No Bean Turkey Chili

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Pinterest has saved the day several times in my kitchen. I had some produce that was passed its prime in my fridge, along with ground turkey that had to be used; and I even had a can of fire roasted tomatoes that I didn’t know why I purchased in the first place. I love how forgotten ingredients can become something so satisfying! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Paleo Turkey Chili – adapted from Turtlewoman

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 28 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 TBSP DIY taco seasoning (*recipe below*)
  • 1/2 cup water or stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Avocado for topping

Directions –

  1. Add ghee or cooking fat of your choice to a 5 quart soup pot over medium/high heat. Saute the onions for about 3-5 minutes, then add the bell peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. Then add the minced garlic and chopped zucchini. Continue cooking for about 3 more minutes. Set the cooked veggies aside.

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2. Add more fat to the pan and brown the turkey over medium heat, stirring to break up. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Once the meat is cooked through, add the veggies back into the pot and pour the tomatoes, water and seasoning over all. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 more minutes.

3. Stir periodically while it is simmering. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve with chili toppings of your choice – I added diced avocado!

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DIY Taco Seasoning – adapted from Against All Grain

  • 2 1/2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 1/2 TBSP sea salt
  • 1 1/2 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1 TBSP dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1-3 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions –

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly blended. Makes 1/2 cup.

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Turkey Tetrazzini

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This was a great use for the leftover turkey breast ¬†from Thanksgiving and it was so good! I might have to roast another turkey to make this again soon ūüôā This recipe makes at least 8 to 10 servings, but it reheats really well. Thanks for reading, enjoy! ūüôā

Turkey Tetrazzini – adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

  • 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 11 tablespoons (5¬Ĺ ounces) unsalted butter, divided
  • ¬ľ cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces egg noodles
  • 1¬Ĺ cups whole milk
  • ¬ľ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups turkey stock (can substitute chicken stock/broth)
  • ¬ľ cup white wine (can substitute stock or broth)
  • 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 6 ounces Gruy√®re cheese, shredded (about ¬ĺ cup shredded), divided
  • 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about ‚ÖĒ cup), divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish; set aside. Fill a large pot with water and put it over high heat to boil.

2. In a large, 12-inch skillet with sides, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

3. In the same skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking occasionally, until the flour is browned and has a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes.

4. While the flour cooks, add the noodles to the boiling water and cook to al dente. While the noodles are cooking, continue on with the recipe.

5. Slowly whisk the milk, cream, turkey stock and wine into the butter/flour mixture. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.

6. Drain the pasta when it is finished, then add the cooked pasta, mushrooms, turkey and peas to the sauce in the skillet, tossing everything together until it is evenly coated. Add half of the Gruyere and half of the Parmesan cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

7. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons unsalted butter. In a small bowl, toss together the bread crumbs, remaining Gruyere, remaining Parmesan and the melted butter. Toss with a fork until the bread crumbs and Parmesan are evenly moistened. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the tetrazzini.

8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Turkey Stock and Turkey Noodle Soup

**I’m a slacker and planned on posting this weeks ago! **

I usually intend to make stock with the turkey bones, but never get around to it…this year I was determined not to waste a bit of that free range bird ūüėČ After removing all of the meat, I double wrapped the bones in plastic wrap and stored it in my refrigerator – not the freezer this time! A couple of days later, I threw all the ingredients in my giant 12 quart pot and simmered the contents for about four hours. Once the stock was finished, I strained it and then prepared my veggies for the simple soup that I planned for dinner. I was so pleased with how the soup turned out that this will have to become a new tradition for my family…this and the turkey tetrazzini that I will share with you all later. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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**This recipe made a very large batch or rich and flavorful stock, and what is pictured is what was left over after making turkey noodle soup.

Basic Turkey Stock – inspired from Brown Eyed Baker

  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 10 quarts water
  • two onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 celery
  • 1 TBSP peppercorns
  • 2 TBSP kosher salt or more to taste
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
    *special equipment – 12 quart pot

Place all in a 12 quart stock pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for at least 4 hours, skimming the foam off the top as necessary. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into large heatproof containers. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate or freeze.

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Turkey Noodle Soup –

  • 2 quarts turkey stock (*more or less depending on how ‚Äúsoupy‚ÄĚ you like it)
  • 2 cups roasted, and chopped turkey (*I used the dark meat*)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 – 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups egg noodles
  • kosher salt and pepper
Directions –
Heat a large soup pot to medium and add olive oil. Once the oil is warmed, add all your diced veggies to the pan. Saute for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the turkey stock and chopped turkey to the pot. Bring to boil, season to taste and add the egg noodles. Cook until the egg noodles are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste again, season if needed ‚Äď enjoy the soup with a crusty loaf of bread‚Ķyum!

Chicken (or Turkey) Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

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Chicken pot pie is comfort food at its finest: rich, creamy and hearty filling topped with a golden, flaky, buttery crust….yes, please! But if you’re too busy, or you’d rather not mix, chill, roll and hope it was all worth the effort; do yourself a favor and make this biscuit topping instead. These biscuits are so simple to make and you can even stir them up ahead of time and they bake up light, fluffy, and flavorful.

Verdict: So.Freaking.Good. I can’t wait to make this again; and I know I’ll have a good excuse to make it with leftover turkey next time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie – adapted from Food.com

*6-8 generous servings*

  • 1 cup potato, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ¬†cup half and half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups roasted chicken breast or turkey, shredded
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Directions –

Preheat oven to 375¬įF.¬†Saute onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in butter for about 10 minutes. Add flour to saut√©ed mixture, stirring well. Cook one minute stirring constantly.Combine broth and half and half.Gradually stir into vegetable mixture.Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.Stir in salt and pepper; add chicken and peas – stir to combine.Pour into one 13 x 9 casserole dish.

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For the biscuit crust – adapted from Just a Taste

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk

Directions –

*You can prepare the dough up to two days ahead of time*

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper into a medium bowl. Add the cheeses and toss to coat. Blend in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles wet sand.

Add the buttermilk and stir just until a dough forms. Drop the biscuit dough onto the pot pie filling in small mounds, leaving spaces between biscuits.

Bake at 375 degrees until the biscuits are puffed and golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Sandwich and Baked Fries

If you need a recipe for leftover turkey, look no further! This is was such a tasty sandwich, and these baked fries are a new favorite! They were crispy on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside. My family didn’t even notice or care that they weren’t fried. Thanks for reading, enjoy! ūüôā

Roast Turkey, Avocado and Bacon – adapted from Food Network

  • Roasted, sliced turkey breast
  • Bacon, cooked and drained
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Fontina cheese, sliced

Directions –¬†

1. To assemble the sandwich: spread a thin layer of the remaining butter on 1 piece of the bread. Place 1 slice of the cheese and several slices of the turkey breast on unbuttered side of the bread. Peel and slice the avocado, and season with salt and pepper. Add avocado slices, crispy bacon slices, tomato and another slice of fontina cheese to the top of that. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Slather the remaining piece of bread with the butter and place on unbuttered side out, on top of the bacon.

2. Heat a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and let it melt, swirling the pan around to coat. Put the sandwich in the pan and weigh it down with a heavy pot or can (or wrap an ordinary brick in aluminum foil and set it on top to compress the sandwich.) Toast for 1 minute, turn the sandwich over before the bread begins to burn. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

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Baked Oven Fries – adapted from Annie’s Eats¬†

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 5 TBSP vegetable, canola or peanut oil, divided
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water; soak for 10-30 minutes. Put 4 TBSP of the oil onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil. Sprinkle the pan evenly with the salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Drain the potatoes. Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels and pat dry. Wipe out the empty bowl and return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining oil. Arrange the wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes and becoming golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using a spatula and tongs, flip each potato keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5-15 minutes. Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning.

3. When the fires are finished baking, transfer them to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

I Can Hardly Wait!


After two years of making this huge spread for TG, I have learned (the hard way) what to do in advance to make this as stress free as possible.¬†Today I started the brine for our turkey! It’s a simple step that really makes all the difference in your finished bird. I never craved turkey until I made this recipe, but this always comes out juicy and flavorful. Every year I have made it, I have used the 10 gallon Ziploc bag, and my 12 quart stock pot to contain the beast! It’s a nerve-racking workout to place this safely and cleanly into the fridge ūüôā

Over the weekend, I prepared my brioche dough for the brioche and sausage dressing and the herb butter is sitting pretty in the freezer ( I used a stick and a half of butter instead of three). Tomorrow my plan is to bake off the brioche and roast several bulbs of garlic. Wednesday I will prepare the dressing, make the dinner rolls and take the turkey out of the brine. Thanksgiving day, I will prepare this ham in the crock pot, roast the turkey, make the roasted garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and bake off the dressing. It’s lists like this that makes me wish for two ovens! ¬†Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Re-Post: Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy and Brioche and Sausage Dressing

My husband suggested I repost the recipes that I made for Thanksgiving last year. This post has had a major spike in popularity ūüôā This is the turkey we’re having this year – it’s so worth the effort and ingredient list! I’m also making the brioche and sausage dressing because it was amazing, and again well worth the effort and wait. I hope you all have a Thanksgiving full of family, friends and great food! Thanks for reading, enjoy ūüôā

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy –¬†adapted from Anne Burrell

Brine –

  • 7 quarts water
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 head garlic, cut in 1/2 equatorially
  • 1/2 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey

Herb Crust –

  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • Kosher salt

Gravy ‚Äď

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon¬†stick
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 quart chicken stock, divided
  • 2 cups apple cider, divided
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Special equipment: butcher’s twine

To brine the turkey: Combine all of the ingredients for the brine in a large container. Add the turkey and let it brine in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

To prepare the turkey for cooking: Remove the turkey from the brine the night before roasting and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine the rosemary, sage, and butter for the herb crust in a small bowl. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Work the butter under the skin of the turkey and massage it into the breasts and the legs. Massage the bitter on the outside of the skin as well. Tie the legs together over the breast so they will protect it during cooking and help keep it moist and juicy.

Gravy preparation: Put the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, apples, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and thyme in a roasting pan and season with salt. Arrange the turkey on top of the veggies and refrigerate overnight UNCOVERED! Yes, that’s right, uncovered. This will help the skin dry out and become really brown and crispy. Make sure that there is no raw food near the turkey in the refrigerator. After refrigerating overnight, the turkey is ready to go in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Put 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until the skin gets really nice and brown, about 40 minutes. Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so and add more stock to the roasting pan, if needed. Cook about 17 minutes per pound. Once it gets to the proper color, tent the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.

Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey registers 160 degrees F. Make sure that the thermometer is not touching a bone when doing the reading. When the turkey has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Strain all the veggies over a bowl to separate them from the stock/mixture. Discard the veggies. Skim off the fat and add it to the roasting pan. This is the fat for the roux. Put the roasting pan over 2 burners and over a low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1 cup apple cider, remaining chicken stock and the stock/cider mixture. Cook until the mixture has thickened and reached a gravy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a serving pitcher or bowl.

Carve the turkey, transfer to a serving platter and serve with the gravy.

Cook’s Note: Don’t fight over the drumsticks.

Give thanks for such a great turkey!!!

*Basic Brioche – The Bread Bible

Dough Starter –

  • 2 TBSP room temperature water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg

*Make the starter one to two days ahead. In a mixing bowl, add ingredients and mix until very smooth. Cover with plastic wrap.

Flour Mixture –

  • 5.5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 TBSP room temperature butter

1. Combine first four ingredients and pour on top of the starter, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Using a standing mixer, add eggs and mix on low speed for about a minute until evenly moistened. Raise speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with an oiled rubber scraper, then continue beating for five minutes longer or until the dough is smooth and shiny but very soft and sticky. It wont pull away from the bowl completely.

3. Add the butter one TBSP at a time until all incorporated. The dough will be soft and sticky. Lightly oil top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. Chill – refrigerate for one hour, then gently deflate with rubber spatula, then return it to the refrigerator for another hour.

5. Deflate/Chill – turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Press or roll into a rectangle, flour as needed. Give the dough a business letter turn, brushing off excess flour. Rotate 90 degrees so the closed side faces left. Make a second business turn and round the corners. Dust it lightly on all sides with flour. Wrap loosely but securely with plastic wrap and place in a large ziploc bag. Refrigerate of at least six hours and up to two days.

6. ¬†Shape/Rise – remove from fridge and gently press down to deflate. Roll/press into a 7 1/2″ by 5″ wide rectangle. Roll down from top in three turns, being sure to brush off the excess flour. Place seam side down in a prepared 8×4 inch loaf pan pressing down firmly. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan – about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack on the lowest position of the oven and place a baking stone or a baking sheet on the rack.

8. Glaze/Slash/Bake – glaze the top of the loaf with a mixture of one egg yolk and a splash of cream or milk. Slash the top of the loaf 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep lengthwise down the loaf, making sure to leave 1″ at each end. Set on hot stone and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.

9. Cool – un-mold loaf to cool on a wire rack at least two hours before cutting.

*Sausage Brioche Dressing Рadapted from Food Network

  • 1¬†brioche¬†loaf, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound¬†pork¬†breakfast¬†sausage
  • 4¬†celery¬†ribs, halved lengthwise and cross cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 cups¬†stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped¬†sage¬†leaves
  • Kosher salt¬†and fresh ground black pepper

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread the brioche on a baking sheet and put it in the oven until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage and break it into pieces with a spoon. Cook until browned, then transfer it to the bowl with the brioche. Add the celery to the sausage drippingsand cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put the sausage into the brioche bowl. Stir in the stock and sage and mix until the brioche absorbs most of the liquid. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the dressing to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake until golden brown on top, another 20 to 25 minutes.

Italian White Bean, Spinach and Turkey Soup

Quick Post: This was really flavorful, warming, light and healthy. I used some of my homemade chicken stock for this and fresh herbs which I think made a huge impact on the finished soup. I used some ditalini pasta in this to soak up some of the extra broth and to make it more texturally interesting. We enjoyed this soup with a sprinkling of Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses; and a slice our favorite garlic bread. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Italian White Bean, Spinach and Turkey Soup Recipe – adapted from Sunday Nite Dinner

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup ditalini pasta
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken stock (*or homemade chicken stock*)
  • 12-14 ounces fresh spinach, chopped (*I used about 8 ounces*)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:
1) In a medium stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until onions are soft.  Add ground turkey, season with fresh rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, break into small pieces and brown for 3-4 minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the pot and bring to a boil.

2) Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the pasta in and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the beans to the pot. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the pasta is almost cooking. Mix in chopped spinach and stir until wilted. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with some crusty Italian country bread or this amazing roasted garlic bread.

Turkey Chili Mac

Tonight was my chance to make a meal that I know my husband would not appreciate, and I haven’t made a dish like this since March. It makes a lot of food and it’s so cheap and a great meal for using up my pantry staples. This time I used organic ground turkey instead of the usual lean ground beef. The turkey wasn’t much more expensive than the beef, but I knew I wanted to make this as lean and healthy; so I chose it. The texture of the turkey is less dense than beef when cooked and I didn’t need to drain any fat off. I forgot to add the brown sugar to offset some of the acidity of the tomato, but we remedied that by adding ketchup to our bowl of chili mac. Personally, I love to add ketchup to any macaroni and cheese recipe because it gives a subtle sweetness and tang to the meal. M doesn’t get it, but the kids appreciate a healthy squeeze of ketchup too ūüôā Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Turkey Chili Mac –
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pounds lean ground turkey
  • Salt and pepper to season the turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 or 5 mini bell peppers (*or one large bell pepper)
  • 1 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar (*I forgot to add this)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups water
  • ¬Ĺ cup cheddar cheese

Directions –

1. Heat oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and add ground turkey. Season with a dash of salt, pepper, onion powder. Once the meat is no longer pink, pour into a bowl and set aside.

2. Saute the peppers, onions and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, onion powder, coriander, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and brown sugar and cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.

3. Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with garlic, elbow macaroni, and 2 cups water. Stir to combine, cover and keep at a high simmer for about 10 – 14 minutes or until juices are absorbed and macaroni is tender.

4. Stir in cheddar and season with freshly ground pepper. Taste for salt and add if needed.

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

Wow – this turkey was completely worth all the extra work it required. I have never had a more moist and flavorful turkey – we didn’t even need to drown it in the gravy! Speaking of the gravy – wow, what a great addition to such a tasty bird. Instead of using the leftover cup of apple cider, I used all chicken stock for the gravy. I think the apple essence was just right and not at all weird. Also, the cinnamon was a subtle addition and did blend well with all the other flavors. I was a little worried about the herb butter because I didn’t want the rosemary and sage combination to over power the meal – it didn’t. I am so happy with how it all turned out! This will most likely be my go to recipe for Thanksgiving turkey and it was the best that any of us had ever tasted. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy –

Brine –

  • 7 quarts water
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 head garlic, cut in 1/2 equatorially
  • 1/2 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey

Herb Crust –

  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • Kosher salt

Gravy –

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon¬†stick
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 quart chicken stock, divided
  • 2 cups apple cider, divided
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Special equipment: butcher’s twine

To brine the turkey: Combine all of the ingredients for the brine in a large container. Add the turkey and let it brine in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

To prepare the turkey for cooking: Remove the turkey from the brine the night before roasting and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine the rosemary, sage, and butter for the herb crust in a small bowl. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Work the butter under the skin of the turkey and massage it into the breasts and the legs. Massage the bitter on the outside of the skin as well. Tie the legs together over the breast so they will protect it during cooking and help keep it moist and juicy.

Gravy preparation: Put the onions, carrots,¬†celery, garlic, apples, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and thyme¬†in a roasting pan and season with salt. Arrange the turkey on top of the veggies and refrigerate overnight UNCOVERED! Yes, that’s right, uncovered. This will help the skin¬†dry out and become really brown and crispy. Make sure that there is no raw food near the turkey in the refrigerator. After refrigerating overnight, the turkey is ready to go in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Put 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until the skin gets really nice and brown, about 40 minutes. Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so and add more stock to the roasting pan, if needed. Cook about 17 minutes per pound. Once it gets to the proper color, tent the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.

Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey registers 160 degrees F. Make sure that the thermometer is not touching a bone when doing the reading. When the turkey has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Strain all the veggies over a bowl to separate them from the stock/mixture. Discard the veggies. Skim off the fat and add it to the roasting pan. This is the fat for the roux. Put the roasting pan over 2 burners and over a low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1 cup apple cider, remaining chicken stock and the stock/cider mixture. Cook until the mixture has thickened and reached a gravy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a serving pitcher or bowl.

Carve the turkey, transfer to a serving platter and serve with the gravy.

Cook’s Note: Don’t fight over the drumsticks.

Give thanks for such a great turkey!!!