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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brining a turkey--the only way to prepare it! (In my opinion!)

This recipe has been a Thanksgiving tradition in our house since 1999.  I was home on maternity leave, awaiting baby #2 who was due 2 weeks after Thanksgiving.  I had a lot of time to watch the food network and Alton Brown talked about brining a turkey.  I thought it was a great idea and my husband thought I was nuts to "test out" this recipe on Thanksgiving when we had 22 people coming to dinner!  I'm sure he was thinking PB&J was going to be the back up plan, but he humored me and got a 5 gallon bucket out for me to brine the turkey.  Turns out, it was the BEST turkey ever!!  Alton knew what he was talking about!  Now every year, Jess gets out the turkey bucket before I can even ask him to!  The leftover turkey is so moist and juicy and makes those day after sandwiches even better!  Here's the recipe:

Brine Solution:
1 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 gallon of vegetable stock (I've used chicken stock and even boullion cubes in a pinch!)
1/2 T pepper
1/2 T all spice
1/2 T ground ginger

  • Combine the above and bring to a boil on the stove until the sugar and salt dissolve.   Let it cool to room temperature.  Combine the cooled brine solution and 1 gallon of ice water in a clean 5 gallon bucket.
  • Place your thawed turkey breast side down  in the bucket and cover.  Keep in a cool area like the basement or garage, overnight.

The next morning:

  • Heat oven to 500 degrees.
  • Rinse turkey and place in roasting pan.  Pat dry.  
  • Add the following into the cavity of the turkey: 
    • 1 apple quartered
    • 1/2 onion quartered
    • rosemary and sage.

  • Rub turkey with canola oil.  Form a double layer of aluminum foil to fit the turkey breast and set aside.  Put turkey into the oven, uncovered for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, cover breast with the foil and return to the oven with a reduced temperature of 350 degrees.  Roast until the turkey reaches an internal temp of 161 degrees.  A 14-16 pound turkey will take 2- 2 1/2 hours.  Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Desperate times....

So, I've taken a sabbatical from desserts....yesterday marked 10 weeks without any treats, candy, desserts etc.  I was baking apple pies yesterday, apple sauce and apple tarts to put in the freezer and I was more than tempted to have a piece, but I didn't.  However, I couldn't get the thought of the pie out of my mind so I created the following.....Apple Pie Popcorn.  Weird right?!!!!  But don't judge till you've tried it, because I think I've found a way for me to keep on the wagon and still have the "taste"!

Air-popped Popcorn sprayed with "I can't believe it's not butter"
a pinch of brown sugar...a.small, frugal pinch!
cinnamon-about a 1/2 teaspoon
salt- a generous pinch

All combined, it had the pie spice elements and it was really good!  It was certainly no apple pie, but it was something that I will add to my repetoire of snacks!

Apple Squares

Apple Squares

Living in Western New York, we are so fortunate to be able to pick some of the most delicious apples available!!  We pick a enjoy as God made them, for applesauce, and in all sorts of desserts.  Apple Squares are one of my favorites.  It's quick to make, especially if you have an apple peeler/corer machine!  It does the tedious work for you!!
This is a super yummy recipe and it freezes really well, so I usually make a double for the family to enjoy now and one for the future!  (The second one to put in the freezer doesn't need to be baked ahead of time. However, you can freeze it if it's already baked!)

In a bowl combine 3/4 cup of melted butter, 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup rolled oats.
Combine all of the above --Reserve 1 Cup of the mixture--press the rest into a 9x13 pan that you've sprayed with cooking spray.

6 cups of apples peeled and sliced.  Place on the crust

In a sauce pan, combine 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, 1 t vanilla, 1/2 t cinnamon and 1/4 cup of flour. Cook over medium heat and stir constantly until it comes to a boil.  Pour over the apples.

Spread reserved crust over the apples and bake for 45 minutes.

**When I make the recipe, I double crust and apple portion and make only one batch of sauce...for me, it's sweet enough to cover two pans.  If you have a stronger sweet tooth, you may want to try the recipe as is the first time through.

Chicken Wing Chili

Here are two promised recipes....sorry you had to wait, it's been a wild week at our house!

Chicken Wing Chili

1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)

1 large carrot finely chopped

1 medium onion chopped

3 ribs of celery chopped

5 cloves of garlic (or cheat like I do and use 5 tsp of prechopped garlic)

1T smoked paprika (This has the best flavor and smells's worth the money!)

1 bay leaf

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 or more of hot sauce (depends on how hot you like it!)

1 15 oz can of chopped tomatoes

1 package of crumbled blue cheese

In a Dutch oven, sautee the veggies until translucent.

Add the ground chicken and brown.

Then throw in the rest of the ingredients (except the blue cheese) and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Serve with crumbled blue cheese sprinkled on top and corn chips on the side.  This is soooooo good!  All of the flavor of chicken wings without the deep fried calories!

Monday, October 18, 2010

What's for dinner!

Here's the meal plan for this week!
I like things that I can make ahead and either keep in the fridge or the freezer for future use. My next favorite thing to do is to make an item that I can get a second meal out of later on in the week. This week's plan uses both!
Teriyaki marinated pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.
When tenderloin goes on sale for BOGO, I stock up! Aldi's makes a great teriyaki marinade that my family loves. The longer the tenderloin marinades, the better it gets! I'll either throw it on the grill or in the oven.
Pork and bean enchiladas. (I use the leftover tenderloin and combine it with cheese, a can of refried beans and salsa and use this as the filling for the enchiladas. Put the filling into a tortilla and roll. Place rolls in a 9x13 baking dish. Cover with taco sauce and additional cheese or a jar of ragu alfredo sauce. That sounds really bizarre, but it is really good! (Discovered this when I ran out of taco's a great alternative if you don't like spicy foods. It reminds me of the seafood enchiladas with white sauce that we used to get at Chi Chi's.)
BBQ Chicken Pizza (Aldi's had their take and bake pizzas for $4.50!)
Oven BBQ Chicken and potato casserole
Spaghetti and meatballs (Make a huge batch of meatballs....some for now and freeze the rest for future use!)
Chicken Club Ring (A Pampered Chef Recipe that I LOVE!!!) If you want the recipe let me know!
Chicken Wing Chili
I have another two bushles of apples that will hopefully be turned into some pies/apple squares for the freezer this week, along with more applesauce!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If I don't plan ahead, then I play catch-up....

It's the little things that can set my day off to a good start, or to a less than stellar one!  You've all been there, right?  Here are some things that I'm working on....

Meal Plan
      We've got a crazy week ahead and I'm too cheap to order out!  Here's the food plan for the week.  It's quick and simple meals that will either be cooking while I'm out during the day (LOVE my crockpot!!) or can be thrown together pretty quickly.

     BBQ Chicken Sandwiches and Salad  (I roasted a chicken for dinner last night and had leftovers to get a second meal!)

     Meatloaf in the Crockpot (Any meatloaf recipe you like, shape into a loaf, put it in the crockpot and cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours), potatoes and corn on the side.

     "International Buffet Night"   AKA, clean out the leftovers in the fridge! 

     Tuna Noodle Casserole

    Taco Soup (Crockpot!!)  (I will be at a day long scrapbook event, so my family will still eat well while I'm away!)

Meal Plan Done!!  What's cooking in your house this week?

Welcome "Moms on the Go"!

I'm a wife of 20+ years and a mom to three teenage girls.  I work as a substitute teacher in an elementary school, am an AWANA Sparks director, and the chief cook, cheerleader and chauffeur in our house. Needless to say, I am always on the go!  I decided to start this blog to encourage other moms, at times it's tough, but there is joy in the journey!  Titus 2 calls us to encourage one another as mothers and wives.  I hope that you will find that encouragement here!