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Avoid the ‘recipe rut’

November 27, 2013
By Pat Jensen , Marshall Independent

Regardless of the number of years you've been cooking for yourself or for family, it's easy to fall into a "recipe rut." You don't mean to, but you run short of time and end up making the same four or five recipes over and over.

Variety is the spice of life. Wouldn't it be fun to experiment just a bit? But how do you decide on the new recipes to try? It's easier than you think. Look for recipes that call for ingredients you know you or your family enjoys. Be sure to read the recipe through carefully. Some recipes are quick to put together; others require spending more time in the kitchen. Choose accordingly.

As you try new food combinations, you're probably not going to like every dish you cook. You can't please all of the people all of the time. This is especially true when it comes to food.

Keep a file of your favorite recipes. Consider trying at least one new recipe each week. Your collection of tried-and-true recipes will gradually grow.

As time goes on, you may even find yourself preparing a dish that calls for one or two ingredients you've never used before. This is one sure way to keep your meals interesting.

Today's recipe for glazed beets is not only delicious but simple to prepare. I would hope it might be one of the dishes chosen to help you climb out of the "recipe rut."

Features turkey and a colorful blend of vegetables


1 turkey carcass (from 10 to 12-lb. turkey)

5 qts. water

2 large carrots, shredded

1 cup chopped celery

1 large onion, chopped

4 chicken bouillon cubes

1 can (28-oz.) stewed tomatoes (break up)

3/4 cup frozen peas

3/4 cup long grain rice

1 pkg. (10-oz.) frozen chopped spinach

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. dried marjoram

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Note: If you're planning to make this soup, remember to leave some turkey on the bones during the carving process.

Place the turkey carcass and water in a Dutch oven or soup kettle; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Remove carcass; allow to cool.

Remove turkey from bones and cut into small pieces; set aside. Discard the carcass/bones. Strain the broth. Add carrots, celery, onion and bouillon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 min.

Add the tomatoes, peas, rice, spinach, pepper, marjoram, thyme and reserved turkey. Return to a boil; cook, uncovered, for 20 min. or until rice is tender. Taste and add salt if needed.

Variation - no big bird required

May roast turkey thighs, split turkey breast, etc. (about 3-1/2 lbs. of turkey). I roasted the turkey, covered, at 350 for about 2 hours or until done. (I made sure to put a small amount of water in the roasting pan). Reserve broth from cooking turkey. Chill and skim off fat. The broth can be added to the soup. Allow turkey to cool and then remove from bone. Discard bones. Cut turkey into small pieces. Since there is no carcass or bones, to the 5 qts. of water, I added 6 T. plus 2 tsp. turkey base. (brand: Better Than Bouillon) and only 3 chicken bouillon cubes. Other ingredients remain the same, but cooking time is much shorter because you're not simmering a carcass. I combined the water, turkey base, carrots, celery, onion, chicken bouillon, and the reserved broth from roasting the turkey. After coming to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 20 min. Then add the remaining ingredients, including the turkey pieces. (I added about 6 cups of chopped turkey) Bring to boil; cook, uncovered, 20 min.

Yield: about 7 qts.

Note: Another option is to roast a big bird and when the feast is over you'll probably have enough turkey left on the serving platter to make the soup using the short-cut method given above. No carcass to mess with. The turkey base is a great product; it imparts a wonderful turkey flavor.

A colorful and

tasty combo


1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp. cornstarch

1/4 cup lemon juice (I use a bit less)

2 T. butter or margarine

2 cans (15-oz. each) sliced beets, drained

1 can (11-oz.) mandarin oranges, drained

In a med. saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add lemon juice and butter. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 min. or until thickened. Stir in beets; heat through. Gently stir in oranges; heat through.

Yield: 4 servings.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe my brother, Rod, shared this with me


4 eggs

1-2/3 cups sugar

1 cup veg. oil

1 can (15-oz) pumpkin

2 cups flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

Icing: 1 pkg. (3-oz.) cream cheese, softened

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1-2 T. milk

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to pumpkin mixture. Pour into an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan (jelly roll pan). Bake at 350, 25-30 min. Cool completely.

For icing, beat cream cheese, sugar, butter and vanilla in a small mixing bowl. Add enough milk to achieve desired spreading consistency. Spread over bars. Yield: 2 doz.

Note: Great for family gatherings or to share with friends.

Good to know ...

Create a delicious breakfast smoothie - just blend leftover cranberry sauce with yogurt, ice, apple juice and whatever other fruit you have on hand.

Stabilize whipped cream by adding confectioners' sugar in place of granulated sugar. Use 1-1/2 T. of confectioners' sugar per cup of whipping cream for the proper texture and sweetness. The small amount of cornstarch in the confectioners' sugar helps produce a silky, weep-free cream.

Food for thought: Let your arithmetic be at its best when counting blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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