Monday, November 22, 2010

Brining the Bird

I'm sure that by now, most of you have tried brining your turkey - but if you haven't - you MUST try it!   It makes the meat so juicy.  I usually am a dark meat lover, because I don't like the dry white breast meat, but brining makes the whole turkey juicy and delicious!  We have been brining for the last 10 years or so, and really like Alton Brown's recipe from the Food Network.  The Food Network Magazine says that this recipe has been the most popular Thanksgiving recipe on foodnetwork.com for the past 6 years and has garnered more comments than any other recipe on the site!  I highly recommend it.  The spices are a little expensive, but I have used the same bottles for years - it doesn't take a lot.  I was also able to find the vegetable broth for $.39 a can.  Yahoo! 

I put my frozen turkey in the refrigerator today (Saturday morning) so that it will be thawed by Thanksgiving. 

This is how I fit the bucket with the turkey/brine mixture in the fridge.  I am able to take out one of the shelves and it works.  You can also put it into a cooler if you don't have room in your fridge.

I am including the entire Good Eats Roast Turkey Recipe from the Food Network.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Good Eats Roast Turkey


Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, also featured in Food Network Magazine


Prep Time:

15 min

Inactive Prep Time:

7 hr 0 min

Cook Time:

2 hr 30 min

Level:

Easy

Serves:

10 to 12 servings



Ingredients

• 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey


For the brine:

• 1 cup kosher salt

• 1/2 cup light brown sugar

• 1 gallon vegetable stock (9 cans)

• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

• 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries

• 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger

• 1 gallon heavily iced water


For the aromatics:

• 1 red apple, sliced

• 1/2 onion, sliced

• 1 cinnamon stick (I leave this one out- I can’t do cinnamon!)

• 1 cup water

• 4 sprigs rosemary

• 6 leaves sage

• Canola oil

Directions

Click here to see how it's done.

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. (I have been reading on the Internet and I have found that this is supposed to be taken in the thigh – not touching a bone to 165 degrees, so follow this at your own risk.-Judy ) A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cranberry Fluff

Recently I was at lunch with some women, and we were sharing Thanksgiving recipe favorites.  One of them told us that her all time favorite was a thing called Cranberry Fluff.  I love cranberry anything, so I had her call me with the recipe.  I gave it a try tonight, as a Thanksgiving pre-trial.  I had looked on the Internet and found a recipe for Cranberry Fluff from Taste of Home that was exactly the same as hers, only double the amount of fresh cranberries.  I tried that one.  It was really good-not too sweet, very refreshing - and really tart!  I think I will try using my friend's version with half the cranberries for Thanksgiving, because, while my husband and I loved it, I don't know if the grand kids would like it that tart.   It is a fun and different way to do cranberries at Thanksgiving.  I really liked it!!! 

If you have a food processor, it's a snap to finely chop the cranberries.


In my friend's recipe, it said to grind the cranberries.  I guess if you have a way to grind them - it would be great!

Cranberry Fluff
Taste of Home

4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (my friend's recipe called for 2 cups) -Note:  after trying the 2 cups at Thanksgiving - WAY better!  I highly reccomend it!

3 cups miniature marshmallows

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups diced unpeeled tart apples

1/2 cup halved green grapes

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Directions

Place cranberries in a food processor; cover and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl; add marshmallows and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, stir in the apples, grapes, nuts and salt. Fold in whipped cream. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Slow-Cooked Swiss Steak

I love the Fall and Winter months when you can have yummy things cooking in your crockpot all day, making the house smell delightful.  I also love having dinners like this on days when I am busy in the afternoon.  I can come home, cook some noodles and veggies and dinner is ready to go.   This is an old family favorite of ours.  The meat is SO tender, with great flavor.  We love it!

I like it served over pasta.  

Slow-Cooked Swiss Steak

From Lion House Lite Recipes


2 TBSP vegetable oil

1 ½ lbs. boneless beef top round steak, cut into 6-8 serving pieces

¼ c flour

1 can (14 ½ oz) diced canned tomatoes, undrained

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

1 c chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

½ c cold water

1 TBSP cornstarch

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Dredge beef pieces in flour and brown slowly in oil. Place browned meat in a slow cooker. Combine tomatoes with liquid, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper, and pour over beef. Cover and cook on low setting for 5-6 hours or until meat is tender. Blend the cold water and cornstarch until smooth; stir into liquid in slow cooker and cook on high setting, stirring constantly, until thickened. Makes 6-8 servings.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It smells like Thanksgiving at my house!

I made my Thanksgiving gravy today using this Make-AheadTurkey Gravy recipe.  My house smells SOOO good!  This really helps take the stress out of my Thanksgiving day for me!  Give it a try. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

While I was gone out of town recently, my husband went to a neighborhood pot-luck dinner.  He RAVED about these chicken enchiladas.  When I got home, several times that week he asked if I had gotten the recipe from Mary yet.  I don't think I have ever seen him more excited about getting a recipe!  We had them tonight and they are really yummy and SOOO easy!  Thanks Mary.




Only 5 ingredients - how simple is that!!

Put some shredded chicken and grated Colby-Jack cheese on each tortilla and roll up.


Cover the rolled up tortillas with the sauce and bake.  Add cheese half way through.

Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

about 2 c shredded cooked chicken (I used Costco's rotisserie chicken, Mary used 2 cans of canned chicken)
8 oz shredded Colby-Jack cheese
1 16 oz. bottle of Mild Salsa Verde
1 c ranch dressing
7-8 flour tortillas

Spray a 9X13 pan with PAM.  Mix the salsa and ranch together in a small bowl.  Spoon a few spoonfuls into the bottom of the pan, just enough to cover the bottom.  Set the rest aside.  Fill each tortilla with chicken and cheese and roll, (reserving about 1/2 c of the cheese).   Place the filled tortillas into the pan - seam side down.  Pour the salsa/ranch mixture over the top of the rolled tortillas.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, adding the remaining cheese on top half way through the cooking process.


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