Turkey and Sausage Gumbo

I always use our leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make Turkey and Sausage Gumbo. This recipe comes from my college roommate who was from New Orleans. It’s so delicious and always reminds me of the happy years I spent in Louisiana.

Turkey and Sausage Gumbo


Turkey Stock

1 turkey carcass (with a small amount of meat remaining)

12 cups of water

1 onion, unpeeled and quartered

1 stalk of celery cut into large pieces

1 large or 2 smaller cloves of garlic, unpeeled and quartered


Add all the above ingredients to a large stockpot and bring to a boil.

Simmer, covered, for 2-3 hours.

Strain stock. Throw away vegetables. Refrigerate stock. Skim fat from top of stock after the stock cools and fat solidifies. You should yield about 10 cups of turkey stock which will be an ingredient below.

Turkey and Sausage Gumbo


1/2 cup oil

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup celery, finely chopped

1/3 cup bell pepper, finely chopped (can use red, orange or yellow for color)

24 ounces (two 12-ounce packages) nitrite free Andouille sausage

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

2 cups cooked turkey, diced (both light and dark meat)

10 cups turkey stock

hot, steamed brown rice


Heat oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add flour. Stir. Turn heat down to medium-low. Continue to stir constantly until roux is milk chocolate color (this will take about 30 minutes). Remove from heat.

Add chopped onion, celery and bell pepper to the roux. Stir. Place mixture back on heat over medium-low heat and allow vegetables to cook for five minutes while stirring.

Slowly add turkey stock to roux mixture while stirring. When fully incorporated, add sausage and seasonings.

Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 45 minutes. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to make sure there is no sticking, every few minutes.

Add diced turkey and stir. Simmer 5 more minutes or until turkey is heated through. Taste. Salt to taste.

Scoop rice into a bowl. Ladle gumbo over rice.


Fettucine Alfredo

There are many Fettuccine Alfredo recipes out there that try to be a “healthier” version of this classic. Some use low-fat cream cheese as an alternative ingredient to the cream or cut way back on the amount of butter added. I would say this is an indulgent dish. Serve it now and then, however when you do, prepare it correctly with both the butter and heavy cream.

Fettucine Alfredo


1 pound dried fettuccine pasta (can use whole wheat)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup finely grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil (for garnish)


Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente (do not overcook as it will continue to cook in the sauce at the end).

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until sauce has slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the cup of finely grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese. Stir until smooth.

Drain pasta in a colander reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Pour drained pasta into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of the hot pasta cooking water into drained fettuccine. Toss well until incorporated into the pasta.

Add Alfredo sauce and mix well.

Arrange the Fettuccine Alfredo on individual plates.

Garnish with the fresh basil.

Serve immediately.


Instant Pot Plain Whole Milk Yogurt

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

I am currently making yogurt in my Instant Pot. I have to say it has taken a lot of trial and error to find a recipe that truly works every time. This one does.

Instant Pot Plain Whole Milk Yogurt (slightly adapted from Whole Natural Life)


1/2 gallon (64 ounces) whole milk

1/4 cup whole fat plain yogurt or yogurt starter (I use two packets of this one.)

To sterilize (7 minutes):

Add two cups of water to your Instant Pot.

Lock the lid. Turn your steam release valve to sealed. Push the Steam button and set the time for 1 minute. When cycle is finished, open by quick-releasing the steam release valve. When all the pressure has been released, remove the lid and pour out the water. Dry the lid and inner pot with paper towels when cool enough to handle.

To pasteurize (24 minutes):

Pour 64 ounces of whole milk into the inner pot. Lock the lid. Turn the steam release valve to sealed.

Push the Yogurt button and then the Adjust button, until the screen says “boil.”

When boil cycle is over the beep will sound. Open the lid and remove the cooking pot and place on a cooling rack.

To cool and then add the starter (1 hour):

Cool yogurt to 110 degrees. Place a thermometer in the yogurt and keep checking the temperature.

When the milk temperature decreases to 110 degrees, you will add the starter. Temper starter by spooning out some of the cooled milk into a bowl and then whisking in the starter. Pour milk with the starter back into the cooking pot, whisk thoroughly.

To culture (8-24 hours):

Place cooking pot back into the Instant Pot and cover with the lid. Press Yogurt button. Then push Adjust button until it displays a number. This is the number of hours your yogurt will culture. Use the “+” and “-” buttons to adjust how long you wish your yogurt to culture.

Once you decide on the time, the screen will display 0:00 and count up to the set time. I suggest starting at twelve hours then experiment with longer times if you like. After twelve hours, the program will end and your Instant Pot will beep. (I culture my yogurt for 24 hours because I like it very tart.)

To cool (8 hours):

Remove cooking pot, cover with foil or a lid like this and immediately place into the refrigerator, cool 8 hours undisturbed.

To strain (8-24 hours):

Then, use a Yogurt Strainer like this and strain the yogurt. Place in the refrigerator for at least eight hours to strain. (I strain mine for 24 hours, however, I like my yogurt very thick.)

To store:

Remove your yogurt from the strainer into a storage container(s) of your choosing. (64 ounces of milk yields about 32 ounces of strained yogurt.)


Grilled Pork Loin

Pork Loin is an inexpensive cut of meat in our area and frequently on sale for under $2.00 a pound. Last night we had one in our refrigerator and my husband decided to throw it on the grill.

Once the charcoal was nice and hot, he pushed the coals to one side and placed the pork roast on the other side (cooking by indirect heat). It took a little over 1 1/2 hours to reach 150 degrees. He then brought it inside, tented it with foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

It was delicious! I was able to freeze the leftovers for other meals. Ideas include pork lo mein and also barbecue sandwiches. Yum!

Grilled Pork Loin (slightly adapted from The Kitchn)


5 pounds pork loin roast

your choice of seasoning


Remove pork loin from the wrapper. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Place on a large platter and season both sides generously. Seasoning options can be whatever you wish, as simple as salt and pepper, your favorite dry rub or be like us and use Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Place pork loin on your grill.

Cook over indirect heat (hot coals on opposite side of the grill from meat) and with grill top closed. Turn roast every half hour.

Remove from grill when internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Bring inside and tent for 15-20 minutes.

Slice thinly. (We served ours on hot rolls with Grey Poupon Country Dijon Mustard.)


Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

There are a lot of recipes out there for Chicken and Broccoli Casserole. Almost all of them have condensed soup as an ingredient. This one does not. I’ve been making it for years and my family loves it!


1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1/2 cup onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) of chicken broth or stock

2 cups whole milk

2 cups cooked chicken, diced

2 cups broccoli florets, trimmed to the same size

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

dash of freshly grated nutmeg

hot, steamed brown rice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt butter in large skillet or saucepan. Add onions and saute until translucent.

Add crushed garlic, cook for 1 more minute.

Add flour, stir for a couple of minutes.

Pour in chicken broth a little at a time while whisking. Continue to whisk until no lumps remain.

Add milk and whisk until incorporated.

Bring mixture to a simmer and let thicken while stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Into a buttered 9 X 13 casserole dish layer (cooked and diced) chicken, then broccoli florets. Pour white sauce over the casserole, then sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over top.

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve over rice.


Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

I have prepared many spaghetti with meat sauce recipes in my 32 years of marriage. This one is my current one and with good reason. It’s delicious!

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)


1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4  teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

8 ounce can tomato sauce

2 teaspoons turbinado sugar

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

hot prepared whole wheat spaghetti pasta*

freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

freshly chopped parsley (optional)


In a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground meat, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks, until it is no longer pink.

Drain any excess grease.

Stir in the tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Cook over medium-high heat, constantly stirring, for about a minute, until the mixture smells fragrant.

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, brown sugar and soy sauce. Stir to combine.

Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Serve over spaghetti noodles. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.


*I am very pleased with the Great Value Whole Wheat Pasta except the spaghetti. Our family struggles with the taste of whole wheat spaghetti when paired with a tomato-based sauce. Instead of resorting to white pasta, or some sort of hybrid, we found the brand Jovial that uses Einkorn whole wheat flour to be delicious. I stock up on it when Vitacost offers a 20% off of a $50 food purchase.

One Pot Taco Skillet

This is a great one-pot meal. Brown your ground beef and onions, and then throw everything else in. It’s that simple, and your family will love it.

One Pot Taco Skillet (slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)


1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 taco seasoning packet, don’t add water (or homemade)

1/2 cup salsa

1 3/4 cups chicken broth

1 cup brown rice

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Toppings of your choice


Brown ground beef with the chopped onions in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add taco seasoning, salsa, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.

Add brown rice and then place a lid on top of the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low.

Simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is tender.

Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Place lid back on the skillet and the sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Add toppings such as sour cream, green onions, and homemade tortilla strips.


Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry

Our family loves Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry. It has taken me years to find a recipe that can rival Chinese takeout; this recipe does! Give it a try, and I think you’ll like it.

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry (adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen)



1 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 pound boneless, skinless boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs

6 cups raw broccoli florets, chopped the same size

hot, steamed brown rice

sesame seeds (optional)


Wash fresh broccoli. Trim broccoli florets to the same size.

Trim chicken of any excess fat and pat dry with paper towels. Slice into thin strips against the grain of chicken breast. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the sauce: In a bowl add 1 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger, 2 cloves minced garlic, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet (cast-iron works great) on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add chicken pieces and spread out evenly. Let the chicken sit for a minute before stirring, then stir-fry until barely done.

Immediately add broccoli florets the pan. Stir quickly to combine.Whisk the sauce again then pour over chicken and broccoli. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Simmer until sauce is thickened and broccoli is crisp-tender (do not overcook broccoli.)

Season to taste with salt if needed and serve over warm, cooked brown rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Honey Chipotle Dressing

There are so many weird ingredients in store-bought salad dressings, so I decided to experiment with making my own. Not only is is easy to make your own, they taste so much better than what you can get from the supermarket. If you’ve never made your own salad dressing, give this Honey Chipotle a try!


1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 honey

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 clove garlic

2/3 cup canola oil


Pour all ingredients into a  blender. Blend well to emulsify. The Honey Chipotle Dressing will seem thin, however, after refrigerating it, the texture will thicken.


One Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni

My fellas love this “from scratch” version of “old school”Cheeseburger Helper. No canned soups, no ingredients you can’t pronounce and ready from start to finish in about 30 minutes plus you dirty only one skillet. I’ll take that and call it a great recipe any day!

One Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni (slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)


1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon turbinado sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup hot water

2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Brown ground beef in large skillet. Drain and return to pan.

Mix cornstarch and other seasonings in small bowl. Pour seasoning mixture into skillet.

Slowly add hot water, then milk. Stir well.

Add pasta and combine with other ingredients.

Reduce heat, and place a lid on top of the skillet. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until pasta is done stirring a couple of times to ensure ingredients don’t stick.

Turn off the heat, remove the lid and top shredded cheddar cheese.

Let stand for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened.