Fall is my favorite time of year for camping. It’s my favorite time of year, PERIOD. The leaves were just beginning to turn last week when we spent a few days at Beaver Lake. Much of our time this trip was occupied with doing business, but we managed to snag a few bass and enjoyed a boat ride or two before the rain fell…and fell…and kept falling. The rain was much needed, and predicted, so I made plans for that before we left, and this blog is sort of combining a Thymeless Sage and Random Rants post with a Camping Capers post.
It started with a frozen turkey breast I’d bought on sale this summer. When I rediscovered it in the basement freezer, I realized it would soon be time for turkey to go on sale, again…for Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s what I said. Where has this year gone?
I’ve wanted to try cooking a turkey breast in the crock pot for a long time. I know, right? Who hasn’t already done that? Uh, this girl! So I thawed it in the fridge for a couple of days, placed it cavity side down in the crock pot, slathered butter on top, threw on a few sage leaves, some course salt, and freshly ground pepper. I let it cook for about 8 hours on low, basting it a couple of times, but, looking back, I don’t think that was necessary. It remained very moist.
So, then, what do you do with a crock pot full of turkey breast for two people? Being the frugal cook that I am, you don’t let anything go to waste; especially when you can make 5 or 6 easy meals at one time. Here’s how we consumed it:
Meal # 1-Sliced turkey with gravy made with the juices, of course. Served with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. Nothing fancy!
Meal #2- Turkey and stuffing Casserole
2 cups chopped turkey
1/2 small onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 c chicken broth
dried sage leaves (optional)
8 oz Stuffing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
Chop turkey and set aside. Saute onion and celery in butter until translucent. Add chicken broth, sage, and stuffing mix. If mixture is too dry, you can add more broth, water, or a whisked egg. Pour into a buttered casserole dish. (Use the size smaller than 9X13…I’m not good with numbers.) Top with turkey pieces and then spread the cream of chicken soup over the top. Bake at 350 until heated through…about 25 to 30 minutes.
Meals #3 and 4
I actually made two of these. This small one we took camping. Boy was it great to heat up in the microwave on that rainy night when we couldn’t have a campfire. I took it out of the foil pan, of course, and heated it on our paper plates, served it with some sliced tomatoes and red bell peppers from the garden.
2 cups diced turkey breast
1 cup pan drippings from the crock pot
1 large can mixed vegetables. (I like Veg-all chunky)
1 cup frozen peas
2 cans chicken broth
1 T cornstarch
1 T flour
1/2 cup water
1 package pie crust (Store brand in dairy case and the box contains two individually wrapped rolls)
This recipe makes two medium or one very large 13 x 9 pot pie.
Directions: Put pan drippings, drained vegetables, and chicken broth in sauce pan. Heat to almost boiling. Mix corn starch, flour, and water until no lumps are noticeable. Add the mixture to the saucepan, stirring until mixture begins to thicken, then remove from heat and add turkey.. Roll out pie crusts and cut or shape to fit bottom and sides of dish or dishes. Pour in the filling. (No more than 3/4 full) Use the remainder of the pie crust to top the pie. You may cut strips and lattice, cut shapes, or just place the pieces randomly across the top. Bake at 375 degrees until crust is golden brown.
We still have the second pie in the freezer to eat at a later date.
Meal #5-Turkey salad
2 cups diced turkey pieces
1/2 cup diced celery
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup grapes, washed, dried, and halved
1/2 cup cashews or toasted pecans
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon tarragon
Toss first 4 ingredients together, Mix dressing ingredients together and add to turkey mixture. Add in cashews and serve on lettuce leaves with a croissant or crusty bread.
Turkey breasts, especially during sale season, may just be your best bang for your grocery buck.
So, what does all this have to do with camping? Not much, really, except that having the pot pie and turkey salad already prepared came in very handy as we made trips to the electric company, planning and zoning, back hoe/excavating guy, and all that business we needed to do to get our lake property ready for our camping trailer and possibly an out building with bathroom facilities. Speaking of which, I am obsessed with galvanized metal. I just want you to look at all these rustic ideas we’re hoping to employ in that out building…eventually.
If you have rustic design ideas using reclaimed barn wood or old barn tin, please share.