Everything But The Leftovers Quail Nuggets

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We just got a bunch of wild bird in the freezer, and to say I’m excited to cook with it is a giant understatement. We’ve been out of poultry for a while, and I don’t buy protein from the store, so I’ve really been missing some bird in our diet!

One of the things I love about the smaller birds is that they take almost no time to cook, which has eased my mind a ton when cooking them. I hate cooking chicken because I just can never get the time right to make sure it is done enough!

But anyway, I’ve been in a Thanksgiving mode testing and creating Thanksgiving dishes, so had already decided that we were going to eat the sides that I had been making as dinner one evening, but I wanted to figure out how to incorporate a protein into dinner as well. I remembered that I had just picked up some Everything But The Leftovers seasoning from Trader Joes, and decided to use it to make some quail nuggets!

All I did was mix in a hefty amount of seasoning into some flour for the dredge, and they totally had that Thanksgiving taste that went so well with all of the sides we were having. I actually had to cut my 2 year old off after 2 helpings because we had to make sure to save some for Dada!

If you are a hunter, or find yourself in possession of some quail, make sure to give these a try – the whole family will love them!

One thing to note — You don’t have to use quail for this recipe – I regularly make nuggets this way with chukar and pheasant, and chicken would work as well if you don’t eat/have access to wild birds. Just make sure to remember that larger birds like pheasant and chicken will likely take a little bit longer to cook!

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 2-4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. quail breasts, diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 tbsp. avocado oil (or any high-heat cooking oil, like vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. milk (any kind works)
  • 2 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Everything But The Leftovers seasoning

DIRECTIONS:

Set up your dredge station by placing 1/2 cup flour in a plate or bowl, mix your egg in milk in a small bowl, and mix the remaining flour and EBTL seasoning on another small plate. Place them next to the stove in order of flour, egg and milk mixture, then flour and seasoning mixture. Heat a skillet or large frying pan over high heat. Add your avocado oil, and let heat until shimmering. In batches, dredge your diced quail by first coating them in plain flour, then coating in the egg and milk mixture, and then coating them in the flour and seasoning mixture. Place the nuggets in the frying pan, and fry on each side until golden brown, about 10-20 seconds each. Once fried, place the nuggets on a plate with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Work in batches until complete. Enjoy!


Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

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Okay, here it is, my non-beverage contribution to all things pumpkin before October is officially over – PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE! It seems like most recipes I’ve been seeing with pumpkin are sweet, and I’m just not a baker by any means, so I wanted to create something savory to use all that pumpkin puree. ⁠

Plus, Bruce and I are both mac and cheese fiends, so I thought, why not use it that way? It’s creamy and delicious, and gives you all the comfort of mac and cheese with out feeling like you’re eating a kid’s food. Mac and cheese for the modern day basic mom!

The beauty of this recipe is that it is so versatile, and can be adjusted for any diet preference. I used basic, full-fat products because I’m feeing it to a toddler, but if you want to tweak for your sensitivities or preferences you can.

Want to use alternative milk? It works. Want to use alternative noodles? It works. Want to use alternative flour? It works.

Seriously so easy, and it’s kid AND adult-friendly. I made a giant pot earlier this week, and Bruce and I have eaten it for lunch every day – put this on your menu!

One thing to note — if you have leftovers, the best way to reheat the pasta is on the stove. Just put the desired amount of mac and cheese in the pot, add a splash or so of milk (depending on how much is in the pot), and head on medium low until it is absorbed and warm through. This will prevent it from being dried out!

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves XX)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box pasta (I used rigatoni)
  • 1 tbsp. butter (@kerrygold is my go-to)
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 tbsp. flour (I used all-purpose)
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated/shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp. sage
  • 1 tbsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Cook your pasta according to box instructions, rinse, and set aside. In a sauce pan, heat butter over medium heat. Once melted, add flour and whisk until combined. Add milk, cheese, and pumpkin purée, and stir until combined and melted. Mix in your spices, and then pour your noodles back in. Stir to coat noodles evenly. Top with any extra cheese if desired, and serve!