Turkey and gravy are classic Thanksgiving fare, but they’re also just good ol’ comfort food. This rendition comes together lickety-split and the addition of mushrooms adds rich flavor and texture.
Turkey & Mushroom Gravy over Buttermilk Biscuits
- 1 stick cold butter
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice
turkey & mushrooms:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 8oz. package fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups turkey stock
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
(to make biscuits)
1. Preheat oven to 425. Pour vinegar (or lemon juice) into a glass. Pour milk over the top and allow to sit. It will start to curdle after several minutes and will serve as your buttermilk.
2. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor (or in a large bowl, using a whisk.) Cut in butter until pea-sized crumbs form. If food processor was used, transfer crumb mixture to a large bowl.
3. Pour in milk and stir together to form a dough. Gently knead dough for just a minute or two on a lightly-floured surface. Roll dough to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Cut 10-12 biscuits with a biscuit cutter, round cookie cutter, or the top of a drinking glass.
4. Place biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10-23 minutes.
(for turkey & gravy)
5. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Saute mushrooms until browned, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add turkey to pan and stir frequently to warm through, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and turkey to a bowl and set aside.
6. Using same skillet, still over medium heat, combine 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons butter. Cook/melt together until a smooth, golden paste is formed, at least one minute.
7. Slowly add in turkey stock and water, stirring frequently. Once it starts to bubble, reduce to a simmer and cook until desired thickness, about 5 – 8 minutes.
8. Season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and tarragon.
9. Return turkey and mushrooms to pan and gently stir to combine and re-warm.
10. Serve gravy over biscuits.
A little sweet and a little salty, with just a hint of spice, this dish is a hit with the whole family. The flavors taste exotic, but all the ingredients can be found at any grocery store.
Apricot Ginger Turkey Stir-Fry
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup turkey stock
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 3 cups turkey, chopped in bite-sized pieces (white and/or dark meat is fine; I like a combo)
- 1 lb. bag frozen Asian stir-fry veggies, thawed in fridge (mine contained a mix of broccoli, green beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, celery, red peppers, water chestnuts, and onions)
- 1 1/2 cups white rice
- 3 cups water
1. Bring rice and water to a boil in a sauce pan. Cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for approx. 17 minutes.
2. While the rice is cooking, combine first eight ingredients in a bowl. Pour into large skillet and heat over medium heat.
3. When small bubbles form, stir in the turkey and thawed veggies. (If you didn’t remember to thaw them, just warm them in the microwave a bit. Mainly, you just don’t want to have to overcook the turkey in order to warm the veggies through.)
4. Meanwhile, stir corn starch into turkey stock. Pour that into the skillet and reduce heat to low. Stir until thickened, about two minutes. Serve over rice.
I never did hear my phone ring, but I realized that I had a message from the neurologist’s office.
“It doesn’t sound like a side effect of the medication. Go ahead and call your dentist.”
I did. She told me to come right in.
The hygienist took one look and called back, “Doc? You really need to look at this.”
My dentist came in. She had me open wide (no small feat) so she could see the lump in question.
“Oh my,” she said, “I’m going to get an x-ray of the teeth back here. We need to see what’s happening.”
Now, of course, I had already HAD many x-rays– none of them had revealed anything. Still, I let her do it and, unfortunately, she still couldn’t find the problem.
“I’m going to send you straight to the oral surgeon,” she said. ”This is a huge abscess.”
I nodded. Took the referral. Tried to say “thank you.”
Thankfully, my husband had completely called out of work by the point, so he had taken G. to her story hour and then met me at the dentist. I gave him the scoop.
We couldn’t get in to the oral surgeon until that afternoon, so we headed home for a bit and I made lunch for the two of them. Honestly, I kept right on cooking meals throughout this fiasco of not being able to eat. Some people have found that odd, but, well, it’s just what I do, I guess. I feed people.
Anyway, I really didn’t know what the oral surgeon was going to do, but I was hoping it helped.
They started by doing a CAT-scan of my jaw. Since x-rays had revealed nothing thus-far, they were hopeful that would show them more.
I had an infection at the root of my very back molar. By this point, it had spread into my jawbone.
“Well,” the surgeon announced, “I’ll go on record that you do NOT have trigeminal neuralgia.”
“But,” his assistant insisted, “she WAS diagnosed! You want to be careful….”
“Her trigeminal nerve was triggered by the infection,” he interrupted. “She absolutely had trigeminal nerve pain. But the cause wasn’t trigeminal neuralgia.”
Honestly? At those words, I was filled with hope. I had lived with so much pain. Not only had the nerve pain been excruciating but, once that was under control, I had been gripped by the awful pain of a deep bone infection. I hadn’t had a moment’s respite in weeks.
What happened next will make the squeamish gag, but I will tell you– it didn’t even bother me.
He opened my entire upper palate and drained the pus.
So gross, right?
I know. I knew it was gross at the time, too, but it had to be done. And, truthfully, the abscess had grown so large it was really impeding my swallowing, so I was grateful to have it drained.
Still… gross. I know.
After that, he told me he wanted me to see an endodontist. His assistant handed me the referral and directions,
“Dr. Tucker is really nice,” she said. I nodded in reply– nice is good, after all.
She continued, “And kinda dreamy.”
I must have looked puzzled.
“You know, easy on the eyes.” She smiled.
People? Can I tell you how little I cared about how handsome the endodontist was? I mean, seriously. I had just had my mouth cut open and pus drained out. Do you think this put me in a flirty frame of mind?
Anyway, I headed over to meet Dr. Tucker. He was, indeed, very nice and I suppose he was attractive enough, if you’re into that blond wavy hair and blue eyes kind of look. Really, though… I did not care.
He drilled out the tooth and poured acid into the base to seep into the infection. Even with Novocain, it stung and it smelled horrific.
“You’re smelling the bacteria burning out of the bone,” he told me.
By the time I left that office, it was approaching evening.
I still couldn’t talk; this time, it was due to the roof of my mouth having been cut open.
I still couldn’t eat much; I had a loose flap of skin that hung from my upper palate and it made me gag.
I had prescriptions to fill and, to be honest, a very sore mouth.
And I could NOT stop smiling.
I had just been given my life back.
Nothing they had done– or still had to do– could bring me down. I told them over and over again, “I don’t care what you do to me. Whatever it takes to fix it.”
And I meant it.
I was on my way to healed…
(See? This is less of a dramatic cliffhanger! I was nice! There’s more to tell, and I’ll wrap it up next week, but, suffice it to say– the first half of October was INSANE around here.)
While crepes sound oh-so-fancy, they are actually quite simple to make and very family-friendly. This variation relies on familiar veggies and a creamy cheese sauce to further up the kid-appeal , while still making a pretty supper.
Turkey & Veggie Crepes with Cheese Sauce
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
- 1 cup half & half
- 8 oz. American cheese, cut in chunks*
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 12-16 oz. bag frozen “California veggies” (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots), steamed
- 2 cups turkey breast, cut in bite-size pieces
*You can substitute shredded mild cheddar or Colby for the American cheese, but the results will not be as creamy. Personally, I buy the “deluxe” American from the deli counter, which is still processed (and, thus, melts very smoothly), but is not “cheese product.”
1. Add all crepe ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir until well-combined. I use a large glass measuring cup for this, so it’s easy to pour into the pan.
2. Heat a tiny bit of oil in a small, shallow skillet. Alternatively, spray with non-stick spray; this actually works best, in my opinion.
3. Pour in a small amount of crepe batter and tip to cover pan. Cook for 45-60 seconds and flip to other side. Cook for another 45-60 seconds. Remove to plate.
4. Repeat for remaining batter. This should yield approx. 16-18 crepes.
5. While the crepes are cooking, you can start the filling on another burner. Melt butter and minced garlic together over low heat in large skillet.
6. Add cheese and stir occasionally until melted.
7. Add lemon juice, vegetables, and turkey pieces. Stir gently until coated.
8. Slowly add in half and half. You’re looking for a smooth consistency; it should be slightly pourable and not too thick.
9. Put a small amount of filling in each crepe. Roll and put in baking dish. Fill about 12 crepes. The extra crepes can be used for a fun breakfast treat or you can scrap the less-than-perfect ones (<– there are always a couple.) Drizzle leftover filling over the top of the crepes.
10. Bake in 400 degree oven until bubbly and hot, about 15-20 minutes.
I went in to get my teeth cleaned yesterday and I had a different hygienist than I typically do. I’d met her before– she usually does my older two kids’ teeth– but I’d never been in her chair. No worries. She’s very nice, and I’m really not very picky.
We chatted for a bit. Realistically, she chatted and I “mmm hmmm‘ed” a lot, because, you know, mouth wide open and all. But, at the end, we had a few minutes to chit-chat while I waited for the dentist to come in and check out all my chompers.
Now, during my cleaning, when she was essentially giving her monologue, I was listening and enjoying her stories. Among other things, she told me about an obsession with McDonald’s chicken nuggets, giving her son tons of chocolate soy milk for the good protein, and using really large amounts of stannous fluoride.
Here’s the thing.
I don’t do, enjoy, or believe in any of those things. And, if anyone really wanted my opinion and/or reasons, I could and would certainly provide them. Honestly, I have some strong feelings about at least a couple of those things.
So guess what I said? Guess what I shared and addressed just as soon as I was given the chance to speak?
Those of you who guessed “nothing relating to those issues” are absolutely correct. And why not? Because I didn’t need to. No one asked me and, honestly, it would have seemed kind of bizarre and awkward for me to suddenly lay into this woman because I didn’t agree with her.
But isn’t that what we all do online CONSTANTLY? Can you imagine if we behaved in person the way we do on the internet? Good gravy, it’d be ridiculous.
“Michael spiked a little fever after his shots yesterday. I felt so bad for the poor kid…”
“Vaccines are evil and horrible. I would NEVER expose my child to all those chemicals. You do realize that you’re just buying into Big Pharma’s lies, right? You clearly have no idea how many children are vaccine-injured. If you’d do some research…”
I don’t know anyone who’d do that. I really don’t. It would be an utterly bizarre interaction, not to mention rude and inappropriate, but that flies out the window when a screen is involved.
It’s not that I’m just so sweet and non-confrontational and that’s why I didn’t go all nuts about the soy milk yesterday… it’s that, when we’re face to face with people, we all tend to show some kindness and understanding that gets abandoned when we sit at a keyboard.
Did I tell her I thought chicken nuggets and chocolate soy milk sounded like an awesome snack I couldn’t wait to feed my kids? Of course not. There’s no need to lie.
I just let it pass on by me. Roll right off. I just didn’t address it.
This is a skill that is SO natural, to most of us, at least, when it comes to in-person encounters.
If we can do such a good job of just letting stuff roll off of us in person, why must we constantly confront or attack online? Arguably, it should be EASIER to just click away and forget about it. Honestly, if you really can’t stand the way someone lives, just stop reading about her! Truly, online relationships should be even simpler than the IRL variety.
Looking back, when I read blog comments from back in, oh, 2008? I actually see evidence of it online too. Not only did more people comment, but the comments seemed to fall more in the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, ….” camp.
I’d really, really like to bring that back.
Is anyone with me?
I’ve already told you all about my artistic husband and his ability to paint landscapes as a teen that made grown-up me swoon. And I do, indeed, love the fact that he has the ability to create like that– it’s a nice surprise, especially in a guy who deals with finances all day.
Because of this, it’s no surprise that, when the kids ask for someone to draw, say, a minotaur, I defer to their daddy; he’s much more suited to the job. But it goes beyond that.
When our daughter chose, out of all the lovely treasures before her, a beading set? I won’t lie to you– I cringed. Her fine motor skills are just not that precise. She’s sometimes klutzy. She can create a disaster out of a bagel… but we’re going to let her buy some beaded bracelet making extravaganza?
I gave him the side-eye.
He just smiled and insisted, “It’ll be fine.”
The following Sunday, after Mass, I stood in the kitchen, preparing brunch for the crew. From the family room came lots of giggles. I heard discussions about colors. Decisions about lengths. And kind offers to make things for siblings. I peeked around the corner…
There, on the the hardwood floor, sat my husband, our daughter, and a bead machine. Carefully, he helped her load them in so they could make her masterpieces.
By the time brunch was cooked, five bracelets had been created. She was all smiles.
So was I.
You see, I handle lots of the “day-to-day” stuff around here. Homework? Almost always my domain. Checking reading logs? Me. Keeping research projects on track? Me. Explaining math 852 different ways until hair-pulling is imminent? Me, again.
I make the charts. Sign the papers. Write the checks. Organize the journals.
But you know what I don’t do?
Come up with turkey disguises.
As soon as I saw that assignment, I knew I was handing it off.
Lucky for me, there’s an adult in this house better suited for the crafty, artsy-fartsy stuff than me.
I married him.
So, by now, hopefully you’ve looked over the meal ideas we’ll be making, purchased and thawed your little turkey, and prepared a list for the other items you’ll need.
Now it’s time to prep your turkey.
These instructions are going to be much much more brief than mine typically are. That’s because there’s not really a whole lot to prepping the turkey and, if I’m honest with you all, I’ll tell you that, since I typically only do it once or twice a year, I always just follow the directions that come attached to it.
I’m going to give you a general run-down of how I got my turkey all ready though, okay? Here goes:
1. Thaw your bird. You can do this in the fridge (it’ll take a couple days in there) or in a cold water bath (it’ll take several hours.)
2. Unwrap the turkey. Pull out the neck and giblets. You can set these aside for stock, gravy, or just toss them– honestly, I tossed them this time. I didn’t feel like dealing with them.
3. Preheat the oven to 325. Rinse the turkey and pat it dry. Place it in a roasting pan. Drizzle it with some olive oil and give it a generous sprinkle of seasoning. Because I was making 7 different meals from the same bird, I kept it super simple and used salt, black pepper, and onion powder.
4. Roast (unstuffed) for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 180 degrees and into the breast, 170 degrees.
5. Remove from oven and let sit for awhile. There’s no reason to scald your hands handling the meat.
6. This is where things get easy– you’re NOT carving the bird. All you’re doing is removing meat. To do this, I kept a trash can handy (for skin, gristle, and tiny bones) and three bowls. I use the bowls for the following:
- white meat
- dark meat
- bones for stock
Try to remove the breast pieces in large chunks, if you can, but don’t worry overly much about the state of the meat you’re collecting. It’s mostly going to be chopped into bite-size pieces, anyway.
6. Once you’ve picked off all the meat you can, toss the bones into a slow cooker or stock pot, add the pan drippings, and cover with water. Set on low and just leave it alone for at least four and up to twelve hours. This will yield about three quarts of deep, rich stock.
7. Bag up the meat and place in fridge or freezer until ready to use. The turkey yields so much more meat than the chicken that it’s not so critical to portion it out just yet– you’l have plenty.
8. Wash your hands, do the dishes, wipe the counter, and feel good about having the meat all ready to go for a whole week’s worth of meals!
To give you plenty of time to deal with the turkey– because I know that the thaw time makes it more time-consuming than other meats, even though the prep is truly very simple– I’m going to step away from this series for a few days. I’ll be back on Monday to start sharing all the recipes with you– all SEVEN of them!
In the meantime, go ahead and get your turkey ready and pick up your other ingredients. You might notice that this grocery list has more frozen veggies on it– this is deliberate. For some parts of this nation (like mine), most fresh veggies are out of season and, thus, both price-prohibitive and not-so-tasty. Frozen veggies are quick and easy and, yes, still healthy.
If you live someplace where fresh produce is currently more abundant and yummy, feel free to substitute! I’m just trying to keep it as simple as I can– I know you all face many of the same challenges I do with time and grocery money.
I’ll be back Monday with the recipe for Turkey, Veggie, & Cheese Crepes!
In addition to the one turkey (between 10-15 pounds) that you’ve already roasted, and the stock you’ve made from it, you’ll need the following to complete all the recipes in this series:
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup half & half
- 8 oz. American cheese
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar
- 6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 6 eggs
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms
- 1 green pepper
- 4 medium (or 2 large) carrots
- 1 onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- fresh ginger root (just a small chunk is fine– you only need a teaspoon, grated)
- 1 12 oz. bag broccoli florets
- 1 16 oz. bag mixed Asian veggies (mine contained a mix of broccoli, green beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, celery, red peppers, water chestnuts, and onions)
- 1 12-16 oz. bag “California Veggies” (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
From the aisles:
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 4 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 white rice
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing
- 8 flour tortillas, soft taco size
- 8 oz. egg noodles
- 4 bagels
Pantry staples (baking/spice aisle):
- approx. 6 cups all-purpose flour
- approx. 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon yeast (or one packet)
- black pepper
- onion flakes
- red pepper flakes
Once you have all those items in place, you’re all set. I’ll see you back tomorrow with instructions for getting the turkey all prepped and ready to go. If it’s not already thawing in your fridge, make sure you get it there now, so it’s waiting for you and not vice versa.
I’m excited to share these meals with you– whether you buy a small bird to make them, or rely on Thanksgiving leftovers, I think you’ll enjoy these new takes on turkey.
I immediately started taking the anti-convulsant medication. By the second dose, a little wave of relief swept in: I didn’t feel the sharp, shock-like pains across my face for about an hour and a half.
I was thrilled!
Sadly, when they came back, they came with a vengeance.
I took the anti-depressant that was supposed to help me sleep, with high hopes. But I did not sleep well. The pain was still crippling me.
Over the next couple of days, I went back and forth via email with my neurologist and he continued to up the amount and frequency of my dose. I followed his directions and documented everything I felt; I was still struggling a ton.
Looking back on it now, I realize that the medications were actually doing a fabulous job of controlling the sharp nerve pains across my face but, by this time, a new pain had grown to such an excruciating level that I couldn’t escape it. My jaw positively burned and throbbed and it never, ever let up.
I was so very miserable. I wept to my husband, dismayed at what a horrible wife and mother I was becoming. Every single day was torture for me and I struggled to keep my head afloat. Somehow, I got meals cooked, homework done, and laundry put away, but my house looked horrific and I confess to letting the kids watch far more TV than I ever allow.
I was just trying to survive.
Wednesday morning dawned and, again, I took an increased dose. The doctor was still trying to figure out how to make this pain go away. He seemed confident that he could; I was trying to keep my hopes up.
It was the worst day.
While I battled never-ending pain, I fretted as someone very near in my family went in for surgery. I was trying to email and text my siblings and figure out how it was all going and my head was a mess.
I took G. to speech and, as I chatted with a teacher I knew, I suddenly lost my words. I simply couldn’t find and form the word I wanted to say. As someone who is pretty much always composed and loquacious (<– that really just means “talkative”, but it’s the first word I thought of– that’s just an indication of how my brain USUALLY works) , it was a mortifying feeling.
I later wrote to my husband:
The surgery apparently went well, as far as we know. We’re waiting for him to be awake in recovery. They said if everything looked good, he could go home already tomorrow!
I really could use some decent sleep. Blah.
Ah, well, at least I’m getting a couple hours… that’s better than none! #positivethinking
This increased dose of medicine isn’t making a sizable difference in my pain, but it’s messing with my head. I feel “cloudy”, like I can’t focus or come up with the words I’m looking for. I think that’s a common side effect that usually passes as you get used to it, but it’s kind of cruddy!
Well… here’s hoping that we get this all figured out and I can stop being a miserable excuse for a wife and mother soon.
He wrote back, kind and reassuring:
Sorry the new dose isn’t helping more, just making you more cloudy. Hopefully your neurologist will be able to find a good dose for you and we will find more out as these tests come in. You are more than a good wife and mother, I stayed curled up in bed with less pain than this.
But I felt awful. I simply could not escape the pain that felt like it was coming from deep inside the side of my face and just pounded, pounded, pounded. Added to that, I was running a fever. When I questioned that, I was told that fevers and increased blood pressure can be a pain response.
That night, I tossed and turned and finally gave up. I rose, showered, and got ready for the day– I had C’s IEP meeting at the school that morning.
Something new had happened, though.
There was a lump on the roof of my mouth.
It felt huge to me, but sometimes things in your mouth feel bigger than they really are, in my experience, so I asked my husband if he could see it. He could. He thought it looked huge, too.
Honestly, and I don’t mean to be graphic, it was so large that it impeded my swallowing and made speech nearly impossible. I could talk, a little, but I was very hard to understand.
He decided that he’d better call his work and go with me to the IEP, at least, and I called the neurologist to leave a message– one of the side-effects of the anti-convulsant was “mouth sores” and I needed to find out what was happening.
I went to the meeting. I greeted the teachers, therapists, and administrators. I swallowed my pride and communicated concerns with my very impeded speech.
And I waited for the doctor’s phone call.
Turkeys will be on sales and specials for the next couple of months. Snag a small one (between 10 — 15 pounds) and get ready to make 5+ meals that delight the taste buds and aren’t just Thanksgiving repeats.
You had to know it was coming!
Turkey is very affordable and readily available this time of year. Whether you’re facing endless leftovers after your feast or you just want to make some delicious meals from a very inexpensive protein, this series has got you covered.
This plan will offer up five full dinners, plus a surprise, bonus lunch and breakfast, from one small (approximately ten pound) turkey.
Interested in the meals we’ll be making? Here you go–
We’ve tested and tweaked and tasted these recipes until we’re sure they’re winners! We also ate them all in a row to ensure that they didn’t all taste so much alike that we’d get sick of turkey. There were no complaints around here, and the flavors were all very unique and varied.
Right here, you’ll find prep directions to get your bird all roasted and ready for all the recipes linked above– there’s very little “hands on” time involved!
***All recipes pictured above are “clickable”– simply click on the one you want and it will take you right to the respective recipe.***
–> In the event that you still have turkey left– and I’m guessing you will– come on back. I’ll be sharing two bonus recipes* in the next couple days for:
- Turkey Noodle Soup
- Turkey, Egg, & Cheese Bagel Sandwiches
*your grocery list includes the ingredients necessary for these recipes, too