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?

 

Roast Chicken and Stuffing For Two… And A Half.

By: Julie

Time:  2 hrs – 30 min prep and the rest is wait time.

On Sunday night I made the best roast chicken that I’ve ever had.  It was juicy and flavorful and amazing.

I love to cook big meals and I love to entertain.  However, sometimes I like to spoil Tyler without all the fuss so we can enjoy it together, just the two of us.  Just the two of us and busy toddler that thinks the knobs on the gas stove is a game that no one will let her play.

I wanted to make a meal that didn’t take a lot of time, but still tasted like a Sunday Dinner should.  once you prep this meal you have a whole block of time in the middle to either make fun sides, or build a Lego castle while singing the alphabet song for the eighteenth time.   Also, a whole, fresh chicken was only $6 dollars.  It’s difficult to find two boneless-skinless chicken breasts for that.  We each had a breast for supper and saved the legs and the thighs for lunch for tomorrow (plus extra for the tiny human).

The stuffing is a faster version of my holiday stuffing. It doesn’t have any sausage and I’ve left out a few other things to make it a little easier and less time intensive.  My holiday stuffing I usually prep the night before but this one can be whipped up in minutes.

You Will Need:

For The Chicken

  • 1 stalk of celery – broken into 3 pieces
  • half an onion, peeled
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp of thyme
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • olive oil
  • 3-4lb chicken

My dad once told me that to have the perfect juicy turkey, stuff the cavity with onion and celery instead of using stuffing or leaving it empty.  I am happy to tell you that this is correct.  I do this every time and it works just as well with chicken.  I never cook my stuffing in my bird, the bread absorbs moisture and flavour out of the chicken.  I want that juice to stay in the bird.

Preheat the oven to 400F and mix the spices together in a bowl.

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That being said, stuff the celery, onion, and sprig of rosemary into the cavity of the chicken.  If you can, just tuck the legs through the fat at the bottom of the chicken.  Mine was ripped so I used a skewer and a raw potato to keep the legs of the bird together.  Drizzle the olive oil over the breast, rub it into the skin and legs.  Then add the spice rub and make sure to get it everywhere.

It will look something like this:

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Place the chicken in the oven in the center rack and roast for 20 min.  Then reduce to 325F and continue roasting for another 60-80 min, until the thickest part of the bird reaches 175F.  I check temp about every 20 min.  When the chicken reaches 150 I remove the foil so it browns nicely.  Once you take it out it needs to be covered to rest for at least 10 min to absorb the juice back into the meat.  Temp will rise another 5 degrees and the chicken actually continues to cook outside of the oven.

For The Stuffing

  • 3 slices of stale bread – I used bran, whole grain bread adds extra flavor to your stuffing.  Cubed into half inch pieces
  • 1 stalk of celery – diced
  • 1/2 medium onion – diced
  • 1 small apple – diced
  • 1/3 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 tsp of sage
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil – plus more for bread cubes

Mix the herbs together and set aside.

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Toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and throw it in the oven with your chicken for 10 min to toast them.  They should be lightly browned, but not hard.  Prep the rest of your ingredients while they are toasting.

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In an oven-friendly pan, melt the butter and the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and the celery and saute until softened.  Add the apple, cranberries, and spices and stir to combine.  Add the white wine, the bread, and half of the broth.  Only add half the broth to start.  You want the bread to be wet, but not soggy.  Add the other half if necessary.  Set aside and cover with foil.  You want to put the whole pan in the oven when your chicken has about 20 min left.  It’s very forgiving so don’t worry too much.  You just want to make sure the apples have time to cook through.

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Remove the chicken from the oven when it reaches 170-175F.  Cover with foil and let rest for a min of 10 minutes.  I leave the digital thermometer in mine, stabbing it through the foil.   When the temp stops rising and starts to fall, I know it’s done cooking and has rested enough.

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Carve and enjoy.  I cut along the breast bone and then horizontally just above the wing to remove the whole breast, a trick my mom taught me.

I served this with some Cran-apple Marmalade I made and a nice green salad.  It was amazingly juicy, just how I pictured.

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