Sunday, November 24, 2013

Oven Roasted Turkey

My grandmother, Marion, taught me how to make oven roasted turkey, back in 1990. If you follow the directions, this is fail proof.
Start by cleaning the turkey, and placing in a roasting pan.

Slather the turkey in softened butter. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Pour a bottle of good quality beer, over the prepared turkey. Other options would include: water, chicken broth, cooking sherry or your favorite white wine.

Cover, and cook at 350. I use a covered roaster, as the steam from the cooking liquids help to roast the turkey faster.

You can baste every hour, or so, if you want, but it really isn't necessary. When the turkey starts to brown, remove the lid, and continue cooking.

Cook until a meat thermometer registers 175 degrees. Don't cook past 175 degrees; you run a risk of a dry turkey. You know you can do everything right, and try a hundred different techniques, but if you over cook your turkey, it will be dry! If you don't have a thermometer, you can check it by pulling the leg, where it meets the thigh. If the juices run clear, it is done.

After your turkey has finished cooking, it is important to let it sit before carving. Let it sit, covered, for a half an hour or so, before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute into the turkey, keeping it from being dry.

1 Whole turkey
1 (12 ounce) bottle beer
1 Stick butter, softened
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
1 Teaspoon black pepper
Remove gizzards, liver and turkey neck. Wash turkey under cold running water. Pat dry. Place turkey in a roasting pan. Slather softened butter over turkey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour beer over prepared turkey. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees until turkey starts to brown. Remove lid, and continue cooking until turkey has browned and a meat thermometer reaches 175 degrees. If you do not have a thermometer, test for doneness, by pulling the leg from the thigh area. If juices run clear, the turkey is done. If you see blood, continue cooking, until juices run clear. Remove from oven and let turkey sit, covered, for 30 minutes, or longer, before carving.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Chile, Soups & Stews

Patsy's Chili Beans

Patsy's Chili Beans

This recipe is a perfect example of why I journal my recipes. When the time comes, that I am no longer living on earth, I know that my recipes will be passed down, to future generations. I feel it is important for those future generations to have the back story on each recipe. Through this recipe I am going to introduce my Aunt Patsy. Aunt Patsy has been a huge influence in my life. She is the kindest, most sincere person you'd ever meet. When someone says, "so and so would give the shirt off their back.", they are referring to my Aunt Patsy. She has given, of herself, to so many family members. She helped to raise my brothers and I when my parents were having a difficult time of doing so. She stepped in and treated, my brothers and I, as her own children. If you ever need a person in your corner, Aunt Patsy is the one to have! I remember when I was a young adult, and moved back to California, on my own. It was my Aunt who I called on for advice. My cooking style is heavily influenced by my Aunt. She cooks with a lot of soul. She understands how to season food, simply, but effectively. I am so fortunate that she helped me to build some pretty awesome recipes, that are going to stand the test of time, now and for future generations.
Chili Beans are, by far, my most requested item to bring to family gatherings. Although this is my own recipe, I must give credit to my Aunt Patsy, for teaching me how to make this dish. I am going to share some of her tips in this post.

Start by cooking ground turkey with a chopped onion. If you don't care for ground turkey, use ground beef.
Discard the fat.
It's time to blend in the spices. Two important tips I'd like to share, from my Aunt: Season the meat heavily. The seasoning will disperse when cooked with the beans, and water is added. Now is the time to spice things up! Also, 1/4 cup of chili powder may seem like a lot. It is not. After all, we are making Chili Beans. The second tip is to let the spices cook with the meat. You want the spices to cook for a couple of minutes. So, add a little water to the meat, if you notice the spices are starting to stick to the pan. Did you know that cooking the spices helps to avoid getting a stomach ache? According to my Aunt, if you were to simply throw the chili into the water, without cooking first, you could get a stomach ache. I know I am not about to chance it! Besides, doing that is bad technique. 
This is the perfectly seasoned meat. It is ready to transfer to the crock pot.
Add water to the meat and beans; covering by an inch. Sometimes my Aunt will chop up leftover meats she may have on hand: pork chops, ham, steak or bacon may be added for extra flavor.
Cover and cook, on high, for several hours: adding, a little, more water as needed. Just enough water to keep the beans hydrated, but not too much to make bean soup. 
When the beans thicken, season with salt. Do not season before, as the beans will break and be mushy. Our goal is soft tender whole beans, in a rich, thick chili sauce.
Whether a side dish, or the main dish, I hope you enjoy this recipe, as much as our family does.

1 Pound dry pink beans, cleaned and soaked
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 White onion, diced
1 Pound ground turkey, or ground beef
1/4 Cup chili powder
2 Tablespoons Spanish paprika
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
1 1/2 Teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 Teaspoons kosher salt
Water to cover beans
Place cleaned beans in a crock pot; set aside. In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and ground turkey. Cook until meat has cooked through. Drain grease. Reduce heat to low. Add chili powder, paprika, garlic and pepper; blending well. Cook for a minute or two. You may need to add 1/2 a cup of water, to make sure the spices are blending and not burning. Add meat mixture to beans. Cover with water, by an inch. Cover the crock pot and cook on high for several hours; adding, a little, more water, as needed. Season with salt, after beans have softened, and a thick sauce has developed. Beans should hold their shape, and not be cracked and mushy.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chili Seasoning Mix

This is a seasoning mix I like to keep in my pantry. It replaces
Mc Cormick's Chili Seasoning packet. I like that this recipe utilizes ingredients I keep in my pantry.

Just process all the ingredients in a mini food processor, until combined. Store, and label, in a recycled spice container.

2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon seasoning salt
2 Teaspoons cumin
1 Teaspoon oregano
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon onion powder
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder

Blend ingredients in a mini food processor. A magic bullet blender works well for this. Store in an airtight container. Makes 1/4 cup.

Beef & Ground Turkey

Beef Stroganoff
Catherine's Hamburger BBQ (Sloppy Joes)
How To Make Ground Turkey Taste Like Ground Beef
Linda's Spaghetti Sauce
Turkey Burger Patties

How To Make Ground Turkey Taste Like Ground Beef

This tutorial, on making ground turkey taste like beef, is the most viewed post on this blog. Seems people like healthy eating, and that is a good thing! While I've used that recipe for many years, I have now changed it.

Why the change? I was poking around on my pinterest boards, when I noticed someone pinned the original recipe. She tried it, then posted it under one of her boards, titled something to the effect, recipes that were not that good. Right away, I knew I had to improve it. I mean, I can't have someone not like my recipes.

I am not one to get sensitive over criticism. Back in high school, a dear classmate taught me that it was okay to accept constructive criticism. From that, we learn to better ourselves. It was a lesson well received. You see, this lady wasn't saying I was a bad person, or that she didn't like me. What she was saying, was the recipe wasn't great. So with that in mind, I set out to make this recipe the best that it can be. I hope you like it as much as I do.

I only use lean ground turkey. I think this brand is readily available, but I happen to find the best price at Sam's Club, at  $2.39 per pound!

All you have to do, is add 1 tablespoon of Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce per 1 pound of ground turkey.

Then incorporate the Kitchen Bouquet into the meat. Now, this is to give the turkey the flavor of beef. So, before you begin any recipe, you will do this, then continue on with your recipe, by adding the required seasoning ingredients.

To crumble, just give your cooking surface a coat of oil.

And cook up, as you would ground beef. You are going to need to season it, as you would beef. So if you just want ground beef, add a little salt and pepper. Or better yet, follow the recipe that you intend on making.

I like the coloring and caramelization that the Kitchen Bouquet gives to the meat. I really could not tell that it was ground turkey.


1 Pound ground turkey
1 Tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine Kitchen Bouquet Browning Liquid into the ground turkey. Use this meat mixture as you would ground beef, per your recipe instructions. 

Now that you know how to season the ground turkey, to taste like ground beef, let me direct you to a great tasting Sloppy Joe recipe, using this technique. Just click the link. Catherine's Hamburger BBQ

If a burger is more to your liking, learn how to make Turkey Burger Patties. No more bland, dry turkey burgers!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Classic Wedge Salad

There are so many things I love about the wedge salad: the decadent blue cheese dressing, the extra layer of crumbled blue cheese, the cool crispy crunchy lettuce and fried BACON! I mean, come on. Who doesn't love bacon? Not anyone I know.

Start with clean, chilled iceberg lettuce. You can learn an easy way to clean the lettuce, by clicking the link.

Top the lettuce wedge with dressing, tomato, bacon and crumbled blue cheese.


1 (1/6th wedge) Iceberg lettuce
1/2 Small tomato, diced - or - 6 grape tomatoes
2 Slices bacon, cooked, chopped
2  3 Tablespoons (See Blue Cheese Dressing)
1 Tablespoon crumbled blue cheese

Prepare dressing a couple of hours prior to assembling the salad. Clean iceberg lettuce by slamming the core against the counter; pulling the core from the lettuce. Rinse, drain and refrigerate for optimum crispness. To cut the wedge: slice lettuce in half, starting from the core and cutting downward. Slice each half into thirds; cutting from the core downward. Place, a wedge, on a salad plate. Top with Blue Cheese Dressing, tomatoes, bacon and crumbled blue cheese. 

Blue Cheese Dressing

I made a resolution, a few years ago, to give up bottled salad dressing. It has been the easiest, most satisfying resolution I've ever made.
This recipe for Blue Cheese Dressing is quite simple. Just put all the ingredients into a bowl.

Then stir, to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
I like this dressing on a Classic Wedge Salad, which I will be sharing next.


1/2 Cup mayonnaise
1/2 Cup sour cream
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1 Teaspoon onion powder
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 Teaspoon dry mustard
1 Teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 Teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Cup crumbled blue cheese

Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

* Use as a salad dressing, or as a dip for fresh vegetables or hot wings.

How To Clean Iceberg Lettuce

I want to share an easy method to cleaning iceberg lettuce.

See the core?

Slam it against the counter!

Then pick it out.

It should come out in one piece.

Now to the cleaning of the lettuce. Remove one, or two, outer layers.

Then rinse, thoroughly, under cold running water.

Place in a container. Then refrigerate. Once the water has drained, store in a plastic bag. Keep refrigerated, until ready to use.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pastries, Pies & Puddings

Crock Pot Rice Pudding
Righteous Kitchen's All Butter Pie Crust

Righteous Kitchen's All Butter Pie Crust

I'll admit it. I'm a pie crust snob. I can't stand it when I see an under baked pie crust. This goes back to my childhood. My Grandmother was a fabulous cook, but she really didn't understand how to bake a pie crust. For all the peach and lemon meringue pies she made, the crusts were always bland and under done. My Grandmother is not the only one lacking in the baking department. I have tasted many a bland pie crust, and I've witnessed many crusts being tossed aside only to be regulated to the trash can. It was my quest to come up with the perfect flaky pie crust. A pie crust that could stand its own against the filling.

I started experimenting with an all butter crust, because I like the flavor of butter. Then I changed it up and cut back a little on the butter, and added Crisco, to make up the balance. In adding the Crisco I thought I would have a flakier crust. That was not the case. The Crisco did not make the crust flakier. Actually, it hindered the flaking process, and seemed to take longer for the crust to bake. Crisco also changed the texture of the dough, making it greasy, and harder to chill and roll out. I went back to my all butter recipe. I like the taste and the flakiness of the crust. The crust stands on its own, like a snacking cracker, where you find you just can't eat one.

The pie crust should be flaky through and through. From the edges, down the sides and clear through to the bottom. This crust is a perfect match for any filling!

Start by mixing dry ingredients in a food processor.
Alternatively, this recipe can be made by hand.
Pulse in frozen butter.
Until the dough looks like wet sand.
Pulse in, ice cold water, a tablespoonful at a time.
Until dough holds together when pressed between fingers.

Divide the dough, then cover, in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

Roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. This tip helps to ensure your crust will make it to the pie pan without tearing. Also, there is less, of a mess, to clean.
Transfer the rolled dough to a pie pan. Smooth the dough to remove any air bubbles. Trim excess dough from the edge of pan. Crimp the edge with a fork, or just press the dough onto the rim of the pie pan with your finger. Use the fork to dock the bottom and sides of the shell.  
To prevent the crust from shrinking, cover with foil, then fill with beans.

At the half way point an egg wash gets brushed onto the crust. This will act as a barrier, to prevent the filling from soaking into the crust.

You'll want to protect the rim, of the crust, from over browning.

This is a prepared pie crust, with the egg wash. It is great for ALL types of pies: cream, quiche, custard or fruit. This is also my secret to double crust fruit pies. I always bake the bottom crust before filling and placing the top crust.

This is a crust without the egg wash.
SINGLE CRUST:                                                          
2 Cups flour                                                     
1/2 Teaspoon salt                                              
1 Tablespoon sugar                                          
1 Tablespoon butter flakes                              
3/4 Cup butter chopped, frozen                       
up to 7 Tablespoons ice water                         
1 Egg, scrambled, for wash                              
3 Cups flour
3/4 Teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon butter flakes
1 Cup butter, chopped, frozen
up to 11 Tablespoons ice water
1 Egg, scrambled, for wash
In a large mixing bowl, or food processor, combine flour, salt, sugar and butter flakes. Cut in frozen butter, until it is incorporated into the flour and becomes the consistency of wet sand. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, to just moisten the flour. To test, press flour between fingers. If it starts to hold then there is enough water. Divide dough, if making a double crust. Press dough into a large disc; then wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for half an hour. Roll dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. Place into a pie pan, pressing to remove air bubbles. Trim excess dough and crimp dough onto the rim of the pie pan. Dock the dough, using a fork. Place a sheet of foil over dough, covering completely. Weigh, the dough, with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes, until dough is puffy. Remove foil and beans. Dock again. Brush with an egg wash, if desired. Continue baking, up to another 30 minutes; until crust is light brown. Prebaked crust can be used for any type pie: cream, custard, quiche and is ideal for double crusted fruit pies.