When I was growing up, turkey croquettes were among my favorite dishes! We always had lots of leftover turkey and my mother was challenged to find creative ways–beyond making a big pot of soup–to serve up tasty dishes that we’d all happily eat.

This is a great way to use up leftovers and these croquettes freeze well, so you can make them and save for a quick dinner down the road.

I typically serve croquettes with veloute sauce; it’s simple to make and only uses four ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper

Heat stock over medium heat. In a separate pan, melt butter and add pepper. Slowly add in flour, stirring for about 5 minutes until a roux is formed. Do not let the mixture get brown–you want the sauce to be a pale yellow color. Once the roux has cooked for 5 minutes, slowly whisk in the chicken stock, making sure that you don’t have lumps. Once the chicken stock is incorporated, cook for about 5 minutes until it can coat the back of a spoon. If it becomes too thick, add more stock.

Want to skip the sauce? Try sprinkling some ponzu sauce over the croquettes. Ponzu is a Japanese sauce with notes of citrus. No ponzu? Try using soy sauce!


  • 1 lb ground turkey (mixed light/dark meat will result in a moister croquette, but you can use all white meat if you prefer)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 2/3 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 2 tbs olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp each, salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp thyme
  • 4 oz chicken stock
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Add oil, onions, carrots and celery to a hot skillet; sweat the vegetables over a low heat until the onions become translucent (~4 minutes)
  • Add salt, pepper, spices, garlic, stock, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste; stir for 2-3 minutes to ensure that everything is uniformly mixed
  • In a mixing bowl whisk one of the eggs; add the turkey and the vegetable mixture; mix thoroughly
  • Form 3″ cones and put into the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes so that the croquettes set
  • In a small bowl, beat egg and milk to make a wash
  • On a small tray spread out breadcrumbs
  • Dip each of the croquettes in the egg wash
  • Roll each croquette in the breadcrumbs until coated; you can repeat this process if you want an extra crusty coating
  • Place the croquettes on 3″ apart on a foil-lined cookie tray
  • Bake for 25 minutes
  • While the croquettes are in the oven, make the veloute sauce

Note: you can substitute ground chicken for the turkey if you prefer.

Veloute is one of the five French “mother sauces“:

  • Béchamel sauce: White sauce, based on milk thickened with a white roux
  • Espagnole sauce: Brown sauce based on a brown stock reduction, and thickened with brown roux. Ingredients typically include roasted bones, bacon, and tomato (puréed and/or fresh).
  • Tomato sauce (sometimes “Tomate” or “Tomat”): As well as tomatoes, ingredients typically include carrots, onion, garlic, butter, and flour, plus pork belly and veal broth.
  • Velouté sauce: Clear sauce, made by reducing clear stock (made from un-roasted bones) and thickened with a white roux. Velouté is French for “velvety”.
  • Hollandaise sauce: Warm emulsion of egg yolk, melted butter, and lemon juice or vinegar.

Enchilada Casserole

This easy to make casserole is a family favorite in our house! You can adjust the seasoning to keep it mild, or add some heat. This dish reheats beautifully, too, so you’ll have plenty to pack for lunches.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

If you want a spicier dish, leave in the Jalapeno seeds. Want a smoky flavor? Blister poblano peppers and substitute them for the bell peppers.

Never blistered a pepper before? Simply lay the pepper directly over the burner: with the flame on its lowest setting, turn the pepper once black blistering appears. Don’t have a gas stove? You can put your oven on broil at 425, setting the peppers on a foil-lined cookie sheet turn them once the black blisters appear. Be careful that they don’t burn too much!


  • 1lb 85% lean ground beef
  • 2 tbs olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 box Pom (or similar) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 8 oz beef stock
  • 1 1/2 tbs each:
    • Powdered ancho chili
    • Powdered chipotle chili
    • Powdered chili powder
    • Powdered smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 2 tsp finely chopped (fresh) cilantro
  • 1 large fresh Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 medium yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 2 tbs sun dried tomato paste
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 4 oz cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tsp corn masa


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray an 8×12 casserole pan with non-stick product (Pam, or similar)
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; when it is hot, add onions and peppers and turn heat to medium-low
  • After 3 minutes, add salt, pepper and spices to skillet; cook for 1 minute to activate them
  • Add hamburger to the skillet and cook it until browned; make sure to break it up so that there aren’t big clumps
  • Add jalapeno, tomato paste and beef stock to the skillet
  • Cook over low heat for 10 minutes
  • Sprinkle masa over skillet mixture, stir in thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes until sauce thickens a bit (mixture should still be somewhat loose since it will be going in the oven
  • While mixture thickens, heat corn tortillas on both sides, just until they start to blister; this will make the tortillas pliable, so they won’t tear as you line the casserole
  • Line the casserole with the tortillas, overlapping them in the pan
  • Spread the skillet mixture evenly in the casserole
  • Cover with the enchilada sauce and sprinkle the cheese evenly
  • Bake for 30 minutes; let stand for 15 minutes before cutting

Note: if you don’t have masa, you can make a slurry with corn starch: simply mix 2 tsp with just enough water to dissolve. Stir into the skillet mixture, drizzling slowly.

Charred Leek and Potato Soup

charred leeks
It is important to wash the leeks thoroughly, separating the leaves to ensure that they are free of dirt.

Charred leek and potato soup is a favorite cold weather soup in our house. The potatoes add body to the recipe and you can add diced bacon, if desired.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • 1 lb fresh leeks, cut into a rough dice
  • 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp each, salt & pepper
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup homemade croutons (use french baguette, or similar dense bread)
  • (Optional) 1 1/2 tsp hot sauce
cooking instructions
  • Prep leeks by removing root base and the very tops of the leaves, separating leaves, washing thoroughly and chopping into a rough dice
  • Toss leeks in a large bowl with 1 tbs olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Place in a single layer on a foil-covered cookie sheet
  • Char leeks in the oven (broil setting at 425 degrees) for 7-8 minutes; be sure that they don’t get overdone!
  • Remove from oven and set aside
  • Peel, wash and cube potatoes
  • Heat butter and 1 tbs olive oil in stock pot; add onions, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, smoked paprika, mustard and garlic
  • Stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent
  • Add in the leeks, potato and stock; simmer for about 30 minutes (until potatoes are fork tender)
  • While soup simmers, dice bread into 1″ cubes, toss with 1 tbs olive oil
  • Place in a single layer on the cookie sheet used for leeks; brown at 425 for about 5 minutes
  • Serve in crocks garnished with croutons and a small drizzle of hot sauce, if desired

Variations: If desired, add 3/4 cup cooked, diced slab bacon. You can also substitute sweet potatoes or yams in place of potatoes.

Stoplight Peppers with Ground Turkey

stuffed pepper

Stoplight peppers can also be made with ground beef, or pork.

Stoplight peppers with ground turkey make for a visually pleasing, lower fat and nutrition-packed dish that is thrifty and can be easily modified to taste.

Kids love the idea of a meal in a “container” and the red/yellow/green peppers–hence the “stoplight” moniker allows them to choose their favorite color.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • 1 lb ground turkey; white meat is lower fat, but use mixed light/dark turkey if you prefer
  • 6 medium peppers: 2 each, red/yellow/green
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, very finely diced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp, each — salt, pepper
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbs water chestnuts, very finely diced
  • 2 tbs sun dried tomatoes, very finely diced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
cooking instructions
  • Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed skillet (over medium heat)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Saute the onions, celery and carrots for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent
  • Add ground turkey, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, water chestnuts, garlic paste and sun dried tomatoes; cook turkey through and lower heat — leave mixture on the flame for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop
  • Carefully incorporate bread crumbs
  • Prep the peppers: rinse thoroughly, slice the tops so that you can remove them whole; remove seeds and the white pith inside the peppers
  • Spray a 9×12 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray
  • Remove the turkey mixture from the heat
  • Stuff the peppers with the meat mixture and put the tops of the peppers back on (like a cap)
  • Place the peppers in the greased casserole dish
  • Bake for about 30 minutes until the peppers are fork tender

Variations: If you like, sprinkle cheese on the meat mixture before putting the “cap” on each pepper.

16 Bean Casserole

Bean casserole

Meatless dishes offer significant health advantages and help stretch the food budget. Plus, they are tasty!

Bean casserole is a delicious, thrifty and healthy entree option that reheats well for later-in-the-week lunches, or dinners.

Most supermarkets sell dried bean mixes–add additional ingredients, such as garbanzo beans–to add interest and texture.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

  • 1 pkg dried bean mix
  • 1 cup dried garbanzo beans
  • 1 jar (12 oz) salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbs vegetable base
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced water chestnuts
  • 1 tsp each, salt/pepper
  • 1 cup riced broccoli
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tbs garlic paste
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp annatto
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese mix (you can substitute soy cheese if you don’t want to use dairy)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pepitas, toasted
  • 3/4 cup finely diced cilantro
cooking instructions
  • Rinse beans and soak overnight (make sure that the water covers the beans by at least an inch); drain and rinse again prior to starting to assemble the casserole
  • Dice the carrots, celery and water chestnuts; set aside
  • Grease 9×12 casserole dish
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Toast the pepitas on a small piece of foil for about 5 minutes
  • Mix beans, olive oil, garlic paste, sun dried tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme and paprika together in a large bowl
  • Add in riced broccoli, bread crumbs and annatto, incorporating carefully–don’t mash the beans
  • Once the mixture is uniform, incorporate the jar of salsa and the vegetable broth
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the casserole is moist, but not soupy; use additional time, if needed
  • Top with the cheese and put oven on broil (425 degrees) for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbly
  • Serve with chopped cilantro garnish