Monday, October 24, 2011

Turkey & Dressing Casserole

While pregnant with Avery, I became a bit of a freezer packrat. I would cook up vast pots of this or that and freeze most of it so we would have something easy to pull out when time was short. Combined with culinary contributions from friends and family, nine months later, our freezer is just now beginning to once again look normal, and it's no longer a fight to close the thing. I'm considering revising my birthday wish from a deep freezer to something from Tiffany.

So it was a welcome surprise the other day to uncover the leftovers from last Thanksgiving: our dear friends Cindy and James gave us the most fabulously smoked turkey I'd ever put in my mouth, and the remaining meat, though not enough to make many more meals, was simply too good to throw away. I'd considered making turkey noodles out of it, but that's something you can do with bare bones, and we still had enough meat for a turkey & dressing casserole.
Though this dish is just what it sounds like - dressing with a little good turkey meat thrown in - it's unfortunately one that takes a little eyeballing to get the consistency right. I don't know why people freak out about dressing so much. It's nothing more than a savory bread pudding. Remember that you need enough broth so that it pours in clumps into your baking dish, and it should be just right.

1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
1 stick butter
1 10-inch skillet of cornbread
4-6 slices bread (white or wheat - I use the heels)
4-6 ounces mushrooms
1-2 boiled eggs
leftover turkey meat
about a quart of chicken broth
4 eggs, lightly beaten
salt & pepper to taste - rosemary is also good.

  • Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the bell pepper, celery, onion, and mushrooms if they are fresh.
  • In a large bowl, crumble the breads.
  • Add mushrooms (if canned), chopped boiled eggs, meat, raw eggs, and salt & pepper.
  • Stir in the chicken broth until very moist, almost soupy.
  • Pour into casserole and bake at 450 until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Now I need to make some chiffon pumpkin pie.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Dear Avery,

So far, you're at our favorite age. You're more fun than ever, but you're also at your most dangerous:
I've watched you climb this step to our bathtub countless times through the shower door as I take my morning scrub but have not yet managed to catch you on film. Your favorite time to pull this stunt is when I'm 8 feet away and soaking wet. Fortunately there's a cushioned mat underneath to catch you, and the one time you fell, your body curled up to protect your head. You are wonderously made.
We took you to the Oktoberfest in Gluckstadt a couple of weeks ago. After setting up camp, strangers came up and asked to take your photo. At first we were nonplussed, then I realized your dad was using your cupholder for his beer. You apparently had a grand time.
You are mimicing everything lately: your Bubba was smushing your face at lunch the other day, so you decided to return the favor.
I took you and the quilt your grandmother made to the MS Craft Quilt Show, and again strangers wanted your photo.
One afternoon you grabbed my hand and started chewing on it. CHEWING. I almost jumped off the couch - how did you put broken shards of glass in your mouth?!? But no, those were the three teeth you popped out in 2 hours. Since then, one more has broken the surface, so you have two top teeth and two bottoms just peeking through. They seem to have grown more every time I pick you up after a nap.

You are going through a phase where YOU want to feed YOURSELF, thank you very much. No spoons for this little kid anymore. You'll tolerate me giving you oatmeal in the mornings, but after that it's kind of a hassle to find healthy finger foods for you. I've managed to cube and steam sweet potatoes, and you'll eat those at every meal along with your favorite staple of Cheerios. We tried eggs and you loved them, but you threw those back up both times you had them, so we'll wait for your system to mature before doing that again. Meanwhile, your dad and I sit by with a spoonful of something green or a protein and do our best. You have figured out a sippy cup, and you suck on the straw of my water bottle, so keeping you hydrated isn't a problem.
You have been quite the party girl this month, going with me to showers, lunches, birthday parties, and celebratory dinners. Here we are celebrating Katy and Ann Trotter, who is due December 12th.
Lately you've become a little magpie: your favorite toy is a blingy, glittery necklace with a big pink rhinestone heart. Last night you slung it so hard the heart went flying off, but I didn't catch that and was worried you had eaten it. Two hours later I found the thing under the couch. It's now one of my little treasures. You can have it back when you're four.
You are pulling up against everything, even sheer walls. And you cruise around the coffee table and couch. Your latest trick has been to attempt to stand on your own, but you usually fall flat backwards. Fortunately I'm always there to catch you. One of your more annoying habits is to pull up against the door to the back patio, so whomever is outside can't come back in without having to gently push you backwards. We need to work on that.
But oh my, you are sweet.
And taking in the entire world. We are loving every minute of taking you in too.



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