Pulled Turkey & Gravy

“…and remember, an apron is just a cape on backwards!”

This is an incredibly easy-to-cook and easy-to-eat recipe. The author is Courtney O’Dell at sweetcsdesigns.com … I pretty much stayed with her exact recipe except that I substituted Smoked Paprika for regular paprika and I added an additional hour of cook time plus extra gravy because my bird was almost 7 lbs.

Seasoned and in the pot


Ingredients:

One 5­ – 7 lb turkey breast, on the bone
One tbsp coarse sea salt
One tbsp fresh cracked pepper
One tbsp oregano, fresh or dried
One tbsp dried cilantro
One tbsp rosemary, fresh or dried
One-half tsp paprika
Two 18.3 oz cartons ready­made turkey gravy, divided (I used Swanson in the box-carton)

Ready to serve


Instructions:

1. In a large crockpot, apply cooking oil spray to the bottom to prevent sticking.
2. Season turkey by rubbing herbs/seasonings onto the skin.
3. Roll up two sheets of aluminum foil into balls.
4. Place the balls of foil on each side of the turkey, propping it up so the bony cavity is at the bottom and the fat
is up top (this helps baste the bird in it’s own juices).
5. Cover and cook on high two and a half hours.
6. Remove foil.
7. Add one carton of gravy gently pouring it over the bird.
8. Cover again and cook another two and a half hours.
9. When turkey is 175 degrees internally, and a bright opaque white, turn off the crockpot and remove the turkey into a large pan or baking dish … it may be falling apart so you may have to use one or two slotted spoons to get all the meat and solid pieces into the pan. While the contents of the pan are cooling off, pour the juice left in the crockpot through a strainer and save the juice in a bowl where a skimming ladle can be used to remove excess fat. Always allow the liquid to rest and cool for several minutes, so the fat will rise to the top.
10. Now pick out all of the bone and other undesirable solids from the pan leaving only good, tender chunks of meat. Using two dinner forks, shred or tear the meat and place it back into the crockpot along with the de-greased gravy.

Served over cornbread dressing


11. Add remaining carton of gravy to the crockpot and let simmer on low until ready to be served. Sprinkle with a little paprika just before serving.
12. Great over cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, in sandwiches, over rice, or on it’s own!

Beef & Mushroom Stew

“Nourish the body, feed the soul.”

This will likely be my last post for 2016 but the timing is perfect. Much of the country has been hit by a cold front so what better time to prepare a hot, rich beef stew. I first saw this recipe several places on the Internet and I believe I’ve tracked it’s origin to Campbells.com and this was my inspiration. Of course, I made a few small changes on my recipe!

Ingredients:
1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef bottom round (rump) roast or chuck pot roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Adobo seasoning (or substitute Kosher salt)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed French Onion Soup

Beef & Mushroom Stew


1 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed
10 ounces mushrooms, cut in half or sliced (about 3 cups)
6 ounces baby carrots, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, finely diced
3 medium red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup water, divided

Directions:
1. In a gallon-size zip-lock bag add the pepper and Adobo to 1/4 cup of flour. Place the beef in the bag and shake it to coat with the flour. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned, stirring often.
2. Stir the beef, soup, wine, garlic, Italian seasoning, mushrooms, carrots, shallot and potatoes with 1/4 cup of water in a 3 1/2-quart slow cooker.
3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or until the beef is fork-tender.
4. Stir the remaining flour and water in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Stir the flour mixture in the cooker. Increase the heat to HIGH. Cover and cook for 15 to 30 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens.

Holiday Sausage Stuffing Balls

“I’m sorry, your opinion wasn’t in the recipe.”

I approached this recipe with the idea that it was going to be an appetizer along the lines of my “Garlic Cheese Sausage Balls” …. well, I couldn’t have been more wrong! This turned out to be in the categories of: a brunch entree, a heavy appetizer, or even a side dish substituted for dressing. Although I’ve not tried yet, I believe it would be delicious topped with turkey gravy. It is savory but not overly so (as many dressings can be) and has a holiday spin thanks to the chopped pecans and dried cranberries.

This recipe is not for the OCD neat-niks!! It is incredibly messy when you mix it by hand and then (with your hands) when you tightly squeeze the mixture into balls so they’ll stay together.

Prepared  dressing balls about to go into the oven.

Prepared dressing balls about to go into the oven.


Ingredients:
1 lb packaged pork sausage (I prefer Mild)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 box Stove Top Stuffing mix (for Chicken)
1 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
2 eggs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper or Silpat baking mat, set aside.
In a medium frying pan, brown the sausage. Drain grease from meat and add in the onion powder and cook, stirring often, an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.

Just out of the oven!

Just out of the oven!


In a large bowl, combine cranberries, pecans, cheese, and Stove Top Stuffing.
Stir in the cooked sausage.
Add in the chicken broth and 2 eggs. Stir well to combine. (You may want to use your hands to make sure everything is really mixed!)
Using your hands, tightly press mixture into a ball about the size of a golf-ball and set on prepared cookie sheet. (Another way to bake the mixture might be by using a mini-muffin pan although I have yet to try that.)
Bake at 375 for about 17 minutes or so, until balls are cooked through and tops are browned. (**Note – you can also prep these in the morning and simply cover on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until ready to cook the rest of the meal.) This recipe will make 24 balls.
One of the balls split open to show the savory & sweet contents!

One of the balls split open to show the savory & sweet contents!

Serve warm as a heavy appetizer, a Brunch entree, or a side dish substituted for regular dressing.

Buttery Garlic Green Beans

“Real men wear aprons.”

Green beans are one of the few green vegetables that I will eat so I try almost every green bean recipe that looks interesting. This one has turned into one of my favorites. The original recipe came from a blog named LookWhatsCooking and was published by Allrecipes.com. Naturally, I’ve altered things a bit and added a secret ingredient that really adds flavor. Adobo is a powdered Mexican flavoring and it can be found in most grocery stores (at least in the south).

Ingredients:
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped in half
3 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed or paste
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 tsp Adobo powder
salt to taste

Buttery Garlic Green Beans

Buttery Garlic Green Beans

Directions:
Place green beans into a large skillet and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beans start to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain water. Add butter to green beans; cook and stir until butter is melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
Cook and stir the Adobo and garlic with green beans until garlic is tender and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with lemon pepper and salt.

Marinated Cheese

“If we are not supposed to have midnight snacks, why is there a light in the fridge?”

This is one of my favorite appetizer recipes.  I recently took a platter to my high school reunion potluck and it was well received.  It’s been around for awhile and I believe it appeared in a Southern Living magazine back in 2006.  The important thing to remember is to let the cheese marinate at least for 8 hours …. I typically go for 12 – 16 hours.

Ingredients:

Marinated Cheese

Marinated Cheese

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 (2 ounce) bottle diced pimento, drained
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons minced green onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (4 ounce) block Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (4 ounce) block Colby-Jack
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cold

Directions:

  1. In a jar combine the olive oil, wine vinegar, pimento, parsley, green onion, garlic, sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Cover tightly and shake vigorously to blend. Set aside.
  2. Cut each of the blocks of hard cheese in half lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices to form squares. Repeat with cold cream cheese. Arrange cheese squares alternately in a shallow baking dish with slices standing on edge. You can arrange in a single long row, or several parallel rows depending on the size of your dish. Pour the marinade from the jar over the cheese slices, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  3. To serve, remove slices to a serving platter so they are still arranged in an alternating pattern. Spoon some of the extra marinade over the cheese, and serve with crackers (I prefer Nabisco Sociables).