chicken broth

Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing

We are definitely on the countdown to Thanksgiving and the other holiday in December which shall not be mentioned yet.  The weather has been nippy.  It has felt more like Winter than Fall. Once again Thanksgiving has come upon us suddenly. No need to fret. There is really little preparation that can be made until the week of Thanksgiving so you are still right on schedule.   Take a deep breath and get prepared for the traditional feast. I use Betty Crocker as my guide and she has not let me down yet.  Here are my tips for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner that anyone can prepare.

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It’s Turkey Time!

It’s time to talk turkey–Thanksgiving Turkey that is!  Thanksgiving has come upon us suddenly this year. No need to fret.  There is really little preparation that can be made until the week of Thanksgiving so you are still right on schedule.   Take a deep breath and get prepared for the traditional feast. I use Betty Crocker as my guide and she has not let me down yet.  Here are my tips for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner that anyone can prepare.

Turkey (12 to 24 pounds) Make sure neck, giblets, etc. are removed from the neck cavity
2 Tablespoons of Salt
3 Tablespoons of Butter

Rinse cavities of turkey, lightly salt and then rub butter into the cavities. I put my turkey in a disposable aluminum pan so clean up is easy. The turkey is now ready for the stuffing.

Stuffing

1 1/2 cups chopped celery (with leaves)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup of butter
8 ounces of chicken broth (or chicken stock)
9 cups of soft bread cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning (1/2 teaspoon sage, 1/2 teaspoon thyme)
1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Cook and stir onion and celery in butter and chicken broth until celery is tender, remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Stuff the cavities of the turkey with the stuffing mixture and place breast side down  in the pan you are using to roast the turkey. This is a tip I got from Jane Snow. Your turkey will be very juicy. The oven should be set at 325 degrees. Place the stuffed turkey in the oven.

Approximate cooking times are as follows:

8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 6 1/2 to 7 hours

Internal Temperature should be 185 to 190 degrees and the leg should easily pull apart when the turkey is done.

Remember to include the weight of the stuffing with the weight of the turkey when you are looking at the cooking time. The stuffing recipe can easily be doubled for a larger turkey.

When the turkey is thoroughly cooked, immediately remove the stuffing from the turkey and store separately. Let the turkey set for about 15 minutes before carving.

Enjoy and have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

Until next time…From our Butcher Block to your Table.

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Chicken Tikka Masala

Gourmet cooking can be so much fun especially when someone else has done the hard work for you.  I am sharing another recipe from Karen’s Spice Kitchen.  Her spice blends are now available at your local meat market.  Entertaining is super easy if you have Karen’s Spice blends on hand with a few staples.

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed (you can use 2 Tablespoons of granulated garlic)
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
2 1/2 pounds of chicken breast filet cut into 1″ cubes (available at your local butcher shop)
2 Tablespoons of lime or lemon juice
1 can of coconut milk
1 small can of tomato paste
1 cup of chicken broth

In a 4 or 5 quart pot cook the diced onions in the oil until transparent over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more. Turn down the heat to low and add the contents of the larger spice packet. Cook for another few seconds, stirring constantly. Add the chicken pieces and mix until coated with the onion/garlic/spice mixture. Turn off the heat and add the lemon/lime juice, coconut milk, tomato paste and chicken broth. Mix together. Turn the heat on low and simmer while covered for 40 to 50 minutes. Stir in additional water if the sauce is too thick.

This is excellent served over rice or riced cauliflower.

Leftovers are amazing. Until next time…From Our Butcher Block to your Table.

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Thanksgiving is here

We celebrate Thanksgiving one day a year; However, we should remember to be thankful everyday. We have much to be thankful about. IMG_8114rThanks to all of you for the support you give us week after week and year after year. We wouldn’t be here without you and we are very grateful.

I can’t write a Thanksgiving blog without bringing up turkey. Even if you have baked a turkey for years it never hurts to have a refresher course. Make sure the turkey is thawed and ready to bake. I rinse out the neck cavity (make sure you remove any gizzards, neck, liver etc. that might be packaged in the cavity), and rinse out the chest cavity.

I stuff my turkey. Many people no longer do this. I never place stuffing in the bird until I am ready to bake it. I usually make my stuffing the night before and refrigerate it. I am placing cold stuffing in a cold bird. This has always worked for me; however, if you are concerned bake your stuffing in a separate casserole dish.  Also, another good tip is to use a disposable foil pan (available at your local meat market). This will save you a lot of clean up. After you have cooked the Thanksgiving dinner you will be ready for some shortcuts.

Stuffing

1 1/2 cups chopped celery (with leaves)stuffing
3/4 cup chopped onion
4 Tablespoons of butter
8 oz. of chicken or turkey broth
9 cups soft bread cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage or 1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning (available at your local butcher shop )

In a large roasting pan over medium heat melt the butter. Add the celery and onion and cook until tender. Add chicken or turkey broth. Remove from heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. At this point you can place the stuffing in a greased casserole, cover and bake in a 375 degree oven about 30 minutes. I make my stuffing up the night before so I place cold stuffing in the cold turkey.

If you are stuffing the turkey, allow 3/4 cup stuffing for each pound of turkey. You can double this recipe if you need additional stuffing. Stuff the neck cavity and the chest cavity with the stuffing rub the turkey-with-stuffingoutside of the turkey with butter. Turn the turkey upside down (breast side is down) in the disposable foil pan. Cover with foil and place in an oven heated to 325 degrees. When the turkey is done, the internal temperature should be 185 degrees. (Remember to add the weight of the stuffing with the weight of the bird for the total weight)

Timetable as per Betty Crocker Cookbook
8 to 12 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours

If you desire to have that “perfect” turkey look you can flip the turkey with 1 hour left to bake, and remove the foil so the breast will get browned. We usually carve the turkey before we serve so it really doesn’t matter because no one sees the turkey unless they are on the cooking detail. When the turkey is done, remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Immediately remove the stuffing from the cavities, place in a serving bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. You can also remove the turkey drippings from the pan.

Turkey Gravy

Put turkey drippings in a skillet or roasting pan and heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of flour or cornstarch to 1/2 cup of milk and whisk together. Carefully add the mixture to the turkey drippings and whisk. If gravy is too thick you can add additional turkey broth or chicken broth. If mixture is too thin, carefully add additional flour/cornstarch and milk mixture. Keep whisking as you heat the gravy. The gravy will thicken slightly as it cooks.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night. Until next time…From our Butcher Block to your Table.

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