Sunday, April 29, 2012

Turkey Pockets

I'm sorry I haven't been posting at my normal pace this year lately.  I have been busy cooking, I just haven't slowed down enough to post it all. 

I've been busy cooking for baby showers galore,

 dinner parties,

co-workers birthdays,

office parties,

Easter dinner,

(I wasn't able to get a picture of the carrot cake
before everyone started to dig in)

and then I traveled and I got sick; and I spent nearly two weeks sick.  This past weekend, after finally breaking down and going to the doctor, I made a Turkey....because before I put it in the brine I was feeling up to it, then the next day when I wasn't feeling up to it, I couldn't waist the Turkey.  It turned out wonderful!  Though neither of us felt very well and we both had a slice or two then called it quits. 
Sunday I was feeling better and was in the kitchen most of the day making these wonderful Turkey Pockets. 

When I went on my detox and Raymond got off it before me, he ate most of the double batch of Runza's I made this year.  They re-heat wonderfully and it was great because I didn't have to cook for him to eat real food while I ate my raw veggies.  After I finished the detox and we got back to our regular routine, I realized our Runza stash was depleted and then thought about how handy that was.  I decided I wanted to make a whole wheat version and stuff it with turkey to keep in the freezer for those nights that neither of us felt like cooking or for those days we don't have leftovers to bring for lunch.  The results turned out well, and we ate 4 of them before I could get them to the freezer.


Adapted from food
4 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
Egg wash (2 eggs beaten with 2 Tbs water)
2 bags (12-16oz.) frozen spinach
16 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
4 oz cream cheese
2 cups shredded turkey
salt and pepper to taste


Heat the milk, sugar, butter and salt to 110-120 degrees.

Add the yeast, stir,  and let sit to bloom for about 5 minutes.

Add 3 cups of flour and the yeast to a stand mixer and mix well.

Add the eggs and beat well.

Add the additional 1 1/3 cup flour in 3 intervals. Dough should be slightly tacky.  Add water a tablespoon at a time if necessary.

Knead dough for about 10 minutes until elastic.  Place in an oiled bowl, rub oil on top of dough, cover and let sit until dough had doubled.

Meanwhile make turkey filling.

Saute onion in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms and let cook until they release juices.  Add spinach, watercress and turkey.  Add cream cheese in cubes and mix until incorporated.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

After dough has doubled, about an hour.

Knead dough for five minutes and then let rise for 20 minutes.

When dough has risen divide into four sections.  Roll out a section at a time about 1/8 inch thick, while keeping a damp cloth over the top of the other sections.  Divide each section into six equal pieces.  Preheat oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

Top 1/2 of each section with about 1/4 cup of filling.  We had some crandberries in the freezer so I sliced up a few of them and added them to the pockets.

Fold over each section.  Use a bit of water if necessary to seal and press with a fork.

Place pockets on a baking sheet.  Brush with egg and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool on a baking rack, and then enjoy!

These freeze extremely well!  Just wrap in foil, stick in a ziplock bag and freeze.  When ready to eat, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place frozen runza's in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, remove foil for the last 5 minutes.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Split Pea Soup
I couldn't bring myself to start this post with a picture of the Split Pea Soup.  As delicious as it is, it's just not very photogenic...or even a little, and we all know that we eat with our eyes first.  So I'm hoping this picture of dried split peas will be enough to convince you to make this soup, because it really is delicious!

In college, every time I would come home for a weekend or holiday I would always go visit my grandparents.  It would never fail that my grandma would run to the freezer and get me out some pear cake and pea soup.  She new that pea soup was my absolute favorite so she would always freeze several containers of it for me whenever she would make it and write my name on it so my grandpa wouldn't heat it up for himself.  The pear cake...well my grandmother made it once and loved it so she made probably 10 cakes and cut them up and put them in her deep freezer so she would always have something sweet to give her grand kids.  She definitely does her best to spoil us.  I have been begging my grandma for her recipe for years but she always said she didn't use one, she just did it from memory.  I'm not going to claim that this recipe is as good as hers, but then again, is anything ever as good as it is when your grandma makes it? 

The past week and a half I think my husband and I have been passing something back and forth.  As soon as one of us gets to feeling better, the other starts feeling bad.  When I don't feel good I always crave soup.  On one of those days I felt bad and my husband asked me what I would like for dinner.  At my request, he then offered to make this soup for me if I left him the instructions.  The sweet thing about it is that every time I have made pea soup since we've been married he would casually grab something else out of the fridge for dinner and just say that he wasn't in the mood for pea soup.  I just suspected that he didn't like pea soup and didn't want to tell me...even though I was slightly bummed that he wouldn't even TRY it.  This week he actually ate it, and let me in on his little secret.  "The reason I'm never in the mood for pea soup is because it reminds me of a movie I saw once.  I'm pretty sure you've never seen it, but just in case you have, I'm not going to tell you." 

Hmm, I wonder what movie that is that had such a dramatic effect on him to not ever want pea soup...oh well, more for me!  :-D


16oz package of dried split peas
2 cups ham
2 tsp liquid smoke
2 large carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato or 2 small, diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water

Crock Pot Directions:

Layer the ingredients in order into the crock pot, no need to stir. 

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. 

Remove the bay leave and use an immersion blender or a potato masher to thicken soup to desired consistency.


Stove Top Directions:

Combine all ingredients plus 1 additional cup of water in a large pot. 

Bring the contents to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 1.5-2 hours. 

Remove bay leaf, and bring soup back to a boil. 

Cook, uncovered, reducing heat to medium/high for another 30-45 minutes until desired thickness.


Okay, here is a picture, I told you it's not very pretty...but regardless it is delightful and you should try it!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cottage Cheese Ranch Dip

I LOVE vegetables.  Mostly I love cooked vegetables.  One way I can get myself to eat lots of raw veggies is to eat them with a dip.  This is one of my FAVORITES!  My dad gets full credit for this dip.  I remembered it from when I was really little.  My dad had it in his head that he wanted to make a dip one night when our cousins were coming over for dinner.  I don't think I tried any of that dip, I was more interested in the cheesy queso, but I remember hearing everyone saying they loved it and I also remembered my dad saying he had read it somewhere and then what he did to make it.  I'm not 100% positive that the recipe below is all he did, but it works for me.  I have trouble stopping myself from eating this whenever I make it and I have successfully gotten a co-worker hooked on this dip.  I will usually rotate between this and hummus to pair with my carrots, cherry tomatoes, etc.  It is such a guilt free snack and the perfect way to eat more veggies!  Plus it's ridiculously easy to make...less than 5 minutes!


1-16oz container low fat cottage cheese
1 packet ranch dressing mix.


Mix one packet of ranch dressing mix into your container of low fat cottage cheese.


Enjoy with some veggies!

Your friends will look at you weird when you tell them what you are eating, but once they taste it they will understand...sooo good!  :-)