Since we host Thanksgiving for our relatively small families, we always have A LOT of leftover turkey. I am not one who likes to eat plain ole turkey after the holiday, so I try to find creative ways to incorporate it in recipes. I am a fan of casseroles (my husband is not, bless his heart!), and I usually make at least one casserole from turkey leftovers. Listed below are the ingredients and directions to the casserole I made this year. I am certain that it is not unique to me; however, I did not follow a specific recipe.
· a cup of uncooked pasta (I used small shells because that’s what I had on hand)
· an 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
· a can of cream of chicken soup
· a cup of turkey (more or less)
· a packet of dry ranch seasoning
· a soup can of milk
· ¼ cup of ranch dressing
· a cup of shredded cheddar cheese
· a cup of pretzels, Cheese Its, or something similar (I used mini cheddar cheese pretzels)
· ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
· onion powder to taste
· parsley flakes
· Prepare noodles according to package. Drain.
· Mix cream cheese, soup, turkey, dry ranch seasoning, milk, ranch dressing, and cheddar cheese until well blended. Note: I chopped my turkey in a food processor. I don’t like chunks of meat in casseroles.
· Pour mixture in a casserole dish.
· Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
· Meanwhile, blend pretzels, cheddar cheese, and onion powder in a food processor until pretzels are in tiny pieces but not pulverized. Stir in parsley flakes.
· Add topping to casserole and bake for another five minutes.
· Let set approximately five minutes before serving.
My husband declared it “very good.” I thought it was yummy. Its versatility allows substitution of meat, cheese, and seasoning for a quick, easy meal throughout the year. However, the next time I make it, I will either use Cheese Its in the topping mixture or simply garnish with French fried onions; the pretzels were a tad chewy. So, if you are searching for a way to use that leftover turkey, I hope this helps!
Do you have a creative way to use leftover turkey? Please share in the comments!
As an avid reader as well as a writer, I like to set reading goals for myself each year. This year my goal was to read fifty books. As of today, I have read fifty-six. I wish I could say that I enjoyed each book that I read, but that is simply not the case. However, there are five outstanding books that I would highly recommend to any reader. They are listed in the order in which they were read.
#1: Divergent by Veronica Roth ~ I thoroughly enjoyed the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy (the sequels: not so much), but I must say that Divergent won the contest for me. Triss Pryor is such a strong female lead, but she doesn’t begin that way. She strives to achieve greatness. Triss’ character development throughout the story is phenomenal.
#2: Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh ~ This is not a book I would have chosen to read on my own. The local book club of which I am a part chose this as one of our monthly selections, and I am so glad we did. A mystery with breadcrumbs of information scattered throughout, I learned more about beekeeping than I ever expected. Although fiction, it almost reads like a memoir.
#3: The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors ~ This sweet story is a fairy tale of gigantic chocolate bar proportions! However, it isn’t a typical princess and prince style fairy tale. It contains elements of mystery and romance and a huge dose of chocolate.
#4: Doon by Carey Corp and Lorrie Landon ~ Although it is another fairy tale-like story (I am a sucker for fairy tales!), it’s so much more than that. It begins in a modern society and crosses over into an entirely different world. It also has elements of suspense and romance.
#5: The Unveiling by Tamara Leigh ~ The final novel in my top five is a Christian medieval romance. Unlike several Christian fiction novels, the elements that make it “Christian” do not seem contrived or like they were merely added so the novel could fit that genre. The characters and the romance are believable, not feigned. Furthermore, it is “clean,” so younger teenage readers could enjoy it as well.
Although I have accomplished my reading goal for the year, I definitely do not plan to stop reading. By December, my favorite list will have more than likely increased, but these books have already earned their position.
My debut novel, Elise’s Choice, falls into several genres. Some people classify it as young adult literature, while others feel it is new adult. A few have even called it historical fiction simply because it has a medieval-like setting. However, there is one genre that all readers have agreed upon; Elise’s Choice is definitely fantasy.
I enjoy reading fantasy, and I wanted to write what I enjoy reading. But fantasy isn’t the only genre I enjoy. So, why choose to write fantasy over any other genre? I can narrow it to five reasons.
#1: A Whole New World: Writing fantasy gives authors the opportunity to become the creators of their own worlds. This was one of the most enjoyable parts of writing Elise’s Choice.
#2: Unique Names: The ability to create unique names holds true for any genre; but with fantasy, it gives the story a feel of authenticity. I actually used a mixture of common and unique names in Elise’s Choice, but I enjoyed the freedom of creating names that are entirely my own.
#3: Historical Liberties: Fantasy allows authors to take liberties with history. Creating a fantastical world means writing a history for that world. Even if an author chooses to use the “real world” as a setting, the fantasy genre gives the author a certain leeway in writing about events.
#4: Fantastical Characters: Authors of fantasy have the ability to create a varied cast of characters that is not limited to human beings or animals found in nature. Although I stuck with human characters in Elise’s Choice, I appreciate the fact that, had I chosen to create a race of not-quite-human characters, I could have taken that liberty.
#5: Timelessness: Fantasy stories are not limited to a certain period of time. They can take place in the past, present, future, or quite possibly all three in one story. This gives the story a sense of timelessness.
These are five, simple reasons I chose to write fantasy. Will I only write fantasy stories? With reasons such as these to inspire me, why would I not?
I like to update my blog at least once a week. However, it has now been two weeks since my previous post. What a busy two weeks it has been!
First of all, my husband and I took a much-needed mini vacation to St. Louis last weekend for our annual trip to Fright Fest at Six Flags. While there, we picnicked at Forest Park where I was chased away from the food by a bee. We also visited the art museum, the zoo, and West County Mall. A trip to St. Louis is incomplete without a little shopping! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves; however Fright Fest was a tad disappointing. It was way too busy for our taste, something we had not experienced in previous years. We agree to forego the trip next year. I think it’s time to throw a party instead.
I have also kept busy with the school’s Beta club. Beta is a national organization that helps students achieve excellence in academics and character. This is my first year as a sponsor, and it has been quite an interesting experience. With service events and competitions, we are preparing our students for the Beta Convention in December.
Another reason these past two weeks have been so engaging is book promotion. I have a blog tour for Elise’s Choice scheduled from November 1-14. Yesterday, November 1, I participated in the local Arts and Crafts Fair sponsored by the local Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). I sold all the copies of my book that I had on hand; time for another order! I also met a young lady who is currently working on a story. She shared her idea with me, and WOW! It is difficult to fathom that she is only a sixth grader. Her idea is so unique and intricately developed. I hope she keeps me posted on her progress, and I definitely want to read it when she completes it.
Furthermore, I have been working on my sequel. Here are snippets of information about it:
* It takes place seventeen years after Elise’s Choice.
* The setting begins in Petheralm.
* It focuses on a character mentioned in Elise’s Choice.
* Elise and Anton are mentioned but definitely not involved.
I am writing it in first person. Since I spent so much time listening to Elise’s “voice,” it took a little while to hear this protagonist. Readers who write will understand what I mean; those who don’t probably think I’m insane. To quote Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, “We’re all mad here!”
So, there you have it: the details of my busy two weeks. Look for the following blog topics in the upcoming weeks:
* a cupcake experiment (I need to find a use for leftover Halloween candy)
* book reviews
* author interviews
* information and ideas about the writing/editing/publishing/promoting process.
If you have any topics you would like for me to cover, feel free to make suggestions in the comments.