Anytime Turkey And Stuffing

By Julie

Time: 90 min

Serves:  6-8 (Or 2 with lots of leftovers)

I love turkey and stuffing so much that sometimes I can’t wait until a major holiday to eat it… but sadly, let’s face it, it’s a lot of work.  Until now.  After a big holiday you will notice all those leftover turkeys will appear in the poultry section, already butchered for you in lovely portions at a reduced price.   I usually grab a couple of breasts, and some drumsticks (that I use for turkey wraps).  You can roast a turkey breast in about an hour, depending on size, and it will taste no different than the one you made a few weeks earlier that was attached to the rest of the bird.

Stuffing can be as easy or as complicated as you want. This one uses day old irish soda bread, but you can use whatever you have, as long as it’s dry. Save the many-ingredient-lots-of-chopping version for your special occasions and make this one anytime.

You Will Need 

For The Turkey

  • 1 turkey breast, about 2 lbs
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp of poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper

For The Stuffing

  • 2 small or 1 large sweet potato, cubed in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 6 cups of day old bread, cubed
  • 1-2 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth, depending on what kind of bread you are using
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

 

Prepare The Turkey

Preheat the oven to 350F. The turkey breast should be removed from the fridge 30 min before cooking if you have the chance.  If not, it may take longer to cook the center and the breast might be dry.  Pat the skin dry, and rub it with the butter and seasonings.  Place in a roasting pan on a rack and pop it in the oven.  Roast for an hour and check the temperature.  It should read 178 in thickest part of the breast meat (make sure you are not touching a bone).  Normally for a full sized turkey I would remove it at 170 and let it rest because it will continue cooking, bringing it up a further 10 degrees to the desired 180.  A single breast will not continue to cook very much so it needs to be close to temp before you let it rest.  Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Prepare The Stuffing

Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the sweet potatoes and cook until they are softened and browned.  Remove from pan.  Add remaining olive oil and butter and reduce heat to medium.  Add onions and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened and onion is translucent.  You may be tempted to do the sweet potatoes and the onions together, but I find that the sweet potato soaks up all the oil and the onions burn.  Add the sweet potatoes back in, the broth, and the spices.  Stir until combined and add the bread, mixing well until you see no dry spots.  I used Irish Soda Bread for my stuffing and it’s very dense.  Because of this I needed more liquid.  If you are using a lighter bread like french bread, you will need less broth or you will end up with soggy stuffing.  There should be a small amount of liquid left in the bottom of the pot after you have stirred the bread in.  If it’s dry, add some more. If there is a quarter inch or more, crank up the heat and evaporate it off on the stove top before putting it in the oven.  Bake covered for 40 min.  If your turkey is taking a little longer than expected, just pull it out of the oven and leave it covered.  Fluff with a fork before serving.

I serve this with a simple salad and cranberry sauce.  This will easily get you to your next big holiday meal without all the fuss and minimal effort.  Who doesn’t love that?

 

Slow Cooker Ribs

By Corinne

The biggest problem I’ve had with making ribs in the slow cooker is that they end up so tender they fall apart and you can’t even pick them up without them slipping off the bones. Now, that’s awesome in one way, but it means that they don’t have the crispy bbq bark goodness you get from cooking them on the bbq or in the oven. This method combines the best of both worlds. Ribs are dry rubbed and cooked in the slow cooker for no longer than 6 hours on low, then finished on the bbq or in the oven. They are incredibly tender, and still have the crisped goodness from finishing them under high heat.

You will need:

  • 1 rack of ribs, cut into 3-4 bone sections
  • your favourite bbq sauce for finishing

Dry rub:

  • 1 tbsp paprika (smoked, sweet or hot, whatever your preference)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Combine all ingredients for dry rub. Sprinkle generously over ribs- I usually use all the rub for one large rack of ribs.

Stand ribs up on slow cooker so they are not all laying on top of one another. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, but no longer than 6 hours. If you cook them too long you will have difficulty finishing them in the oven or on the bbq as they will easily fall apart.

Remove ribs from slow cooker. If finishing the ribs on the bbq, heat grill to medium heat and generously slather with your favourite bbq sauce, basting ribs a few times on each side over direct heat. I always think they look prettier when they’ve been finished on the bbq, but it was -25C the night I made these so this time I did it in the oven.

To finish in the oven, place ribs on a cookie sheet or baking stone. If using a cookie sheet, you may wish to cover with tinfoil to aid in clean up. Baste ribs generously on both sides and place under broil. Watch carefully, flipping and basting about every 2-3 minutes until both sides have been crisped up a bit.

Enjoy!

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Loaded Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie with Leftover Roast Beef

By Corinne

Shepherd’s pie is something I don’t make very often, mostly because I rarely make mashed potatoes, so even more rarely have any leftover mashed potatoes to use for the topping. However, I am the owner of a beautiful deep dish pie plate from Pampered Chef, and felt like shepherd’s pie is something that would suit this dish perfectly.

But, when I went to make it, I only had a couple potatoes, so decided to make a mixed vegetable mash for the topping instead of using just using potatoes. This had the side benefit of being both delicious, and probably more healthy as well.

You will need:

  • 2 cups leftover roast beef
  • 2.5 cups peeled, diced potatoes
  • 2.5 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup chopped parsnip (peeled if desired)
  • 1 cup carrot
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup corn
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 3-4 tbsp horseradish
  • 1-2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven 400F

Peel and chop potatoes and parsnip. Cut cauliflower into florets. Put potatoes, parsnip and cauliflower into a pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook until vegetables are fork tender.

While potatoes, parsnip and cauliflower are cooking, place 2 cups of leftover roast beef, 1 cup of diced carrot (do quite a small dice to ensure the carrot gets cooked!), 1 cup frozen peas and 1 cup frozen corn into a small casserole dish or a deep dish pie plate. Whisk 2 tbsp of corn starch  into 3/4 cup of beef broth and pour over beef and vegetables.

When potatoes, parsnip and cauliflower are fork tender, remove from stove and drain. Using either a hand or stand mixer, whip vegetables together with 1-2 tbsp of butter and 3-4 tbsp of horseradish until smooth.

Top beef and vegetables with the vegetable mash. Cook in 400F oven for one hour, uncovering for the last half hour so the vegetable mash gets some colour.

 

 

 

Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

By Corinne

This is a fast, easy weeknight meal that is easily adapted to what you have in your fridge. You an switch up the vegetables to any that you like- for example, snap peas and cauliflower instead of green beans and broccoli. I personally would probably opt out of adding the tbsp of brown sugar- but a slightly sweeter sauce gets better reviews from my favourite taste testers. I know this seems like a lot of balsamic, but between the sweetness added and all of the vegetables, it mellows out and and is not too vinegary.

Serves: 4

Time: about 25 minutes start to finish – though it depends on how you cut your chicken

You will need:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into slices or chunks for faster cooking
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots (mine weren’t exactly matchstick, I quartered baby carrots)
  • 2 cups green or yellow beans cut into approximately 1″ pieces
  • 1 red pepper, halved and sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Place chicken in a large skillet over medium high heat with a tbsp oil. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. While chicken is cooking, slice the red onion into half moons. Flip chicken over and add onion to pan.

While chicken and onion are cooking, slice up the rest of the vegetables. By the time you are done, the chicken should be mostly cooked through, though if it’s still pink that’s fine. Whisk together balsamic, honey, brown sugar, garlic, chili pepper and cornstarch and set aside.

If some of your vegetables are in larger pieces (my carrots for example) add them to the pan with the chicken and cover for 3 minutes before adding the more tender vegetables.

Add the rest of the vegetables and cook covered for 3 minutes.

Add the sauce, and cover for 3 minutes. If at the end of 3 minutes, you want the sauce to reduce more, uncover for an additional 1-2 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Ta da! You’re finished! If desired, sprinkle with some fresh chopped parsley. This is lovely served with rice if you’re into a carb to soak up the extra sauce.

Sparkling Grapefruit Pound Cake

By:  Julie

Serves:  1 5×9 pound cake

Time:  1 hr 20 min

If you have been toying with making a desert I’ve posted but can’t commit, I’d start with this.  Just make it. I promise, you won’t be sorry.  It’s moist, and sweet, and completely delicious.  I almost ate all of the batter raw, it was that good.

Today I had to hit the local Foodland for some ingredients for lasagna.  While I was was waiting in line at the checkout I perused the shelving at the end of the isle and found this:

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Grapefruit Italian Soda.  It was on-sale, unsurprisingly.  I can’t imagine there is a huge market in Dresden for Grapefruit Italian Soda. I had been toying with the idea of making a pound cake but somehow it seemed boring.  This, my friends, is not boring.  Its tangy and sweet and beautiful.  It was easy to prep and did I mention that we completely demolished the cake between 4 people?  There is a tiny portion left which I have hidden because I love all the people in my house and I would hate to have to maim one of them if they ate the last piece.

Pound cake gets it’s name because originally it had a pound of each sugar, flour, eggs, and butter.  I have seen this made.  It is a bad idea.  Martha Stewart even says so.  Martha herself makes pound cake with no leavening and depends completely on the beating of an enormous amount of eggs to create lift.  I don’t want to have a heart attack so the butter is cut back, as well as the eggs.  This recipe has a teensy bit of baking powder for lift because it only has 3 eggs. The base came from a Taste Of Home magazine and I tore it out intending to make it years ago… I’d say oops except I’m pretty sure fate was waiting for this soda to go on sale.

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You Will Need

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 5-6tsp sparkling grapefruit Italian soda
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Prepare The Batter

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a 5×9 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.  Cream the butter and the sugar on high until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition.  You are adding air at this stage so don’t rush it.

In a separate bowl whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add about a third and mix.  Add a third of the soda, then mix.  Keep adding both the dry ingredients and the soda in thirds until the batter is well beaten.  It will be a beautiful yellow and be slightly foamy.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the center of oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

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Allow to cool in pan for 10 min and then move to cooling rack.  Allow cake to cool completely before glazing.

For The Glaze

Combine icing sugar with 5 tsp of soda.  You want it to be fairly thick.  Just barely pour-able.  Pour it over top and allow it to drip over the sides.

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If you can wait long enough, allow the glaze to harden and serve.

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Growing Sprouts

By Corinne

I don’t remember what originally inspired me to grow my own sprouts, but it’s so easy and economical that I’m continually surprised it’s not more popular. Why should  you bother? Well, other than being simple and cheap, it’s also fun, and it seems like it would be a fun thing to do with kids. In terms of effort, its only a few seconds a day, and no matter how many times I’ve done it, I’m still amazed at the changes you see everyday. Once they are ready to eat, sprouts are a yummy addition to salads and wraps, or really anywhere where you might use lettuce.

In terms of nutritional benefits, it seems sprouts may have beneficial enzymes that are part of this early growth. If you do a little googling, there are a lot of claims about just how amazing sprouts are, however, I’m a little skeptical of some of them since few of the sites making these claims back them up with any sort of evidence, references, or studies. That being said,  a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables is well established as being beneficial, and sprouts are a fun way to get a little more variation.

There are a few cautions though – it is important to source seeds that are meant for sprouting and raw consumption. Often seeds meant for planting in the garden are treated with fungicides and other things that you don’t want to be eating, or can even potentially be contaminated with salmonella. I order my seeds from Mumm’s, though there are certainly other reputable sites.  My favourite mixes of seeds I’ve tried so far are Spicy Lentil Crunch mix and Crunchy Bean mix.

Equipment

You can buy a special sprouting jar, tray or sprouting bag. But you really don’t need to. If you buy a sprouting jar it will come with a mesh top, but an elastic and piece of cheesecloth work just as well. I use a 1L jar (2 pint), you can use a smaller one, but ensure you reduce the amount of seeds you put in. A wide mouth jar would probably be a good idea, though I generally don’t have too much trouble getting them out of the one I use.

Process

The amount of time it takes to get your sprouts to edible form depends a bit on the type of seeds. Most packages will give you both instructions for sprouting and the number of days it will take to sprout. In general, many are about 5 days, though some seeds take less time, others take more. General directions and helpful hints below.

Step 1. Place 2 tbsp of sprouting seeds into a 1L jar. Cover top of jar with cheesecloth and secure with an elastic. Cover with water and allow to soak overnight or for 6-8 hours.

Step 2. Drain water and refill with cold water, swirling seeds around to rinse and drain again. If there are a lot of seeds stuck to the cheesecloth, just give them a little flick with your finger to knock them down. Sort of roll the seeds around in the jar so they aren’t all clumped up together- as seen in the middle photo below. Lay the jar on an angle and place it out of direct sunlight.

Step 3. Rinse and drain sprouts twice a day for the next 4-6 days, leaving jar at an angle between rinsing.  For the last day of sprouting you may wish to place the jar somewhere it will get sun for a few hours for the sprouts to green up.

Step 4. When your sprouts are ready for eating, take the cheese cloth off and rinse and discard the seed hulls. Depending on your jar, you may find it easier to put sprouts into a large bowl and skim the hulls off the top. You don’t need to worry about getting them all.

Step 5. Allow sprouts to dry for a few minutes on a clean cloth or piece of paper towel. They can be stored in a covered container with a piece of paper towel in the bottom. They are best if eaten sooner rather than later – I often plan to use them the day I know they will be ready, but they can be stored in the fridge for about 3 days.

As you can see in the above photo, 2 tbsp of seeds made a lot of sprouts, about 4 cups as they are really packed into that jar!  I probably could have let them grow for another day, but I wanted to use them in Harissa Chicken Wraps with Hummus.

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The photos above are all of the Spicy Lentil Crunch mix. Below are photos featuring the Crunchy Bean mix.

Left-over Chicken Fettuccine In A Light Cream Sauce

The other night I made some delicious Turkish Chicken and have been having a creative food-fest with the leftovers.  Yesterday I made some Chicken Salad and today, pasta!  Yummy, yummy pasta.  I have to start by telling you I don’t really like Alfredo sauce.  I find most of it sweet and rich and too thick.  I have never really had an Alfredo Sauce that made me stop and swoon the way I’ve seen some of my girl friends do.  Hence, I’ve never made it.  This sauce is sort of like Alfredo, but since it doesn’t use heavy cream it is not as sweet and rich and also not as fatty.  You’re very sad, I know.  I like light sauces, I almost always pick a tomato based sauce over a cream sauce, with the exception of some white wine creations which I love.

Don’t have any leftover chicken?  Slice and saute a chicken breast and set aside before starting.

You Will Need

  • 10oz of fettuccine
  • 2 tbsp pasta water
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups of sugar snap peas
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 leftover chicken thighs, chopped
  • 100g of smoked Gouda (or any other favourite)
  • 1 cup of half and half cream
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Prepare pasta as per package directions, reserve 2 tbsp of pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside.  Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat and add onion and a pinch of salt.  Cook 2 or 3 minutes until softened, add peas and red pepper.  Cook until tender crisp, about 5 minutes, add garlic and cook 1 min more until fragrant.  Add cheese, cream, pasta water and chicken and bring to a simmer. This needs some salt and a generous amount of ground pepper.  Don’t be shy with the pepper, you won’t be sorry.  Add pasta and simmer until slightly thickened.  Serve immediately and garnish additional Parmesan.