How to Make Turkey Giblet Gravy

November 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Holidays, How To, Meats

Begin the giblet gravy while the turkey is roasting and finish it off with the pan juices while the turkey is resting. This recipe is a classic in my family and produces enough gravy for your holiday meal and leftovers.

Turkey Giblet Gravy Recipe

Giblets from turkey
8 cups cold water
1 onion
4 stalks celery, plus tops, leaves and trimmings
handful of fresh parsley or 1 Tablespoon dried
2 boiled eggs, optional
drippings from turkey
flour
additional chicken broth may be needed

1. While the turkey is cooking, cover the giblets and neck bone with 8 cups cold water.
2. Add onion, celery and parsley and simmer for 2 hours.
3. Strain, and set aside until turkey is done and you’re ready to make gravy.
4. Pick the meat off the turkey neck and chop the giblets, if desired.
5. When the turkey is done, remove it to serving platter and drain all juices from the roasting pan into a cup or bowl to separate fat from broth.
6. Skim the fat from the pan, measure and place into the roasting pan with an equal measure of flour.
7. Put the roasting pan on the burner, cook and stir to brown the flour.
8. Measure 1 cup of broth for each tablespoon of flour used. Add chicken broth if needed to make full amount. Add the turkey drippings and measured broth to the flour in the roasting pan. Cook, stirring to loosten any browned bits in the bottom of the roasting pan.
9. Add salt and pepper and a pinch of oregano. Simmer gravy until thickened.
10. Add the meat and giblets back to the gravy. My mother always adds 2 chopped boiled eggs as well.

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My Best Sweet Potato Pie Recipes

November 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Desserts

Sweet Potatoes are a staple in the south. We use them as a vegetable, as a starch, or as a dessert. Any way you cook them, they are GOOD! Here are three mouthwatering recipes for southern style sweet potato pies: traditional southern sweet potato pie, bourbon sweet potato pie and coconut sweet potato pie. If you are looking for puddings, souffles,..etc. check under side dishes or vegetables.

Sweet potato pie is similar to pumpkin, only better!

a slice of sweet potato pie

a slice of sweet potato pie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Southern Sweet Potato Pie With a Kick

1 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons bourbon or whiskey
sprinkle of nutmeg
1 unbaked pie shell
2 egg whites
4 Tablespoons superfine sugar

 

  1. Peel and mash potatoes, add butter while still hot.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar until light. Mix into sweet potatoes.
  3. Add milk, lemon extract, and bourbon.
  4. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  5. Cover with meringue (see below) and put back into oven just until peaks are brown.

Meringue: Beat 2 egg whites until soft peaks form, SLOWLY add 4 Tablespoons of superfine sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Pile onto pie and seal to pie shell by bringing the meringue up to and touching the shell.

Coconut Sweet Potato Pie

5 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups milk
1 medium sweet potato, cooked
1/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
dash salt
1/4 cup of coconut

 

  1. Mash sweet potato while hot and add butter and salt.
  2. Beat eggs. Add sugar and beat again.Add milk.
  3. Blend eggs and sweet potato, add vanilla and lemon extracts. Add coconut and pour into pie shells.
  4. Bake at 375 -400 until center is set and pie is lightly browned.

Down South Sweet Potato Pie

2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup half and half
3 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1-10 inch or 2-8 inch deep dish pie shells, unbaked

Topping:
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

  1. Combine pie ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Pour into pastry shell.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour for 10 inch or 50 minutes for 8 inch pies or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool
  5. Mix Topping ingredients and serve with pie.
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Toasted Pecans Recipe

November 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Appetizers, Holidays

pecans

pecans (Photo credit: meghanmconrad)

1 pound pecan halves (or other nuts)
2 Tablespoons butter
Salt to taste
Additional seasonings if desired

Spread the pecans and butter into a single layer on a baking pan. Place into a 300 degree oven, stirring frequently roast until pecans are lightly toasted, approximately 20-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and season to taste.

You can use hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, etc. if desired. I prefer plain salt. If using hot pepper sauce, add it with the butter before toasting.

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Smoked Turkey and Other Turkey Tips

November 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Holidays, Tips

Pre-Smoked Turkey is an Easy Holiday Entree

My Thanksgiving meal is always a very traditional meal, just like my mother always made. My only concession to convenience is my smoked turkey. I purchase a pre-smoked turkey at the grocery store. The turkey is pre-cooked, and requires only thawing and reheating. It is tender and moist, with wonderful smoked turkey flavor. It is so easy, and my family likes it so much, that we occasionally cook one for parties or busy weeks and freeze the leftovers. Without the long cooking time of a raw bird, turkey can be enjoyed anytime.  The downside of this is that you don’t get the giblets, so you have to settle for regular turkey gravy. To cook, simply follow the reheating instructions on the package.

Smoked Turkey

Smoked Turkey (Photo credit: SaucyGlo)

Other Turkey Tips

Did you know that you can get the butcher to cut your turkey in half? If you have a small family and don’t need a lot of leftovers, have the butcher cut the (frozen) turkey in half lengthwise. Place one half in the freezer for a future meal and use half for your holiday meal.

You can also have the turkey sliced in 3/4 inch slices crosswise for easy turkey nuggets. Thaw a slice, remove the bones, batter and fry for cheap and easy turkey nuggets. Even easier is to slice a turkey breast for boneless nuggets and turkey tenders. Stock up while prices are low.

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Heavenly Ambrosia Fruit Salad Recipe

November 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Holidays, Vegetables

This recipe is a holiday tradition at our house. Many recipes add mini-marshmallows, and you can if you like, but my family prefers just fruit. This ambrosia can be made the night before to allow the flavors to mingle. Add the coconut and pecans just before serving. If added early they will soften and discolor, but still taste good. You can use whatever fruits you desire for this recipe. You need enough citrus and pineapple juice to coat the apple and pear pieces. I like mine juicy.

Heavenly Ambrosia Recipe

English: a fruit salad Deutsch: ein Obstsalat

Heavenly Ambrosia Fruit Salad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6 naval oranges
2 tangarines
1 red grapefruit
1 15 ounce can of pineapple tidbits in juice
4 apples
2 pears
1 bunch seedless grapes
1 jar maraschino cherries
1 cup coconut (optional)
1 cup pecan halves (optional)
2 Tablespoons sugar (optional- taste before adding)

1. Remove peel, seeds, and membranes from oranges and grapefruit. Work over a large non-metal bowl so that juice is not lost. Cut pulp into bite size pieces.
2. Add pineapple and its juice. Core and dice apples and pears. Peel can be left on or off according to your preference.
3. Mix apples and pears into the juice of the oranges to coat. This prevents browning.
4. Halve grapes and add.
5. Add cherries and enough of the liquid to add a little color to the juices.
6. Mix all together and taste. If the juices are tart, add enough sugar just to sweeten slightly. It should not be very sweet.
7. Refrigerate until ready to serve. At serving time, mix in the coconut and/or pecans, or sprinkle on top of each serving for garnish.

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Mom’s Cornflake Stuffing

November 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Breads, Holidays

By Amanda Jade

I grew up on this stuffing.  One year, Mom bought a massive monster of a bird, almost 30 pounds, and stuffed it to the brim with her cornflake stuffing.  The roasting pan was not sturdy enough and Mom ended up losing almost half the stuffing to the floor when it collapsed.  She didn’t bat an eye.  We still had enough stuffing to feed a half dozen people and have leftovers for Thanksgiving sandwiches for a week.

A stuffed turkey

A stuffed turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons Butter or Fat
  • 2 large Onions, chopped
  • 3 large Carrots, diced
  • 1 large Green Pepper, diced
  • 4 Celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 pieces Wheat Bread
  • Eggs
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Salt, Pepper, Old Bay Spices
  • Cornflakes

Directions

  1. Heat the butter or fat in a large skillet and add your vegetables.  Sauté until soft but not too done.  In the last minute or so of heating, liberally add salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasonings.
  2. In a large bowl, add the corn flakes.  Drizzle a little bit of water onto the bread and break it apart with your hands into the corn flakes.
  3. Add the vegetables, mixing gently to avoid breaking too many of the corn flakes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is sticky but not soaked, usually 3 or 4 eggs.
  5. Stuff your bird loosely as the stuffing will swell when cooking.  You can use the rest around the bird itself in the pan to soak up the juices from the turkey or just bake it in a casserole.

 

This stuffing is very versatile because you can add or exchange just about every vegetable you would like to it.  My mom always used Old Bay, but Bell seasoning can be used as well, or even Adobo if you prefer that flavor profile.  Go nuts, be creative!  This will give you a softer stuffing, which has its advantages.  My family’s favorite use for this stuffing is as a base for pan fried Thanksgiving sandwiches, but that’s another recipe!

 

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Thinking about Turducken for this Thanksgiving

November 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Holidays, Tips

By: Amanda Jade

Turducken: a chicken, stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey, often with stuffing placed between each layer.

A well roasted Turducken looks just like a Turkey

A well roasted Turducken looks just like a Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sounds like a monster, huh? In truth, I was hesitant when I first tried one. I was at an Orphan Thanksgiving celebration at a friend’s place and she mentioned she had purchased one. “Blasphemy” I cried, pointing at her viciously. Why would anyone do this? I was so very wrong. That meal was one of the most delicious, albeit strange, that I’ve ever eaten.

Centuries ago, the Romans did something very similar with pigs, goats, sheep, cows and other land animals, as well as waterfowl like ducks and geese. In the 1800s, the French had a meal called Roti Sans Pareil, or the Roast without Equal. It featured up to 17 birds, each being stuffed inside another, larger bird. They ranged in size from a Warbler at its smallest to a Turkey and Bustard at the larger end. Truly an aristocratic meal.

In more modern days, there are several companies that provide them for varying prices, often including different flavors of stuffing or even replacing it entirely with pork. I would not recommended attempting to make one at home the first time, as each of the birds needs to be almost entirely deboned for ease of cooking and carving, but if you have a butcher that is local and easily bribed, I would highly advise embarking on such an adventure.

Turduckens are shipped on dry ice in their own small coolers. They cannot be fried and this warning is apparent on every one I’ve ever purchased. Fire up that oven, make sure the birds are completely thawed and pop it in the oven. Follow the directions that are included with your bird. That’s really about all there is to it. Once completely cooked, remove it from the oven and let it sit for about 20 minutes or so. Being completely boneless makes them extremely easy to carve. Just slice it as you would a pork loin. Each slice will give you all three birds and the stuffing of your choice.

My household orders one every couple of years or so and we always make sure to invite new people over to try it. The expression on their faces when we explain what it is we intend to feed them is priceless. Everyone has gone home a convert to the Turducken ways. It is a truly unique experience that I think everyone should have. It certainly illustrates the creativity and fun that can be had with simple combinations of food. If we can’t have fun, what’s the point, right? Find your fun!

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Slow Cooker Green Beans with Onions and Bacon

November 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Crock Pot, Vegetables

By: Amanda Jade

This recipe was actually a complete accident at my home one Thanksgiving.  I had placed green beans in the slow cooker and my mom added a bit of thin sliced onions and bacon.  We promptly forgot about them in the chaos that was Thanksgiving meal prep for a half dozen people.  We remembered them after the meal was complete and we had already eaten.  The green beans were melt in your mouth soft, the onions and bacon had nearly dissolved and they were tiny bites of heaven on a plate.

Slow Cooker Green Beans with Onions and Bacon

Ingredients:

English: Cut Green Beans Español: Habichuelas ...

English: Cut Green Beans Español: Habichuelas o ejotes, preparados y listos para servir (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sea Salt and Pepper

2 lbs Green Beans, fresh and washed

Bacon, sliced

Vidalia Onion, thinly sliced

Olive Oil or Butter

Garlic, minced

 

1.  Line the bottom of a slow cooker with bacon, a single layer.  If you prefer crispier bacon, fry it first but add the oil to the slow cooker too.

2.  Add the onions, garlic and green beans, tossing together on top of the bacon.

3.  Add a pat or two of butter or a drizzle of olive oil, tossing the vegetables again.

4.  Season liberally with sea salt and pepper.

5.  Turn on low and forget about them for about 6 hours.

 

I have made these for every Thanksgiving celebration I’ve been invited to in the last 10 years.  I NEVER have leftovers, even when preparing up to five pounds of them.  I’ve made a few slight adjustments over the years, depending on who I make them for.  My husband likes to pick on me about the floppy bacon, so I began frying it before adding it to the slow cooker.  I still prefer it soft and melty though.  The garlic is optional, but it adds a whole new dimension of flavor.  Enjoy!

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Tips for Deep Frying a Turkey

November 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Holidays, How To, Meats

By: Amanda Jade

Deep fried turkeys have become all the rage in recent years for a delightful Thanksgiving bird, and for good reason! The skin is left crispy and full of flavor and the meat is moist and delicious without tasting greasy or oily. Unfortunately, deep frying a turkey safely can present a challenge to the new cook. With a bit of preparation and planning and a few key tools, these safety concerns can be left by the wayside on your journey toward a wonderfully tasty turkey.

Tips for Deep Frying a Turkey

Here are a few key things to remember about deep frying a turkey:

A turkey fryer.

A turkey fryer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Always keep gloves and a fire extinguisher nearby. Not needing them is great, but not having them can lead to disaster.
  • If you purchase a kit to deep fry your turkey in, always read and follow the directions. Most will be designed for a specific weight range of turkey and may have special instructions.
  • The optimal weight for a turkey to be deep fried is between 10 and 20 pounds. At 10 pounds, it should take 3 minutes per pound and at 20, it should take 3.5 minutes per pound to cook through.
  • Always ensure that your turkey is completely thawed. If there is any doubt, do not fry the turkey. Hot oil tends to explode violently when exposed to cold water or ice, which can cause severe burns and even burn your house down. A 20 pound turkey takes about 4 full days to thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Set up your turkey frying station outside on the pavement, never on a deck or in a garage. You want to be free of overhangs and on a level surface.
  • Never leave your frying station unattended once the oil has begun heating. Make sure to keep small children and pets away from the frying station. The turkey could take up to an hour or more to cook and at least 3 hours for the oil to cool.
  • Use an oil with a high smoking point, 450 degrees F if possible. The best options are canola or peanut oil.
  • Always lower the turkey into the oil carefully and slowly. This is best achieved with a small pulley attached to a board, supported by a ladder. Use gloves. Hot oil will burn skin instantly if it splashes. Using a pulley also means that you can allow the turkey to drain when finished without straining your arms or dripping scalding oil.
  • Once fried and drained, allow the turkey to sit for 10 to 20 minutes before carving. This oil can be strained and used up to three times.
  • To avoid staining caused by oil splatters, place a flattened, broken down piece of cardboard under the fryer. You can also use a large plastic drop cloth with sand or kitty litter to soak up the oil.
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Sausage Apple Pecan Stuffing

November 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Breads, Holidays

Sausage Apple Pecan Stuffing Recipe

1 lb. mild pork sausage
2 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped celery, incl. leaves
1 bag 14 oz. herb seasoned stuffing plus a small bag of stuffing
2 c. chicken broth (Swanson’s canned)
2 sticks butter
1 c. golden raisins
3 red apple, washed, cored and chopped
1/2 c. chopped almonds or pecans or walnuts
1t. cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook sausage in skillet till browned. Drain and set aside. Heat the broth and melt a stick of butter in it. Set aside. Saute onions and celery in butter till onions begin to golden.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry stuffing, the onions and celery, sausage, chopped apple, raisins and nuts and begin blending, with your hands, add 1 c. of broth at a time till you get to the desired stuffing consistency.

3. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper to taste.

4. Stuff the turkey both ends and truss. In the tummy area, cut an apple in thirds widthwise, and put this slice over the opening so stuffing does not leak out. You should have enough left over to put in a casserole with foil over and bake the last 45 minutes of the turkey.

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