Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Turkey


* 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

* 1 cup kosher salt
* 1/2 cup light brown sugar
* 1 gallon vegetable stock
* 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
* 1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
* 1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
* 1 gallon iced water

For the aromatics:

* 1 red apple, sliced
* 1/2 onion, sliced
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1 cup water
* 4 sprigs rosemary
* 6 leaves sage
* Canola oil


Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.

A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.

Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil.

Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bonnie's "Long Life" Salad Dressing

  • 1 part Braggs Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother)
  • 1 part Olive Oil (first cold press)
  • 1 part filtered water
  • 1 heaping Tbs. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 heaping Tbs. Garlic
  • 1 heaping tsp sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
Stir up in a large mason jar and leave out on counter until it gets used up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Green Enchiladas with Shredded Beef

  • 1-2 lbs shredded beef (I used leftovers from French Dip Sandwiches and it was so good)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 cans green enchilada sauce
  • Shredded cheese, about 2-4, cups or as much as you want (I used 3 types: Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, and Medium Cheddar)
  • Tortillas
  • 1-2 cans Refried Beans, warmed
If your beef isn't already cooked, I suggest cooking it in a crock pot with some beef broth. When it is done, drain the liquid.

Once you beef is cooked, shred it and warm it up with a little water (maybe 1/2 cup, just to keep it moist) and a packet of taco seasoning. My meat was cold (leftovers from the fridge), so I tossed it back into the crockpot on low for an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of 9x13 pan. Empty one can of green enchilada sauce into a shallow dish. Spread a spoonful or two of enchilada sauce on bottom of the pan. This will help keep the bottom of the enchiladas soft. Take one tortilla and dip it into the enchilada sauce. Top with refried beans, shredded beef and cheese. Roll it up and place in pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Top the pan with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until they're bubbling. I covered mine with tin foil so keep them from browning.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes and anything else that sounds yummy.

Mexican Lasagna

• 1 cup cilantro, chopped
• 1 package (10oz) fresh spinach, chopped
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp pepper
• 8 corn tortillas (6 inch)
• 1 (15.5oz) can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
• 1 cup prepared salsa
• 8 oz Pepper Jack cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

Combine cilantro, spinach, onion, salt & pepper in food processor until coarsely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, just give it a few extra chops with a knife.

Coat an 8x8 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Lay 4 tortillas on the bottom of pan. They will overlap. Layer with ½ the beans, salsa, some spinach mixture, and cheese. Repeat the layers, starting with tortillas and ending with cheese. Press the layers together.

Cover dish with foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet to avoid spills in your oven. Bake until bubbling, approximately 25 to 30 minutes; remove foil and continue baking until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Delicious with sour cream or quacamole.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitute

1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk Substitute:
(1 C. dry powdered milk, 1 C. sugar, 1/2 C. hot water, 1 T. Butter-blend in blender very well)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Apple Walnut Spice Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples (about 2 apples)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the caramel sauce:

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

1. Set oven to 350°F.

2. Beat butter and brown sugar for 5 minutes in a mixing bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla just until blended. Set aside.

3. Mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, allspice and salt. Gradually add to sugar mixture; beating until well blended. Stir in apples, nuts, and raisins, if desired.

4. Pour into one greased 9-inch cake pan; bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Serve warm with caramel sauce.

For the caramel sauce:

1. Combine butter and whipping cream with brown sugar. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Serve warm.

Notes: No pumpkin pie spice?
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

This recipe calls for a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. So in a small bowl, triple this little recipe. THEN measure out a tablespoon. You will be sure that the portions are even and then the spice will better incorporate into the batter.

Recipe courtesy of

Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

* 12 ounce(s) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
* 11 1/2 ounce(s) 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
* 6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
* 3 eggs
* 1 cup(s) sugar
* 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
* 1 cup(s) chopped walnuts

1. In double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter. In large bowl with electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs and sugar until thick; stir into chocolate mixture. In small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts.

2. Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long. As dough will be quite soft, use plastic wrap to hold dough in log shape. Wrap tightly; refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. (Dough may be frozen; thaw in refrigerator before proceeding with recipe.) Heat oven to 375°F. Unwrap dough; with sharp knife, cut into 3/4-inch slices. Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.

3. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft. Cool on baking sheet; store in airtight tin up to 1 week.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Crockpot Oatmeal Cereal

2 c. milk
1 c. old fashioned regular cooking oats (uncooked)
1 c. apples cored, peeled and diced
1/2 c. seedless raisins
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 T. butter melted
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a slow cooker sprayed with pam. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-9 hrs. serves 4 to 6