a bit.

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Rolling the shaped balls in panko

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I think deep frying them would’ve been delicious, but I wasn’t ready to put that much effort into it. So, I went with the healthier and easier option – my air fryer. I set it to 400 degrees Farenheit and turned them every so often until they were a golden brown all around. This took a total of about 20 minutes.

The end result was a fun, new dish. I was surprised that the very flavorful lo mein didn’t seem to present itself much when cooked in the ball. Maybe the breadcrumbs and egg dulled a bit of the flavor. If I make this again, I would incorporate some extra seasoning – perhaps some sriracha, a splash of soy sauce, scallion, or something that might make the flavors pop a little more. I made a mayo/ketchup/sriracha dipping sauce and served it with a side of air fried broccoli.

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Out of the air fryer and onto the broccoli
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Ball cut in half, showing the mini dumpling

Jake thought the dish was very heavy, so if you’re looking for something light, this probably isn’t it. On the other hand, if you are looking for something to do with your leftovers and don’t mind a little experimentation, I’d say give it a try! I would love to see you try this and comment with your experience!

Hope this inspires you to try something new!

Sincerely,
Fu’d

Lazy Eggplant Parmesan

I am a savory foods lover. Yes, my statement is very definitive. Put a cake and lasagna in front of me and lasagna gets the “W” every time. And although the end of this summer has been unseasonably hot, I still have fall peaking into my mind. Those two reasons together make for the perfect excuse to start cooking up warm and hearty dishes.

This post is about a lazy weeknight eggplant parmesan dinner. What makes this dish lazy/genius is that the eggplant does NOT have to be breaded and pan fried like it does in most other recipes. It saves infinite amounts of time and effort. And guess what – the difference at the end for an average person like me is practically undetectable. Plus, load it up if you want more substance/flavor or load it down if you want something lighter and healthier.

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I originally found a similar recipe years ago that was meant for the slow cooker. (Unfortunately, I don’t have that recipe, but I found a simple one if you’d like to try it. Click here for the Crock Pot Eggplant Parmesan recipe.)

What I did is simple. I don’t specify exact amounts here because I eye-balled it and used ingredients I had laying around the house. And like I mentioned before, load it up or load it down – use the ingredients to your taste.

Ingredients

  • Eggplant
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Garden Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Italian Style Bread Crumbs
  • Olive Oil
  • Dried Seasonings – Basil; Oregano; Salt; Pepper

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Directions (Summary)

  1. Slice an eggplant, season the slices, and pre-cook (if desired)
  2. Layer tomato sauce at the bottom of the baking dish
  3. Add the following layers in this order:
    • Pre-cooked eggplant slices
    • Breadcrumbs
    • Freshly sliced tomatoes
    • Tomato sauce
    • Dried seasonings (to taste)
    • Mozarrella cheese
  4. Repeat steps 3 – 8 at least one more time

Directions (Comments & Photos)

Slice an eggplant, season, and pre-cook

I used one medium-sized eggplant, sliced. I sprayed the slices with a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I then popped them into my air fryer for a bit to soften them up. I only did this because I wanted to reduce my overall baking time later. Use more eggplant if you want to create more layers.

If you don’t have an air fryer, consider getting one! I’m a bit biased, as I love mine. (You can read about it here: My Air Fryer: Convection Perfection.) Otherwise, go ahead and bake the slices for a little bit in the oven. If you want to skip the pre-cooking all together, try slicing the eggplant thinner and bake the assembled product a little longer.

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Layer some tomato sauce

I blended some canned San Marzano tomatoes last week to make a margherita pizza and  froze a cup of the leftovers. I defrosted it to use as the sauce in this dish. I recommend you use more sauce than I did. Canned pasta sauce or jarred sauce would work just fine.

I used a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish. Spray your baking dish first and then layer a little bit of the sauce at the bottom. This probably isn’t necessary, but I always like to put a little coating first.

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Add the rest of the layers and repeat

The rest of the steps from here on are easy peasy.

Layer the pre-cooked eggplant slices so the bottom of the dish is covered. Some overlap  of the slices is OK.

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Then, sprinkle some breadcrumbs. Use as much as you like, but I recommend enough to just barely cover the eggplant slices. I went light on the breacrumbs, as you can see from the photo. Use a little more for more flavor.

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Place some tomato slices over the top. This is a completely optional step. Most eggplant parm recipes don’t use tomato slices like this, but I was given some fresh garden tomatoes. Not only did I think it was a good opportunity to use them up, but I also wanted to counteract the fact that I didn’t have a lot of tomato sauce.

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Pour some of the tomato sauce, making sure to cover any of the areas or cracks that the tomato slices don’t cover. Sprinkle some of the dried seasonings over the tomatoes and sauce. If you have fresh basil, use it! I didn’t have any on hand, so I just used what I have in the spice cabinet.

Spread some mozzarella cheese. I recommend using shredded mozzarella so you can get more even distribution. I had pre-sliced mozzarella in the fridge from last weekend’s pizza, so I tore pieces and evenly distributed. This inadvertently helped me keep the dish light because I didn’t have copious amounts of cheese to saturate throughout.

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Lastly, repeat all those layers at least one more time. If you have more ingredients or want to make it thicker, repeat a third time. Note: I have extra seasonings at the very top because I actually forgot to add seasonings on my second sauce layer and decided to add them after the fact. (See? That’s how flexible this recipe is!)

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I covered my dish with tin foil and baked at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. I took the foil off and increased the temperature to 425 degrees so that I could get some of the golden brown color on the cheese. This will probably take 5-8 minutes or so, but keep an eye on it. You can even choose to broil at the end instead.

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The photo (below) of the eggplant served in the dish is actually 2 servings piled on top of each other. Since my assembled eggplant parm was 2 layers high, the total served portion is 4 layers.

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We had leftovers with just the two of us, so I actually used them for dinner tonight. I paired it with the leftover quinoa salad from Labor Day, and served some air-fried kale on the side. Can’t forget that drizzle of sriracha. Mmm. My favorite!

Good luck!

Sincerely,
Fu’d