Turkey Pot Pie

Do you still have some Thanksgiving leftovers hanging around? Are you growing a little tired of turkey sandwiches? Please say yes. And then please, make this.

This year’s holiday was quite a success, if I do say so myself. It will be a model for all future Thanksgivings I host. From now on, I will always brine my turkey. I will happily delegate dishes to friends and family to preserve my own sanity. And I will always make a pot pie out of the leftovers. In fact, I will probably make larger meals all winter, just so I can make more pot pies. They are the ultimate cold-weather comfort food. And they are awesomely good.

I will list the ingredients I used below, but you can use whatever you’d like. Just make enough stuff to fill your pie, and hold it all together with some gravy. You really can’t go wrong!

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All-Butter Pie Crust and Blind Baking

I’ll be honest with you, this is only the second pie crust I’ve ever made. I have, however, made a lot of pies. A lot. I dated this guy. He was a workout nut. And a pumpkin pie fiend. (I feel the need to note the former to explain his appetite for the latter.) I made him two pies per week for I don’t even know how long. Countless pumpkin pies. Countless frozen crusts. You should try telling someone that you made one person two pies every week for several months straight. They look at you like they don’t even know what to think of you.

This was my first attempt at blind baking. (For anyone who doesn’t know: Blind baking is just the pre-baking of a pie crust. You would do this if you were making a pie with a filling that had a shorter baking time than the crust, or involved no baking whatsoever. It will also help you avoid a soggy pie bottom. No one wants that!)

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Homemade Butter

That’s right. That delicious stuff you’re buying in the store, those tasty blocks that come wrapped in paper and packaged four-at-a-time in little 1-lb boxes—you can make that.

Not only is homemade butter so much yummier than the store-bought kind, it’s also easy to make. This can be done several different ways. You can use a mixer, a food processor, or a container of some sort. I prefer the container method because it allows for a slow churn, rather than an unbridled whip that risks incorporating buttermilk back into the butter, so that’s what I will explain here.

All you’ll need is:

  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • a 2-pint* or larger container (I used a 1-liter bottle)
  • cheesecloth (I use a gold filter)
  • salt

*You will need to use a container that is at least twice the volume of the cream.

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Banana Chocolate-Chunk Muffins

When I set out to make these muffins, I was prepared to:

Tediously chop up chocolate
Smash bananas into mushy oblivion
Eat every speck of stray crumb topping left behind on the muffin tin
Chow down on some delicious muffins

What I was not anticipating, however, was having to fend off animals, wild and domestic alike. After taking pictures of in-process batter on the porch, I came back into the kitchen to find my cat on the kitchen counter, licking batter off the beaters of my hand mixer. Animals on anything higher than a chair is strictly verboten in my home, and such transgressions are punishable by livid, curse-laden shouting, a kitchen sink hose-down, and exile. I was feeling merciful that day, so Izzy was only subjected to cursing and rooftop exile.

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Butternut Squash Alfredo

For the record, I love butter. Love it. So for me to replace it with something else—especially something healthy—the end result has to be delicious. And this certainly is.

Last fall, I was going crazy for roasted butternut squash. Then one day, I happened upon a recipe for a butternut squash and parmesan sauce. I’d never thought about puréeing the thing before, but it seemed like a potentially yummy idea. I decided to try making a faux alfredo, leaving out butter entirely.  And oh my, was it good! I’m not going to say it was better than alfredo (I feel like a statement claiming anything to be better than alfredo might potentially be blasphemous), but it is equally good, in a different way. The squash gives it a nice richness and depth of flavor—it’s a surprise to find out that there is no butter in it whatsoever. And it’s healthy (or, not as unhealthy), so you can justify snacking on the leftovers incessantly (and there will be leftovers—this yields a lot of sauce). If you don’t like leftovers and you aren’t feeding a family of 8, I recommend cutting this recipe in half.

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