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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Catching Up from Chrismas

One of the best parts about Christmas aside of family is the wonderful abundance of food. It is everywhere! There's all kinds of foods that only seem to come out at holidays. I've done minimal cooking yet am surrounded by an excess of food so needed to preserve. At the same time I wanted a couple of lighter dishes because a lot of the holiday meals this time of year are rich and heavy.


One of our Christmas traditions is kibby. Traditionally this is made with lamb but our family makes it with thrice ground extra lean ground steak. The meat is always fresh ground the day of making it. This is very important because the majority of it is eaten raw usually served in pita bread with a little olive oil and cumin. Making kibby is more of a knack so I don't have an actual recipe. It is passed down from mother to daughter or daughter-in-law in our family. I used 5 lb of meat to make the kibby this year. The following evening I baked it as kibby will not keep longer than a day. Because it is so lean I pour a bit of olive oil over the meat before baking. After baking I let the meat cool then slice thin and freeze.

Vacuum Sealed

Our traditional meat for Christmas dinner is turkey with all the fixings. This year's turkey was 22 pounds served with stuffing, gravy, fancy mashed potatoes, home canned green beans and home frozen corn nibblets. I didn't make an official dessert because there were so many cookies and sweets already out on trays. Despite nine for that meal there were a lot of left-overs. I left enough out for snacking and dinner the following day then packaged up the rest for the freezer. I ended up with a good sized turkey breast (1), turkey in gravy (2) and turkey slices (3) so that isn't too bad. I also vacuum sealed the kibby slices (4). Vacuum sealing is really the way to go but if you've been reading this blog you already know that.

Turkey Stock

Turkey stock is a given anytime I roast a turkey. Again I don't have an actual recipe.

[Method] What I do is put the carcass in a large stock pot then cover with water. I add a couple of carrots and celery stocks cut into large chunks along with a large unpeeled onion cut in half. Then I bring it to a boil and reduce to simmer for about 3 hours. The resulting is then either canned or froze.

This turkey stock batch resulted in 9 L of stock. Doing the math that works out to 15 cents per litre so to all those who ask if cooking from scratch or canning is worth it, my cost says definitely. Homemade also can be salt and preservative free so you end up with a better quality product. Now, many foods look wonderful in the jar but most stocks aren't. There will be a bit of a fat layer and more of one if you don't defat. However by carefully pouring the stock you can eliminate any of this fat.

Garlic Pasta with Shrimp

I've been doing rather simple meals to break up the monotony of turkey. I've posted how I make garlic pasta with shrimp before. This time I took advantage of extra shrimp on hand for the holidays. So the shrimp was larger but the effect was the same. Garnished with Parmigiano Reggiano and parsley flakes and served with a tossed salad it was a delightful change from some of the heavier holiday meals.

What I did differently this time was to purposely cook and season enough angle hair pasta for left-overs for the following night's meal. Purposely creating left-overs sounds different but I do this quite a bit because the planned left-overs give me a basis another meal. To me this simply makes good sense.

Spaghetti Pie

Spaghetti pie is oh so simple to make! All you need is left-over spaghetti or in my case angel hair pasta and something to fill it with. Basically you end up making the pasta into a crust. Cut into wedges for a lovely presentation. I used garlic buttered pasta for this pie but you could plain pasta. A bit of butter will help.

The end result is a wonderful dish that is served in wedges. I used home canned barbeque pork topping home canned green beans. Then I topped with home canned mushrooms and three cheeses. This really is a simple meal that just doesn't taste simple.

Method: Beat two eggs and blend into the pasta. Form the pasta into a nest coming up the sides of a round baking dish. Fill as desired (see above). Bake then cut into wedges and enjoy.

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