My Kitchen Remodel Saga And My Slow Cooker Favorites…

The saga of the kitchen, dining room, living room and den flooring projects continues and prevents me from posting some new recipes. I’ve lived through this many times before and even recognize the many ebbs and flows of this type of process. We are definitely in the “frustrated” stage of the project. The whole house is in disarray and will be for a few more weeks (the hardwood floor goes down next week) and it’s at this stage that you long for a clean, organized home.

I liken these types of projects to giving birth. Once the baby arrives you forget about all the pain and rejoice in the outcome. I am so waiting for that time. Before I go into some of my favorite slow cooker recipes I thought I’d share a few pictures of my kitchen to give you some perspective of what I am currently going through.

The picture below gives you somewhat of an idea of what the kitchen looked like when we moved in. Not bad you might say, but there were definitely some challenges. The gas cook top was not what was originally there. When buying a condo I told my husband I would not even consider one that did not have a gas stove. I’ve been a gas girl all my life and know that most if not all professional chefs cook with gas so there was no room for negotiation there.

We took out the cooktop you see in the picture below to install the gas cooktop in the picture above (the gas cooktop was the one the builder took out and replaced with the electric cooktop when doing the remodel). Our condo had been previously owned but purchased back by the builder and converted to the model for the development. (the development was done in two phases and our condo was in one of the first phase buildings). “Upgraded” appliances were installed as part of the conversion. I say upgraded in parenthesis because the new appliances were actually not very good and my husband and I wound up replacing all of them except the refrigerator. I also found it interesting that the electric cooktop they originally installed looked like Mickey Mouse, my bizarre sense of humor.

The original electric cooktop that was in our kitchen

The original kitchen design called for the cooktop and oven to be separate. You can see a small portion of the original oven on the far right of the very first picture above (note the stainless outline at the bottom far right of the picture). The problem with having the oven located there was the thermostat for our heating and cooling system was on the wall directly opposite the oven. Using the oven had a direct effect on the thermostat and we certainly didn’t want that. So we decided to eliminate the cooktop and separate oven combination and get a stove with an oven (see the picture below), install it in the space where the cooktop was (requiring removing the cabinets underneath) and adding cabinet space where the oven had been. It worked out great.

After that, the final problem we wanted to resolve was the engineered wood flooring (you can see it on the bottom of the first picture above). It really doesn’t look that bad in the picture but it was cheap stuff, scratched easily and was hard to clean. Both my husband and I have had wood floors in our previous kitchens and always wound up replacing them with tile. Tile is more durable and easily stands up to the wear and tear of work done in a kitchen. Just be careful not to drop your wine glasses, though. Tile is not forgiving in that regard.

So at this point the tile is laid and setting for a day before doing the grout. My husband does excellent work and is a perfectionist so the work sometimes is painstakingly slow. In the end I know I will be so pleased but in the interim living in a war zone has its ups and downs.

Where my stove/oven used to be

waiting for grout

The one thing we’ve already noticed is the tile is brightening up the kitchen. With the dark cabinets and the dark floor the kitchen was a pretty dark place. The tile is changing all that and brightening it up considerably.

And so, because of all this, once again I do not have a new recipe to share this week. But the good news is I have so many recipes amassed from the many years of doing this blog that I can share some of my recipes that have not seen the light of day for quite some time.

This week I decided to focus on some of my personal favorite slow cooker recipes. Over the years I’ve learned that slow cookers are actually very versatile. Years ago when I would make something in a slow cooker (or crock pots as we used to call it then) my food would come out bland and overcooked. Now I’ve mastered some techniques that have helped me create some wonderful slow cooker dishes. Those are the ones I want to share with you today.

So let’s talk slow cooker favorites…

I’ve chosen these particular recipes because they are easy, impressive and your guests (or family for that matter) will never think they were made in a slow cooker.

  1. SLOW COOKER GROUND BEEF STEW: I really like this recipe because the end result is a thick and luscious stew. The secret is using a large amount of tomato paste. For a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce I recommend using an entire 6 ounce can of tomato paste. For this recipe you want the sauce to be really thick before the stew starts to cook. If the sauce still looks a little thin after mixing the sauce and paste I recommend adding more tomato paste. Don’t be afraid if you think it’s too thick. The residual fat from the browned ground beef will loosen up the sauce in the cooking process but not to the point of making it runny. The consistency of this stew is similar to a nice thick chili. And the flavor of this stew is fabulous. I assure you, this recipe can easily become a family staple.

2. CREAMY MEATBALL AND TORTELLINI SOUP: Years ago I never would have thought of making soup in a slow cooker. But actually it is a perfect tool for making soup. This was the recipe where I learned I can vary my temperatures during the cooking process versus just cooking a recipe on low or high all the time. I made sausage meatballs for this recipe but if you don’t want to take the time to remove the casings and shape the meatballs you can just cut the sausage up in links and throw it in that way. This is a great dish for a chilly night. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread and you have one heck of a meal that takes virtually no effort at all to make.

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3. SLOW COOKER TURKEY AND DUMPLINGS: Remember when you only used to have turkey around the holidays? I happen to love turkey and so I try to find as many ways of serving it all year round. I used turkey tenderloins in this recipe, cooking them whole and then shredding them. The surprise ingredient is refrigerated biscuits that I cut up and used as the dumplings. This is a flavorful and hearty dish and a great way to incorporate turkey more routinely into your meal plans.

4. JAMBALAYA: This was my breakthrough recipe using a slow cooker. From past experience, this was the first time that I made something in the slow cooker that didn’t look or taste like mush. If you are inclined to try any of these recipes, I would start with this one. This is a traditional chop and drop slow cooker recipe. The difference is you don’t add all of the ingredients at once so everything is cooked properly but not overcooked. My husband and I absolutely love this recipe and I am sure you will too.

5. SLOW COOKER COUNTRY STYLE PORK RIBS: I have been making this recipe for years. It is definitely a recipe for someone who is just learning to cook as it is, if you follow the instructions, absolutely foolproof. The sauce is rich and thick and the pork is fall-off-the-bone delicious. You can serve this with rice or potatoes and a vegetable of your choice and have a superb meal. If you want a great recipe that is a complete no brainer, this is the one for you.

And there you have it – the saga of my kitchen remodel coupled with my favorite slow cooker recipes. I’m not sure if I will be able to post a new recipe next week, but I certainly hope to. If not, I will share some of my former recipes that have not surfaced for a long time and probably something sweet versus savory. We’ll just have to see how it goes. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Next stop, doing the grout and the hardwood floor installation in the rest of the condo!

 

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Slow Cooker Turkey Or Pork And Stuffing…

If you’re like me you have a taste for turkey and stuffing far beyond Thanksgiving. But who wants to buy a big old bird all the time and roast it in the oven? There’s got to be a better way. Guess what, I found it!

More and more I am becoming adept at using a slow cooker. That means I’m not using it simply to drop something in and cook it until it’s beaten into submission. A slow cooker is a valuable tool but if you don’t use it properly it can create meals that are virtually tasteless.

This recipe, I guarantee you, has tons of flavor. It also has its traditional aspects and its unique aspects and I will discuss those in my lessons learned. I started out by using a bone in turkey breast for this recipe and decided the next time I made it I would try a boneless pork roast. Guess what? Both ways it was fabulous! So let’s talk slow cooker turkey or pork roast and stuffing…

Lesson Learned 1 – How to prepare the stuffing: I used a box of stove stop stuffing for these recipes (one designed to be used with turkey and one designed for pork) so it already had the seasonings I needed in it but you can also use just a plain stuffing mix. If so, you will need to add some poultry seasoning and dried sage. I also added some sliced onions, sliced mushrooms and diced celery to boost the flavor of the stuffing mix when I made the turkey and substituted sliced apples for the mushrooms when making the pork, but you don’t have to. I’ll put both versions in the recipe below and you can chose whatever method suits you.

The first time I made this most of the stuffing was soft except for the very bottom. I stirred everything together after it was all cooked and it turned out ok. The second time I made this I added a cup of chicken broth to the stuffing mix and it turned out perfectly. Since you put the soup/gravy mixture on top of the meat, it does not totally reach all of the stuffing. And since a turkey breast doesn’t have a lot of fat to begin with you need the moistness of the chicken broth to get the desired consistency of the stuffing. I also added carrots on top of the stuffing in both recipes and they turned out perfectly. The pork roast had a little more fat so that also helped to keep the stuffing moist.

Onions And Celery Added To The Stuffing

Stuffing With Mushrooms And Carrots For The Turkey

Carrots and Apples for the Pork Roast

Lesson Learned 2 – Spray the crock with cooking spray: After the long hours of slow cooking the stuffing will stick to the crock if you don’t spray it. Make sure you spray the crock with cooking spray before adding the stuffing. You’ll be glad you did at both serving and clean up time.

Season Each Layer

Lesson Learned – Season each layer: Slow cooking requires careful seasoning so food does not come out tasting bland. Remember to season each layer with salt and pepper as you prepare the slow cooker.

Lesson Learned 4 – What kind of turkey to use: I am fortunate to have a grocery store that cuts half turkey breasts on the bone and sells them fresh. This works so well in this recipe. When I first made it I was surprised at the moistness of the turkey breast. My husband loved it.

You can use a boneless breast as well. You really shouldn’t use more than a 3 pound turkey breast for this recipe. If you do, you will need to cook it longer. If you buy the breast frozen be sure to thaw it before putting it in the slow cooker. For 4 people, 2 1/2 – 3 pounds is perfect. You may even have some leftovers. The breast pictured below is on the bone and 2 1/2 pounds.

Lesson Learned 5 – What kind of pork roast to use: I used a 2 1/4 pound boneless pork roast for this recipe. Make sure when you put it in the slow cooker you put it fat side up. That way the fat will drip down onto the stuffing and vegetables. I also seasoned the pork roast with fresh lemon thyme. I didn’t need to do that when I made this recipe with a turkey breast.

Lesson Learned 6 – Combine turkey gravy or pork gravy and mushroom soup for a delightful sauce: I found combining gravies with the soup created a surprisingly flavorful sauce to put over the meat. When I made the turkey I used a cream of mushroom soup. When I made the pork I used a cremini mushroom bisque soup. Both were great, although in hindsight I preferred the mushroom bisque over the cream of mushroom.

Gravy/Soup Mixture

I started out by making a packet of McCormick gravy on the stove and combined it with a can of mushroom soup. You can used jarred gravy as well. The combination tasted divine and gave flavorful moisture to the meat as it cooked.

If I was having a small gathering at Thanksgiving I would consider either one of these for dinner. They were unbelievably good and super simple to make. This is also a great recipe for having turkey and stuffing whenever you want it. Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving anymore.

Lesson Learned 7 – Both versions of this recipe results in super moist and tender meat: I have to say I was surprised at how moist and tender both the turkey and the pork tasted. I cooked both for 5 hours on low and both turned out perfectly. Once again I want to make it clear that you need to know your slow cooker. Also, to ensure the turkey and pork are cooked, you need to adhere to the weights I have given you. If you choose to cook something a little larger you will want to add a little more time to the cooking process.

Try this recipe combo and let me know what you think. They are becoming staples in our home!

Juicy And Tender Roast Turkey

Juicy And Tender Roast Pork

Slow Cooker Turkey Or Pork and Stuffing...

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

1 – 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 pound turkey breast, bone in preferable or,

1 – 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 boneless pork roast

I – 6 oz. box of Stove Top Stuffing (chicken or pork variety)

I cup cremini mushrooms, sliced thick (can use for either chicken or pork)

1 large stalk of celery, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 small granny smith apple peeled and sliced (for a pork roast)

4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 2 inch logs

1 cup chicken broth

2 Tbs butter, melted

I packet McCormick turkey or pork gravy

1 10.75 oz. can of mushroom bisque soup

Kosher Salt

Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Fresh Lemon Thyme (pork roast)

Cooking Spray

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare gravy mix according to package instructions. Once the gravy has somewhat cooled add the mushroom soup to the gravy and stir until combined. Set aside.

Spray the crock of the slow cooker with cooking spray. Mix onion, celery, dressing mix, chicken broth and butter until combined. Spread on the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the mushrooms, carrots and apple (pork roast recipe) on top of the stuffing.

Place the turkey or pork roast on top of the stuffing and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. If making the pork roast, strip lemon thyme leaves from the stalks and season the top of the pork roast. (You can add remaining stalks around the pork to season the stuffing and veggies – just remember to pull them out before serving).

Pour the gravy/soup mixture over the meat. Cover and cook for 5 hours on low.

Roast Turkey

Roast Pork

 

 

 

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Turkey Pot Pie…

For some reason I am not a big fan of having turkey on Thanksgiving but I LOVE having turkey  on  Christmas Day. This year we had three guests for Christmas dinner and that precipitated making a whole turkey versus just a turkey breast. I had plenty of practice over this past year making bone-in turkey breasts but I never really had a lot of luck making a whole turkey, that is until this year…

I found two tricks that finally rendered me a perfectly cooked bird. One, making sure that the bird was completely defrosted (and I found it takes longer than what is written which is one day in the refrigerator for every four pounds –  plus the importance of removing the guts as soon as possible so you don’t harbor an ice ball in the cavity) and second to roast it at 350 when conventional wisdom says to roast the bird at 325. Needless to say, my bird turned out perfectly this year – the very first time I’ve ever done a whole turkey the right way. So if you are struggling with making a whole turkey, have faith. It only took me several years to finally get it right!

But, this blog is not about roasting a turkey. It’s about what you can do with the leftovers. And for me, one of the best comfort food recipes you can make with leftover turkey is turkey pot pie. And believe me, you will have greater success making this than learning how to roast the perfect turkey.

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I like this recipe because you can use just about anything you have leftover in it. I had some mushrooms that I cut up and sautéed and had a bag of frozen vegetables that had green beans, corn, peas, carrots and celery. But you can use frozen peas and carrots, or a broccoli cauliflower medley – really any bag of frozen veggies you have will do the trick. It really takes no time to put together the filling and within 25 minutes after that you have a delicious meat pie that no one will ever consider a leftover. Here are some lessons I learned while making this recipe:

Image 1Lesson Learned 1 – Don’t take the easy way out and use canned soup for the filling: Have you ever read the labels of many canned soups? The amount of sodium in them is unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a proponent of no salt, but when you use processed foods sodium is used as a preservative as well as a seasoning. It is so easy to make the filling from scratch and you can use unsalted chicken stock which has only 5% sodium in it versus the 36% sodium you get in a canned soup! That’s a big difference.

One thing I learned as I became more adept in the kitchen is how easy certain things are to make that I had been, out of habit and lack of knowledge, using previously as pre-prepared or processed. True sometimes they can be very convenient, but when you look at what you may be putting into your system on a regular basis it makes you take pause. Making a simple roux and using unsalted chicken stock creates the same creaminess and flavor as a canned soup, and I would venture to say it gives even greater flavor. I also know that time is a factor for most people and therefore convenience is important. But believe me, in this case, making a simple roux and using unsalted chicken stock takes no time and in the end is much better for you.

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Lesson Learned 2 – If you really want convenience, use prepackaged pie crusts: I am still in the process of mastering the homemade pie crust but must admit that part of my reluctance to do so is based on the fact that the ones you can by pre-made are so darn good. If you are a purist, then make your own pie crust. There are tons of recipes out there to choose from. But for me, I like the convenience of the pre-made dough. The trick is to let the dough come to room temperature before using it. Don’t just let it sit in the fridge and then pull it out and use it. Let it sit on the counter for about an hour and the dough will not only be easier to work with but also will give you the best results.

Lesson Learned 3 – Working with pie crust dough: I unrolled the pie crust dough and put my pie dish on top of it.  I used small individual pie plates six inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches deep (I had to use both pieces of dough), and cut out a piece of dough that was one inch longer than each dish all the way around. Don’t be fooled into thinking your pie crust needs to look pretty. Once you have the filling in the dish, put the pie crust on top, fold the edges under and crimp them. Cut a couple of slits in the center to let out the steam. Be prepared, you will probably have some mixture dripping out of the sides while it cooks. That is the beauty of the pot pie. What I did to mitigate the mess was to put both dishes on a foil lined baking sheet that was sprayed with cooking spray. That way any dripping during the cooking process did not stick to the baking sheet or prevent me from removing the dishes from the baking sheet.

This is a pretty basic recipe and one most cooks, even the novice ones, can master the first time around. And it is so darn good. I like the idea of making individual pot pies, but you can also adapt this recipe by putting it all into a 10 inch cast iron skillet and topping the skillet with the pie crust. Then you’ll have one big pie that you can proportion out.

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Turkey Pot Pie…

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups diced cooked turkey

1/2 tsp. dried sage or poultry seasoning

1 tsp. sweet paprika

3 – 4 Tbs. butter

3 – 4 Tbs. flour

I 16 ounce bag of frozen vegetables, a vegetable medley preferred

1 cup pearl onions, frozen or jarred

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

I package store bought pie crusts

1 egg, slightly beaten with a dash of water

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large deep pan melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the pearl onions and frozen vegetables and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika and sage. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. (At this point look at the amount of butter you have in the pan. If there is hardly any, add another tablespoon and melt it. Just make sure you use equal parts of butter and flour). Sprinkle the flour all throughout the pan and whisk it with the vegetable mixture for about a minute. Add the chicken stock and stir until it starts to thicken. (You will notice it thickening once it begins to get hot and bubbly. If it does not thicken, you can always add an additional amount of a little flour and water whisked together to get it to thicken). Once it has thickened, add the heavy cream and turkey and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Take the mixture off of the heat.

Lightly flour your counter and unfold one pie crust disc. Place a 6 x 1 1/2 inch individual glass pie pan on the crust. Cut the crust so that the edges are 1 inch longer than the outer edges of the pan. Repeat this process with the second piece of dough and pie pan.

Spoon the prepared filling into each pie pan. Place the dough over the top of each pan, tucking the excess edges under themselves. Crimp the edges with your fingers.  Whisk together the egg and water and brush the crusts evenly with the egg wash. Using a sharp knife cut two vents in the center of the crust.

Place the pie plates on a baking sheet that is lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the inside mixture is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

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Happy Thanksgiving Leftovers…

Happy Thanksgiving to all. And as you begin to wonder what you’ll do with the mound of turkey leftovers you’ll soon have in the refrigerator, think about making Shepherd’s Pie Turkey style(click on the red colored link for the recipe and lessons learned). 

Shepherds Pie Turkey Style...

Shepherds Pie Turkey Style…

I am thankful for everyone who takes the time to read this blog. Hopefully my lessons learned have helped you become more adept in the kitchen. Have a great Thanksgiving Day and thanks again for following this blog. It means a lot!

Soon I will venture into my holiday cookie baking ritual. Much more to come. Please feel free to share your favorite holiday recipes with me. I’d love to try some of them. Happy Thanksgiving!

And don’t forget:

cooking

 

 

Don’t Chicken Out On Roast Turkey…

My husband and I went out to dinner this past Thanksgiving and I made a rib roast for Christmas so I knew eventually I would feel like I was cheated out of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Luckily for me my local grocery store had a great manager’s special over the Christmas holiday pricing every single fresh turkey breast, regardless of weight, at $7.00. OK, I said to myself, I can’t afford to pass this up even though turkey was not on the Christmas menu. So into the freezer it went just waiting for the right time to resurrect Thanksgiving.

I used to be intimidated by cooking a turkey – I could never seem to get it right making it either over-done or, mostly in my experience, under-done. To me there is nothing worse than a dry turkey especially if you are just cooking an all-white meat turkey breast. Overcooking it means you eat sandpaper and when you spend that amount of time preparing a meal nothing can be more frustrating.

I can tell you right now, cooking a turkey is about trial-and-error, a firm resolve that it really is no big deal and a belief that you can actually be good at it. I’ve had numerous disasters over the years and only through the school of hard knocks have I become adept at roasting turkey. I very seldom cook a whole bird anymore as even a small one is way too much for me and my husband. But I find that with the right prep and know-how a turkey breast, whether half or whole, is equally as good and lends itself to being on the dinner menu more than once a year. At other times I don’t make all the traditional sides as the caloric intake is far too great, but this time I just had to opt for tradition – I mean you just gotta do it once a year, right?

Normally I critique recipes from Pinterest, Facebook or other foodie-type websites, but this is solely my recipe adapted from years of experience and variations of several recipes I’ve tried. So here are my lessons learned and rating.

7 pound turkey breast

7 pound turkey breast

Rating: Finally A+ – I say finally because this took a lot of practice on my part. For some reason the perfect roast turkey took a few years of trial and error. Thanks goodness I love turkey so much that failure did not weaken my resolve. What is great about when you master this is that you feel confident to make it any time of year. One of our local grocery stores often stocks fresh bone-in half breasts and that is plenty for my husband and me for a great meal and leftovers.

Lesson Learned 1: If the turkey is frozen, make sure it is completely thawed. This may sound rudimentary, but I can’t tell you how many times I thought the bird was thawed only to find out at the last minute that it was still frozen in the middle. The turkey breast in the picture above was a little over 7 pounds. I planned to make it on Sunday so I took it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge the Tuesday before. In my experience turkeys thaw very slowly in the fridge and I finally figured out that if I add a day on to what I think will be the right amount of time to get a perfectly thawed bird I tend to get it right. Even with putting the bird in the fridge on Tuesday I still took out frozen matter from the cavity on Sunday. But I did that very early in the day, cleaned and dried the turkey breast and put the bird back in the fridge after that so that when it was time to begin prepping it, it was completely thawed inside and out. This was perhaps the biggest difference in ensuring even cooking and determining the appropriate cooking time.

Lesson Learned 2: Prepare a butter rub and rub it under the skin as well as all over the outside of the bird. The nice brown color that you see in the picture is achieved by doing that. I normally make a mixture of butter, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. The darker pieces in the picture are not burned skin but darkened thyme. You can scrape that right off.

Lesson Learned 3: Forget about putting a bread stuffing in the cavity, instead stuff it with aromatics. With this particular bird I jammed a thyme bundle, large garlic clove, two sweet onion quarters and a half of a lemon into the cavity. You’ll be amazed at how this helps to flavor the meat. You can discard all of it before you start to carve it. It’s work is done by then.

Lesson Learned 4: Put some white wine in the bottom of the pan before you begin the roasting process. This provides a nice steam bath for the bird and enhances the juices that you can use to make homemade gravy. I never worry about having basting juices or a solid basis for my gravy anymore. This is a great trick. The gravy in the picture below was made from the wine and drippings mixture from the turkey breast.

Lesson Learned 5: Know your oven. I’ve said this in a few other recipes, but for turkey I think it is very important. I roast turkey at 350/twenty minutes per pound. Some recipes call to roast the bird at 325. I live in high altitude and so, on average, cooking times are longer and cooking temperatures need to be a little higher. After much trial and error I have found this to be the perfect roasting guideline for my circumstance. Also get a good meat thermometer and use it. That is the only way to ensure you meat is cooked to the desired doneness.

Lesson Learned 6: Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes to half-an-hour after roasting. The internal temperature should be 185. I normally take it out when it reaches between 175-180 as carry over cooking will occur while it is resting. Keep it covered in foil but make sure you let it rest. It will be much easier to carve that way and you will retain the natural juices in the meat.

Lesson Learned 7: Be prepared for failure, especially if you’re new to roasting turkey. It’s all part of the learning process and you can always make a turkey pot pie or turkey salad with the spoils.

So go ahead, jump into the deep end of the pool and make a roast turkey more often than just on Thanksgiving. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be surprised at exactly how easy it really is. I’m including for you my basic recipe for both a roast turkey and homemade cranberry sauce, also pictured below (forget store bought, this is sooo easy and sooo worth it).

Turkey and all the trimmings...

Turkey and all the trimmings…

Perfect Roast Turkey With HomeMade Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: Varied
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

I whole turkey or a whole or half turkey breast, 7-12 pounds (you may need to adjust the cavity ingredients for a larger bird)

6 TBS. salted butter

Fresh thyme (enough to chop and mix with the butter and to put a bundle in the turkey cavity); you can also use turkey fresh herb blends sold in the grocery store that usually include sage, thyme, and rosemary.

1 sweet onion

1 large garlic clove

1-2 small lemons

2 cups dry white wine

Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed to ensure even cooking. Remove the turkey from its packaging, clean anything out of the cavity, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Bring butter to room temperature. Mince approximately 2-3 TBS. of fresh herbs and combine with softened butter, salt and pepper. One half hour before putting the turkey in the oven take it out of the refrigerator, rinse again with cold water and dry off completely with paper towels. Use your hands to create a pocket between the turkey meat and the skin. Massage some of the butter mixture under the skin. Use the remaining butter mixture and massage the entire outside of the bird. Pour 2 cups of dry white wine into the bottom of the roasting pan and place the bird on a roasting rack inside the pan. Salt and pepper the outside of the bird. Let stand for at least 15 minutes.

Roast uncovered at 350 degrees, 20 minutes per pound, basting occasionally. Halfway through the cooking process check on the color of the skin. Once the skin reaches the desired color, tent the bird with foil to prevent the skin from getting too dark. Near the end of your estimated time, check the internal temperature of the bird at the thickest part of the thigh or breast. Poultry should be cooked to 185 degrees.  While the turkey is resting you can put the finishing touches on the other parts of your meal or make your homemade gravy.

THE BEST EVER HOMEMADE CRANBERRY SAUCE: (pictured on plate above)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sugar

1 large or two small naval oranges (zest and 1/2 cup juice)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1 bag of fresh cranberries

DIRECTIONS:

Put the cranberries in a saucepan. Zest a large naval orange (or two small naval oranges) and juice the orange(s) – this should give you about 1/2 cup of fresh juice but if it does not just augment with bottled juice. Add sugar, zest, juice, cinnamon and salt. Stir until well mixed. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate. Make the day before serving to ensure all ingredients have sufficient time to meld. This is so easy and flavorful, you will never served canned cranberry sauce again.