Turkey Brine

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This is the recipe that my Star used for the first time last Thanksgiving. We are now believers of “once you go brine, you will never go back.” It truly was the most juiciest turkey we have ever tasted. We had about 15 people over last year and everyone loved it! My one friend was worried that it was going to be too salty. Definitely not the case. Yes you do need a lot of salt in this recipe, as it helps prevent bacteria growth. So, if you are going to buy your Vegetable Stock/Broth do not get the one with lower sodium.

1 gallon vegetable broth, homemade or canned
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped

Combine the broth, salt, sugar, peppercorns, allspice and ginger in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate the brine.

24 hours before you would like eat, combine the brine, water and ice in a 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey, with innards removed, breast-side down in the brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover and refrigerate. If you do not have enough room in your frig, you may place it in a large cooler. We leave it in the kitchen covered with tin foil and about half way through the process add more ice.

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Buffalo Chicken Tortilla Pizza

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Last night I made the Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches and we have plenty, plenty of left overs. What to make for lunch lunch today? Buffalo Chicken Tortilla Pizza! One of the many great recipes you can make with buffalo chicken.

Ingredients:

Whole wheat tortilla
Left over Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken
Mozzarella cheese
Hot peppers (optional)
Blue Cheese Dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Layer some buffalo chicken on top of tortilla, add shredded mozzarella cheese and peppers.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Add some blue cheese dressing.

Delicious!

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

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We have been kinda in a buffalo chicken mood lately and I have no idea why…hmm. Anyway, I was planning on making something totally different tonight, but I knew that I was going to be out all day running errands and meeting with my “other daughter” Bree for a nice lunch and I would not have the time nor the energy to cook. 🙂

My Bree!

This is one of the reasons why I like to do crock pot recipes. You just dump the ingredients set it on low and let it cook all day. By the time you get home, there’s dinner! I love it!

Ingredients:

3 – 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 – 17.5 oz bottle of Crystal Hot Sauce (as we like) or Franks Wing Sauce
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
2 tablespoons butter
Rolls (any type)

Place chicken breasts in crock pot. Add the ranch dressing mix and about 1/2 the bottle of hot sauce. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.

Once the chicken is cooked, shred the chicken, add the butter and remaining hot sauce (wing sauce). Let the butter melt. Stir and serve on rolls.

My Star added some blue cheese salad dressing on top of his sandwich. You could even add some crumbled blue cheese. Enjoy!

Reuben Casserole

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One of the first things my Star and I found out about each other in the beginning of our relationship was that we both are REUBEN LOVERS!

It is true, whenever we go out for lunch to a local diner, bistro, cafe or a pub we both always order the Reuben, which must be corned beef not pastrami, duh! We were in Philly last week for an appointment and it was such a gorgeous Fall day that we decided to make a whole day of it. We walked around Philly for a bit and ended up on South Street. I love South Street! They have such unique shops, Read the rest of this entry

Thanksgiving Menu!

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We absolutely look forward to Thanksgiving every year! Bring on the turkey and, best of all, the LEFTOVERS! It is such a great holiday, as it’s all about eating, being with the ones you love, and what we are truly thankful for.

I am starting to plan out our menu and this is what I have so far:

First, we must always, always, always, start the day with some homemade Bloody Marys. This is something that my Mom has done since as long as I can remember and she truly does make the best Bloody Marys. She has tried to show me how, but there is no measuring involved here it’s just pour some of this, some of that, add this, add that. Really, Mom?

Brined turkey (my Star’s recipe, which is absolutely amazing, so moist!), it did take some convincing to get him to reveal his process, but I have my ways….. 🙂

Candied yams

Cranberry dressing

Mashed potatoes

Homemade biscuits

Vegetable side dish, which I am still trying to figure out. If anyone has a great dish they would like to share, please post it under comments. My sister-in-law, Shelly, has a great baked asparagus dish, but I never got the exact ingredients/measurements and I pretty much just winged it and the results were meh! Hint, hint….Shelly.

Salad (not sure of this either, again if you would like to share one, please comment)

Dessert – thinking of something with apples

But the best part is the leftovers! We created a dish a few years ago, which we named “Turkey Stromboli.” Details will come later, but here is a picture of me making it.

You will love this recipe!

I cannot wait to eat! Bring on Thanksgiving!

Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

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I had some Rosemary left over from our garden and……hello, Rosemary Oil! Such a great addition to cooking or to use as a dipping sauce. The oil can be infused cold or warm, but I feel that when you warm the oil, it takes on the flavor of the herbs quicker.

Ingredients

4 – 5 sprigs fresh rosemary (depending on the size of your bottle)
3/4 – 1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

Wash the rosemary sprigs and dry them really well; there should not be any water on the rosemary sprigs (this is very important as you don’t want botulism).

Pour olive oil into a sauce pan and heat it over a low flame until it is just warm, for only 1-2 minutes. (If you do not want to heat the oil, just pour into the bottle).

Take a clean dry bottle and place the rosemary sprigs.

Pour oil into bottle and let it cool for a bit before sealing with a cork or lid.

Set the bottle aside in a cool, dry place where there is no direct sunlight for about a week, strain Rosemary. The oil will keep for quite a few months.

Turkey Chili

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I love, love, love, chili! It is such a great comfort food. The best part of making chili is you can make it so many different ways, i.e., texas style, southwest, chicken, vegetarian. Tonight I wanted to make Turkey chili and I added a few twists to it and it came out amazing!

Ingredients:

1.5 – 2 lbs ground turkey
2 large garlic cloves chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 – 29 ounce can tomato puree
1 – can Del Monte diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
1 can dark red kidney beans (drained)
1 can light red kidney beans (drained)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon chili powder (we like ours a little spicy so, we add 2)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (for that hmmm…..what is that?)
Pinch of salt
Fresh cracked pepper (I didn’t measure this, just gave it few turns)
2 Tablespoons EVOO

Drizzle the EVOO in a large dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until heated through. Add the turkey and cook until brown. Drain off excess fat.

Add the tomato puree, diced tomatoes and beans.

Add the cumin, chili powder, paprika, chipotle powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Set it on low and cook all day. I cooked it for about 6 hours.

Serve with some cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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There is nothing like the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven on a nice Fall day. These are perfect! Little bit of crunch on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (or self rising flour, which is what I used)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional, our kids do not like nuts, so we opted out) 🙂

Preheat the oven to 350°

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour with baking soda and salt. If you are using self-rising flour you can skip this step, you will not need the salt or baking soda.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter at medium speed until creamy with a mixer.

Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat until fluffy.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Lower speed and beat in the dry ingredients.

Stir in chocolate chips and nuts

Place heaping tablespoons of the cookie dough at least 1 1/2″ apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 12-16 minutes. I baked mine for 16 minutes.

Leave cookies to cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before moving them to wire racks.

Enjoy!

Crock Pot Italian Beef

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Rump Roast was on sale this week at Shop Rite and I decided to make Italian Beef sandwiches instead of the usual beef roast. So quick and easy with very few ingredients, which I love!

Ingredients:

2.5 – 3 lb beef rump roast
1 package Italian salad dressing mix
12 oz. beef stock
Jalapeno peppers (optional)

Trim off any fat from roast and place in crock pot. Pour in beef stock, add some jalapeno peppers (if desired) and sprinkle packet of Italian mix on top.

Cook on low for about 6 – 7 hours until tender. Shred in pot and cook for about 30 minutes (not necessary, but I thought it should suck up all the juices into the meat for a bit…mmmmm).

Serve on a nice french bread, crusty roll, or an Italian roll with some provolone cheese. We added some spicy chipotle mayonnaise to the roll. I’m thinking even a nice horseradish spread would be delish as well.

Once you close the lid 🙂 the cheese melts over the beef for just pure awesomeness!

Ham & Cream Cheese Dip (Baked)

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This recipe is from my sister-in-law, Shelly! This is her dip that she always make for any get together’s she may have and now has become an addition to mine. Another simple recipe that is sure to please. It always ends up getting gobbled up. Tonight was Halloween and we had some friends over and this was one of the dishes we served. I had to make another one during the party, as the first one went fast!

Our spooky cob webs that my Star put up!

Ingredients:

1 8 oz. block of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (at room temperature)
1/4 lb. of Virginia Deli Ham diced (I like the Black Bear brand, but any brand will work)
1 cup of shredded cheese (I like the Cheddar Jack blend, you can also use cheddar cheese)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together and spread in a 9-inch pie dish.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes and serve with crackers.

More spooky cob webs